Rachel Cohen Gerrol, Co-Founder and Global Curator
Rachel Cohen Gerrol is widely recognized for her work on innovative philanthropy and her projects have been featured in The NY Times, The Financial Times, The Atlantic, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Barron’s, Inc. and The Huffington Post. She was named one of the “99 Most Influential Foreign Policy Leaders under 33” by the Diplomatic Courier and was honored as 2011 “Jewish Girl of the Year” by GathertheJews.com. Rachel helped organize the first “White House Conference on Next Gen Philanthropy & Impact Investing” in 2014 and Co-Chaired the G8 Young Summit in 2013. Rachel was founding Executive Director of PVBLIC Foundation, an innovative in-kind grant-making organization that aggregates advertising space to donate to social impact causes. Show more…
In this role she organized the 2014 and 2105 Media for Social Impact Summits at the United Nations and has curated the Social Impact Film Program for “The Collective” at The Sundance Film Festival since 2013. Through PVBLIC, Rachel also worked closely with the White House to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign to stop sexual assault on campus.In 2012 Rachel founded The Survivor Initiative, a next-gen effort to raise awareness and funds for US Holocaust survivors living in poverty. Rachel previously was Director of Young Adult Initiatives for the Schusterman Foundation and spent eight years as Special Assistant to Ambassador Nancy Rubin, U.S. Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Rachel sits on the Board of Directors of the Birthright Israel Foundation and the Next Gen Council of the USC Shoah Foundation. She is on the Speaker’s Bureau and National Young Leadership Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America, has testified before the Israeli Knesset and is a Wexner Heritage Fellow. Rachel Co-Chairs the Board of Jumpstart, serves on the Advisory Councils of Girl Up (UN Foundation) and Charity Miles and is on the Advisory of BeeSpace. She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In the past she has served on the Evaluation Panel for Bloomberg’s Genesis Generation Challenge, the Advisory Council of Invisible Children, the Leadership Council of the Classy Awards and the Advisory Board of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
Jonah Wittkamper, Co-Founder and Global Director
Jonah Wittkamper has organized global networks of young philanthropists for nearly a decade, inspiring new charitable activity from many wealthy families. Prior to co-founding Nexus, Jonah served as the US Director of Search for Common Ground and was part of Distributive Networks Inc., where he helped to build the text messaging technology used by the Obama campaign. In 2000, Jonah co-founded the Global Youth Action Network (GYAN) to strengthen youth participation in global decision-making. He ran the South American Regional Office from Sao Paulo until 2006. As the organization grew it merged with TakingITGlobal (www.tigweb.org) to form the largest site on the Internet dedicated to empowering young leaders. Show more…
It receives nearly 2 million hits per day. Earlier in his career, Jonah led an award winning student computing organization, founded two internet startups, and created a corporate social responsibility initiative in one of the world’s largest corporations. He has served as a co-founder, board member, or advisor to a number of organizations including Pioneers of Change, the ManyOne Foundation, the L. A. Jonas Foundation, the Shift Foundation, WISE (Wealthy Individuals – Social Entrepreneurs), and many others. In 2015 he served on the Emerging Forms of Philanthropy Advisory Committee of the Council on Foundations. An alumnus of Williams College and Camp Rising Sun, he lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife and two children.
Andrea Zucker, Director of Engagement
Andrea Zucker is Nexus Director of Engagement, and a writer, activist, and social impact investor who believes that each of us should harness our personal gifts to find our best ways to give. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, her parents modeled the importance of community involvement from her earliest days and taught her that her role as a human being is to help repair the world in whatever ways possible. Andrea was shaped by early experiences in community activism through Youth Service Charleston and Operation Understanding and went on to work in the nonprofit world professionally with The Coastal Community Foundation, United Way of America, United Way International, Show more…
and The Community Foundation of the Greater Washington Area. She also works with the InterTech Group, Inc. a privately owned company that incorporates philanthropy and community involvement into its corporate philosophy. Andrea taught briefly in the DC public school system and is passionate about equal access to educational resources. She is also devoted to creating a safer and better environment through reducing dependence on oil and innovating in the clean energy sector and serves on the board of SAFE, Securing America’s Future Energy. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at American University.
Kayla Beardsley, Events & Operations Manager
Kayla Beardsley has produced several corporate events, including summits at the United Nations, The White House, and The United States Institute of Peace. Before coming to Nexus, she helped organize the Media for Social Impact Summit at the United Nations for PVBLIC Foundation and worked for Nexus Co-Founder, Rachel Cohen Gerrol as an Executive Assistant. Kayla writes a successful blog about parenting and has had articles featured in The Elephant Journal, Elite Daily, Top Mommy Blogs and other websites. When she’s not producing Nexus events, she’s home producing tea parties with her daughter, Oakley.
Mikuak Rai, Communications & Community Manager
Mikuak Rai is also one of the leaders of Invest in Yourself @ Nexus (IY@N), an initiative whose mission is to promote the social-emotional well-being, personal coherence, and purpose journey of individuals engaged in next-gen philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. A self-described ‘creative catalyst’, Mikuak’s passion centers on the intersection of creative arts, planetary culture, and transformative consciousness; he believes that every individual is, inherently, an artist who possesses something meaningful to express and contribute toward making the world a better place. Show more…
As co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit One Common Unity, Inc., Mikuak brings 15+ years of direct experience in organizational development, arts education engagement, youth work, and event production. Mikuak is a co-founder of Planet Restoration, a creative initiative using arts and music to inspire and educate people about the importance of personal and planetary ecological stewardship. He is also the founder and creative director of WorldBridge Media, an independent consulting and technical production services provider.
Youn-Jae Ok, Director of Visual and Performing Arts
Youn-Jae joined Nexus as Director of Visual and Performing Arts in 2016. He believes that emotions may not be tangible, but they are powerful. They influence other people, both consciously and subconsciously. “We often are expected to control or adjust them, and in response, we lock them away, unaware of our needs of self-expression and obsessed with the duties of meeting expectations. Without diving into a general discussion of the function of art, I suggest that creating sympathy through evocation and healing through expression could be subtle, yet meaningful functions that art is capable of providing.” Youn-Jae Ok completed Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music composition at University of Wisconsin–Madison (2015), and has studied with Stephen Dembski, with minor in photography. Show more…
His early schooling was in Korea and England and he completed the International Baccalaureate at the Chateau du Rosey in Switzerland (2002). Dr. Ok holds the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (2006) and the Master of Music degree from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of the Performing Arts (2008). His teachers include Stacy Garrop, Daron Hagen, Joel Hoffman, Michael Fiday and Mara Helmuth. Dr.Ok was the winner of the 2007-08 Roosevelt Wind Ensemble Competition for “Audacity” and was a regional winner of the 2008 SCI/ASCAP student composition competition for“Zest for Olive Salad.” He is a repeat winner of the School of Music’s composition competition, having won in 2009 and 2012 for “Vacillation” and “Mi-Ryen.”
Ana Carolina Roselli, Public Private Partnerships Coordinator
Ana Carolina Roselli has a bachelors degree in International Relations and a masters degree in Social Entrepreneurship. Growing up as a witness to inequality in Rio de Janeiro with exposure early on to poverty through volunteer experiences, Ana was destined to pursue a career in sustainability. In 2012 she assisted the Executive Director of the United Nations Summit for Sustainable Development (RIO+20), Brice Lalonde. Together with the Summit team, Ana was mentored by Surendra Shrestha, a UN Director deeply involved in the SDG’s. With experience in sales from her time working in the commercial department of a major e-commerce retailer, Ana got involved in a Dutch social business in Rio. The Good Hospitality Group works to build hotel chains in developing countries and reinvest profits into education and entrepreneurship. Show more…
Ana served as the Project Coordinator of the Rio floating hotel before moving to San Francisco for grad school. Afterwards, she worked for a public relations and communications firm in the San Francisco Bay Area and joined Nexus in 2016.
