William Smith is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of LEAD Monrovia Football Academy. Inspired by his participation in President George Weah’s 2013 Liberian Peace & Reconciliation football match, Smith co-founded Liberia’s first football school to empower Liberia’s future leaders through quality education and sport. Under Smith’s direction, the Academy’s rigorous academic model and commitment to gender equality has been recognized by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as an “exciting, innovative approach to academic and leadership training that must be watched.”
In addition to his work at LEAD Monrovia Football Academy, Smith has consulted for sport for social change organizations in Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, and the UK. He also speaks internationally on social entrepreneurship and sport for development, most recently at FC Barcelona, the University of Oxford, and a FIFA conference in Dubai. Smith’s talks advocate for a radical rethinking of international development, with a focus on increased investment in locally-driven, evidence-based solutions.
Smith holds an MSc in African Studies from Oxford University, BA’s in Government and French from the College of William & Mary, and a degree in social entrepreneurship from Santa Clara University. He is a 2018 Cordes Fellow and a member of the Barça Foundation and UNICEF’s Working Group on Sport for Development.
Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey (http://www.robtelneajaipailey.com) is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the anti-corruption children’s book, Gbagba. With over a decade of combined professional experiences in Africa, Europe and North America, she has consulted across a broad range of fields while supporting universities, governments, NGOs, media institutions, regional and multilateral agencies. Dr. Pailey previously served as special assistant for communications to Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as well as an adjunct instructor at the University of Liberia and Stella Maris Polytechnic. An increasingly sought after thought leader and public scholar, Dr. Pailey has provided expert commentary for radio, print, television, and online news media across the globe and her research, writing and analysis have appeared in academic journals, edited book volumes, newspapers and magazines.
Dr. Pailey completed BA degrees in African Studies and English Literature at Howard University, an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford and a PhD in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. Dr. Pailey currently serves as a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (IMI), Department of International Development.
Graham M. Albert
Graham Albert was a student-athlete at the College of William & Mary from 1999-2003. He enjoyed both team and individual success at the highest level of American college soccer, earning Division 1 Scholar All-American honors his senior year. In addition to his background as a player, Albert has always been passionate about soccer coaching, development, education, and administration. His father, Al Albert, is a hall-of-fame college soccer coach and former President of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Albert lives and works in New York City as a financial analyst at MP Securitized Credit Partners, an investment fund specializing in mortgage bonds. He wants to leverage his connections and professional experience to help MFA leadership achieve their ambitious goals on and off the field.
Stephen Glass is the Chief Operating Officer at MONIQUE PÉAN, an award-winning sustainable fine jewelry company.
Since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Glass has worked in a variety of institutions around the world. After finishing at Penn, Glass consulted on a report for the United Nations Development Programme that focused on building technological infrastructure in developing countries. Glass then spent four years in the Business Development Group of Bessemer Trust, where he was the firm’s lead analyst for fundraising activities.
Glass received his MBA from Columbia Business School in 2010, where he was awarded the Feldberg Fellowship, the school’s most prestigious full-tuition scholarship. While at Columbia, he was elected Co-President of the Real Estate Association and was an International Development Club project member for Liberia Housing Finance Company, an institution specializing in providing loans for housing in Liberia.
After graduating from Columbia, Glass consulted on Playa Grande, a resort development project in the Dominican Republic, and later served as the Director of Investor Relations at Penn Square Real Estate Group, where he managed investor relations and capital raising efforts for real estate private equity funds.
Clara Doe-Mvogo is the former Mayor of Monrovia, Liberia.
During the Ebola Virus Disease crisis, Mrs. Mvogo served as Co-Chair for the Montserrado County Incident Management System for Ebola, and also as Chair of the Medical Waste Management System for Ebola Response Committee. From 2007-2012, she served as National Technical Coordinator of the West Africa Quality Programme for ECOWAS and UEMOA, which was implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). In that position, she was responsible for the establishment of the National Standards Laboratory of Liberia for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. She has also worked as a consultant on multiple studies on gender issues.
