Our Founder and Chief Executive of Hope


I AM LIGHT in dark places.

Meisha is a social entrepreneur, youth empowerment advocate, and brand strategist committed to generating innovative and impactful changes in organizations and communities. Her experiences mentoring inner-city youth in the United States and working with youth while volunteering with the Peace Corps in Benin and South Africa, inspired her to start IAWA.  She realized youth across the African Diaspora were brimming with potential, but many lacked the support and resources to fulfill their dreams.

With more than fifteen years of brand management and marketing strategy experience, she transitioned out of her career and into a life of social impact. Meisha aspires to use her work and her walk to help heal the wounds that separate Africans and African Diasporans.  She received a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.


Meet Our Global Board of Directors


Tony Lynn serves as one of IAWA’s board co-chairs, responsible for monitoring strategic planning and execution. Tony brings a broad range of public and private sector experiences to IAWA’s board. He is currently a Global Program Manager for Facebook’s Small and Medium Business division and previously held management positions at the Obama White House and Accenture, the global management consulting firm. Tony earned his MBA from Yale School of Management and his BA from Dillard University.

Ra Shád Frazier-Gaines has spent his career working to advance democratic values and progressivism throughout the United States. He is an advocacy professional specializing in bridging communities and political operations. He is sought out both nationally and internationally for his expertise on issues facing young people and the African-American community and his experience in organizing and leading political campaigns. Ra Shad's intersectional work on parity and inclusion most recently has taken him to lecture at Anyang University in South Korea. Ra Shad currently serves as Co-Chair of I Am, We Are Board of Directors and is also a Minister in the Church of God in Christ.

Atoy Strawder is a Finance professional with over 25 years of corporate Fortune 500 experience. She earned a bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Louisiana Monroe, an MBA with emphasis in Corporate Finance from the University of Dallas and is a licensed CPA. She has held positions of increasing responsibility with companies such as PepsiCo and Campbell Soup Company and is currently with McKesson Corporation. In addition to her professional career, Atoy’s passion, fueled by her faith, is to serve others. She seeks to help others fulfill their dreams and realize their true purpose by serving on nonprofit boards, mentoring and coaching others and community volunteerism.


Tony Lynn (USA)

Ra Shad Gaines (USA)

Atoy Strawder (USA)
Treasurer, Finance Committee

Ineleng Masike (South Africa)
Treasurer, Finance Committee

Christina Parrish is committed to working on behalf of the underrepresented and marginalized in her professional and personal life. At the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, she oversees the implementation of the Federal School Improvement Grant program which funds intervention programs aimed at turning around the District's lowest performing public schools. As a mentor and advocate for young people, Christina hopes to be a positive support system, role model and confidant through her work with Girls Incorporated and I Am, We Are. She earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in International Culture and Politics with a concentration in Youth and Education and a certificate in African Studies from Georgetown University.

Joy Kamunyori is an global digital health professional who has spent the last 10 years working with global health donors and country governments in several sub-Saharan Africa countries to use technology to strengthen and improve public health systems. Originally from Kenya, Joy is acutely aware that many youth across the African diaspora do not have strong role models who look "like them" that they can look up to, and she is committed to doing what she can to fill this gap. While living in Washington DC for 10 years, Joy was involved in several mentoring and tutoring programs for youth in that city, and she brings her experiences from these programs to her role on the IAWA board. She holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Economics from Vassar College.

Linda Masina holds a law degree from the University of Cape Town and studied International law and foreign direct investment at Cornell Law School. She is a lawyer in Sandton and has a particular passion for social justice and the empowerment of economically and socially disadvantaged and economically challenged youth.

She became involved in campus governance as a student at the University of Cape Town and served as the head of Human Rights Education for Amnesty International and Chairperson of the Dell Young Leaders Leadership Committee under the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. She was part of Students for Law and Social Justice and volunteered at high schools in vulnerable communities in Cape Town and facilitated talks on the promotion of constitutional rights and assisted indigent communities with various legal issues. She hopes to be an agent for positive social change and hopes to pursue a Masters in International Human Rights.

