Read about the people who keep ConceptLink running and our clients happy. Interested in joining our team? Learn more about opportunities here.
Jerryanne Heath, Chief Executive Officer
Jerryanne, our CEO, has been recognized by Under30CEO as one of the top young entrepreneurs to watch in New York.
ConceptLink is an extension of her lifelong passion for Africa and its diaspora communities. Since ConceptLink’s inception in 2008, Jerryanne has helped her clients raise more than $4 million through a variety of fundraising strategies. These funds have had a wide-reaching impact in several communities in South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria and the US by promoting access to clean water, educational opportunity, environmental sustainability, and scientific discovery.
Jerryanne has also managed a number of high profile events which featured global leaders including US President Bill Clinton, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and international artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’dour and Lira.
Jerryanne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies (cum laude) and a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in Community Economic Development. She is an alumna of prestigious career and professional programs, Management Leadership for Tomorrow and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Jerryanne’s professional affiliations include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Women in Development, Diaspora African Women’s Network, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Check out Jerryanne’s LinkedIn profile
Whitney Bonham, Marketing & Account Manager
Whitney, our Marketing & Account Manager, is ConceptLink’s jack of all trades. She runs ConceptLink’s New York office and brings a vast array of experience in public administration, marketing, and writing to her role. Whitney provides research, communication coordination, copywriting, and strategic thinking for ConceptLink and our clients. Whitney also leads ConceptLink’s marketing and communication efforts and is the first point of contact for organizations seeking to learn more about ConceptLink’s services.
Part of what draws Whitney to ConceptLink’s mission is her desire for a more equitable world. She first witnessed true poverty on a high school mission trip to Mexico, where she and her team spent a week building houses for families in need. From that experience was born a desire to dedicate her time and skills to alleviating poverty and inequality. Since then, she has invested her time volunteering with numerous organizations internationally and domestically.
ConceptLink’s clients benefit from Whitney’s diverse background in numerous sectors. She has interned with US Senators and human rights organizations. After graduating from college, Whitney spent a year abroad teaching English. She has also served as a freelance journalist for her town’s newspaper and worked as a Copywriter and project assistant for a marketing firm in her home state of Rhode Island.
Whitney graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Delaware’s Honors College, where she studied English and Political Science. She recently completed her MPA in International Nonprofit Management from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. Her Capstone project at Wagner brought her to Abuja, Nigeria, where she and her team conducted interviews and developed at Strategic Plan for a Port Harcourt-based nonprofit organization.
Whitney is proficient in French and enjoys traveling, reading, and Broadway in her spare time.
Check out Whitney’s LinkedIn profile.
Maraki Shimelis Kebede, Research Fellow
Maraki joined ConceptLink as our Research Fellow, spearheading ConceptLink’s market research study. She is an international student from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is completing her graduate studies at the George Washington University in International Education and Development, with a regional focus on Sub Saharan Africa.
The vast majority of her experience has been spent in building competencies in advising and program oversight in higher education. She’s served as a Teaching Assistant for several courses at Montgomery College and the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2009-2010, Maraki worked as an academic advisor for undergraduate students in the life sciences at the University of Maryland, instructing a college-level supporting course there as well. Currently, she works as a Graduate Assistant for the George Washington University’s Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, advising students applying for fellowship opportunities and research grants, managing office communications, and facilitating various campus workshops.
Maraki also has experience supporting various non-profits, including InterAction, the World Bank, Diaspora African Womens Network, and Young Ethiopian Professionals, in managing communications, as well as program design and/or implementation. She currently works as the Assistant to the President of People to People, Inc., a 501c3 dedicated to improving health care and reducing the spread of diseases, particularly in Ethiopia and in diaspora communities.
She tweets via @CoffeeBean7. Check out Maraki’s LinkedIn profile.
Nathan Chiume is a Risk and Compliance Manager with 8 years of Wall Street industry experience in asset management business. He currently works at Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division leading a team that captures and monitors trading violations across globally traded portfolios ensuring that the Bank is operating within industry regulations and well as with client fiduciary requirements. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, he worked as an Analyst at Citigroup and Legg Mason asset management divisions.
