Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications.
Jomo Tariku was born in Kenya to Ethiopian parents. As a young boy growing up in Ethiopia, he was always drawn to the eclectic art pieces, souvenirs and furniture pieces his father collected while traveling across Africa. That combined with volunteering at a local woodshop in Addis, catapulted his interest in furniture design. Jomo graduated from The University of Kansas with a degree in Industrial Design.
Hamere Demissie, Founder and CEO of Actuel Urban Living is a designer with a passion for contemporary art forms particularly furniture, interiors, fashion and visual arts. She has a dichotomous professional background going back and forth between her two lifelong passions of design and development economics – sometimes managing to miraculously combine her two passions in a single job. Hamere has worked as a designer of apparel, furniture and home furnishings and jewelry with various companies in the US, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
Saron Yitbarek is the founder of CodeNewbie, the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code. She’s also host of the weekly CodeNewbie Podcast and a program manager at Microsoft for Tech Jobs Academy, a technical training program for talented New Yorkers ready to launch their tech career.
You can follow her @saronyitbarek.