Diana Chen: The “Chief” at the Vanguard of Recreating Nigeria’s Talent and Empowerment Culture

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Chief Diana Chen, also known as “Yeye Onile-Aje” of Iru land, is not just a formidable force in both business and philanthropy, she is undeniably one extraordinary figure and foreign business owner in the Nigerian business landscape who has etched her name in the Nigerian earth and hearts of many Nigerians. As an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and CEO of Pioneer Group Holdings, Chen has made her mark in the business world and has been at the forefront of recreating and reshaping Nigeria’s talent, creative and empowerment culture. She literarily created a new goalpost when it comes to community and public service

Take, for example, Chen’s recent feat, the GAC Motor Influencers Night, which showcased her multifaceted approach to fostering positive change. The event, held last Saturday, was not just a glamorous fusion of fashion, sport, and charm; it was a carefully curated experience that brought together Nigeria’s lifestyle influencers and entertainment content creators, transforming the evening into a star-studded affair.

Among the notable personalities in attendance were Victoire, Tijani Aboh, Joseph Momodu, Tambari Genevieve Fadeh, Obiageri, Uduak, Oriaku, Evon, Bola The Baller, Nonye, Joynee, Jay Onair, Thonia Bankz, Zez, Ayanime, Kiki Festus, Idemudia Presh, Joyce Daniels, and many more.

Joseph Omoniyi, Editor of Duchess International Magazine who was also present at the event said, as attendees mingled and engaged in the interactive zones, the venue pulsated with energy, showcasing the synergy between GAC Motor’s sleek automotive designs and the influencers’ captivating content. The evening successfully blended the worlds of style, technology, and entertainment, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.

This soirée was further proof of Chen’s dedication to supporting and celebrating the extraordinary talents of young Africans shaping the future. The Influencers Night went beyond socializing; it became a platform for nurturing creativity, fostering community connections, and building networks that transcend boundaries.

Diana Chen’s impact extends far beyond the glitz of events. In less than a decade, she has propelled Choice International Group (CIG) Motors to the vanguard of the Nigerian auto market, boldly establishing the GAC auto brand as one of the best in the country. Her commitment to investing in the Nigerian economy is evident in the partnership between her company and the Lagos State government for the assembly of GAC vehicles in the state.

But her influence doesn’t stop at automobiles. Chen’s support for Nigerian culture and talent is exemplified through her sponsorship of major events like the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, The Voice Nigeria, and Miss Nigeria. Her company’s involvement in sports events like the Lagos City Marathon and the African Athletics Championships underscores her dedication to holistic development.

Chen’s involvement in the China-Nigeria business corridors and her role as the Vice-Chairman of the China-Africa Business Council reflect her commitment to fostering international cooperation. The establishment of the Belt & Road International Commercial Mediation Centre in West Africa in 2019 underscores her dedication to enhancing regional integration, increasing trade, and stimulating economic growth.

Her foray into essential home and office electronic items through Lontor Home and Gree Nigeria demonstrates a diversified approach to business. The Choice International Business School, in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, exemplifies her commitment to education and knowledge transfer.

Diana Chen’s accolades, including being awarded Vanguard’s Foreign Investor of the Year in 2021 and Auto CEO of the Year at the Nigeria Auto Journalists Awards, highlight her impact. Notably, she is the first non-Nigerian to clinch the prestigious Vanguard award.

Besides being a world-renowned philanthropist and educator, Diana serves on the Board of Trustees for Harvard-Westlake School, Yale University Sterling Fellows, Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs Advisory Council, Lincoln Center Board of Trustees, and the Harvard Alumni President’s Associates.

As an alumnae, she also serves on the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. And she is a distinguished member of the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs Global Advisory Council.

Diana is the Chair of the Centrum Charitas Foundation. She has been awarded the JP (Justice of the Peace) and BBS (Bronze Bauhinia Star) by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and she has participated in various Hong Kong government committees.

Diana Chen is no doubt a visionary leader by nature. From her early days navigating unmarked dirt roads to becoming a self-made billionaire and a champion of positive change, Chen has proven that success is sweeter when achieved against all odds.

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