Liza Heavener, Strategic Initiatives Director, Chair of Nexus Working Group on Animal Welfare and Biodiversity Conservation
Liza Heavener has wide-ranging experience working nearly ten years in federal politics, grassroots and campaign strategy and with the United States Congress. Liza was a healthcare lobbyist for a large membership organization, running their national advocacy program to engage hundreds of thousands of advocates across the country. She was also a founding member of an organization dedicated to stopping deforestation in Borneo, Indonesia and assisted in building an orangutan rehabilitation center in the rainforests of Borneo. Liza chairs the Nexus Working Group on Animal Welfare and Biodiversity Conservation which is dedicated to educating, empowering and connecting Next-Gen impact investors, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs. She also serves as an Advisor to the Millennial Action Project and as a Vice Chair of the Alumni Council for Eastern Mennonite University. Show more…
Liza had a feature role in the internationally-acclaimed documentary and tv series, “Rise of the Eco-Warrior,” and has spoken at conferences across the country including a keynote presentation at Microsoft’s ISTE conference.
Wesley Wittkamper, Partnerships & Media Manager
Wesley Wittkamper began his career in Hollywood as a screenwriter and later as a director. He wrote and directed the social impact feature film “Making Change” which stars Steve Guttenberg, Ed Begley Jr, and Cam Gigandet. Wesley worked for the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television where he consulted graduate students on their thesis projects. Wesley is also passionate about building communities. He cut his teeth in the 500 acre community of Koinonia which is known for being the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. As a 21st century social engineer he currently turns online activism into off line communities believing that a rural setting in nature allows for more meaningful relationships and purposeful existence. He specializes in closed looped systems of renewable energy, water purification and permaculture. Wesley graduated from Bowdoin College with a bachelor of science.
Meet the Nexus Regional Team Leaders
Abbie Jung, Regional Director of Nexus Asia
Abbie Jung is the co-founder of Synergy Social Ventures, a nonprofit that supports social entrepreneurship in Asia through financial and non-financial support. She also advises individuals and institutions on philanthropic investment in Asia and promotes philanthropic engagement in young people. Her perspective on social entrepreneurship as a means to sustainable development is shaped by her experiences living and working in under-served parts of Asia, Europe and North America with organizations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, PSI, Save the Children, World Bank and World Health Organization. In 2009, as one of the early key staff at a Hong Kong-based venture philanthropy foundation, Abbie was at the forefront of the budding social entrepreneurship and social investment sectors in Asia. Show more…
She co-founded Synergy in 2011 to address critical capacity building and financing gaps for early stage social ventures in the region. Abbie serves as advisor or director to many social initiatives/organizations such as the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, iBoP Asia, iOnPoverty, Philanthropy in Asia Summit and Asian Social Entrepreneurs Summit. She is passionate about developing the culture and practice of innovative and strategic philanthropy in Asia to support both traditional and new social change models (like social entrepreneurship) as a means to creating a more just and sustainable world.
Richard M. Powell, Nexus Caribbean Outreach Ambassador
Richard M. Powell is the Chairman of The RMP Group, and oversees the strategic vision for the firm’s diverse business and philanthropic interests. He is also the Co-Founder of APC Holdings, whose current and prior portfolio companies generate over US $2.5 billion in revenues and employ over 12,000 people in 25 countries. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Powell has been involved in over 15 successful enterprises. He is a member of YPO, and is a Young Global Leader (via the WEF). He is recognized a rising star of global finance, and was featured on CNBC. Mr. Powell graduated from Harvard University.
Retu Jalhan, Nexus Caribbean Outreach Ambassador
Retu Jalhan is an accomplished marketing professional with specialization in the financial services industry. Her account management and marketing skills are derived from over eight years of experience in the group insurance industry. At The Phoenix Group Miss Jalhan is responsible for the detailed financial analysis and valuation of acquisition opportunities, preparation of legal and marketing documents and assistance with due diligence items. In addition to the buy side activities Miss Jalhan has been leading efforts to work with impact investors in the Caribbean. Miss Jalhan is a former board member for ASAAP, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention and was the Co-President for the Kesri youth organization. Miss Jalhan continues to involve herself in organizations recently started her own non-profit WAYS (We Are Your Sisters) aimed at eradicating human trafficking world wide.
Leela Bhashyam, Director of Nexus India and Diaspora Engagement
Leela Bhashyam is a global health activist, self-proclaimed techie, international development practitioner and social impact bridge builder. Her professional experiences cover a wide array of sectors as she is passionate about connecting ideas, shared passions and thought leaders from across the globe. A consummate traveler and student of the global human experience, she has volunteered for rural health clinics in India, consulted for fair trade fashion networks in Asia and researched international policy proposals at Oxford University. Her experiences are often guided by the saying, ” If a person wants to go fast, go alone; if they want to go far, go together.” She is a native New Yorker by way of London, Washington D.C. and her ancestral home of Hyderabad. Show more…
She received her MPA from NYU Wagner School of Public Service where she focused on International Policy and Planning. In her spare time, Leela has demonstrated a civic commitment to political activism, working for the Obama for America campaign in the greater NY area. Prior to joining Nexus, she worked as an evaluator for Google, consulting on their UK marketing strategies. In her previous role with Nexus as the Global Partnerships Coordinator, she deepened relationships with philanthropic institutions, foundations, advisory firms and governments from around the globe. In addition, she supported the growth of various initiatives within Nexus, from Animal Welfare to Ethical Fashion to Sports for Good. It is her work with Nexus India that has truly inspired her to re-think traditional relationships to build powerful collaborations that engage, inspire and transform ideas into actionable change.
Raj-Ann Rekhi Gill, Curator of Nexus India
Raj-Ann Rekhi Gill has dedicated her entire career to nonprofit fundraising and program development. With degrees in International Relations from Syracuse University (BA) and the London School of Economics (MSc), she brings a diverse and culturally-savvy perspective to her work. She has been passionate about the power of philanthropy and social entrepreneurship since she was a student and has consistently aligned herself with organizations and individuals advancing this work. She loves bringing people together and has coordinated meaningful events ranging from panel discussions, policy briefings, private art collection salons, artist studio visits, donor trips, and conferences for organizations such as The Asia Society and Museum and American India Foundation in New York as well as San Jose Museum of Art and India Community Center in Silicon Valley. Show more…
She has been privileged to set foot on all seven continents and considers traveling a crucial part of lifelong education and an effective way to harness empathy for diversity and disparity. A Bay Area native who is currently based in New York, she can often be found hiking along some hilltop ridge or otherwise finding a way to be active outside. Raj-Ann also serves on the board of The 1947 Partition Archive, a global nonprofit dedicated to institutionalizing the “people’s history” of the Partition of the South Asian subcontinent.
