Board & Advisors

BRAC USA Board of Directors

James Carlson

James Carlson serves as an Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Law, teaching Securities and Capital Markets Regulation since 1996. From 2009 – 2011, James also taught Derivatives and Changing Regulation at the School of Law, and from 2010 – 2012, taught Microfinance and Access to Finance for the Global Poor as an Adjunct Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business.

 

James, who has been practicing law since 1981, currently is a member of the law firm Mayer Brown, LLP, where he has been a partner since 1998. From 1997 – 2004, he was the Partner-in-Charge of the firm’s New York office, and also served as the firm’s Global Practice Leader from 2004 – 2008. He brings extensive knowledge in corporate and financial strategies, and is a highly regarded member of both the legal and business communities. James also serves on the Board of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc., where he is the Chairman of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.

Richard A. Cash, MD, MPH

Dr. Richard A. Cash is a senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), where he has been a faculty member for over 40 years.

 

Presently, he has visiting faculty appointments at a number of schools of public health throughout the world including Public Health Foundation of India in Delhi and the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University in Dhaka.

 

Richard has focused his work on infectious disease problems in the developing world and on ethical issues in international health research. He is credited with saving millions of lives as a co-developer and promoter of oral rehydration therapy to treat cholera and other diarrheal diseases. In this regard he is especially interested in scaling up effective yet simple interventions. Richard was a joint recipient of the 2006 Prince Mahidol Award for “exemplary contributions in the field of public health,” and in 2011, he received the Fries Prize for Improving Health.

Lincoln C. Chen, M.D.

Lincoln C. Chen is President of the China Medical Board. Started in 1914, the Board was endowed by John D. Rockefeller as an independent American foundation to advance health in China and Asia by strengthening medical education, research, and policies.

Dr. Chen was the founding director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative (2001-2006), and in an earlier decade, the Taro Takemi Professor of International Health and Director of the University-wide Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (1987-1996). In 1997-2001, Dr. Chen served as Executive Vice-President of the Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1973-1987, he represented the Ford Foundation in India and Bangladesh. In 2008, Dr. Chen assumed the Chair of the Board of BRAC USA, having completed two terms as Chair of the Board of CARE/USA in 2007. He serves as Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee to the FXB Center on Health and Human Rights at Harvard. Dr. Chen also serves on the Board of the Social Science Research Council, the Institute of Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington), the Public Health Foundation of India, and the UN Fund for International Partnerships (counterpart to the UN Foundation). He was the Special Envoy of the WHO Director-General in Human Resources for Health (2004-2007), and the Founding Chair of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (2006-2008).

Dr. Chen is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He graduated from Princeton University (BA), Harvard Medical School (MD), and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (MPH).

Michael Goroff

Michael Goroff is an independent corporate attorney and business advisor who applies his private sector expertise to global health, international development, and anti-poverty matters. He is an active advisor on impact investing and cross-sector partnerships, and on transactions, ventures, and non-grant financings that mix mission-driven and for-profit objectives.

 

Michael’s qualifications in law and business are drawn from a combination of over 20 years of corporate law practice, including 15 years as a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, and over 10 years in a mix of roles involving start-ups, large corporates, and innovative financing strategies, which most recently included several years as a Senior Managing Director at Avenue Capital, a major hedge fund.

 

Michael’s involvement in global health, international development, and anti-poverty matters has included academic work in public health; a variety of consulting assignments in the public, private, and NGO sectors; advisory work with and for Dalberg Global Development Advisors; roles in early stage mission-driven enterprises; and management of program related investments for a large family foundation.

 

Michael received his AB from Harvard College in 1982 and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1985, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Michael received a Master of Public Health in Global Health from Harvard School of Public Health in 2008, and spent the 2008 academic year as a Takemi Fellow in International Health at Harvard.

Ronald Grzywinski

Ron Grzywinski was the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ShoreBank Corporation, the nation’s first and largest certified Community Development Finance Institution. Starting in 1973, ShoreBank provided finance and information services to disinvested communities in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and rural Arkansas. Subsequently, the Corporation provided advisory and operational assistance to Grameen Bank and BRAC in Bangladesh, the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, as well as local development banks in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. In 1996 ShoreBank Corporation created ShoreBank Pacific, the nation’s first environmental development bank.

