Ben became convinced of the power of small business to transform poor communities in Mexico, where he co-founded CityGolf Puebla, a miniature golf course and family recreation center. After working as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget, he left to attend business school and launch Agora Partnerships. Since graduating in 2005, Ben has been named a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur, a BMW Foundation Young Leader, and an Ashoka Fellow. He was a Social Venture Network Innovation Award honoree in 2009 and named one of 2010′s top 40 under 40 development leaders in Washington, DC. He earned an MBA from Columbia University, where he was awarded the inaugural alumni social innovation award, and an MSFS with distinction from Georgetown University. Ben has a BA with high honors from Haverford College, where he co-founded Tres Nacos Quesadillas Delivery and the Lighted Fools improv troupe. A native of Cambridge, Mass., Ben lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three children.
Ricardo is the co-founder and Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Agora Accelerator. A recognized leader in Latin American early-stage entrepreneurship, Ricardo is a fellow of the inaugural class of the Central American Leadership Initiative (CALI) of the Aspen Institute and was a member of the 2010 Class of the Yale World Fellows Program. In March 2011, the World Economic Forum named Ricardo to its Young Global Leaders network.
Prior to co-founding Agora, Ricardo launched and ran several companies and non-profit organizations, including an Internet satellite company, a women’s clothing franchise, and the Association of Young Nicaraguan Entrepreneurs. He holds an undergraduate business degree in Marketing and Economics, and Masters of Science in Foreign Service, both from Georgetown University. Ricardo lives in Managua, Nicaragua, with his wife, Isolda, and two children, Ricardo Antonio and Catalina.
Dorrit was persuaded of the transformative power of business while earning her MBA in International Business. As Chief Operating Officer at Agora Partnerships, she applies that conviction every day across activities ranging from development and improvement of Agora’s signature Impact Accelerator, to streamlining internal operations, to fundraising and institutional development. Prior to joining Agora, Dorrit spent 14 months leading a division at Ethos Technologies in Beijing, China, before returning to the US to build her own consulting business working for a variety of clients across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. She started her career as an intrapreneur at Seagate Technology where she gained deep experience leading internationally distributed teams with members from diverse professional, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Dorrit has experience in many business areas including strategic planning, operations, institutional development, marketing, business process improvement, human resources, organization design, program management, IT, and professional development. She holds an MBA in International Business and Corporate Strategy from New York University’s Stern School of Business, an MS in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a BA from Haverford College.
Becky fueled her passion for utilizing business as a force for good while earning her MBA at the Wharton School, where she was Co-President of the Social Impact Club and an Associate for the Wharton Social Venture Fund. Prior to Wharton, Becky worked as an Analyst and then Associate in the Equity Capital Markets (ECM) division of the Investment Bank at J.P. Morgan, where she helped found the San Francisco Technology ECM practice. At Agora, Becky focuses on organizational and financial strategy, as well as advises the next class of entrepreneurs. Becky holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Smith College. She has traveled throughout the world and enjoys outdoor adventure activities and late-night dance parties in the rain.
After working on a variety of international development projects in Africa during his undergraduate studies ranging from educational initiatives to aid distribution, Jesse was hired as a marketing consultant for a small-business development project called Africa B2B that extended mid-range loans to companies in Uganda. It was here where he discovered the importance of SGB growth to international development efforts. After attending graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill for Journalism & Mass Communication and working as a social media specialist at a record label, Jesse joined the staff of Agora Partnerships as the Director of Marketing and Communications.
Antoine recently completed a Master in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on Economic and Political Development. Previously, Antoine has held several positions in the financial industry, first at AXA and then at J.P. Morgan where he worked on project finance and as an investor specialist within the Private Bank. He also holds a Master in Science of Management from the Solvay Business School. When he is not at work, Antoine enjoys spending time with his wife in Mexico City where they live, touring the city on an ecobici and going back and forth to their favorite bars, café-libraries, restaurants, and other climbing gyms.
Joana became convinced of the power of SGB and Social entrepreneurship in Mexico where she participated at the launching of the first mapping of Impact Investor Sector (GIIMAP) project. Joana is determined to bring the finance skills she developed as a financial controller at various European industrial companies in France, Hungary, and Spain to the emerging social entrepreneurship space. Joana holds a BA in finance from Rouen Business School, an MBA from EGADE Business School, and is currently studying at Upeace, the UN University, to earn a MA in sustainable peace in contemporary world. When she is not working or studying, Joana enjoys travelling, climbing, and team sports.
Julia started her MBA degree at HEC Paris seeking to use her finance background to help drive development in emerging countries. During her summer internship in Tanzania, Julia witnessed firsthand the impact entrepreneurs could have on their communities and became very interested in the potential of social entrepreneurship. Prior to her MBA, Julia worked for four years in various finance roles at Scotiabank, including financial analysis in international banking and strategic review. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a CFA charterholder. In her spare time, Julia likes to run, play tennis, and learn to kiteboard.
With her background in marketing, communication, and advertising, as well as experience working with multinational brands, Sara Lila decided that it was time for a change in her career. In 2012, she joined the Agora team as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Latin America. Part of her role is to develop and implement communication strategies and campaigns to promote specific projects in the region. Sara studied Management and Marketing at the Thomas More University in Managua, Nicaragua. Shes passionate about music and soccer.
Vanessa studied Business Administration and Marketing at Universidad Americana. While working for Cargill, she discovered that the corporate world was not for her and ventured into social work while becoming involved in the organization AIESEC; where she has taken leadership roles that have helped the growth of the organization in the country. She is passionate about leaving a positive social impact in her community and to travel around world as an ambassador for her country.
Originally from Malawi, Thembi joined the Agora staff after graduating from Bryn Mawr College. She is interested in designing sustainable and empowering economic projects that address the root causes of poverty. In a self-designed internship in 2010, Thembi worked as a research assistant for FINCA International in Malawi, where she studied the role of micro-finance in reducing poverty and realized the vital importance of financial literacy, particularly among women, in achieving this goal. In 2011, she helped CARE International in the Malawi Economic Development Unit analyze the impact of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) through story telling.
She joined Agora to learn gain a more in-depth understanding of Agora’s Accelerator model and its application to poverty alleviation in Latin America. From Agora’s D.C. office, Thembi handles most of the administrative duties of the organization, as well as providing a supporting role with fundraising, systems management, and board development.
Tatiana graduated from the University of Central America (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua with a degree in Translation with a distinction in English. She has also studied implementation and application of quality standards in accordance with ISO and has more than eight years of experience working with small and medium-sized businesses, including Cadin – BID. development projects. Tatiana received a scholarship from the German Academic Foreign Exchange Service (DAAD) to study German.
Inga graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration. While at Cornell, she became very involved with a group of students leading service-learning trips to rural Nicaragua. This experience sparked her passion for international development, which brought her back to Nicaragua in 2010. After being involved in various sustainable tourism projects, she joined Agora and quickly became fascinated by the field of impact investing and the potential of small businesses to make a difference in the world. A native of Germany, she loves to travel and explore other cultures, and enjoys good books, cooking, team sports and board games.
Dana graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in international studies and environmental studies. Immediately following graduation, Dana worked in Guatemala as a Frontier Market Scout for Pomona Impact, an angel impact investment group. While in Guatemala, Dana saw first-hand the transformative power of social entrepreneurship and impact investing. A Chicago native, Dana enjoys traveling, hiking, playing sports, sailing, and relaxing in hammocks.