Stella Okoli was born in Kano StateNorthern Nigeria into the family of Felix Ebelechukwu and Margaret Modebelu, descent of Nnewi clan in Anambra State.

She started her formal education in 1954 after enrolling as a pupil at All Saint Primary School, Onitsha before proceeding to complete her secondary school education in 1964 at Ogidi Girls Secondary School, Ogidi.In 1969, Stella Okoli graduated from the University of Bradford after studying Pharmacy. She also holds an M.Sc. certificate in Biopharmaceutical after graduating from the University of LondonChelsea College in 1971.

Prior to establishing Emzor Pharmaceutical, Stella Okoli gained valuable experience in long-term care pharmacy management while working in several pharmaceutical firms including Middlesex Hospital, LondonBoots the Chemists Limited and Pharma-Deko. In January 1977, Stella Okoli started Emzor Pharmaceutical with the initial name “Emzor Chemists Limited” as a small pharmacy retail shop in SomoluLagos State. Emzor Pharmaceutical has since become one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria with over 50 products since its incorporation in 1984.

A current member of the Economic Summit of Nigeria and the Health Matters Advisory Board of Nigeria, Stella Okoli currently serves as the Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has served as Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. After the death of her son Chike Okoli in 2005, Stella Okoli started the Chike Okoli Foundation in 2006 as a non-profit organization founded with the aim of fighting against poverty and diseases by raising awareness on cardiovascular diseases. She also runs the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Stella Okoli obtained her West African School Certificate in 1964 at Ogidi Girls’ Secondary School Ogidi, in Anambra State. She furthered her education by traveling to the United Kingdom where she got her Bachelor of Pharmacy BPharm(Hons) from Bradford University, UK in 1969. In 1971, she earned a Master in Biopharmaceuticals from the University of London, Chelsea College.

Awards and Certifications

  • International Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award
  • CePATHonors Lifetime Achievement Award 2014
  • Ernst and Young Lifetime Achievement Award 2016
  • Institute of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award 2016

In recognition of her achievements and contributions to the health sector in Nigeria, Stella Okoli was bestowed with the Member of the Order of the Niger award. In 2012, she was honored at the 17th ThisDay Annual Awards. She is also a recipient of the ECOWAS International Gold Award. She is also an alumnus of Lagos Business SchoolHarvard Business School, Boston, and I.E.S.E Business School in Barcelona, Spain.