Ron has been the recipient of the Independent Sector’s John W. Gardner Leadership Award, the Medal for Entrepreneurial Excellence from the Yale University School of Management, the President’s Founders Award from Loyola University (Chicago), and the Theodore Hesburgh Award for Ethical Business Practices from the University of Notre Dame. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Business Degree from Northern Michigan University and was a founding member of the Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. He has been the CEO of several banks and serves on the boards of numerous social purpose organizations. He is an Alumnus in Residence at Loyola University.

Christina Leijonhufvud

Christina is an independent consultant with expertise in impact investment, investment banking, and country risk.

 

She spent 15 years at J.P. Morgan until retiring from the firm as a Managing Director in 2012. In 2007, she designed and launched the firm’s Social Finance business as a unit of the investment bank providing financial services to the impact investments market. Christina also led various risk management teams at J.P. Morgan, including Sovereign Risk & Advisory and Credit Portfolio Risk Management.

 

Prior to J.P. Morgan, Christina worked at the World Bank as Country Officer, helping develop reform programs for the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia. In 1991, she served on the Economic Reform Committee for the Government of Kazakhstan.

 

Christina has also worked for Ashoka-Innovators for the Public and serves on the Board of BRAC USA and the Advisory Board for the Center for Financial Inclusion. Christina earned a M.Sc. degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Sociology from UCLA.

Crispin Murira

Crispin Murira leads Business Development and Replication at Silicon Valley-based Copia Global, a technology company whose mission is to develop and execute e-commerce solutions for low- and middle-income populations in Africa. He previously served over six years as its founding CEO.

An avid entrepreneur, Crispin’s ultimate vision is to enable meaningful change in the developing world through the innovative application of business and technology. He has executive expertise in areas such as management, brand marketing, finance, negotiation, product marketing, market research, and social entrepreneurship. Early in his career, Crispin worked in finance as a senior mergers and acquisitions analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston and, later, as a marketing and brand management executive. He also co-founded Kipepeo LLC, a fashion accessories design, manufacturer, and wholesale company based out of New York.

Crispin later served as the CEO of Copia Global in Nairobi, Kenya, which started as a pilot project in 2012 and is now recognized as one of the fastest growing, innovative companies in Kenya. In 2014, Crispin was recognized as a Contributor at the Skoll Foundation and participated in the Skoll World Forum. He was also highlighted on the YouTube channel of Eleos Foundation, a partner of Copia Global, as featured at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Crispin was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. He moved to the United States to attend university, where he earned his bachelor’s in Economics at Bowdoin College and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Crispin resides in Atlanta, though he travels frequently to Africa, New York, and the West Coast.

Raymond C. Offenheiser

Raymond C. Offenheiser leads the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) in its mission to promote human development and dignity among people worldwide by overseeing and developing its academic, research, and public policy activities, as well as its strategy for long-term growth. Offenheiser also identifies and cultivates critical, strategic partnerships between NDIGD and companies, federal agencies, foundations, and private philanthropists. Additionally, he represents NDIGD at local, national, and international events.

Offenheiser serves on the University of Notre Dame faculty as Distinguished Professor of the Practice and teaches graduate and undergraduate students in the Keough School of Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on the Foundations of Sustainable Development. Offenheiser also serves on the Keough School’s Leadership Council. His research interests and areas of expertise include poverty alleviation, human rights, United States foreign policy, and international development. He has been a frequent commentator with U.S. and international media on these and other subjects and is available to analyze, provide context, and commentary through Notre Dame’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

Prior to joining Notre Dame in August 2017, Offenheiser was the president of Oxfam America – a Boston-based international relief and development agency and the U.S. affiliate of Oxfam International – for over 20 years. Under his leadership, the agency grew more than eightfold and repositioned itself in the U.S. as an influential voice on international development, human rights and governance, humanitarianism, and foreign assistance.

Prior to joining Oxfam America, Offenheiser represented the Ford Foundation in Bangladesh and the Andean and Southern Cone regions of South America. He has directed programs for the Inter-American Foundation in Brazil and Colombia, and he has worked for the Save the Children Federation in Mexico. At the 2012 G20 Summit, he was appointed by the Obama administration to represent civil society interests on the leadership council of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa.

Offenheiser has also served as honorary president of Wetlands International; he was a co-founder of the following organizations: ONE Campaign, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, and the Food Policy Action Network. He has served on the advisory boards of the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, the World Agricultural Forum, the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard Business School, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame, and Cornell University.

