- “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” –- paraphrase of the Bhagavad Gita
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.
Elizabeth Bibb Binder is a senior manager at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropy. She joined Bridgespan in 2007 as part of the New York office’s founding team and has worked with nonprofits in a number of sectors, including global development, philanthropy, and education. She is also on the leadership team for Bridgespan’s global development work. Prior to Bridgespan, Elizabeth spent five years in for-profit strategy consulting at Bain & Company. Elizabeth earned her MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where she also earned a Certificate in Public Management and gained short-term experience working with social entrepreneurs at Ashoka. As an undergraduate, she studied business and psychology at the University of Virginia, graduating with distinction.
Melissa is a Principal with Imprint Capital Advisors, a buy-side impact investing advisory firm that works with institutional investors to structure and execute mission-driven investment portfolios. As an independent consultant, Melissa has worked with various organizations in the impact investing and international development sectors. Before this, Melissa was Vice President in Plainfield Asset Management’s Direct Lending and Investing group, Senior Associate and founding member of Briscoe Capital Partners, a credit focused hedge fund, and Financial Analyst in the Financial Sponsors and Leveraged Finance groups at Deutsche Bank in the firm’s New York and London offices. Melissa is also on the Advisory Board for Invested Development, an impact angel investor intermediary services firm. She has a BA with honors in Political Science from the University of Chicago, where she received the Richter Grant and the North Shore Alumni Fellowships. She also holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, with a concentration in Finance and Economics and International Development.
Ezra Friedman is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University School of Law. He holds a BA from Haverford College, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to his current position, Ezra has worked as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Yale University and Yale Law School, an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and a licensed New York City Medallion Taxicab Driver.
Holly Huffman is an Executive Director at JPMorgan in New York within the Securitized Products Sales group. She is responsible for managing relationships with US banks and several money managers and hedge funds for JPMorgan within the Securitized Products division. From January 2006 through June 2009, she was a Vice President with the Global Currency Strategy Group. She joined JPMorgan as a US Fixed Income Strategist in 2002 where she focused on Interest Rate Markets through 2005. Holly has a strong interest in grass-roots and business-minded international development, having served as the Head of the New York Chapter of Room to Read and currently as a member of the Board of Directors of Agora. Holly graduated with high honors from Princeton University with a concentration in Philosophy and certificates in the Program in Finance and Program in Spanish Language and Culture. She received, with honors, an MBA from Columbia University through the Executive MBA program in 2008.
Sue Igoe is the Vice President of Marketing for RecycleBank. Prior to RecycleBank, Sue spent a portion of her career working on new ventures in the publishing and media businesses and was on the initial launch team of Agora Partnerships. She also spent four and a half years working at Playboy Enterprises as the Director of Marketing and Events where she started a successful event marketing department for Playboy.com. Sue graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Boston College and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Tabitha Jordan is executive director of the Adam J. Weissman Foundation, a family foundation supporting science education and research, economic opportunity and community development. Prior to her work in philanthropy, she worked as a management consultant serving private and public sector clients, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the United Nations Development Program. She received a B.A. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Eric Sillman is a General Partner at Aperture Venture Partners, a venture capital group focused on healthcare companies in the United States. Prior to this, Eric worked at UBS in the investment banking group. He also worked at TechnoServe in Latin America and Africa where he assisted entrepreneurial enterprises and helped develop a methodology to measure organizational impact. He serves on TechnoServe’s Board of Members. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Brown University.
Sam Sussman is a senior hedge fund analyst at Cadogan Management. Prior to this, Sam had been at Bear, Stearns for 13 years where he was a Senior Managing Director in structured products. Sam also spent three years at Corporate Decisions, a Boston-based management consulting firm, where he advised companies on growth opportunities and helped launch a healthcare related venture. Sam has traveled extensively throughout Latin America. Sam graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a BA in economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School.