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Meet the Team
GBF's leadership, investment professionals and other staff have a blend of skills that reflect GBF’s approach to investing in emerging markets. We are based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., and have staff in India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Peru.
Overseeing the staff is a Board of Directors that are active participants in GBF’s planning and development. GBF’s senior advisory group is composed of experienced leaders in the fields of international development, international finance, and academia. The advisory groups help GBF with its oversight and strategy, continually refining and improving its approach.
Headquarters: Washington, DC
New Delhi, India
Harold Rosen is GBF's CEO. In May 2004, Harold founded IFC's Grassroots Business Initiative (GBI), which he managed until 2008, when it was restructured and spun off to become the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF).
Prior to his work with GBI and GBF, Harold worked at with the World Bank Group for over 30 years. He served as an investment officer in IFC's Latin America and Africa Departments; as manager for IFC Financial Planning and Policy; as a member of the task force that started the World Bank Group operations in the former Soviet Union; as manager of IFC’s Asia Department; and as director of IFC’s Central and Southern European Department. He has both funded and managed large IFC investment portfolios and has played a major role in starting IFC’s microfinance and SME activities; this included the creation and management of the Mekong, South Asia and Southeast Europe Small Enterprise Facilities. Harold has helped IFC move into a number of new approaches, geographic markets, products and services. In March 2000, Harold created and served as director of the Small and Medium Enterprise department, a joint IFC/World Bank department. He worked with this group until creating GBI in 2004.
Harold joined the World Bank Group in 1978 through the Young Professionals Program. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2008, Jaime Ramirez joined as part of the founding team of the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF). Jaime is responsible for managing GBF's investment activities globally, including the delivery of Business Advisory Services. Prior to his current role as Chief Investment Officer, he served as GBF's Portfolio Manager for the Latin America and Asia regions.
Jaime has over 15 years experience in finance, project management, risk analysis and operations consulting in developing countries. He has helped develop GBF's operations, standards and initiatives. Jaime became familiar with high impact businesses as a business associate for Gone Rural in the Kingdom of Swaziland, where he supported the management team through an assignment with MBAs Without Borders.
Jaime holds a BSc in Physics from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, an International MBA from EAE Business School and a specialization in Structured Financial Products from Institut d'Estudis Financers in Spain.
Jaime is fluent in English and Spanish and intermediate in French and Italian. Jaime has lived in Colombia, Peru, Spain, the Kingdom of Swaziland and is currently based in the United States.
As Vice President of Legal, Compliance & HR, Alycia provides legal support for the entire scope of GBF activities. She helps to structure investment transactions and drafts all investment, grant, consulting, and cooperation agreements to implement GBF deals. Alycia also serves as GBF's Risk Officer.
Prior to GBF, Alycia was the U.S. Director for the Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA), a South African nonprofit that ran democracy and governance programs in over twenty countries on the African continent. Alycia consulted for FINCA International on microfinance regulatory issues in Amman, Jordan and worked as an international project finance attorney at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.
Alycia holds a law degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Witwatersrand, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University. Alycia serves on the boards of Women LEAD, the South Africa-Washington Internship Program (SAWIP), and Friends of IDASA She has lived in Africa, Asia and Europe, and has traveled extensively throughout five continents.
Rebekah, GBF's Acting VP Finance & Admin, joined GBF in July 2008. In this capacity, she works with the operations team on financial management, office coordination (both HQ and field) and IT. Rebekah is also part of the BAS team where she is responsible for grant administration, development and evaluation of the program, learning and knowledge sharing. Prior to this role, Rebekah served at GBF as Operations Officer, and concurrently as SME Export Facility Portfolio Analyst and Operations Assistant. Previously she worked for the U.S. Committee for UNDP, where she played an active role in the operations of the organization and new project planning. Rebekah also served as a delegate to the Children and Youth Caucus for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development- 16 through SustainUS.
Rebekah is currently earning her M.B.A. at the University of Maryland. She is a 2008 graduate of American University where she earned a B.A. in International Studies focusing on International Development and International Environmental Politics.
In her free time, Rebekah tries to spend as much time outdoors as possible. She enjoys hiking, camping, running, and traveling to new places to experience the cultures and environments of the world.
Zoya joined GBF in February 2013 as the Portfolio Assistant. While serving as the general HQ liason for the regional investment teams, she also monitors the supervision of GBF's portfolio and manages the client-related metrics and data.
