My journey to making a difference in the world:
At 22, I moved to New York City with $200 to my name and a big dream to work for the United Nations and to make the world a better place.
I immediately got two jobs. The first was working at a non-profit during the day, helping low-income New Yorkers with financial management and job development. The second was working at a restaurant nights and weekends so I could support myself enough to get by on my own in the concrete jungle and pay for my tuition at NYU. I hustled to make my dreams happen.
After I studied abroad with NYU at the UN in Geneva, I realized that direct service was my true path to making an impact in the world. Before that, I’d considered careers with the Foreign Service, the United Nations, and with other large international organizations. I was even recruited by the CIA and was in the application process with them when I decided to join the Peace Corps. The day I decided to move to Africa, I called the CIA and told them to throw away my application file. Even though it seemed like a difficult decision because once in the Peace Corps I would forfeit all chances of working with the CIA in the future, I knew what the right choice was for me.
At 24, I headed to Africa with a one way ticket to volunteer with the Peace Corps in a rural village in Mozambique.
I worked at a local hospital counseling HIV positive women on prevention of transmission to their babies. While I was there, I created several grassroots programs in my community and started two social enterprises–an agro-processing small business and a sewing cooperative that allowed the villagers to become empowered to earn their own income instead of relying on government assistance. I learned both their national langauge, Portuguese, and local language, Changana, got introduced to a new way of life, and created lasting friendships.
When I returned to the US after my 3-year contract, I knew that my work in Mozambique had just begun. I had created strong ties to the community, and I had the deep desire to be different than those who came in and then left and never returned after creating projects in their communities. I was determined to continue building upon the work I had done in the Peace Corps and create even more change.
At 27, I launched the non-profit, Kurandza, to empower women in Mozambique through entrepreneurship and education.
Through Kurandza, I have provided jobs to 9 women in Mozambique, helped a family start a grocery store for their community, created a nutrition program with the hospital, and provided food assistance to more than 35 families during the 2016 hunger crisis.
As I’ve worked to make a global impact, I have learned so much about running an organization from afar, navigating cultural differences, fundraising, impact reporting and much more! I've learned what works and what doesn't, and above all, I've learned to balance caring for others with caring for myself so I can serve at my highest level.
I’ve also discovered that there are many like-minded women who are making waves in the world and who are looking for mentorship and support around these issues. Some of these women run ethical fashion companies. Some work for philanthropic organizations; others work with cooperatives on the ground in the developing world. The job titles are different but all these women share a drive to make a global impact and a desire to connect with other individuals who share their dreams to live big.
That’s what my next chapter is all about.
this year i LAUNCHED MY OWN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, non-profit, AND social IMPACT CONSULTING PRACTICE to support purpose-driven women changemakers.
This community, my resources, and blog are designed to inspire and support women changemakers to live with purpose and make a difference in the world while finding more freedom, adventure, and fulfillment.
I didn't have anyone to help me when I started out, and I want to be that person to help others who are starting now. I want to share my experiences and resources, while supporting those who have the same dream of making a difference in the world. Learn more about working with me here!