A 1971 graduate of Notre Dame, Offenheiser also holds a master’s degree in development sociology from Cornell University.

Jim Torrey

James A. Torrey founded The Torrey Funds in 1990. After investing in hedge funds since 1977, he established an investment business to identify and sometimes seed several of the most promising and compelling hedge fund managers in the world. In 1992, he formed the first exclusively international fund-of-funds in the U.S. with the same strategy of identifying and investing with hedge fund managers focused and largely domiciled abroad. The firm was built to well over $1.25 billion in assets.

 

In 2009, The Torrey Funds was merged in to Cadogan Management, a $4 billion fund-of-funds firm with offices in New York, Tokyo and London. After the completion of the merger, Jim became a senior advisor to Cadogan. In addition to his position at Cadogan, Jim has served on the Board of Directors of MicroVest, a unique micro-lending enterprise based in Bethesda, MD, since 2005. He has become increasingly involved in its capital development and strategic planning.

 

He also served on the board of the Milano Graduate School of Public Policy at the New School in New York City for several years. In 2010, Jim was appointed by President Obama to the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the development agency of the U.S. Government. Mr. Torrey has three children and five grandchildren. He resides in Westport, CT.

Debra Wetherby

Deb is the President and CEO of Wetherby Asset Management, which she founded in 1990 to serve clients with objectivity, integrity and thoughtfulness. Passionate about both investing and serving clients, she is integrally involved in the firm’s investment process as well as working on investment and planning issues for some of the firm’s more complex clients. Previously, Deb worked at Morgan Stanley in Private Client Services and in the Audit and Management Consulting departments at Price Waterhouse.

Deb holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia. She is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive), a Chartered Financial Analyst and a CFP®. She has been honored over the years in numerous ways including Top 50 Women in Wealth Management, Top 50 Fee-Only RIA’s, and Top 50 Wealth Management RIAs. Deb loves to teach and has spoken and taught on topics ranging from graduate level finance courses to the collective power of women helping women.

Deb is committed to making a difference in the world and is active in several community organizations, including current or prior service with BRAC USA, the Marin Community Foundation, the Advisory Board for the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the Haas School at UC Berkeley, the National Endowment for Financial Education, and the UC San Francisco Foundation.

BRAC USA Advisory Council

Dr. Sajeda Amin

Dr. Amin is a Senior Associate for the Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program at the Population Council, where she has worked since 1995. She is interested in a range of issues related to gender, work, poverty, and family in the developing world. She has a strong interest in intervention research and has evaluated programs on microfinance, adolescent empowerment, financial literacy, incentives to change behaviors, prevention of child marriage, and prevention of gender-based violence. While most of her work takes place in Bangladesh, she has also conducted comparative studies on and written about Egypt, India, and Vietnam. Prior to coming to the Population Council, Amin was a research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies in Dhaka. She received a Ph.D. in demography and sociology from Princeton University in 1988.

Dr. Martha Chen

Dr. Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and International Coordinator of the global research-policy-action network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialization are employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh working with BRAC and in India, where she served as field representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh.

Marty received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous books including Bridging Perspectives: Labour, Informal Employment, and Poverty, The Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty, Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, and Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Dr. Chen was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011 and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012.

Lynn Freedman

Lynn P. Freedman is the director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program and of the Law and Policy Project, both in the Mailman School’s Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health. Before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1990, she worked as a practicing attorney in New York City. Professor Freedman has been a leading figure in the field of health and human rights, working extensively with women’s groups and human rights NGOs internationally. She has published widely on issues of health and human rights, with a particular focus on gender and women’s health. She is currently serving as a senior adviser to the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health and is the lead author of the Task Force’s Final Report “Who’s Got the Power: Transforming Health Systems for Women and Children.”

Catherine Muther

Catherine Muther built a business career in the Internet infrastructure industry, as senior marketing officer at Bridge Communications, 3Com and Cisco Systems, Inc. Cate is a social enterprise field builder as founder, funder, board member, impact investor, and professor. She was a Founding Partner and Chair of the Board of Acumen. She is the founder of Astia, a business accelerator with global reach for women technology entrepreneurs; and Springboard Enterprises, a resource hub for women entrepreneurs seeking early stage capital. She was on the original Advisory Board of the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

 

Ms. Muther is a Director of BRAC USA, Magnum Foundation and PolicyLink. She is on the Advisory Board of the Global Philanthropy Forum, and Emeritus Acumen Advisory Council. She has received numerous awards for business and philanthropic leadership. Ms. Muther was a guest faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College where she taught undergraduate Economics seminars on Global Poverty and Social Entrepreneurship. She also taught a graduate course in Frugal Innovation at ITP, Interactive Telecommunications Program, at New York University. Cate is a graduate of Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Cambridge University, and Sarah Lawrence College.

