top of page

Speaker Biographies

Day 3: May 18, 2023

Future Proof Skills: Developing Resiliency and Adaptability in a Time of Technological and Environmental Disruption 

Nancy Chervin  

Nancy Chervin is an international youth and workforce advisor specializing in educational systems building, work readiness and work-based learning. She focuses on preparing youth for quickly changing workplaces marked by digitization through skills development and connecting educational institutions with employers. Her educational leadership expertise is in instructor professional development, systems building, e-learning and instructional coaching. Instructional design experience includes employability skills and learner-centered teaching approaches such as project-based learning. Her work spans both non-formal and formal educational systems (secondary, TVET, higher ed), and includes EDC’s flagship Work Ready Now program, the new Future Proof Skills program, and the MekongSkills2Work network. 

Her program design and implementation experience spans over 20 countries including Ethiopia, Guyana, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Senegal. She holds a MA in international education from George Washington University and a BA in international development from McGill University. 

Dannie Dinh  

Dannie Dinh is a Program Manager at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of Columbia University’s Climate School, with a focus on capacity building and curriculum development to support climate adaptation and reduce vulnerability to climate risks and impacts. Amongst current projects, Dannie is helping build local capacity to develop and manage a youth climate & environmental leadership program in the Lower Mekong Delta region. Previously, Dannie has conducted research and managed activities across projects to improve water, food and energy security through access to knowledge, technologies, and decision-making tools to strengthen climate resilience. Dannie has a background in community organizing, communications, climate/environmental science and policy. She continues to work with local organizations, scientists, and artists to help catalyze art-science collaborations in New York City. 

Hanh Huynh  

Hanh Hunh is a sustainability consultant in Vietnam with many years of experience in community and environment projects. She’s currently the Green Coach for youth of YSEALI - Mekong project from EDC. Before joining EDC she was the Design Thinking Coach and Project Coordinator for Schoolab, an innovation studio based in Ho Chi Minh. Her work involving training students on their research and project management skills as well as teaching them how to apply design thinking approach to creating innovation for sustainability. She is also an Associate for Water Stewardship Asia Pacific and is actively working towards raising awareness on water security issues in Vietnam. She loves camping and other outdoor activities such as hiking and diving. 


Korto M Genegbanyan 

Ms. Korto M. Genegbanyan is a dedicated and innovative young professional with over two years of experience in business and administrative support. She has provided invaluable assistance to senior management teams in training, coaching, and human resource management. Her expertise includes preparing training and administrative reports, coordinating field logistics, managing petty cash, and overseeing procurement activities. With a strong commitment to integrity, teamwork, and respect for diversity, she is passionate about working collaboratively to increase productivity and help organizations thrive. Her ultimate vision is to connect her marketing and HR assistant strengths with other professionals to achieve maximum productivity and help organizations reach their full potential. 

Ms. Genegbanyan has previously worked as a Human Resource Assistant for Ministry of Youth & Sport (MOYS) National Cadet Program as well as a Youth Trainer/Coach Volunteer for Youth Against Substance Abuse (YASA). She also worked as an Executive Marketing Officer Intern for Capital Express Insurance.  

Breakout Session Social Entrepreneurship: Skills and Models 


Aaron Ausland  

Aaron Ausland is the Senior Technical Advisor for Positive Youth Development at World Vision and creator of their signature PYD model Youth Ready, which has empowered over 200,000 youth across the globe to become agents of change.  

His 25-year career in global development began with an opportunity to leverage his undergraduate research to launch a MFI serving women in rural Bolivia. He has since worked for a world beyond poverty in over 50 countries across a range of roles, including Latin America director for small enterprise development, associate director of global operations audit, director of independent research and evaluation, CSR consultant for a global mining company, and associate professor for a Master program in international community development. He has served on the Global Council of the Center for Inquiry Discovery and Development at SUNY Geneseo, as President of Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, and founding editor of "The Global Citizen."  


