13 May May 13, 2021 – From Silicon Valley to Africa Kurt Davis and Stop Decorating the Fish Kristen Cox
Kurt Davis – Co-Founder & Chairman Kakuma Ventures
Kenya is far more advanced in terms of mobile
phone payments then we are.
Kurt Davis worked for over 20 years in Silicon Valley and Asia, running the tech rat race as a business development specialist. He was on the road to burnout. Jobs took him to companies like Mitsui & Co., Boku, Asia Sports Mobile Games, and GE Capital. But in 2017, he took a trip to Africa. He thought it would be for a couple of weeks, but he ended up staying for the better part of a year. And he got sucked into the mission of doing good. Kurt began working with various nonprofits to help the talented people he found in Africa and match them up with opportunities. He traveled to numerous companies and came into contact with nonprofits and ventures such as Ghana Mest (funded by Meltwater), Malawi mhub, Funmi’s Kindle Africa, Leap School, Uganda Dance and Solar, Uganda Reaplife, and Zambia Bongohive. Partway into his trip, he got ill and had to return home to the U.S., settling in Tennessee during the pandemic. He wrote a book about his adventures, Finding Soul: From Silicon Valley to Africa — A travel memoir and personal journey through twenty countries in Africa. He also cofounded a startup, Kakuma Ventures, that helps refugees start businesses. He also launched KDAlive, his personal branding website. This platform shares his experiences with those who are mapping their careers and lives with a focus on well-being, travel/culture, and self employment & entrepreneurship.
Kristen Cox – Co-founder of The Fulcrum
Let’s first prove that we can do well with what we have
on our plate, before we just fill our plate with more
Kristen Cox is a senior executive, university fellow and instructor, keynote speaker, published author, trainer, consultant, and co-founder of The Fulcrum. Kristen is a fellow and instructor at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. She served as the executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) from 2012 to 2020. She was appointed to the position by Gov. Herbert in 2012. Prior to her time at GOMB, Cox served as the executive director of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). She has previously worked as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, was appointed to a position with the Department of Education by President George W. Bush and held numerous positions with the National Federation of the Blind. She ran as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Maryland during the 2006 general election. Kristen is the coauthor of Stop Decorating the Fish and The World of Decorating the Fish, (both with Yishai Ashlag). Stop Decorating the Fish is a business fable illuminating how leaders often spend significant time and resources on solutions that only give the illusion of progress, but don’t actually solve the root problem. All proceeds from both books benefit the National Federation of the Blind.