Board of Directors
Ryan Calkins is the board chair and one of the co-founders of SeaMo. His interest in microfinance began while working in Honduras as a liaison in the reconstruction and relief efforts after Hurricane Mitch. Ryan continued his work in Latin America as a researcher for Witness for Peace in Colombia. He completed his Masters in International Relations at Yale University and interned in the office of Senator Dodd for the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ryan is the President of Statements, a tile distribution company, and the CEO of Status, Inc. an artisan tile company, both located in Seattle, Washington.
Tamar Azous is an accomplished international microfinance expert with four years of experience in business planning, project management, and operational analysis and monitoring within the microfinance industry. She has worked as Client Relationship Manager at Microenergy Credits since 2008. Previously Tamar worked at microfinance investment and technical support organizations including Unitus, MicroVest Capital Management and the MIX Market. Tamar holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA. from Georgetown University. Tamar has supported business plan development for microfinance energy programs in Bangladesh, Uganda and Mongolia.
Kintan Brahmbhatt is actively involved in supporting large-scale poverty-alleviation efforts through commercialization in the microfinance industry. He started the “I hate poverty” campaign to raise awareness and funds for global poverty elimination through microfinance. As an advisor at Unitus, he helped define and drive the donor relations and fund raising strategy.Kintan is a senior product manager at IMDb (Internet Movie Database), an Amazon.com company. Prior to Amazon, Kintan spent five years at Microsoft’s Unified Communications group as a Program Manager and helped drive several key aspects of Microsoft’s Office Communications products. Prior to Microsoft, Kintan was the founder of Securamed, a healthcare communication platform. Kintan is actively involved as an advisor and investor for high-tech startups in Seattle and Silicon Valley. In addition to Jolkona and Unitus, he is a member of the executive committee of TiE Seattle and Pratham USA. Kintan holds an undergraduate degree from Purdue University, where he studied Computer Science and Economics.
Desiring to effect greater global change and contribute to the alleviation of global poverty,Melisa Samuelson co-founded SeaMo, and is currently the Executive Director. Melisa is a well-rounded global business manager with a strong track record spanning over twelve years of international management experience at companies, such as Microsoft, Cranium, and Amazon.com.
At Amazon.com, as the Product Management & Customer Experience Senior Manager, she managed the Apparel product management, third-party account, and marketing teams. Prior to working at Amazon.com, Melisa was the Director of International at Cranium, managing the international product management and business development teams. Melisa also worked as a business executive for 5 years at Microsoft, as the Lead Product Manager of FrontPage, and as a Licensing Account Executive for Latin America. Melisa holds a dual BA in International Studies and Cultural and Critical Studies from the University of Denver, an MBA from Monterey Institute of International Studies. She is also a former Fulbright Fellow to Mexico.
Scott Everett was a Technical Program Officer with the Grameen Technology Center (GTC), part of the Grameen Foundation. In his role at GTC Scott split his time between the AppLab and Village Solutions initiatives, both of which focus on utilizing mobile phones as poverty alleviation tools in developing countries. Prior to joining the Grameen Foundation, he served as Business Systems Manager for Kaplan Financial, where he implemented over 1500 websites with contract values worth over $13m, and managed IT strategy for three unique Kaplan organizations (Kaplan Professional Publishing, Kaplan Professional Schools, Kaplan Financial). He transitioned from his role at Kaplan into the microfinance industry through an Internship with Prisma Microfinance as a Research Assistant writing for their industry-leading Microcapital Blog, as well as partaking in several pro-bono web consulting engagements with Chicago Fair Trade, Accion USA, and Bottom Billion Microfinance
Windy Wilkins brings 8 years of experience in international development. She spent 4 years at Unitus, an international nonprofit devoted to accelerating the growth of microfinance. At Unitus, she served as East Africa Operations Manager, running the Unitus Nairobi office as well as the Africa Microfinance Growth Centre, a leadership development program for microfinance CEOs. She also served at Unitus as Global Network Manager. In this role, she developed and executed an integrated program of tools and services to drive peer-to-peer learning across the Unitus Network of 24 microfinance organizations. Prior to Unitus, Windy worked as a Project Coordinator at the RAND Corporation. Windy is a Fulbright scholar, and spent a year in Peru working with grassroots economic development organizations. She holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, and a B.A. in International Relations, Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona College.
Wren McNally currently serves as the Assistant Director of Faculty and Community Programs at the UW Foster School of Business Global Business Center (GBC) where she manages community engagement to support co-curricular initiatives that develop global business expertise. This role unites professionals from the private, not-for-profit, academic, and government sectors with students to provide practical international business educational opportunities. She also manages the annual Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC), an international social venture plan competition that promotes market-based solutions to poverty alleviation.
Wren currently serves as the co-chair for the UW Global Health Resource Center. From 2009-10 she served on the Japan-America Society Membership Committee. She served on the board of Crooked Trails, a Seattle-based responsible travel organization, from 2008-2009. Wren coordinated the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) Young Delegates Program that provided scholarships for two students to participate in the WCIT Sustainable Business Development Trip October 2007. She has an MA in international affairs from the George Washington University and a BA in Asian Studies from Whitman College.
With seven years of work experience on four continents,Steve Schwartz’s expertise lies at the intersection of public relations, policy analysis, and project management in service of global development goals. Most recently the Public Affairs Manager for the global microfinance nonprofit Unitus, he supported both the programs and fundraising teams outreach programs to highlight the positive impact of inclusive financial services and influence regulatory discourse on issues critical to the industry’s continued growth in India and East Africa. Prior to joining Unitus, Steve served two years in the US Peace Corps as a Small Enterprise Development volunteer Tchaourou, Benin. Partnering with local tradespeople, womens groups, government officials and international organizations, he focused on increasing access to effective business support services and financing for micro and small enterprises. Furthermore, Steve was an organizational development and marketing advisor to Millennium Challenge Account-funded Access to Justice alternative dispute resolution system established under the Beninese Chamber of Commerce.
Steve began his career in public relations with the New York-based boutique firm Walek & Associates representing investment banking, financial law, hedge fund and private equity clients. This work was succeeded by a year spent as a Switzerland-based correspondent for US-based business and finance trade publications. He holds a MA in International Relations and International Communications with a focus on public diplomacy from Boston University, and a BA in History from the University of Western Ontario.
Cindy Anderson became interested in microfinance through her desire to create sustainable change to social injustices. She has spent the last 12 years at Microsoft in varying capacity building an expertise in program management and data warehousing. For the last few years Cindy has been developing of a water filtration microenterprise in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. She is a professional coach and gains fulfillment from supporting others in expanding their capacity to live rewarding lives. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Cindy has an honors BA in Psychology from York University and a MBA from Seattle University.
Tim Wade is an entrepreneur, world traveler and dreamer. Combining these attributes led to a passion for social enterprise and a belief that the right business models can simultaneously end poverty, create a cleaner environment, and produce profits.Currently, he consults for Grameen Foundation on the Mifos Initiative – building a strategic vision for fund raising and marketing. Additionally, Tim sits on the Board of Directors of Elephant Energy, a US based nonprofit addressing the issue of Energy Justice for marginalized communities through solar technologies and micro-franchising. Prior to working with Grameen Foundation, Tim managed international strategic relationships for Unitus including a portfolio of social performance management collaborations. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria.
He graduated Phi Kappa Phi from Colorado State University with an MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise, and holds a B.A. in Communications from Wheaton College.