Tara Singh, Founding Chair of Nexus India
A Nexus alum and volunteer, and advocate for sustainability leadership in business, Tara actively supports local, grass roots and social entrepreneurs and visionaries. She has a MBA in Finance (Derivatives) and has worked in financial risk management for the FDIC, as well as in Healthcare Administration dealing with Marketing and Quality strategies. She holds a post graduate degree in Environmental Policy, specializing in Sustainable Business Development. Tara’s work and research with respect to India includes partnering with organizations including Nike, Inc., Gokaldas Exports, Asia Society and The Henry Luce Foundation. She has worked to educate and empower underprivileged women and children in both rural and urban locations, teach environmental education and foster environmental stewardship, as well as facilitate a global corporate and governmental conference aiming to increase US corporate investment in India. Show more…
A long time student of both medical botany and ethno pharmacy, she is honored to have been granted entrée to both H.H. Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical and Astro. Institute and its archives and the global Ayurveda authority, The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, in order to conduct research on Traditional Tibetan Medicine and Ayurveda. Tara is Founder and CEO of Terra Tara Organics (TTO) Inc., in Napa, California. Tara is deeply honored to serve our returning and long returned veteran heroes’ during reintegration into civilian society as President of the Board of Oakland, California’s Operation Dignity, a non profit homeless veteran organization directly addressing issues including housing, job skills, PTS, addiction, and sexual trauma to provide wrap around healing programs. Tara also serves on the Board of the Ik Onkar Peace Foundation, a United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circle, aiming to promote peaceful conflict resolution without the use of unnecessary violence, encourage economic and social justice while preserving planetary beauty and resources.
Talita Montiel, Latin America Outreach Ambassador
Talita Montiel is a consultant to social development projects with a special focus on innovation, technology, and building networks. Her latest projects are related to corporate social responsibility and highly networked individuals embracing social causes. Previously, she worked at the Telefonica Foundation as a senior project analyst, where her responsibilities included coordinating a network focused on children and public policies, forming partnerships, and bridging non-profits with local government through new technologies. Earlier in her career, Talita worked at the Global Youth Action Network, strengthening youth leadership by building collaborative networks around international events. Previously, through Instituto Fonte, she studied planning, management, and evaluation techniques of social projects. Her experience as a learning-process-facilitator for the third sector in Brazil was developed through participation in many diverse groups from an early age. Talita majored in History at the University of Sao Paulo.
Lynn Zovighian, Director of Nexus Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Arab Diasporas
Lynn serves as the Director of Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Arab Diasporas at NEXUS. She is a businesswoman by trade and a philanthropist at heart, using her learnings from the corporate and investments world to drive her problem-solving style in human emergencies and social dysfunctionalities. Co-founder of The Zovighian Partnership alongside her father, Lynn has built up a team of social innovation architects that design, incubate, and manage meaningful philanthropic interests of emerging next-generation leaders in the Middle East. The firm also services the Zovighian family’s philanthropic ambitions, through its in-house lab, focused on deploying early-stage philanthropic action in conflict zones in the Middle East and building data in high-risk environments in the region. Show more…
Lynn is gearing up to formally launch her family’s foundation, the Peace Collection. It will house all prototypes that achieve proof of concept in the firm’s in-house lab, and will help expand Lynn’s personal inter-faith and minority group activism in the region. Lynn also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Ibtissam, a philanthropic commitment under the patronage of the KSA royal family to dismantle slavery marketplaces in the region. She is the Regional Ambassador for Youth of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, an initiative of the UN Foundation. She serves as an advisory board member of the Global Family Office Community in the UK. She has just completed a ten-year term on the Board of Governors at the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to founding The Zovighian Partnership, Lynn spent her career in financial services and management consulting, working at Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in Saudi Arabia, Pictet & Cie in Geneva, and The Boston Consulting Group in the GCC. Throughout this time, she worked closely with her father in his construction trading business, Sehnaoui Plant Group of Companies. During her free time, Lynn enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones, painting, reading, and jogging long distances. She is a former soprano lyrical opera singer and soloist. Lynn holds an MBA in Finance from London Business School and a BA and double minor in Political Studies, American Studies, and Islamic History.
Meet the Country Leaders
Assaf Weisz, Director of Nexus Canada
Assaf Weisz is co-founder and Managing Director of Purpose Capital, a North American impact investment advisory firm that helps leading financial institutions, foundations and families use capital to accelerate social progress. He has led Purpose Capital’s growth to becoming a recognized leader in impact investment, and on its initiatives to transform higher education, engage next-gen investors, and design funds for impact. Prior to this, he was a founder and Executive Director of the Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada, a social network for social entrepreneurs that grew to become one of the nation’s largest entrepreneurship networks. Assaf is a writer and speaker on using business and finance to move society forward, having written for several publications, including Fast Company and The Globe & Mail. He taught a Master’s course on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto in the Department of Applied Sciences & Engineering. Show more…
Last year, Assaf was named a 2014 Possibilities Thinker, and in 2011, he was named an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship. He has further been recognized as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and as a Canadian Under 30 Who is Changing the Country, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Assaf is also the Chair of the Board of Operation Groundswell, a social enterprise changing the way the world travels.
HRH Prince Cedza Dlamini, Nexus South Africa Outreach Ambassador
HRH Prince Cedza Dlamini is an impassioned humanitarian, social entrepreneur and visionary. He founded the Ubuntu Institute for Young Social Entrepreneurs, which arms young African leaders with the leadership and professional skills they need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in their communities. Since June 2004, he has also served as a youth activist and spokesperson for the MDGs, the UN’s eight-point strategy for eradicating poverty, hunger and disease in Africa and around the world within the next two decades. As a spokesman, he addresses audiences of all ages, especially youth on how they can be involved in the fight against poverty, HIV/AIDS, and illiteracy. In October 2003, Cedza was also appointed Co-chair for the World Youth Peace Summit (WYPS) in Africa, which aims to assemble youth leaders from across the globe to further this goal. Show more…
In addition Cedza serves on the strategic development team of the Global Action Youth Network (GYAN) in New York City, which is an international collaboration of youth and youth serving organizations in almost 200 countries facilitating intergenerational partnership in global decision-making. Cedza’s vision is to create a unified global order by establishing global networks of empowered young leaders who can work collectively to address current world problems, such as HIV/ AIDS, poverty and hunger, environmental decay, and illiteracy. Since 2001, Cedza has conducted a speaking circuit throughout the U.S. that promotes global forgiveness, compassion, and the use of dialogue -instead of violence- as a powerful tool for conflict resolution. Drawing on the powerful, historical example of the transition of South Africa in the early 1990s, Cedza relates how South African leaders such Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela (his grandfather), and many others turned to the African concept of “ubuntu” when negotiating the peaceful transition of South Africa from apartheid to democracy in 1994, avoiding what was predicted to be a “bloodbath”. Cedza was born in the Kingdom of Swaziland, where he was raised and completed his primary and high school education. Recently, he completed his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and is looking forward to graduate studies.
Danielle Cohen Henriquez, Nexus Belgium Outreach Ambassador
Danielle is a world resident who spends her time mostly between Belgium, the Netherlands and New York City. She is interested in ways to leverage private resources for public goals, particularly to find solutions to migration and development challenges. For this purpose she frequently engages with investors, NGO’s, policy circles and think tanks. She has written numerous articles and is currently authoring a book on Effective Altruism. She also serves as chair of the investment committee of her family’s social impact fund Railway. Railway’s mission is to support the environment and education in the Dutch Caribbean and Latin-America. Previously, Danielle worked for the Netherlands EU Presidency on asylum and migration. She holds an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics, with a specialization in Global Justice and Philanthropy. Show more…
She also has two years of experience working for the communications department of the Carnegie Foundation in The Hague.
