Our Story

Women Sharing Wisdom Institute’s mission is being an elevating connector between women wishing to share their wisdom and experience with future leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs

The WSWI Connections Timeline


Olivia Herriford goes to Kenya as a tourist and tour guide, Nderitu Mahinda, introduces her to the Mahinda family and friends.


Olivia returns to Nairobi to assist Evans Kahuthu, a friend of the Mahinda family, with a conference and meetings to raise awareness of information security. She is introduced to Esther Muchiri, CEO eMentoring Africa, at a meeting with the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, Dr. Bitange Ndemo. A bond was formed upon realizing a mutual passion for ICT and mentorship.



Olivia joins a business advisors group and meets Kirsti Tcherkoyan, CEO of Options4Growth. Most assumed they would compete as organizational development businesses. Instead they realized they could collaborate and through that connection, learned they both had been to, and fallen in love, with Kenya.


Olivia visits Kenya to be a guest facilitator at the Kenya Institute of Management’s Advanced Management Programme (introduce to KIM by a Mahinda family member). Over a meal of Ugali (corn) and ‘sukuma wiki’ (kale) at Esther’s house, they continue their discussion on how best to mentor and support the youth in Kenya.



During her 4th trip to Kenya, Olivia meets Wamuyu Mahinda, then CEO of the Youth Banner. She joins a group of Kenyan and American women brainstorming the idea of inviting women from the US to Nairobi to share their experience and expertise at a conference in 2013. Conference workshops would support The Youth Banner and eMentoring Africa programs. The idea of Women Sharing Wisdom emerged.


The 1st Women Sharing Wisdom Mentoring Connection Conference takes place with plenaries from local leaders and 2 days of personal and professional development workshops for 31 Youth Banner and eMentoring Africa program participants. The bond between Esther, Olivia and Wamuyu deepens.

Olivia incorporates Women Sharing Wisdom Institute as a 501c3 non-profit


WSWI’s work begins


As WSWI, Kirsti and Olivia travel to Kenya annually and train over 400 entrepreneurs, which could not have happened without the work of Esther and Wamuyu on the ground in Nairobi. They connect WSWI training to Nairobi’s under-served communities and coordinate tutoring services and vocational training groups of young people in the slums of Mathare and Kawangware.




Kirsti and Olivia train university graduates undergoing an eMentoring Africa’s Work Experience and Mentorship Academy (WEMA) training program and members of UNISCOO, an organization of students leaders in universities throughout East Africa.

Kirsti provides support to the staff of eMentoring Africa to help them understand how they contribute to the growth of the organization and becomes an Advisory Council member of eMentoring Africa and Esther’s mentor/coach.

Invited by Margaret Gachagua, the former First Lady of Nyeri County (wife of the governor and a very good friend of Wamuyu’s), Olivia speaks at the Women Leaders Summit and at the first meeting of a new club at Kimathi University for women students with children.

While in Nairobi, Olivia meets Kenyan members of the Global Women Leaders Network, with hopes to connect them to the WSWI Community to pursue partnerships such as those we’ve made with eMentoring Africa and The Youth Banner



WSWI has its Connections Preconference and invites Esther and Wamuyu to the US (San Francisco, CA) to speak to 23 potential mentoring community members and announces the 2018 WSWI Connections Conference in Nairobi.



Esther meets the CEO of Year Up, a US-based organization empowering underprivileged youth through tech-industry training and internships, who graciously shared their successful model with eMentoring Africa as framework for modifications to the WEMA program.

Olivia introduces Wamuyu to Saybrook University and she is invited to be a guest lecturer on social innovation and entrepreneurship at its Fall 2017 Residency for the Leadership and Management programs, held in Monterey, CA.


2nd WSWI Connections Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, November 1-3, 2018.

What is clear about how we have evolved is the true community we have been able to build together starting with a just a few connections between powerful, caring women. This is the vision we have for every WSWI connection made!