Chingwell Mutombu was born in Iowa, where her parents had moved from the DR Congo in order for her father to pursue higher education. When Chingwell was two, her parents returned with her to their home, a small remote village in the southern part of the country. During her growing up, Chingwell was deeply impacted and shaped by the strength and resilience of the women of her village in the face of enormous adversity. When she returned to the U.S. to complete her own studies, Chingwell’s dream was to help the women of her homeland create better lives for themselves. Her initial endeavor, First Step Initiative, was a micro-loan project launched in 2006 to offer a gateway for the poorest women to establish independent lives. Utilizing the learnings from leadership of that nearly ten-year undertaking, Chingwell broadened her dream into the Women Rising Legacy Project, focused on creating a new reality today and a lasting legacy into the future for women of her DRC homeland. Chingwell holds masters degrees in Public Administration and in International Relations.