The Indego Africa Family
Indego Africa has offices in New York City and Rwanda and is managed by a diverse team with extensive experience in development, business, design, law, commerce, fashion, and Africa. Click to expand.
United States Team (New York)
Conor B. French: Chief Executive Officer
CONOR B. FRENCH
A corporate attorney turned social entrepreneur, Conor is the CEO of Indego Africa and committed business partner to more than 500 women entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Conor believes deeply in the power of global markets, education and partnerships to drive economic growth, create jobs, and promote sustainable livelihoods in the developing world.
Conor frequently speaks on issues related to economic development, social innovation and impact, global partnerships, women’s empowerment, regional security, and non-profit leadership and management. His writing has been featured in McKinsey & Company’s What Matters, Ashoka’s Change Insight, Deal Lawyers and Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities. He has been recognized by Diplomatic Courier as one of the most influential foreign policy leaders under 33, by Yoxi as a Social Innovation Rockstar and by 85 Broads as a Guy Who Rocks.
Conor began his career in the corporate department at the global law firm of Latham & Watkins. He represented public and private companies, investment banks, private equity firms and investors in a wide range of leveraged finance and other capital-raising transactions. As pro bono counsel to Ashoka, Conor structured joint ventures, strategic partnerships and other collaborations that provided critical support for Ashoka’s global network of leading social entrepreneurs.
Conor is a Truman National Security Fellow, including serving as Operations Director in NY. He is a founding member of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, a private-public partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Aspen Institute, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Conor holds a B.A. in History and English from Georgetown University and a J.D. from NYU Law, where he was an editor of the Journal of International Law and Politics. Conor serves on the board of directors of NYU Law’s Alumni Association and on the NY State Bar Association’s Committee on Attorney Professionalism. He is qualified to practice before the CA, DC, MA, and NY bars.
Karen Yelick: Chief Operating and Financial Officer
Leveraging off a 24 year career with Merrill Lynch, Karen joined Indego Africa in March 2012 as Chief Financial Officer and assumed the Chief Operating Officer role in June. Karen was drawn to Indego Africa for both its mission, which intersects with her passion for education and helping women achieve financial independence, and for Indego Africa’s entrepreneurial culture.
Karen brings a high level of business acumen to the table and has the proven ability to make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment – and relishes helping run a small business within a social mission.
Karen was Managing Director of the US Business Selection and Conflicts group within Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch where she managed due diligence to facilitate deal execution, partnered with bankers in deciding which new business to take on, managed deal pipeline and protected the firm from legal and reputational risks. Prior roles included financial analysis and reporting for Debt Markets, corporate budgeting, and investment banking business management.
Karen received an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. Karen and her husband Jeff are the proud parents of Adam, Eric and Samantha.
Deirdre King: Creative Director
Deirdre received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 2007 and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2010. Shortly after joining the IA team in August 2010 as a legal fellow, Deirdre took the reins of Indego's growing creative and sales departments. As Creative Director, Deirdre manages Indego's product development and design, e-commerce site, wholesale business, retail partnerships and brand awareness. Deirdre has spoken at Parsons the New School for Design, Princeton University, FIT, NYU Stern and Columbia Law on global markets, fashion as a social venture, ethical design, sustainable sourcing and careers in socially responsible commerce.
Brittany Barb: Sales & Marketing Associate
Brittany is a design-driven changemaker. Brittany received a B.A. in Communications and Digital Media Art from Manhattan College. She initially joined Indego Africa as an intern, but deepened her role as a graphic design consultant following her graduation. In this role, Brittany plays a pivotal role in Indego Africa’s branding and marketing strategies and communications.
After studying and living in Arusha,Tanzania, Brittany wanted to stay involved in an Africa-focused social change model. Working for Indego Africa, Brittany combines her innovative and vibrant design aesthetic with her commitment to empowering African women artisans.
Rwanda Team (Kigali)
Rosine Urujeni: Country Director
Based in Kigali, Rwanda, Rosine oversees a diverse and complex portfolio of responsibilities at Indego Africa. She recruits and manages local university students to administer Indego Africa's training programs, including planning and implementing a comprehensive trainer professional development program. In addition, Rosine has spearheaded strategic initiatives focusing on areas such as breast cancer awareness, sexual health, and occupational safety. Finally, Rosine regularly leverages her legal training in interactions with government officials in Rwanda.
Rosine received a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (L.L.B) from Kigali Independent University in 2005. From 2007 to 2008, Rosine completed a Master's program at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in 2007-2008, where she wrote a thesis entitled "International Crimes and Transitional Justice: An analysis of Gacaca Process". In 2011, Rosine received a Master’s Degree (M.A.) in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, where she wrote a thesis entitled "Leadership in Transitional Societies: A Post-Genocide Case". Rosine is fluent in English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Kirundi and speaks intermediate-level Swahili.