Marc Blumenthal  

Marc Blumenthal is the Executive Director of the Foundation. His first startup as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, was the American Book Club. Upon graduation he started the Learning Guild, which engaged over 2 million students and faculty throughout the United States in experiential innovative educational programs. He then represented the MIT Plasma Fusion Lab on the proposed placement of a Tokamak test reactor and later co-founded a Medical Device Company with the Ex-Team Physician of the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox; and a Satellite Communications Company with the Chief Communication Scientist for the Voyager II satellite. In 2000, he began pioneering a new poverty reduction paradigm focused on micro franchising and presented his model at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge and in New Delhi, India. In 2017, Marc started the Social Ventures Foundation with a mission to engage youth in the development of social venture solutions to poverty reduction and SDG challenges.  


Dr. Barbra Freeman

Dr. Barbara Freeman is a senior consultant to the World Bank. She is the co-creator of the Social Innovators’ Framework for Evoke. Barbara is the founder and CEO of the non-profit Savings Collaborative, with a mission to make it easy for people left outside mainstream banking to save money and build wealth. She was a visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and a visiting professor at the University of Sao Paulo. 

Supply, Matching, and Preparing for 2030: Promise and Pitfalls of Skills Training Programs 


Jared Perlo

Jared Perlo is a Policy Associate at J-PAL Global where he currently works on the Labor Markets sector and the Jobs and Opportunity Initiative. He also serves as liaison to J-PAL’s Southeast Asia office, based at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. Before joining J-PAL in 2022, Jared worked on COVID vaccination efforts in Boston, researched HIV/AIDS in India, and served on the Community, Rights, and Gender team at The Global Fund.


Jared received his Masters of Economics from the Barcelona School of Economics, his MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge, and his AB in History and Science from Harvard University. Jared speaks French, Spanish, and Bahasa Indonesia. 


Natalie Valent

Natalie Valent is a Senior Policy Associate at J-PAL Global, where she works on the Labor Markets sector. In this role, she manages the Jobs and Opportunity Initiative, writes policy publications, and promotes evidence-informed policymaking.


Prior to joining J-PAL, Natalie worked as a researcher at an environmental nonprofit where she worked on climate finance initiatives. Natalie has also worked as a graduate-level teaching and research assistant in economics and public policy, studied in Spain, and has conducted research with Innovations for Poverty Action Myanmar on female empowerment, economic opportunity, and energy access.


Natalie holds a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where she graduated with a distinguished Master’s Project and the program’s Citizenship Award. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and international studies and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon.


Young People With Disabilities Are Ready To Work! ... Tackling the Challenges and Building on What Works to Increase Employment of Youth with Disabilities 

Evie Woro Yulianti  

Evie has more than 25 years of experiences in local and international NGOs focusing on a variety of thematic areas including community mobilization, financial literacy, child rights governance, digital literacy, child protection, and inclusive youth employment. She currently works at Save the Children as the program manager for the Accenture-funded Skills to Succeed (S2S) program which aims to support youth who experience the most inequality to build the skills, opportunities and networks they need to successfully pursue new economic opportunities and contribute to the development of a just, sustainable and resource-efficient society. The program is implemented in West and East Java provinces in Indonesia. She has been a strong leader on shifting the focus to employability for youth with disabilities, working with local partners and the local government to make lasting change in communities, families, schools and workplaces.

Tania Tzelnic  

Tania Tzelnic is an expert in youth and workforce development. Drawing on her strong background in project design, project management, and user-experience/design thinking, she leads and advances initiatives to prepare youth for the rapidly changing digital economy. She specializes in linking private sector to youth programs through local labor market assessments, innovation and entrepreneurship challenges, and work-based learning. Tzelnic is an advocate for disability inclusion across youth workforce development programs. Tzelnic led the USAID funded Umurimo Kuri Bose project in Rwanda, and provided technical assistance to the Mastercard Funded Building Resilience through e-Learning (BRITE) project, both in Rwanda. She also led the Bank of America funded Virtual First Jobs mentorship program in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philppines. In 2017, she led President Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leader’s Initiative World of Food Innovation Challenge ( that invited youth across 10 countries in ASEAN to propose and develop solutions to address local challenges in aquaculture and agriculture.  

