Meet MEISHA ROBINSON
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.

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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.

Dannese Mapanda is committed to promoting justice in her life and work. She has over thirteen years of experience in nonprofit program management, philanthropic strategy, grant and financial administration and partnership development throughout the US and the Global South. She has previously worked with organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Tides Africa Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a full-time consultant with Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm that serves the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Dannese has also served as an independent consultant providing client centered project management, content development and philanthropic strategy services for social justice organizations working with marginalized communities and as a Capacity Development Manager and Program Manager in Sub Saharan Africa for street football world, an NGO dedicated to development through football (soccer) and She holds an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University and a B.S. in business administration and finance from Auburn University.Dannese lives in Washington, DC with her partner and three children.

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.

Amir Mesarwi  is a reformed consultant with more than a decade of non-profit finance experience, most recently as the Sr. Director of Finance at the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from New York University. His passions extend to the community through his role on MIT's Educational Council, as a mentor within his organization, coach of his daughter's soccer team and board member of his HOA. He resides in Washington DC with his wife and three daughters.

Amir Mesarwi is a reformed consultant with more than a decade of non-profit finance experience, most recently as the Sr. Director of Finance at the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from New York University. His passions extend to the community through his role on MIT's Educational Council, as a mentor within his organization, coach of his daughter's soccer team and board member of his HOA. He resides in Washington DC with his wife and three daughters.


Tony Lynn (USA)
I AM MARTIN LUTHER KING JR'S DREAM.
Co-Chair

Dannese Mapanda (USA)
I AM STRIVING TOWARDS JUSTICE.
Co-Chair

Atoy Strawder (USA)
I AM STRONG
Treasurer, Finance Committee

Amir Mesarwi (USA)
I AM HAPPY.
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.

Christina Parrish (USA)
I AM PASSIONATE.
Secretary, Programs 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.

Kaeden Arnold (South Africa)
I AM INQUISITIVE.
Operations Committee

Sarah Humphrey is founder and CEO of Communicate with Integrity Inc., a branding, strategy and communications consultancy focused on health, entrepreneurs, and organizations committed to making the world a better place. She has created effective brand strategy and communications for corporations and nonprofits of all sizes, from start-ups to large multinationals. Her collaborative approach has been honed over decades working at New York ad agencies as a writer, creative director, brand positioning expert and strategy director. Her strategic planning approach combines analytical thinking and human insight to reinvent brands and how they communicate with consumers.

Sarah Humphrey (USA)
I AM COMMITTED TO MAKING THE WORLD BETTER.
Outreach Committee

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.

Linda Masina (South Africa)
I AM COMPASSIONATE.
Operations Committee

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.

Jason Turner (USA)
I AM ENERGIZED.
Development Committee

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BA Cockburn (USA)
I AM A LIFELONG LEARNER.
Development Committee

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.

La Chenna Cromer (South Africa)
I AM A BORN-AGAIN DREAMER.
Development Committee

 

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.

Chinonye Egbulem (e-Swatini)
I AM FAVORED.
 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)
I AM JOY.
Development Committee

Thami Rangwaga (South Africa)
I AM LIVING MY DREAMS.
Programs Committee

 

Meet Our Volunteers

 
Amy Bhopal  is a Washington, D.C. based public health and international development professional with 5+ years of experience in research as well as monitoring and evaluation. Ms. Bhopal currently supports various strategic and technical evaluation projects in international development at EnCompass LLC, a women-owned evaluation consulting firm. Ms. Bhopal is passionate about monitoring and evaluation (M&E), working with multisectoral stakeholders, and building their capacities within M&E. She previously worked on an HIV prevention initiative supporting adolescent girls and young women in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. Her previous work includes supporting various monitoring and evaluative activities for domestic health projects in HIV/AIDS in San Francisco, California and international projects in HIV/AIDS, maternal, newborn and child health, and reproductive health in Cuba, Malawi, and Uganda.  Ms. Bhopal holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Public Health from the University of San Francisco. She completed her thesis in Geneva with the World Health Organization evaluating policies and guidelines for an efficient and effective international response to Ebola in West Africa.

Amy Bhopal is a Washington, D.C. based public health and international development professional with 5+ years of experience in research as well as monitoring and evaluation. Ms. Bhopal currently supports various strategic and technical evaluation projects in international development at EnCompass LLC, a women-owned evaluation consulting firm. Ms. Bhopal is passionate about monitoring and evaluation (M&E), working with multisectoral stakeholders, and building their capacities within M&E. She previously worked on an HIV prevention initiative supporting adolescent girls and young women in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. Her previous work includes supporting various monitoring and evaluative activities for domestic health projects in HIV/AIDS in San Francisco, California and international projects in HIV/AIDS, maternal, newborn and child health, and reproductive health in Cuba, Malawi, and Uganda.

Ms. Bhopal holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Public Health from the University of San Francisco. She completed her thesis in Geneva with the World Health Organization evaluating policies and guidelines for an efficient and effective international response to Ebola in West Africa.

Amandeep Bhopal (USA)
I AM MOTIVATED.
Impact Committee

Judy Jiang  is a young professional in the Pacific Northwest interested in sustainable and effective social impact and  development projects. While an engineering student at Oregon State University, Judy supported several projects  including rural water supply in Kenya and micro-hydro electrification in Malaysia. With I Am We Are, she is interested in  impact monitoring and evaluation to best serve the youth of South Africa. She hopes the students involved with IAWA  develop the strength and skills to better their lives and the lives of those in their communities.

