Spirited Woman: Please meet Katy Leakey

  1. Please introduce yourself:

Jambo! I am Katy Leakey and I live in the bush of East Africa with my husband Philip Leakey, where we run a lifestyle company that provides opportunity for our Maasai neighbors, primarily women.

Who are you where do you live, what you do that made Nancy Mills suggest you join the Directory? Nancy has been such an avid supporter of what we do. She interviewed me and told our story to her audience many years ago.  She has followed our journey and is an amazing woman herself.

2. Do you have a tagline for your life?

Make family and friends the center of your universe. This is what the Maasai women practice and it’s what they have taught one individual American woman who lives among them.

3. You may or may not know, but the Sacred Village Website is about empowering people to take charge of making the world a better place. It’s also about forging connections. I believe that whatever we do, when we’re united in our pursuit of that goal, we do it better, more easily and have a lot more fun along the way. What are you doing to make the world safer, saner, healthier? And are you having fun while you’re doing it?

There is nothing like “making something from nothing”, as Philip always says.  Not only is it gratifying to take a stalk of dried grass and turn it into the colorful, elegant jewelry Zulugrass™ that all women love to wear but to know that in designing such a piece you are also ensuring the survival of the wetlands is exciting!  In every product we design we start with what is available in nature around us and wonder what we can create that will help ensure its preservation.
Philip and I live in tents in the Kenyan bush among the Maasai.  We grow our own food, keep chickens and bring water from the river for bathing.  We recycle all plastics and save everything, even empty toilet rolls, which become very handy candle makers.  We have even used old newspapers to make a boat!

4. Tell me one great (short) story that you’ve observed where someone (maybe you) stepped up and made a difference. What did that inspire you to do?

Philip was giving a talk about Kenya at a Catholic Girls school in Monterey, California. Towards the end Philip asked if we could present some Zulugrass Jewelry to sell at the back of the room. Philip explained that we were running this small project to provide work for the Maasai women who had been impoverished due to the drought. We and two other volunteers stood as human T-stands; our arms loaded with Zulugrass single strands while 500 girls swarmed us buying over 2000 pieces in one hour. We knew instantly that we could turn this into a viable business for the women of Kenya.

5. What else do I need to know about either you or your thoughts or…I have always been interested in diverse cultures and have found that a woman in Kenya are no different then the woman in the West.  They want to provide and nurture their families.  They are even very business savvy.  In less than 3 years after we created The Leakey Collection, the women came to me to ask for advise on how they could set-up a co-op for micro lending. Once I explained to them in an analogy they could understand, they developed this co-op and now lend out money to women who want to start their own business. I consider them my family and friends.

6. Under which category can people find you in the directory?

Katy is the Presenter in the Lifesyle Section.

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