Leah Maxson  

Leah Maxson is a Senior Inclusive Education Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She has over a decade of experience supporting inclusive education programs in various low and middle income countries to deliver high quality, equitable, inclusive education to learners with disabilities. Her work includes supporting USAID youth workforce development activities to be more inclusive of youth with disabilities. She was the USAID activity manager of the recently published evidence and good practices paper on Approaches to Increasing Employment and Quality of Employment Among Youth with Disabilities. Prior to joining USAID, Leah worked for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where she advised on international programs through partnerships with Gallaudet and institutions of higher education in countries around the world. Leah is an experienced classroom teacher in the United States and abroad and has degrees in International Development with a focus on international disability rights (Master’s) and Deaf Education for K-12 learners (Bachelor’s).


Dorodi Sharma 

Dorodi Sharma is Senior Advisor – Advocacy & Engagement at the International Disability Alliance (IDA), where she supports IDA’s advocacy initiatives particularly on new and emerging issues. In the past she also led IDA’s projects on inclusive education and inclusive employment, actively operationalizing innovative ways for meaningful participation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in development programming. Dorodi has 14 years of experience working with national and international OPDs, with and within the UN on disability inclusion. She holds a masters degree in communication and journalism, and another masters in public policy. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Assamese; understands and speaks Bengali, and has basic proficiency in French. She hails from the north-eastern part of India and has lived in Delhi for over a decade. 


Youth Matters: Make an Informed Career Decision Today for a Decent Job Tomorrow 

Nadire Selimi  

Nadire is the Regional Knowledge Management and Learning Manager within the Eastern and Southeastern Europe Unit of Helvetas. She has experience as a parliamentary advisor at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and as a researcher on many internationally financed projects before joining development cooperation. She earned her Master of Science in Public Policy at University College London, UK, as a recipient of the Chevening Scholarship. She is well-positioned to lead this session because she is a young development practitioner (age 30) who has been with Helvetas for approximately 5 years and is extremely familiar with the issue that will be discussed. Nadire is enthusiastic about knowledge sharing and enjoys facilitating. Nadire's strategic questions and reflections are evidence-based, thanks to her former role as a strategic, monitoring and results measurement specialist. 

Françeska Muço  

Françeska Muço is a young Albanian civil society activist who has been very active and passionate about civil rights and citizens engagement in democratic processes and has designed and implemented several projects and advocacy campaigns related to youth and women empowerment, education, human rights and peace building. She is part of consultants’ groups for designing several youth initiatives, action plans and law proposals that have enabled her to be a youth representative in several advisory boards. From 2018 till 2020 she was youth representative at “UN Women Albania Civil Society Advisory Group”. Currently, she holds the position of Secretary General of the Young Professionals Network of Albania, is part of the Governing Board of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), and part of the UN Youth Advisory Board. She is well positioned to lead this session because has first-hand experience on the Albanian case and is a promising activist in bring positive change in the society. 

Aagya Shrestha 

Aagya Shrestha, a feminist and avid learner, is one of the Youth Sounding Board (YSB) members and works as a Program Coordinator at Ujyalo Foundation, where she is particularly looking after a leadership program for adolescent girls in non-urban areas. She is a researcher and interested in empowering young women and girls through skills development and vocational trainings. She had profound experience in organizing trainings and writing research papers. She is interested to work in the field of GESI and governance and aspires to become a policy researcher. Simultaneously, her long-term plan is to get into politics. As a YSB member and development worker, she strives to learn, network, and give back to the community in any way she can. She believes diligence and dedication can bring desired outcomes. Aagya brings the perspective of a young woman whose life was positively changed thanks to the Helvetas implemented project in Nepal. 

Aagya Pokharel 

Aagya, Pokharel, facilitator, a youth activist in Nepal and Middle East and has recently joint Helvetas as a youth engagement focal point for the Nepal’s country program.  

Mihajlo Donev  

Mihajlo Donev is the Operations Director for Development, Innovation and Knowledge in the biggest chamber of commerce in North Macedonia which is a key partner of Helvetas North Macedonia. He brings the perspective of the private sector. 


Research-to-Change: Local Youth Implementers Powering Inclusive Workforce Development with Data 


Graciela Coy 

President and Legal Representative, Ak’Tenamit Association 

Karen Carvajalino

Karen is an awarded Colombian entrepreneur, author, speaker, and investor. She strives to transform Latin America and the Caribbean with productive education. She is the co-founder of The Biz Nation, a learning platform and social enterprise focusing on empowering its users with skills related to digital marketing, entrepreneurship and technology. Their social  business model has been able to sustainably impact over 25.000 young women and entrepreneurs from vulnerable populations affected by the armed conflict in Colombia.  