Dean Delia, NEXUS Australia Outreach Ambassador
Dean is a social entrepreneur, strategist and storyteller with a passion for connecting our global community through education and inspiring others into action. Dean believes that the key to creating innovative, socially minded leaders is access to quality education, regardless of place of birth or social status. This belief has driven him to create action-focused learning opportunities through schools, non-profits and independent organisations in Australia and throughout the world. His dynamic speaking style and unique approach to facilitation has connected and inspired thousands of people across four continents. A talented trainer, program developer and strategist, Dean has led national and international organisations such as Me to We, Free the Children and High Resolves and is currently GM of Programs and Events at The Foundation for Young Australians. Show more…
He has founded several start ups and built relationships and partnerships across the corporate, private, and philanthropic sectors. He is an ambassador for Hand Up Australia and in his spare time, leads international volunteer trips that promote sustainable community development and connect people from different countries and cultures.
Grant Hu, Director of Nexus China
Grant Hu is also the co-founder of ICHI (internationalization of Intangible Cultural Heritage). Grant’s background is in post merger integration in M&A between China and Western companies. He has completed projects in the UK and Germany and has published in the Harvard Business Review in this field. Grant has been heavily involved in philanthropy since 2011. He has hosted charity events with the well-known Taiwanese basketball player Jeremy Lin, two-time Oscar winner documentary film maker Bill Guttentag and Tech Coast Angels co-founder Peter Cowen. Through his efforts in convening Nexus China, Grant hopes to better bridge the future leaders of China to the knowledge and experience of their international peers. Show more…
Grant is also involve in early stage hardware investment (US and China) and owns a health management platform in China.
Emmanuel Marfo, Nexus Ghana Outreach Ambassador
Emmanuel Marfo is a social entrepreneur and a philanthropist with a passionate commitment to helping empower youth and young innovators through education, leadership, social entrepreneurship and sustainable project development. He is a youth mentor and coach. He is the Founder of the Global Alliance for Development Foundation (GADeF), a youth philanthropy and social entrepreneurship network that supports innovative young people and community-driven development efforts and promotes sustainable community development through capacity building, network building, social investment and grant-making. He has been a workshop leader and mentor for UNEP’s TUNZA Children and Youth Conference and the coordinator at the 4th African Youth and Governance Conference. Show more…
He was a representative at the 4th World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent and joined the 2nd, 3rd and 5th African Youth and Governance Conference. He is also a co-founder of Phinklife Institute, a social enterprise that focuses on next generation of social entrepreneurs in Africa and diaspora. The Institute works to create sustainable economic and social entrepreneurship and personal development opportunities for young social entrepreneurs through innovations, start-up supports and incubation. Emmanuel has a BA in Publishing Studies from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. He holds diplomas in Public Relations and Business Management and Administration from the Institute of Commercial Management (UK). He holds a certificate as a Project Management Professional. He is pursuing his Master’s degree programme in Development Management. He is the co-chair and convener of the African Youth in Philanthropy Conference and sits on the IDEAS for Us board, serving as African Regional Director. Emmanuel is currently a secretary of the Rural and Urban Development Committee of the Millennium Excellence Awards which honours Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize(LAAP) Laureates. The accolade celebrates the outstanding achievement and excellence of Ghanaians, Africans and citizens of the world who have sacrificed, toiled tirelessly and served the continent relentlessly to advance its socio-economic development.
Joseph Kuzelka, Nexus Minnesota-USA Coordinator
Joseph Kuzelka was born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. He enjoys being identified as an “Average Joe” and “One of the people.” After running for office and being voted class president, he found his true passion: listening to and advocating for young people. Joseph works to give voice to those who are overlooked because of their age or lack of life experience. He believes that people “have two ears and one mouth for a reason”. He went to the University of Minnesota and majored in Youth Studies. With his degree, he moved to a ‘tough’ neighborhood in Saint Paul, became a part of the neighborhood, and pursued his passion for direct youth work. Joseph is developing a community radio program to give his generation and his neighorhood a voice. He recently worked for the Arlington and Wilder Community Centers of the City of St. Paul. Show more…
“Many people only hear about the shootings, assaults, or gang activity in this neighborhood. I want to prove to the outsiders that there are many more wonderful people than those highlighted on the news”. Joseph strives to exemplify what it means to be ‘Minnesota Nice.’
Kwasi Asare, Nexus Ghana Outreach Ambassador
Kwasi Asare is the Founder & CEO of FIGHTER INTERACTIVE. He was the New Media Director for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ burgeoning empire, simultaneously overseeing the development & marketing for Diddy’s brands, including: Ciroc, Sean John Fragrance, Sean John Clothing and Bad Boy Entertainment. While leading Bad Boy’s new media initiatives, Kwasi devised the communication and technology driven marketing strategies for a wide range of campaigns including: The Ciroc Vodka Launch,Diddy, Jay-Z & Mary J Blige’s Barack Obama Election Campaign (2008), NOTORIOUS BIG “Greatest Hits and NOTORIOUS Soundtrack, Diddy’s “Press Play”, Danity Kane’s “Welcome To The Dollhouse” , Yung Joc’s “New Joc City” album,Cassie (Various singles), Janelle Monae’s “Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase)”, the”Unforgivable” & “I Am King” launches, the “I Want to Work for Diddy” TV show,”Making The Band”, “A Raisin in The Sun”,The “Notorious” Movie and the “Bad Boys of Comedy”. Throughout his storied career he has executed global marketing campaigns for artists and brands such as: Ice Cube, Prince, Pharrell Williams, Wu Tang Clan, LL Cool J, Outkast, Gnarls Barkley, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Show more…
Mary J Blige,The Roots,The Fugees,Cypress Hill, Diageo, Sony Music and Estee Lauder. Kwasi is currently the CEO of FIGHTER Interactive a media and technology agency that has advised clients as diverse as Startup America, Bit Torrent, Monster Products, The Consumer Electronics Association, Microsoft, Universal Music, Warner Music Group etc. Kwasi began his career as an Investment Banker at Citigroup’s’ Salomon Smith Barney after graduating from The University of Pennsylvania with a degree in International Politics.
Lorraine Grace, Nexus UK Outreach Ambassador
Lorraine is a Consumer Goods Equity Analyst at Close Brothers Asset Management in London, and currently a 2017 Level III candidate in the CFA Program. Lorraine was born and raised in New York and graduated from the University of Southern California with undergraduate degrees in Fine Arts, Business and Entrepreneurship. Lorraine’s main interests in philanthropy are focused on children’s education, women in conflict areas, the arts, and entrepreneurship. In 2008, she founded a charity called the My World Project. The My World Project has connected and taught peaceful conflict resolution techniques and photography skills to children around the world, in the Middle East, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New York and Los Angeles. Lorraine is a member of the Wise Foundation NewGen Council, YPO Next Generation, Women for Women International Junior Leadership Circle, and a board member of the USC Alumni Association of London. Lorraine is also a junior board member of the Middle East Children’s Institute. Show more…
Her other areas of interest are art, photography, yoga and music including the guitar and song writing. Lorraine’s family’s philanthropies are focused on education for refugee women and children victims of war in the Middle East, and genetics and cancer research.
