Kenya Client Relationship Manager Traci Yoshiyama
One of our most valued staff members, Traci Yoshiyama, completed her service with Zidisha today. She has led the development of our platform in Kenya since joining us as a Client Relationship Manager in June 2012.
When Traci began working with our clients in Kenya one year ago, our lending program was still quite small, with just a few hundred clients mostly located in the villages surrounding Nakuru, in the Rift Valley province. Since Traci arrived, we have gone on fund more than a thousand loans throughout the country.
Many of these loans were a direct result of her work. Traci spent countless hours, days and weeks traveling up and down the country under rough and grueling conditions, conducting information sessions and forging outreach partnerships with local NGOs and other community leaders, and patiently sitting down with one client after another to introduce them to the Zidisha website.
The connections she made resulted in new opportunities and real hope: children eating better food, living in better housing, life-saving medical care becoming affordable, teenagers completing secondary school, and university education within reach for the first time. Traci’s work to forge connections between these individuals and Zidisha has opened up opportunities that have changed the trajectory of hundreds of lives. The ripple effects of this work will continue to grow and spread long after Traci has left Kenya.
Along the way, Traci has distinguished herself for her talent in connecting with our clients with empathy, and telling their stories beautifully and unforgettably. She authored many of the accounts in Venture, our recently published ebook collection of entrepreneur stories. You may find many other remarkable borrower stories she has written at her weblog, Talking Story.
Traci’s sincerity and dedication to advancing opportunities for all of our clients have won the respect and goodwill of Zidisha members throughout Kenya. The strong relationships she built over many months have bridged many challenging barriers, and become the foundation for a positive and lasting partnership between our members in Kenya and our international staff and lenders.
With time, the quality of these relationships made it possible for Traci to multiply her impact by becoming a leader of leaders. The result is a strong network of several dozen Volunteer Mentors, experienced borrowers residing in communities throughout Kenya, who volunteer to reach out and assist other borrowers to join and interact successfully with Zidisha.
Words cannot do justice to the momentous legacy Traci has built in Kenya over the past year. The impact of her work will live on in transformed lives, and the continued success and growth of the Zidisha community in Kenya.
– By Julia Kurnia, director Zidisha
Letter from a student of the Terrian School, a charitable early education institution started by Zidisha member Teresia Kabiti in Nairobi, to a pen pal at Hongwanji Mission School in Hawaii. The pen pal partnership between the two schools is one of many legacies of Traci’s service in Kenya.