Born and raised in Tanzania with parental heritage from both Tanzania and Malawi, he is passionate about Africa’s culture and development. He is a former Board Member of AngelAfrica, a non-profit organization which aims to connect young African professionals and business leaders to promote economic growth in Africa by leveraging collective talent, encourage entrepreneurship and private sector development initiatives. He conceived and organized first ever AngelAfrica’s East Africa Investment Forum in 2009. He also volunteered with Deutsche Bank’s Microcredit Development Fund as well as with Bumbuli Development Corporation (BDC).
His other interests include political analysis, public policy, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, impact investing, community development, African private equity and corporate social responsibility. He resides in New York and he enjoys travelling and photography. He holds a Finance and Investments degree from Baruch College, City University of New York.
You can follow his tweets at @chiume.
Amini Kajunju is the President & CEO of the Africa America Institute (AAI). A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms. Kajunju is the first African woman to ever serve at the helm of the oldest nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States.
Ms. Kajunju joined AAI in October 2012 from the New York-based Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, train and inspire under-resourced entrepreneurs in the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She served as executive director for 10 years, and under her leadership the organization’s programming and served more entrepreneurs than any other institution of a similar size in New York City. In that capacity, Ms. Kajunju helped to start AngelAfrica, an organization engaged in promoting private sector development in Africa and networking opportunities for African professionals in the Diaspora.
Prior to WIBO, Ms. Kajunju served as a program officer at the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), an organization providing free consulting services to businesses in developing countries. At IESC, Ms. Kajunju recruited and managed US volunteer experts who assisted small to medium businesses in the fisheries, clothing, and mining industries in countries of southern Africa.
An entrepreneurial leader with strategic, fiscal, organizational and mentoring skills, Kajunju worked in program positions at the Social Science Research Council, Center for Humanitarian Outreach & Intercultural Exchange, and The Carter Presidential Center.
She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in International Relations with an emphasis on economic development from Brigham Young University and a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in finance and management from New York University.
Solome Lemma is the co-founder and executive director of Africans in the Diaspora (AiD), a new organization that consolidates the philanthropic, social, and intellectual capital of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora to advance social and economic change in Africa. Prior to that, for over five years, Solome oversaw the Africa portfolio at The Global Fund for Children, managing a large portfolio that included work with over 100 grassroots organizations in 25 countries.
Solome is also co-founder of HornLight, an online platform that promotes diverse, nuanced, and dignified narratives on the Horn of Africa. In the past, Solome has worked with the UN Development Programme in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch in New York City, and International Rescue Committee in Liberia. Solome received a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University.
You can follow her tweets at @innovateafrica.
Cedric Ntumba is a Private Equity Deal Executive at Capitalworks Investment Partners, an independent alternative asset management firm in South Africa that provides investment access and specialist solutions to its clients. Cedric, a student pilot and a UK Chevening Scholar, also chairs the Board of The South African Ballet Theatre, Africa’s largest professional ballet company.
Amongst other initiatives, he is a member of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)’s Johannesburg Chapter and, by invitation only, the African Leadership Network and Africa 2.0. He is a member of the University of Oxford Business Alumni Network and an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow. Cedric is a Fellow of Crans Montana Forum: New Leaders For Tomorrow, a unique community of Business and Government leaders from Africa, the Arab World, Far Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South-America and Far East. He is also a sub-editor of and contributor to the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship column in the Mail & Guardian ThoughtLeader online publication.
For 5 years, he was a Non-Executive Director of the Railway Safety Regulator, and recently chaired the Audit Committee of the Energy Sector Education and Training Authority and was a member of the Audit Committee of the Gauteng Provincial Treasury. He is a Gordon Institute of Business Science Nexus and Dialogue Circle alumnus.
