Sydney Gray – Founding Director
Inspired by a group of amazing women she worked with to build a water project in Kenya, Sydney was driven to build her own organization to connect the dreamers of New Orleans to the inspiring women she grew to know and love in Kenya. An avid storyteller and collaborator, Sydney uses her strengths to work with women globally to realize their visions and tell their stories. Moving from San Francisco to New Orleans in 2011, Sydney has spent the last four years working with social innovators on a local and international level. Sydney holds a B.S. in Molecular and Environmental Biology as well as a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Global Development from Tulane University. In 2015 Sydney was recognized as an Emerging Innovator by Ashoka for her work with Mama Maji.
Brian Manning – Co-Founder and Director of Operations
Brian grew up in a very mobile family affording him the chance to experience life in many wonderful communities. It shouldn’t be surprising that from that emerged a talent for communicating. From a young age this talent, combined with a passion for service, has led to a track running from Native American reservations, to communities in Oakland, and now the beautiful city of New Orleans. Working as the Director of Operations, Brian is bringing to bear many years of experience managing programs and companies of every size.
Colleen Rowley – Creative Project Catalyst
A sense of “why are we all here?” are the thoughts that bite at Colleen’s ankles everyday. It is the motive of inspirational change that has led her through various career paths such as video production, legal assistance, and even Tai Chi and mediation in search of her median. Each career has given her a whole new set of skills from project management to motivating and creating self value in others. She has a creative and highly intuitive way of working with group oriented environments to build an end product. Colleen is looking forward to helping pave the way for the future innovators who seek to think and create outside of the current societal/cultural boxes.
Sydney Sapper – Program Assistant
Sydney is a recent graduate of Tulane University, where she
double-majored in International Development and Sociology. Sydney has been a community organizer since a young age; bringing passionate people together to make change in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Thailand, Ghana, and Kenya. Her love of people, travel, and global problem solving led her to pursue a career dedicated to improving the lives of people in developing and resource-poor communities. Sydney served as Mama Maji’s first intern and was the first recipient of the Mama Maji Catalyst Award. Dubbed by the women of Kamrongo as “Little Sydney,” she looks forward to continuing her work and changing the world as project assistant at Mama Maji.