Women everywhere can lead
Race and Religion
Being a black woman on a major network
'Beneath the Tamarind Tree’
Seasoned and award-winning journalist Isha Sesay, who spent 13 years at CNN International as an anchor and reporter, is the new CEO of OkayMedia, a media company dedicated to Black culture and uplifting Black voices. Sesay has also been appointed to the OkayMedia board of directors. Sesay is also the Founder, and President of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization working in her native country of Sierra Leone, to nurture and empower teenage girls to become Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders.
In 2005, she joined CNN International as an anchor and correspondent. Sesay has covered global events and major breaking news of the past decade, with a focus on stories of social injustice and their impact on women and girls. As part of her anchoring and reporting duties, Sesay’s impressive roster of interviews include numerous global leaders - the Prime Ministers of Kenya and Australia, as well as the Presidents of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, and a host of newsmakers including Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, Matt Damon, Michelle Obama, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates - Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, Leymeh Gbowee, and Denis Mukwege.
Reporting from Nigeria in 2014, Sesay led the CNN team that covered the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. CNN’s in-depth reporting was recognized with a Peabody Award. Sesay was awarded a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor for her coverage of this story, in addition to other accolades during her tenure at CNN.
Sesay’s definitive account and first book, Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram (Dey Street Books) published in July 2019. The paperback edition of the book was released in April of 2020. She lives in Los Angeles.
Of Sierra Leonean descent, Sesay grew up in Britain and holds a B.A. honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University.