Meet Our Scouts


Reese Hodges

Winter, 2015


Reese’s leadership experience as an outdoor professional and educator, both abroad and in the US, have given him a diverse skillet to bring to village capital. The skills gained as a whitewater rafting guide and field studies assistant instructor are complemented by his skillset gained in pursuing an MBA/MA in International Environmental Policy. Reese is proficient in Spanish language speaking and writing, and has worked with several organizations in Latin America. As a professional guide, Reese has excellent communication, management, and problem-solving skills, enabling him to play a vital role in business developments and strategy.


Laura Benoit

Winter, 2015 


Laura is interested in strengthening rural communities in Latin America through the creation of economic opportunities and social enterprises. Laura has experience in business strategy and program design for an artisan development organization transitioning from being a nonprofit to a social enterprise in Guatemala. Additionally, she has worked with a nonprofit in Peru constructing research tools, conducting field research, and analyzing data to make recommendations to the local government.

Laura has also consulted on projects related to: social media, fund diversification, marketing, network analysis, as well as monitoring and evaluation.  Her experience working with international organizations to create sustainable and culturally relevant programs has prepared her to be innovative and flexible with strong problem solving and communication skills. Laura truly believes that development work is most sustainable and valuable to the local community when it is paired with the creation and strengthening of the local community and economy.


Caryn McKinney

Winter, 2015


Caryn’s experience in the energy sector has given her a valuable interest and background. She has strong competencies in financial analysis and modeling, supply chain and operations management, which give her an opportunity to make valuable contributions to any company’s financial advisory and energy/operations management efforts.  Her research experience has also given her strong project management, problem-solving, and analytical skills, which enable her to play a vital role in business /strategy.  Her recent education at the Monterey Institute in International Business Administration and International Environmental Policy includes many activities in line with her interests in energy consulting and management. These skills and interests can be valuable to any growing or changing business


Jeanette Pelizzon

Winter, 2015


Jeanette’s experience in a variety of different fields ranging from public relations to development program management has given her a diverse skill set to bring to any organization. She has proven strengths in using social media mediums to achieve marketing and fundraising goals, as well as event planning and team leadership experience. These proficiencies allow her to be an asset to any organization’s communication and outreach efforts. Recent experience working with rural artisans in Rwanda allowed Jeanette to gain valuable strategic planning expertise, as well as giving her the opportunity to build off previous production management competencies in an international environment. Jeanette sees herself excelling in any role that allows her to build upon her existing strengths in communications and management, while gaining new skills in the realm of social enterprise.


Tiffany Vlaanderen

Winter, 2015


Tiffany is a Dutch and Indonesian Angeleno who graduated from the University of Southern California. She is a thoughtful problem solver with a diverse skillset to serve strategy or advising roles for a social enterprise.

Her experience in international development spans three continents with a focus on poverty reduction programs, grassroots community engagement and non-profit and for-profit social enterprise management. Recently she worked on business and program strategy development for Kiva Zip Kenya in Nairobi, a platform that links Kenyan small businesses directly to crowd-funded capital via mobile payment platform, M-Pesa and the Internet. Her ability to synthesize complex issues, have foresight and communicate solutions enabled her to develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that serve Kenyan entrepreneurs in various high-impact sectors.

Most recently she worked as the Growth Manager for the Silk Road Bazaar, a fair trade wholesale representative of marginalized artist groups located in Kyrgyzstan. She has an interest in the intersection of creativity and creating economic opportunities for underserved communities, more specifically in understanding how to link small-scale artisans to capital and markets for their products.

She is eager to grow a career in strategy and advising for impact investing and social enterprise management.


Zsoka Ardai

Winter, 2015


Zsoka is a recent graduate with a field of Environmental Engineering and Environmental Studies focusing on Sustainability, Urban Development and Renewables. She has been active in international programs which enabled to sharpen her communication, problem-solving and professional skills. She has experience in Environmental Management at a multi-company, Sales and Business Strategy at a small enterprise and her recent research focuses on Urban Metabolism Mapping. She is dedicated to life-long learning and her professional goal is to achieve balance between humanity and nature in such a way that it will contribute to a paradigm shift. She believes in the power of love, the importance of collaboration and the joy of life.


