My key achievements to date include:
- Senior member of market growth team for Brioche, opening two locations and launching new lines of business in Kenya and Rwanda.
- Tripled revenue (y-o-y) for 1000 Hills Distillery thus becoming one of the fastest growing SMEs in East Africa.
- Managed external media relations for Visa / Samsung for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games resulting in £11million worth of media coverage.
- In-demand spokesperson and media pundit, appeared in or on outlets as CNBC Africa, Voice of America and The New Times (Rwanda).
February 2022 - Present
imec.istart - Internationalization Officer (Belgium)
Taking early stage tech start-ups registered in Belgium into global markets. I act as advisor, mentor and facilitator, helping start-ups in imec.istart's portfolio have soft and successful landings in new markets. To learn more, please visit our website.
- Organized & led two business delegation visits to London, UK and Paris, France to enable traveling companies to engage with local investors, soft landing programs, major corporates, and secure business development opportunities at market leading conferences & tradeshows.
- Plan and led bi-annual internationalization masterclasses for Scaleup Vlaanderen providing a framework for international expansion for mature and first-time scaling companies.
- Advised and supported 30+ companies within imec.istart's portfolio to date, covering everything and anything from currency exchange rates to international hiring to Brexit export challenges.
Aug 2020 - Present
Stepchange Africa LLP - Managing Partner (Global)
Lead at Stepchange Africa, a growth agency providing customer-centric and hands-on solutions to fast growing start-ups and established SMEs operating, investing and expanding in Africa.
- Acted as Chief Commercial Officer at Ori Rides, a Uganda based ride-hailing app, redesigning service offerings and expansion into secondary cities in East and Central Africa.
- Designed and hosted three-part webinar series on ‘Doing Business in East Africa’ for Estonian SMEs in partnership with Government of Estonia’s trade & investment arm, Enterprise Estonia.
- Business Development Lead, secured contracts with International Trade Centre, Enterprise Estonia and Impact Hub for national and regional opportunities.
- Due Diligence Expert for Deep Dive Africa, analyzing and preparing data-rooms for participating Rwandan companies.
- Panel Moderator at SA Innovation Summit, ‘Scaling to 100million’ with the CEOs of Medsaf & Finclusion Group.
Aug 2018 - Dec 2019
The Distillery Rw Ltd.- Manager (Kigali, Rwanda)
Spearheaded in-country growth and international expansion for East Africa’s largest craft distillery, 1000 Hills Distillery.
- Developed business plan and communications strategy to triple sales and double revenue in 16 months.
- Designed new tourism products to create additional revenue streams, driving sales increase of 20% month over month.
- Established key relationships within Rwanda’s tourism eco-system to drive bottle sales and create co-marketing opportunities.
- Acted as official spokesperson and brand ambassador for local and international media opportunities.
- Led public affairs engagement to build support with Foreign Heads of Missions and Government of Rwanda to streamline business processes and facilitate policy dialogue.
July 2016 - June 2018
LGT Impact Ventures- Brioche Ltd. Marketing Manager (Kigali, Rwanda; Nairobi, Kenya)
Long-term technical adviser funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and Voxtra Capital, focused on strategy and planning, market development and brand awareness activities in multiple African markets.
- Designed successful hybrid marketing strategy; earned Brioche nomination for 2017 Smart Service Awards.
- Facilitated in-depth market research, collected 300 customer surveys for mapping customer demographics and message development.
- Cultivated strategic partnerships with local community groups, businesses, government agencies and influencers to enhance brand awareness.
- Managed 30 staff across sales, marketing, HR and customer service departments.
- Developed relationships, earned coverage in The Star, Daily Nation, RTV (Rwanda), Business Daily, The East African and The New Times (Rwanda).
Sept 2015 - July 2016
Grameen Foundation- TaroWorks Marketing Fellow (Kampala, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya)
Global communications lead for a non-profit, focused on content creation, media management and new customer acquisition.
- Secured thought leadership placements in TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, ICTworks and Next Billion.
- Increased engagement and followers on Twitter by 77% and LinkedIn by 148% in 11 months.
- Secured conference speaking opportunities at global conferences as ICT4D and ANDE Metrics.
- Enhanced pre-existing webinar program, drove attendance and registration up by 109%.
- Successfully engaged strategic donors of Qualcomm and Vodafone Americas to augment relationships.
July 2013 - July 2015
KCSA Strategic Communications-Senior Account Executive in Corporate and Financial Services (NYC, USA)
Communications adviser for start-ups and SMEs in North America, focused on local and global market development.
- Led team of five in the global expansion of Vision Service Plan (VSP) into EMEA and APAC markets.
