#TFAASPOTLIGHT: The Mother ‘Teresa’ of Technology and Innovation

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Teresa Mbagaya is a 33 year old enterprising woman who was born in Kenya and from Zimbabwe. She holds a Bachelors degree from Yale University; attended London School of Economics and Politics Sciences and also has a certificate in Advanced Arabic from SIT Graduate Institute in Washington DC.

Teresa is the Founding Principal at Imaginable Futures, an impact investment firm that invests in education. It was spun out from Omidyar Network. At Imaginable Futures, she is responsible for the strategic leadership, management and execution of the organisation’s investment strategy in education in Africa.

She previously worked at Google on its Education team and partnered with the Emerging Markets Outreach team to provide free open source education materials to emerging markets. Served previously as the Education Lead for Microsoft in East and Southern Africa, where she led regional teams in the deployment and implementation of learning solutions and innovations across 10 countries.

In 2006, Teresa Mbagaya Co-founded Bidii Children Foundation. Bidii is a non-profit dedicated to promoting education in the rural area of Bungoma; a district in Western Kenya.

In 2013 she was selected to lead the development of Econet Education in Zimbabwe, becoming the youngest Executive in the organization. Teresa drove the development of Zimbabwe’s first digital education platform. Since joining Econet, Teresa has launched 3 education services in Zimbabwe with further aims for international expansion: Econet Zero targets 5 million Econet Broadband subscribers offering them free access to 50+ education websites including Coursera, EdX, Wikipedia, Codecademy and others; a global first for any Mobile Network Operator in scale.

Teresa Mbagaya is passionate and driven about education technology and innovation and has a proven career in the private and public sector by impacting millions through nation-wide initiatives centered on digital education transformation and skills development.

What more do we know about Teresa?

  1. She is a member of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Africa Leadership Network, Yale Black Alumni Association and an Advisory Board member for Muzinda Umuzi Hub (Zimbabwe’s first entrepreneurship and innovation Hub).
  2. Teresa has served as advisory board for  Village Capital Communities Africa in 2018 and as an advisory member on the Global Education Platform, under the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. 
  3. She is a member of the Technical Reference Group of the 2017 High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa,
  4. She is a 2020 Tutu Associate, of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship.
  5. She was a speaker at following events: Oxford Business Forum, Oxford 2020, The Next Einstein Forum, Nairobi 2020, Women in Tech Africa, Cape Town 2019, Business Call to Action, UN General Assembly Summit, New York 2018; Connected Kenya, Government of Kenya: Future of Technology in Education, Diani 2017; Stockholm Internet Forum, Stockholm 2017; World Economic Forum (Africa), Abuja 2014
  6. In 2019, she was among Choiseul 200 as among Africa’s economic leaders of tomorrow and an Obama Foundation Leader,
  7. In 2018, She was named as part of Kenya’s Top 40 Under 40 Women in 2018,
  8. In 2015, She was a nominee for the Future Awards Africa, Young Person of the Year,
  9. She was listed as 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes.
  10. She was the youngest of 15 Google Reach participant selected from over 250 global participants to take part in a leadership development assignment in India.
  11. She received a youth scholarship of $1,000 from Hudson River Fisherman’s Association in 2006.

Teresa imagines “a future where people all over the world will feel more connected and inspired to do great things.”

When asked by the Daily Nation to advice women in the areas of career, relationships and health issues, Teresa had this to say:

“On career, I’ve always remarked that absolutely no one but you is responsible for your career; as such, plan for your future. Ask for that promotion, ask to be included in strategic meetings, invest in your leadership and in your colleagues, ask to take lead of varied initiatives and best yet, bring your best self to work.

On relationships, I’ve found I learn most about myself when in a relationship: to be patient, kind, to prioritize another, to listen, to be vulnerable, to communicate. Relationships are difficult, but they are also incredibly rewarding.

On health, preventative screenings and annual physicals are a must. I urge all women to visit a doctor, whether an ob-gyn, a therapist, or a general practitioner because your health is the most important thing.

I find women remarkable and strong and powerful; and so my advice is simple: know yourself, trust yourself, and love yourself.”

Teresa is the future.

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