T. Michelle Curry is an Atlanta-based attorney specializing in estate planning and small business law. She is also the founder of the Travel Africa Movement, an online travel community and business which encourages black diasporans to visit and explore the African continent. She has a strong commitment to social justice and youth support and development, having previously served as a child protection and juvenile justice attorney and as a mentor. She has a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from Michigan State University.

Christina Parrish (USA)
Secretary, Programs Committee

Joy Kamunyori (South Africa)
Programs Committee

Linda Masina (South Africa)
Operations Committee

T. Michelle Curry (USA)
Operations Committee

Kaeden Arnold is American born and African bred. His passion for education led him to Rustenburg where he first met Meisha. He was there to work on grassroots leadership programs in high-schools. Following this, he formalized a high-school to university bridging program called 13th Year and led other student programs such as the Bafokeng Student Legothla, before returning to Johannesburg to work in management consulting. Kaeden has an undergraduate in Politics and International Relations form Wits University, a Post-graduate Diploma in Business Admin, a Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and is currently studying towards a Masters in Philosophy in International Business, all through the Gordon Institute for Business Science.

Jason E. Turner, a Washington, D.C. native. Professionally, Jason's focus is in the Information Technology, and "Green" Technology sectors, where his career has included the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors. He was appointed by former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty as Chief of Staff and Capital Projects at the Department of Parks and Recreation, following years of professional experience at corporations such as Procter & Gamble, and Verizon -- as well as additional entrepreneurial experience in the STEM education sector. Currently, Jason is a partner at Signature Technology Solutions, a D.C. based informational technology firm.

A 1991 graduate of The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Jason is a father of two teen-agers, and counts travel (He has visited South Africa 10 times), Formula One racing and people among his hobbies. He is guided by a belief that anyone – given the tools, desire and opportunity – can change the world. This is why he is so passionate about the work of our organization, and most importantly, the youth of I Am We Are.

La Chenna Cromer brings 20 years’ experience in public health and business development in the United States, Africa and Asia development markets. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, La Chenna is the Business Development Director for mothers2mothers, an Africa-based, international NGO that believes in the power of women to eliminate pediatric AIDS and create health and hope in their families and communities. La Chenna brings experience in soliciting funds from US and European governments, pharmaceutical corporations, and private foundations. La Chenna also brings experience in health communication research to inform campaigns and materials for underserved populations. A passionate advocate for women’s rights, empowerment, and improved access to health care, La Chenna brings her enthusiasm to the I Am, We Are board with hopes to expand its national footprint. La Chenna has an MPH in Behavioral Science and Health Education from Saint Louis University School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

Chinonye Donna Egbulem is an Afrocentric social entrepreneur & seasoned research consultant with over 5 years of experience in global health and development policy research. She has worked collaboratively on national and international-level projects to contribute to capacity-building training and technical assistance projects. Along the way, she's managed to become business proficient in French, assist women and men on the African continent and in the US with successfully starting and operating businesses, and become a serial social entrepreneur herself with the recent launch of JOONAFRICA. In her spare time, she works to connect black diasporic communities together by sourcing content that will empower black creators to create, design, innovate, and advance in their endeavors all the while telling and sharing THEIR story.

Kaeden Arnold (South Africa)
Operations Committee

Jason Turner (USA)
Development Committee

La Chenna Cromer (South Africa)
Development Committee


Chinonye Egbulem (e-Swatini)
 Impact Assessment Committee


Mashane Nthutang is a passionate sport and fitness manager and leader possessing a strong commitment to social justice and advocacy for the voiceless especially those with intellectual disabilities. She is in the youth ministry at the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Cosmo City dedicated to serve in the community and to make the truth Gospel be known and most importantly to mentor and support the youth to beleive in themselves, be courageous, tolerate, respect and strive to achieve what fulfills their hearts. She is currently a Healthy Athletes Manager in Special Olympics Africa Region. She has a Diploma in Sport Management from Rosebank College and an Exercise Science Diploma from Health Fitness Professional Association/Academy qualifying her as the exercise specialist and sports conditioning coach.


Mash Nthuthang (South Africa)
Development Committee

Thami Rangwaga (South Africa)
Programs Committee