Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Marianne Tshihamba is the owner of GastroSoul, LLC.

For the past 20years, she has worked with associations, nonprofit organizations and government contractors as a conference and event planner.

An avid gastronome, she took advantage of her travels to over 30 countries to start teaching cooking classes featuring international cuisines and ingredients.

The 2020 global pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders put an end to both event planning and in-person cooking classes.

The result was GastroSoul, an online platform to encourage users to explore ethnic dishes and ingredients in their own communities.

Prior to working on conference and event planning, Ms. Tshihamba produced newspaper supplements to encourage trade and investment between the U.S. and foreign markets.

Working with senior government and industry officials, including heads of state, ministers, and local Fortune 100 CEOs, she raised over $350,000 in advertising contracts.

As an advocate for the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, Ms. Tshihamba has organized study tours to Africa with congressional staff and Governor Howard Dean. She managed a USAID-funded small grants program to provide funding for HIV/AIDS organizations in developing countries.

Her first in-depth exposure to women and girls’ education was organizing the first board meeting of the Friends of FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists).

Friends of FAWE is the fundraising arm of FAWE, a pan-African NGO founded by African women ministers of education serving 33 sub-Saharan African countries to empower girls and women through gender-responsive education.

Ms. Tshihamba holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature, Film) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.