How did you discover Tostan? What initially appealed to you about the organization?
Liz Grossman. I moved to Dakar in 2009 and met quite a few Tostan volunteers and staff as I got acclimated to Dakar. I left in 2012 to pursue my Masters in International Education Policy at Harvard and knew I wanted to move back to Senegal upon graduation, so I often cited Tostan as a positive case study in my courses. After a meeting in the Tostan DC office with Gannon, I moved to Dakar and went to visit the Tostan office for lunch around the bowl. From there I was introduced to the amazing team, applied for a role within the communications department and the rest is history.
How did your work with Tostan change or shape your thinking about development?
L.G. After a year in communications, I moved to the Tostan Training Center (TTC) team where I helped create a social enterprise plan to diversify Tostan’s revenue streams through mission aligned training and hospitality services. Back in 2015, very few organizations were using business mindsets in their development work. Tostan pioneered this through the TTC.
What is your current work?
L.G. Right after my time at Tostan, I cofounded Baobab Consulting, Africa-focused social impact firm offering world-class services in strategic communications, strategic advising and research, and intercultural programming. With a diverse team of experienced consultants based in seven countries across three continents, Baobab Consulting has built a reputation as expert cross-cultural communicators who utilize research, digital media, and training to promote equitable international collaboration in business, politics, social advocacy and education. With a globally integrated team, we embody a spirit of international collaboration and cultural competence that has been our competitive edge since our inception. Our unique 100% remote working structure has equipped us with a team of entrepreneurial, multi-lingual, mission-driven consultants based across three continents, seven countries and six time zones, which allow us to serve clients across the globe.
This story has been created in the framework of Tostan’s 30th Anniversary. 30 stories will be published in 2021, celebrating the amazing Tostan’s Family. This is a way for us to honor communities and local leaders as well as our teams, partners, networks, donors and anyone who has joined us on this journey.