Thomas M. Bunn

Winter, 2015


Tom has had experience in investment banking in Colorado and Boston and, recently, in teaching History on a remote island in The Bahamas. In trying to combine the business-oriented side of banking with the community-oriented side of teaching in a developing country, Tom was drawn to Frontier Market Scouts. As a clear communicator with a track record in business development and financial analysis, Tom is pursuing a career in impact investing with a focus on Latin America and/or the alternative energy sector.


Deborah C. Lindsay

Winter, 2015


Deborah’s had a wide range of professional opportunities; from the co-founder of a successful non-profit to an HR manager for a Silicon Valley start-up. Currently, she works with an independent school as their Director of Operations and Enrollment and on the side, has her own consulting business that mentors small businesses through the “Crowdfunding” process. The thread that has run through all the work she’s done has been local economic reinvigoration, community building and environmental and social justice. Deborah has very strong strategic planning, business development and personnel skills. She is a progressive leader with a quick bottom-line mind that enables her to see the big picture clearly and she excels infinding ways to move entrenched problems forward.  Her highest level of impact is identifying and catalyzing stakeholders, systems thinking and tapping into potential resources.

Helen Elizabeth Ashdown

Winter, 2015


Helen has developed a unique blend of highly valuable and transferable skills through both her professional career as a transfer pricing manager for Deloitte Tax LLP and her work with her own sustainable non profit organization in Ecuador. She has strong competencies in financial modeling; intangible property valuation and impact measurement that would be valuable in helping an organization better value, understand and manage their social impacts and financial performance. Her experience living and working with rural communities in Ecuador and her recent consulting experience developing a business plan for an El Salvadorian social enterprise has also given her profound intercultural communication skills, a strong proficiency in the Spanish language and a passion for development in Latin America. This along with her project management skills and her impact investing experience will allow her to play a vital role in business impact measurement and evaluation strategy.


Maria Jimenez

Winter, 2015


Maria’s experiences in both banking and finance management have given her a valuable background and skillset to bring to an impact investment organization. She has strong competencies in financial modeling, analyzing financial statements and financial ratios, which allow her to make valuable contributions to the due-diligence activities of the organization. She is a native Spanish speaker having lived, studied and worked in Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Honduras. Her professional experiences have given her strong management, problem-solving, coaching and communication skills; these enable her to play a vital role in working in a multicultural, multi-country and fast-paced environment.

She also brings a successful social enterprise experience from having worked as a volunteer coach with a Peruvian entrepreneur on the final development of his business plan. His business plan won a National Award in Peru and a Global award in Holland in 2010.

Her most recent professional experience in an international non-profit organization includes many activities in line with social investment organization operations.

All of this gives her industry knowledge in impact investing and social enterprise relevant to an impact investment organization’s core business.


Lindsey Krummell

Winter, 2015


Lindsey’s interest in social entrepreneurship and business development stems from her experience founding a social enterprise in Thailand focusing on economic diversification. She also has a strong background in international development policy after working with the United Nations to craft national policies in preparation for post-2015 development agenda negotiations. She has further experience in public relations, marketing, and public health. Lindsey has worked on three continents and speaks two languages.


Leslie Graham

Winter, 2015


Leslie Graham is an experienced consultant and fundraiser, based in Los Angeles.  Since earning her MBA, she has consulted with numerous community-based organizations, social service agencies and local governments on capacity building issues.  She currently works as the Director of Development at CalArts, where she links the institute’s financial goals to funding opportunities, both private and public. Having extensive experience as a management consultant for small nonprofit organizations, Leslie particularly enjoys working in the field to establish relationships based on shared interests and mutual goals.

With her planned transition into the social enterprise field, she would like to work with a growing organization that would benefit from her diverse skills – project management, business planning, and strategy – and involve her in the decision-making process.