The Biz Nation was awarded in 2019 as the best youth social enterprise by 14 Nobel Laureates and was recognized at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit by President Obama in 2017.  

Karen was nominated to the White House Champions of Change Award, was declared national cultural patrimony by the Colombian government, and included in the list of the 2020 most influential youth in Latin America. She is also a columnist for Forbes. 

Brian Batayeh

Brian Batayeh, session moderator, is a technical advisor for implementation research for the Youth Excel program. He brings deep experience in applied research and has used implementation research frameworks to strengthen service delivery approaches across a variety of settings and topics. In his current role, he leads initiatives to strengthen evaluation and research capacities of youth-led and youth-serving organizations and also led the development of the Research-to-Change Toolkit. 

The Leaky Pipeline – Alternative Pathways for Youth in the Digital Economy

Jess Mull  

Jess Mull joined IESC in 2022 as a Senior Associate, Workforce, Entrepreneurship and Youth. Prior to joining IESC, she worked as the Interim Executive Assistant to the CEO and served as a Senior Program Associate at World Learning on the Department of State, International Visitor Leadership Program. Jess has experience as an educator in California and Vermont and completed an internship as a Street Outreach and Social Work professional in Quito, Ecuador. Jess holds an MA in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a B.S. in Psychology from Dominican University of California. 

Vindya Silva  

Since joining YouLead in 2018, Vindya has consistently demonstrated a positive attitude and strong problem-solving skills. Her creativity and work ethic has helped secure new partnerships and expanding YouLead’s existing partnerships. She has led the expansion of the Future Careers BRIDGE Program. Additionally, through Vindya’s leadership, YouLead was able to secure a competitive $1.3 million grant from the Yum! Foundation to build commercial kitchens in vocational training centers country wide. Vindya also secured a partnership with the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka to train and certify electricians across nine districts. Vindya and her team also worked closely with YouLead’s Entrepreneurship team to realize the Startup 2021 reality TV show featuring 30 young entrepreneurs challenging conventions in Sri Lanka. Vindya’s dedication, creativity, and efficiency have been recognized by partners and USAID Sri Lanka. 

Mansurjon Rasulev 

Mansurjon was born and grew up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. As a high school student Mansurjon started volunteering to promote MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), HIV/AIDS prevention while simultaneously running a students’ magazine as an editor-in-chief. Upon graduating from Westminster International University in Uzbekistan Mansurjon started his career as an Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Trade. As a Deputy Head of Strategic Development Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, he initiated and coordinated sector reform plan development. This resulted in Strategy for the Development of Agriculture of Uzbekistan for 2020-2030 being adopted by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. A ten-year reform plan outlined key reforms aimed to end systematic forced labor use, promote investments in the sector and facilitate the uptake of sustainable agriculture methods. As a GESI Manager Mansurjon coordinates implementation of major project activities aimed to promote greater opportunities for rural women and youth across Uzbekistan. 


Caroline Bailey 

Caroline is the Associate Director, Gender and Youth at ACDI/VOCA and supports technical efforts for projects and new business development focused on gender and social inclusion. She also serves as a subject matter expert on youth development and cooperatives. Since joining ACDI/VOCA in 2016, Caroline has served in several roles, including project coordinator and senior project coordinator supporting Liberia and Bangladesh portfolios, as well as the global Cooperative Development Program. Prior to joining ACDI/VOCA in 2016, Caroline managed projects in East and Southern Africa for NCBA CLUSA and was the lead for their youth development technical initiatives. She holds a BA in political science and international studies from West Virginia University and an MA in international development studies from George Washington University. 


Agroecology at Work 


Evans Otieno

Evans Otieno is a youth development specialist with experience working with youth and diverse stakeholders to build sustainable youth economic opportunities and an inclusive policy environment advancing youth socio-economic and political development. 

Evans was a member of the youth team that co-designed and facilitated the youth leadership toolkit from his hands-on experience as a youth leader. He has led successful community actions increasing the inclusion of community voices and priorities in government decision making, planning, budgeting, and monitoring. 