Mrs. Mvogo is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Sinkor, Liberia, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the AME University in Liberia. Mrs. Mvogo was the keynote speaker at the 2015 European Development Days Pre-Opening Program. She has also chaired several high level panels at major conferences, such as the 7th Africities Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, and the 2016 World Bank meeting for Least Developed Countries in Dublin, Ireland.
Mrs. Mvogo holds a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Chemistry, and is a registered Medical Technologist.
Sekou Dgeorges Manubah
Sekou Dgeorges Manubah is the Co-Founder & Director of Football at LEAD MFA. At a young age, he quickly rose through the Liberian ranks, catching the eye of various clubs from around the world. His first three professional stints would bring him to Oman, where he played as a center midfielder for Al-Seeb FC, Al-Tali'aa FC, and Al-Salam SC. After he left Oman, Manubah pursued a new opportunity in Vietnam, where he played for Binh Duong FC. Before returning to Liberia in 2015, he was in Myanmar playing for Hantharwady United.
Throughout his professional career, Manubah periodically returned home to represent the Liberian national team. In addition, he consistently gave back to his local community by coaching local youth teams. In April 2016, Manubah received his FIFA 'C' coaching license, and he aspires to attain an 'A' license by 2020. Manubah is excited to be fulfilling his lifelong dream of coaching at the first football school in Liberia.
Saycon Sengbloh is an award-winning actress whose riveting performance as Wife Number One in Eclipsed at The Public Theater earned her an Obie Award and Drama Desk Award, as well as a Tony Award nomination on the Broadway stage. Eclipsed is a critically acclaimed play that was the first in Broadway history to feature a story on Liberian women during the civil war.
Sengbloh will be seen as Nora in the upcoming feature film Double Play by Ernest Dickerson. She has also starred in the Broadway productions of Holler If Ya Hear Me, Motown the Musical, Fela!, Wished, Aida, The Color Purple, Hair, and the nation tour of Rent. Sengbloh originated the roles of Rita Marlet in Marley at Baltimore Center Stage and Toyia in Katori Hall's Hurt Village (NYC). Television/film credits include Good Wife (CBS) and The Night Of (HBO), American Gangster (Universal Pictures) and Funny Valentine (BET Starz).
Sengbloh attended Agnes Scott College and is a longtime advocate for education, girls, and underprivileged children in Liberia. She is eager to use her platform as a successful actress/artist to support the Academy and serve as a role model for our female student-athletes.
Musa Shannon is a former member of the Liberian national team who starred in Division 1 college soccer at Robert Morris University before playing professionally in the MLS, Portugal, and China. Since 2010, Shannon has served as Vice-President of the Liberia Football Association. He also runs one of the most popular beach resorts in Liberia, Nana's Beach Resort, located in Robertsport City.
Shannon's background as a student-athlete created the foundation for his belief in the ability of sport and education to transform the lives of young people – especially in his country, Liberia, where a quality education is a rare commodity. As a former footballer and current football administrator, Shannon is keen to change the definition of success for athletically gifted boys and girls in Liberia. He is excited to help bring the Academy from the start-up phase to sustainability.
Richard P. Fahey
Richard Fahey served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia during the 1960s. He then returned to the United States for graduate school, earning his JD from Northwestern University. He subsequently specialized in Environmental, Energy, and Natural Resources law for more than 35 years. In 2010, he retired from one career and started another, attending Harvard University as an Advanced Leadership Fellow. That experience gave rise to a new organization called the Liberian Energy Network (LEN), which distributes solar lights to businesses, schools, and families in Monrovia. As the Founder and CEO of LEN, Fahey travels periodically to Monrovia to ensure LEN continues its move to scale. Fahey has already devoted a large amount of time to MFA, and his experience working in Monrovia will certainly provide important insights as MFA moves forward.