Prior to attending graduate school, Rosine held positions as an Assistant Prosecutor for the High Court of Huye in Rwanda and as an Officer of Civil Status in the Public Administration Sector in Kigali. For eight years, she remained active in leadership roles for the National Youth Council of Rwanda, an organization improving the social and economic welfare of youth, genocide survivors, and other groups in need.
Yves Ndashimye: Accounting & Operations Associate
Yves joined the Indego Africa team in Jan. 2009 as a Management and Business Planning Intern before being promoted manage Indego Africa’s partnership with Twiyubake Family Cooperative as a consultant in 2010. Yves continued to excel in his expanding roles in the Hand-Up Training program and, immediately following his graduation from university in 2011, was hired as Indego Africa’s Accounting & Operations Associate. In that role, Yves works closely with the Chief Operating & Financial Officer and the Country Director on internal accounting functions, financial controls, and forecasting and monitoring in-country expenses as well as on tax and legal compliance in Rwanda. In addition, he performs accounting work for IAR Innovations Ltd.
In addition to his work with Indego Africa, Yves is one of the founders and partners of Max Impact Consulting – Rwanda’s first consulting firm dedicated to providing high quality, affordable consulting services while developing the skills and business management capacity of young Rwandan professionals.
Yves received a B.B.A in Accounting from the School of Finance and Banking. In 2007, he won a competitive scholarship from the international NGO Generation Rwanda and served as Universities’ Representative of the Generation Rwanda Students’ Association in 2010. Yves is currently a part II CPA candidate.
Grace Tsuni Uwase: Production Manager
GRACE TSUNI UWASE
Grace started as an intern with Indego Africa in Nov. 2011. She supported the Director of Production & Design in all production activities in Rwanda. More specifically, she served as the main point of contact for partner cooperatives and assisted in product design. Grace graduates in biology conservation at the National University of Rwanda this year. She was recognized as Miss Talent for her recycled bottle tops earrings at her college. Her artistic skills date from her childhood; she used to draw and make crafts with her dad. She also took a 2-month painting training with one of the best painters in Rwanda. Grace finished her academic internship at UNDP - GEF/SGP in the spring of 2012. In May 2013, Grace will travel to Malaysia for the Women Deliver Global Conference.
Heloise Mudenge: Executive Associate
Heloise joined the Indego Africa team in Nov. 2012 as an Executive Associate. She assists the Country Director in overseeing implementation, improvement, and measurement and evaluation of Indego Africa’s programs. In addition, Heloise plays an active role in managing relationships with other NGO partners and local government officials.
Heloise received a B.S. in International Business Administration from the United States International University in Nairobi. Prior to graduation, she completed an internship at the Business Development Fund in Kigali, where she handled credit guarantees and grant-financing of projects for small- and medium-enterprises.
Board of Directors
Matthew T. Mitro: Chairman & Co-Founder
Matthew T. Mitro
Matt pushes forward Indego Africa's founding vision of using the power of social enterprise to transform the lives of economically-vulnerable but highly-skilled artisans in Africa. Matt has a longstanding interest in African development, stemming from his six years living in Nigeria and his personal experience working with African women - those who support families and survive in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Matt has spoken about Indego Africa's innovative model to a variety of groups, from the World Affairs Council and Center for Unconventional Security Affairs to the African Social Enterprise Forum and Columbia University Law School (more info on speaking engagements)
Matt's professional training includes three years spent as a practicing attorney at Akin Gump LLP in Washington, DC where he coordinated the legal aspects of financing large-scale infrastructure projects in developing countries such as Bolivia, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In his previous position, Matt participated in firm management activities through his membership on both the Hiring Committee and the Associates Committee. Prior to joining the law firm, Matt was a federal law clerk in the Eastern District of Virginia and spent time in the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Justice working on international legal issues.
Matt graduated magna cum laude from American University's Washington College of Law in 2003 and holds a bachelor's degree in economics and history from Washington University in St. Louis. He has conducted published legal research on the topic of combating exploitative child labor through the global trading system (available here>>) and is conversational in French & German. Matt is currently a Fellow of the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics and the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, where he focuses on social entrepreneurship in Africa, and has traveled to more than 60 countries, living extensively in seven countries on four continents.
In August 2011, Matt joined Google as a University Program Specialist for the Middle East & Africa. He is responsible for building out Google’s strategic hiring programs and acting as Google’s ambassador at target academic institutions across the region. Matt was also recognized by Devex as one of 40 under 40 International Development Leaders in London.
