Founder & CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture (WANDA)
Tambra Raye Stevenson is on a mission to lead a movement to develop the next generation of women and girls in agriculture and nutrition as the founder and CEO of WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture. With the “Where’s Wanda?” series she hope to inspire girls to lead in the sector. She believes women and girls deserve a pipeline and platform to educate, advocate and innovate for a healthy and wealthy communities. As former Future Farmers of America card-carrying member, Tambra’s roots in agriculture and nutrition were planted early as a fourth-generation Oklahoman.
Since launching WANDA in Washington, DC and Abuja, Nigeria, WANDA provided nearly 200 nutritious meals to children and families in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Abuja, Nigeria who fled from the north due to Boko Haram. WANDA conducted nutrition outreach and Where’s WANDA? Workshops to over 300 school girls in northern Nigeria.
Nominated as a Changemaker, she attended the first-ever United State of Women Summit hosted by the White House for her work with WANDA. She held Africa Farm to Fork Entrepreneurship Bootcamp providing technical assistance for African diasporan women-led food businesses. Recently she was named a “Pioneer” by the ASHOKA and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Children’s Wellbeing Initiative for the “Where’s WANDA?” girl empowerment nutrition program to inspire girls to become food sheroes in their community.
As the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s Traveler of the Year, her passion in finding her Fulani roots in Niger and Nigeria sparked her desire to share the health and beauty of African heritage foods as the founder of NativSol Kitchen. In 2015 she was featured in Elevate DC as one of 50 innovative leaders transforming metro DC’s food system. Also she was appointed by Mayor Bowser to serve on the first-ever DC Food Policy Council. She has been interviewed by the Washington Post, She Leads Africa, WPFW-FM radio, Cuisine Noir Magazine, WHUR-FM radio, BellaNaija.com, NBC4 , BlackEnteprise.com, EmPower Magazine, Huffington Post, Sirius XM Radio, NBC Nightly News, BET.com, and TheRoot.com.
Prior to that Tambra spent 10 years of creating and coordinating local and national initiatives to improve health and economic opportunities in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce and D.C. Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives and at the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health.
In the states, Tambra has given talks at the U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Robert E. Lee Memorial, and Howard University. She has crisscrossed the continent lecturing on the importance of preserving African heritage foods as medicine to combat Western non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. In Africa she has been invited to lecture at the American University of Nigeria, University of Cape Coast Medical School in Ghana and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. And in 2014 she was shortlisted by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation as a Young African Leaders Summit delegate for the African Union Summit to speak on youth employment in Africa related to food security and agriculture. This Fall she has been invited to Sweden to facilitate workshops on migration and food patterns in addressing childhood obesity.
Tambra’s many accolades include OSU’s 2016 Diversity Hall of Fame Honoree, 2016 Fest Africa Community Service Honoree and HHS Secretary’s Leadership Award. She has gained research experience in the top-tiered nutrition research labs at Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine addressing nutritional challenges among youth and people of African descent.
Tambra received her bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition/premedical sciences and a Spanish minor at Oklahoma State University. As a Boren National Security Education Scholar, she studied public health at Ponticifia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Dominican Republic. She has a master’s in health communication from Tufts University School of Medicine-Emerson College Joint Program and completed MBA coursework in entrepreneurship and health care marketing at Boston University Graduate School of Management. She has a certificate from New York University-World Health Organization’s joint program in integrated marketing communication for social and behavioral development. She also completed her dietetic internship from Dominican University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.