Senior Director of Career Programs
Val Wiggett is the Senior Director of Career programs, which comprises of the Early careers success team and the Sector community networks, thereby making up the Africa Careers Network (ACN). Val is an experienced senior leader who is passionate about creating opportunities for youth on the African continent. She has worked in multiple industries internationally, including manufacturing, construction, F&B, education and technology and has successfully led multiple teams. South African born, Val studied through the University of South Africa, where she completed a Bachelor of Administration in Development and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Management. She subsequently completed her PGDIP and MBA through GIBS Business School. Val’s varied work experience and skillset has allowed her to define what strong leadership looks like and created a deep understanding of strategic business operational requirements, to meet and align with various stakeholder needs. Val is also a cofounder and director of the Sekela Foundation, which is focused on supporting, sustaining and enabling local communities and a mentor at Project Girls4Girls South Africa, an organisation aimed at empowering young women.
Head of Marketing and Communications for Networks
Born in Zimbabwe and living in South Africa, Miriro is a seasoned publishing editor and communications specialist, having worked with leading brands in financial services, corporate travel and entrepreneurship. Passionate about Africa’s development, Miriro is also a dynamic marketing strategist with 14 years experience working with startups and global multinational corporations.
As the Head of Marketing and Communications, Miriro will bring the Network’s mission to life, and lead the way in building a strong Marketing and Communications engine, which will support ALA’s strategic priority of “Unleashing the Network”. She enjoys tackling complex strategic challenges in the passion-to-entrepreneurship pipeline, particularly focused on the implications of 4th Industrial Revolution and workforce automation.
Early Career Success
Employer Engagement Lead
Lerato focuses on cultivating relationships with global employer partners. She works closely with our young leaders and entrepreneurs to develop early career success. Lerato has a diverse background with extensive experience in law, business development operations, client relations, sales and marketing. The roles she has undertaken throughout her career have developed her exceptional people skills and ignited her passion for people development. She is currently pursuing studies in Business Administration.
Screening and Targeting Analyst
Michelle focuses on cultivating relationships with global employer partners. From 2012 to 2015 Michelle was an Executive with Africa Exchange promoting Africa as an investment destination. She was an organizing member of the United Nations World Tourism 20th General Assembly where over 176 heads of delegations from all over the world were present. Michelle has been part of the Advisory program at ALA for many years and has been deeply moved by the relationships that she has formed with the students. In 2010 Michelle was nominated for Business Person of the Year with FNB and Randburg Chamber of Commerce and awarded the Gold Award. She was also awarded Top Entrepreneur with South Africa’s Wire Business Export Council in 2014. She has a diploma in Export Readiness.
People with Disability (PwD) and Inclusivity Lead
Faith is the People With Disability (PWD) and Inclusivity Lead at African Leadership Academy. Born and raised in Kenya she studied marketing at the University of Nairobi for her undergraduate and afterward went on a fellowship program at the University of Hawaii to study inclusive education and majored in Deaf studies. She is also a certified sign language interpreter. Having grown up with Deaf siblings Faith is passionate about Education and disability mainstreaming. She has previously run an Ed-Tech start-up Catapult Studios based at Strathmore University in Kenya and has worked for Choosito Inc! an AI-powered platform for education with a special focus on personalized education for refugee and at-risk students. Faith believes in the power that bold conversations have to shift cultures where lived experiences are appreciated, and all identities can genuinely flourish. She has over 15+ years of experience partnering with government agencies, organizations, academic institutions, businesses, faith-based initiatives, and communities seeking to advance their mission by promoting Disability Equality and Inclusion values for the benefit and development of their workforce and communities served while helping them enhance their business practices and decision-making processes.
Sector Lead: Infrastructure
Jomo is currently leading the Infrastructure Sector mission of the African Leadership Academy of creating a community of African Leaders who will work together in developing sustainable practices and green technology solutions that will position the African infrastructure for social inclusivity and thriving economies. He is a trained Biomechanical engineer with interests in innovation, technology, sustainable agriculture, climate change, infrastructure and management. Prior to joining ALA, Jomo worked as a cofounder of SSENTE, an early-stage Fintech Startup in Nairobi positioned to serve the unbanked and underserved in the global financial ecosystem. He also worked with over 100 farmers in rural communities in Kenya to improve the food security situation in those regions through a partnership with the European Union and the Kenya Climate Innovation Center. Among other roles, Jomo began his professional career in 2010 as a Pre-University Scholar at Equity Group Foundation where he also worked with peers and young leaders. He is a registered engineer with the Engineers Board of Kenya. Jomo holds a BSc. Biomechanical Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and MSc. Public Management from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
Program Coordinator – Al For Governance
Malilomo was born in South Africa and is an experienced community development professional who is passionate about development and creating better livelihoods for communities. She completed her master’s degree in Environment and Society at the University of Pretoria and her Undergraduate and Honors degree at Monash South Africa.
She has professional experience in project coordination focusing on sustainable development, environmental projects, education projects and monitoring & evaluation in the NGO field. Prior to ALA she was working at Enke as a Program Manager implementing youth development programs across different provinces in South Africa. Malilomo is part of the Tshwane Global Shapers Community an initiative of the World Economic Forum. She also serves as a board member for Engage SA which serves to empower youth about leadership. Malilomo believes in the power of working together and creating platforms that offer opportunities for youth and community development.