From 2007 to 2011, Michael Brotchner served as the Executive Director of Generation Rwanda, which helps orphans and other socially vulnerable young people in Rwanda pursue a university education and ultimately become leaders in driving economic development and social reconciliation. Previously, Mr. Brotchner was the Director of Development for the Fund for Public Schools, which secures private funding for the New York City Department of Education’s reform efforts and develops public-private partnerships. He also served as the Director of Development for Fair Trade USA, the organization that promotes and certifies Fair Trade products such as Fair Trade coffee. Mr. Brotchner has served on the Boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, including Root Capital, which provides affordable financial services to small and medium-sized enterprises operating in environmentally sensitive areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He holds a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. with high honors from Wesleyan University.
Cory B. Fasold
Cory B. Fasold
Cory is a Finance Director at Pepsi Beverages Company (PBC), a division of PepsiCo, based in Somers, NY. In his current role with PBC, he supports the PBC Grocery Sales teams for some of the largest Grocery customers in the United States. Prior to joining PBC, Cory was a Marketing Finance Manager at Pepsi Beverages Americas (PBA) supporting the marketing teams for brands such as SoBe, Propel, Aquafina and Amp Energy, among others. Prior to joining PepsiCo in April of 2008, Cory was an Associate in the Leveraged Finance Group at Bear, Stearns & Company in Manhattan. Cory started with Bear Stearns in August of 2005 after completing his MBA. In the Leveraged Finance Group at Bear Stearns, Cory underwrote, structured and executed numerous leveraged loan and high yield bond offerings to support both leveraged buyouts and corporate acquisitions. During his time in the Leveraged Finance Group, Cory also did a six-month rotation in the firm’s High Yield Capital Markets group where he worked with the sales team and potential investors to successfully syndicate leveraged loan and high yield bond offerings. Prior to business school, Cory worked in small business lending at both The Bank of New York and Commerce Bank.
Cory received at Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College in 2000 and a MBA in Finance and Corporate Accounting from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester in 2005. Cory currently lives in Pleasantville, NY, with his wife Lyndie and his two daughters, Kendall and Rylie.
Stephen G. Foresta
Stephen G. Foresta
Steve Foresta is a partner at the international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York and is the firm-wide leader of the Litigation Practice Group. He has extensive experience handling all phases of complex litigation and has tried numerous cases in state and federal court and before arbitral panels in the U.S. and abroad. Steve is also an active participant in Orrick’s pro bono and associate training programs, and in recognition of his unwavering commitment to professional development, he received Orrick’s Excellence in Mentoring Award for 2010.
Steve also devotes a substantial amount of time working with community service organizations. During the summer of 2009, Steve traveled to Rwanda with his son Michael to work with Indego Africa’s staff, artisan partners, and Generation Rwanda interns, and he’s been a devoted Indego Africa supporter ever since. Steve also serves as Chair of the New York Board of Advisors of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit legal center whose mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. Steve graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1987 and received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar.
Lyse Hunger and is a Rwandan citizen with significant experience in commercial and social enterprises throughout Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Rwanda, Angola and Algeria. Ms. Hunger earned her Master’s of International Relations in Lumumbashi, DRC where she studied social sciences, administration and politics. She conducted six years of technical studies in social work, where she volunteered at a foster home for children with AIDS in Zambia and as a counselor for orphaned and traumatized children in Rwanda. With the support of the Dutch and German Embassies in Angola, Ms. Hunger founded Rainbow Home as a facility for housing and caring for street children in Luanda. She also supported an old age home and orphanage in Luanda. Now living in Algeria, Ms. Hunger has worked with street children and adopted a family of eight struggling to make ends meet. As a major volunteer and Director, Ms. Hunger has been instrumental in helping Indego Africa establish a foothold in Rwanda and has put Indego Africa officers in touch with government ministers and willing volunteers in Rwanda. Ms. Hunger speaks English, French, German, Portuguese, Swahili, Lingala and Kinyarwanda fluently.
Ryan is a Vice President in the Regulatory Audits & Inquiries group at Goldman Sachs & Co. He formerly practiced law for seven years in the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where he represented domestic and international clients in complex litigations and arbitrations involving a range of legal matters, including product liability, commercial disputes, and governmental and regulatory affairs. Before joining Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Ryan worked with several international governmental organizations devoted to international lawmaking, governance and enforcement. In 2001, Ryan interned as a legal advisor to the United Nations Liaison Office of CARE International in New York. In 1998, Ryan was a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi; later that year he was seconded by the U.S. Department of State to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, where he served as an assistant to the OSCE's Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Affairs. In 1997, Ryan interned as an Economic Section officer at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ryan received a B.A. with highest honors in Political Science and Film at Vassar College in 1997; an M.A. in International Affairs at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in 2001; and a J.D. at Stanford Law School in 2002, where he served on the Executive Board of the Stanford Journal of International Law.
