|James Otieno , Karibu Rafiki Foundation|
Karibu Rafiki Foundation
James transitioned from a high-level H.R. job with a corporation into a leadership role in the nonprofit sector through a paid yearlong Encore Fellowship. He’s also starting his own foundation.
Otieno was vice president of executive compensation and services at Hewlett Packard when he took early retirement in 2007. At age 47 he had spent more than two decades in the corporate sector and was already thinking about a way to give back in his community.
Having served on the board of the Children’s Health Council and Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, he was involved in improving education opportunities for youth in his community. And he was passionate about helping kids in his native Kenya reach their full potential. “I made a vow to myself many years ago to go into some of the most impoverished areas in the world to provide the gateway for folks to have an education,” he says.
Now he has the freedom to commit his energies full time to leaving the legacy he always envisioned.
Otieno took the first step by applying for the Silicon Valley Encore Fellows program, which matches former corporate employees with nonprofits in need of their skills for time-limited, high-impact fellowships. Otieno was matched with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which partners with the private sector and education community to improve public education.
During his part-time, 12-month fellowship, Otieno helped improve the organization’s human resource systems and management, and he provided high-level strategic support for its five-year plan. He now serves as a vice president with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
Otieno is also using the experience from his fellowship to follow through on another dream, starting the Karibu Rafiki Foundation, which plans to build schools in Kenya and Sudan. (Karibu rafiki means “Welcome, friend” in Swahili.) He says the process of helping the Silicon Valley Education Foundation think through its long-term strategy gave him valuable insight into planning for the start of his own organization.
Read James Otieno’s profile
Listen to James talk about his fellowship
Visit the Karibu Rafiki Foundation’s website
Learn more about Encore Fellowships