On 1st July The African Leadership Academy (ALA) welcomed Bilha Ndirangu as its 3rd CEO making her the first Kenyan and first woman to head the academy, succeeding the institution’s co-founder, Chris Bradford.
Prior to the appointment, Bilha was the CEO of Africa’s Talking (AT), a Pan-Africa mobile technology company that supports software developers to bring their business ideas to life and build them into sustainable ventures.
In the 7 years she worked at AT, Bilha oversaw the company’s incredible growth from a workforce of about 8 to over 100 employees and grew its presence in over 20 African markets.
Bilha has also worked as the Senior Project Manager of Dalberg Global Development. She conceptualized and saw the initial implementation of Equity Foundation’s Wings to Fly Scholarship project that has supported more than 26,000 needy and bright Kenyan children to date access secondary and university education.
The ALA Board of Trustees Chair, Khumo Shongwe, said “Bilha’s experience in building a pan-African company and working with senior leaders across the continent has uniquely prepared her to lead the African Leadership Academy.
Upon her appointment, Bilha said that Africa presents a lot of opportunities and has great untapped potential encapsulated in her richest resource; her youth. She added that no nation will be able to thrive in the future without technology, so now is the right time to raise the right leaders and global shapers who will secure Africa’s place at the table.
“Coming back to Africa was informed by what I saw then, that is even clearer now; the need for Africa to embrace her true identity and leverage our competitive advantage at the global stage” said Bilha, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School’ graduate, adding that she believed in young minds and their role in transforming and building Africa.
She said that ALA offers the kind of education that every African child deserves and is optimistic that the academy will expand the impact on its education model across Africa
“We are honored to see her step into the CEO’s role at ALA and we know that she will lead the academy to new heights and strengthen our track record of pan-African impact” said Fred Swaniker, ALA co-founder, pointing out that Bilha was the exact type of leader that the academy needed.
Her appointment on June 15 came following a rigorous exercise that identified Bilha as a talented individual who embodies the academy’s values of integrity, curiosity and excellence to take that CEO role and hails as a role model for ALA students.
“This was one of the most rigorous recruitment processes I have ever seen in my career. She exemplifies all the attributes that the ALA CEO in this day and age requires; youthfulness, business acumen, laser vision and pan-African corporate leadership experience ,” remarked Brian Waweru, an Alumni representative in the academy’s Board of Trustees who sat in the search team.