Evans serves as a Project Officer in VSO Kenya where his work involves building the assets, capacities, and agency of youth to influence inclusive decision making, build resilient systems to better address their socio-economic challenges, and engage in youth-led actions in green economy, agroecology, and climate change. He is also a social inclusion and gender training facilitator and works to enhance accountability of duty bearers for accessible and responsive youth services. 

Angel Mutale

Angel Mutale is a Zambian-born youth leader with over 6 years of youth leadership experience. He has organized youth-led community interventions aimed at promoting climate change resilience and antipollution sensitization, notably the Go Clean Go Green campaign. Most recently, Angel has facilitated youth-led advocacy towards inclusion of marginalized youth with disabilities in decision-making and economic participation through the creation of youth employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. As an ardent youth leader, Angel has thrived as a public speaker and a session facilitator with strong mobilization and engagement skills that reach youth and communities effectively. His work is rooted in his passion for sustainable international development that leaves no one behind. Angel holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a certificate in Project Management for Development Professionals, and Inclusive Political leadership and Civic Leadership Engagement. He is currently a VSO Youth Champion in Zambia. 

Sosina Meheretu

Sosina Meheretu serves as the Global Youth Engagement Manger for VSO International, a development organization that has designed, implemented and evaluated large scale, multi-country youth-focused programs. She oversees VSO's youth engagement strategy, partnerships, and learning and development across 18+ countries in Africa & Asia.  

Her technical contribution includes effective integration of youth engagement in programming and policy initiatives; and strengthening youth networks and platforms to create an enabling environment for youth leadership.  

Based on emerging evidence and knowledge, she has led the design of different toolkits supporting youth empowerment and youth-led actions. Sosina will present her work in youth leadership, specifically advocacy and monitoring of the SDGs, peace building and community development, insight gathering and research, etc.  

She presented and supported youth to present different abstracts in global conferences including in International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit (GYEOS), Women Deliver, etc.  

The Future of the Workplace Through Work-Based Learning Programs 


Juan Manuel Aquino, President of CACIF Jr. 

Attorney at law and notary public, graduated from Rafael Landivar University. Focused on corporate law, management and operation of collegiate entities, civil litigation, criminal, labor, and constitutional matters, from the perspective of respect and promotion of human rights. Has experience in data management and decision based on statistical data indicators; as well as leadership of multidisciplinary teams. He also has Master's studies in Constitutional Law. Has been advisor in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare; founder of the law firm Aquino Matus, S.A., and specialist in Data of the Justice System for Latin America. He is also a university professor. Throughout his career in business chambers, he has been an advisor to the Board of Directors of the Business Chamber of Commerce and Services (Cecoms) and is currently the secretary of the Board of Directors. He has been a representative of Cecoms in CACIF Joven since 2019 and is the president of the Publications Committee. He has also participated in the CACIF Electoral Observation Program. 


Javier Lau, Youth Perspective OAS  

 Javier is 24 years old, working at an International Organization based in Washington, D.C., with experience in Protocol, International Relations, and Political Analysis. Worked in CACIF as an intern developing projects to help youth employment which helped him polish hard and soft skills. Having lived in D.C. for over a year, he’s been through multiple challenges, both personal and professional, which furthers his desire to help younger professionals. 


Rachel Meredith 

Dr. Rachel Meredith has over 15 years of experience across industries developing talent strategies and leading large-scale implementations and enhancements. She currently serves as the Senior Program Manager for Nestlé needs YOU, leading Nestlé’s national social impact effort focused on empowering and preparing the next generation to thrive and make their impact. In this role, she works with strategic non-profit partners to increase employability, entrepreneurship, and agripreneurship among students and early careerists. Prior to Nestlé, Rachel worked at Deloitte delivering human capital solutions to both external and internal clients in the areas of people analytics, onboarding, HR operations, and organization design. She is passionate about leveraging experimentation and research to not only help people bring their best selves to work but also help organizations flourish. Rachel received her Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Illinois Institute of Technology. 


