Lara Gureje-Oderinde President/ Chief Executive Director (Vice President – Enterprise Data Governance Stewardship, Bank of the West BNP Paribas.)
Lara Gureje-Oderinde is the President and Executive Director of Jewels of Africa Foundations Inc. She was born and raised in Nigeria. She attended public elementary and high school in Nigeria before travelling to the United Kingdom for her Undergradute and Post Graduate studies. Lara is a renowned data and regulatory risk expert in the financial industry. She is currently a Vice President for Data Analytics, Data Governance and Business Intelligence at Bank of the West/BNP Paribas Group. Having left the country over three decades ago, she is disheartened by the change and decay in the educational system in Nigeria. Growing up in Nigeria, Lara’s educational journey was made so much easier and interesting by the immense financial support from churches, missionaries and philanthropists that was made available to public schools. The current situation of the educational system in Nigeria is a far cry from what it used to be. She understands firsthand that youths from the rural regions of Nigeria are being disenfranchised as they have no means of accessing quality education. Consequently, the opportunity to use education as a platform to change their families' storylines and transform their own lives is very slim. Not one to sit on the sidelines and lament the decline in the educational system in the country, Lara decided to do something about it and be part of the solution to restore the educational system to what it should be. Engaging with her alma mater, St. Margaret’s School in Ilesa (Nigeria), she kick-started a multi-pronged strategy to augment teaching and learning experience with after school programs, books and teaching aid supplies. The vision for Jewels of Africa Foundations Inc. was birthed as an offshoot of these initiatives. Lara’s passion for youth empowerment is organic. Without doubt, it is her calling to make a difference in the lives of many children in Sub Saharan Africa. Lara is unwavering in her passion and commitment to raising up a new generation of African leaders. She continues to plug in and forge alliance and partnership with individuals and organizations with similar passion, with the goal of reviving the continent by impacting its present youth and the next generation.