Meet the Staff
Elizabeth Abshire, AfricAid’s Executive Director
Elizabeth has over fifteen years of corporate experience, managing marketing, communications, and strategic programs. Elizabeth directed marketing at Qwest Communications for over ten years and has advertising agency and consulting experience. As a Staff Director of Marketing for the Small Business division, Elizabeth and her team led the strategic planning process and implemented mass, direct, online, and social media programs that helped the business unit surpass its annual profit target. Earlier in her career, Elizabeth guided a steel manufacturer in establishing a new facility, crafted and implemented a wildly successful vacation package program for United Airlines, and conceptualized using Dilbert to differentiate Office Depot.
Elizabeth has a deep passion for East Africa. While working at Qwest, she founded and ran her own foundation that focused on enriching education for children in Kenya. The foundation provided one of the first deep water wells in Kibera, a slum area in Nairobi, at Soweto Academy. Since its inception in late 2007, the foundation has supported two schools, each with over 500 children, to become self-sustaining by working with them to establish a water bottling business and a chicken business.
Elizabeth is a magna cum laude graduate of Mills College with a B.A. in Political, Legal, and Economic Analysis where she was awarded the Outstanding Student Leader Award. She also holds an M.B.A. from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where she won the school’s annual New Venture Challenge Competition and was a Chicago Business Fellow, which provided a partial scholarship and early admission to business school.
Anande Nnko, Kisa Project Manager, Tanzania
A focused and independent young woman herself, Anande dreams about a society in which women are independent, strong-minded leaders determined to bring about change in their societies. Anande has a degree in law, and she is a bold, thoughtful role model for AfricAid’s Kisa Scholars. She is committed to supporting her community through a focus on law, public health and community development.
Esther Piniel, Kisa Mentor, Tanzania
Esther comes from an English and Geography teaching background at the secondary school level, and has a degree from the University of Dar es Salaam. As a Kisa Mentor, she draws on her own experiences as a leader in her community in order to be a role model to the Kisa Scholars. She hopes to inspire her students to find the confidence necessary to bring about change in their own communities.
Devotha Festo Mlay, Kisa Mentor, Tanzania
Devotha is a young Tanzanian female who holds a bachelor degree in language studies. As a mentor, Devotha advises young women to work hard so as to reach their dreams. Devotha believes that a way to success is having dreams and the way to happiness is making your dreams come true and one can achieve that only by working hard. She also believes that, through mentoring young girls on leadership they can be aware that they can become whoever they dream to be and they can change their societies to be a better place.
Jessica Shayo, Kisa Mentor, Tanzania
A law degree holder, Jessica is a strong and independent lady who has struggled to pursue education on her own. She believes quality education equips people, especially girls, to face their challenges and to become problem solvers in their communities. She strives to assist girls and women to achieve their dreams through offering advice and a listening ear.
Laura Walter, Operations Directorlaura@africaid.com
Laura grew up in New York but calls Colorado her home. She pursued a BFA in Film Studies at the University of Colorado. Since graduating Laura has wound a winding road, with the common theme of work involving youth. Mentoring and empowering youth, especially adolescent girls is her true passion.
A trip to Kyangwali Refugee Camp in Uganda in 2010 opened her eyes and heart to Africa. And an internship with AfricAid in the Spring of 2011, allowed her to continue a relationship with the people and Continent that captured her heart. Now as AfricAid's Operations Director, Laura is getting a unique opportunity to learn and grow in the non-profit world as well as empower young women in a completely different capacity.
Ashley is a 23-year old graphic designer based in Denver. She graduated Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in 2010 and has been freelancing. She was thrilled to have the chance to intern for AfricAid as her passion for design is equally met with her passion for helping non-profits. She is looking forward to combining the two together through AfricAid and is very excited to see how design can reach out and help others near and far.
Meg Van Sciver, Print Communications Intern
Jayme Ward, Social Media & Online Communications Intern
Jayme is currently a student at the University of Colorado Denver working towards her B.A. in International Studies focused on African Development, and minoring in Social Justice and Economics. Jayme hopes to use her degree specifically towards the empowerment of girls in underprivileged communities to become purpose-driven leaders. Her passion for East Africa developed after a trip to Uganda in 2012. She is so excited to now be interning with AfricAid to communicate our mission of education and empowerment for girls in Tanzania.