Founding CLI: A thank you note and a new direction

Our Founder, Nate Houghton, is currently in Kinshasa visiting the team. He’ll be updating us periodically on his activities there.

For nearly ten years, my resume and LinkedIn profile has included a role as “Founder” of the Congo Leadership Initiative. It has been an important part of my identity and, too often, a huge part of my ego. But given the nature of our organization as a celebration of Congolese leadership and local change-making, it was never something I was entirely comfortable with.

There are (quite literally) hundreds of people who have been a critical part of CLI’s creation and journey, many of whom certainly did more than enough to own a “Co-Founder” title. Efrem Bycer and Emily Ballard come to mind, though there are too many more to name. Today, the time is right to announce that after a decade of searching, I finally have my Co-Founders (though I’ve known them all along).

Reflecting our new direction for growth (more on that to follow) and their immense contributions to date, I’m thrilled to announce that Robert Kumkum and Emmanuel Baraka, formerly our Country Heads, will now become CLI’s Co-Founder & Head of Programming and Co-Founder & Head of Microfinance, respectively. Together, the three of us are excited to lead CLI’s next decade (and hopefully more after that!).

Thank you all for your support! Robert, Emmanuel, and I can’t wait to see you in the US next week.

Nathaniel Houghton