- Designed and implemented product launch for ETF and Absolute Currency Funds for Merk Investments to increase fund awareness and drive investment.
- Managed community and public affairs engagement for public awareness campaigns of medical marijuana in the State of New York and Canada.
- Planned and developed global media campaign for Nike/VSP philanthropy event in South Africa.
- Led pro-active media relations campaign to enhance thought leadership of Espirito Santo Investment Bank and Merk Investments spokespersons in top tier U.S. and European business and financial media.
May 2012 - May 2013
Hill+Knowlton Strategies UK / Visa –Junior Account Executive in Financial and Professional Services (London, UK)
B2B and corporate communications adviser for leading British and American financial firms. Includes secondment to Visa for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
- Designed fact-sheets, press releases, and briefing notes for Visa Europe’s month-long UK expenditure campaign.
- Conducted crisis and issue management for a Big 4 accountancy firm during the HP/Autonomy write-down.
- Media mapping for Visa Europe’s largest corporate PR campaign Mega Monday which generated over 160 pieces of coverage in national and regional media outlets.
- Acted as a first point of contact for all media enquiries on Visa’s London 2012 Olympic sponsorship.
- Liaised and coordinated with 21 European PR agencies working across 36 markets to promote the Visa brand and its services.
- Provided policy insight on the European Commission’s SSO concerning multilateral interchange fees.
Aug 2020 - Present
Seedstars - Senior Adviser (Africa focused)
A business mentor for Seedstars’ portfolio of African start-ups and to those looking to expand into Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Advised pre-seed and seed stage start-ups on marketing, strategy, business development and fundraising.
- Content creator for business resilience workshops in Tanzania, funded by UK Aid & Government of the Netherlands.
- Business coach for multiple early stage businesses via programmes as SAIS II, WE4A, EFinA and Shell Foundation.
Sept 2017- Nov 2017
Mastercard Foundation- External Consultant (Kigali, Rwanda)
Evaluated preliminary programme viability and partnerships for $100 million investment in training and youth skills programmes in Rwanda’s hospitality and tourism sectors.
- Conducted bid proposal evaluation.
- Interviewed prospective partners for programme matching.
February 2020- Present
Ondernemers voor Ondernemers - Rwanda Programme Co-Lead (Belgium)
Lead on design and execution of OvO’s flagship programme, SusTech4Africa in Rwanda.
- Supported 14 early stage companies of which invested in 4 (and counting) companies resulting in nearly 100,000 EUR in debt financing to date.
- Secured partnerships with public & private institutions such as Rwanda Development Board, The African Leadership University, Enabel and Agaciro Development Fund.
Feb 2018 - Dec 2019
European Business Chamber Rwanda (Kigali, Rwanda)
A founding member of a representative body of 80 private sector companies and 250 persons to enhance engagement between European companies and the Government of Rwanda.
- Offered insight and organisational direction to launch Chamber.
- Mapped Chamber offerings for members and organised networking opportunities.
- Engaged European Union Delegation to Rwanda to provide Chamber progress updates.
Training & Workshops
Ignite Food Systems Challenge by Impact Hub Kigali & WFP (Online)
Led investment readiness masterclass and hosted 1v1 sessions for six participating companies in the programme.
Women Entrepreneurship for Africa by SAFEEM (Seedstars) (Online)
Led three workshops on growth / internationalization for entrepreneurs selected for the 'growth phase' of the programme.
Accelerate 2030 by Impact Hub Kigali & UNDP -Investment Readiness Workshop (Online)
Led workshop on investment readiness, providing early stage companies with a foundation and understanding to enhance their ability to attract investment.
Jan 2018 - Feb 2018
African Leadership University – Special Projects - Marketing Facilitator (Kigali, Rwanda)
Designed and led workshop for 70 first year students on grassroots, online marketing and new market development in East and Southern Africa.
Global Entrepreneurship Week at The African Leadership University- Funding for Start-Ups.
SA Innovation Summit- Panel Moderator - Scaling to 100 million.
Shared Value Africa Initiative's Entrepreneurship Forum- Launching SusTech4Africa in Rwanda.
Loop Accelerator (Rwanda)- Featured Speaker- A Recipe for National and International Expansion Success.
OvO Africa Business Club- Moderator - Demo & Investor Day for Rwandan & Ugandan social entrepreneurs in Brussels, Belgium.
Global Africa Forum on Communications- Panellist- Trading Reputation- Country Reputation and Impact on Local, Global Business & Investment Attractiveness.
English (Native). Italian, Dutch & French (Intermediate).
King’s College London, London, UK
Master of Arts in International Conflict Studies, Merit
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Cum Laude