“I fell in love with the world of international finance at a young age. I was fortunate to secure an internship through a programme that supports disadvantaged minority groups on Wall Street called Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. I was happy to be in the room. I was deeply grateful too. I looked around the trading floor and I knew I was different. There weren’t a lot of women there and there certainly weren’t many Black folks either. I felt a strong sense of pride but also this responsibility to represent my intersectionality with care. It wasn’t always easy, but I look back and feel a sense of gratitude for my banking career.
“I’ve increasingly felt that my purpose was to speak truth to patriarchy and to support women in their journey towards economic empowerment. I was raised by a single mother and it’s always been apparent to me that having money affords you more choices. I am a relentless champion for women having choice and economic advancement is a pretty significant enabler of choice. Put those two together and you have Bossy Cosmetics.”
Aishetu’s passion for global finance began in the equities division of Goldman Sachs on the international desk in New York over 20 years ago. She went on to work for a USAID-funded project with the Nigerian government in its privatisation programme. Her passion for demonstrable development impact and understanding the intersection of the public and private sectors ability to stimulate economic growth led her to the World Bank in Washington, DC, where she focused on financing businesses in the manufacturing, infrastructure, and service sectors in regions such as Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Africa. Aishetu has worked for Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, and Rand Merchant Bank as a senior investment banking executive, having closed $130 billion in M&A, financing, and capital markets transactions. Over the past two decades, she’s lived in New York, Johannesburg, London, Chicago and Lagos.
She founded a first-of-its-kind children’s play and activity center in Lagos and authored a children’s picture book entitled Paloo & Friends in Imaginaria. In 2016, she filmed ambitious and successful African women on the continent and in the diaspora to showcase their lives and amplify their voice. The project is called African HERstory. She currently lives in Palo Alto, CA with her husband and three superhero sons where she was a Fellow at the Distinguished Careers Institute at Stanford University in 2018. She is currently the founder of Bossy Cosmetics, an empowering and mission-driven beauty company. Aishetu holds a BA from Cornell University, a MBA from the Harvard Business School, and participated in the Leaders in Development Program at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.