The time has come for ALA to make a long-planned step in our process of institution-building: the transition to a non-Founder CEO.
For the past seventeen years I have had the joy of bringing ALA to life alongside the most exceptional leaders I know: our staffulty and students. I am filled with gratitude for the trust they shown me, and for the lessons they have taught me. My life is profoundly rich and textured as a result of the experiences and lessons we have shared throughout this period.
It is deeply important to me – and core to my own conception of success as an institution-builder – that we transition ALA beyond day-to-day founder leadership. We wrote this aspiration into our ALA 2023 strategy. A transition to an African leader will enable ALA to reach ever-greater heights, and our Board has considered the question and timing of succession since 2018.
The time is right: we have a strong and committed team and good financial visibility. A leader coming aboard in 2021 has time to ‘settle in’ and work side by side with our staffulty, students, alumni, and partners on the priorities we have chosen, gaining deep understanding of the work we do and the amazing people who do it. I believe such a settling-in period is essential before one can lead our next inclusive, long-term strategy process.
I love the institution that we are building together. I am proud of what we represent today, and I am enthusiastic about what we will become for Africa and the world. ALA represents a life’s work for me that is deeply aligned to my personal mission. In the years ahead, I will serve as Chair of the Board, and I will also carry a portfolio that I know will continue to see me enabling our shared mission long into the future.
We have spent many months navigating the near-term uncertainty of the pandemic. This is a chance for us to collectively lift our heads up and look optimistically to the future, imagining our place in the world and the capabilities we seek in a leader of leaders. My successor will work with our global community to chart a path into the far future, with greater impact on our continent.
With love, gratitude, and optimism for the future,