Meet our great staff!
Director, Center for Social Impact Learning
Prior to accepting the Middlebury Institute of International Studies appointment, Jerry was the Founder/CEO of the award winning Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. His responsibilities there included management and administration of the Center, innovative program design, formation of the Council of University Social Entrepreneurs (student arm of the Center), establishment of the Board of Stakeholders composed of 26 social entrepreneurship professionals, development of the Mentorship Program, creation of the privately funded Ambassador Corps international internship program, launching a student operated social enterprise that provides technical assistance to start-up social entrepreneurship organization locally and globally, instituting a Business Basics Boot Camp for Non-business Students, coordination of sustainability workshops for local non-profit organizations, research and development of the first community-based microfinance fund in the Central Valley of California. At Pacific, over eight years, he created a whole new generation of hands-on solution-minded pragmatists that pioneered practical, inventive, and sustainable approaches that address the world’s most pressing social issues.
Previously, Jerry was the CEO for 17 years of the Katalysis Bootstrap Fund, a microfinance organization that provides training, technical assistance, and credit to non-governmental microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador). The Katalysis Network of 25 MFIs provides microloans to over 290,000 clients (70% women; 98 % repayment).
Prior to Katalysis, Jerry was the Caribbean regional field director for International Voluntary Services, based on the island of Antigua for six years, where he directed a socio-economic development program on ten newly independent island-nations in the Eastern Caribbean. His work in grassroots economic development started in Appalachia (West Virginia coal mining region) where he worked for 10 years to develop and direct the first rural Economic Development Corporation in the U.S. to finance community-based business enterprises in a chronically depressed region of the U.S. Jerry was one of pioneering Peace Corps volunteers in the early 60’s where he worked for two years in the Andes Mountains of Peru with Aymara Indians on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
He has spoken at numerous conferences (Ashoka Changemaker Campus Exchange, ThinkImpact Huddle, Opportunity Collaboration, DELL Challenge, Middlebury Symposium, Northwestern Buffett Center) and individual universities on the Pacific Experience “Creating a University Center of Social Entrepreneurship from Scratch: Land Mines and Lessons Learned.” Most recently, he has given workshops on the “Top Ten Kickass Low Cost Experiential Learning Opportunities” for University Social Entrepreneurship Programs.
Jerry presently serves on the board of directors of the Cordes Foundation, Fair Trade University USA, Opportunity Collaboration, Stockton Impact Corps (Community Microfinance Fund), The World We Want Foundation, and the Semester At Sea Corporate Advisory Board.
Social Impact Learning Programs Director
Erina connects talented and purposed-driven professionals with meaningful professional opportunities in social enterprise and impact investing. She holds an exciting role with the Center for Social Impact Learning where she is Program Director for the Frontier Market Scouts certificate training and global fellowship program. Erina is also part of the CSIL management team which produces an ongoing schedule of high-profile events and workshops featuring some of the world’s most committed change-makers and social entrepreneurs.
Before joining the Institute, Erina’s experiences ranged from being a farm kitchen chef and bread making guide for a therapeutic Anthroposophical organization on rural Vancouver Island to helping a college corporate and donor relations team prepare for visiting speakers such as Maya Angelou and Robert Redford, to her most recent role as a digital strategies specialist at a local publishing company.
Erina received a B.S. in Communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in French from Salem State University in Massachusetts. While completing her MPA degree at MIIS, Erina developed a keen interest in online tools that enhance community building and advocacy initiatives.
Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives
Annie Makela is the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Social Impact Learning. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Annie owes her entrepreneurial spirit to her father and her dedication to education to her mother. She is passionate about innovation in K-3 education, experiential learning opportunities, and finding viable solutions to social and educational challenges worldwide. Annie holds an innovative role with the Center for Social Impact Learning where she is Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives and focuses her energy running the Ambassador Corps program and CSIL events.
Previously, Annie worked at The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue, where she was part of the team organizing the Aspen Ideas Festival for the past 4 summers. Additionally, she taught second grade for two years at Greenwich Country Day School where she organized the first ever TEDxGCDS and designed curriculum focusing on design and innovation. Annie grew up reading Wendell Berry and Roald Dahl, both of whom remain her favorite authors. Always seeking a new adventure, Annie studied abroad three times while at Middlebury, in Scotland, Spain and Costa Rica. Her favorite memories at Middlebury were participating in programs within the Project on Creativity and Innovation as well as being part of the team that launched the Center for Social Entrepreneurship. She graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with a double major in English and Spanish.
Abbiola Ballah, CSIL IEM Program Associate
Abbiola Ballah is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She received her B.A Honors in Communication Arts: Film and Broadcasting from St Francis College in New York and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester, UK. Abbiola has spent the last 10 years living and working in Japan as an EFL teacher and university counselor.
She is currently completing her final semester in the MA in International Education Management at Middlebury Institute of International Studies by working at the Center for Social Impact Learning on campus. She is passionate about fostering social change in education and wants to work towards ensuring girls and women in developing countries receive access to educational opportunities.