Zanele Mutepfa is a speaker, Huffington Post contributor, women activist, media specialist and philanthropist. Zanele was born in Zimbabwe, Africa and immigrated to the United States in year 2000. As a child, Zanele grew up with a widowed mother along with three older siblings. At eleven years old, she lost her mother to heart failure. Dr. Paul and Maiya Thomas of Portland, Oregon adopted Zanele and her siblings. This gracious couple was no stranger to her, for Paul’s parents were missionaries who adopted Zanele’s mother, Tsitsi,after she became an orphan in the 1970's. Zanele was then raised in a family with six brothers and four sisters, totaling 11 children of every shade, culture, size and style. Her multicultural family taught Zanele the value of unconditional love and the beauty of every human race.
A graduate of Portland State University, Zanele holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with an emphasis in broadcast media and minors in Business and Black studies. In 2013, she contributed to projects for Sesame Street in Bangladesh and Afghanistan-- dedicated to educating children worldwide. In summer 2014, she assisted in production at CNN NY, on the Anderson Cooper 360º show. Zanele is the founder of Empowering Sisterhood (2011) on Portland State University campus and InspireMe Foundation (2014). Empowering Sisterhood is dedicated to supporting women in academics, career resources and maintains sisterly relationships between African and African American students. She plans to build a curriculum that will expand to different campuses nationwide. InspireMe Foundation was created after Zanele's experiences in college trying to navigate campus life, while chasing internships and wisdom from mentors in her aspiring professional field. InspireMe connects students with mentors and provides guidance into prospective internships and jobs.
The clear distinction in Zanele is her resilient spirit and dedication to build community. Zanele has facilitated community-building events, presented social unifying proposals to business executives, as well as led programs that promote higher education for youth and empowerment for young women. Zanele 's career utilizes the media as a tool to tell stories that promote personal dignity, intelligence and global awareness.
Zanele has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Oregonian, CNN, KGW, Willamette Weekly and the Portland Magazine.
She currently resides in Portland, Oregon.