African Leadership University


With a shared belief in the future of Africa, the ALU Board of Trustees and Executive Council consists of a distinguished team which brings decades of experience in education, consulting, finance, human resource management, international affairs and technology.

The Board of Trustees and Executive Council strive to learn, grow, and share their varied experience in shaping the education of future leaders at ALU. The ALU Board of Trustees meets twice a year in the months of May and October. Whereas, the Executive Council meets weekly for meetings and thrice a year for an all-team retreat.

Executive Chairperson

Fred Swaniker

Fred is the founder of the African Leadership Group. He began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey & Co. He is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient to achieve a prosperous Africa is good leadership. Fred holds an MBA from Stanford Business School.

Chair, Programs & Innovation Committee

Chris Bradford

Chris is a co-founder of the African Leadership Academy. He brings a hybrid background in business and education to his work designing and building educational institutions of excellence. He previously worked with Procter and Gamble, the Boston Consulting Group and Oundle School. Chris is an alumnus of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

People and Governance Committee Member

Lynda Mansson

Lynda has been Director General of the MAVA Foundation since 2010. Prior to joining MAVA, Lynda spent 13 years with WWF International in Switzerland, where she managed global strategies and developed performance tools for its offices. She began her career as a San Francisco stockbroker and then earned an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Chair of Finance Committee

Brooks Mparutsa

Brooks is the current CFO of Standard Bank Corporate & Investment Bank. Before joining Standard Bank, he was the CEO of Hollard Insurance for Africa (and served as CFO for Hollard before). A chartered accountant, he currently sits on the board of St. John’s College. Brooks is committed to using his professional experience in finance to make Africa work better for future generations.

People and Governance Committee Member

Peter Burdin

Peter Burdin is the BBC’s former Africa Bureau Chief. He brings thirty-five years of experience as a senior leader of the BBC’s International News team. He has covered numerous major international news stories from the Gulf War to the Rwandan genocide and conflicts in northern Nigeria, Somalia, and the Middle East. He is an advocate of education reform across Africa.

Finance and Audit Committee Member

Daniel Pianko

Daniel is a co-founder and Managing Director of University Ventures, a leading higher education-focused investment fund with approximately $300M under management. He started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Daniel graduated from Columbia University and holds an MBA and Master of Education from Stanford University.

Chair, People and Governance Committee

Nglan Niat

Nglan is the current Chief HR Officer of Dangote Group and previously served as Director of Human Resources at Schlumberger Africa. She has over 17 years of experience in various facets of Human Resources Management. Her work assignments have been in Africa, Canada, the United States of America and France. She has an MBA in Human Resource Management from HEC Montreal.

Programs and Innovation Committee Member

Rapelang Rabana

Rapelang is considered one of Africa’s leading experts in educational innovation and is frequently consulted by organizations like the World Economic Forum for her views on the future of learning. As the CEO of Rekindle Learning, her expertise is in technology and entrepreneurship. She studied Computer Science at the University of Cape Town.

Programs and Innovation Committee Member

Mariko Silver

Dr. Mariko Silver served as President of Bennington College from July 2013 until July 2019. She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the president of Arizona State University, as Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Policy in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

Chief Executive Officer

Veda Sunassee

Veda has spent 9 years in several roles with the African Leadership Group. He first served as an Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty at ALA before joining ALU’s founding team. In 2017, he moved to Rwanda to be the Founding Dean. Veda is a graduate of Princeton University.

VP of Entrepreneurship

Kate Ryan Reiling

Kate served for six years at Macalester College most recently as Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation where she managed accelerator programs, competitions, and seed funding grants. She also taught Entrepreneurship for the Economics Department. Kate holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Chief Marketing Officer

Natasha Turner Traynor

Natasha is a global marketing leader with 10+ years of experience in commercial education restructuring marketing departments to meet recruitment targets, accelerate growth and create customer-centered experiences. Natasha holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an MBA from Bayes Business School at City, University of London.

VP, Transformation

Guillermo Torres

Guillermo is an international manager with extensive experience leading growth, transformation and internationalisation projects. He previously worked at IESE Business School. Guillermo holds an MBA from IESE Business School.


Nhlanhla Thwala

Nhlanhla was previously Academic Director at the Pearson Institute in South Africa. Prior to that, he served as the Managing Director of CTI Education Group and the Director of Wits Language at Wits University. Nhlanhla received his PhD in Linguistics from UCLA.

Senior Advisor

Brian Rosenberg

Brian is the current president-in-residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an American academic administrator and a scholar on Charles Dickens. He previously served as the 16th president of Macalester College. Brian received his PhD in English from Columbia University.

Chief Technology Officer

John Hall

John has 20 years of experience designing, developing, delivering, and sustaining learning technology solutions servicing the needs of retail and corporate markets. Prior to joining ALU, John served as the VP of Program Delivery for eCornell.

Chief Finance Officer

Hadja Ba

Hadja joins ALU from InTouch where she has been serving as CFO. Prior to joining InTouch, Hadja was Africa & Indian Ocean Director of Business Analysis, Controls, and Projects at Accor Hotels.

Dean, ALU School of Business

Momar Dieng

Momar is a mathematician, economic & education policy advisor and an educator. From 2013 to 2018 he served as Senior Technical and Policy Advisor to the Minister in Senegal’s Ministry of Education where he oversaw the implementation of the nation’s education reform agenda and spearheaded ambitious digital transformation initiatives.