Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Oregon for 2023. The state is home to major technology companies, startups, and research institutions, fostering innovation and technological advancements. This year’s awardees lead at major employers including Microsoft, Columbia Sportswear, Oregon State University, Intel, and more. They possess the ability to ignite passion, motivate others, and cultivate a shared vision, empowering future women leaders to reach their full potential and achieve extraordinary outcomes. Their contributions go beyond the workforce, extending to the realms of community, society, and personal growth.

Among this year’s awardees is Lakecia Gunter, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft, who leads the digital transformation and building of innovative solutions for customers, while navigating the advancements in AI and future technological innovations. Awardee Maureen Bradley, Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer for Legacy Health, has played a pivotal role in significantly increasing charitable dollars to nearly $43 million per year, while also fostering collaboration and engagement with the philanthropic community to drive healthcare innovations. Also awarded is Xiaomei Zhou, Vice President and General Manager within NEX Software at Intel Corporation, who leads the global software organization to enhance platform quality and capabilities, while also advocating for women's leadership development, and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Oregon for 2023.

1. Maureen Bradley
Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Legacy Health

Maureen Bradley, Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer, joined Legacy Health in 2010. Since then, charitable dollars have increased from an average of $5 million per year to nearly $43 million. In addition to building a best-practice team, her leadership and collaborative approach have been critical in engaging the philanthropic community in multiple healthcare innovations. 

Under Bradley’s leadership, she has guided the recruitment of trustees for Legacy’s hospital boards and was instrumental in establishing the Legacy Health Foundation aimed at making a system-wide impact on Legacy’s diverse community. In addition, she works closely with Legacy’s Governing Board and has become a trusted resource for the board of directors. 

In 2020, Bradley assumed oversight of Legacy’s marketing, PR, and community benefit programs to better engage external stakeholders in a unified vision. In 2017, she was selected Woman of Influence by the Portland Business Journal and received national recognition for leveraging and developing an innovative campaign model to impact the behavioral health crisis. She serves as a charter member of The Advisory Board Company Leading Lights in Philanthropy and was part of the senior management team at Oregon Health & Sciences University Foundation before serving as a national consultant, supervising a $50 million campaign for Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego and two campaigns for MultiCare Health System in Washington. Bradley graduated from Lewis & Clark College with an undergraduate degree in English and from Marylhurst University with an MBA.

2. Christine Schmidt
Chief Administrative Officer, Dutch Bros Coffee

Christine Schmidt currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer of Dutch Bros Coffee, where she is responsible for leading the administrative teams that serve as an integral part of business operations. Christine’s career with Dutch Bros started in 1996 when she joined co-founder Travis Boersma at the original Grants Pass coffeehouse. Since then, Christine has remained focused on helping grow the business, serving in roles supporting and growing marketing, finance, and operations.

Prior to her role as CAO, Schmidt served as CFO, VP of finance, and a variety of positions supporting and growing marketing, finance, and operations. Schmidt's current focus is leading the administrative teams that serve as an integral part of business operations.

3. Lakecia Gunter
Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Global Partner Solutions, Microsoft

Lakecia Gunter currently serves as Chief Technology Officer for the Global Partner Solutions (GPS) organization at Microsoft, the largest partner ecosystem in the industry, empowering partners to drive digital transformation. In this role, Lakecia defines the technical vision and strategy for GPS to achieve Microsoft’s mission through partners, enabling partners to build innovative solutions that help customers achieve their digital transformation goals and achieve successful business outcomes. She is at the forefront of helping guide GPS and partners through the next wave of technological innovations and advancements in AI.

Lakecia has held several leadership roles at Microsoft. Most recently, she served as VP and GM of the Device Partner Solution Sales group at Microsoft, and before that as the VP and GM of the Worldwide Internet of Things Partner Ecosystem, Global Channel Sales. Prior to joining Microsoft, she held several leadership roles at Intel Corporation and currently serves as an independent director for IDEX corporation, and is a member of the Board’s Compensation Committee and Nomination and Governance Committee. 