Thomas M. Mitro: Co-Founder
Thomas M. Mitro
Tom has spent about one-third of his 32-year career as a financial manager living and working in Africa, notably in Angola and Nigeria. Now as the head of Mitro Consulting, Tom provides high-level financial and commercial advice to African government companies with respect to major natural resource development projects and to public companies on cultural aspects of conducting business in Africa. He is an expert in fiscal and tax policy in several countries, including Angola and Nigeria, and has made presentations at seminars in the U.K., Nigeria, Angola, Papua New Guinea and the U.S. Tom has acquired considerable experience negotiating various financial and commercial issues with national governments, banks, oil companies, multilateral institutions and non-profit organizations in Africa. He was formerly responsible for corporate policy-making, governmental interactions, and financial planning for African subsidiaries of Chevron, a Fortune 100 natural resource company. In this role, he helped lead Chevron’s effort to establish a joint project with the US Agency for International Development to provide development banking to under-served communities in Angola and represented Chevron in its community outreach and development programs. As a community leader, Tom has served as chairman of the board for international schools in Lagos and Luanda and as a board member for a project to provide mosquito nets to communities in Angola.
Benjamin D. Stone: Vice-Chairman
Benjamin D. Stone
As one of the original architects of Indego Africa, Ben served as COO/General Counsel and CEO from Sept. 2008 through July 2012. Ben is now Director of Small Business Development at American Express OPEN, where he leads American Express' multifaced initiatives to help drive forward the growth and success of small businesses in the United States.
Ben received a B.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000, a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2004, and in 2010 completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship. Ben frequently speaks about social innovation, global leadership, entrepreneurship, building grassroots movements, brand development, and law at a wide range of professional, academic, and industry venues.
Prior to Indego Africa, Ben was an attorney in New York City where he practiced complex commercial litigation and white collar defense at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Orrick). In 2007 Ben enrolled Indego Africa as a pro bono client and then, in 2008, engineered an unprecedented corporate responsibility partnership between the organizations that facilitated his full-time move to Indego Africa. Ben’s game-changing “intrapreneurship” has been covered by The New York Law Journal, The Recorder, Beyond Profit, NYU Law’s Law School Magazine, Law.com, The American Lawyer, and many others.
Ben's honors include Diplomatic Courier magazine's Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders (2011), The Global Leaders' Future Global Leaders Award (2011), 85 Broads' "Guy Who Rocks" (2011), Empire State Counsel (2007-2011), and the Fair Trade Federation Photography Award (2009). Ben has exhibited his photos and mini-documentaries at galleries in NYC, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Ben Stone, “The Rise of Social Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities,” Guest Speaker, Clinton School of Public Policy, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR (Feb. 2, 2012).
Ben Stone, "Graduation Commencement Address," North Yarmouth Academy's One Hundred and Ninety-Seventh Commencement Exercises, Yarmouth, Maine (June 5, 2011).
Gina Sullivan, Managing Director at Barclays, joined the Indego Africa Board of Directors in March 2013. Previously, Gina was CEO of FXRS, a financial risk management consulting service, Managing Director at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch, where she advised Fortune 500 companies on interest rate and currency risk management, and a Foreign Services Officer with the US Department of State, serving in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Washington DC. Gina holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Stanford University.
Alia became a professional fashion model starting at the age of 14 and traveled around the world, living in New York, Paris and Milan for 10 years. During that time, she also received her BA from Columbia University and then enrolled in Columbia Law School, where she won recognition as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. After graduating with her JD in 2001, Alia held a series of executive positions in the private sector, including Vice President of Business Development at Yorkshire Global Restaurants and Worldwide Director of Contemporary Jewelry at Phillip de Pury and Company. From 2009 to 2011 she served as Partnership Advisor at the United Nations Office for Partnerships. There she promoted and developed new United Nations partnerships and alliances and facilitated the collaboration between the private sector, foundations and the United Nations in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals. Alia currently works as the Vice President of Business Development for Nourish Capital, an early stage venture capital fund focused on nascent concepts in the restaurant space.
Board of Advisors
Ambassador Michael R. Arietti
Ambassador Michael R. Arietti
Michael Arietti, now retired, is a United States diplomat and a career foreign service officer with the Department of State. He served as the United States Ambassador to Rwanda from 2005 to 2008.
Ambassador Arietti joined the Department of State in 1973 and is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. Before his tenure in Rwanda, he held the position of Director of the Office of West African Affairs. During this period he was directly involved in efforts to bring about peace in Liberia, as well as coordination of American cooperation with ECOWAS headquarters on regional issues.
Ambassador Arietti has previously served as Deputy Permanent Representative at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Lusaka, Zambia. He has also served at U.S. Embassies in Sweden, Australia, and Iran. Within the Department of State, Ambassador Arietti has served as Director of the Office of UN Peacekeeping Operations, as Director of the Human Rights Office and in other positions responsible for arms control negotiations, and Middle Eastern issues. He has also worked on environmental issues, including the protection and sustainable use of African timber resources. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ambassador Arietti served as a Peace Corps volunteer in India.
