Executive Staff

You are here

President and CEO

Alex Counts founded Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years. A Cornell University graduate, Counts’ commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he witnessed innovative poverty solutions being developed by Grameen Bank. He trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Since its modest beginnings, sparked by a $6,000 seed grant provided by Prof. Yunus (who was a founding board member and continues as director emeritus), Grameen Foundation has grown to a leading international humanitarian organization with an annual budget of approximately $25 million.

Counts has propelled Grameen Foundation’s philosophy through his writings, including Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World. Counts has also been published in The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Miami Herald, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. In 2007 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Horace Mann School.

Counts is a board member, and the immediate past Chair, of Fonkoze USA and co-chairs the Fonkoze Family Coordinating Committee—two governance bodies related to the largest microfinance institution in Haiti. He is also immediate past Chair of Project Enterprise, a New York City microlender, and board member emeritus. He sits on the Advisory Council of the Center for Financial Inclusion, and the Truelift Steering Committee, and serves as Co-Chair of the Microfinance CEO Working Group.

Before leading Grameen Foundation, Counts served as the legislative director of RESULTS and as a regional project manager for CARE-Bangladesh. He speaks Bengali and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Emily, and their cat, Seymour.

General Manager, Grameen-Jameel Microfinance LTD

In January 2013, Dr. Khaled Al-Gazawi joined the Grameen-Jameel Microfinance LTD (GJ) as the General Manager. GJ was established as a joint venture between Grameen Foundation and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives to help alleviate poverty by providing financial and technical assistance to microfinance institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey Region. Before joining GJ, Khaled served shortly as a Resident Advisor for the Arab Gulf Fund for Development (AGFUND) in Lebanon and was the Chief Executive Officer for First Microfinance Foundation – Egypt, the local affiliate of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance. Previously, Khaled served as the director of operations at Quality Finance International (QFI), leading projects in Sudan, Syria, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Jordan, and the West Bank. He also served as the CEO of Jordan Micro Credit Company (Tamweelcom) and worked for FINCA International and CHF International. Khaled is a certified trainer in various fields of microfinance and holds a PhD. degree in International Management from the University of Phoenix, and an MBA from the Yarmouk University in Jordan.

Chief Technology Officer

Steve Andersen ensures that Grameen Foundation’s technology strategy is closely aligned with its goal of empowering the poor to create a world without poverty. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Steve worked with technology and nonprofits for 13 years, most recently at the Salesforce.com Foundation. He’s helped thousands of nonprofits be more effective at delivering on their missions. In his for-profit tech career, Steve led teams building and managing technology infrastructure in biotech and tech startups. He is a graduate of Carleton College.

Senior Vice President, Solutions and Regions

David Edelstein leads Grameen Foundation’s global initiatives to create innovative and sustainable solutions to improve lives. Before joining Grameen Foundation, David worked for Microsoft designing business models to provide affordable technology products for people in emerging markets. David also worked in Brazil with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he developed business strategies tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in developing countries. Previously, David conducted economic analyses and evaluated public policy with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and with Resources for the Future. He holds a Master's degree in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton University and a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Economics from Colby College.

Vice President, Chief Talent and Knowledge Officer

Shannon Maynard ensures that talent, knowledge, and performance management are aligned with Grameen Foundation’s mission, vision and strategy. She also leads Bankers without Borders®. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Shannon served as the Executive Director of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation under the George H.W. Bush Administration and led strategic initiatives for the federal agency the Corporation for National and Community Service. Previously, Shannon held various leadership positions managing AmeriCorps programs for local and national nonprofits in the United States. A former AmeriCorps VISTA, Shannon holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of Richmond. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Vice President for Information Services

Hillary Miller-Wise oversees strategy, business development, and operations of Grameen Foundation’s Information Services division, which provides relevant, actionable market and health information to rural households by leveraging mobile technology. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Hillary spent five years at TechnoServe, where she served as Country Director of TechnoServe's operations in Tanzania and led the organization’s ICT4D Practice Group. Previously, she was a senior consultant at Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) where she led development of the first mobile-enabled loan processing system of a microfinance bank in South America. Hillary holds an MBA from INSEAD, where she was the recipient of the Social Entrepreneurship Scholarship, and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Vice President, Financial Services

Camilla Nestor oversees strategy, business development, and operations of Grameen Foundation’s Financial Services division, which focuses on innovative, client-centered product design for the poor and building and strengthening mobile-enabled delivery channels for the poor. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Camilla worked at Citigroup in structured corporate finance. Previously, she spent five years on the ground in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and Africa working with microfinance institutions and rural banks on start-up, new product development, and capital raising. Camilla holds an MBA and a masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Colorado College. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs and serves on the boards of Grameen Capital India, The SEEP Network, and Microlumbia.