Lakecia has been named to The CRN Women of the Channel list for 2023 and has been recognized as one of 100 Influential Women in Tech to Watch in 2022 by WomenTech Network. In 2021, Lakecia was named to Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Corporate Director’s list. She volunteers through numerous community service organizations both locally and nationally, serves on the board of trustees for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council as well as Black Women on Boards. She recently launched a podcast called ROAR with Lakecia Gunter where she spotlights leaders, industry experts, executive coaches, and successful entrepreneurs from around the globe. She earned an undergraduate degree in computer engineering from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

4. Xiaomei (May) Zhou
VP of Network & Edge Group & GM of Workload, Validation, & Infrastructure Engineering, NEX Software at Intel Corporation

Xiaomei (May) Zhou is Vice President of the Network and Edge Group (NEX) and General Manager of Workload, Validation, and Infrastructure Engineering (WViE) within NEX Software (NEX SW) at Intel Corporation. She is leading a global software organization to enhance E2E platform quality and capabilities on top of the base platform. Her organization is chartered to accelerate the development of consumable workloads, drive unified DevOps and automation, and provide support to other SW Development Operations within the NEX SW community. Her organization is also responsible for platform benchmarking and optimization and customer scaling. 

A strong advocate for women's leadership development, Xiaomei is the co-chair of the Intel Network of Executive Women (iNEW) board. She champions diversity and inclusion, serving as the executive sponsor for the NEX Software (NEX SW) People First Initiative and the Shanghai Women at Intel Network (WIN). In her capacity as an internal coach, she focuses on developing the next generation of leaders through Intel’s Group Coaching program, leading manager group cohorts, and conducting 1:1 coaching and mentoring regularly. She is a certified Integral Coach from the New Ventures West and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) from the International Coaching Federation. 

5. Kristin Horak 
Vice President Operations & Support, Global Payments 

Kristin Horak is Vice President of Operations and Support for the Global Payment’s division of Commerce Enablement Solutions software business. Global Payments is a leading worldwide provider of commerce technology services. She leads the company’s efforts to support software solutions that help merchant customers, across the globe, more effectively run and grow their businesses, including point of sale, data, analytics, customer engagement, digital wallet, and stored value solutions.

As a member of the executive team, Kristin leads the business’s operations in North America, as well as the ongoing expansion efforts of operational and support into emerging markets expanding to Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Kristin has thrived in the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of Global Payments for the last 13 years, witnessing expediential revenue growth during that time period.

Over the past 25 years, Kristin’s previous experience has spanned many industries with diverse business backgrounds including retail operations, event marketing, and software solutions. Her love of sports led to event management in both professional and collegiate sports for various Athletic Shoe companies, eventually transitioning into corporate retail for select national brands. Her talent for problem-solving, value engineering, and driving revenue launched opportunities for Kristin to lead teams in opening over 1,100 retail stores in 47 states while overseeing the hiring of top talent, training, merchandising, and real estate site selection. She has been recognized for her contributions throughout her career and has received awards including the CEO Advocacy Award, Outstanding Partner of the Year, and Encore Talent Awards. 

7. Heather Wills
Senior Vice President and Managing Director, WSP USA

Heather Wills is a Senior Vice President and Managing Director in the Transportation Operations Strategy National Business Line, based in Portland, Oregon. Wills possesses over 20 years of progressive leadership experience in the transportation industry, including many complex and controversial mega-infrastructure projects. Megaprojects and programs have many moving parts, Wills strategically pulls the pieces together for her clients and colleagues providing pathways to success. She leads her team and guides the client on these complex projects by emphasizing strategic partnerships and collaboration. She is currently leading a large interdisciplinary team with the Oregon Department of Transportation to bring tolling to the Portland Metro area to create a sustainable funding source and manage congestion to improve the quality of life for travelers. In this role, Wills leads a team of strategic communication and engagement professionals, traffic and revenue analysts, environmental discipline experts, equity consultants, transportation modelers, and government relations specialists.

Wills always leads with heart. She cares about her team as people and professionals, just as much as she cares about project successes. She excels at matching skills and interests and is a fierce advocate for providing “stretch” opportunities and mentoring for team members that provide strategic career advancement. Wills is passionate about collaborative problem-solving where everyone has a voice and opportunity to add value. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her son and husband down mountains on a mountain bike and snowboard.

