Joan holds a Masters of Science in Engineering Mathematics with a specialization in Optimization from the prestigious Chalmers University of Technology Sweden. During her career she has led successful million-dollar projects with Kenya Airways and has worked as the Head Coach for the Princess Princessa program by Alabastron Network Trust, co-authoring the manual Girls New Cool; Confident, Focused, Beautiful, and Fun. She is passionate about the development of inspirational programs for young women and girls and believes in coaching them with enthusiasm and joy to make responsible and discerning decisions. Joan is currently a growing entrepreneur in the hospitality industry as she runs the Maiyan (luxury homes within a country resort) and the Falcon Heights Hotel, both located in Nanyuki.
Brian Muriuki is the Strategy Advisor in the State Department of Petroleum, Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Prior to this, Brian was the Country Manager for Royal Dutch Shell in East Africa, overseeing Upstream exploration activities for Kenya, Somalia and Zanzibar. Brian also currently sits on the Skills for Oil and Gas Africa (SOGA) Steering Board and is a board director of the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya. Prior to his appointment in Kenya, Brian worked in Iraq and the UAE as the Commercial Manager for Shell’s Exploration and Production businesses in Iraq. Before the posting in Iraq, his career has spanned various positions in Shell including Field Operations, Venture Management, Asset Commercial, Economics, Strategy, and Corporate Planning in the United Kingdom and Norway.
Maggie is an attorney with experience practicing law in a variety of fields including commercial litigation, employment, intellectual property and nonprofit law. She has long been a strong advocate for education, social justice, and environmental causes serving as a pro bono attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, California Lawyers for the Arts, the Central American Refugee Center, and Earth Island Institute, among others. She is a recipient of the California State Bar Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Representation and has served on numerous boards, including the Mill Valley Community Schools Foundation and the Throckmorton Theatre. She currently serves on the boards of both the Daraja Education Fund and Daraja Kenya Initiative, as well as on the boards of the California Film Institute, the Rex Foundation and Sweetwater Music Hall. Maggie graduated with a BA in Political Science and English from Georgetown University and received her JD at the University of California, Hastings.
Raina J. León, member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has been published in numerous journals as a writer of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: (dis)locate (2016) and the chapbook, “profeta without refuge” (2016). She has received fellowships and residencies with Macondo, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Montana Artists Refuge, the Macdowell Colony, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale. She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. She is an associate professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California. She has led workshops on writing for the empowerment of Kenyan NGOs, educational technology workshops both in the United States and Kenya, and workshops with teachers, academics, and youth on developing one’s individual and collective cultural capacity through art, digital storytelling, and writing. León received her BA in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College Columbia University, MA in Educational Leadership from Framingham State University and PhD in Education under the Culture, Curriculum and Change strand at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and her MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Jenni founded Daraja Academy with her husband, Jason, in 2009. She designed many of the programs that make Daraja so unique, and plays a critical role each year in choosing the next class of Daraja girls. Jenni wrote the W.I.S.H. (Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope) curriculum, a 4-year series of women’s empowerment classes which have been enormously popular with the Daraja students. The Doherty family, including their toddler, has alternated between living in the Bay Area and on the Daraja campus in Kenya. While in the U.S., Jenni works with donors to provide continued support for Daraja Academy. While in Kenya, Jenni further develops Daraja’s programing and spends as much time with the girls as she can. Jenni holds a B.A. in English Literature from Sonoma State University. She is very passionate about women’s rights, and strongly believes in the power of educating girls.