Atlas Corps celebrates its 15th anniversary! It is time to celebrate the achievements of our amazing network of over 1,100 leaders from 110 countries and share stories on the global impact of our Alumni, Fellows, and Scholars.

Join us as we speak with Hilton Prize Scholar Mary Mogona Mochama (Kenya, Org: Shining Hope for Communities [SHOFCO]) from our inaugural cohort of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute. Mary works for Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), an African-based grassroots organization that transforms urban communities by providing advocacy, critical services, and education and professional opportunities for women and girls. In our conversation, Mary shares with us her work as the Future Education Coordinator, and why she believes effective mentoring can build strong leaders.

Mary, your efforts towards empowering the future leaders of Kenya are an inspiration to us all! Thank you for sharing with us your global impact, as well as your personal and professional growth. We wish you the best with this impactful work!

Name: Mary Mogona Mochama

Home Country: Kenya

Current Organization: Shining Hope for Communities

Role at current organization: Future Education Coordinator

Social Issues that you have worked with: No poverty, Quality Education, Gender Equality

Tell us about projects you have worked on?

My key role as the Coordinator for the Future Education Program is to execute a support model for SHOFCO graduates that will ensure they have access to quality secondary and tertiary education. Through this model, our graduates can grow on their social, emotional, and leadership capacity and ultimately become future change agents for Kenya. I have also worked on a women empowerment program, which provided girls leadership and mentorship.

Why is it important for you to work on quality education for Kenyan youth?

I am a strong believer in the saying, “For whom much is given, much more is expected.” These social issues have directly affected me in various ways. Being able to serve the community that I grew up in, and has given me so much over time, is worthwhile and meaningful. Directly touching people’s lives is just one aspect. It is also understanding and acknowledging that you are making a greater impact, not just for this present state, by improving humanity for a better tomorrow and building from the community level to the global level. This is what gives me the satisfaction to focus on doing more each day.

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?

Atlas Corps has stood out in many ways. On a personal level, the activities and engagements during the Virtual Leadership Institute has taught me how to challenge and adjust my leadership style by helping me see the areas that I needed to improve on. On a professional level, the resources that I acquired from this platform has helped make a long-term difference in the team that I work with on a daily basis. Over the months, I took the time to share with them my Atlas Corps experiences, which in turn has strengthened our work relations.

What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?

Each of the People Power Hour presentations were inspiring. Also, the activities on intersectionality and social change has enlightened me greatly and challenged me to think critically and look at things more broadly.

What advice do you have for applicants and current Scholars?

Because there is so much to receive from others through this platform and the networks you will create, I encourage anyone interested in applying for the next Cohort to be proactive and ready to learn from others. I would also encourage my fellow Scholars, who stands out from the rest, to continue make a greater impact in their communities by sharing the content that they acquired from this rare platform.

What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?

Always know the founding values of Atlas Corps by understanding that talent is universal, by opportunity is not. There are international barriers that prevent global service leadership. The most effective way to address social change is to develop leaders that has, and will always, play a key role in making this course worth it in the long run.

I, along with other Scholars, greatly appreciate your efforts to invest in our mentoring. You have made the impact of social change possible through leaders, such as myself, by touching our lives and investing your time, resources, and energy in us. Because of you, we will continue to ensure the drive and global impact in our communities. I do hope your acts of kindness don’t stop here but instead continues on to impact many more leaders.

APPLY NOW for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize Laureate Virtual Leadership Institute! Emerging social change leaders working exclusively at Hilton Prize Laureate organizations are invited to apply. This five-month online program includes keynote speakers, interactive workshops, self-led activities, discussion groups, and community-building activities with leading U.S. organizations and leaders. Hilton Prize Laureate Scholars will also work on an individual leadership project that benefits the Scholar’s current organization. In addition to engaging within the Hilton Prize Laureate community, the Hilton Prize Laureate Scholars will become members of the broader Atlas Corps Community of more than 1,200 professionals from 112 countries! The deadline is March 21 to be considered for opportunities starting in May 2022. Visit for more information.

Photo from Mary’s personal archive