9. Lucinda Moulding
Vice President of Employee Benefits, HUB International

Lucinda Moulding is the Vice President of Employee Benefits for the Southern Oregon team of HUB International. HUB International is a leading North American insurance brokerage that provides employee benefits, business, and personal insurance products and services. With over 14 years of experience in employee benefits and having worked on both the agency and employer side, Lucinda has a diverse perspective of today’s rapidly changing health insurance environment. Her experience includes working with clients of all sizes and industries across the West Coast. She understands the unique needs employers have when developing their benefits offerings and works alongside clients to ensure all aspects of their needs are met.

Lucinda specializes in complex employer group benefits, where a keen eye for problem-solving and creative solutions are needed. In addition to her work, she enjoys helping in our community. Lucinda has held several board positions and volunteers with numerous nonprofit organizations including ACCESS, Hearts & Vines, Youth 71:5, Hearts with a Mission, Living Opportunities, Family Nurturing Center, and Meals on Wheels.

View the complete list of awardees.

12. Kate Richmond
Chief Talent Officer, WE Communications

As Chief Talent Officer, Kate Richmond is responsible for delivering on the agency’s global vision to be the employer of choice among professionals who want to use the gift of communications to move people to positive action. Richmond leads a global HR team in North America, EMEA, and APAC and sets the pace for an independent, energetic, and collaborative company culture that values employee engagement and development, diversity and inclusion, and talent management strategies that put people first. 

Richmond and her colleagues are committed to building effective HR teams, designing next-gen workforce planning strategies, and driving cultural transformation within diverse, high-performance global organizations. She is recognized throughout her career for an extremely collaborative work style, her ability to diplomatically initiate critical conversations and a commitment to building best-in-class work environments characterized by superior employee engagement and retention. Richmond graduated from the University of Puget Sound with an undergraduate degree in business.

13. Lorie Tekorius
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Greenbrier Companies

Lorie Tekorius’ rise to the top of Greenbrier, a multinational freight railcar, and marine barge manufacturer, began 25 years ago. As a top executive, she has restructured and developed the company into one of the two largest freight railcar manufacturers in North America. Lorie’s success as CFO was followed by her being named COO in 2018 and President in 2019, the first woman in the company’s history to hold each of those roles. With her strategic mindset, she has managed two large-scale acquisitions, global diversification and expansion into foreign markets, and the integration of thousands of new employees.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Tekorius is a Certified Public Accountant. In addition to her board service with Greenbrier, she serves on the board of Alamo Group, Inc. In 2020, the Manufacturing Institute recognized her as a STEP Ahead honoree. In 2018, she was named a Railway Age Woman in Rail. As CFO, she was recognized as Oregon's 2017 CFO of the Year by the Portland Business Journal (PBJ). In the same year, the PBJ awarded her with the Women of Influence recognition. Tekorius serves as president of the Council of Trustees of Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation.

16. Jeanne Savage
Chief Medical Officer, Trillium Community Health Plan

Jeanne Savage is an experienced healthcare executive and practicing physician dedicated to providing comprehensive care to the most vulnerable and underserved populations on the West Coast. As the Chief Medical Officer for Trillium Community Health Plan and Health Net of Oregon, she advocates for patient-centered best practices and innovative efficiencies across all provider groups. As a bilingual family physician, Dr. Savage brings compassion, empathy, and efficiency to all her patients and teams. She brings nearly 20 years of family practice and hospital management experience to Trillium and Health Net of Oregon. 

Most recently, Jeanne was the CMO at Willamette Valley Community Health in Salem, Oregon. Previously, she was a co-medical director at Salud Medical Center in Woodburn, Oregon, and before that, she held patient medical care positions at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California. Dr. Savage is also a volunteer clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University and continues to work with the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, and Salud Medical Center in Woodburn, Oregon. She holds a Doctor of Medicine from Oregon Health and Sciences University and an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Oregon. 

19. Abby Sears
President and CEO, OCHIN

As Chief Executive Officer, Abby Sears is responsible for the overall strategy and executive leadership at OCHIN. Sears has been with OCHIN since its inception and has helped grow the organization nationally, focusing on building a learning organization that supports the transformation of healthcare through the use of data and technology. A prominent national speaker and HIT advisor with over 15 years of healthcare expertise, she is focused on building a premier information and technology network leveraging Health IT products, services, and the use of practice-based research to help community practices nationwide achieve federal and industry standards for healthcare delivery, quality, and cost control. 