In 2012, Zoya earned a B.A. in Economics and International Development Studies from McGill University. During the course of her studies, she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, where she participated in a six-month program with the School fro International Training. Over the years, she has conducted research for development-focused ventures in Canada and the US, including for a USAID-funded health program project led by Futures Group, a global health consulting firm based in Washington, DC. At Futures Group, her research centered on understanding the drivers and health dimensions of HIV.
As a Pakistani-American, Zoya spent her childhood in the outskirts of Washington, DC in Maryland. She is conversationally fluent in Urdu and French, and she especially enjoys playing soccer, writing in her spare time, and traveling.
Julio Ayca has been working in the venture capital industry in Central America for 7 years; finding and evaluating potential investments, performing due diligence, and supervising investee companies. Julio is Peruvian, and has an MBA from INCAE Business School. He was an INCAE researcher and has written more than 35 documents, including case studies, technical notes, and papers about functional areas such as Finance, Operations, Strategy, and Marketing and Organisation. His work has been accepted in Revista de Empresa (Finance), Balas 2005 (Finance), the Journal of Business Research (Finance), the European Case Clearing House (Finance and Operations), and Harvard Business Online (Social Responsibility).
Julio has focused on finance, including the valuation of firms, equity investment, capital structure, and financial distress, studying industries such as lodging, banking, oil patch services, and agro-industry in different countries. He has also focused on operations, including manufacturing strategy, process selection, and facility location, studying sectors such as beverages, clothing assembly, and printing.
Before INCAE, he worked in Peru for five years as a Special Analyst for Administrative Management in the National Superintendence of Tax Administration. Prior to that, he worked in Prodin Peruana Inc., a clothing export company, supporting Production Management and Finance Management.
Natasha joined GBF in 2008 as an Investment Officer for the Latin America region. In this capacity, she is responsible for identifying investment opportunities – businesses with the highest potential for financial sustainability and social impact; structuring appropriate forms of financing and capacity building programs for these businesses; managing existing investments; and building relationships with regional and local GBF partners.
Prior to GBF, Natasha worked for two years at IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative (precursor of GBF), as a consultant for the Latin America and monitoring & evaluation teams. She worked in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, providing hands-on business strengthening support to clients, and building pipeline and partnerships in the region. Before business school, Natasha worked as Program Coordinator at the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College, managing foreign language programs, training language instructors, and teaching Spanish and Russian to adults. She also served as Spanish Faculty at Dartmouth.
Natasha earned her B.A. in economics with a specialization in management and marketing at the International University in Moscow, Russia, where she graduated magna cum laude. She also holds an M.A. in liberal arts with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Dartmouth College; and an M.B.A. from McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
In her free time, Natasha loves to travel, ski, play tennis, run, and dance salsa; she also enjoys theatre and modern dance, world music and film, and reading.
Ishani brings over 14 years of experience in project management, entrepreneurship and building new business. She is a Chemical Engineer from the University of Melbourne, Australia and holds an MBA from the London Business School and Colombia Business School. Ishani started her career in management consulting and spent over 5 years working in the sector in Australia and USA. Post business school she was Country Director of a UK based carbon trading and advisory company and started their offices in India and participated in their subsequent IPO on the LSE. She then moved onto become Regional Head India Middle East of Alternative energy and climate solutions from AES Corporation, a US major power. In 2009, Ishani started her own company and ran it for four years during which time she worked closely with the Indian government, utilities, and corporations and also started her own incubation platform with one of the leading media houses in India. Ishani has lived and worked in the US, UK, Australia and Asia. She enjoys movies, traveling and coaching in her spare time.
Sahiba joined GBF in early 2013 as an Analyst with the India team. She is responsible for reviewing pipeline deals, conducting due diligence on potential investments, supervising current investees, and monitoring compliance and other metrics. She also monitors advisory services to portfolio companies and manages the operations of the India office.
Prior to joining GBF, Sahiba worked in the development sector with a non-profit organization in India providing capacity building support to partner organizations and raising capital for early stage entrepreneurs. She started her career at Deloitte Consulting (Strategy and Operations). Sahiba graduated with distinction in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi.
Kathryn joined GBF in June 2013 as the Executive Assistant.
