John McKinley

Representing 8 Counties, 11 Languages: Introducing Acumen Fund’s Global Fellows Class of 2013

We are proud to announce the Class of 2013 Global Fellows, a group that represents eight countries, speaks 11 languages, and brings a depth of global experience ranging from software engineering at Google to directing operations at a fashion house in Saudi Arabia. This dedicated cohort is the latest addition to a growing network of individuals bringing a new model of leadership to the world.

The world is hungry for this new kind of leader – someone who has the humility to see the world as it is and the audacity to envision the world as it could be, equipped with the financial and operational skills needed to create lasting impact on the ground. Each year, Acumen Fund identifies and trains these leaders through our 12-month Global Fellows Program, which combines two months of multi-disciplinary leadership training in New York City with a 10-month field placement in India, Pakistan, East Africa or West Africa where each Fellow provides on-the-ground management support to one of Acumen Fund’s investee companies on the front lines of tackling global poverty. Since closing applications in November, we’ve reviewed over 1,000 applications from more than 100 countries and conducted 10 days of in-person interviews in seven cities in six countries. Throughout this intensive process, we have been inspired by both the passion and professional caliber of the candidates. It was a difficult and humbling task to select this next cohort of Global Fellows, but we are thrilled to share the names of these 10 individuals with you today.

Mustapha Abokede Mustapha is from Nigeria and has worked with KPMG as a Senior Associate, and with Mobil Oil. Mustapha holds a B.Eng. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Technology of Nigeria.

Abbas Akhtar Abbas is from Pakistan and has worked with Google and Apple as a software engineer, and also with UNDP. He is the founder of Abbas holds a B.S. in Computer Science from San Jose State, and will complete an M.A. in International Relations & International Economics from Johns Hopkins this May.

Shahd AlShehail Shahd is from Saudi Arabia and has worked with Global Giving, with SABIC Innovative Plastics, and was the Director of Operations of Al Qadem Fashion House, an entrepreneurial venture focused on supporting underprivileged women. Shahd holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Evansville, and will complete a Global M.B.A. with a focus in Entrepreneurship from Johns Hopkins this May.

R. Michael Craig Michael is from Canada and has worked with KPMG in Canada and in the UK for most of his career. Michael started his career as an External Auditor, was laterally promoted to Restructuring Associate, and more recently acted as a Turnaround Manager. Michael is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree from Queen’s University, and will complete his MBA from INSEAD in July.

Natalie Grillon Natalie is from the US and has worked with the Peace Corps in Northern Mali as a Natural Resource Management Specialist. She also worked in environmental and sustainability planning for a Massachusetts town government and in sustainability strategy and marketing at SC Johnson. Natalie holds a B.S. in International Politics from Georgetown University, and will complete an M.B.A. from Cornell University in May.

Nicole Iden Nicole is from the US and has worked with Capital One as a Bank Vice President, Grameen Foundation as Manager of its Microfinance Technology Readiness program, and Accenture as an IT consultant. Nicole holds a B.A. in Economics from William & Mary, and an M.S. in Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia.

Jay Jaboneta Jay is from the Philippines, and has worked with the Philippine government in the Presidential Communications Operations Office as New Media Head, with Procter & Gamble as an Accounts Manager, and with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group as a Marketing and Sales Analyst. Jay is also the Co-Founder of the Yellow Boat Project. He holds a B.S. in Commerce from Ateneo de Davao University.

Mohammed Fahim Shelot Fahim is from Pakistan and has worked with Al Meezan Investment Management in Pakistan as an analyst, with Ernst & Young’s Global Islamic Finance team in Bahrain as a consultant, and with Capital Management House in Bahrain in private equity. Fahim holds a B.Sc. in Accounting and Finance from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder.

Christina Tang Christina is from Hong Kong and worked at Bain & Company as a management consultant. She has previously worked on starting Rainwater for Humanity, a rainwater harvesting initiative based in India. Christina holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Brown University.

Junko Tashiro Junko is from Japan and has worked with McKinsey & Co as a management consultant. She has also worked with UNDP, the International Finance Corporation, and a Kenyan NGO as an HIV/AIDS peer educator. Junko holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Tokyo and will complete an M.P.A. in Economic Development and Management from Columbia University in May.

The Class of 2013 will begin the fellowship year in September. We look forward not only to the positive social change they will create, but also to the transformational experience they will undergo along the way. We encourage you to follow the Fellows on their journey by reading their blog posts during the year ahead. In the meantime, please spread the word by sharing this update on Facebook or Twitter. And if you or someone you know is interested in joining the Global Fellows Program, we will re-open applications in October 2012.

For more information about Acumen Fund’s leadership programs, please visit:

Global Fellows Program
East Africa Regional Fellows Program
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