Rhonda Vetere, BA Speech Communication ’93, believes that to achieve one’s corporate goals, personal wellness should also remain a top priority. When Vetere, a global tech executive, visited Tanzania and asked about scenic running routes, she was surprised by the reaction from hotel guests. Because of wild animals on the trail, it was recommended she run with armed security guards. Vetere was the first woman to request an outdoor run.
Vetere ran for two days in a row, and inspired locals to join her. She was asked to return to Africa in October 2018 to participate with local tribes in the Serengeti Girls Run, a 55-mile two day run.
“I wanted to make an impact and empower women globally, something that truly drives me. It was the first run of its kind and was amazing to be a part of it. The camaraderie between the individuals that ran and the locals that we met are some of the most special moments I will never forget,” says Vetere, director-at-large of the School of Business Alumni Chapter and former Dean’s Council member.
Nine women ran the inaugural race, raising $35,000 for girls’ empowerment events organized by the Singita Grumeti Fund. The events bring together girls from 12 secondary schools that surround the reserve borders.
Vetere also spoke with the tribes about confidence. “I spoke about empowerment and tried to inspire the girls to follow their dreams. I focused on showing them that you need to work for what you want to make it happen, and take advantage of all opportunities and even create some of their own,” she says.
Vetere calls the run life changing, and plans to participate again this year. “From pushing the physical limits and running 55 miles through uneven terrain and uncertain weather, to running alongside the animals in the wild, to speaking to the young girls about empowerment, the experience was truly incredible and a once in a lifetime opportunity.”