From Silicon Valley to Swaziland: How One Couple Found Purpose and Adventure in an Encore Career
In 2002, Wendy Walleigh left high tech and began leading Junior Achievement as V-P of Marketing & Development.
In 2005, Rick Walleigh left a 30-year career as a high-tech exec with firms like HP and Ernst & Young to give back throughTechnoServe.
In 2006, the couple left for Africa to work on reducing poverty.
Now back in the US, Rick volunteers for TechnoServe as a Senior Advisor.
Rick has been published in Harvard Business Review and was featured in the
Wall Street Journal’s “Second Acts: Career Paths for Worn-Out Executives”.
“From Silicon Valley to Swaziland” is the Walleighs’ first book.
Rich and Wendy Walleigh were two 50-something Silicon Valley executives who left high-powered careers and moved to Africa to do non-profit economic development. Our story is set in two very different African cities, Mbabane, Swaziland and Nairobi, Kenya, where we worked at TechnoServe, an international development organization whose tagline is “Business Solutions to Poverty”.
While working in Africa, we also experienced the strange, frustrating, sometimes scary and constantly fascinating facets of African traditions, culture and daily life. Our vast range of experiences included: watching the annual Swazi Reed Dance where 40,000 women dance topless for the king; learning about the traditional Swazi bride price of seventeen cows, which could be negotiated if the bride was not a virgin; surviving the fatal hailstorm that destroyed our rental car; discovering that although Rick’s Kenyan resident visa allowed him to live in the country for a year, it did not authorize him to enter the country; and discovering the mysterious and feared Mungiki gang through close encounters.
We wrote this book to inspire our fellow boomers to embark on similar adventures that will not only improve the lives of others, but also will profoundly enrich their own. Based on our experience, we will inspire our readers to seriously explore an encore career, help them to choose what to pursue and give them examples of how to enjoy their experience.