Our Team

Steering Committee & Management Directory

Karen Keating Ansara

Karen Keating Ansara

Steering Committee Member

Fund Advisor, Ansara Family & Haiti Funds at the Boston Foundation

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Karen and her husband Jim began making small grants to end poverty in 1999 and now recommend grants via a staffed donor advised fund at the Boston Foundation with a focus on Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Nepal and Afghanistan.

In addition, Karen co-founded New England International Donors, a peer-learning network, with John Harvey of Grantmakers Without Borders and other funders in 2008.

Most recently, Karen issued a challenge grant two days after the earthquake and established the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation. With over 1,400 donors including many community groups, the fund is focused on long-term reconstruction and human rights with Haitian citizens and Haitian Americans at the helm. Now guided by a Grantmaking Committee and a 35-member Advisory Council, primarily Haitian, the Haiti Fund is making grants over five years.

 

avatar for Elena Casolari

Elena Casolari

Steering Committee Member

President, Opes Impact Fund

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Since its establishment in late 2012, Elena has been Executive president of Opes Impact Fund, an investment vehicle targeting early stage social enterprises in East Africa and India in key development sectors with the aim at contributing in covering the “pioneer gap”. Since 2005, Elena has been CEO at ACRA-CCS, one of the largest Italian NGOs, active in several countries in Africa and Latin America. She is director at Fondazione Umano Progresso, a private family-run Italian foundation, and also serves on the Board of the Tanzanian registered social enterprise, E&E (Education & Entrepreneurship). She has more than 10 years of experience in the mainstream investment banking industry covering global emerging markets for  investment banks as HSBC, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Nikko Securities. Elena graduated in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan and she was a Monbushoo researcher at the Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.

 

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Marty Cordes

Steering Committee Co-Chair

Co-Founder, Cordes Family Foundation

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Marty Cordes is Co-Founder of the Cordes Foundation, which she created with her husband Ron in 2006. She directs the activities of the Foundation focused on global human rights and empowering women and girls, including initiatives in education, health care and job training. She also serves on the Boards of Ripple Effect Images and the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific. Previously, she enjoyed a career in the banking industry, and served in several volunteer leadership capacities with social service organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Ron Cordes

Ron Cordes

Steering Committee Co-Chair

Co-Founder, Cordes Family Foundation

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Ron D. Cordes has enjoyed a 30-plus year career in the investment industry, having co-founded and then sold AssetMark Investment Services to Genworth Financial in 2006. He is currently co-chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, which is responsible for over $25 billion in assets under management for individual and institutional clients.

He is co-author of “The Art of Investing & Portfolio Management,” published in 2004 by McGraw Hill, and was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is a co-founder with his wife, Marty, of the Cordes Foundation and a regent for the University of the Pacific, as well as chairman of the advisory board for the University’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship. In addition, he serves on the boards of FairTrade USA, the Sarona Frontier Markets Fund, and the East Bay Community Foundation.

 

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Josephine d’Allant

Social Media Coordinator, Opportunity Collaboration

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Josephine d’Allant is Project Director at Dallant Networks, a social enterprise she co-founded with her father (OppColl 1 and 3) to help large foundations and international organisations leverage social media tools to deliver global impact. Clients include the Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the World Bank.

As managing editor of the URB.im network, the global network working for just and inclusive cities sponsored by the Ford Foundation, she helps practitioners in 22 cities throughout the Global South to innovate, replicate, and scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty.

Josephine graduated with High Honors from UC Berkeley with a bachelors in International Development Studies and a Certificate from SciencesPo-Paris. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, she is fluent in French, speaks some Spanish and Mandarin, and has traveled extensively. Her previous experience includes the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education, Samasource, Frontline/WORLD, Tostan and Kiva.

 

Saul Garlick

Saul Garlick

Steering Committee Member

Founder & CEO, Think Impact

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Saul began his journey into social entrepreneurship at 17 years old. First, it was through a high school club. Then he founded a non-profit called Student Movement for Real Change that had campus chapters at 25 universities across the United States that was endorsed by President Nelson Mandela. In 2011 Saul launched ThinkImpact Company, where he is Founder and CEO. His work has led to over 50 development projects in health and education in Kenya and South Africa and the creation of path-breaking experiential education programs across Africa.

Saul serves on the Board of Directors for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, an international organization with 8,000 members worldwide, the Board of Stakeholders for the University of the Pacific’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Board of Directors of iOnPoverty.