Kathryn earned a Bachelor's degree from Middlebury College with a major in International Politics and Economics. While at Middlebury, Kathryn spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and another semester in Kunming, China to polish her studies of Spanish and Mandarin. Kathryn's past experiences include interning for Middlebury's Center for Social Entrepreneurship and conducting field research on microfinance in Yunnan Province, China. Kathryn was also editor-in-chief of Middlebury's student newspaper. GBF is her first stop after graduation.
Rose is GBF's Finance Officer. In this capacity, Rose works with GBF's Acting VP Finance & Admin on financial management. She also works with the operations team on loan tracking including invoicing. Prior to GBF, Rose worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with responsibilities in areas of budget formulation and monitoring. She also played a major role in managing the trust funds of the SME Department which included conducting (i) compliance review of IFC's donor-funded facilities; and (ii) trainings for finance staff in the field offices. Rose was also responsible for successful audits of the Department's regular budget and trust fund activities. Previously, Rose worked with the Asian Development Bank as a budget analyst and was part of a project team that handled the South Pacific countries.
A Fullbright scholar, Yuma joined GBF in June 2012 tasked with building GBF's Indonesia presence: identifying potential high social-impact investments opportunities, undertaking due diligence, structuring and negotiating the deals and seeking opportunities to expand the Jakarta office and partnerships in order to efficiently serve a vast archipelagic country of over 17,000 islands spread over an area half the size of the USA. Prior to GBF, Yuma had garnered valuable experiences with top financial institutions including Citibank, CIMB and Danamon along with practical financial techniques in the real sector with Shell and BP.
He received his academic qualifications in economics and accountancy at Indonesia's leading university, the University of Indonesia, and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Strategy & Finance at McCombs School of Business, the University of Texas at Austin.
Yuma is fluent in Indonesian, English and studying to fluency in classical Arabic. In between his busy schedule, Yuma finds time to satisfy his love for mountain biking, reading Ludwig von Mises, whipping up a foam-garnished espresso or juggling his three children - literally.
Sneha joined GBF in January 2013 as an Investment Officer for the Africa regional team. Sneha is responsible for sourcing and screening investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, building client relationships and supervising existing portfolio companies- including financial and operational analysis, financial modeling, deal structuring, providing direct business support and co-coordinating business advisory efforts.
Prior to GBF, Sneha was an Associate on the Global Equity Sales desk at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London where she provided global investment funds with an advisory service on both their bottom-up stock selection and top-down macro views.
Sneha graduated with a BSc in Business Mathematics & Statistics from the London School of Economics and has earned the CFA qualification while working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Sneha is originally from India, grew up in Belgium, and is a native English & Gujurati speaker with conversational knowledge of Hindi & French. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and reading outside of work.
Eric Meissner joined GBF in October 2011. Based in Washington, DC, Eric supports the Chief Investment Officer, Executive Director and GBF staff in the Supervision process of GBF’s investments. GBF’s innovative use of private sector approaches to human development, and the potential to positively influence traditional development paradigms and theories of change, drew Eric to GBF.
Prior to GBF, Eric worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and development consulting firms since 1999, both in the field and in Washington, DC, in support of efforts to mitigate the effects of disaster and conflict around the world, including the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Balkans. Most recently, Eric was assisting the work of a U.S. Inspector General to research the impact of US-funded reconstruction, stabilization and development programs, and barriers and opportunities to achieving accountability and learning. He has also served as a Knowledge Management advisor to GBF.
Eric earned a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Syracuse University, and his M.B.A. from the University of Oxford, where he focused on Social Innovation, Social Finance and Social Entrepreneurship. Outside of work, Eric enjoys time with family and loved ones in the U.S. and Germany after many years overseas.
Courtney joined GBF in early 2012 as an entry point to SE Asia and innovative finance. As an Investment Analyst based in Jakarta, he is responsible for all steps of the investment process including sourcing new deals, conducting due diligence, and making investment valuations. In tandem, he coordinates consultancies and monitors advisory services to portfolio companies.
Prior to GBF, Courtney's main experience was in agriculture. He worked on mixed husbandry farms in the United States and France as well as raised beef cattle for seven years. He has also fundraised for development and environmental non-profits, one connected to a two month immersion study of Mali.
Courtney earned a BA in International Relations and Political Economy from Carleton College. He is a native English speaker and proficient in Bahasa Indonesia and French. He has left snowboarding and soccer in the United States in favor of surfing and ultimate in Indonesia.