With FMS, Leslie is looking for an assignment focused on social enterprise development (regionally or locally) or with an environment-focused funder. She speaks French and is eager to improve her Spanish.


Alex Kopelyan

Winter, 2015


Alex is a 2014 University of Iowa pharmacy school graduate with a passion for preventive medicine through lifestyle improvement and patient education. He currently works with Self Spark, a lifehacking startup that focuses on creating positive lifestyle behavior change through behavioral science and technology. He has a broad range of healthcare internship experience, from macro level projects (at US-FDA, GlaxoSmithKline, Management Sciences for Health, and PATH) to one on one work with patients in clinical settings. He hopes to work with a healthcare focused fund to learn how they evaluate and support individual enterprises, as well as analyze and project market trends.


Maura Dilley

Winter, 2015


Maura has unique experience in management consulting and field development for social enterprise. Her strengths are in strategy and design for systemic change, community engagement and education. She is a creative individual driven to share stories of social and environmental triumph through unique program design, speaking, writing. As a consultant, she has developed strong project management, problem-solving and facilitation skills. As a co-owner of a small business (an independent cinema and café) she is versed in the ground-level practicalities of small business administration as well as design research for new services and community engagement. Maura cares deeply for ocean health and is working to end plastic pollution through materials and systems innovation and to help people economically dependent on environmental degradation achieve alternative livelihoods.


John O’Sullivan

Winter, 2015


John’s experience in banking and finance has consisted of energy-focused internships in which he was able to develop a broad understanding of the industry and related business economics. He has proven himself to be a dedicated worker who enjoys participating with colleagues and clients alike and is quick to adapt and immerse himself in new environments. Most recently, John had the opportunity to work as an analyst for Jefferies Group, an investment-banking firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, and financial advisory services. He worked alongside financial analysts as they developed valuation models, created company overviews of various mid and large-cap companies, and prepared investment committee materials for potential investments.

Through his investment experience, John developed a strong analytical and valuations skillset that he looks forward to bringing to fellowship opportunities offered by the Frontier Market Scouts Program.


Brittany Lane

Winter, 2015


As an International Policy Studies student at MIIS focusing on Human Security and Development, Brittany seized the opportunity to cross academic boundaries and work in a number of consultancy roles through the MPA and MBA programs. Currently, she is designing a program evaluation for a sports-based youth development nonprofit organization that focuses on immigrant and refugee youth, as well as conducting market research for a social enterprise looking to start honey production in Nicaragua. She studied abroad in South Africa, she speaks Spanish, and she has carried out development work in El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. She feels most passionate about the issues of women’s rights, the intersection of gender equity and sport, youth development, food security, and nutrition. In the summer, she leads trips abroad with National Geographic Student Expeditions, managing and mentoring groups of high school students on their own immersive learning journeys. She also enjoys blogging for The Women’s International Perspective (The WIP), and recently, she was selected as an Intercultural Digital Storytelling Project fellow for Spring 2015 at MIIS. Brittany’s creative and holistic skill set ranging from project design to facilitation and writing skills will benefit a social enterprise in the areas of business development, operations, and communications.


Molly Sterns

Winter, 2015


Molly draws from nearly ten years of experience in international non-profit management and advocacy work. One of her first adventures in entrepreneurship came during college, when she joined forces with a small group to conceptualize and launch a summer peace-building program for youth participants from three continents. Since then, she has led grassroots campaigns for the Democratic National Committee, developed a successful communications strategy for a large Cambodian advocacy organization, and helped transform Oakland-based social enterprise Global Citizen Year from a fledgling global gap year provider into the award-winning leadership development program it is today. Most recently, she served as a consultant to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area headquarters in San Francisco, single-handedly producing an annual report for one of the nation’s most complex urban national parks.

In each of these roles, Molly has combined an innate organizational ability, powerful communication skills (in English, Spanish, and French), and strategic thinking with the do-more-with-less zeal required in start-up ventures. This skillset makes her ideally suited to manage operations and contribute to business strategy for any number of Frontier Market Scouts partner organizations.


