Speaker Bio: Jerry Hildebrand


Prior to his current position as Director of the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) at MIIS, 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.

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Speaker Bio: Kate Hanford


Kate joined  the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) program after three years working on international environmental policy with Conservation International in Washington D.C.  With a degree in Business and Spanish language skills, Kate recently secured a placement working with the Unreasonable East Africa, a venture accelerator uniting 10-20 high-impact entrepreneurs from around East Africa in Kampala, Uganda. Kate is also supporting SOCAP, an annual event series based in the San Francisco Bay Area that connects leading global innovators. 

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Speaker Bio: Marie Kagaju Laugharn


Marie Kagaju Laugharn currently serves as co-facilitator of DPMI-Rwanda and was a member of the Seeds of Empowerment at Stanford University’s School of Education. This project is dedicated to adapting technological advances for international development.

Previously, she worked as a Political Affairs Officer at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague, Netherlands.  At the United Nations Development Programme in Mali, Kenya, Central African Republic, and Rwanda, Laugharn managed projects on HIV/AIDS, governance, elections, and peace-building.

Marie Kagaju Laugharn received her M.A. in English from the Université Nationale du Rwanda and studied Economics at Lycée Notre Dame de Citeaux in Kigali, Rwanda. She serves on the Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission and is a board member for the Ihangane Project in Rwanda.

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Speaker Bio: Lisa Ruetgers

Lisa Ruetgers

Lisa currently serves as Brand Associate for the social enterprise UpEnergy in Kampala Uganda, a business venture that sells energy-efficient cooking stoves and water filters to the poorest demographics (the Bottom of the Pyramid – BoP). Although her main responsibility is marketing, the business is still a small start-up so she is also responsible for partnership management, sourcing and pricing.

Academically, Lisa holds a BA in International Management and an MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, and was one of the participants of the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) course in social enterprise management at the Monterey Institute. Over the past years, her experience was mainly in sales and recruiting, while now she’s doing project management in marketing mainly.

Ms. Ruetgers asserts that creating positive social impact with her job is very important for her, while she loves doing project management and find marketing quite interesting. Also she enjoys challenges and living abroad. Thus her job is very fulfilling, and she is very happy and satisfied.

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Speaker Bio: Jeanette Pelizzon


Jeanette is a current MIIS student in her last semester of coursework towards an MA in Public Administration. Her interest lies in the realm of social entrepreneurship, with a special focus on female artisans in rural communities. Visits to over 40 different countries have allowed her to enrich her theoretical classroom work by putting it into a real world context. Many of these experiences have allowed her to witness first hand the value social enterprise can bring to underserved communities.

This past summer, after attending the January pilot program of DPMI:Rwanda, she returned to the country to complete an internship with The Ihangane Project. During this time Jeanette worked directly with a small women’s artisan cooperative which specializes in the production of traditional Agaseke baskets. Her time working with the women further ignited her passion for finding innovative was to invest in women artisans in Africa.

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Speaker Bio: Arianna Miller

Arianna Miller is a second semester MPA candidate.  Her primary focus is development in Sub-Saharan Africa with an emphasis on capacity building.

During the summer of 2014, Arianna had the opportunity to be part of the pilot of Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation in Kenya (DPMI Kenya).  DPMI introduced her to project skills such as the logical framework, intervention design, and results framework that she hopes she will one day master.

After the training period, Arianna interned as the Health and Livelihood Improvement Associate at the Omega Foundation in Kisumu, Kenya.  In that role, she developed a project on the inclusion of mentally disabled persons in society, and facilitated leadership & management workshops for vulnerable populations.  Her time in Kenya aided her personal and professional growth tremendously.

Arianna’s aspiration is to help communities harvest their strengths and abilities to create a positive change within their communities.

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Speaker Bio: Donna Sinar

Donna Sinar

Donna is a current candidate for a Master’s in Public Administration at MIIS. She completed the Frontier Market Scouts training early this past summer and was off to Rwanda for the remainder. She joined Resonate, an organization that teaches leadership skills to women and girls through storytelling, as the Operations Fellow.

Before coming to MIIS, Donna committed her heart and energy to the anti-human trafficking movement, a career that was inspired by her family’s own migration story. Most recently, she headed the anti-human trafficking unit at the SAGE Project, a nonprofit in San Francisco. She has also worked to combat trafficking in Washington, D.C. and Israel.

With deep passion and compassion for gender issues, she seeks to continue her career by enabling more sustainable pathways for women and girls to both determine and tell their own stories.

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Speaker Bio: Kennedy Mugo

Mugo (1)

Mugo is a social entrepreneur who believes the key to assisting people lies in listening. He helped in the founding of the New Dawn high school in Huruma slum, Nairobi. He worked as a volunteer teacher in this community for two years (2006-2007) and came up with innovative ways to keep students motivated and in school for the long run.

Mugo attended Middlebury College where he majored in Political Science & Economics. He helped in the launch of the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship and co-found the Social Justice Alliance. In his senior year he was chosen to be on a panel with the pioneer of social entrepreneurship, Ashoka’s Bill Drayton.

As a young man he spent his time in Kibera, where his family had a business, and he asserts he still has not come accross people who are as entrepreneurial as those he met in Kibera slum – the larges informal settlement in Africa. Mugo is a big believer in Africa and has been dubbed an “Afro-Optimist” by many, he believes that the continent has the kind of leadership needed to steer it to become the hub of sustainable development.

In the past, Mugo has worked at Save the Children in Washington, DC and has founded the Pan-Africanist Core – a leadership development institute. His current endeavor is AfroArt East Africa  a curated online gallery that connects talented artists from East Africa with the U.S. market. Mugo is also a graduate student at UC Berkeley: a Candidate in the Masters in Development Practice.

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Speaker Bio: Beryl Levinger

beryl_levingerBeryl Levinger is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Public Administration Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Academic Director of the Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) program. In 2012, Dr. Levinger also became Distinguished Visiting Professor in Emory University’s Master’s in Development Practice program. Her academic expertise and teaching focus on program evaluation, program design, organizational leadership, civil society, and education for development.

 Prior to her academic career, Dr. Levinger held significant leadership positions in several major international organizations: president of AFS Intercultural Programs; Senior Vice President (chief operating officer of CARE); and Senior Adviser to Save the Children’s president.

 From 1992 until 2007, Dr. Levinger directed the Center for Organizational Learning and Development at the Education Development Center. Center clients included NGOs, governments, and multilateral institutions seeking to craft new strategies, develop greater capacity, evaluate results, or achieve organizational transformation.

Dr. Levinger is a former vice chair and a founder of InterAction, the coalition of 175 US-based international nongovernmental organizations focused on the world’s poor. She has written extensively on capacity building and development. Her books include Togetherness:  Intersectoral Partnering in Latin America;Critical Transitions:  Human Capacity Development Across the Lifespan; and Nutrition, Health, and Education for All.

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The East Africa Region

The topics of this Forum is experiences of faculty and staff who have lived and worked at any of the 15 East African countries and departments. These are:

  • Burundi
  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte (Fr.)
  • Reunion (Fr.)
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
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