Christopher Burns is the Managing Director of the international bank of Jefferies of the firm’s Leveraged Finance Investment Banking Group in the New York office. Mr. Burns joined the firm with 15 years of experience, including seven years in Leveraged Finance investment banking at Goldman Sachs, most recently as Co-Head of Industrials Leveraged Finance. Before working at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Burns worked in Mergers & Acquisitions investment banking at Merrill Lynch. He received his MBA from the Kellog Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College.
Cameron (Cam) Cowan
Cameron (Cam) Cowan
Cam Cowan is a partner in the Global Finance Group for the international law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Washington, D.C., and has been a member of Orrick’s Executive Committee since 2001. He serves as counsel to financial institutions and government agencies in complex capital markets and debt financings in the United States, Europe and Asia and as an advisor on financial markets regulation. Cam also helps lead the Social Sector Finance practice at Orrick, with a focus on microfinance.
Cam has been recognized as one of the top structured finance lawyers in the world by The Best of the Best Experts Guide. Cam also has been selected as one of the top structured finance lawyers in the United States by Chambers Global, listed in Band 1 for Capital Markets: Securitization, and as the top ranked lawyer in the world based on personal nominations by Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World's Leading Structured Finance and Securitization Lawyers. Cam is listed in Who’s Who Legal -- Capital Markets, in The International Who’s Who of Capital Markets Lawyers, in Lawdragon 500 and in The Best Lawyers in America. Cam was named Best Lawyers 2011 Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C., structured finance.
Cam is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Virginia Law School Foundation. He received a B.S. from Syracuse University, magna cum laude, in 1975, an M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1975, and his J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law in 1981.
Katharine I. Crost
Katharine I. Crost
Katharine Crost, a partner in the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, is co-chair of Orrick’s Global Finance Group, specializing in structured finance. Ms. Crost’s practice involves advising issuers, underwriters, servicers and institutional purchasers on complex financial transactions. In addition to securitizations, she has been involved in establishing joint ventures, acquisitions of assets, and litigation support and advice. Recently Ms. Crost has been involved in advising clients on a number of innovative transactions that address issues arising from the financial crises and housing and financial regulatory reform. Ms. Crost has also served on the Firm’s Executive Committee and currently leads the Firm’s Women’s Initiative.
Zachary D. Kaufman
Zachary D. Kaufman
Zachary Daniel Kaufman (www.zacharykaufman.com) is an attorney, professor, writer, speaker, and social entrepreneur. A graduate of Yale University (where he was the student body president and co-captain of the wrestling team), Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and Yale Law School (where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review and co-founder and co-president of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs), Mr. Kaufman focuses his research, writing, and teaching on International Law, particularly International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice. His first book, After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (www.aftergenocide.com), which he co-edited with Dr. Phil Clark, was co-published by Columbia University Press and C. Hurst & Co. in 2009.
Mr. Kaufman is currently an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and will soon re-join the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. Mr. Kaufman’s professional experience has focused on the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of atrocities, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. He has worked at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; the United States Departments of Justice and State; the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the Former Yugoslavia; the International Criminal Court; Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law; O’Melveny & Myers; and Google’s Global Public Policy and Government Affairs department.
Mr. Kaufman is the founder, president, and chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Kigali Public Library and an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga, Rwanda. Together, these non-profit organizations are fundraising and collecting books for, raising public awareness about, and building Rwanda’s first-ever public library. Mr. Kaufman also serves as a consultant to other non-profit organizations and social enterprises.
Deborah is a Senior Managing Counsel and Managing Director at Bank of New York Mellon, a global Fortune 500 financial institution. She serves as primary supervisory attorney for multiple securities and is responsible for bi-annual performance reviews, legal budgets, and strategizing internal integrations and reorganizations. Deborah is a motivational manager who ignites teams, leads aggressive initiatives, and leverages all available resources to change lives.
Deborah sits on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and is Vice President of the Financial Women's Association, and is Co-Chair, sits on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee of the Men's Alliance. She is a member of The Founder Institute, The Women's Municipal Bond Club and The Bond Club of New York, as well as a Facilitator of the George Bush Women's Institute Egyptian Fellows, Chair of the Legal Industry's Annual Dinner Professional Services Liaison Committee: At BNY Mellon, Deborah is a Member of BNY Mellon PRISM, dedicated to fostering an open and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, and their allies, and BNY Mellon HEART (Helping Each Ability by Respecting and Teaching), which promotes an inclusive environment by increasing the needs of those with disabilities and providing an educational forum on disabilities for all employees. Deborah also launched and directed the Global Pro Bono Program, providing BNY Mellon lawyers and other members of the company's legal staff the opportunity to donate their services to legal aid associations around the world
Prior to Bank of New York Mellon, Deborah served as Senior VP & Associate General Counsel at Daiwa Securities America INC., Deputy General Counsel at National Discount Brokers Group, INC., and Vice President & Assistant General Counsel at J.P. Morgan Chase. She started her career as an Associate at Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O'Donnell, & Weyher, following by KMZ Rosenman.
