Chris brings a hybrid background in business and education to his work designing and building institutions of excellence. Chris previously worked in brand management at The Procter and Gamble Company and as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. He has also consulted to the Broad Foundation, one of the leading educational foundations in the United States, and taught economics and physics at Oundle School, one of the leading coeducational boarding schools in England. At Oundle, Chris developed a keen interest in the design of educational institutions, and in the potential for educational institutions to shape societies.
As a graduate student at Stanford University, Chris and colleague Fred Swaniker began to build African Leadership Academy, a pan-African institution that sought to address what they saw as the most important factor in Africa’s future development: the supply of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders across the continent. This work was validated in 2006, when Chris and Fred were named Echoing Green Fellows as two of the “leading emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” – selected from over 900 organizations worldwide. Chris led the design of African Leadership Academy’s innovative curriculum, which merges rigorous academics with powerful courses in Entrepreneurial Leadership and African Studies. He also shaped the Academy’s admissions process, which has selected outstanding young leaders from numerous applicants in countries across Africa since 2008. With its unique focus and pan-African reach, the Academy is unlike any other school in the world.
Chris holds a BA degree summa cum laude in Economics from Yale University and an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University. At Yale, Chris won the Delaney Kiphuth Scholar-Athlete Award as the graduating varsity athlete ranking highest in scholarship. At Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, he was named a Siebel Scholar, a distinction given to five students for academic excellence and extracurricular leadership. In 2011, he won the inaugural Siebel Scholars Impact Award for his work developing African Leadership Academy.
Fred was recognized by US President Obama in 2010 and again in 2013 for his work in developing Africa’s future leaders. He has been recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, by Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa, and by Echoing Green as one of the fifteen ‘best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world’. He is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network and was a TED Fellow in 2009. Fred began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and has an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at the business school. He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.
Fred is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, Fred founded the African Leadership ‘Group’—an ecosystem of organizations that includes African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, Africa Advisory Group, and of course, ALU. Collectively, these institutions aim to transform Africa by identifying, developing, and connecting three million game-changing leaders for Africa by 2060.
Veda Sunassee is a leadership and education expert, an entrepreneur and an international moderator and emcee. He was the founding Dean of the African Leadership University, Rwanda – listed as the most innovative company in Africa (39th globally) in 2019 by FastCompany. In 2018, he was selected among the inaugural Obama Leaders and was listed amongst the 100 most influential Young Africans by African Youth Awards in 2019.
After growing up on the beautiful island of Mauritius, Veda took his first ever flight to attend Princeton University in the United States. There, he majored in Political Science and Political Economy and was an actor in L’Avant-Scene, a french theatre troupe.
Veda currently runs his own Leadership Consultant firm and has worked with a number of corporations and foundations on their leadership and culture challenges. He has extensive experience designing and facilitating leadership programs and workshops and has collaborated with the likes of Facebook, Elma Philanthropies and Mastercard Foundation.
Veda spent nearly a decade in several roles with the African Leadership Group. He first served as an Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa before joining the founding team of the African Leadership University (ALU) in Mauritius where he served as its first Director of Student Life. He then moved to Rwanda as the Founding Dean of the ALU Rwanda campus. In his role, he built and led a team of 30+ and grew the campus to 600 students.
When not hosting international gatherings, Veda runs a weekly podcast where he engages global leaders and entrepreneurs on their leadership journey and life’s missions.
Suzanne is the Director of Scholar Search and Selection for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the African Leadership Academy. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at ALA is a tertiary scholarship program designed to prepare scholars from disadvantaged backgrounds to create social and economic change in Africa by connecting promising young leaders to outstanding universities, and offering sustained and holistic support throughout their tertiary education and beyond. In this role, she identifies and recruits high-achieving, low-income students from around the continent for university scholarships. Prior to managing the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program, Suzanne served as a member of the ALA University Guidance team, supporting ALA students through all aspects of the university application process including identifying scholarships, essay writing, and finding best fit universities.
Before joining ALA, Suzanne worked at Abaarso School of Science & Technology in northern Somalia. At Abaarso School, she taught 11th and 12th grade English, developed a tutoring program at a local orphanage and worked as the college and boarding school counsellor for the first graduating class. Suzanne attended George Washington University in Washington, DC, and graduated with a degree in International Relations, specializing in Conflict & Security. Suzanne is deeply passionate about education and how it can transform lives and communities.
Mpiwa Gwindi is a student at the African Leadership Academy from Zimbabwe. Passionate for marketing and creative arts, she has used her skill set of data analysis and graphic design as the Marketing Director of the 2020 ALA Model African Union and Chief Marketing Officer of the 2020 South African Ideas Festival. Mpiwa serves as the Paragon Social Media and Content Intern, helping to share the message with young people around the world.