Sears was appointed to the federal Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) for a three-year appointment, starting in January 2020, where she works to help elevate the voices of the patients and providers in historically underserved communities nationwide. HITAC advises policymakers on how to safely advance electronic access, exchange, and use of health information nationwide. In 2012, Sears was named CEO of the Year for Nonprofits in Oregon by the Portland Business Journal. She holds an MBA and MHA, both from the University of Minnesota.  

25. Heidi J. Ellsworth
Partner & President, RoofersCoffeeShop.com

Heidi J. Ellsworth has worked in the roofing industry since 1993 and has held positions with Malarkey Roofing, Carlisle Construction Materials, and EagleView Technologies. She is currently a Partner and President of RoofersCoffeeShop® and owner of HJE Consulting. She is also one of the founders of National Women in Roofing (NWIR). She served as chairperson for the first two years of the association and in 2020 was awarded the WORLD Award.

Working with both RoofersCoffeeShop and HJE Consulting, she currently focuses on supporting overall marketing strategies, sales success, and content development for companies and associations within the roofing and metal construction industries. With a passion for networking and win-win-win scenarios, she continues to provide consulting and progressive digital advertising opportunities for companies and associations building strong collaborations for business profitability and success.  

28. Katie Poppe
Co-Founder, CEO, & Owner, Blue Star Donuts

Katie Poppe is the Co-Founder of multiple acclaimed restaurants, including Little Big Burger, Blue Star Donuts, Boxer Ramen, and Boxer Sushi, opening over 30 locations across Oregon, Japan, and Los Angeles. She has developed several multi-unit and franchise concepts, driven by a passion for high-quality, reasonably-priced food paired with an unforgettable brand experience. She is an industry leader, known for her expertise in brand innovation, marketing, customer experience, strategic planning, leadership development, and partnerships. Her tenacity is evident through her successful navigation of Chapter 11/Sub Ch.V reorganization during the pandemic while pivoting Blue Star Donuts into an omnichannel brand encompassing brick-and-mortar, CPG, and e-commerce.

Katie has grown three restaurant brands into multi-unit concepts. In 2015, she sold Little Big Burger for ~$6.2M, only five years after opening. She grew Blue Star Donuts to a pre-pandemic peak of 11 locations and ~$7M in revenue, and quickly adapted during the pandemic by introducing gourmet Donut Bites in local grocery stores and developing a best-in-class national shipping service. She continues to build the Blue Star legacy of bringing happiness to the world through delicious donuts and stellar hospitality, which now includes flourishing e-commerce and wholesale/CPG departments. Her vision has always been to build a dynamic and purpose-driven brand that is dedicated to providing a safe, fair workplace with excellent benefits, fostering talent, and helping employees develop long-lasting skills and friendships.

Katie has been honored as a recipient of the Portland Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, Entrepreneur of the Year for the Entrepreneur’s Organization Portland Chapter, and recipient of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies. She was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, has been a member of EO for over 10 years, and serves on the board of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association for over 5 years.

29. Jensine Larsen
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, World Pulse

Jensine Larsen is an award-winning digital social impact entrepreneur, journalist, and global speaker on the power of technology to speed up global women's power - and how we can all be a part of this ground-up revolution. She is the founder of World Pulse, a safe social network connecting women worldwide for a greater global voice. Today, World Pulse is powered by more than 80,000 women from 200+ countries who are speaking for themselves, growing movements, and collectively improving the lives of 24.5 million people. For her work, Larsen received the 2018 Media Social Impact Award from the United Nations, in 2022 was jointly awarded a UNESCO Prize for strengthening "Gender, Wellness, and Cultures of Peace."

Larsen has the bold ambition of ensuring digital technology unleashes the untapped creative potential of women everywhere. She is a leader in digital communication, women’s leadership, online communities, reciprocal philanthropy, and strategic partnerships. She founded World Pulse magazine in 2004, growing that platform into WorldPulse.org, an independent global social network and leader in grassroots women’s digital empowerment training. 