Jeff Pilisuk

Winter, 2015


Jeff has extensive experience evaluating new business opportunities, launching new ventures and product lines, and advising business owners and entrepreneurs. His expertise includes business planning and strategy, marketing and communications, project management, financial analysis, and consulting. In his current role, Jeff helps companies create, launch, and grow products and services which have a positive impact on people and the planet. He is also an advisor and mentor at the Alliance for Community Development, a not-for-profit organization that serves women and minority entrepreneurs with programs and resources to build their financial competency and increase access capital. Jeff is adept at identifying, evaluating, and developing new market opportunities, and he strongly believes in leveraging the power of for-profit enterprise to improve health and speed the transition to sustainable sources of energy around the world.


Chris Woodward

Winter, 2015


Chris has broad financial services experience gained from roles at several institutional investment firms. His most recent position in bank loan operations and fixed income accounting give him an opportunity to have a significant impact in the operations or financial analysis areas of a social finance organization. He also has experience in a mutual fund accounting department and a derivatives collateral group. His varied roles in investment management have given him strong analytical and communications skills, as well as in-depth knowledge of Excel and other financial software. Chris is passionate about social impact investing, with specific interest in the areas of microcredit, social venture capital, and renewable energy solutions. He also has conversational knowledge of French.


Muhammed Sayed

Winter, 2015


Over the years, Muhammed has accumulated a great deal of research and professional experience in the renewable energy sector. His most recent position was as a finance executive at a wind power startup in Pakistan, where he first began to develop his proficiency in financial analysis and investments. As an FMS fellow, Muhammed hopes to bring his energy finance expertise to rural areas in developing nations.


Kate Greswold

Winter, 2015


Kate Greswold has a twenty year background working in the non-profit sector. She is a social entrepreneur, having started, led, advised and served on boards of many non-profit organizations. Her work has ranged from humanitarian efforts in Africa, to international population issues, economics, water in the US and California,  safe energy, solar in the US, China, and Germany,  renewables and energy, communications, among other topics.

Ms. Greswold holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania with a minor in international business.  She has participated in three Climbs for CARE, to benefit the international humanitarian organization, CARE. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 1998. She summitted Tarija and Huayna Potosi in the Cordillera Real in Bolivia in 2000, reaching a height of 19,974 ft.  In 2004 she and her eleven year old daughter climbed to 17,000 feet on Cotopaxi glacier in Ecuador. In 2006 the Greswold family summited five volcanic peaks while living in Chile. In July 2010, Ms. Greswold completed her first marathon, the San Francisco marathon. She summited Cathdral Peak in 2014. Her interests are environmental work, outdoor sports, canyoneering, kitesurfing, reading, and travel.


Tom Simunovic

Winter, 2015


Tom is a bilingual professional with over five years of experience in strategic partnership building, project management, and data analysis and interpretation. In his most recent role as Senior Research Associate at the global microfinance non-profit, Accion, Tom specialized in grant procurement and management, impact assessment and reporting, and institutional development. Prior to Accion, Tom worked for two years as a Compliance Manager for the largest international education company in the world, Education First. In this role, he hired, trained, and managed a team responsible for ensuring program compliance with US Department of State regulations.

Tom recently completed a Master’s Certificate in Financial Management and is looking to use his financial analysis and business assessment skills to assist with the capital decision making of an impact investment firm. After this fellowship, Tom plans to attend business school in the Fall of 2015.


Hunter A. Sebresos

Winter, 2015


Hunter’s diverse professional background includes expertise in marketing and advertising strategy, brand and innovation design, and business development in foreign markets. He recently worked on a market innovation team in Mombasa, Kenya where he researched and prototyped business ideas aimed at stimulating economic opportunities for the poor. He was key in the development of the team’s first entity, a purified water company called BAMBA Water. Hunter developed the brand, the marketing launch strategy, and the initial design of a sales department, which has experienced 450% increase in sales since its inception. While he is a trained graphic designer, Hunter’s expertise also includes the use of design principles to conduct human-centered research and to develop solutions to solve social problems. As a consultant, Hunter has used his skills to help consumer brands and start-up social enterprises launch successful ventures. Organizations who work with Hunter will appreciate his talent for generating innovative approaches to tackling challenges, his proficiency at advancing projects from idea to implementation, and his ability to motivate teams as a solid visionary leader.


