Changing the Conversation

Changing the Conversation

A podcast by African Leadership & the Mocha Club.

We believe the greatest asset we have is our love.  But how do we best love others? On our podcast, “Changing the Conversation”, we take time to explore a variety of topics to challenge our perspective in pursuit of better loving people and the world around us. We sit down with artists, writers, country leaders, CEOs and more to consider a different way of looking at a situation by taking the time to listen.

African Leadership Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating world-changing leaders all over the continent of Africa.  Mocha Club, an impact partner of African Leadership, focuses on creating a community of givers who can leverage their assets to support these leaders as they build healthy, more sustainable communities in Africa.

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    Episode 018: What does true partnership look like in an organization? with Irene Tongoi

    Technology is amazing! Today our podcast guest is chatting with us all the way from Nairobi, Kenya! Irene Tongoi is the founder of New Dawn Educational Centre, a project that African Leadership and Mocha Club have supported since the beginning. Irene shares the story of turning her desire to provide education for her community into building a two-story high school that now enrolls 160 students each year. This desire started when she took the time to notice her neighbors and learn about their lives. What incredible things could happen in our community if we did the same thing? You only have to be willing; the Lord does the rest.

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    Episode 017: How does God’s faithfulness change our perspective? With Annie Downs

    On today’s episode, Emily and Fallon sit down with author, speaker, and podcaster, Annie F Downs. She’s been a LONG time friend of the organization and even was on staff with Mocha Club for a few years. We talk about God’s part in the work Annie does and how He got her there. We talk about her journey and the way the Lord moved details to do HIS work and also helping Annie define who she is and what she is called to do. We also focus on the aspect of time and how we can experience a more full life when we honor rest and sabbath. It’s a sitting-on-a-couch-with-a-group-of-friends kind of conversation. Enjoy!

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    Episode 016: How do you start a non-profit? with Barrett Ward

    That’s right, friends! On today’s podcast episode, we sit down with the founder of Mocha Club, Barrett Ward. He shares the seemingly radical moments that changed the course of his life to be in a career caring for the greater world. At the time, coffee was just getting popular, community social platforms were building, and faxes were still in existence — and this helped create the Mocha Club. Barrett shares about how the organization birthed the business he currently works for called ABLE - a lifestyle brand that focuses on economic opportunity for women.

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    Episode 015: What’s it like to travel to Africa with the Mocha Club? with Kathryn Tuck and Allison Buchignani

    On this week’s episode, Fallon sits down to chat (and reunite) with Kathryn and Allison - two of the members of the Mocha Club Journey team who traveled to Kenya last summer! We bet that if you’ve never traveled to Africa, you have some questions about what it’s like. This conversation is a great way to learn more about how African Leadership and Mocha Club approaches international travel. Kathryn and Allison share why they decided to join the trip, how they spent their time in Kenya, and how it was meaningful and impactful for themselves and our partners. Can’t make it to Africa with us? You feel like you’re right there with the team as you listen to this conversation. Off we go!

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    Episode 014: How can fear lead to beauty and change? with Jeremy Cowart

    Emily and I were so glad to grab some time with Jeremy Cowart on this week’s podcast. Jeremy is a well-known photographer, writer, and visionary and he was a big part of the beginning of Mocha Club supporting African Leadership. We are honored to be part of the start of his journey into philanthropic photography and loved hearing his story! We talk about how Jeremy has pushed past fear to create beauty, impact change, and grow personally. It’s an encouraging word for all of us who face fear in one way or another - fear can actually be a tool to leverage you into your dreams. Jeremy confidently shares stories of failure and how he uses it to move forward.

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    Episode 013: How can you experience Scripture and this Easter season in a fresh way? with Kara Gause

    As we prepare for Easter next week, Emily and Fallon sit down with a dear friend, Kara Gause, a writer and editor for She Reads Truth. Kara has a gift of teaching & knowledge of the Word. She shares how her early introduction to theatre and story-telling inspires her understanding & teaching of scripture. Kara and Emily share about their recent trip to Ethiopia where they spent time with women teaching them scripture through story-telling and how they experienced the power of story and scripture when they are aligned together. Kara is one of those women who leaves you feeling heard & known & accepted. We know you’ll feel the same way after you listen. Learn more about She Reads Truth by following them on Instagram and visiting

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    Episode 012 : What’s the secret to capturing authenticity in your photos? with Char Beck

    If you’ve been part of the African Leadership and Mocha Club community for a bit, you know about our amazing friend & photographer Char Beck! Char has a gift not only in photography but also in connecting with people through capturing empathy, adventure, and positivity. You’ll never meet a person who doesn’t love Char. On this week’s episode we talk about his unique way of leveraging his personality as he approaches photography, how to capture authenticity in photos, and the impact of his MANY travels to Africa. And we chat about our upcoming Mocha Club Journey trip to Kenya!

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    Episode 011 : How can you impact the water crisis in one easy step? with Mark Brown

    World Water Day is March 22nd! And we are celebrating by hanging out with our friend Mark Brown, author of the best-selling kid’s book series, ZenPig. For the past five years, Mark Brown has been partnering with Mocha Club to donate a portion of his book sales to provide clean water to communities across Africa. You will LOVE Mark! He has never-ending energy and spunk! We talk about how he started ZenPig and his passion to teach kids about self-forgiveness, gratitude, love, and compassion — lessons he learned later in life. And we share how Mark & all his ZenPig readers have made a huge impact on communities in Rwanda through clean water. And it's not always just about building a well. It's about restoring dignity to people by listening to the desires and dreams of the community and finding different, innovative ways to fight this crisis. You will feel encouraged and inspired listening to this conversation - and you’ll laugh a lot too!

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    Episode 010 : What does changing the world look like when you are doing it with your best friend? with Tito & Geoffrey (and special guest, Caroline Peeples)

    Tito and Geoffrey are our Country Directors in Sudan and Uganda and they have a sweet & goofy friendship. They work closely together as Tito works in the Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda due to civil unrest. And since they met in 2005, they have become the best of friends.  In this episode, we get to hear both Tito and Geoffrey share a bit about themselves — what life was like growing up, why they choose to work for African Leadership, and the hilarious story of how they met - including a bird and lost cell phone. We also have a special guest join the conversation: Caroline Peeples is another one of the Fabulous Friends for Africa and we are all together getting ready for the 12th Annual Fabulous Friends Dance in Nashville. We wanted to bring all these folks together because it paints a great picture of what is looks like to work with African Leadership and the Mocha Club — each person playing their unique part to impact the world. But the “why” all being the same. We hope this conversation inspires you to see that you too, are a hero; right where you are. Would you leverage it?

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    Episode 009: What does life look like in South Africa? with Allan Knowles

    A new host joins Emily Blackledge on today’s episode: Emily Hickey is the Director of International Program for African Leadership and Mocha Club. They sit down to chat with Allan Knowles, our Country Director for South Africa to discuss all the things — the effect of sports and politics on one another, witch doctors and ancestral superstitions, growing up in South Africa during the apartheid and the age of Mandela, and how faith has shaped Allan’s personal sense of hope that he now passes on to others through everyday moments of loving and serving people in his community. If you’re a lover of knowledge, this is a GREAT episode to educate you on the history and current story of South Africa. We know you’ll love this episode!

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