Our Mission

 

We combine our love for Guinean dance, drum and culture with our desire to give back to communities in need -

partnering education with cultural exchange

 

Guinea Exchange aids Guineans to reach their highest potential.

Whether the goal is to be first in their family lineage to read and write, or to start a business to support the needs of their community and feed households, Guinea Exchange is here to help achieve goals.  We do this through a profound respect for Guinea culture and capacity.  

Our programs help send students to school, teach trades and fund budding entrepreneurs. These things that Americans take for granted are precious to the Guinean population and your donation of just $30.00 a month is making a world of difference.


Our founder

“We are directly connected with these communities through our love of Guinea drum and dance.”

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I was encouraged to start Guinea Exchange in 2013, after my second visit to Guinea, West Africa where I studied dancing and drumming of the tribal cultures there. Those experiences inspired me to make a commitment to give back to this culture that brings so much joy through their artistic expression.  I travel to Guinea often to oversee projects and reconnect with the Guinean culture. My trips have given me opportunity to become familiar with the people, culture and needs of this region. My 20 years experience in finance as a bookkeeper, business woman and Treasurer of a non-profit Montessori school ensures Guinea Exchange's fiduciary transparency.  Back in the US, I work to expand the love for Guinean culture in Montana through sharing West African dancing and drumming in elementary schools, dance/drum classes, performances and fundraisers. I am wholeheartedly dedicated to the people of Guinea and the way of life they represent.

Kelly Ann Brown


Our Staff & Board of Directors

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MAMADY MANSARE

Administrator 

Mamady is our fearless leader.  He handles all of the details and implementation of our programs.  Mamady has a deep understanding of the culture and people of Guinea.  His caring for his people is the driving force for Guinea Exchange.    

Mamady is also the lead flute player for the Ballet Africains in Conakry Guinea coming from a tremendously long lineage of flutists.  

Mamady and his wife Sarah Lee split their time between Seattle, WA and Guinea West Africa. They teach dance classes all over the country and share Guinea culture everywhere they through their organization One World Drum and Dance.

They lead cultural trips to Guinea every year, hosting guests in their home and villages. Please consider joining them on one of these trips.

Photo taken in 2014 in Dembayara by trip participant Emily Sandefur

Dani is one of our founding board members.  She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Rollins College in Florida and an M.A. in International Management from the University of Maryland. She currently works in downtown Washington DC for a prominent think tank as a Director of Government Programs and resides in McLean, Virginia with her two children.  Doane has over 20 years experience in public policy and the non profit arena. She began her career by working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for a Florida Congressman.  While she started as a Appropriations Associate, charged with allocating federal dollars annually, she eventually became the Congressman's Chief of Staff. As such she managed a staff of 27.   After leaving the Hill, Doane moved to a small grassroots c3 organization where she was solely responsible for their Executive branch and Congressional branch activities. She undertook many high profile issue projects overseeing their legislative and marketing strategies and implementation.   She has been in her current role for over 10 years and provides Congressional insight and strategy on day to day legislative issues to one of the largest think tanks in the country.  While most of her focus has been on providing government related outreach and strategy, she has also worked extensively in the field of marketing.  Putting together issue campaigns and social media strategies. This wealth of experience brings to Guinea Exchange an in depth understanding of communications and marketing design and promotion. Her interest in Guinea exchange stems from her long time commitment to causes benefiting those in need.  

DANI DOANE

Dani is one of our founding board members.  She currently works in downtown Washington DC for one of the largest think tanks in the country as Director of Government Programs. 

She holds a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in International Management.

Doane has over 20 years experience in public policy and the non profit arena.

She has been in her current role for over 10 years providing Congressional insight and strategy on legislative issues.  While most of her focus has been on providing government related outreach and strategy, she has also worked extensively in the field of marketing, putting together issue campaigns and social media strategies. This wealth of experience brings to Guinea Exchange an in depth understanding of communications and marketing.

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KATHRYN BOWEn

Kathryn has been in practice for over 8 years as a Licensed clinical professional counselor in Bozeman. She graduated with a Masters in Counseling from Montana State University.

Her former career as a Certified Public Accountant specializing in non profit accounting coupled with her understanding of child and family psychology offer Guinea Exchange insight and guidance as a founding Board Member.


ADVISORY BOARD

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EMILY SANDEFUR

Emily, originally from Kentucky, lives in the mountain community of Bozeman, Montana. She holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish Literature from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and is a certified Montessori teacher at Middle Creek Montessori School. 

In 2014, after years of studying African dance, Emily traveled to Guinea, West Africa. She was immersed in the culture of African drumming, dancing and life. Touched by the warmth and openness of the West African people, Emily returned dedicated to helping support the children and families of Guinea through Guinea Exchange.

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JACKIE GILMORE

Jackie lives in Bozeman, Montana with her husband and 2 children. She works part time as videographer shooting weddings and freelancing for a local production company.

On the side she is an instructor at Main Street Fitness and guides people to reach their health goals.

Jackie is passionate about African dance and is thrilled to be involved with Guinea Exchange.

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KAREN FUNKE

Karen joined Guinea Exchange board bringing passion and advocacy for international health and literacy education. 

She currently holds a bachelor of science degree in community health education, from the university of Wisconsin, LaCrosse and is working toward her masters degree in adult education at Montana State University. 

Karen is the owner of Essential Vitality, an essential oils company dedicated to healing and empowering people to take charge of their health care.

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HEIDI LEA

Heidi Lea, based in Bozeman, Montana has practiced and performed African dancing for over 20 years. 

Her passion has been with sharing the community and ritual aspects of rites of passage through the creative arts. 

She also works as a project manager within the information technology industry. Heidi studied abroad at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, and graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Managing Information Systems with a minor in Fine Arts, Electronic Imaging.