Deborah received her J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1980, and her B.A. from Trinity College in 1977.
Alex Kennedy is a law student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Prior to law school, she spent three years working for Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Legal team in London, England. It was during her time at Goldman that she was introduced to Indego Africa by the Office of Corporate Engagement.
Alex spent nine months with the Indego Africa team in Rwanda, working closely with Indego Africa’s artisan partners and Generation Rwanda interns. While working in Rwanda, she was a volunteer for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program in Kigali, where she recorded the stories of former program participants. After completing law school, Alex hopes to maintain a pro bono practice that helps women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Lorraine S. McGowen
Lorraine S. Mcgowen
Lorraine McGowen, a partner in the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, is member of the firm’s Executive Committee and a former co-chair of the Restructuring Group. She has practice in the areas of creditors’ rights and bankruptcy for more than 20 years, with a particular focus on the enforcement of creditors’ rights and remedies in out-of-court work-outs and bankruptcy proceedings. She has been actively involved in the liquidity crisis affecting financial institutions, advising significant counter-parties with respect to their exposure to trouble financial institutions. She also provides innovative solutions to strategic and financial purchasers of distressed companies. Ms. McGowen advises clients on the bankruptcy and commercial law implications of proposed transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, project and structured financings, leveraged leases, securitizations and other transactions.
Nicole Mjelde is a Product Development Manager at Target Corporation. Nicole has held several positions in Merchandise Presentation and was influential in the development of the store design for the new City Target stores. In her current role, Nicole leads a cross functional team and communicates with overseas partners to develop owned-brand product for Target. Nicole received her B.S. in Retail Merchandising from the University of Minnesota.
Jackson Muneza M’vunganyi
Jackson Muneza M'vunganyi
Jackson Muneza M'vunganyi is the host of Upfront—Voice of America Radio, a fresh, fast-paced show aired in both the U.S. and in Africa that talks to and with teens and young adults about trends, lifestyles, health, entertainment, and other issues touching the lives of listeners. Jackson’s broadcasting career has been multi-faceted so far, working in both radio and television, in Africa and the United States.
Beyond his broadcasting merits, Jackson also volunteers his time with African communities in the Diaspora on issues affecting the continent. A native of Rwanda, Jackson holds a Bachelors Degree in Multimedia Development from American University in Washington D.C. and a Masters Degree in Information Management from the University of Maryland.
Eruch (Elchi) Nowrojee
Eruch (Elchi) Nowrojee
Elchi Nowrojee, Director and Counsel, is Co-Head of Legal - Americas for the Asset Management division of Credit Suisse. Elchi provides legal coverage principally for the Alternative Investments businesses of Credit Suisse in the Americas. He is based in New York. Prior to joining Credit Suisse in November 2006, Elchi specialized in complex financial transactions, including private investment fund formation, strategic partnerships and private acquisitions at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP. While there, Elchi represented a number of clients investing in African companies, forming African investment funds and working with other Africa-related businesses. He assisted in legislative monitoring for African multilateral clients and participated actively in African business development.
Elchi currently sits on the Sub-Committee on Africa of the Advisory Committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. He is also the immediate past Chair of the Committee on African Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Elchi has worked and lived in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Elchi holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from St Antony’s College at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a degree in African Studies from Yale College.
Samantha (Sam) Taylor
Samantha (Sam) Taylor
Sam Taylor is the Founder of Reputation Dynamics, Inc., a company that provides a value-add network of brand marketing, issues management and communications, as well as social responsibility services for the lifestyle and professional services industries. She is also Senior Advisor to The Synergos Institute, a non-profit dedicated to reducing poverty and promoting social equity in emerging economies around the world including the African continent. Formerly, Sam was the Chief Marketing Officer of GMHC, the nation’s oldest non-profit HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services provider where she spearheaded a once-in-27-year rebranding initiative in 2009.
A native of London, Sam spent an impressionable part of her childhood growing up in Kenya, East Africa where she was engaged in community work with The East African Women’s League. She is also a founding member of The CMO Club and an advocate and speaker for ‘Doing Good in Society,’ where she consults with a diverse range of organizations who are about to start, or currently engaged in, developing sustainable responsibility program initiatives aligned with business impact.
Ryan Lester: CO-CHAIR OF New York Regional Board
Ryan Lester is an attorney in the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he represents domestic and international clients in complex litigations and arbitrations involving a range of legal matters, including product liability, commercial disputes, and governmental and regulatory affairs. Before joining Orrick as an associate, Ryan worked with several international governmental organizations devoted to international lawmaking, governance and enforcement. In 2001, Ryan interned as a legal advisor to the United Nations Liaison Office of CARE International in New York. In 1998, Ryan was a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi; later that year he was seconded by the U.S. State Department to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, where he served as an assistant to the OSCE's Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Affairs. In 1997, Ryan interned as an Economic Section officer at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ryan received a B.A. with highest honors in Political Science and Film at Vassar College in 1997; an M.A. in International Affairs at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in 2001; and a J.D. at Stanford Law School in 2002, where he served on the Executive Board of the Stanford Journal of International Law.