In 2011, Saul was recognized as a top 9 Young Foreign Policy Leader under 33 by the Diplomatic Courier and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is an internationally renowned speaker and International Speaker Specialist for the Bureau of International Information Programs at the Department of State. He blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and his work has been featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The Next Web, Business Insider, Portfolio.com and The Washington Post. A Truman Scholar, Saul graduated from Johns Hopkins University and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). An avid runner, skier and Broncos fan, Saul lives in Denver with his wife Emily.

 

Gerald Hildebrand

Gerald Hildebrand

Steering Committee Member

Executive Director, University of the Pacific Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship

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As the Executive Director of UOP’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Jerry develops and oversees University social entrepreneurship programs, including international mentorship and internship programs, and the first community-based microfinance fund in California’s Central Valley. Previously, Jerry was the CEO of the Katalysis Partnership, a microfinance organization providing training, technical assistance, and credit to MFIs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. He also directed a socio-economic development program for ten newly independent island-nations in the Eastern Caribbean, and worked in grassroots economic development in chronically depressed Appalachia, West Virginia.

 

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Tracie Hudgins

Director of Registrations, Opportunity Collaboration

Phone: (602) 647-9121
Email: thudgins@opportunitycollaboration.net

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Tracie Hudgins has been working in the field of microfinance and poverty alleviation for the past four years as the Operations Manager for MicroCredit Enterprises. She has been a member of the Opportunity Collaboration team since its inaugural year. Previously, she was the Executive Assistant for iNation, VistaCare and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

 

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

Steering Committee Member

Director, African Women in Agricultural Research & Development

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Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg is Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). AWARD is a career-development program that equips top women agricultural scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills.

Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg is also Founder and past Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator investing in high achieving young women from under-resourced families who are passionate about driving change in their communities.

She is has also served as an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and a lecturer in International Relations at Hekima College, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.  Her academic research and teaching interests centered on the politics of philanthropy, gender, Africa, international relations, ethnicity, and democratization, and on the role of technology in social activism.

Born in Kenya, she holds a Ph.D. and Masters degrees in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Whitman College.

She has received widespread recognition for her work including being honored as a 2012 White House ‘Champion of Change’,  named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine, 2012 Ford Foundation Champions of Democracy,  and a winner of the 2010 United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award among others.

Wanjiru is also a wife and mother of a 5-year-old son and an avid knitter and organic gardener.

 

Randall Kempner

Randall Kempner

Steering Committee Member

Executive Director, ANDE

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Randall has nearly twenty years of experience in the field of national and international business/economic development. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. The network’s members provide critical financing and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) that create significant economic, environmental and social impacts in developing countries.

Most recently, Randall served as Vice President for Regional Innovation at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Prior to joining the Council, Randall was co-founder of OTF Group, an international consulting firm that advises regions and nations on how to create competitive advantage. He is frequent speaker on entrepreneurship-based economic development strategies.

 

Ramon Leon

Ramon León

Steering Committee Member

President and CEO, Latino Economic Development Center

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Ramon has been an entrepreneur and business owner from a young age, in both Mexico and the United States, an active social justice leader in his community, and one of the early faith-based Latino organizers in the Twin Cities through “Interfaith action” and “Isaiah.” He is also one of the pioneers of the economic development movement in Minneapolis and was the first president of the founding board of directors of “Cooperative Mercado Central”, an economic justice, community based cooperative project that-sparked the revitalization of Lake Street in Minneapolis.

He is co-founder of the Minnesota Collaborative of Latino Non-profits, and also serves as the chair of the economic development committee of the National Association for Latino Asset Builders (NALCAB). During his chairmanship, he has pushed for an asset based and wealth building economic development agenda that includes Latinos in both urban and rural areas.

 

Jonathan Lewis

Jonathan Lewis

Steering Committee Member

Chief Executive Officer, iOnPoverty

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Jonathan C. Lewis is the founder and president of the Opportunity Collaboration.He is also the founder and board chair of MicroCredit Enterprises – an innovative social venture which leverages private capital to make tiny business loans to deeply impoverished people, mostly women, in developing countries. Jonathan is a Lecturer at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, University of California, Berkeley. He blogs weekly at the Huffington Post and the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge and is a frequent public speaker on economic development issues, social entrepreneurship and social change. Jonathan is a recipient of the Social Venture Network Innovation Award.