Emma Shuttleworth 

With over 20 years’ experience within the Resourcing, Talent and Recruitment Industry Emma is a well-rounded HR professional who has designed and implemented many innovative and successful resourcing strategies.  She spent ten years in the Fashion industry before joining the world of cosmetics 11 years ago when she joined the L’Oréal Group.  First, for The Body shop Heading up Recruitment and Talent across the EMEA region.   Later, crossing over to the wider L’Oreal Group she led Recruitment and Talent in the Middle East and Africa based in Dubai.  From there moved to Paris for 4 years to transform Recruitment in the HQ and now she is Group VP for Talent Acquistion for the USA. 


Ignacio Lopez

Ignacio Lopez studied International Relations in Guatemala and has worked with the educational sector as a tutor for vulnerable groups throughout the country. He has participated with the Mesoamerican Business Council -CEM- during the Guatemalan presidency in 2020 where he worked closely with different organized private sectors in the region. He also was the Global Apprenticeship Network -GAN- Guatemala’s coordinator, seeking to promote work-based learning to reduce the skills mismatch. As Projection Director of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Organizations of Guatemala, he coordinates and develops special projects including GAN, entrepreneurship,  and social development. He believes in creating cooperation strategies that promote accessible and equal education opportunities for the development of a competitive future regarding decent work and economic growth. This year he was also selected as the youth champion to lead the private sector leadership workgroup, and participated in the past GYEO summit 2022. 


Youth Responsive Programming in Sensitive Contexts: Examples from Ukraine, Serbia, and Jamaica 

Dwayne Gutzmer 

Vibrant, proficient, innovative, and self-motivated are just a few ways to describe this ambitious Son of the Red Hills Community, picturesquely located on the northern skirts of the parish of St. Andrew in Jamaica. His passion and commitment to the development of sound community partnerships and youth advancement has thrust him to numerous leadership positions ranging from President of Junior Chamber International, Jamaica to Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme. Dwayne’s early introduction to the ‘work world’ quickly gave him an appreciation for the importance of preparation, diligent work and focus which led to his current position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), at the Institute of Law & Economics (ILE) with direct responsibilities for the Business Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme (BEEP) & the DIA Urban Lab for Youth Innovation Project. A lifelong learner, Dwayne is guided by the mantra “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. 

Inna Lubynets 

Inna is a youth entrepreneurship and business development professional with over ten years of experience developing Ukrainian entrepreneurial ecosystem. She has a background in project management, education and linguistics. At Making Cents, Inna serves as Team Lead and in this role, she provides capacity building and technical support to the UNITY project team and local partners in youth entrepreneurship development, youth self-employment, business coaching, and linkages to business development services. 


Aleksa Savić   

Aleksa Savić is the Executive Director of Grupa Izadji (Group Come Out). For the past decade, he has been supporting young people in Serbia as youth volunteer coordinator, leader of intercultural youth exchanges, trainer in non-formal education, peer educator in the field of cyber bullying prevention, and advocate for active participation of youth in peacebuilding efforts in the Balkans. He also sits on the Steering Board of the South East European Youth Network.  


Aleksa joined Group Come Out in January 2019 as Community Work Program Coordinator, managing the work of the only LGBT Community Youth Center in Serbia. He assumed the position of the Group's Executive Director in 2021. As Chief of Party for USAID's Let's Work Together Activity on which the Group Come Out partners with Making Cents International, Aleksa has led the design and implementation of interventions promoting economic empowerment of LGBTQI+ youth in Serbia, focusing on skills development, entrepreneurship, and private sector engagement. 

Tackling Unemployment in Ethiopia: Examining Capacity Building Approaches by Exploring how Research Informs Design and Implementation 


Elizabeth Salazar  

Elizabeth joined the International Youth Foundation (IYF) in 2021. As Senior Technical Advisor for Economic Opportunities, she provides technical leadership for IYF’s strategic objectives and support to projects and business development in the areas of economic growth, livelihoods, workforce development, women’s economic empowerment, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurship. Elizabeth has over 15 years of experience supporting and managing international development programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the areas of economic growth and livelihoods, food security and agriculture, and gender equity and women’s empowerment. Beyond technical assistance and management, her experience encompasses qualitative research, including leading gendered value chain analyses, gender analyses, and assessments. Prior to joining IYF, she was a Technical Specialist focused on supporting economic opportunity, cooperative business development, and resilience programming. She holds a MA in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service and a BA in Human Rights and Social Justice from Drew University. 


