This CEO Rapidly Pivoted To Making Masks in Africa

Zane Wilemon, CEO of Ubuntu Life, discussed what it means to be an Impact Executive, bringing impact from the periphery to the center of business.

With his business partner and long-time friend Jeremiah Kuria, Zane started his journey building a center for children with disabilities, providing care to kids suffering from physical challenges and social stigma. In 2005, before the wave of social entrepreneurship, the company shifted its approach with help from Kenyan mothers. 

Zane and Jeremiah realized that business was the only way to create a sustainable solution to social problems, and decided to build a global lifestyle brand based in Kenya.  According to Zane, sustainable impact is the ability to “create a sustainable solution to empower the most marginalized.” Today, Ubuntu provides full-time employment to mostly mothers of children with special needs. 

For Zane, courage requires the ability to find vulnerability from within. During this time of crisis and uncertainty, Zane and Ubuntu demonstrated courage by pivoting the business to create 100,000 masks a week, mobilizing four factories, rallying partnerships, bringing 450 people back to work, and ultimately directly impacting 1,350 lives in Kenya. 

Help support Zane and Ubuntu and empower women in Kenya. Check out their handcrafted espadrilles, bracelets, wallets, dog collars, bags, and masks all made by Moms in Kenya.