 

Chid Liberty

Chid Liberty

Steering Committee Member

Chief Executive Officer, Liberty & Justice

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Liberty & Justice is the first Fair Trade Certified apparel manufacturer in Africa. A Liberian native, Chid left Africa as an eighteen month old baby when his father became Liberia’s Ambassador to Germany. Chid lectures on social entrepreneurship and innovation, serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at the Monrovia Business Startup Center at the University of Liberia, and sits on Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade Certified Apparel Multistakeholder Group, which guides certified fair trade apparel policy for the United States.

 

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Rema Nanda

Steering Committee Member

Senior Advisor, The Karuna Fund
Founder, JAGRITI Youth

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Rema Nanda is an experienced strategist, educator, and nascent entrepreneur. She presently associates with the Karuna Fund and Asia Advisory Group providing philanthropic advisory services and innovative opportunities for legacy investments. Over twenty years Rema’s assignments with a diverse range of private organizations and United Nations agencies honed her skills and grew her network of connections across continents. She believes societal transformation comes from an unwavering commitment to advance social justice and economic opportunity. Beyond the complex and sensitive work of empowering grassroots organizations and people living in poverty, Rema’s work shares a common denominator: passionate advocacy to skill-up people to change their own circumstances, and to uphold human rights. In 2012, after an inspirational conversation with young people about their interest in leading change, and with Archbishop Desmond Tutu about breaking the cycle of poverty in one generation, Rema founded JAGRITI Youth to ignite a movement for young people to have voice and choice in crafting their future. From her recent work in India, as Director, Public Health, American India Foundation and Country Director, Pathfinder, she gained a granular understanding of emerging market dynamics and its impact on the social sector. This motivated her to devise and test innovative strategies for poverty alleviation in rural India through JAGRITI Youth, and in partnership with community based organizations. She is the co-author of The Effect of Reproductive Health, Communication Interventions on Age at Marriage and First Birth in Rural Bihar, India: A retrospective study.January 2012, and has been interviewed on CNN and German television. Rema Nanda holds a Doctorate in International Education from the University of Massachusetts; and Certificates in “Health and Human Rights” from Harvard School of Public Health, and “Effective Non-Profit Management” from Harvard Business School.

 

Jan Piercy

Jan Piercy

Steering Committee Member

Senior Advisor, Enclude

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Jan Piercy, Senior Advisor, Enclude, has been committed to promoting public service and social entrepreneurship her entire career, which has spanned private, public, academic and citizen sectors. She headed public management programs at Cornell and then Stanford’s Graduate Schools of Business; led development programs in Bangladesh and Thailand, then entered community banking until joining President Clinton’s Administration in the White House until appointed to serve on the Board of the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development. Rejoining ShoreBank, Jan helped raise capital for one of the earliest impact investment funds making equity investments in locally owned small business and microfinance lending institutions in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. She today works with Enclude’s Capital Advisory Services practice to help social benefit enterprises access mission-aligned capital for growth and scaling.

 

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Denielle Sachs

Steering Committee Member

Director of Social Impact, McKinsey & Company

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Denielle joined McKinsey & Company in 2008 to lead the strategic design and implementation of the firm’s corporate social responsibility agenda. In this role, Denielle oversees the firm’s social impact positioning, employee engagement and knowledge portfolio in areas such as education, economic development and social innovation. She is also helping lead the launch of a non-profit entity, which will drive major initiatives around targeted societal challenges, beginning with youth unemployment.  Denielle brings more than fifteen years of experience advising governments, companies and civil society organizations on a range of topics from social impact strategies to community engagement, public affairs, advocacy and corporate reputation. Previously, Denielle worked with The White House and on multiple political campaigns; with APCO Worldwide on a number of major international disputes; with several non-profits; and in crisis communications at The Abernathy MacGregor Group.

 

 

Diana Samarasan

Steering Committee Member

Executive Director, Disability Rights Funds

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Diana Samarasan is the Founding Executive Director of the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, which empower Disabled Persons’ Organizations to advance the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Global South, Middle East, and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union.  Diana is the primary liaison to donors to the Fund and oversees grantmaking and strategic development. She is also responsible for promoting the organization’s mission among other grantmakers and donors in the human rights arena.

