Our board and staff is made of fierce, bold women who are passionate, skilled and equipped to fulfill our mission. We are driven and continually working towards helping artisan women and influencing what fashion, sustainability and economic empowerment means and how it affects society.
Sawa Sawa means “It will be okay.” in Swahili. It is founded by women to support fellow women in Africa and create an ethical fashion line for the American woman. Anne brings vision and passion to the board. She has a business degree in Finance that helps her run the commerce side of the nonprofit. Having a sustainable stream of revenue helps us keep our promises to the women that depend on it. Anne is responsible for the American side of the social enterprise. This includes; Marketing, branding, website maintenance, Finance and much more.
Angelica Johnsen, Founder of Tesoros Maya. She brings to the board a passion and deep understanding of the work we do. She has founded a similar business empowering women artisans in Guatemala and preserving an ancient weaving craft. Her work provides the artisan women with a sustainable, dignified income, a sense of pride in their culture and social-economic freedom.
Her background in Government and International studies helps us navigate the complexity that comes with grants, funding, contractual agreements, legal fiduciary and many more issues.
Experience working with artisan women in developing countries helps us share and come up with lasting solutions to the unique challenges faced by these communities, in governance, culture, female empowerment and the commerce side of our nonprofit corporation.
Kate is the founder of Zafarani Afrika. She is passionate about making a difference in the everyday lives of the artisans. Works directly with the artisans in Kenya helping them with resources and solutions to the many challenges they face. Joined forces with Anne to become a co-founder of Sawa Sawa Collection.
As the face of Sawa Sawa Collection in Kenya, Kate coordinates the artisans in multiple rural villages and Nairobi markets. She runs the resource center to provide aid to the women artisans and also purchase, brand and package the handmade products. She leads a very capable team to help reach and empower more artisan women.
Her background in business and finance helps her run the center effectively and understand the value to economic empowerment to every individual artisan women, her family and the society as a whole.
Alice has an MBA in strategic management. She has build her career on empowering women and girls in developing countries. She has worked with many INGO’s to support sustainability and grown of women and government departments to create or change policies that burr the prosperity of women. She worked as a capacity strengthening coordinator at ActionAid. Coordinated self assessment for 11 national partner organizations in Kenya, DRC, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. This was implemented in partnership with ActionAid, Oxfam, ChristianAid, CAFOD, and Tearfund. Her expertise helps advice Sawa Sawa Collection on capacity development and resources that improve the quality of life of the women artisans.
Our 2020 addition to the board is the wonderful, charitable Chelsea. She brings her knowledge on entrepreneurship and Finance. She is a former Entrepreneurship Rec Management professor at Texas State University. She is a successful realtor and a good friend of Sawa Sawa Collection. Her unique strength is her outgoing personality and character. She lights up any room she walks into. She brings her super power of networking to the board.
Lillian joins the Sawa Sawa board in 2021. She shares in the vision and passion of using fashion to empower artisan women in Africa. She is the founder of Zuri Styles which empowers vulnerable women in Uganda escape sex trafficking. By creating a platform for them to share their skills in beading and other ancient craftsmanship. Follow her work on Instagram. Shop and donate to make a difference.
Kim Williams is a Commercial Real Estate Property Manager in Austin, Texas. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Austin. She brings a different perspective of the ancient Kenyan craftsmanship. She spent time in Kenya with her family and experienced the artisan in their natural environment. She understands the need to empower the women and keep their culture and traditions alive.
Phyllis has been an invaluable addition to the team. She has volunteered her skills and time to Sawa Sawa Collection from the very beginning. She brings to the team her vast knowledge of the language, traditions and culture of the Maasai tribe. She has been instrumental in putting the women groups together. She is our liaison to the women groups. She coordinates the resources, work, designs and communication. We wouldn’t be here without her efforts.
The Sawa Sawa team includes;
Retail Consultant: Matt Mason
Growth Strategist: Chandal King
Volunteer and Admin Coordinator : Priya Chandrani
Kathy Smartt: Grant Advisor
Learn more about who we are