Driving growth through intelligent governance

Dr Nneka Abulokwe OBE, FAPM, FBCS

Dr Abulokwe is a highly qualified technologist, senior executive and board director. She is one of the first Afro-Caribbean professionals in the UK to sit on the board of a top European digital transformation organisation. Her corporate career spans over 25 years, culminating in a return to independent consulting with MicroMax since 2017. Nneka is a tech, digital governance and delivery execution specialist who is passionate about the intelligent use of technology and governance to foster organisational cohesion and drive positive digital cultures.

She has delivered large-scale, high-profile projects for governments and private institutions in the UK, Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and America. While still pursuing her career full-time, Nneka undertook pioneering research in people-centric agile governance in tech and earned a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Cranfield University School of Management, and is now one of the most accomplished Afro-Caribbean business professionals in the UK. 

In 2013, Nneka joined the board/exec committee of Sopra Steria, a €3.7bn digital transformation organisation, as Executive Director Governance, Risk & Assurance UK & Asia, where she was responsible for six corporate functions: ICT; Governance & Enterprise Risk; Information & Cyber Security; Business Assurance, Certifications & Standards; and Business Continuity Management.

There, her leadership and evidence-based philosophies challenged the frontiers of conventional governance, helping to positively redefine many group-wide Sopra Steria digital practices. Nneka’s approach is to make corporate and operational governance a strategic enabler, with simplified, easy-to-implement working practices that empower the workforce to take greater ownership of governance, creating an agile digital culture. 

In 2017, Nneka was appointed to Chair the Board Nominations Committee for ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association). In this role, she has been responsible for the successful composition of a diverse 2018/19 board. She successfully overhauled the board nomination process in harmony with related corporate governance activity. She is passionate about diverse and inclusive representation within the leadership and management of responsible organisations. Nneka recently shared her perspectives on diversity in a Forbes article “Why Diversity Is Too Important for CEOs to Ignore”.

Throughout her career, Nneka has built a powerful network and significant standing within tech, governance and related spheres. Her academic endeavours and professional commitments ensure that she’s well known in both private and public-sector organisations, which in turn means that she is called upon to advise, liaise or provide direction on programme, project and governance matters across many industries both in the UK and internationally.

In recent months, she has participated in a number of initiatives and events to support the positive promotion and development of tech & digital and governance, including the feature article (cover & centre page) of the Governance Institutes 'Governance & Compliance' publication, October 2018 edition; speaking at The London Conversation on future trends in the digital revolution (GDPR compliance, AI, cybersecurity); hosting ISACA membership events on board governance and recruitment; and two keynote appearances at iWOW (Inspired Women of Worth), at the Lagos (The Powerful Negotiator) and London (Conduct in Senior & Executive Management) summits.

Nneka was awarded Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours for Services to Business. Other recent highlights include being appointed to the Board of The IT Institute (BCS), where she has been responsible for enhancing skills development across the technology industry, and being a founding member of The Normal Chaos Group, a think tank that seeks to provide thought leadership on crisis management, operational governance and cybersecurity. 

Regarded in the field of tech enablement and governance, she was recently ranked #4 of the Inclusive Boards Financial Times Top 100 BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) Tech Leaders 2018; named as finalist for the "Governance Professional of the Year 2018" Award - The Governance Institute, UK; named in the 2019 Powerlist 100 most influential black business leaders; Nneka is the top-ranked technology professional and sits 9th overall in the 2018 & 2019 Financial Times EMpower ethnic minority executives and role models list. Nneka is both a Freeman of the City of London and the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT). She is a Fellow of The Association for Project Management (FAPM) and a Fellow of The British Computer Society (FBCS).

As a board-level advisor, Chair and Non-Executive Director, Nneka’s fine-tuned techniques continue to garner staff commitment and create agile and responsive businesses. Elsewhere, she recognises the importance of bolstering the confidence and prospects of our younger generation, and is a very proud mentor and role model for a diverse group of young millennials who are just starting out in corporate world. Her aim is to help them enrich their lives and to inspire their imaginations.