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A familiar face to The Global Ambassadors Program (GAP) helped kick off the 21st convening of the distinguished mentoring program created by Vital Voices in partnership with Bank of America, happening this week in Washington, DC. Distinguished alum Sbusisiwe “Sbu” Myeni served as keynote speaker at the GAP DC welcome event where she highlighted her milestone successes since participating in the 2015 South Africa program, such as raising 60 percent of funds needed to run her nonprofit through storytelling on social media.

Myeni is a business consultant, philanthropist and former banker who became the CEO of Imbeleko, a nonprofit that supports high-achieving orphaned youth in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa after the tragic death of her twin sister, Imbeleko’s founder. As a mentee in the GAP South Africa program, Myeni struggled with honoring her late sister’s legacy, while also re-defining the CEO role using her own unique skills and experience from corporate finance.

Myeni was mentored by former Marriott International executive Kathleen Matthews who helped her with stepping into own power while continuing the lift the legacy of her sister through this organization. Since then, Myeni and Matthews have sustained a meaningful mentoring relationship and the two returned to the GAP program in DC to share how she has grown—both professionally and personally over the past seven years.

Here is what Myeni shared, in her own words:

“Thousands” – Sbusisiwe Myeni

My journey began in the Valley of a Thousand Hills—one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.

On the first day of The Global Ambassadors Program, my mentor asked, “What’s your purpose, Sbu?”

I didn’t know, so I said, “If I can help a thousand kids in my lifetime, that will be enough.”

And then she said, “by what date?”

So, we agreed I would touch the lives of 1,000 kids by 2020; Helping them to realize dreams that they would never think they could have.

In the land of a thousand hills, a thousand kids would reach for a thousand dreams.


Everybody loved it.


So, then I had to make it happen.

But I wasn’t alone.

I leaned on the knowledge and connections of not just my mentor, but the other nine Global Ambassadors—and all the other mentees!

Bank of America made connections to people with expertise I didn’t have.

Vital Voices connected me to a network of women all over the world.

In the land of a thousand hills, by 2020 a thousand kids reached a thousand dreams.

I slowly understood. I have big wings. I can fly.

So, we’ll keep building and by 2025, we’ll reach 10,000!