Diana has over fifteen years of experience in disability, international health, and human rights. Previously, Diana directed the Mental Disability Advocacy Center a legal advocacy organization in Budapest, Hungary, which litigates abuses of rights of persons with mental disabilities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She also worked with the American Refugee Committee and Doctors of the World, addressing issues such as access of vulnerable populations to reproductive health services, tuberculosis control, and deinstitutionalization. A graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Diana has advanced degrees in Public Administration and Psychology. Diana is a Board member of the United States International Council on Disability and on the Steering Committee of the International Human Rights Funders’ Group.

 

Regina Starr Ridley

Regina Starr Ridley

Steering Committee Member

Senior Vice Presient, Client Operations, Tides

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Regina oversees Tides’ donor advised funds and fiscal sponsorship. Prior to Tides, Regina was Publishing Director with the Stanford Social Innovation Review for eight years, following a 22-year career in for-profit media. As a group president at CMP Media, she ran a $150 million division of tech magazines, websites, and conferences. Regina has a Master’s in International Management from the Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management and a Bachelor’s in political science from the University of Connecticut.

Her passions outside of work include travel and involvement in her community, global and local. Regina serves as president and board chair for Friends of Timboni Feeder School, a nonprofit she helped found in 2006 to bring water to a small school in southern Kenya. She is proud to say that she recently climbed Mount Kenya with her son and reached the summit, 16,355 feet.

 

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Sam Vaghar

Steering Committee Member

Executive Director, Millennium Campus Network

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Sam Vaghar is the Executive Director and Co-founder of The Millennium Campus Network, empowering student leaders across the United States to be effective partners for global development.  In this capacity, Sam engages with numerous partners from Microsoft and The Jenzabar Foundation to the United Nations Foundation and HP.  Under Sam’s leadership, the MCN educates over 1,000 campus leaders through annual conferences, trains emerging leaders through an innovative fellowship program, and allocates Student Action Grants to support activism on campuses and overseas.

In 2011, Sam was invited by the State Department as the featured speaker in a tour across Bosnia and Herzegovina.  During that summer Sam met with President Barack Obama in the Roosevelt Room at the White House to share perspectives of US youth leaders.  The following year, Sam was selected for the 2012 list of the “Top 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33″ by The Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.  In 2013, Sam delivered the Commencement Speech at Lynn University in Florida, the youngest in Lynn’s 50 year history.  He also served as the featured speaker on a tour for the State Department across Morocco.

Sam has addressed audiences at over two dozen institutions including talks at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at the United Nations.  He is a 2008 graduate of Brandeis University.

 

Jackie Vanderbrug

Jackie VanderBrug

Steering Committee Member

Senior Vice President, U.S. Trust

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Catalyst. Connector. Curator. I work with organizations and individuals to drive the rate of social change. I bring the tools of finance, philanthropy, and field building to the table. My experience crosses all three sectors of our economy) public, government and non profit) and I’m most excited by the white spaces between these and the emerging fourth sector.

I’m passionate about the power of a gender lens in investing to drive financial return and social impact. To build the field of gender lens investing, I cultivate both investors and investment vehicles.

I am deeply immersed in networks reimagining the purpose of capital. Through my role in developing and facilitating Structure Lab© workshops, I have helped over 200 entrepreneurs and organizations think through their legal and financial structures.

At U.S. Trust, I am responsible for formulating and developing the firm’s values based investing strategy as well as the product offerings across asset classes that align with our clients’ objectives. I also provide thought leadership and support for a client’s locally-based U.S. Trust team of investment professionals.

I also co-lead gender lens investing trips to Haiti and Kenya for philanthropists and investors who are looking to experience first-hand the impact that investing in women and girls can have. Our small group will have a unique opportunity to get on the ground with entrepreneurs, accelerators, community developers and those providing the financing. If you are interested in joining us contact me directly.

 

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Jorian Wilkins

Chief Operating Officer, Opportunity Collaboration

Phone: (303) 905-1424
Email: jwilkins@opportunitycollaboration.net

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After beginning her career as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company and earning her MBA from Stanford University, Jorian launched her first social venture, a civic club in Boulder, Colorado self-sustained by members hosting hundreds of cultural and educational community events.

While becoming a mother to three sons, Jorian lived in Mexico, managed the #1 All-Inclusive Luxury Resort in the U.S., and eventually settled in California.

She is proud to now co-captain the Opportunity Collaboration as Chief Operating Officer.

