Ory Okolloh, known to many as a social justice advocate and vocal online activist, is set to leave Omidyar Network after 7 years at the end of this month. Ory has served as the MD of Omidyar Network and Luminate Group, Omidyar Group’s Governance and Citizen Engagement initiative which was hived off to work independently. Luminate funds and invests in projects and initiatives focused on civic empowerment, data & digital rights, financial transparency, and independent media, an example being Kenya’s HiviSasa news website which closed down operations recently due to lack of revenues.
Ory announced her impending departure from Omidyar Network via her LinkedIn page stating: “So some personal news….after 7 years with the Omidyar Group (ON + Luminate), I will be stepping down at the end of April. I am grateful for the opportunities the two platforms offered for me to have an impact in Africa and in the impact investing / philanthropy space. What’s next? Time off to think about what I do next, especially in this new uncertain world that presents opportunities to reset and do things differently. I am encouraged by the words of Arundhati Roy: “Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
(TOP: Ory Okolloh, the outgoing MD at Omidyar Network. Photo: Wikipedia).
Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Omidyar Network consists of a foundation and an impact investment firm. It has so far committed more than $992 million to NGOs and for-profit organisations in various investment areas and sectors.
Prior to joining Omidyar, Ory was Google’s policy and stragegy manager for Africa and was also at the forefront of developing technology innovation as a founding member of Ushahidi, a crowd sourced platform for mapping disasters, where she also doubled up as the Executive Director when the organisation was founded in 2007 until December 2010. She is also the co-founder of Mzalendo, a website that tracks the performance of Kenyan MPs.
Ory has served on the boards of several organisations including Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company; Stanbic Holdings and Stanbic Bank Kenya. She is also the Chair of Stanbic Foundation and an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow. In the past, she served as advisory board member to Twiga Foods, Amnesty International Africa and Endeavor Kenya among other organisations.
Earlier in her career, Ory served for a short stint as the editor of Global Voices, a portal for an international and multilingual community of bloggers, journalists, translators, academics, and human rights activists, and later as the In-House Counsel for Enablis Entrepreneurial Network.
In 2011, Ory was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and one of Africa’s most Powerful Women by Forbes Magazine. In 2014 she was named among Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.