Narkis Alon, Nexus Israel Outreach Ambassador
Narkis Alon is the Co-Founder of Elevation Academy, a tech academy, specializing in teaching skills through transformational learning experiences. She is also the Co-founder of Ze-Ze, a platform for social enterprises led by youth. Recently named 30 under 30 by Forbes Israel, Narkis is a Schusterman fellow, and a member in the ROI community. As part of the Global Shapers network, she co-founded Table For Two Israel. Being a member of the steering committee for women empowerment of Tel-Aviv Municipality, founder of the Elevation W entrepreneurship program for women, and member of the advisory board at WMN, Narkis cares a lot about what she believes to be one of the most important needs of this era; bringing the feminine energy into the business sector. She served at Israel’s 8200 elite intelligence unit of IDF and as a mentor at 8200 accelerator for social entrepreneurs. She’s had speaking appearances at Davos, TEDx, Lift, and more. She studied Psychology and Film at TAU.
Noorani Sukardi, Nexus Indonesia Outreach Ambassador
Noorani Sukardi is an investor, social entrepreneur, writer, and a philanthropist. She founded and acted as executive director to New Asia Enterprise, a shipping and trading company mainly trading in commodities and goods from Indonesia to various non profit organisations based in the Middle East. Her concern for the ecosystem and for Indonesia led her to take part as Regional Head of Fundraising and Communication Strategist for DeforestAction.org. Her activities in philanthropy started at age 21 when she took the role as Fund Coordinator for a non-profit organization providing free libraries for children in poor areas in Indonesia (Taman Baca or The Reading Garden). Show more…
She is passionate about education of women and young children, the conservation of the environment, and on fighting corruption in third world countries and within non profit organizations. She is also actively involved in the contemporary art world and the fashion world and acts as producer for the Indonesian Pavilion at Venice Biennale, in Venice Italy.
Nophol Techaphangam (Naps), Director of Nexus Thailand
Naps is currently the Vice Managing Director of Somphol Bedding and Mattress Industry Co., Ltd. (SPB), his family’s mattress and bedding firm based in Bangkok, Thailand. Carrying on the legacy of his grandfather, who founded the modern mattress and bedding industry in Thailand over 50 years ago, he has since 2005 led the company’s expansion into the AEC and beyond. He has also made sure the company makes a positive impact on every community in which it operates. For example, SPB regularly donates its products to those in need and provides relief to the unfortunate during times of natural disasters. Show more…
In addition to his main responsibility, Naps is also the Sponsorship Manager of the Bangkok Charity Orchestra (BCO), Thailand’s first and only orchestra dedicated to raising funds for charities; a Director of the Thai Young Philanthropist Network (TYPN), a group of over 2,300 young, highly educated professionals in Thailand whose aim is to be a key development agent for the country; and the Secretary of the Boss Association, a group of over 3,000 leading Thai executives whose objective is to make a positive impact on Thailand. Naps, a Cambridge-Thai Foundation Scholar, holds a Post Dip in Economics from Downing College, the University of Cambridge, and a BSc (Hons) in Physics with Theoretical Physics from the University of Manchester. He was given the Model Business Person of the Year Award (Household and Office Goods Sector) from the Foundation of Science and Technology Council of Thailand in 2012.
Pascale Déau, Nexus France Outreach Ambassador
Pascale Déau is a French national working in San Francisco with a focus on impact investing, supporting Sonen Capital and other groups. Previously she served as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) in New York, a non-profit organization that supports communities in Haiti through programs in education, healthcare and the arts. At APJ, Pascale developed an online store, produced fundraising events and managed the organization’s communications efforts. Prior to APJ, Pascale worked at the Clinton Global Initiative where she assisted the Deputy Director with his project management responsibilities and event production.
Rashlin Bhachu, Nexus Kenya Outreach Ambassador
Rashlin is a management consultant in London with FTSE 100 Company Capita, where she has delivered multi million pound saving initiatives for clients such as the Ministry of Defence and the NHS. Born and brought up in Kenya, Rashlin is passionate about building a bridge between wealth owners and tech initiatives focussed on development which allows Africa’s burgeoning youth population to reap opportunities. To that effect, Rashlin has founded a web based platform called Sisi ni moja, meaning we are one in Swahili, which aims to provide youth in Kenya with access to business professionals and job opportunities. The platform also aims to raise awareness on issues which cause social stigma, such as sexual abuse, by using technology to storyboard them in a way which will resonate with today’s technologically-adept youth. Show more…
Rashlin graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with an MSc in Global Politics, concentrating largely on African development and conflict resolution.
Samantha Elghanayan, Nexus Outreach Ambassador
Sam Elghanayan has been working at the nexus of business, technology and economic development for over ten years. She is determined to increase living standards at the bottom of the pyramid, and sees improving job opportunities and access to financial markets as key to that goal. Her experience in startups, finance, and development economics gives her a unique perspective with which to tackle this goal. Sam currently lives in Uganda where she works with Tugende, a social enterprise that helps motorcycle taxi drivers own their own motorcycles in 19 months or less (instead of renting indefinitely) via a fair, transparent lease to own model. Show more…
Sam works on growing the systems, team and capacity needed to scale to reach more micro-entrepreneurs. Sam comes from a family of entrepreneurs and philanthropists that, from a young age, seeded in her a deep interest in both business and social justice that has continued to grow. She has worked in Bolivia, Sierra Leone and Uganda on technology, agriculture, and financial inclusion and livelihoods projects; in New York and London trading foreign exchange and interest rate products; and in her hometown sourcing data and analytics deals for a venture capital firm, while working on her own tech startup.
Sarah Reifschneider, Nexus Israel Outreach Ambassador
Sarah Fenna Reifschneider is the co-founder of Elevation W, a feminine development program for women entrepreneurs, investors and community leaders. Her mission is to help unveil the powers of women, in business and home making, for a more unified and balanced reality. Sarah created different workshops world wide and facilitated across the cultural board from Myanmar to Switzerland through Expressive Arts Education. She specializes in trauma and developed alternative healing methods from PTSD in Israel. Sarah Received a Master at the European Graduate School, and a Master in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Tel Aviv University. Her BA is from Sarah Lawrence College in Developmental Psychology and Theater. Show more…
Sarah is a puppeteer, a medical clown, and a professional Hula-hooper. Sarah is a global citizen at home in Germany, Israel, and the US.
Sebastian Carducci, Nexus Mexico Outreach Ambassador
Sebastian Carducci is a founding member of the Giordano Bruno University, where he serves as a Member of the Board and Executive Vice-President of Business Development. With a rich cross-cultural background, he has developed a solid expertise in international development as an executive, consultant and serial entrepreneur, in diverse industries such as hospitality, advertising, finance, equipment, education and services. In the past he has managed distributors and subsidiaries for an innovation-driven multinational, negotiated several distribution agreements for consulting clients in Mexico, developed successful sales strategies for equipment companies, designed and researched investment strategies for an international private banking firm, and restored a healthy working environment and re-engineered operations while optimizing the bottom line of the largest hostel in Latin America. Show more…
He has been involved in distinct business ventures as a founder, co-founder or investor, including a hotel, an event and lighting company, and a governmental and business consulting company. One of his favorite early experiences was becoming -by serendipity- part of a team that produced an award winning series about the Mexican Caribbean aired on Discovery Networks. Sebastian has a BA in Languages and International Business from the University of Savoie and a Master’s Degree in International Business from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business, where he actively participated as VP of the Alumni Association, helping create the foundations of a global network for trans-cultural alumni cooperation. A great passion for innovation has pushed him to constantly study creative and disruptive ideas and apply them towards new ventures. He is passionate about understanding the relationships that can be established between education, impact investing and social enterprise to build a more sustainable and humane world.