For 15+ years, Larsen has made it her job to listen to women in forgotten communities around the world. She is a frequent speaker on how social networking and technological innovation is a powerful accelerator for women’s global power, appearing in media and on stages from NPR and BBC to TED. Larsen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an undergraduate degree in comparative international studies.

View the complete list of awardees.

31. Melanie Wilkins
Vice President of Sales, A Kids Co.

Melanie Wilkins is the Vice President of Sales at A Kids Co. Founded in 2019, A Kids Co. is on a mission to empower a generation of kids through diverse storytelling. The company is built around the idea that kids were ready to talk about the important stuff of life and that books are a magical way to open up those conversations. The company has published over 100+ books ranging on topics like divorce, imagination, voting, cancer, shame, racism, gratitude, empathy, and being non-binary. They’ve sold hundreds of thousands of copies and more importantly started important conversations in homes, schools, classrooms, pillow forts, grandparent's houses, and therapists’ offices all over the world.

Prior to joining A Kids Co., Melanie served as the e-commerce manager of Laird Superfood and before that as a national sales manager for Circle Media Labs Inc. She graduated from St. Edward University with an undergraduate degree in art and psychology.

33. Diana Larsen
Leadership Agility Advisor, Partner, & President, Eos House Consulting Inc

As a Leadership Agility Advisor, Diana Larsen wears many hats. To serve her professional communities, Diana delivers inspiring conference keynotes, talks, and workshops around the world. She shares the wisdom she’s gained in more than three decades of working with leaders, teams, and organizations. Her talks add value through her pragmatic, yet visionary, approach. As a trusted advisor and coach of coaches, the continuing thread in her career has been a focus on team learning and leaders who “learn out loud” to support their teams and organizations. Familiar with leadership challenges, she co-founded and led six small businesses. She serves as an advisor to Retrium, Inc., on the advisory board of the Organization Design Forum, and as the former chair of the Agile Alliance board of directors.

A prolific contributor to readers who seek to improve leadership and team development, Diana coauthored pivotal books, including Lead without Blame: Building Resilient Learning Teams,  Agile Retrospectives 2nd edition, A Practical Guide for Catalyzing Team Learning & Improvement, ebook The Agile Fluency Model: A Brief Guide to Success with Agile, Liftoff: Start and Sustain Successful Agile Teams, Five Rules for Accelerated Learning, and Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. A model maker, she co-originated the Agile Fluency® model as well as models covering aspects of leadership, learning, and teams.

36. LM Alaiyo Foster
President and Chief Executive Officer, Black United Fund of Oregon

A native Oregonian, Dr. LM Alaiyo “Dr. A” Foster fell in love with nonprofits when she was only a child. Inspired by her parent’s insistence on volunteerism at an early age, Dr. A remembers volunteering at the Black United Fund of Oregon as early as age 10. She quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work, education, and justice work. 

This resolve stuck with her through college, leading her to get her undergraduate degree in Black studies with a focus on community development from Portland State University, along with degrees in sociology, education & community counseling, nonprofit management and development, and a doctorate in leadership along with administration credentials from Lewis and Clark College. Although she has worked full-time since high school, her first professional post-undergrad position was as a classroom teacher and also as a lead counselor at the former Portland Street Academy program of the Urban League of Portland. 

Always having had an affinity for peer-based education models, Dr. Foster now has over 20 years of experience both locally and nationally, in educating, creating, and revamping educational programming. She now heads the Black United Fund of Oregon and is happy spending her days visioning and ushering the organization into its next iteration and displaying that her presence has power.

39. Ashley Thornhill
Senior Vice President of Strategy and Global Innovation Lead, Antonio & Paris

Ashley Thornhill is the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Global Innovation Lead of Antonio & Paris, a global brand agency obsessed with finding and injecting humanity into every interaction in order to ignite the love affair between brand and consumer. Following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses, Ashley began at Antonio & Paris in 2016. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes, from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns, new product development for Wrigley Gum to re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living or launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

Thornhill graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with an undergraduate degree in the history of art and visual culture.

42. Kendra Pink
Director of Business Systems & Revenue Enablement, Docker

As a revenue designer and business systems leader, Kendra Pink builds and scales resilient infrastructures of deep investment, organizational meaning, and future efficiencies to maximize valuation. Responsible for driving valuation, she has led multiple companies into international markets, global acquisitions, and public offerings. Trained in RevOps and enablement, she leads Business Systems at Docker, the most loved developer platform on the planet.

