Beatrice Williamson is a distinguished leader known for her warmth, humor and commitment to learning. She was born January 19, 1976 in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. From the age of nine years old until her second year of college, Beatrice received a scholarship for education from Swedish missionary Anna Lanson. Education was what Beatrice needed to rise above her circumstances and realize her potential.
“Aunty Bea” as the Maisha children affectionately call her, came to The United States in 2001. She founded Pamoja International Ministry to provide outreach services to international students in Oklahoma. She also consults regularly with international executives from a variety of fields to help create synergistic solutions to impacting problems these students face.
In the meantime, Beatrice’s family, living in the village of Kano, just outside of Kisumu, expressed the need and dire situation of the orphans and widows living in their community. The fruition of Beatrice’s dream began in 2006, when she founded Maisha in response to this call for help. Now, her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and provide them with the same opportunity Anna Lanson gave her. By making a difference in the lives of the children from her home village, Beatrice strives to create a brighter future for the next generation. Her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and continue the Legacy of Hope Anna Lanson began.
Operations & Administration
Emily is a Texas Native, who came to Oklahoma for school, and never looked back! A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Emily studied journalism, public relations, and nonprofit management. Before joining staff at Maisha, Emily served as resident manager for HopeHouse OKC, and worked with Novo Ministries to mobilize churches and volunteers in inner-city ministry.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
Fundraising and Special Projects
A life-long Oklahoman, Monica Miller Collison has spent her entire professional life moving Oklahoma forward. Growing up on her family’s farming and ranching operation in rural southwestern Oklahoma, Monica began advocating for rural interests at a young age. It was through these experiences that her passion for Oklahomans and representing people from all walks of life, ignited her desire to pursue a career in law and the public policy arena.
Raised in a family of educators, upon graduation from Grandfield High School, Monica attended Oklahoma State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Relations and Child Development from the college of Human Environmental Sciences. While attending OSU, Monica clerked for the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the Honorable Lloyd Benson and spent time in Washington DC working for Senator Don Nickles.
Thereafter, she attended the University of Oklahoma School of Law in Norman, OK, where she was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honorary Legal Fraternity and participated in an interdisciplinary study at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine for child maltreatment and neglect. While attending law school, Monica also worked in the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office and the Oklahoma Insurance Department, thus furthering her career in public service.
Currently, Monica owns and operates Monica Miller & Associates and serves as Of Counsel to the law firm of Lee, Goodwin, Lee, Lewis and Dobson in Edmond, OK. With her unique background in the non-profit sector, government and business, Monica’s consulting firm is focused on association and organizational matters, executive coaching and consulting, and fundraising and business transactions. Her legal practice focuses primarily on family law matters, business law, employment law and political and regulatory compliance issues. She also spends her time serving as the President and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Rural Association, whose mission is to develop and advance policies and initiatives that promote growth, development and opportunity in rural Oklahoma’s communities and regions.
Monica resides in Edmond, OK, with her husband John, and their blended family of six children. She loves traveling with her family, snow skiing and attending youth sports and activities.
If you have seen a video about Maisha, Mark probably made it.
Mark has been Maisha’s videographer since the first Team Maisha mission trip in 2008. He met Bea in Oklahoma City in 2007 at a prayer service for the post-election violence in Kenya, decided to go on the mission trip and hasn’t looked back since. Mark has been to Maisha five times and many people in the village consider him a member of the community. He has also spent a lot of time in South Africa. As a result of his connections in South Africa and his deep love of Maisha, three mission trips of South African students have travelled to Maisha to serve.
Mark is a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, getting his master’s degree in journalism. He spent nearly a year in South Africa on a Fulbright Grant making documentaries, wishing he could be at Maisha doing the same with the kids there!!
In his own words: “Maisha has made Kenya a home away from home for me. I find incredible joy in telling the story of what God is doing at Maisha through the videos that I make. When Bea and I are at Maisha and reflect on how much growth has happened since 2008, we are just blown away and humbled at how much has happened because of our incredible supporters around the world. My experiences at Maisha have forever changed me into someone who has life- long connections with my brothers and sisters in Africa. I look forward to telling their stories in the best way I know how for as long as I can! The people of Maisha are changing Kenya, and I think they can change the world!”