Ronnie Murungu  

Ronnie is the International Youth Foundation’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East. With more than two decades of experience in international development and humanitarian leadership, spread over 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East, Ronnie brings substantial multi-sectoral social development experience as a leader at the international level. Prior to joining IYF, Ronnie worked with WaterAid, ActionAid, Progressio, American Refugee Committee, and Caritas. Contributing to the empowerment and realization of rights of young people has been for Ronnie a key driver all through his professional career and an important determinant of the type of organizations he chooses to work with. A researcher and publisher on various development themes, Ronnie holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from Chinhoyi University of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Africa University Zimbabwe.  

Private Sector Engagement and Youth Resilience – The How To’s of Meaningful and Impactful Partnership 


Morgan Mercer 

Morgan is a Senior Director of Gender, Youth, and Social Inclusion at ACDI/VOCA. In this role, she provides technical guidance to agricultural market systems projects on gender, youth, and social inclusion (GYSI), develops technical strategies and tools, and builds the capacity of partners and individuals in gender and youth. Morgan specifically helps projects to engage in inclusive co-creation work with private sector partners, develop and test inclusion-focused business models, and document and disseminate inclusive business cases. Morgan also leads GYSI-focused research and learning in agriculture and market systems development. For the Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment (AWE) activity she led research under on women and youth’s inclusion in agricultural MSD and on gender integration in USAID’s research investments. Morgan has received three ACDI/VOCA Presidential Awards for her GYSI work on market systems development projects and for her outstanding leadership in developing youth as a strategic technical and new business growth area. 


Mary Kate Cartmill  

Mary Kate Cartmill is a nutrition, food system and research specialist with experience working in food and nutrition security both in domestic and international settings. She currently serves as a Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellow with Tanager International providing research and technical assistance to African agriculture institutions working to mainstream gender and nutrition into their ways of doing business. Mary Kate also worked with the Global Research on Inclusion and Disability (GRID) team at Washington University in St. Louis studying inclusive education in Afghanistan and Pakistan using a community-based system dynamics approach. Through this work, she gained first-hand experience applying system dynamics thinking and methodology to center youth inclusion in the formative research stage of program and policy development. Mary Kate also has experience applying participatory approaches at the nexus of maternal and child nutrition and sustainable food systems through the E3 Nutrition Lab at Washington University in St. Louis.  

Angela Suarez Alvarez 

Angela Suárez Alvarez is the Acting Chief of Party for the USAID/Colombia Youth Resilience Activity. Angela has over 20 years of experience in the design, implementation and management of development programs focused on marginalized and vulnerable groups. She also has experience designing and implementing shared value partnerships with the Government of Colombia and the private sector in Colombia. Prior to her work with ACDI/VOCA Colombia, Angela worked at USAID/Colombia, supporting the design and oversight of programs aimed at peace, reconciliation, and inclusion. 


Carlos Barragán

Carlos is the Public Affairs Director for Nestlé  in Colombia, where he helps Nestlé devlier on its SDG and ESG goals. Carols helps broker public-private partnerships and partners with international organizations that are based on shared value and sustainability. Carlos is passionate about his work in complex and challenging environmnets, collaborating with various stakeholders across sectors, and solving real world social and environmnetal problems in ways that build local capacity and promote sustinability. Carlos is also a professor teaching sustainability and the global business environment in the Master's program of Universidad del Rosario's Business School. 

How Alternative Pathways to Employment can Catalyze SDG 8 and Untap the Potential of Out-of-School Youth in Africa 


Alex Kelly 

Alex is an international development practitioner who has almost ten years of experience implementing programmatic work and overseeing growth-oriented strategy. His unique value-add is being able to guide a program in short-term implementation excellence, while simultaneously setting it up to reach concrete improvement milestones that allow for healthy growth. Alex has always been impressed with the resiliency and potential of youth — and knows that with a little support they can do incredible things. 


Before joining Educate!, Alex lived in western Kenya for six years, where he worked for One Acre Fund (OAF) to help provide sustained food security and pathways to prosperity for smallholder farmers, eventually reaching over 450,000 farmers throughout Kenya. Prior to OAF, Alex worked in field-based roles at development NGOs in Nepal and El Salvador. He is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Costa Rica, focusing on children, youth, and family programming. 


