Cofounder & CEO
Elizabeth is the CEO & cofounder of the Akilah Institute for Women, a college with campuses in Rwanda and Burundi. After founding Akilah with her husband, Dave Hughes, Newsweek and The Daily Beast recognized Elizabeth as one of the 125 Women of Impact. She was recognized as one of the World’s Most Influential Female Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine.
Elizabeth moved to Rwanda a few days after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2006. After volunteering with grassroots projects, she co-founded the nonprofit Amani Africa to provide scholarships to street children, support an orphanage in Kigali, and organize reconciliation and conflict resolution conferences for genocide survivors.
In 2008, Elizabeth and her husband, Dave Hughes, began working with business and civil society leaders to analyze the training needs of the Rwandan private sector. They founded Akilah to provide market-relevant education and career development to promising young female leaders. Newsweek and The Daily Beast recognized Elizabeth as one of the 125 Women of Impact. She was recognized as one of the World’s Most Influential Female Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine. Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz named Elizabeth one of The 5 Most Powerful Women Changing The World With Social Entrepreneurship. Elizabeth received the Woman of Peace award from the Women’s Peace Power Foundation in October 2009. Akilah has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, GOOD Magazine, ABC News, the Council on Foreign Relations, HuffPost Women, Hope Magazine, the Tampa Bay Times, and more.
Elizabeth and Dave live in Kigali with their children, Lorraine, Tamsyn, and Elliott.