Sharmi Surianarain

Sharmi Surianarain serves as the Chief Impact Officer for Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa. Sharmi is a fierce advocate for opportunity and justice for young people and women across the African continent and is a keen thinker on the future of work. Sharmi is the Founder of Making Caring Count, a social enterprise that aims to build impactful solutions around care work in Africa.

Prior to Harambee, Sharmi served as Vice President of Lifelong Engagement at African Leadership Academy (ALA) where she oversaw a network of 2,000 young African leaders, managed ALA’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Africa Careers Network, and ALA’s alumni engagement team. Sharmi is an Aspen African Leadership Initiative Fellow, Class of 2020, an RSA Fellow, and sits on the Boards of Emerging Public Leaders, Metis, Instill Education and is on the 2021 G7 Impact Taskforce. Sharmi has spoken at the Skoll World Forum, the London School of Economics, and the Nobel Prize Dialogues. Sharmi’s work has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Mail and Guardian, The Daily Maverick, and The Economist. Sharmi holds a B.A. from Harvard University, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


Youth employment 

Future of Work in Africa 

Care economy

Feminist mothering

Sharmi is a fearless leader whose strategic vision fosters collaboration and creates concrete positive impact. Her passion for her work is seen in every meeting, conversation, or email. Her compassionate energy is one of her strongest traits, and her empathy is beyond any colleague I have ever experienced. This coupled with her ability to command attention and communicate with others makes her the strongest advocate for any cause she takes on.
- Ikenna Acholonu, London School of Economics

Copyright, 2024 | All rights reserved.

reFRESH Newsletter

Get FRESH perspectives on current events from leading thought leaders in our bi-weekly newsletter.

FRESH Speakers, Inc. is a next-generation speakers bureau, uniquely representing women and people of color--two groups historically left off the public stage. Our speakers range from business leaders to artists, scientists to athletes. They have given ground-breaking TED talks and written best-selling books, but, more importantly, their wisdom comes from real world, lived experiences. FRESH speakers routinely grace the world's biggest thought leadership stages, host nonprofit benefits, and keynote Fortune 100 corporate retreats, university lecture series, leading tech conferences, grassroots organizing convenings, and countless other venues, the world over.
Go top