Aaron Bourke: CO-CHAIR OF New York Regional Board
Aaron Bourke recently graduated from NYU School of Law and is currently an associate at Reed Smith LLP in New York. After graduating from college, Aaron worked for ten months as a development intern for the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Rajasthan, India. During law school, Aaron held a human rights fellowship at People's Watch in Tamil Nadu, India. Aaron was Chief Strategist of the Law and Social Entrepreneurship Association while at NYU, and he held a one-semester Social Enterprise Fellowship after graduating, during which he wrote a business plan for the creation of a formal social entrepreneurship program at the law school.
New York Regional Board Members
Jake Beinecke | Aaron Bourke | Becca Brennan | Megan Brosterman | Victoria Boyne | Suzanne Dressler | Rishona Fleishman | Mike Foresta | Colleen Galbraith | Ali Grant | Helen Gugel | Omar Haroun | Dan Hennes | Rachael Honowitz | Andrew Jiang | Malli Kamimura | Viraj Kamdar | John Kansfield | Miles Killingsworth | Tracy Klein | Zain Koita | Alexandria Lee | Ryan Lester | David Levin | Diana Maislen | Katherine Moore | Gillian Morejon Gutierrez | Lyndsay Marie Nester | Justine Olweny | Beth Packman | John Powell | Keren Raz | Paul Sayegh | Zack Shankman | Renee Soufer | Lee Stasiulis | Naomi Sugar | Brian Tilker | Carla Valdivia | Sierra Visher | Jason Walls | Danielle “Dani” Weinstein | Michelle Witten | Sonia Yeo
Daniel Sacks: CHAIR OF Washington, D.C. Regional BoarD
Daniel Sacks graduated McGill University with a B.A. (Hons) in Political Science. He spent two years as a research associate at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, studying economic development policy in Africa. He conducted fieldwork in Nambia, Kenya and Malawi, studying issues of wildlife conservation and agricultural development. Daniel has published papers on a variety of development issues, with a focus on enterprise-based solutions to poverty. A native of Vancouver, BC, Daniel has traveled to six continents and still has not picked a favorite.
Washington, D.C. Regional Board Members
Areaya Abebe | Elizabeth Andrews | Rachel Askarinam | Brian Athey | Kristin A. Bennett | Vadim Brusser | Ashley Cahill | Charles Cummins | Stephen Dimond | Andrew Dober | Laura Donahoe | Mike Englert | Kriten Farrell | Jorie Feldman | John Gardner | Steve Grothouse | Vanessa Harbin | Laura Herring | Julianna Hutchins | Greg Jacob | Lauen Janosy | "Jean-Pierre" Yohani Kayinamura | Lisa Ku | Peter Lallas | Amy Martin | Jackson Mvunganyi | Mary-Rose Parrish | Ambica Prakash | Janet Rabin | Renuka Rayasam | Daniel Sacks | Andrew Satter | Marc Schloss | Rachel Shachter | David Sunstrum | Dominique Strickland | Nora von Ingersleben | Diana Warth | Erin Yeagley
JosHua Lebowitz: CHAIR OF Chicago Regional Board
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Josh Lebowitz learned the value of helping others very early in life. Through community service with his family, school, and synagogue Josh came to appreciate and look forward to contributing to communities of peers and strangers alike. During his early adulthood, Josh was fortunate enough to travel through Western Europe and the Pacific Rim, which opened his eyes to foreign cultures and peoples and intensified his desire to give back. Josh attended Washington University in St. Louis (B.A. Psychology, Business minor) with Matt Mitro and Ben Stone. After college introduced Josh to the Midwest, he made Chicago his home and has resided there ever since, pursuing a career in creative marketing. Having fueled consumerism for some six years, Josh now enjoys using his marketing skills to spread awareness and drive support for the women of Indego Africa. In January 2009, after being an Indego Africa enthusiast for some time, Matt and Ben asked Josh to chair the Chicago board. He now looks forward to pushing Indego Africa onwards and upwards for years to come. In his spare time Josh enjoys biking, traveling, reading and photography.