Sector Lead: Governance
Amanda Nthati Chembezi is the AL for Governance Sector Lead at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa where she works with over 500 youth across Africa on how to engage in policy-making platforms in their countries. She is a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow and a One Young World Ambassador with over 10 years of expertise in civic leadership, research, consulting, and facilitation. Amanda is also the Co-Founder of Girls for Girls Botswana, the largest girl’s mentorship non-profit organization in Botswana directly impacting 300 girls and reaching over 3000 youths. In 2015, Amanda was a recipient of the prestigious Botswana St Louis Top 40 under 40 catalyst award for her community engagement in Botswana. She has worked with civil society organizations such as Emang Basadi Women’s Shelter and Change the World Trust and worked in numerous initiatives targeting human rights and leadership. In 2012, she was recognized as a Moremi Initiative Top 25 under 25 women in Africa promoting the empowerment of women and girls. She holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Portsmouth and a BA (Hons) Degree in Finance from the Botswana Accountancy College. She is a Non-Executive Director for the SADC Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) where she represents civil society interests across the 16 SADC Member States. In her spare time, Amanda runs an online Podcast called The Tokoloho Talks Podcast where she curates’ conversations about equity, justice, and personal liberation.
Keneilwe is the Network Coordinator for the Al for the Arts and Al for Governance networks. Keneilwe was born in the United States of America and raised in South Africa. She did her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology at Western Washington University in Washington State, USA. After completing her undergraduate degree, she returned to South Africa where she did her Honours in Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She also holds a TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) from the University of the Witwatersrand Language School. Prior to joining ALA, Keneilwe began her career by teaching English as a foreign language and then moved into the NGO industry, first working at the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation, and then as the founding National Program Coordinator for the Girls For Girls Program in South Africa.
Sector Lead: Health
Laurene is passionate about revolutionizing the state of healthcare in Africa. Before joining ALA, she co-founded MamaTips, a Kenyan-based maternal healthcare company leveraging data and technology to serve women in marginalized communities. She later joined Castlight Health to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare across the US. Drawing from these two experiences and her learnings from Minerva Schools at KGI, where she earned her undergraduate degree, she seeks to empower graduates to map out and take ownership of their careers in healthcare. As the sector lead, she engages employer partners and professionals across the continent to create opportunities in healthcare for ALA Alumni. She also champions for the creation of pan-African networks comprising of young people, professionals, and other stakeholders seeking to address change in the health sector.
Sector Lead: Agribusiness
Nono leads the Agribusiness sector network which supports alumni to access career opportunities in the agriculture sector across the African continent. Nono’s work consists of relationship building with alumni and industry stakeholders and placing alumni into career opportunities. Nono has developed an 8-year career in agriculture as a farmer and leader at a national farmers’ association where she established and ran the young farmer portfolio. Nono developed programs that focused on supporting young farmers in partnership with many industry corporates. Nono founded a company which focused on finding ways to empower youth in agriculture. Nono has participated in local and international platforms advocating for support of youth in agriculture.
Program Lead: Education
Kalliope is an ALA alumnus from the class of 2012. Kalliope has a defined passion for global education reform and innovation. At Africa Careers Network, she oversees the development of ALA’s education network and the development of professional development opportunities for alumni hoping to pursue careers in the sector. She pursued her undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology and African Studies at SOAS, University of London. Alongside a variety of projects, internships, and independent consulting work, she has designed for Minerva Schools KGI’s global experiential curriculum as well as set up supplementary school programs in the UK in efforts to address the persistently growing attainment gap. Kalliope returned to ALA to channel her passion into helping shape ALA’s education sector.
Beloved is the network coordinator supporting the infrastructure and agribusiness sector. Prior to joining ALA Beloved worked with various youth empowerment, social justice and leadership organizations. She obtained her LLB Law degree from the University of Pretoria. Beloved chose to pivot from the legal industry because she developed a growing passion for young leadership and social impact by working as a facilitator for the TuksRes Women in Leadership Academy and Campaign Manager for Ubuntu Box Initiative. Beloved jests about having the gift of gab because of her work as a voice over and dubbing artist, and in public speaking. In 2021, Beloved delivered her first Ted Talk with TedxUP titled ‘The Threat of Black Exceptionalism to Cultural Preservation’. Beloved first identified with ALA because of the alignment that she discovered between her personal values and goals and those of ALA. She believes that those are the values and goals that will drive her to be an avid and impactful contributor to the ALA community and beyond.
Partnerships and Programs Associate – AL for Education
Elsie manages our talent pipeline development by executing high impact career opportunities for our students and alumni through actively cultivating partnerships with education-focused institutions across Africa. She is passionate about defining investments for the youth and believes that education and entrepreneurship are fundamental pillars of economic empowerment. Elsie was born and raised in Kenya and is grateful for the opportunity to interact with different cultures and contexts through her work.
Tinyiko is a network coordinator supporting young leaders in health and education as they go through their journey of becoming great leaders in Africa. She obtained her BA degree in Development and Management at the Northwest University. She worked as a junior product owner in the insurance sector, and she comes with great experience in UX strategy.