Saeid Kian

Location: San Francisco, CASaeid Kian

Village Capital Partner: The Hub San Francisco

Saeid is the first of his family born in the United States. After the Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq war, his parents came to the United States with $700. They took courses at a community college to move out of working three minimum wage jobs to find a job as an accountant or as a cab driver. Since he grew up in extreme poverty conditions, most of his tangible skills until just recently have been learned outside the classroom. When his parents divorced 4 years ago, he managed and continue to manage their financial assets like tax returns, income statements, real estate management, etc and legal obligations. Not only has he learned excellent management and financial skills, but he has become even more passionate about social enterprise as a result and have built character and leadership through his life’s journey. Finally, his time at Virginia Tech and then at the University of Virginia have combined to give him the academic background necessary to put his skills in the appropriate context.

Sharon Okello

Location: San Francisco, CASharon Okello

Village Capital Partner: Lean Impact

Sharon is from Uganda (“the pearl of Africa”, as named by Winston Churchill). She has lived in Kenya, Congo- Brazzaville, Zimbabwe and Swaziland and visited a number of African countries. Sharon enjoys traveling and particularly enjoy different kinds of music and dance. She has a keen interest in global affairs and development particularly in relation to trade and investment. She received her bachelors in International Studies and Transnational Studies from Westminster College, Fulton- MO. She also minored in International Relations.

Xiaou Zhu

Location: Sri LankaXiaoou Zhu

Village Capital Partner: VilCap Sri Lanka

Xiaou Zhu is a native of Bejing, China. She spent time at a summer camp doing farming work in rural China. She studied South Asia Studies in China and Sri Lanka. She spent four years studying Sinhalese (one of the official language in Sri Lanka). She had a strong exposure to South Asian cultures. She worked in China Radio International Sinhalese service as a translator. She helped to organized many activities in Sri Lanka Embassy. Also, she served as an interpreter for Indian poets and writers.

Logan Theodore

Location: Shanghai, ChinaLogan Theodore

Village Capital Partner: Transist and Shell Foundation

Logan is a social entrepreneur committed to finding solutions to global inequalities by working across civic and private sectors. In his management consulting experience he worked with high-wealth individuals to create social enterprises, co-founded a thought leader conference for social innovation at Brigham Young University, and orchestrated business creation and donation to charities. In the civic sector he provided program evaluation for women’s co-ops at the bottom of the pyramid in rural villages in Mexico, collaborated with nonprofit executives through Guidestar to improve transparency and accountability in the nonprofit sector and won a grant for a Utah County’s mentoring program, increasing their budget and extending the life and reach of a moribund program. Logan graduated from Brigham Young University in Sociology and Nonprofit Management. He is currently working in an urban elementary school in San Antonio, Texas as a Teach For America corps member. As a member of his campus leadership team he formed a committee to build solutions—to create college bound graduates— connecting community and business to the talented student body.

Therese McCabe

Location: Bogota, Colombia

Village Capital Partner: The Hub Bogota

Therese is a graduating senior at the University of Virginia. She is majoring in Commerce with concentrations in Finance and Information Technology. She is passionate about people, technology, and the power of innovation to tackle social problems. Through several internships, she has gained exposure to companies at all stages from early-stage start-up to mature, as well as across numerous industries including biotechnology, education, engineering and technology, and consulting. She studied abroad in Switzerland where she completed a program of graduate and undergraduate classes in Finance, IT and Global Business. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, and has been involved in a UVA organization called SEED, which provides free consulting to social enterprise and nonprofit clients around the world.

Jeff Knoche

Location: Nairobi, KenyaJef Knoche

Village Capital Partner: Growth Africa

Jeff is a first year student at The Paul Merage School of Business focusing on strategy and development. Prior to returning to business school he spent two years abroad with the Peace Corps in Albania. Jeff worked in a rural town and did everything from youth development to grant-writing. Since his first trip outside the US (to India) he has caught the travel bug, but it’s focused more on understanding different lifestyles more than being a tourist. Since then he’s been all over eastern Europe and to Rwanda. In essence he is looking to make a positive impact in deserving people’s lives.

Jonathan Keesecker

Location: BurmaJon Keesecker

Village Capital Partner: The Hub Burma

Jon Keescker is currently a graduate student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He has a professional background in nonprofit advocacy, radio journalism and community organizing. Between 2007-2010 Jon worked in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist, organizer, and manager for a national advocacy organization focused on food sustainability and infrastructure funding. His international travel experiences spans more than 50 countries, and in 2011 he spent a year backpacking overland from Europe to China to better understand current affairs in some of the world’s most dynamic regions. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Central Michigan University and is currently pursuing his Master of Public Policy with a focus in international trade and development in Southeast Asia.