Chicago Regional Board Members
Jon Floss | Colleen Fahey | Kate Arnold | Jackie Schubert | Alexis Worley | Ariana Vargas | Benita Chan | Casey Brazeal | Emily Fiffer | Gabe Greenbaum | Galen Graham | Guy Lakonishok | Joey Shapiro | Josh Gad-Harf | Kristen McCullough | Lauren Haefner | Michelle Weed | Robert Holst | Robin Murphy | Sarah Belleau | Smith Schwartz
Eric Mills: Co-Chair of LA Regional Board
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Eric Mills spent his early childhood living in Belgium and Spain. At a young age, he developed a passion for TV production and even produced a weekly news program featuring his 6th grade class. After studying mechanical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and working as a logistics consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM in Chicago, Eric moved to Los Angeles to pursue his lifelong dream of a career in television. He’s worked on several hit reality and game shows including Deal or No Deal and The Surreal Life. He currently produces the Game Show Network's GSN Live and has an original program in network development.
After hearing his college friends Matt and Ben speak passionately about Indego Africa’s work, Eric had to join their efforts. As the child and grandchild of refugees, he has a deep appreciation for the situation facing the women in Rwanda. He looks forward to using his media skills to showcase Indego Africa's ongoing achievements.
William Craven: Chair of San Francisco Regional Board
Will Craven has become a committed Indego supporter because he can feel in almost all of his efforts that he's only two degrees removed from Indego's female partners in Rwanda: "I've never visited the continent of Africa, much less met our partners there. But we're in touch with the same people every day, we handle the same products, and I think we're all inspired by the uniquely 'close' international experience that is Indego Africa." He serves as Media Officer for ForestEthics, a nonprofit environmental organization which specializes in shifting US consumer demand to protect Canada's most precious lands and resources. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, coffee and records.
San Francisco Regional Board Members
Amanda Coughlin | Will Craven | Nick Grandy | Garron Hansen | Joseph Kim | Emily Proller | Allie Robbins | Julie Robbins | Kate Truka | James Williams
Alice schaut: Co-Chair of milwaukee Regional Board
After being raised and spending most of her childhood in the U.N. refugee camps of Uganda, Alice Schaut returned to her homeland of Rwanda after the genocide of 1990 that claimed most of her family and friends. Now she is a resident of Port Washington Wisconsin. Alice was the subject matter and a biography titled "From Every End of This Earth" by Steven Roberts was published last year and was also entered into the Library of Congress. Alice obtained her degree from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Alice is a genocide survivor and is focused on moving forward to make positive changes for her country.
CLIFF schaut: Co-Chair of milwaukee Regional Board
Cliff Schaut is the Senior HP Storage & Blade Architect for AF Services / Hewlett Packard. With more than 20 years of experience in the Information Technology industry has also assisted with building IT organizations for both start-up and established companies. An accomplished corporate strategist and technical manager, his vision and expertise in building IT business infrastructures have driven companies toward aggressive corporate goals including initial public offerings. Mr. Schaut has used these abilities in various industries that include Fortune 500 companies on a global scale. He has held successful executive and director level positions managing groups with high personnel numbers. Offering operational strengths in building IT organizations, managing organizations toward corporate initiatives and goals, and pioneering cutting edge technology solutions.
Jacob (Jake) Troy: Chair of the boston regional board
Jake brings to the Indego Africa Team a passion for social entrepreneurship , volunteerism and innovation in education, having previously served as the Co-President of the Global Social Venture Competition, and as a Board Member for the Freire Charter School, Southwest Philadelphia Community Enrichment Center and the Jewish Relief Agency. Jake is currently a consultant and Senior Manager in the Multi-Channel Commerce and Content Management practice at SapientNitro, a leading interactive marketing, creative design, and technology services agency. Prior to joining SapientNitro, Jake founded a tech startup and held positions at Fry Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. Jake holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin & Marshall College and an M.B.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
April Marie Liberty: Chair of the Miami Regional Board
April Marie Liberty, violinist and violist, earned her Bachelors in Music degree in viola performance in 2009 from a full-merit scholarship at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Prior to college, April graduated from high school in 2005 from the nationally recognized Walnut Hill High School for the Performing Arts with a focus on both musical theater and music performance. As a young musician, April studied at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School in Boston, MA from 1995-2005. Over the years, April has performed with many famous musicians, toured with orchestras to France, Italy and Spain, played numerous times with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Frost Symphony Orchestra, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and continues to perform all throughout the South Florida area. April is currently the Young Musicians’ Junior and Intermediate Orchestra conductor and private instructor within the CGCC Community Arts Program Conservatory for the Arts, teaches group violin classes at Henry West Lab Elementary School grades K-3, the FYO S.T.E.P.S program at Hialeah Gardens Elementary School grades 3-5 and private violin lessons at P.A.C.E. Miami Homeschooling Enrichment program. As well as teaching in the above programs, April is also a private violin and viola teacher serving many students throughout the Miami area.
Aside from her musical endeavors, April is President of The Liberty Family Foundation, a global charitable outreach organization (www.libertyfamilyfoundation.org) and is the President of Liberty Business Consulting, LLC, doing business as Three Brothers Paint & Body Shop (www.threebrotherspaintandbodyshop.com).