NexThought Monday: Thanking Veterans, Welcoming New Faces
NextBillion is, and always will be, a work in progress – whether it’s the user mechanics of our site, the design or the content. Our writers are no exception. They take new jobs, become immersed in post-graduate degrees or fellowships, or start families – any and all of which places new demands on their time. So, change happens. Today, we want to welcome some new NextBillion staff writers, but also honor writers/editors who have contributed mightily to the success of NextBillion over the years. (There are too many changes to announce in one post, so please watch for a follow-up post in the days to come).
First, I want to professionally and personally thank Francisco Noguera, who on Friday announced he will be transitioning to the role of staff writer. Francisco has been an amazing colleague, advisor and friend. I’m grateful to say that his insights and voice will continue on NextBillion and NextBillion Espanol. Thanks for everything, Francisco.
I also want to say a kind thank you to Manuel Bueno and Nathan Wyeth. Manuel, who is with Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) as an investment analyst for the Latin American portfolio and a knowledge management specialist, has been a prolific and poignant voice on the subject of microfinance. Whether it’s microfinance’s ability to transform energy markets to affordable housing to child development, Manuel has provided data-driven insights that analyze and critique, but never cheerlead. Nathan is the project director for FrontlineSMS:Credit, building mobile money management software tools for enterprises working at the base of the pyramid. He’s a clear-eyed surveyor of mobile money technology and trends, clean energy and innovations of all kinds. Nathan also served as a NB editor doing the often thankless job of sifting through news stories and managing our job listings. Both have said they’ll continue as guest writers as their schedules permit, and considering the quality of their work, we plan to hold them to it!
And now, introducing our new writers:
Elly S. Brown, previously a guest writer with NextBillion, is a project consultant at Root Cause, where she advises social entrepreneurs and social investors on performance measurement systems, social impact strategy and leadership development. She supports clients in advancing social innovation from the vantage point of partnerships, that is, no organization can see social impact on its own. And she’s supportive of exploring failure to find out what succeeds. Elly also is a staff and an advisory committee member for the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund – Boston. Before earning her MBA at Duke University, Elly worked in Tokyo as a consultant at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting and an IT business analyst at Mizuho Securities and Western Asset Management. Elly aspires to join the ranks of social entrepreneurs in her home country of Japan through engaging retirees and the young in support of social enterprises in developing countries throughout Asia.
Eric Kacou is a native of Cote d’Ivoire and is co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESPartners), which provides entrepreneurs and leaders equal parts consulting and capital to build success. He’s also a thought leader whose 2010 book. Entrepreneurial Solutions for Prosperity in BoP Markets: Strategies for Business and Economic Transformation, introduces fresh concepts and terms into the BoP lexicon, such as “survival traps,” which represent the biggest challenge to enterprise development at the entrepreneurial and even country level. Check out his recent discussion with NextBillion Co-Managing Editor Francisco Noguera. Eric’s impressive CV includes serving as managing director of OTF Group, a consultancy focused on emerging markets. An expert in business strategy and economic reconstruction, he along with Michael Fairbanks, co-founder of SEVEN Fund, was instrumental in the launch Rwanda National Innovation and Competitiveness Program, an 2001 initiative by the president of Rwanda that helped boost exports and wages.
Call me biased, but Jonathan Kalan is capturing what can accurately be called iconic photos of social entrepreneurship, along with the sweat and tears that goes with building them. He’s put many of these photo essays and the stories his subjects into The BoP Project. Kalan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara Global & International Studies program. His photography has been published nationally and internationally, as well as here at NextBillion. Jonathan is adept at capturing a wide range of topics – from clean water pilot projects to documenting a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He is currently based in Dar es Salaam, documenting social enterprises, BoP ventures, and innovative nonprofits for The BoP Project. He also is serving as director of business development for Kujali International.
Sadna Samaranayake is a consultant to Ashoka’s Full Economic Citizenship initiative where she works to advance the development of Hybrid Value Chains and Ashoka’s Housing for All initiatives in Brazil, Egypt, Colombia and India. She is currently authoring a report on market-based and scale-enabling affordable housing solutions – a preview of which can be found here. She’s earned her stripes in the trenches where she’s consulted organizations, such as Vision Spring, IFMR Trust and the Network Enterprises Fund on business development, strategy, operational issues, messaging and branding. Originally from Sri Lanka, Sadna grew up between the Marshall Islands, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. She earned a Masters degree in Social Entrepreneurship and International Development from New York University, where her graduate thesis examined Base of Pyramid businesses and their barriers to growth and scale.
Our new writers are action-based academics, hands-on BoP practitioners and emerging thought leaders. Please join me in welcoming them formally to the NB community.