Meet our Board Members for the 2016-2017 Term!
Meghan Rittenberry, President
Growing up an expat, I had the pleasure of moving all over the world. Twelve new cities and countries all before High School. The adventure that this life breeds in you made it an easy decision to move from Chicago to South Africa when my husband of 13 years was offered an amazing role and new opportunity. With 20 years in the retail and fashion industry, alongside a degree from the University of Oklahoma, I was able to bring my knowledge and passion to Johannesburg and not only find a home, but a way to give back to the community through Edu Fun. Whether it’s enjoying a holiday in the bush on safari, running with my dog or simply enjoying a Sunday braai with the amazing people we have met here, we are lucky to call South Africa our home. As the President of ASSA, I look forward to welcoming new Americans to this beautiful country and showing them all it has to offer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liza Munson, Executive Vice President
I was born and raised in New York and grew up in a very small town. My family lived on an unpaved road and there were no neighbors in sight. After high school I attended Ithaca College and graduated with a degree in Corporate Communications. I then moved to West Palm Beach, Florida where I enjoyed the sunshine for eight years. My husband Stephen, who is also from New York, and I were married in Florida and we moved back to New York a few years later. After living and working in various areas around New York City for 13 years, Stephen and I were thrilled when his company offered him an amazing career opportunity in Joburg. We only had to consider the option to come to South Africa for about ten minutes before saying yes! We arrived in February, 2015.
Prior to relocation, I was employed by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), an organization dedicated to finding cures for leukemia and blood cancers, as Sr. Vice President Campaign Development. In this role, I managed fundraising campaigns nationally, totaling over $150 million in annual revenue. These days, I am enjoying my new job as as expat wife. In addition, I have become involved with many groups and causes. One organization which is very close to my heart is EduFun. I volunteer twice a week as an EduFun teacher helping students who attend the Diepsloot Combined School (DCS) to become more proficient in speaking, reading and writing English. I love working with these enthusiastic kids. Despite living in extremely difficult conditions in an informal settlement the students are sweet, loving and excited about education. Recently, I learned that many students struggle to study and complete their homework in the evening as they live in shacks without electricity. Finding this unacceptable, I raised over R50,000 to purchase solar lamps for nearly 500 DCS students. In addition, I have joined other members of the American Society and Women of Worth (WOW), a social group for women in Joburg, in organizing a fundraising gala to provide bursary funds for female university students from Diepsloot. I also write write a blog titled “My Thoughts From the Deep End” which documents many of my interesting, unusual, amazing, beautiful and sobering life experiences here in South Africa.
Ogechi Nunn, Executive Treasurer
Born and raised in London, I moved to Johannesburg with my husband and three children in July 2016. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but since arriving we haven’t looked back!
I studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University however my professional career has been spent in the financial services sector. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with EY in 2003, I’ve spent the last 13 years working at a number of different investment banks in a variety of roles including Corporate Finance, Business Planning and Project Management.
I love to meet new people and explore different cultures, and I’m excited about the many opportunities and new experiences South Africa has to offer. I also love travelling, reading and spending time with friends and family. Contact: email@example.com
Memuna Williams, Membership Chair
I am a translator and manager, and the founder of Avantgarde Translations. I live in Johannesburg, am married to Victor, and have three children, Victor, Alex and Arthur. Before Johannesburg, I lived in Nairobi, and Lagos. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mallika Das, Newsletter Editor
Mallika moved to Johannesburg with her spouse and their five year old daughter in January 2016. This is her fifth country to become “home”. As a global marketing and advertising professional, she has over 12 years of extensive experience working with multi national companies and agencies across Asia and North America. She see herself as a “global native” and deeply values her world adventures as a way to truly understand and embrace all people and cultures. Contact: email@example.com
Leslie Randolph, Activities and Community Services Chair
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Leslie moved to Johannesburg with her family in January of 2015. Prior to relocating, Leslie was the Vice President of a boutique public relations firm where she advised local and national organizations on their marketing and media efforts. Though her clients’ fields ranged from fine art events to luxury home building to reptiles (yes, reptiles!!!), she was most passionate about the non-profit organizations she represented. Though she is unable to work in South Africa, she is eager to funnel that passion into her volunteer work and make an impact in her new community. As the Community Service chair of ASSA, Leslie will identify worthy organizations in need of our support and help organize meaningful volunteer opportunities for our members. She hopes her efforts, combined with our members’ contributions, will make a profound impact on our home away from home.
Gretchen Matthews, Website and Online Communications Chair
Originally from Syracuse New York. After graduating high school I enlisted in the United States Navy. I completed my engineering degree at the Service School Command just outside Chicago. I was stationed at the Naval Submarine base in St Mary’s Georgia until my term was completed. I visited South Africa in 2001, just after the tragedy of 911 and decided to remain. In 2006 I founded a construction concern and remained the MD until 2014. I now head up a small consultancy that specializes in the project/ financial/ legal management of large private residential, residential cluster developments and commercial construction projects. I am grateful to have a wonderful husband a two amazing little boys (6 and 9 years old). We have a very naughty Beagle puppy, named Cecil. Cecil loves long walks in the park, playing outside with the boys and attending doggy training. I enjoy traveling and exploring new restaurants with my husband. I am a lover of good wine and company. I am always continuing my education and spend a good portion of my free time learning. After nearly 15 years in South Africa; it is such a pleasure to spend time with other ex-pats that share so many of my own interests. I look forward to serving the members of ASSA.