Sheila Okonji-Ashinze has established herself as international businesswoman who is well respected for her contributions within the entertainment industry worldwide.
Whilst at the University of Westminster in London, Sheila joined the first ever MOBO Awards, now the largest premier showcase for urban music watched by millions of people worldwide. This was to be a life-changing decision. She went on to graduate from the university with a BA in Marketing and Public Relations.
As she continued to help build and secure the future for the MOBO Awards, Sheila took on a new challenge. While working on various projects at the MOBO Awards, Sheila was constantly complimented on her speaking voice and tone. She was later asked to join Town FM a community Radio station in London’s Edmonton. She co presented a Saturday night show with a colleague and the duo worked so hard to increase a huge fan base. Town FM was Sheila’s first experience as a radio presenter. She worked as part of the team working hard to get Town FM an FM licence by working with them and promoting road shows amongst many marketing campaigns. In 2000, Sheila founded ZONS P.R UK Ltd, a company focusing on PR, Marketing, Media Advertising and Events Management.
The following year, she founded the international artiste booking agency, ZONS TOURS, which opened a niche in Africa where international A-list artistes are taken to tour the continent in conjunction with Nigerian Breweries PLC and many other corporate blue chip companies. A previously untapped market, Africa became the host to a series of high profile concerts, despite the doubts of many around her, Sheila quickly became convinced she had made the right move and continued to tour a long list of other international stars, including R. Kelly, Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Nas, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Nelly, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Wyclef Jean, Akon, Joe, Usher, Sean Paul, 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj, Dionne Warwick, and many many more.
The great success of these bookings has led ZONS TOURS to look into more possibilities and opportunities for African artist. Zons as an umbrella company has played a major role with many music collaborations between American and UK artistes and African artistes. The success of these bookings also led to Zons sponsoring and creating the first ever African act category for the MOBO Awards. Zons (AUMG) long before any other Awards company created this category. *AUMG (an arm of Zons created to support African talents). 2
As ZONS TOURS went from strength to strength, ZONS P.R continued to flourish, taking on a number of A List PR accounts and embarking on Live tours with them across Africa. Sheila’s interest was also drawn to UMOJA, the African theatrical show boasting an energetic cast with undeniable talent from South Africa. Believing whole-heartedly in their ethos of “The Spirit of Togetherness,” Sheila took on UMOJA’s PR and following their powerful impact on the West End, became formally adopted as a co-producer of UMOJA.
ZONS P.R became involved in the dinner party announcing the merge between Diana Memorial Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund held at the Spencer house in London. Sheila has been involved in many other charitable causes, such as Leukaemia, Mencap and Sickle Cell Anaemia, both through ZONS P.R and MOBO.
Sheila recently founded the non-profit organisation KIDZ TRUST in order to help children from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds to visualise the positive influences in the world of arts and culture. As part of the mission, in September 2004, KIDZ TRUST started to take major A List artists to schools to surprise students, give positive messages and short performances. This was just the beginning in an extensive vision to make an impact in children’s lives and education and many more exciting projects are being developed within KIDZ TRUST.
In line with empowering the Nigerian youth in 2010 KIDZ TRUST kicked off the nations search for Africa’s every first fully Nigerian cast for the hit Disney live stage production of Disney’s high School Musical. The event was highly acclaimed by the performing arts and entertainment world. Troy, Gabriella and the cast performed to numerous sold out crowds across the country launching the careers of many young budding stars.
The following year Sheila launched BANIAZ HEALTH CARE LIMITED, a wholly Pan African company which specialise in manufacturing consumer goods. The 2012 launch of “Baniaz Ben 10 apple drink”, “Baniaz Barney Fruit punch” and “Baniaz Superman pineapple drink” has since been received with an unprecedented consumer demand and the factory is currently fully functional and operating in Lagos, Nigeria.
Today, Sheila is also a Radio personality for the AfroZons show on a major Radio FM station, Power 92.3 in Chicago, USA. The Afrozons show is syndicated across the United States and the world.
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