The inaugural Minto conference happening in Dallas Texas will bring together key speakers from the Gusii diaspora community, many professionals and community leaders of diverse backgrounds.
A quick look at the speakers’ profiles reveals a rich diversity of individuals drawn from different sectors, backgrounds and professions. There is a strikingly eye-catching list of Gusii women who will speak at the gathering which runs over two days at the Renaissance Dallas North Hotel, starting Friday, 1 September 2023.
In the first of our series on more than a dozen women set to speak at the conference, Kurunzi News’ Winnie Maganga looks at four of the women who represent a rich diversity of women, whose profiles and life story will light up the sessions at the two-day conference.
Bianca Agoki – Moderator
Bianca is a remarkable talent and woman of amazing abilities as a mother, a journalist, culinary enthusiast, Church pianist, and content creator; who will be on the panel of moderators of the conference.
She attributes her diversity and discipline to the foundation of Adventist Education, which started at Maxwell Academy/Griggs International to a BA in History with a Minor in Music from the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton.
She furthered her education with a Master of Arts in Communication Interdisciplinary Studies from Andrews University upon her family’s relocation to the United States.
Bianca’s passion for education is the reason she designs and conducts digital workshops aimed at fostering self-improvement, Bible studies, facilitating immigrant integration, and guiding individuals in acclimatizing to life in the United States.
She is also the host and producer of 100,000 Voices, in collaboration with KDSO TV based in Dallas, Texas, which offers the platform for immigrants to share their experiences in the US through storytelling as a way of helping others learn how to cope with life abroad.
Bina Maseno, Founder/Executive Director – Badili Africa
Bina, 33, is a communication specialist and a former journalist with Kenya’s K24 TV who has been championing for the rights of women, as well as projecting the voices of young girls and women through her journalism and the media space. Leadership comes naturally for her and to realize this dream, she threw her hat in the political ring at a very young age, vying for office in the Kenyan General Elections of 2013.
Although unsuccessful at the ballot, Bina used her experience as an incentive to found Badili Africa to help shape women into becoming active citizens by learning their civic rights and practicing them.
To create a solid foundation for the women in the society both in political and economic spaces, Badili Africa creates platforms for young women in educational institutions to help women and girls in the informal settlements get involved in civic dialogues for political awareness and participation in governance and democratic processes.
The women therefore get the chance to actively influence local development plans, policies and programs in ways that prioritize the needs of women in the society.
Badili Africa, a civil society organization based in Nairobi, has been in the forefront championing the strengthening of the leadership capacity of women and girls. With a digital reach across more than five African countries, more than a million women in Africa have benefited through chama women projects that are fully supported by her organization.
Through concerted multi-lateral efforts, Bina envisions a Kenya where all citizens are well educated and properly empowered with the civic tools about the exercise of their rights, responsible citizenry and problem-solving contributions to the problems facing the country.
As a mentor, speaker and moderator, Bina has graced several global discussion platforms under different initiatives, including the Obama Africa Leaders Program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Goalkeepers events.
One of her favourite subjects is the speaking on the “Power of Women Movements”, her latest stage being the United Nations Population Fund Africa forum in Gambia, where she made a presentation on Governance & Accountability and Women in Development on Gender and Leadership.
Dr Truphena Choti, Founder/CEO – AfriThrive Inc.
Now a household name among many African immigrant and refugee families in the Greater Washington DC-Maryland Area, Dr Truphena Choti, the founder and CEO of AfriThrive, is also the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Thrive Ventures Africa.
Through her philanthropic work, she has been on the forefront in the pursuit of humanitarian relief and development, not only, to her community but also at the global stage. Being passionate about the need to improve the livelihood of immigrants in the diaspora and give dignified quality of life for the community, over the years, Dr Choti has implemented high-impact community programs that have helped empower systemically-isolated families to help them thrive.
Her significant contribution to the social empowerment in community development does not go unnoticed as she has been numerously honored for exemplary work from the grassroots level. Her many awards include the July 2023 award by United States Senator Chris van Hollen, who recognized her for her outstanding contributions to the African Diaspora community.
AfriThrive, which is based in Silver Springs, Maryland, is non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality oflife for African immigrants through food justice and equity by facilitating access to culturally-appropriate healthy foods. They operate weekly free food distribution exercises in Montogmery and Baltimore Counties in the State of Mryland in addition to socio-economic empowerment programs involving women, youth and the overall family outfit.
Dr Choti is a holder of a Master’s degree from Georgia State University and a PhD in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she uses her experience and wisdom to mentor and guide the next generation of leaders. Her legacy and leadership is tipped as a precursor to sustainable humanitarian development to the coming generations.
Dorice Aburi, Woman Representative – Kisii County
Dorice Aburi, the Woman Representative for Kisii County, is one of the celebrated women leaders of her generation among the Gusii and a role model to the girl child among her constituents.
Fondly known as “Donya Toto”, the ex-Egesa FM radio presenter complements her legislative duties by serving her community through her Donya Charity Mission, which empowers Persons Living With Disability and other vulnerable groups in Kisii County and beyond.
She has been one of the most noticeable faces of advocacy efforts in favour of the girl child in the society and has led the cause to eradicate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, Gender-Based Violence and water scarcity in Kisii County.
Her resilience to help curb GBV in the county gave life to the Gender Violence Recovery Center at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Kisii, though collaboration with other stakeholders.
In her vision for a better Gusii, Donya believes in equal opportunities if the Gusii people were to thrive, a mission that she says would be possible through enhanced access to quality education, proper healthcare, clean water, as pillars of socio-economic empowerment.
Donya attended St. Anne’s Mumias Primary, Kaplong Girls High School, Consolation Institute of Mass Communication, and Mount Kenya University. Before her election to parliament in 2022, she had served as a board member of South Nyanza Sugar Company Limited.
Lyna Nyamweya, CEO – Bold Impact
Lyna Nyamwaya, also the founder of Bold Impact Group, was born and raised in Kenya but has been in the USA since the mid-90’s as a student, rising through leadership ranks to become the first nurse leader of African descent in a Level One trauma hospital. Her non-profit seeks to increase the visibility of immigrant and refugee nurses.
Her life story is typical of one of coming from a humble background and soldiering on to become an outstanding student, a great Alumnus and a leader of a number of organizations; hers is a story that would motivate any young girl to never give up pursuit of better opportunities.
She is a role model and a tireless mentor who believes that sharing knowledge and expertise is the most invaluable way to create positivity and leave a mark in this world. She lives by the quote – “if your presence doesn’t create an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.”
Musi Kiarie, Finance Executive & President – Coaches Of Influence Foundation
As a dynamic and influential speaker, she is a sought-after guest to enrich, equip and establish women and young minds into empowerment to maximize their potential and achieve their purpose.
She is passionate about the things of God and goes by the mantra “To be used of Him for His Special and Specific Purpose; To Shine His Light, to Share His Love and to Shape His People”.
Through COIF, which helps individuals, groups , groups, nations and organizations to pursue and achieve their purpose, Musi is an inspiration towards meeting ultimate goals through positive influence coaching, teaching and modeling.
She is also a member of the board of directors of Destiny Women Capital, an organization that provides strategic oversight and guidance for women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
Musi is a holder of an MBA from Le Tourneau University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy, Social Policy cognate, addressing a raft of cultural issues and societal challenges – racial inequality gap, economic pressures and long overdue public policies that could help create an inclusive economy that positively impacts persons with disabilities.
She has been married to Eric for 20 years and together they have two boys: Anre’ (19) and Amani (17). She is actively engaged in her community in creating awareness and providing support for Kenyan Autism Parents and is intentional in driving disability inclusion globally