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Annie Mbale (BSBA 2017, MBA 2019)

Annie Mbale has always had the spirit of an entrepreneur. Born in Rumphi, Malawi, her passion was ignited during childhood, when she lived in the city with her parents and helped them with their various small businesses before they both passed. Annie took up arts and crafts based on her mother’s interest in knitting. But by 2011, Annie decided to expand her world experience and immigrated to the United States. She attended Jefferson Community College in Missouri before transferring to the University of Missouri–St. Louis, where she graduated from the Pierre Laclede Honors College with a BSBA in 2017 and an MBA in 2019. Additionally, she earned a Digital Marketing Certificate from the business school.

Annie says the global community she discovered at the International Student House was one of her defining experiences at UMSL. She continues to apply the knowledge she gained from her UMSL international business and marketing education in her current role at the World Trade Center St. Louis.

Annie Mbale

“It was more than just a place to live," Annie said. "It was a vibrant hub where American and international students came together, forming deep connections and lifelong friendships.”

She also credits UMSL for empowering her to be brave and take chances, something she says she could never have imagined as a village girl from Malawi. The result – Annie put herself out there to run for and win student officer positions while creating opportunities to strengthen student experiences.

"Creating the Women Empowering Women organization at UMSL and witnessing its continued growth is incredibly rewarding," Annie said. "Knowing that I have a lasting university legacy fills me with immense pride and gratitude."

Her involvement in the UMSL Empowering Women organization also inspired her to help initiate a movement among African women in the diaspora, aimed at giving back to others in the continent called ACAFE – A Community for African Female Entrepreneurs.

After completing her master’s, she became project manager for both World Trade Center St. Louis and the Mosaic Project. She says working with international students at UMSL helped shape her commitment to supporting immigrants in St. Louis through the Mosaic Project.

She has integrated skills in event management, marketing, communications and stakeholder management to strengthen the brands of both organizations. In 2023, she was named an emerging leader by Vintendo for Africa and an honoree of the St. Louis American Foundation Salute to Young Leaders. She is also on the board of the African Chamber of St. Louis and the Immigrant Home English Learning Program Young Board.