Alumni Voices: International Tech Leader Isis Amondi Nyong’o Madison ’95
Before Isis Amondi Nyong’o Madison ’95 returned to Nairobi, Kenya in 10th grade, she spent five formative years at Greenhills School. She credits this time, when she experienced a commitment to student learning from teachers like she’s never experienced since — even as she attended Stanford and Harvard Business School — as important to becoming the person she is today: a globally recognized leader in marketing and ecommerce, a successful entrepreneur, a gender-equity advocate, and a proud Gryphon.
In this video interview, Nyong’o Madison speaks with Greenhills Head of School Peter B. Fayroian and a group of students about her experiences at Greenhills, in college, and beyond. She shares how she got started in international work, how she has handled discrimination, and more.
More About Amondi Nyong’o Madison ’95
Nyong’o Madison built her career in Africa and has played an instrumental role in shaping its digital economy over the past 20 years. As a bicultural and biracial Kenyan-American, she treasured her unique upbringing between the two distinctively different worlds of Ann Arbor MI and Nairobi, Kenya. Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan to a mother from Detroit and a father from Kenya, her family moved to Nairobi in the early 1980’s when she was a toddler. She was raised there before returning to Michigan in 1989, when she joined Greenhills for middle school along with her three older brothers (Kwame ’90, Tavia ’91 and Omondi ’94).
Nyong’o Madisonreturned to Nairobi for 10th grade after spending five formative years at Greenhills, where she thrived academically (including three years of Latin!) and appreciated the opportunity to play team sports (field hockey and swimming). She studied Human Biology at Stanford (’99) and didn’t quite know what she wanted to do career-wise after college, but decided to pursue a business career in Africa bolstered by attending Harvard Business School (’05).
Nyong’o Madison is a Partner at Asphalt & Ink, a firm she co-founded and serves as a Senior Advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group advising, leading global foundations and technology companies on their Africa strategies. This advisory work ranges from strategy formulation, stakeholder mapping, partnership development and navigating policy changes. Prior to this, she founded MumsVillage, a leading ecommerce platform for parents in Kenya and led a merger with a Nigerian company to form Bliss Group in 2020. She earlier held notable leadership positions at InMobi, Google and MTV Networks leading their Africa entry strategies. Through her partnership role at Google, she was instrumental in building the foundation of the digital economy in Africa by structuring private sector partnerships that increased user access to and interest in the Internet while also advocating for public policy change. The widespread use of products such as Youtube, Google Workspace and Google Maps across Africa today are a testament to the impact of her work. In her general management role at InMobi she pioneered mobile advertising in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and was a key member of the founding Africa team at MTV.
Nyong’o Madison makes a concerted effort to address gender bias in the workplace through WomenWork, a women’s digital network she co-founded in 2017. WomenWork partners with global donors and local corporations to implement programs to increase access to capital and business skills for thousands of women-owned SMEs across Kenya.
Nyong’o Madison has 10 years of board experience that includes a mix of publicly listed, privately held, academic, and nonprofit boards. She currently serves on the boards of the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), Southbridge Group (pan-African investment bank) and Nourishing Africa (pan-African digital platform for agri-entrepreneurs). She has been named as Top 40 women under 40 in Kenya for several years and shortlisted on the Forbes Top 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. The World Economic Forum selected her as a Young Global Leader in 2012.