International School of Tanganyika Alumna Miranda Naiman: The Accidental Entrepreneur

A picture of Miranda Naiman

Miranda Naiman is an IST alumni embodying the vision of the International School of Tanganyika (IST). She has challenged herself to get the most out of life, she supports others in need and she inspires those around her. 

Naiman, who is originally from Mbezi Beach, is currently what she calls an “Accidental Entrepreneur” with an academic background in Theatre for Development. She strategically transferred her skill set - attained through both IST and post-secondary - to the private sector when she founded Empower in 2009.

Empower is a Human Capital Consulting Firm which services East Africa and beyond. 

One of my proudest moments was when my firm was engaged to facilitate a Strategic Retreat for the IST Board – it was an absolute honour,” Naiman said. “We have been invited back to work with the current Board again this year.”

She is also a member of the Africa List - a community of next-generation CEO’s in Africa’s growth markets and sits on the Board of READ International, AIESEC Tanzania and is an active member/leader in the Entrepreneur's Organization.

In addition to her active career, she is also the mother of a 10-year-old son. To say Naiman leads a busy life would be an understatement. 

Naiman’s Time at IST Helped her Become the Success She is Today

Naiman’s time at IST is one she acknowledges as a true privilege. 

Throughout her time at IST, and as a curious and confident individual, Naiman didn’t hesitate to get involved. 

“I remember hurriedly choosing my [school] subjects and evolving into an ‘arty-nerd’ as the years progressed. I’m far from sporty now but one of my highlights was winning the girls high jump competition at Sports Day 1999,” Naiman said excitedly.

In addition to high jump, she was also part of the High School choir, was part of both the swim and volleyball teams, had an active role in International Night performances and volunteered in the community. 

A picture of Miranda and friends at Mount Killimanjaro

“I went to the Mother Teresa Home religiously every Tuesday for four years and built close relationships with the elderly and orphaned children resident in Mburahati.”

Graduation in 2000 was a bitter-sweet moment for Naiman, though she was excited and ready for the next step, she would truly miss her days at the school. 

“We had a very close-knit grade [so] graduation was bitter-sweet,” Naiman said. “[It was] a huge relief and accomplishment and yet the end of an era and time to say goodbye to several people.”

But after some hard goodbyes, Naiman was ready thanks to her time at IST.

“The best part about attending IST was the wealth knowledge I gained by being in such a culturally diverse environment,” Naiman said. “The standard of education was incredibly high, which inevitably meant that year one of university was a breeze.”

After graduation, Naiman took a gap year to work for a UK- based charity called Learning Through Action. Then, she went on to complete a BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre & Education at the Central School of Speech & Drama in London.

During her undergraduate, a professor recognized her exceptional abilities and personally recommended her for a new masters programme at The University of Leeds.

She completed her MA in Theatre & Development Studies directly after her undergraduate all while holding down part-time jobs.

She was also a Committee Member of the United Nations Association and participated in the African-Caribbean Society.

“I made several meaningful connections that I still maintain today.”

For any students looking at Naiman’s story with awe, she has some words of encouragement.

“My advice would simply be to live authentically; build meaningful connections and always seek to add value wherever you go."

Did you attend or work at IST and want to connect with fellow alumni? You are not alone! Want to join the network? Click here

A picture with a link to the IST alumni network

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