Home Industry News Releases Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Welcomes Elizabeth Ngonzi as Board Member

Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Welcomes Elizabeth Ngonzi as Board Member

Elizabeth Ngonzi

Santa Barbara, CA (April 26, 2023) – The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS-A) is proud to welcome Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi as a new board member. A transformative speaker, educator and social entrepreneur, Ngonzi brings her invaluable experience and passion for creating a better world to the CMS-A.

Ngonzi’s extensive experience in storytelling, leadership and social impact serves as a foundation for her motivational talks. Through her Liz Ngonzi Transforms coaching services, she helps individuals develop and share their unique stories, equipping them with the necessary tools to realize their purpose and align it with their career. As the founder of The International Social Impact Institute®, a firm that provides events, training, and consulting services to help institutions and individuals access the resources they need to build an ecosystem of like-minded stakeholders, Ngonzi collaborates with mission-driven organizations and companies worldwide committed to inspiring and transforming those seeking to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

As a new board member of the CMS-A, and a strong believer in hospitality and education, Ngonzi looks forward to furthering the mission in elevating the beverage and hospitality experience for all through education, mentorship, and credentialing.

“I am truly honored to join the Board of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and I am excited about the opportunity to bring my expertise in storytelling, education, and social impact, along with my global perspective to help advance the mission of CMS-A,” said Ngonzi. “I look forward to working closely with the Board and the organization to empower those who seek to advance their careers in hospitality to enhance the guest experience and ensure that hospitality education is valued and recognized as essential to the industry.”

In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Ngonzi has also served as a Turnaround CEO of Afrika Tikkun USA, the North America representative of a Nelson Mandela-endorsed and South Africa-based nonprofit organization and has been an invited member of the U.S. Speaker Program at the U.S. Department of State. She is an award-winning adjunct assistant professor in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University and served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Cornell Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship.

“Liz brings an incredible level of industry experience and an unwavering commitment to excellence. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Board and can’t wait to see what we accomplish together,” said Julie Cohen Theobald, Executive Director of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.


The Court was established in England in 1977 and sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry with integrity, exemplary knowledge, and humility. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The Americas chapter, which serves both North and South America, was established in 1987. Since then, 182 professionals have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. For more information, please visit www.mastersommeliers.org.



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