Lilian Mramba joined GBF in 2011 and is Regional Manager for Africa. Based in Nairobi, she manages the Africa investment portfolio, and is responsible for GBF activities for the region. That includes leading the regional strategy on investment activities, business advisory services, and impact measurement.
Prior to GBF, Lilian was at Moss Adams LLP, the largest independent accounting and consulting firm in the western part of the United States, where she managed large-scale social responsibility audits for publicly-traded companies, and financial audits for social welfare organizations and governmental entities. She also spent time at African Development Bank in Tunis where she worked various investment projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Originally from Tanzania, Lilian is a native English and Swahili speaker and has basic knowledge of Spanish and French. She is an avid runner and enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures. Lilian graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Idaho with B.S. in Accounting and Finance, earned an MBA with honors from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Pranav Nahar is GBF’s Regional Manager for Asia. He is a member of the Management Committee at GBF and its Internal Investment Committee and overseas the Asian Markets including India and Indonesia where GBF has active investments and staff.
Prior to his work at GBF Pranav was an active Impact investor and Entrepreneur. He served as Managing Director at Arctic Holdings & Coach at the Brightest Young Climate & Sustainable Leaders program, an incubation and acceleration program for Impact entrepreneurs. Prior to that as Managing Director at Evolution Markets & as Country Director at EcoSecurities, firms in energy and environment markets. He has invested in and managed transactions over 700m USD in impact investing, social entrepreneurship ventures, climate change & renewable energy. He has originated and structured emission reduction projects and pipelines leading to market leadership positions of the firms and over 80m Euros in cash flow.
He has lived and worked over 14 years in Chennai, Oslo, London, New York, Mumbai , Melbourne & New Delhi where he is currently based. He founded and sold his first venture in Oslo, Norway at 19, and holds an MBA with Deans List Honors & Chevening Scholarship from London Business School as well as a Chazen Fellow at Columbia Business School. He has volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sister & Compeer Initiatives.
He is an ardent Vipassana Meditator. He is passionate about inclusive growth, impact investing and socio-economic development by accelerating entrepreneurial energy. He believes that every individual has the unbridled energy to make a difference and create impact.
Dennis is an Investment Analyst based in Nairobi. He joined Grassroots Business Fund in January 2014. His role is to support Investment Officers with sourcing and screening new investment opportunities in Africa; conduct due diligence, modeling, assessing social returns on investments, and measuring fit with GBF strategy.
He was previously at Transglobal Consultants Ltd as an Associate Partner where he helped clients with business advisory services. He earned his bachelor's degree in International Business Administration from United States International University (USIU-A) and is soon to finish his MBA from the same university.
In his downtime Dennis loves watching documentaries and playing soccer. He is also an avid blogger.
Mayra joined Grassroots Business Fund in December 2012 as Office Manager for GBF's Latin America region. Since June 2013 she has been responsible for LatAm office administration, accounting and logistics in coordination with headquarters and providers.
Mayra earned her Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management from San Ignacio de Loyola University in Peru. Since graduating in July 2012, she has worked in services companies interacting directly with customers, where she was in charge of cash management and team organization. Mayra speaks English, Portuguese, and French, apart from Spanish. She enjoys traveling, reading, and the barista-coffee world.
Beth joined GBF in 2012 as the Operations Assistant. She is responsible for front office administration, communications, travel support, and human resources among other HQ support roles.
Beth earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2012 from American University in Business Administration with a double major in International Development. Impact investing represented the foundation of Beth’s undergraduate studies. Her past experience includes interning for organizations such as Accion International, MicroRate, and United Way of MA Bay and Merrimack Valley. Beth also spent a semester abroad in Paris at the Sorbonne studying French.
She enjoys reading, doing yoga and checking out the art museums around DC.
Alisa joined GBF in January 2012 as an Investment Analyst with the Africa team. She is based in Nairobi and assists the team with both pipeline building and supervision of existing investments. Her responsibilities include sourcing for new deals, conducting due diligence, preparing investment decision documents, monitoring compliance and other metrics, and supporting regional partnership efforts.
Prior to GBF Alisa gained financial experience with the Acquisition and Leverage finance team of SGCIB in Hong Kong and Paris as well as the Metals and Mining M&A team at Morgan Stanley in London. More recently she was a PR Manager at Lamoda.ru, an expanding internet fashion retail start-up in Russia.
