President & CEO, Gray Matters Capital
Erika Norwood is a global executive, entrepreneur, conceptualist and champion of diversity - amongst both people and perspectives.
Erika is the President & CEO of Gray Matters Capital, a global venture capital firm that has invested over $150 million in socially minded entrepreneurs and impact funds that are committed to improving the lives of 100 million women and girls across Africa, India, Latin America, South/SE Asia, and the United States.
Prior to serving as CEO, Erika successfully expanded the Gray Matters Capital’s footprint across India and most notably built and grew the India operations team and supported the development of the firm’s first gender-lens investment fund, CoLabs, in her role as Executive Director.
Prior to serving as Executive Director for GMC, Erika served as Executive Director for IDEX Accelerator & Global Fellows Program, a social enterprise focused on developing human capital for the social enterprise sector across India.
Erika began her impact career at Gray Matters Capital as a Program Officer in 2006. She managed the programmatic and grant-making efforts, oversaw the development of pilot programs across India and focused on cultivating global partnerships and ecosystem outreach for Gray Matters Capital's affordable private school initiative.
Over the course of her 15+ year career, Erika has earned a formidable reputation by peers and partners as a creative executive and customer-centric leader who doubles down on action and impact. Erika is an avid promoter for strengthening the presence of women and people of color in leadership positions in the workplace. She has been an active leader in finding tangible pathways for women play a larger role in the field of investing by founding the InvestWISE Scholarship Fund while at IDEX.
Today, Erika resides in Atlanta, GA with her son Caleb and actively serves on the boards of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits (U.S.), MPower Finance (U.S.), Indian School Finance Company (India), Instituto Salus (Mexico), IDEX Accelerator (India) and serves as chair of Edfin Microfinance Bank (Nigeria) and Gray Matters Capital (U.S.).
Raunak is the CFO of Gray Matters Capital(the Bank’s foreign investor company), where he is leading our new global education finance initiative - Global Edfin PTE Ltd incorporated in Singapore with a focus on creating markets for Education Finance and Value Added Services to disrupt the education ecosystems in South, South East Asia and Africa. He has work experience of more than 17 years across Finance, Due Diligence, Investment Evaluation, Transformation, Controllership, Project Management, Treasury, and Risk Assurance with MNCs, Consulting, Early Stage VC funded Technology led Payments co, Audit and Management Assurance Services firm and qualified Insolvency Resolution Professional from IBBI including global work experience of more than 20 countries across 4 continents.
His further work experience across multiple industries spans areas of Life Insurance, Financial Services, Payments, Insurance Broking, Manufacturing, FMCG, Industrials and IT Services.
Other diverse Experiences:
- Evaluate investments and operating business models in Fintech & Insuretech space;
- Execute Corporate actions such as demerger, acquisition, investments and strike off;
- Led Turnaround of a startup to sustain its business and focus on profitable products;
- Led Financial Transformation projects across Treasury, Fund Accounting, Financial Reporting, Procurement, Policy Admin system and Channel Management across the organization;
- Hands on ERP implementation project management experience - SAP and Oracle;
- Set up, management and review of Internal controls over financial reporting (Sarbanes Oxley) - across more than 20 countries;
- Set up and run the Internal Audit function for a 4000 people.
Esther is an Executive Director and the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, a multinational corporation and Nigeria’s leading telecommunications brand. In this role, she provides leadership for best-in-class people management solutions and practices aimed at driving outstanding employee experience and support the achievement of strategic business objectives. A credible business leader with expertise in Human Resource Management and over 26 years industry experience spanning Consulting services, Education, Banking and Telecommunications.
She is an alumna of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where she studied International relations; IESE Business School, Universite de Navarra, Spain where she earned an Executive MBA and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (MCIPM). She commenced her professional career with Andersen Consulting Lagos, working with clients in multi-sector companies to identify and proffer solutions to client-specific business problems. She also served on the Faculty of the prestigious Lagos Business School (LBS) of the now Pan Atlantic University, teaching and facilitating sessions in HR Management/Organisational Behaviour on full-time and Executive MBA programmes and Executive Management Courses.
Esther’s life mission is to live a life of impact and significance, influencing others to become the best they can be, while enjoying the ride. As such, she is passionate about creating an environment that inspires greatness and empowers people to unleash their potential to achieve personal growth while contributing to business results. She actively contributes her own quota to society by helping young professionals yearning for guidance to succeed through coaching and mentoring. An astute conference speaker, she facilitates human resources, leadership and faith workshops. She loves reading, listening to music, watching investigative/crime series in her leisure time and exploring new places.
Adetayo has a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, with over 30 years’ experience in the Insurance Industry. She is Chartered Insurance Broker as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London (ACII) and a Certified Microfinance Banker.
Adetayo has served in an Executive Capacity in various companies including the Legacy Vineland Microfinance Bank, First Standard Insurance Brokers, Spring Life Assurance Company PLC, Industrial and General Insurance Company, African General Insurance Brokers, ADIC Insurance Companies. She was a Past Vice-President of the Professional Insurance Ladies Association.
Ms. Bunmi Lawson is the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of EDFIN Microfinance Bank Limited. EDFIN prides itself as the first specialized Education Microfinance Bank with unique and well researched products and services tailored to cater for the needs of its customers and the Education Ecosystem. EDFIN Microfinance Bank under the eminent leadership of Bunmi Lawson officially commenced operations in April 2019 with its registered office at Surulere Lagos state and has projections to grow into a Nationally Microfinance Bank as well as the globally recognized bank of choice for education financial solutions in Africa. Its shareholders are Gray Matters Capital, an investment company based in the USA.
Ms. Lawson holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the IESE Business School, University of Navarra and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
She is also a Fellow of the following Institutes; Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria, Institute of Credit & Collections Management of Nigeria and Association of Investment Advisers & Portfolio Managers of Nigeria. She is also a Board of the following; Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), Trium Venture Capital Limited and an Independent Director CRC Credit Bureau Limited; She is an Advisory Board Member of Bridge International Academies, Nigeria; Vice President, Women in Finance, Nigeria and Member, Governing Council, Fintech Association of Nigeria.
She has attended several courses both locally and internationally at renowned institutions including Harvard Business School, INSEAD and the Boulder Institute for Microfinance and has successfully completed the CBN/CIBN Microfinance Certification Programme. She has presented several lectures/speeches both locally and internationally in Microfinance and other areas of capacity building for small scale industries and young entrepreneurs, SME Financing as well as been part of special workgroups on various topics bothering on several aspects of the Nigerian economy.
Prior to joining EDFIN, Bunmi was the Managing Executive Director of ACCION Microfinance Bank, one of the largest Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, FATE Foundation Ltd/Gte, a leading business development service provider, a co-owner and Executive Director of VLA Lawrence & Associates, a leading Human Resources services organization and has over 32 years post graduate experience in finance, insurance, marketing, auditing and banking.
She is a mother with 2 lovely children.