Cedric has been invited to share his perspective on many platforms including the G-20 Summit in France, the Mo Ibrahim annual gathering of African leaders in Tunisia, the Wharton Business School in the USA, and the 2012 OpenForum (funded brainchild of George Soros) in South Africa, where other panellists included businessmen Patrice Motsepe, Mo Ibrahim and Tony Elumelu. In 2011, he chaired panel discussions on the vision of African Youth at the annual Brand African Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), he was educated in the DRC, Belgium, the United Kingdom and South Africa. He holds qualifications in Finance and Accountancy as well as executive education from the Universities of Johannesburg and Oxford (SBS). Cedric qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte and Touche and formed part of both its financial services and graduate recruitment teams. In partnership with his wife, a serial entrepreneur, and others, he is invested in The Little Ashford Group, a series of private pre-primary schools/crèches and children-focused services in South Africa, amongst other private ventures. He has strong passion for the development of young African leaders and is involved in numerous initiatives aimed at advancing their progress.
Cedric relaxes by flying aircrafts, reading, listening to music, socialising, gardening and developing his photographic skills.
You can follow his tweets at @kayeyentumba.
Brian Shields is the Co-Founder of IncubateNYC, the first technology incubator in NYC focused on helping startups with products scale into large commercial entities by enhancing their sales and business development strategies. Prior to this, Brian was the Sr. Manager of Commercial Strategy at Solstas Lab Partners, a clinical diagnostic laboratory and a WCAS portfolio company. Brian has also worked at Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) in New York, spending two years as an Investment Professional, and a third year in the WCAS Resources Group. Brian supported a number of initiatives, engaging with the various specialists and generalists to drive operational growth and cost improvements across a number of functions and strategic plans.
Prior to joining WCAS, he was a member of the Lehman Brothers Global Financial Sponsors Group in Investment Banking. Brian is also a founding member of InHouse Group, an investment group started in 2006 to leverage its members’ collective business experiences by making investments and supporting small and minority owned businesses in the surrounding community. In 2011, Brian founded WB Capital, a small investment club aimed at making hedge fund style equity and derivatives investments in the public markets.
Originally from Houston, TX, Brian holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Morehouse College, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
You can follow IncubateNYC’s tweets @IncubateNYC.
Karen Solorow brings more than 25 years in the financial services and media/publishing sectors to her role As Founder and President of Coaching for Success, LLC, a leadership/career coaching and training & development consulting practice for emerging leaders to senior executives (with special emphasis on women and minorities). Engagements have included individual coaching and group facilitation, career preparation skills (resume consulting, goal setting, interview preparation), group workshops (topics include improving communication skills, mentoring for emerging leaders, managing your career, improving visibility, and promoting diversity in the workplace, etc.); Karen also provides training & development consulting services to public and private companies. Project assignments have included helping solve retention challenges, designing credit training workshops, communication skills workshops, and optimizing action learning initiatives. Karen is also a professional resume writer, with numerous individual and corporate clients including one of the largest web-based executive job search organizations.
Karen brings a diverse background to her clients. Prior responsibilities include roles in organizational development/ HR (recruiting, managing executive leadership development initiatives, and executive search) for companies including The McGraw-Hill Companies, Bankers Trust, Alliance Bernstein and Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank. In addition, as Vice President, Karen brings 15+ years of sales and relationship management experience in banking, managing a portfolio of multinational Fortune 500 clients.
Karen has been a guest speaker and has facilitated and/or moderated numerous panels focusing on career challenges facing the business professional today. Karen is a member of National Association of Professional Women, 85 Broads, Women on Wall Street, SHRM, and Fortè (among others) and has held advisory board positions with The Darden Business School Corporate Advisory Board, ConceptLink Consulting and Career Resources Consortium. In July, 2009, Karen appeared live on Fox Business Network as a contributor to a career segment on “Unemployment Bias”.
Karen earned her M.B.A. from The Simmons Graduate School of Management and a B.A. undergraduate degree from Syracuse University. In her spare time, Karen is an avid singer and photographer and is committed to coaching others to leadership and professional success.