Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I first visited Senegal in the fall of 1998 during a time of increased economic panic in the country that saw thousands of young Senegalese farmers abandon their family farms to explore economic options in Dakar, Senegal. My experience in the country shaped my professional life. In 2010, I opted to use my 10 years experience managing AmeriCorps programs in New York to see if a program that marries apprenticeships with civic engagement could work in a Senegalese context. My first idea was a project called iMap Senegal that aimed to employ young Senegalese to map low-income communities of Senegal. The idea failed to launch, but the contacts I made while working on the idea would later put me in a position to found Serve Africa.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
I am currently a participant at the Managing for Innovation: a Program Management Forum of the City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS). The eight-week course provides a series of professional development courses on data management, program development, and budget management and analysis. Course participants also receive informal group coaching in their areas of focus. My area of focus is budget analysis, where I meet a group of four senior managers bi-weekly to strategize on best practices that I can adapt to gain experience managing complicated financial statements and program budgets. I am also taking a course to learn best practices for revising and expanding the program metrics used to evaluate Serve Africa’s work.