Judy Jiang is a young professional in the Pacific Northwest interested in sustainable and effective social impact and

development projects. While an engineering student at Oregon State University, Judy supported several projects

including rural water supply in Kenya and micro-hydro electrification in Malaysia. With I Am We Are, she is interested in

impact monitoring and evaluation to best serve the youth of South Africa. She hopes the students involved with IAWA

develop the strength and skills to better their lives and the lives of those in their communities.

Judy Jiang (USA)
I AM ENERGETIC.
Impact Committee

With an MBA in International Economics and a bachelor’s degree in both Business and Art,  Ashley Bryant-Baker  has shaped her diverse educational portfolio to become an advocate for equitable STEM training and data-backed social practices. Ashley has over 8 years experience as a data scientist and social advocate. She uses analytics to address complex logistic and social challenges on both local and international platforms, building data-driven strategies for social impact programs. Her work encompasses analytics for a broad range of organizations such as Coca-Cola, American Express, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and AARP.     Outside of her profession, Ashley’s faith and commitment to seeing the good in people has inspired her to become involved with non-profit groups who take a holistic approach to their cause. This passion has led her to become the founder of The Matthew Burnett Scholarship Fund, chair of the youth and scholarship committees for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and most recently a member of the Advisory Committee for IAWA.

With an MBA in International Economics and a bachelor’s degree in both Business and Art, Ashley Bryant-Baker has shaped her diverse educational portfolio to become an advocate for equitable STEM training and data-backed social practices. Ashley has over 8 years experience as a data scientist and social advocate. She uses analytics to address complex logistic and social challenges on both local and international platforms, building data-driven strategies for social impact programs. Her work encompasses analytics for a broad range of organizations such as Coca-Cola, American Express, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and AARP.


Outside of her profession, Ashley’s faith and commitment to seeing the good in people has inspired her to become involved with non-profit groups who take a holistic approach to their cause. This passion has led her to become the founder of The Matthew Burnett Scholarship Fund, chair of the youth and scholarship committees for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and most recently a member of the Advisory Committee for IAWA.


Ashley Bryant-Baker (USA)
I AM INNOVATIVE.
Outreach Committee

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Nikki Thompson (USA)
I AM A LIFELONG LEARNER.
Programs Committee

Cecilia Smith  is a traveler with social justice at the heart of what she does. She brings her creativity, love of languages, and curiosity to each project in which she participates—and always with a desire to share her experiences with others. Cecilia is currently in Peru working with a local organization to improve the efficacy of English teaching there. She is excited to a part of IAWA as it grows.

Cecilia Smith is a traveler with social justice at the heart of what she does. She brings her creativity, love of languages, and curiosity to each project in which she participates—and always with a desire to share her experiences with others. Cecilia is currently in Peru working with a local organization to improve the efficacy of English teaching there. She is excited to a part of IAWA as it grows.

Cecilia Smith (Peru)
I AM STRIVING.
Outreach Committee

Whitney Wiggins  is from North Carolina. She completed her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. She served as a volunteer before becoming a full-time employee at Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate. At Komen she served in the Mission and Outreach department, where she managed community health grants and went into communities and sharing information about breast cancer prevention. Upon completing her Masters she applied to the Peace Corps. She served for 3 years in Zambia doing living in the community and helping the clinic with community health programs. Outside of her health projects she worked with local schools to form after school clubs for the girls in the community serving as a mentor. Currently she works for the Health Resources and Services Administration where she is a project officer in the advancement of telehealth division. She enjoys serving in the community and at church, exploring DC, discovering good food trucks, and spending time with friends and family.

Whitney Wiggins is from North Carolina. She completed her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. She served as a volunteer before becoming a full-time employee at Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate. At Komen she served in the Mission and Outreach department, where she managed community health grants and went into communities and sharing information about breast cancer prevention. Upon completing her Masters she applied to the Peace Corps. She served for 3 years in Zambia doing living in the community and helping the clinic with community health programs. Outside of her health projects she worked with local schools to form after school clubs for the girls in the community serving as a mentor. Currently she works for the Health Resources and Services Administration where she is a project officer in the advancement of telehealth division. She enjoys serving in the community and at church, exploring DC, discovering good food trucks, and spending time with friends and family.


Whitney Wiggins (USA)
I AM INSPIRED.
Development Committee

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Fatu Wesley (USA)
I AM TRUTH.
Impact Committee

Dr. Rhoda Deon  is an Instructional Designer based in Chicago, IL. She designs learning experiences for adults working in non-academic settings. Prior to working as an instructional designer, she spent 11 years teaching mathematics and computer programming in K-12, post-secondary, and online environments. She has conducted research in K-16 STEM education and culturally responsive teaching. She has presented workshops on personal growth, pre-service teacher preparation, and learner-centered curriculum.

Dr. Rhoda Deon is an Instructional Designer based in Chicago, IL. She designs learning experiences for adults working in non-academic settings. Prior to working as an instructional designer, she spent 11 years teaching mathematics and computer programming in K-12, post-secondary, and online environments. She has conducted research in K-16 STEM education and culturally responsive teaching. She has presented workshops on personal growth, pre-service teacher preparation, and learner-centered curriculum.

Rhoda Deon (USA)
I AM WHOLE.
Programs Committee