Alisa completed a Masters in Management from ESCP Europe Business School in Paris and is currently pursuing a distance degree in International Affairs at the London School of Economics. During her studies Alisa had the chance to study in St Gallen and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
Russian but raised in Spain, Alisa is also fluent in French and Italian. Outside of work, Alisa enjoys watching author cinema, playing tennis, dancing, designing, singing, traveling and reading.
Karan joined Grassroots Business Fund in August 2013 as an Investment Analyst for GBF's India region. Karan supervises existing investments and conducts due diligence on potential transactions.
Prior to joining GBF, Karan spent two years in the Governance, Risk and Internal Controls and corporate finance teams of Mazars, India: While at Mazars, Karan has been involved in the Finance, Human Resources and production audits along with valuation analysis and due diligence. He started his careers at Deloitte Consulting in India, where he was part of the strategy and operations team working closely with the telecommunications sector. Karan has completed his M.Sc in Accounting and Finance from University of Exeter. He enjoys playing football, golf and traveling during his spare time.
Miguel joined Grassroots Business Fund in July 2011. Miguel is currently an Investment Officer in for GBF’s Latin America region. Miguel supervises existing investments and conducts due diligence on potential transactions.
Prior to joining GBF Miguel was a financial analyst for Banco de Crédito del Peru where he was part of the structuring team which oversees the bank´s funding strategy in the capital markets. Miguel earned his bachelor´s degree in Business from Pacifico University and holds a Specialization in Management and Sustainable Development from ESAN Business School in Peru.
Miguel is fluent in English and Spanish. He enjoys surfing, reading, photography and travel - so far he has visited 15 countries across three continents.
Noel, as she prefers to be called, joined GBF in August 2013 as Office Manager for the Africa regional team. Noel is responsible for local accounting and payroll, and efficiently running the local operations including managing local vendors, fostering new partnerships, and ensuring local compliance. Prior to GBF, Noel was an Administrator at Career Connections Limited in Nairobi, Kenya working in various functions including administration, accounts, training, recruitment, and assessment among others. Noel graduated Cum Laude in 2010 from the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton in Kenya with a BBA degree in Marketing, and soon to earn an MBA in Finance from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Noel is originally from Uganda, she moved to Kenya in 2006 to attend her undergraduate program and has been living in Kenya ever since. She later attained Kenyan citizenship in 2010 by marriage. She is a native English and Luganda speaker, and has acquired Swahili. She enjoys cooking and baking, participating in social activities, making crafts and traveling among others.
Rachel joined Grassroots Business Fund in June 2012, and now serves as Metrics Manager. In this role, Rachel focuses on collecting and analyzing social impact data through client reporting, impact verification, and research initiatives. In addition to social metrics work, Rachel assists in GBF's management system for addressing environmental and social risks in the portfolio.
Prior to her work at GBF, Rachel earned a Masters in Global Policy Studies from LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her graduate work included field research in microfinance in Peru, and institutional capacity building in Senegal and The Gambia.
Before pursuing her graduate degree, Rachel was on the founding team of The Mission Continues, a national non-profit that empowers post 9/11 veterans to transform their own lives by serving others and directly impacting their communities.
Rachel is a Texas native. She earned her Bachelors degree in International Relations and Spanish at Duke University. In her free time, Rachel enjoys riding her road bike along DC's many trails, taking photographs, attending theater productions, and traveling.
Bob Webster is the Investment Advisor for the Grassroots Business Fund, for which he had previously served as a member of its Portfolio Advisory Committee. Prior to joining GBF, Bob was the Executive Vice President at CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a non-profit organization that supports small business growth for economic opportunity in developing markets. In addition to being on its executive team, he was the manager of CDS’ Access to Finance (A2F) practice, for which he conceived and developed an innovative SME risk capital fund management capacity building initiative for Africa. Further, Bob revised and is delivering the investment manager training course for the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and is currently serving on an SME risk capital industry working group to promote investment capital into this space.
After eight years of commercial lending to small businesses in the United States, Bob managed varied economic development projects in Romania, Macedonia, Vietnam, Egypt, and Bangladesh, including an SME private equity fund. Bob began and managed one of SEAF's more successful funds, SEAF/Macedonia, and later served in an executive capacity at SEAF headquarters. He has technical expertise in SME debt and equity financing, value chain development and competitiveness. Bob has both an MBA in finance and a BA in mathematics from Indiana University. He has also completed the Financial Institutions for Private Sector Development Executive Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School and is working toward a Master’s degree in agricultural economics with the University of London.