Blayne Sharpe

Managing Director

Bridge2Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

Age: 28


Blayne Sharpe

Former commercial banker Blayne Sharpe didn’t plan to leave Arkansas, but his career keeps him mostly in Rwanda now.

As a managing director of Little Rock nonprofit Bridge2Rwanda, Sharpe divides his time between Arkansas and Africa. B2R develops economic and educational opportunities for Rwandans.

Sharpe, 28, is a native of Charleston (Franklin County). He graduated in 2008 from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway with a bachelor’s in business administration. After college, he took a management job with Simmons First National Bank in North Little Rock.

Meeting B2R CEO Dale Dawson and other Arkansans engaging in business in Rwanda rerouted Sharpe’s career in 2009.

“I felt confident, because of the mentors that I was going to get to work with, I wasn’t going to sacrifice anything professional development-wise by leaving the corporate world,” Sharpe said. “I was still going to be moving forward, while getting to serve this mission, which I’d learned to believe in.”

Sharpe has helped the organization launch the B2R Training Center, which offers Rwandan students test preparation classes and financial analysis training; the B2R Scholars Program, which helps top students to compete for scholarships and prepare to achieve in college programs abroad; and B2R Accounting Services, which provides accounting assistance for new businesses in Rwanda.