President and CEO
The Whitaker Group (TWG)
From her earliest years, Rosa Whitaker has been a champion of the disadvantaged and the disempowered. As a child, she carried a sign at the 1968 Poor People’s March in Washington, D.C., which read, “Jobs, Peace and Justice.” Later, at 16, she attended an American Foreign Service program in Wisconsin where she met teenagers from all over the world, including Africa. By the time she had earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The American University in Washington, she was ready to answer what she considered to be God’s call to devote her life to helping empower Africans to break the bonds of poverty through business, trade and investment.
Her mother’s wisdom and emphasis on education, and her tenure as a senior trade advisor to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) contributed enormously to her professional achievements. “[Rangel] is one of those rare, limitless-possibilities thinkers, with an infectious energy and wisdom about how to get things done,” says Whitaker. As part of Rangel’s team, she was a hands-on architect of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000. Today, AGOA continues to be a critical tool of poverty eradication by enabling Africans to grow their own prosperity through job creation, skills development, and business opportunities.
After serving as the first assistant U.S. Trade Representative to Africa, Whitaker established The Whitaker Group in 2003. The firm has since earned a reputation as a leading strategic partner for companies seeking investment and business opportunities in Africa. It has facilitated more than $1 billion in trade and capital flows to the continent.
Whitaker acknowledges her husband, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, as a daily source of inspiration and strength. She puts God first in everything, she says, because “to live a life aligned with God’s purpose is the definition of passion.”