“You are never too small to make a difference.” – Greta Thunberg, Norwegian environmentalist
I am a big believer in the power of leadership. We all see the impact of individuals with good ideas and effective leadership skills on organizations. I would like to briefly focus on the many ways Friends of Ngong Road is the beneficiary of diverse and effective leadership. In an effort to draw a line, I am going to focus on people who have served on our Board of Directors in the past. I cannot possibly summarize all the contributions of these people but can illustrate some part of their impact on Friends of Ngong Road.
Tom Gleason – served on the board of directors from 2008 – 2016. In 2009, he applied for a free license to SalesForce.com, got it, and helped us implement this powerful tool that remains our operating platform both in the U.S. and Kenya today. This tool transformed the effectiveness of our operations. Tom also founded and led camp in Kenya for most of the years of his tenure.
Karen Bohn – also served on the board from 2008 – 2016. Karen conceived and led our handicrafts business that generated $150,000+ of revenue to the organization over the years of her involvement and brought numerous new supporters to the organization. She led the growth of the library, creating book drives and collecting supplies. Karen worked with Paula to lead the organization’s Development efforts before we had staff.
Susan Plimpton – was a board member from 2010 – 2018. Her deep understanding of global development and fundraising was essential to our success during her tenure. She brought many new friends to the organization and connected us with organizations like Thriive Kenya. During this time, students were starting to graduate from secondary schools and choose areas of study. Susan developed our first career counseling program in response. Susan was also a strong fundraiser and an early supporter of hiring Development staff.
Sally Kenney – was a board member from 2017 – 2020. She brought the resources of Tulane University to bear and created our Sexual and Reproductive Health Program that has resulted in a material decline in the incidence of unplanned-for pregnancies among Kenyan students. Sally has a deep understanding of Development and provided practical guidance and support to our first Development Director.
Brian Hartert – began his volunteer contributions in 2014 as part of a competitive analysis team and joined the board in 2016. His deep financial expertise was instrumental in creating the solid financial and control infrastructure we rely upon today. He participated in or led global finance meetings from 2016 to the present and has agreed to continue to serve on the Board of Directors of Karibu Loo Limited. Brian has been promoted at Ameriprise and has two small children, so he has decided to step aside for now.
Meghan Feige – began her board service in 2019 and will conclude at the end of this year due to promotion at work and the increasing demands of her young family. Meghan and her husband Evan traveled to Kenya twice to test Life Skills training on graduating seniors. She completely designed our 4-year curriculum for Life Skills that is now integral to students’ experiences with our organization. She also helped conceive and lead our HR Committee as we moved from a volunteer-only organization to one with employees.
My gratitude to these individuals for their leadership contributions is profound. I am the founder of Friends of Ngong Road, but my contributions are only one slice of all the gifts brought to bear.
Thank you to all who bring their volunteer gifts and time to bear on our mission.