Kendra is also the founder of Pink Noise Projects - a revenue design firm that helps for-profit and nonprofit organizations create intended consequences through the value of revenue. She graduated from Marylhurst University with an M.A. in organizational leadership (interdisciplinary studies), and an undergraduate degree in business management.

43. Brianna McCoy
Executive Director, Saturday Academy 

Brianna McCoy brings more than fifteen years of executive leadership at the intersection of education, community-building, and nonprofit change management to Saturday Academy. Originally from Portland, Brianna's professional focus has been to translate a mission into programming for cultural arts organizations in the Washington, DC Metro Area with an emphasis on hands-on life-long learning. She brings strategic vision, fiscal savviness and responsibility, a powerful imagination, and critical interpersonal skills to each interaction.

Brianna believes access to creative exploration is a fundamental human right. These experiences result in a deeper awareness of self, community, and the world, nurturing the next generation of action-oriented, community-centered citizens. She developed and managed programs utilizing principles of repeat exposure, mentorship, community partnership, and an immersive curriculum. With a proven track record of financial management and adept at fostering dynamic fundraising strategy; transparent communication, expert organization, and joy are markers of her leadership style. She believes in our civic responsibility to ground our work in powerful anti-oppressive and restorative justice practices as the majority of her work has been in service and support of historically under-resourced multicultural communities.

For Brianna, the arts have represented more than a passion, but a lifestyle and career. She is a professional actor having performed in more than twenty productions in theatres nationally and internationally and holds an undergraduate degree in drama from The Catholic University of America.

46. Se-Ah-Dom Edmo
Executive Director, Seeding Justice

Se-Ah-Dom Edmo brings deep experience in community organizing for racial and social justice work across the nation. Prior to joining Seeding Justice, Edmo served as the sovereignty program director at Western States Center where she was the coalition convener of Tribal History: Shared History (Senate Bill 13, 2017) in Oregon, which established and funded the teaching of Indian History and Sovereignty in K - 12 schools across the state.

Edmo is also the co-editor of the Tribal Equity Toolkit 3.0: Tribal Resolutions and Codes for Two Spirit and LGBT Justice in Indian Country and American Indian Identity: Citizenship, Membership & Blood. A hallmark of her career has been fostering relationships and collaborations between tribes and organizations doing social, racial, environmental, and economic justice work across the region. She is an ALF Senior Fellow and a member of the Steering Committee of Oregon Recovers and the chair of the board of Oregon Consumer Justice. Edmo’s ancestors are from Celilo, a fishing village along the Columbia River and one of the oldest known settlements in the West. 

47. Damilola Olajubutu
Founder & Executive Director, Rural Nurture Initiative

Damilola Olajubutu is an unconventional rural development practitioner with a drive to create sustainable solutions to developmental problems in rural and underserved communities. She holds her first and second degrees in agricultural extension and rural development, from the prestigious University of Ibadan, graduating as the best student at both levels. Her exposure to the precarious living conditions in rural communities stirred her passion to create sustainable solutions to the developmental problems in rural areas. Consequently, this birthed the establishment of the Rural Nurture Initiative (RNI), where she currently works as the Executive Director.

In her current position, she leads a team of change-makers to drive development initiatives, conduct research, organize outreaches, and implement projects to promote the actualization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in rural communities. Under her leadership, the organization has helped many rural primary pupils get back to school, provided food baskets to end hunger, given relief materials to ameliorate poverty, executed medical outreaches to improve rural health, and provided portable water to ensure access to water and better hygiene in rural Nigeria.

As a multi-award winner, Olajubutu received the Departmental Prize and ZARD Scholarships for the best graduating undergraduate student in 2016. She was recognized as the best graduating master’s student in 2019, emerged as Union Rise Challenge Winner in 2020, got the RNI Exemplary Leadership Award in 2021, and her NGO (Rural Nurture Initiative) received the Union Bank Enabling NGOs for Success Grant in 2019 and Go-for-it Africa’s Sustainable Impact Award in 2020.

View the complete list of awardees.