Natalie Cox

Location: Bangalore, IndiaNatalie Cox

Village Capital Partner: Impact Edge Accelerator


Natalie is entering her third semester in the MPA program at MIIS, focusing her attention on creative intersections between the public and private sectors to foster sustainable development. After studying Linguistics at UC Santa Cruz, she worked at a foundation supporting social and environmental justice in NYC, Boston, and Providence, and land conservation in the Southeastern US. There, she was exposed to the good work of hundreds of grassroots organizations, and was inspired to join in their momentum. After a brief hiatus managing a small hostel on the California coast, teaching high school in Lyon, France, and leading francophone canoe trips in the wilds of northern Minnesota, Natalie is energized to be at MIIS, where she volunteers for a social entrepreneur in Brazil, teaches French with BUILD, and learns from the diverse experiences of fellow students.

Heather Hamm

Location: Washington, D.C.Heather Hamm

Village Capital Partner: Impact Accelerator


A native of Maryland, who now resides in Virginia, Heather is a professional accountant who longs to see more of the world. She imagines it’s her mother’s British roots that have led her to explore from trekking in Nepal to travels around North and Central America and Europe. Her academic background focuses on business with degrees from a Canadian university and two from Cornell University.

Whitney Hales

Location: BelizeWhitney Hales

Village Capital Partner: Maya Mountain Cacao

Whitney is originally from bayou country Louisiana. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Lake Forest College, a small liberal arts school north of Chicago, where she studied environmental studies and politics. She just recently completed a year of social service in Miami, FL working in the mathematics department of an ‘at-risk’ high school as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Here at MIIS she is thrilled to be studying business administration and environmental policy!


Be sure to read Whitney’s blog!

Hannah Wasserman

Location: Bangalore, IndiaHannah Wasserman

Village Capital Partner: Unitus Seed Fund


Hannah is from Sacramento, California, but has been living in Los Angeles for the past 5 years. She graduated from the University of Southern California in May of 2012 with a degree in Public Policy and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. She was a StartingBloc Fellow, which is how she was first introduced to FMS! For the past year she has been working at GOOD, a community driven platform for people who give a damn. At GOOD she worked on the marketing team as a community manager, but she had her hands in pretty much everything. Outside of work, she takes improv classes, tutor at 826 LA and cook. In the kitchen, her specialties are cookies and pesto, not together, of course. She is passionate about social change and is excited to gain knowledge and experience working with entrepreneurs in the field.


Be sure to check out Hannah’s blog!

James Shirreff

Location: Santa Cruz, CAJames Shirreff

Village Capital Partner: Cloudpay

Jamie is a first year graduate student in MBA/MA International Environmental Policy joint program. Before coming to the Monterey Institute he worked for 6 years in environmental education and youth development. He spent much of my childhood living in England, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter. He has been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world including Western Europe, China and South-East Asia and Southern Africa.



Keep up with Jamie’s experience through his blog!

Calvin Shabb

Calvin Shabb

Location: Seattle, Washington

Village Capital Partner: Moving Worlds

Calvin is from the country near the West Virginia border in north-western Virginia, grew up on a farm and was fortunate to travel at a young age. His first trip was an amazing program in Spain, and from then on it’s been one crazy ride. Calvin graduated in 2011 from George Mason University and has completed a fellowship with Agora Partnerships and a consultancy with the Inter-American Development Bank.

Alaina Robertson

Location: Mumbai, IndiaAlaina Robertson

Village Capital Partner: Pearson Affordable Learning Fund


Originally from Seattle, Alaina graduated Middlebury College in 2009 with a degree in International Studies and is a current MIIS student in the Trade, Investment and Development track. Her career path was inspired by two years spent living in rural India working on the ground with aid organizations. On the other side of the world, she also spent a semester in Argentina and has travelled extensively in Latin America. She is using graduate school to focus on development solutions through policy, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and improving the business climate. When not studying, she can be found in the dirt teaching middle schoolers about organic farming or a few hundred feet up a cliff in Yosemite.

Natalia Perez

Location: Antigua, GuatemalaNatalia Perez

Village Capital Partner: ByoEarth

Natalia is in the process of conducting a year-long thesis project that explores social entrepreneurial models to sustainably manage organic waste in marginalized communities using case studies in Guatemala and Kenya. She is an adult re-entry student, currently in her senior year at Arizona State University (ASU) looking forward to graduating with a dual major (Global Studies and Psychology) in December 2013. She is also proud to be a bilingual/bicultural student, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and raised in the Washington, DC area. Prior to returning to academia, Natalia gained skills in business management working with various small businesses and non-profit organizations in Arizona, California, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. The most interesting position she held was as the business manager of a sustainable living center in Costa Rica where they held educational programs for local school children, as well as interns and visitors from all around the world. Unique talents? She has an innate natural ability to gather women. She has organized and facilitated women’s empowerment groups for many years in her local community and, for her, doing this comes with much ease. She hopes to apply this talent to working with women within the realm of social entrepreneurship. She is excited about the FMS program because she knows the program attracts a diverse group of passionate people and she is confident she will learn as much from her fellow scouts as from the course and fieldwork.

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.