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African CEOs - June 15, 2022

How Olajumoke Adenowo Rose from a Small Community in Ibadan to Africa’s Star Architect

In 1991, Olajumoke Adenowo, who is usually referred to as Africa’s “starchitect” was listed in the International Biographical Centre “Who will be who in the 21st-century” list in Cambridge, United Kingdom.   

Three decades forward, Adenowo’s accomplishments have overly justified whatever criteria were used to create the list. Today she is one of the top recognised architects in the world. 

Early life and education 

Adenowo takes root in Ibadan, Oyo state where she was born on the 16th of October 1968.  

She attended the University of Ibadan Staff Primary School while growing up within the university environment due to her parents’ being professors. 

The smart young girl finished her secondary school in Federal Government Girls College, Oyo State at age 14 and further got admission to the Obafemi Awolowo University, IIe-Ife where she got her first and second degrees in Architecture. 

Olajumoke Adenowo was  inclined to study architecture ever since her visit to Paris when she was younger. The structures she saw in the city on her visit left her awestruck, making her decide to pursue a career in the field. 

Olajumoke was not just satisfied with a Master’s degree or securing a job. She continued by attending the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme.  

Schooling for Olajumoke did not end with a Master’s degree or securing a job. She would later take part in other programmes, including the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme. She also attended the Harvard Kennedy School, the Yale School of Management, and the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra in Barcelona, Spain.


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Career progression 

Olajumoke Adenowo began her career in the field of architecture as an Assistant Architect at Towry Coker Associates. Her next role was in Femi Majekodunni Associates, where she achieved her first milestone in designing the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja. 

The project served as a stepping stone for Adenowo, who even though was just 23 years old, still positioned herself for bigger opportunities to come.

This project was also the catalyst for the International Biographical Centre listing her on the “Who will be who in the 21st century” list in 1991.  

Adenowo decided to start her first business three years later. 

Her entrepreneurial journey 

Adenowo founded AD Consulting in 1994, an interior design and architectural firm noted for its bespoke and intricate designs and constructions, from conception to completion.

Some of her few notable projects include Abuja Film City, Heritage Bank Headquarters, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Ekiti State Liaison Office in Lagos. 

She is the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Principal Partner, and she has worked on large projects for brands like Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, the Nigerian government, a number of banks, and even the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

She also founded Advantage Energy, an oil and gas company, and Advantage Property, a property management agency.

She also founded Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF), a faith-based non-governmental organisation in 1999 with the goal of raising 1000 leaders by 2030 through its numerous programs.

Boards served and other interests 

Olajumoke has previously held positions as Vice President of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Program and Chairperson of the National Tank Youth Development Committee. 

She is a member of the British School of Lome, Fountain Holdings Ltd among others.

She is also the author of five books which include, The Mother’s Prayer Manual, The Mysterious Seed, Secrets of Financial Increase, and The Mother’s Prayer Manual among others.

Recognitions and awards 

Olajumoke Adenowo has garnered a lot of attention and honours. In 2012, she won the Best Commercial Designer at the IDEA Awards, and she received four awards in 2013 including Best Public Service Architecture at the International Property Awards, Best Mixed-Use Architecture at the African Property Awards among others. 

In the same year, the University of West England, Bristol, inducted Olajumoke Adenowo into the Black History Month Hall of Fame. She was dubbed “Africa’s Starchitect” and honored on CNN African Voices in 2014.


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