CEO, Grameen Foundation India

Chandni Ohri is CEO of Grameen Foundation India (GFI), which was established in August 2010 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Grameen Foundation. Building on Grameen Foundation’s existing work to provide access to microfinance and information for the poor in India, GFI works to increase the scale and scope of poverty-alleviation efforts there, recognizing the central role a country the size of India would play in such efforts. A native of India, Chandni previously served as Director for Asia Programs at Grameen Foundation. Chandni holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a Masters in International Development from University of Washington, Seattle.

CEO, Americas

Alberto Solano leads and oversees Grameen Foundation’s portfolio and activities across the Americas. Based in Medellin, Colombia, he also serves as our senior representative in the region. Alberto has more than 10 years experience in microfinance, principally in Latin America. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Alberto served as the Latin America Program Director for the nonprofit Global Partnerships. Previously, he worked with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration’s microfinance and technical assistance programs in Honduras, and ran his own consulting company specializing in sustainable development and microfinance.

General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary

Julia Soyars leads and oversees Grameen Foundation’s legal department, that she started in 2005, and serves as Assistant Corporate Sectretary to the Board of Directors. Before joining Grameen Foundation. Previously, she worked in the legal department at The American National Red Cross, where she spent eleven years handling domestic and international transactions. Julia began her legal career  as an associate for five years  with Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro. Julia holds a JD Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University. She is a founding member of the Council of Counsels and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

CEO, Asia Region

Christopher (“Happy”) Tan leads and oversees Grameen Foundation’s portfolio and activities across Asia. Based in Manila, Philippines, he also serves as our senior representative in the region. Previously, Happy served as Grameen Foundation's Regional Director for East & Southeast Asia. He has more than 16 years of experience in development finance, nonprofit management and public interest law, having worked for ShoreBank Advisory Services (SAS), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC/Chicago) and SALIGAN in the Philippines. He holds an MPP from The University of Chicago and a JD from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Chief Operating Officer / Chief Financial Officer

Joshua Tripp leads fund development, marketing, finance/accounting, operations, and IT—working to ensure that the organization's internal operations and external communications effectively support Grameen's programmatic work. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Joshua was a Vice President at Community Wealth Ventures (CWV) where he worked with dozens of innovative nonprofit organizations, helping them to assess, plan and launch for-profit business ventures to increase their sustainability. Previously, Joshua was a Project Manager for GS Telecom, a start-up satellite telecommunications company in Ghana, and worked in the investment banking division of Deutsche Bank. Joshua holds an MBA from the George Washington University School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Williams College.

CEO, Africa Region

Steve Wardle leads and oversees Grameen Foundation’s portfolio and activities across Sub-Saharan Africa. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, he also serves as our senior representative in the region. Steve was previously the Manager of Investments for Grameen Foundation, directing approximately $50 million in capital through two investment facilities to provide capital to microfinance institutions and social enterprises serving clients at the base of the pyramid. Steve has worked in the microfinance sector since 2005 at the network and practitioner level. During his tenure at Grameen Foundation, he has focused on technical assistance and capital-markets activities across Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. He also spent a year as Acting CFO of Sevis Finansye Fonkoze (SFF), Haiti’s largest microfinance institution. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Steve worked in commercial and investment banking, focusing on corporate acquisitions, restructurings and raising capital for mid-sized U.S. companies.

Vice President, Poverty Insights

Steve Wright oversees strategy, business development, and operations of Grameen Foundation’s Poverty Tools & Insights division, which provides technology and social performance measurement tools such as TaroWorks and the Progress Out of Poverty Index to help organizations who aim to help the poor become more efficient and effective. Before joining Grameen Foundation, Steve served as the Director of Innovation and Technology at Salesforce.com Foundation where he established himself as a thought leader in the social metrics space through extensive experience working with organizations such as the Acumen Fund, GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) and members of ANDE (Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs). Previously, Steve worked as a high school administrator and classroom teacher, and started his career in the Peace Corps.

Special Advisor to the Business Management Team

Norm Tonina is a consultant to Grameen Foundation and provides leadership development and consulting services to individuals on the Business Management team. Norm worked at Microsoft where he retired in 2008 after serving for 15 years as the General Manager of the People and Organization Capability, leading and directing major change management initiatives focused on company culture, talent management and leadership development. Previously, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft’s Platforms and Applications business and also worked as a Senior Software Business Manager for Digital Equipment Corporation. Norm holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University, a certificate in Executive Human Resources Leadership from the University of Michigan, and a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Antioch University. He is an adjunct professor for the graduate-level HR program at Antioch University in Seattle, and has lectured in the University of Washington’s Technology Management MBA Program. He also is co-creator and faculty member of University of Washington’s Strategic Human Resources Leadership certificate program.

© 2014 Grameen Foundation USA. All rights reserved.

Grameen Foundation is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (C) (3) tax-exempt organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Grameen Foundation's Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 73-1502797.

Charity Navigator BBB Rating

site design and development by Firefly Partners