Sebastian Fernandez de Cordova, Nexus Spain Outreach Ambassador
Tatiana Sartori, Nexus Brazil Co-Director
Founder and Director of Instituto Geração, an organization dedicated to supporting privileged youth to engage in social change. Bachelor in business administration, musician and mother of two boys, Tatiana has also worked with consultancy in community, corporate and family philanthropy and as marketing manager at her family business. Now Instituto Geração is glad to represent Nexus in Brazil and believes this partnership will take its work – and impact – to a new level.
Tutu Adebiyi, Nexus Nigeria Outreach Ambassador
Tutu Adebiyi is a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, with a passion for African Development. Her goal is to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, by providing opportunities and empowering disadvantaged segments of Nigeria to contribute to economic development of their country. With particular dedication to youth empowerment programs, she is the Founder of KIA Foundation, focused on the rehabilitation of young Internally Displaced Persons’ into the Nigerian society through education primarily and healthcare and mentorship. She holds a BA in International Relations with an MSc in Development at School of Oriental and African Studies and has previous experience working at the African Union. She hopes to be an agent of change by becoming more involved in how wealth owners can invest strategically in social development but also doing further research and work in international development programs.
Vanessa Faktor, Nexus Germany Outreach Ambassador
Vanessa studied for her doctorate at the University of St. Gallen specialising in the field of governance. As a research assistant, she coordinated governance workshops and seminars for directors of the board. Writing her dissertation: “New Family Office Governance” she was invited to be a Visiting Scholar by the Wharton Business School. Her company Workshop Dual counsels and accompanies clients during the design and establishment of a structured governance system covering strategy, defined communication channels, risk management and timely succession planning for the family and its business. Specific programmes prepare the next generation for their future challenges and responsibilities. Show more…
Workshop Dual assists with intra-generational philanthropic projects which result in a better alignment of the family identity by bring the different generations closer. Vanessa is actively involved with the international women’s organisation WIZO as Young WIZO / AVIV Representative for Germany and is an active member of Nexus Global Youth Summit.
Victor Philippenko, Nexus Eastern Europe and Central Asia Outreach Ambassador
Victor was born in Russia, grew up in Germany and as a true global citizen lived and worked across the globe. As an advocate for next generation philanthropy he is very passionate about spreading the word about giving back mentality in former Soviet Union countries including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others. As a family office advisor and philanthropist he supports educational, environmental and scientific initiatives. He is a chairman and founder of the G20 Foundation, a millennial driven think tank on G20 and Global Governance. As a governance innovator and facilitator of “outreach dialogue” he significantly contributed to the integration of major stakeholders from business, academia, public institutions, and youth organizations within the G20 process. As a eco-system builder he co-founded Next B2B Forum in order to position Frankfurt as a leading B2B start-up hub in Europe as well as Green Growth Forum, which was highly supported by major corporations and German federal government. Show more…
Professionally he gathered hands-on venture capital experience as investment manager and member of the investment committee of a venture capital fund focusing on clean-tech sector investments and trusted advisor for family offices. His recent speaking engagements include lectures and key notes at London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Bologna Alma Graduate School, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Chicago Graduate School of Business, Goethe University and major international conferences. He is a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and was the Founding Curator of Global Shapers Hub in Frankfurt am Main.
Ying Yan, Nexus China Program Director
Ying Yan serves as the Program Director of Nexus China. As the first full-time staff based in China, she organizes various events including summits, salons delegation and trips together with Nexus members. Her passions are education for women, especially empowering them through fashion. Prior to joining Nexus, Ying served for London Speaker Bureau as Representative of China for over 2 years. During the time of her service, she brought incredible speaker to Chinese audience such as former presidents, Nobel Prize winners, and number of other outstanding speakers from all over the world to share their brilliant ideas and to inspire to make changes to ever growing Chinese leadership.
Meet Leaders of the Nexus Membership
Aaron Berger, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Climate Change
Aaron Berger is a research scientist specializing in pattern recognition, domestic and foreign current events, and technology trends under the lens of existential risk. A core belief of his is that there is always a solution. He serves as a strategic advisor to individuals and organizations interested in finding important solutions to their difficult problems. In his effort to help others see a more systemic perspective, his research methods break down problems into their foundational elements; analysis of which yields new angles and novel solutions. Currently, he is a Co-Chair for the Nexus Working Group on Climate Change, and International Advisor for US Climate Plan.
Aimee Gilbreath, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Animal Welfare and Biodiversity Conservation
Aimee Gilbreath is the Executive Director of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, a Los Angeles based nonprofit focused on animal welfare. She joined Found Animals in 2008 as its first full-time employee and has been responsible for launching the Foundation’s wide range of innovative programs which include traditional and prize-driven venture philanthropy fueling science and technology research; social enterprise-based start-up businesses offering innovative products and services; and education initiatives, awareness events, and conferences ushering state and local policy into the 21st Century. Under her leadership the Foundation has grown has grown from an idealistic start-up with a single employee to a global social enterprise with proprietary technologies, scientific funding, and research grants that today span more than 400 B2B clients, 1 million B2C customers nationwide, 90 grant recipients and 30 strategic partners worldwide. Show more…
Found Animals now has 70 staff members and over 700 active volunteers who will contribute over 50,000 hours of service in 2016. Prior to Found Animals, Ms. Gilbreath served as a Principal with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) leading projects and teams to help Fortune 500 companies solve complex business challenges. She also co-launched a biotechnology research and development program as part of Motorola, Inc.’s Life Sciences Division. Aimee holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and an MBA from Stanford University. She frequently speaks to industry groups and serves on committees and boards for Los Angeles organizations dedicated to animal welfare, social enterprise, and executive leadership.
Amanda Cole, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Film, Media & Story
Inspired by the social activism work of her family, Amanda Cole has a deep understanding of the importance of making giving a lifestyle and believes that business can be a tool to enact substantial and meaningful change today. Amanda works to promote and practice those ideals through her role as Co-Chair of the Film, Media, & Story program for the Nexus Global Youth Summit for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Philanthropy. Amanda has also applied her creative passion for performing arts and storytelling to a sustainable business models in order to impact meaningful social change, and hopes to inspire others in her effort. Show more…
Upon graduating from Brown University in Spring 2013, Amanda has joined (what has evolved into) the Corporate Citizenship team at Kenneth Cole Productions to help develop the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and to strategically maximize the company’s social value creation.
Christian Bailey, Boston City Ambassador of Nexus
Christian Bailey is the Founder of Curated Innovation, an MIT-fueled invention lab. Curated invents technologies and builds prototypes as impact investments, backed by philanthropists who are passionate about fields like skin cancer, breast cancer, the human brain and human-carrying multicopters. Christian has invested in applied-science spinouts from MIT and Harvard; founded two technology companies, including Lincoln Group, which was acquired by GPI; and volunteered as a coach with United Way Youth Venture and Junior Achievement. He holds a BA and MA in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford, and has completed studies in molecular biology and materials science as a Fellow at MIT. At his core, Christian is dedicated to solving technology challenges that impact humanity.
