A woman looks up smiling

Sandie Okoro appointed Chair of The WOW Foundation

28 Jun 2021

Blog Post

We're so proud to announce that Sandie Okoro, World Bank Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, and World Bank Vice President for Compliance, has become the inaugural Chair of The WOW Foundation.

Sandie is a hugely influential business leader and one of the most senior women in Finance. She is the first British national and the first Black woman to hold her current role at the World Bank Group.

Sandie has been involved with the WOW Festival since it first began in 2010. She participated in a headline event with Jude Kelly and Lauren Laverne titled ‘The Politics of Afro Hair’ which became one of WOW’s biggest hits in history with over 40,000 views on YouTube. Sandie returned to be part of a follow up panel, ‘Weave vs Natural?’ due to popular demand. She has also taken part in an event with Jude Kelly and Lauren Laverne about ambition, and chaired panels with other influential business leaders examining women’s experiences in the workplace. Sandie recently took part in the Festival’s 24-hour non-stop international edition during lockdown 2020, examining how to build a financial system that works for women.

A woman looks up smiling

Speaking about the appointment, Sandie said: “I am beyond delighted to have been appointed the Inaugural Chair of The WOW foundation. I am a huge fan, and passionate supporter, of WOW and I have been involved with WOW since its inception and was one of the infamous WOW Festival Panel in 2014 on "The Politics of Afro Hair". I have always been a champion of gender equality and the opportunity to twin this with my passion for the Arts was truly irresistible. The Arts hold up a mirror to society and this will be the century of gender equality. There has never been a better time for a global women's arts movement. I want to play my part. We can all be agents of change for gender equality. I am very excited and looking forward to working with the WOW CEO, Jude Kelly and the rest of the WOW Board and Staff in this exciting adventure as we use the creative arts to change the World.”

At the World Bank Group, Sandie is the principal advisor and spokesperson on all legal matters for the world’s leading development finance institution. She heads the Legal Vice Presidency where international development legal experts provide legal services essential to World Bank activities and operations. Sandie also heads the Compliance Vice Presidency that is responsible for developing and overseeing the World Bank data privacy framework that is based on the World Bank Group Policy on Personal Data Privacy. The two Vice Presidencies are separate and distinct.

Jude Kelly, CEO and Founder of The WOW Foundation said: "Sandie Okoro has taken a personal and fearless stand throughout her life against inequality. She has used her global status to open up difficult conversations and insist on policies for change on behalf of everyone experiencing gender injustice. This makes her a perfect fit to become our Chair, and the WOW global community and I myself am excited and inspired to have her join us as we seek to fulfil the potential of millions by celebrating amazing achievements and challenging systemic inequity. Her long-standing friendship and commitment to WOW makes her a trusted and powerful advocate as we embark on the next phase of our story."

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