Santhosh Ramdoss

Santhosh Ramdoss is a strategy consultant for social change organizations.

From 2008 – 2012, he helped manage BRAC’s expansion of microfinance and micro-franchising initiatives in Uganda as a Senior Program Manager. Santhosh is also one of the co-founders of ThinkChange India, a popular online platform tracking the field of social entrepreneurship in India. In 2007, Santhosh co-founded Profits for People which won the NYU Stern Social Venture Competition and today has been spun off as an independent social business, manufacturing compostable plates in Southern India. Santhosh holds an MBA from one of the top business schools in India and an MPA from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he was also a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Asia21 Young Leaders Initiative, was a 2011 Dalai Lama Fellow, and received the NYU Wagner Alumni Torch Award in 2011.

Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is an Indian citizen. His research has ranged over a number of fields in economics, philosophy, and decision theory, including social choice theory, welfare economics, theory of measurement, development economics, public health, gender studies, moral and political philosophy, and the economics of peace and war.

Among the awards he has received are the “Bharat Ratna” (the highest honor awarded by the President of India); the Senator Giovanni Agnelli International Prize in Ethics; the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award; the Edinburgh Medal; the Brazilian Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Grã-Cruz); the Presidency of the Italian Republic Medal; the Eisenhower Medal; Honorary Companion of Honour (U.K.); The George C. Marshall Award, and the Nobel Prize in Economics. Amartya Sen’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and include Choice of Techniques (1960), Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), Choice, Welfare and Measurement (1982), Commodities and Capabilities (1987), The Standard of Living (1987), Development as Freedom (1999), Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006), and The Idea of Justice (2009).

Dr. Stephen Smith

Dr. Smith is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the George Washington University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University and has been a Fulbright Research Scholar and a Jean Monnet Research Fellow. He has done on-site research and program work in several countries including Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, India, Uganda, and the Former Yugoslavia, and has been a consultant for the World Bank, the International Labour Office (ILO, Geneva), and the World Institute for Development Economics Research (UN-WIDER, Helsinki). He also served as an organizer of the International Development Studies Program (IDS) and as its first director from 1992 to 1996. He is the author of Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works; co-author with Michael Todaro of Economic Development; and co-editor with Jennifer Brinkerhoff and Hildy Teegen of NGOs and the Millennium Development Goals: Citizen Action to Reduce Poverty.

Lynn Thoman

Lynn Thoman is Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.  Her primary focus is non-governmental organizations, international business, and education.  She is co-Chair of the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, and Managing Partner of Corporate Perspectives LLC, an investment firm.  She previously worked at American Express in international marketing, strategic planning, and finance.

 

Thoman is a member of the Board of Harvard Medical School and the Brookings Institution.  In addition, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, the Steering Committee of Women in Leadership at Princeton, the Dean’s Council at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Global Health Advisory Council, the Dean’s Council at the Kennedy School, and the Advisory Board of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton.  She is also a member of the ACCION Women’s Network and the New York Academy of Sciences.  She was formerly co-Chair of the Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

 

Thoman holds a BA from Princeton in economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  She has worked in over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and has lived in China.

Elaine Wolfensohn

For over forty years, Elaine Wolfensohn has been involved in the fields of education and arts education while raising her family. Her work in Australia and the United States has included teaching in private schools, creating teen tutoring programs in inner city schools, and training adult volunteers to tutor high school students. Mrs. Wolfensohn was educated at Wellesley College where she received her B.A. She went on to receive her M.A. in French Literature from Columbia and her M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Teachers College. Mrs. Wolfensohn’s commitment to education also extends into her community advisory work. For years, she chaired the Program Committee of the National Board of Young Audiences.

Currently, she is President of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic. In addition, she serves on the board of the Davidson Graduate School of Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Math for America, as well as the advisory committees of the Park City Mathematics Oversight Board at the Institute of Advanced Study, and Teachers College at Columbia University. During her husband’s presidency of the World Bank, Mrs. Wolfensohn worked closely with the Bank on issues of education, early child development, and gender equity.