Christina Hollenback, Chair of Nexus Working Group Toward Equal Justice
Christina is the Chair of the Nexus Working Group Toward Equal Justice, where she works with their 3,000+ global network of young philanthropists, impact investors, and social entrepreneurs to transform our world by aligning their full potential—social, political, business, and investments— toward Equal Justice. Christina spent 13 years in politics helping convene the “unusual suspect” coalitions to win on the DREAM Act, Affirmative Action, access to healthcare and higher education, workforce development programs, and major women’s health issues. Winner of the prestigious POLLY award at just 27, Christina then became one of the youngest Executive Directors in Washington at 29, and committed her time to not just winning on these major issues, but building the infrastructure to make power building sustainable for her generation and nurturing the growing the bench of talented young people from under-represented communities Show more…
to lead us into a new era. In 2013, Christina transitioned her skills into the social impact sector and started helping social enterprises working with women and children come to scale to meet their potential. After the universe brought her a number of brilliant formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs who had scalable idea stage start ups to transform the Criminal Justice System and the hood into an epicenter of healing and economic growth, she created Vigilint, the first of it’s kind incubator and seedfund to create more efficient alternatives to the Criminal Justice system with people who’ve been formerly incarcerated. Christina has travelled the world as a performer, director, and producer, most recently directing the US Premiere of Apple iTune’s first issue-based album for the People’s Climate March, The album HOME, featuring NE-YO, Common, Elle Varner, and produced by 5 time Grammy Award winner Malik Yusef. She has also helped produce Hip Hop loves Ferguson with Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, and the top STL artists who gave voice to the movement and is currently Co-producing Whose Streets, the story of Ferguson from the people who lived it. Christina is a daughter, sister, partner, creator, healer, and Godmother born and raised on the northside of Syracuse. She currently can be found somewhere between Egypt, Syracuse, the Redwoods, Peru, San Francisco, Baltimore, and a park with wifi near you.
Claudia Welss, Chair of Invest In Yourself (IY)
Claudia’s belief that lasting social change requires personal transformation guided her to leave the University of California Berkeley working with corporations over a decade ago to focus on the nexus of consciousness, technology, and energy for advancing large-scale social change. She’s co-founder and chair of Invest in Yourself @ Nexus (IY), on the board of directors for the Institute of Noetic Sciences (advising the IONS Innovation Lab, Science/Research and NexGen committees) where she is also external research faculty, and on the Foundation for Conscious Evolution board, the Global Coherence Initiative steering committee to scale personal coherence to social and global levels, the Gaiafield Council creating the field of “Subtle Activism,” and other emerging efforts. She’s a member of Evolutionary Leaders founded by the Chopra Center, and founded and directs NextNow Collaboratory, a collaboration lab and purposeful social network based in Silicon Valley that cultivates connective intelligence for wiser, more effective collective action, Show more…
helping incubate programs such as IY, Women Innovators and Inventors (Google grant recipient) and Techne Verde (now a project of the Buckminster Fuller Institute). Previously, she was director of the Center for Executive Development at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley for over six years, building and directing strategic programs for corporate clients in over 30 countries. Her personal mission there was to leverage her prior experience with Business for Social Responsibility in order to establish university-based corporate social responsibility (CSR) content. Like other Nexus members, Claudia endeavors to have greater impact as a social entrepreneur, impact investor and philanthropist, and appreciates the opportunities to learn with this unique network.
Clint Misamore, Los Angeles City Ambassador of Nexus
Clinton Misamore is the Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships for GoGood, a social impact venture that’s creating the best way to give. Previously, Misamore worked for Global Giving and the Milken Institute–where he was responsible for establishing and executing key initiatives in emerging markets, most notably the Access to Global Capital Initiative and Africa Programs. Misamore has co-founded and advised three successful international NGOs, including: Y-Generation Against Poverty, Sanejo, and Entrepreneur Impact Day. Throughout his career, Misamore has advised and cultivated deep global relationships with senior executives from multinational corporations; financial service, institutional investment, private equity, and venture capital firms; nonprofit organizations; high net worth individuals; multilateral agencies; and government officials. Misamore holds extensive international qualifications having worked, studied, and lived in over twenty-five countries. Show more…
He holds a B.S. from Purdue University and M.A in International Relations from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University where he focused on global development, international markets, and Africa.
Daniela Plattner, Outreach Ambassador of Nexus
Daniela Plattner is a movement facilitator, community engagement strategist, and leadership coach. Her embodiment and play-based programs have activated thousands of minds and bodies around the world. She has facilitated solution-oriented events, innovation and team-building workshops, and marketing campaigns for leading mission-driven organizations, social enterprises, schools, and Fortune 100 companies. She holds a B.A in psychology, an M.A. in expressive arts consulting and coaching, and is a certified Holistic Health Coach (H.H.C) and teacher of 5Rhythms, a somatic movement practice she has been studying for fifteen years. Show more…
Her leadership coaching programs help people gain the confidence, clarity and creativity to leverage their resources for personal, professional, and planetary momentum. She grew up in NYC, went to high school and graduate school in Switzerland, and identifies as a global citizen. Her mission is to catalyze cultural growth through community building, embodied learning, and social entrepreneurship.
David Chang, Outreach Ambassador of Nexus
David Chang is a co-founder of Invest in Yourself @ Nexus (IY@N), an initiative whose mission is to promote life purpose and balance, social-emotional well-being and personal coherence of individuals engaged in next-gen philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. David is a graduate of the Wharton School, the Life Purpose Institute and Coaches Training Institute. He has worked for MTV, Choose or Lose, Rock the Vote, Omega Institute of Holistic Studies, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the InterFaith Conference of Greater Washington and the United Nations International Day of Peace. Show more…
David has been invited to participate as an emerging leader to several events: Pachamama Alliance Leadership Summit, State of the World Forum, Evolving Men’s Conference, Global Peace Initiative of Women, the UN Millennium Peace Summit of Spiritual & Religious Leaders and Nexus Global Youth Summit. He co-founded the collaborative model, PartnerShift Alliance, where leaders in the areas of inner wellness, sustainability and social justice would find ways to connect and collaborate for the greater good. He has organized men’s gatherings, women’s gatherings and inter- generational summits with the purpose of supporting the development of a new man, a new woman, a new culture and a new earth.
David Dietz, New York City Ambassador of Nexus
David serves as Nexus Ambassador to New York City. David founded Modavanti in 2013 out of a desire to fuse social good and fashion. Since launching, Modavanti has been named a top Ethical Fashion site by Instyle Magazine, one of the coolest fashion startups of 2016 by the Huffington Post, and Honoree for Best for NYC by B Corp and the City. David serves as a board member of Georgetown University’s Entrepreneurship Alliance and previously served as co-chair of the Nexus Global Ethical Fashion Lab. Additionally, David is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post. Prior to Modavanti, David served as a conflict journalist in the Middle East where he reported on the Arab Spring. During his two years in the region, David contributed to Mic.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and Al Jazeera. Show more…
He Holds degree in Arabic studies with minors in Government and Economics from Georgetown University. In his free time you can find him on the tennis courts, the ski slopes or watching the Premiere League on Saturday mornings.
Diana Mao, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Human Trafficking
Diana Mao is the Co-Founder and President of Nomi Network, a nonprofit that creates economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics/Accounting and Chinese at the University of California Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Administration, specializing in International Management at Wagner, New York University. She has expertise in governmental consulting, domestic and international economic development, social entrepreneurship, micro-finance, and launching awareness raising campaigns. Her passion for ending modern day slavery stems from her favorite bible verse “to whom much is given, much is required.” Show more…
Diana is a blogger for the Huffington Post and occasionally the United States Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center. Diana also serves on the Advisory Board of Malaysian Schools and is a Presidential Leadership Scholar. She loves her vibrant Nomi laptop case because it makes working fun!
