A few days after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2006, Elizabeth moved to Rwanda to volunteer with grassroots education projects. In 2008, she co-founded the Akilah Institute for Women with her husband, Dave Hughes. In 2012, Elizabeth was named one of “The 5 Most Powerful Women Changing The World With Social Entrepreneurship” by Forbes Magazine. In 2013, Newsweek recognized Elizabeth as one of the “125 Women of Impact.” Elizabeth and Dave reside in Kigali with their daughter, Lorraine.
The Akilah Institute for Women is the only women's college in Rwanda and Burundi. Opened in 2010, Akilah offers accredited programs in Information Systems, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality Management. Akilah graduates have a 90% job placement rate and earn more than 5x the national average. Akilah has campuses in Kigali, Rwanda and Bujumbura, Burund and will be opening a location in Uganda in 2019.