Chinwe Esimai: Trailblazing Corporate Executive Inspiring Immigrant Women To Greatness

By Duchess Magazine

Harvard Law School alumnus, Juris Doctor
Chinwe Esimai is a game changer in the corporate world. An award-winning Lawyer, speaker and writer, Esimai is passionate about raising an army of generational women leaders.

Her brilliance saw her emerge Managing Director and Chief Anti-Bribery Officer at Citigroup, Inc. She makes history the first to hold the coveted role in the bank’s history. Chinwe Esimai as Managing Director at Citigroup shoulders responsibility of overseeing compliance with anti-bribery laws and regulations across all business lines and in over 160 countries.

Named by the Nigerian Lawyers Association Trailblazer of the Year, one of Leading Ladies Africa’s 100 Most Inspiring Women, a recipient of the 2018 Corporate Leadership Award at the Face2Face Africa gala amongst several accolades, she is also Chair of the Board of Harambee USA, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting education and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

On her role at Citi, she says “I run our anti-bribery program, which is ensuring that we comply with all of the laws and regulations around bribery and corruption. So making sure that when we do business (because we do business in over 160 countries), that we’re not offering anything that could be considered a bribe. And because we have very high-risk jurisdictions for bribery, it’s a very interesting job, I think.”

On the challenges of work and motherhood, she says “I think one of the biggest things, especially if you’re a working mom and have kids, there are expectations around what you do at home, whether it’s cooking for the family, taking care of the kids, helping with homework, and none of that goes away.”

“Being an executive is a full-time job, being a mom is also a full-time job, and then being a wife is at the minimum a part-time job. So it’s a lot of jobs, and the expectations don’t go away. So I think being able to accept that whatever situation you have, it is probably for a season, and you just have to navigate that as best as you can”. She adds.

Prior to joining Citi, Chinwe Esimai already built up an impressive resume: kicking off her progressional career, she started out as an associate at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP. For five years she served in various regulatory risk management roles,
at Goldman Sachs and also was a law professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law .

Chinwe speaks regularly at conferences, including three times at the United Nations. She has been featured in leading publications around the world, including Forbes, Thrive Global, Black Enterprise, Real Business UK, Business Intelligence Middle East, and Knowledge@Wharton

She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the City College of NY, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard School.


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