Erin Bernhardt, Atlanta City Ambassador of Nexus
Erin Bernhardt is a creative activist. She works through film, journalism and events to inspire and motivate people to rally behind important issues and causes. Erin is currently on tour with her first independent documentary feature film, Imba Means Sing, a story about music, education, and poverty alleviation told through the eyes of young members from the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir. The film will release in December 2015 in over 100 countries. Erin is also excited to be consulting as the Director of the Art Farm at Serenbe and the Impact Producer for Rock Your World, a free curriculum developed by the UN and Creative Visions Foundation for middle and high school students to explore human rights by creating art and media together. A former CNN writer/producer and Peace Corp Volunteer, Erin now works to bring media and development together. She is grateful to have won several awards for her work, including an Emmy and two Peabody’s. Show more…
Erin has a heart for her city and the developing world. Locally, she is part of LEAD Atlanta, the Beltline’s Young Advisory Council, and now also committed to building the Nexus community in her hometown!
Leslie Falconer, Co-Chair of Nexus Lab on Education
Leslie Falconer, M.S. is the President and CEO of the Experience Early Learning Co., publisher of early childhood books, music and early learning curriculum. She has published several child development tools including the Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum and co-produced over 300 children’s songs featured in the Teacher’s Choice award-winning program Dance ’n Beats. Falconer has authored articles appearing in both early childhood education and philanthropy journals. As an international speaker and trainer, she has presented on topics related to education, innovation and next generation philanthropy. Leslie Falconer is co-founder and trustee of the Alabaster Fund, a private family foundation, throughout which she researches and invests in international development programs that support increased access to education and social entrepreneurship initiatives worldwide. On her downtime, Leslie loves to be outside hiking and enjoying beautiful Traverse City, Michigan with her husband three active daughters.
Lina Constantinovici, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group in Impact Investing and Steering Committee Member, Nexus Working Group on Climate Change
Lina Constantinovici, MBA is a an applied economist who’s launched several organizations that contribute to building an economy that creates conditions conducive to life: as Founding Partner in BVC Fund – a early-stage impact investment fund, Founder of the Risk and Value Creation Institute – a think and do tank focused on aligning economic activity with our planetary systems, and StartupNectar – an incubator focused on commercializing biomimetic water, energy, and materials science technologies. StartupNectar was selected as a finalist in the NASA/SSV Showcase of Solutions for Planetary Sustainability in 2013. With over 20 years cross-sector experience, Lina has been a pioneer and thought leader in biomimetic innovation and commercialization as a key component of evolving to a more sustainable production and manufacturing system, sustainability strategy advising for global brands like W Hotels and Walmart, sustainability standards design for the EPA, strategic foresight advising on the future of healthcare and education, and legislation towards the city’s zero waste goals at the municipal level through San Francisco Department of Environment. Show more…
Lina is currently launching Innovation 4.4, The Human and Planetary Sustainability Innovation Center – a public private partnership focused on innovation aligned with 4.4 billion years of our planetary systems. Lina is a frequent speaker and university lecturer, and has developed curricula for macro-economic sustainability, systems thinking, entrepreneurship, biomimetic innovation, and impact investing.
Maggie Kervick, Co-Chair of Nexus Lab on Ethical Fashion
Maggie Kervick works as the Director of Communication and Outreach at Glasgow Caledonian University New York (GCU New York), overseeing the Fair Fashion Center (FFC). The first of its kind, the FFC aims to prove the business case for sustainability in the apparel and accessories industry. Previously, Kervick worked on the Corporate Citizenship team at Kenneth Cole, helping to engage customers in the brands philanthropic work through product, digital activism, and in-store activations. Prior she worked for the Women’s Reaction footwear team, as an assistant designer. Show more…
Kervick found her way to Kenneth Cole shortly after her company, Bags By Mags, launched a partnership with Lifestyles® Condoms, offering three awareness raising handbags made to look like Lifestyles® SKYN® condom wrappers. Through the “I’m Covered” campaign, Bags By Mags strived to put stigma to bed by empowering women to carry and use condoms. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, after four years of running full operations for Bags By Mags. Kervick currently resides in New York City spending her free time directing the fashion track at the Nexus Global Youth Summit and serving on the board of amfAR’s young professionals board.
Melissa Jane Kronfeld, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Human Trafficking
Melissa Jane Kronfeld received her B.A. in International Relations from George Washington University, as well as a M.S. in Global Affairs from both New York University and Rutgers University. Melissa has been featured as a journalist and editorialist on national television, print and online media for over a decade. In 2013 she was named one of the “36 Under 36” by The Jewish Week and in 2014 she was awarded the Walter F. Weiker scholarship celebrating individuals who possess academic excellence and a commitment to exceptional extracurricular activities or contributions to society. Melissa is engaged in numerous community endeavors, is a member of over a dozen non-profit advisory boards and associations, and is an investor in or advisor to a wide range of socially conscious start-up businesses. Show more…
For her efforts she was nominated for a Jewish People’s Choice Award in the category of “Making A Difference.” After more than five years working in the philanthropic world, she launched Party For A Purpose in 2014 and PFAP Consulting in 2015, a full service social impact event management, fundraising, advocacy and development agency. In 2016, Melissa will be awarded a PhD in Global Affairs from Rutgers University.
Patrick Gage, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Human Trafficking
Patrick Gage is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. He is active in political and social causes, particularly those concerning human rights. He runs two political blogs, The Elephant in the Corner and The Right Way, serves as the Georgetown University College Republicans’ Director of Publications, and co-chairs Nexus’ Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Working Group. As a fourth generation member of the Curtis L. Carlson family (Radisson Hotels, Carlson Wagonlit Travel), philanthropy has been part of Patrick’s life since the day he was born. He and his family are especially interested in fighting human trafficking, one of the fastest-growing criminal industries in the world. With a focus on domestic and international sex trafficking, Patrick hopes to use his knowledge to inform those around him and ensure this issue is addressed.
Sarah Jane (SJ) Murray, Co-Chair of Nexus Working Group on Film, Media & Story
Sarah Jane (SJ) Murray is an Irish-born writer and EMMY-nominated screenwriter and film-maker who lives and works in the United States. After living extensively in France, SJ earned her PhD in literature at Princeton, where she was the recipient of the Porter Ogden Jacobus Prize as outstanding student of the graduate school. She later studied screenwriting at UCLA and teaches regularly on story design, literature, leadership & creativity and film-making at Baylor University, where she is a tenured associate professor. A passionate abolitionist and avid salsa dancer, SJ has a passion for telling great stories that change the world — and empowering others in the film, startup, non-profit and for-profit communities to do the same.Show more…
She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment of the humanities, is a life-appointed fellow at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), and her creative work has been recognized by numerous international awards (including the Communicator Award of Distinction and the Silver Telly awards). SJ lives in Austin, TX, with her feisty wheatonpoo, Coco, and travels frequently to both coasts.
Vanessa Grellet, Chair of Nexus Working Group on Impact Investing
Vanessa Grellet is a Global Executive with 15 years of expertise in the Financial Services and Exchange industry. She currently works in PwC’s Asset Management division, serving as a key member of the firm’s global wealth management and private banking capabilities. She chairs the Nexus Working Group on Impact Investing, dedicated to educating, empowering, and connecting Next-Gen impact investors, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs. She is a Partner at Acumen and the Co-Founder of Coda, an innovation and cross-cultural exchange platform for innovators, located in emerging countries. Mrs. Grellet graduated Cum Laude from Law School (Paris II Assas) and Business School (HEC) in France and is fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish. She is a Milken Institute Young Leader (MIYL) and a Young Leader Board member of the Off the Record lectures series (OTR) affiliated with the Foreign Policy Association.
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