Aruna Raman

Winter, 2015


Aruna is India program director, at Acara, an impact entrepreneurship program at the University of Minnesota. In her role, she helps set up internships and fellowships, works closely with students on their social innovation ideas and business plans, builds both classroom and experiential learning-based capacity building programmes, performs culture-sensitive primary field research, and function as Indian liaison, for logistics-related needs. Aruna has close to 15 years of experience with social innovation, programme management, coordination, capacity building, incubation, cross-cultural linkages, print and online journalism, marketing and corporate communications, and technical documentation, both in India and the USA. She earned my Masters in International Development from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and spent five years in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, working with nonprofits focused on diaspora relations, cross-cultural competency, and economic development.


Larisa Warhol

Winter, 2015


For the past 10 years, through hands-on experience and applied research, Larisa has actively contributed to international social development efforts, focusing on educational opportunities. Specifically, she has worked as program/project manager, teacher trainer and researcher in developing contexts – both urban and rural – in countries across three continents.  An expert in intercultural communication, linguistics, and teacher/practitioner education, Larisa has extensive experience in program development, monitoring and evaluation, creating concrete improvement plans, and grant writing for health education and business development. Through her work in health and education contexts in developing countries, Larisa has experienced first hand the need for, and success of, community-based social enterprise, which draws on local sociocultural practices to promote economic development and alleviate poverty.


Aysha Rajput

Winter, 2015


With experience in marketing, business development, and communications, Aysha has worked in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. In a recent position, she provided research, analysis, and support to projects related to women’s entrepreneurship development, market research, and trade facilitation in Lao PDR. Her consulting experience also gave her strong competencies in project management, cross-cultural communications, and multiple stakeholder coordination. She would be an asset to a partner looking for a fellow who can form strong relationships and networks, build communication capacity, and develop marketing initiatives.


Anya Watford

Winter, 2015


Anya graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2013 with a double major in Political Science with an Emphasis in International Relations, and French, and a minor in Russian. Along with being passionate and enthusiastic about learning new languages, Anya is interested in working with environmentalists and social entrepreneurs to address social injustices and sustainability challenges. Anya is currently developing her language skills in Spanish and learning Portuguese since she in interested in working in Brazil. For instance, Anya would like to work in preserving indigenous culture and livelihoods in the Amazon regions of Latin America. Her academic and professional experiences at MIIS, such as with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development in Peru, Spark Ventures and I-DEV, have cultivated her interest to pursue sustainable development, impact investment and work in emerging markets. As a second year graduate student in the joint MBA and International Policy Studies program, Anya has developed skills in qualitative and quantitative research, due diligence, financial analysis, marketing and business development and strategy. Outside of her studies and working multiple part time jobs, Anya enjoys teaching yoga, going on adventures, riding motorcycles and strumming on the guitar.


Rebecca Willett

Winter, 2015


Rebecca has three years of work and research experience in diverse areas, including small business development, microfinance, and international experiential education. She has also worked, studied, and traveled throughout all of Spanish-speaking Central America and the Caribbean, involved in everything from primary education to rural agriculture. Currently, she works at her alma mater, Northeastern University, as the primary advisor for students doing international internships in community development and public health in the developing world. While she believes wholeheartedly in the importance and transformative power of students having immersive work experiences abroad, her heart lies in her academic specialty, social entrepreneurship. Rebecca is excited to channel her strong skills in leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication to grow her business acumen, while making a valuable contribution to a social business in helping them grow or measure their impact. Her fluency in Spanish, cultural competencies in Latin America, and adaptability will allow her to learn and contribute quickly in the areas of business development/strategy or impact measurement.