Toluwalope Onafowokan ’05

Head of Strategy, Office of Communications for the Ford Foundation

Tell us about a woman who is your hero and why?

My heroes are women like Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, and Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti. I’m inspired by these women who worked tirelessly for the rights of Black women across continents and income levels.

What motivates you in your work and life?

I am motivated by people who refuse to be limited by the constraints of the present and who can imagine—and are working toward—a world that is radically different from the one we live in today.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My friend Paula always reminds me that no is a full sentence. There’s not always a need to provide an explanation when you are setting your boundaries.