 

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Topher Wilkins

Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Collaboration

Phone: (303) 956-8431
Email: twilkins@opportunitycollaboration.net

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Topher Wilkins has been hosting people in collaborative environments for the purposes of social change for nearly a decade. Starting with the City Club, which he co-founded, in Boulder, Colorado, to managing Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride, Colorado, and finally with the Opportunity Collaboration, Topher is passionate about creating high-end, high-impact gatherings.

He and his wife, Jorian, live in Santa Cruz, California, where they are raising their family of three young boys.

 

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Akaya Windwood

Steering Committee Member

President, Rockwood Leadership Institute

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Akaya is internationally recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration in the nonprofit and social benefit sectors. Her vision for our global community includes infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into everything we do. She has a life-long commitment to working for a fair and equitable society, and believes that Rockwood’s network of over 4,000 powerful, collaborative, and interconnected leaders will help lead the way.

 

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Sakena Yacoobi

Steering Committee Member

Executive Director, Afghan Institute of Learning

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Born in Herat, Afghanistan, Sakena came to the United States earn a master’s degree in public health and was a professor at D’Etre University and a health consultant before returning to Afghanistan in 1990 to work with her people. While working with refugees in Pakistan, she published eight Dari-language teacher training guides. During that time, she also served as the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) delegate working on the education portion of the United Nation’s Rehabilitation Plan for Afghanistan.

Sakena established the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) to provide teacher training to Afghan women, to support education for boys and girls, and to provide health education to women and children. Under Sakena’s leadership, AIL has established itself as a groundbreaking, visionary organization which works at the grassroots level and empowers women and communities to find ways to bring education and health services to rural and poor urban girls, women and other poor and disenfranchised Afghans. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women. AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban closed girls’ schools in the 1990s. AIL was the first organization that opened Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan. AIL has trained over 10,000 teachers since its inception.

Using their grassroots strategies and holistic approach, AIL now serves 350,000 women and children each year through its training programs, Educational Learning Centers, schools and clinics in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since 1996, over 7,700,000 Afghans have benefited from AIL’s education and health programs.

Sakena Yacoobi is also co-founder and Vice President of Creating Hope International, a Michigan-based non-profit organization. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Fund for Women. She is an advisor to the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. She is advisor to Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) and a member of WLP’s Roaming Institute for Women’s Leadership. She is a member and past steering committee member of the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief.

 

 

Soushiant Zanganehpour

Steering Committee Member

Strategy & Special Projects, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

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Soushiant joined the Skoll Centre in April 2012 as the Manager of Strategy and Operations. In early 2014, he transitioned to Special Projects to co-lead the Skoll Social Venture Investment Awards (investing up to £20K into early-stage social ventures founded by Oxford students and alumni), and provide strategic leadership on the design of an Oxford-wide web portal for entrepreneurship and innovation. He also remains closely involved in some day-to-day operations of the Centre.

Soushiant’s professional experience spans the fields of management and strategy consulting and policy. He has helped both non-profit (universities and NGO’s) and for-profit (health care and global extractive industries) clients overcome strategic and operational challenges. In London, he was an Associate at Adam Smith International and advised government officials from developing countries on governance reforms for the extractive industries. Prior to this, Soushiant was an Associate at Volans, a London-based strategy firm focused on corporate innovation and sustainability, and conducted research on closed loop economic systems while advising clients on opportunities for enhancing corporate sustainability efforts, innovation and profitability.

At Volans, Soushiant also co-authored a background policy paper with Chairman John Elkington for the European Commission assessing natural resource management and CSR uptake by multinational corporations in emerging markets as well as contributed research to Elkington’s latest book, The Zeronauts. Between 2006 and 2009, Soushiant led a policy program at a leading Canadian disarmament and non-proliferation think tank (The Simons Centre) exploring the motivations and implications of Iran’s nuclear technology advancements, and advised the Canadian and US governments on appropriate policy responses.

In 2010, the UK’s Foreign Office selected Soushiant as one of four Canadian Chevening Scholars. He holds an MA in Global Energy and Public Policy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and a Diplôme in International Affairs from Sciences-po Paris.

 

Leadership Village Information

The Collaboration’s leadership village is rented from the Club Méditerranée corporation. Please remember to contact Opportunity Collaboration for ALL hotel reservations.

Site Fax: (52) 75-55-52-01-42

Site Address: Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, Playa Quiet S/N 40 880, Ixtapa, GRO Mexico 40880.