Yemi Adewunmi’s professional purpose lies at the intersection of technology and social justice. As the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Civic Eagle, her team builds software for companies and nonprofits to help them track legislation and organize their policy management workflow. Managing software for policy professionals, analysts, government officials, and state officials is a niche calling that Adewunmi sees as a service to humanity. Her heart for others earned her the honor of being picked as a recipient of the first SheaMoisture Social Justice Coalition grant.

Political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, who serves on the advisory council for the grant, said she looks forward to passing the torch by mentoring this year’s honorees.

“My college mentor was Dr. Maya Angelou, which is a good indicator of my philosophy of mentorship,” Harris-Perry told ESSENCE.

“Good mentoring, the kind that is honest, vulnerable, engaged, and sustained can alter the life trajectory of both the mentor and the mentee.  Dr. Angelou changed me. I seek to change the students I teach.  And now through collaboration as part of the Social Justice Advisory Council of SheaMoisture, I have an unique and powerful opportunity to support life changing mentoring for entrepreneurial activists.”

As an entrepreneur and leader at the forefront of making change in her community and beyond, Adewunmi centers marginalized folks at the heart of her work.

“I grew up with a strong appreciation for public service,” Adewunmi told ESSENCE.

“My parents, who emigrated to the United States from Nigeria, instilled in me and my siblings the value of community and the importance of helping other people. At a young age I aspired to be a lawyer, and since then, seeking knowledge and justice have been my main drivers.”

Even though Adewunmi didn’t personally pursue a career in law, her path was still paved by the work of women who dedicated their lives to equity work.

“I’ve always been inspired by strong women who built careers in law and diplomacy and how they overcame the immeasurable obstacles of becoming leaders in environments that did not value them,” Adewunmi explained.

“I’m particularly inspired by late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Ambassador Susan Rice.”

Doing this type of work comes with great sacrifice, so Adewunmi makes sure she takes care of herself while giving to others.

“It’s become really important for me to get outdoors and spend alone time with nature at least a few times per week. Whether that’s going on a bike ride or taking a walk, spending time experiencing nature has been great for practicing gratitude and for moving my body.”