Clara Lipson, Founder & Executive Director
Clara’s professional career includes 25 years of banking, financial services and international development. As a banker, Clara was responsible for corporate finance at an international bank. Migrating to international development, Clara designed and managed programs that launched credit rating agencies, collateral registries, enterprise reform, and microfinance in Central and Eastern Europe. Spanning the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Clara has also worked on projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. She is currently a member of the Board of the Microfinance Club of New York, and formerly served on the Steering Committee of Women Advancing Microfinance (WAM)-NY and the Advisory Board of Pro Mujer International. She holds an MA from CUNY. Clara is the Founder of the new portal, AboutMicrofinance.com.
Alicja K. Malecka, Senior Advisor
Alicja is an international financial services expert with over 25 years experience in capital markets. She served as the President and CEO of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union and a global consultant to Price Waterhouse, Deloitte, and USAID. As President and CEO of Pioneer First Polish Trust Co. she launched and managed the first mutual fund in Poland. For the past 10 years she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Micro Fund, LLC and its successor the FMBank, one of the first microfinance institutions in Poland. Alicja is currently an associate member of the International Institute of Finance and principal of Malecka Capital Formations, Inc., an advisory firm.
Nelun de S. Wijeyeratne, Special Advisor
Nelun is currently a strategic advisor for Corporate Responsibility programs, with a commitment to Financial Inclusion and Microfinance. She previously worked at Deutsche Bank Microfinance Development Fund, and spearheaded Standard & Poor’s microfinance ratings project. As a senior manager Nelun has led project teams in the corporate, public, and not-for-profit sectors, including affordable housing and micro, small and medium enterprise lending. Nelun is the co-chair of the Financial Women’s Association’s Impact Investing committee. She holds an MBA from Yale’s School of Management.
Laura Giadorou Koch, Senior Editor Advisor
Laura is the co-owner and director of DOLIUM Wines, a medium size high-end Argentine winery. She currently teaches microfinance in high schools in NY, DC & CT, and also serves as Communications officer of the YPO/WPO Sustainable Business and Microfinance Networks and Chair of the YPO/WPO Microfinance Forum. Additionally, Laura is a member of the Economic Club of New York, Women Corporate Directors and 85Broads, and participates in the President’s Counsel for ACCION and Steering Committee for Women Advancing Microfinance. Laura has published articles for the United Nations, Wall Street Journal and Argentine newspapers. Previously, Laura practiced corporate law on Wall Street for over a decade, specializing in cross-border transactions for Latin American clients. Laura attended the HBS Strategic Leadership for Microfinance, Acumen Leadership and Frankfurt Advance Microfinance Programs. She holds a Masters in Law from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a J.D. from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Shreemathi Tumkur, Research Associate
Shreemathi is an MPA student at SIPA, Columbia University, specializing in Economic and Political Development. Prior to SIPA, Shreemathi worked at Education Alliance, where she collaborated with the Delhi Municipal Government on projects to improve the quality of education in government schools. She was previously a Teach For India fellow, where she taught in a low-income private school for two years. She received her BE in Instrumentation Technology from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore.
Audrey Misquith, Research Associate
Audrey is a Master of Public Administration Candidate specializing in Economic and Political Development at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs(SIPA). She is passionate about financial inclusion and is keen on exploring the intersection of savings-led and micro-finance approaches in fostering agricultural innovation. Prior to joining SIPA, Audrey worked as a credit manager at India’s premier bank, State Bank of India. As a volunteer, she designed Science and English workshops and coordinated academic events for underprivileged children. Audrey is currently a consultant for the Columbia Impact Investment Initiative and is advising a woman social entrepreneur in Pakistan to develop a sustainable financial model. Audrey was the runner up at SIPA’s Case Consulting Competition 2016 for developing a human rights strategy on the failed Colombian peace deal.
Amir Bolouryazad, Research Associate
Amir is a first year MPA candidate at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs with a concentration in International Finance and Economic Policy. He received his BA from Columbia University with a degree in Financial Economics. Prior to starting his BA at Columbia, he worked as an insurance broker in Beverly Hills, California for about two years focusing on property and casualty products. Amir began his insurance career at State Farm, concentrating on life and health insurance, specifically for the young low-income individuals living in the Los Angeles area.
Utsav Dhoj Adhikari, Research Associate
Utsav is an MPA student from Nepal at Columbia SIPA, specializing in global energy management and policy. Prior to SIPA, Utsav worked at Argus Information & Advisory Services, where he provided strategic analytic and consulting support to financial institutions in the US using big data on customer profiles and transaction patterns. He has previously worked on an energy access project in Nepal based on subsidized micro-loans, where he coordinated the partnership with banks, MFIs and solar companies. He received his BA in International Relations from Colgate University.
Bryan Hill, Research Associate
Bryan graduated from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs where he studied international finance and economic policy. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland with a degree in economics, and had spent several years living in the developing world, including China and speaks Chinese. He has worked on emerging market entrepreneurship at Endeavor Global, and has been a writer for the U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace.
Guillermo Galicia Rabadán, Research Associate
Guillermo is currently an MPA candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, he holds a Master of Finance degree from Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico. He has worked at the Mexican Central Bank (Banxico) where he participated in the implementation of the G20 financial reform and in the regulation and oversight of derivatives and securities markets. Previously, he headed financial analysis and product development responsibilities for FINCA International subsidiary in Mexico.
UCMI – Consulting Team. The University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative (UCMI) is a student-run and advisor-led not-for-profit group that seeks to educate the university community on social finance. The team’s work at AboutMicrofinance focused on social media exposure and leveraging partnerships.
Shruthi Jayaram, currently works at Cornerstone Research, New York.
Kathryn Glynn-Broderick, is currently Manager, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation at Women’s World Banking, and previously worked in the Office of Financial Empowerment, New York.
Chuan Lin, is now Senior Analyst – New York City Office of the Mayor, Office of Management and Budget.
Ioana Tesliuc, is a student at the University of Chicago and currently the Managing Director of Administration for the University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative.
Christopher Zoia, is currently Communications Manager – United States Council for International Business.
John Meyers, Research Associate, is currently an associate at RSF Social Finance (San Francisco).