Solomon Mugambe 

Soloman Mugambe is a changemaker and African Visionary. He believes that every person has the innate ability to create the change they want to see and make the world a better place.  As a social worker and youth mentor, SOlomane Co-Founded Wezesha Impact, a social enterprise enabling youth to engage in productive employment. Solemn has over 10 years of experience working with both local and international agencies, including Educate!, USAID/Feed the Future, and as a Ugandan Youth Advisor Through the US mission in Uganda. 


Natasha Hornsby 

Natasha is a strategic communications specialist and journalist with over 15 years experience. Her passion is using storytelling as a means to achieve social impact and equality. Prior to joining Educate!, she was an adviser to conflict prevention foundation International Crisis Group, with a focus on peacebuilding in Latin America and the Caribbean, new forms of armed violence and women’s activism. She also spent four years as a campaigns and advocacy officer for the UK’s Commission for Racial Equality, transforming businesses and public sector organisations by mainstreaming diversity.  

She has held senior management roles and developed brand identity and content creation within the HELLO! / HOLA! global media group in Madrid. Raised in Zambia, Nigeria and the UK, she takes a keen interest in the history and culture of the African diaspora. This led her to create the @1000blackwomen Instagram project, a series of interviews featuring women speaking from the heart about their lives and natural afro hair.  

Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts: Working Together for Youth Mental Health 


Margaryta Oksanichenko  

Margaryta Oksanichenko is a Workforce Development Manager for the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) in Ukraine. Educated in Psychology, she is trained in psychological first aid and psychological trauma treatment approaches, and has experience in providing psychological support services, including for youth affected by the war in Ukraine since 2014. She also supports positive youth development training for teachers and youth entrepreneurship development activities. Since the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Margaryta, along with the ERA team, has been leading activities aimed at mental health recovery support for students and teachers of Ukrainian higher educational institutions and TVETs. 


Celina de Sola  

Celina de Sola is Co-founder and President of Glasswing, an organization that addresses the root causes and consequences of poverty and violence in 12 countries, through education, community health, and youth empowerment. Celina has 25 years of experience in international development and social impact and has masters’ degrees in social work and public health from the UPenn and Harvard. Prior to Glasswing, Celina was a consultant for the Population Council on gender programs; an interventionist for Latino immigrants in the US; and has led humanitarian responses in countries like Liberia, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Indonesia (after the tsunami). Celina is a Fellow of the Obama Foundation, Skoll, Ashoka, and The Audacious Project (TED Talk); as well as a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur and a Tällberg Global Leader. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the InterAmerican Foundation, and on the Board of several organizations.  


Dr. Adam Brown 

Dr. Adam Brown is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Vice Provost for Research, and the Head of the Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab at The New School for Social Research in New York City. He has extensive experience developing programs to promote mental health awareness, providing trainings, technical guidance, and support in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of scalable, evidence-based, culturally responsive mental health strategies that can be delivered in a wide range of contexts by non-specialists. Dr. Brown is also a co-founder and member of the Human Rights Resilience Project, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners carrying out research and creating tools to improve resilience and well-being in the human rights community. 

Sanele Sibiya 

Sanele Sibiya is the Executive Director at The Rock of Hope, an LGBTQI advocacy organization and grantee of USAID’s Youth Excel program in Manzini, Eswatini. The Rock of Hope provides psychosocial support for LGBTQI youth in Eswatini through online and in-person peer to peer counseling and life skills education. Sanele is passionate about economic policy and social research and uses gender to highlight the effectiveness of policies and the results of social transformation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics as well as a master’s degree in Gender and Economic Analysis and is currently pursuing a PhD in Economics at the University of Eswatini. 

Kateryna Vorobey  

Kateryna Vorobey is a Project and Research Assistant at Making Cents International. Kateryna supports young Ukrainian entrepreneurs and helps Ukrainian organizations integrate trauma-informed approaches into their youth programming under USAID’s Ukraine National Identity Through Youth (UNITY) Activity. Kateryna also played a pivotal role in the implementation and dissemination of the UNITY Youth-Led Secondary Education Needs Assessment, which explored the impact of the full-scale Russian invasion on Ukraine’s secondary education system.  

bottom of page