Advisory Board

The WMI Advisory Board is a group of individuals whose diverse backgrounds offer unique support to WMI's growth and mission.

Brenda Hansen - Bethesda, MD

Brenda is an affordable housing finance attorney at Bocarsly, Emden, Cowan, Esmail & Arndt LLP. Previously, she was general counsel at Microvest Capital Management, LLC. She has 25 years of experience in the areas of SME lending and microfinance and international structured and corporate finance. She is experienced and skilled in complex legal and financial analysis and writing. Ms. Hansen is also trained as facilitator and mediator with experience in the areas of human rights, discrimination, and public housing. She is a graduate of University of Virginia and University of Virginia Law School and was a Law Clerk at U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Robert Israelite - Chicago, IL

Robert graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Currently he works at CUNA Mutual Group as a Services Specialist for Credit Unions in the Midwest. He traveled to Uganda in 2005 on a non-profit volunteer mission, and continues to work both in the U.S. and in Uganda to increase the capacity of the communities in and around Mbale.

Sally Kelly - Chevy Chase, MD

Sally is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received her M.Arch from Washington University, St. Louis. After working full time as an architect, she has combined a solo practice in residential remodeling with service to schools, church, and civic associations in D.C., Maryland, and Michigan. She has organized and chaired numerous community events and committees, fundraisers and building projects. She has served on boards for the Decade Society (a DC non-profit supporting local charities), PTAs in DC and Montgomery Co., Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, the Castle Park Association, and the Town of Chevy Chase. Her daughter, Erin, whose gap year took the family to Tanzania, has inspired her interest in helping women and families in East Africa.

Jess Littman - Kigali, Rwanda

Jess is an evaluation associate at Educate! in Kigali City, Rwanda. She is also the founder of M&E Consultant, which provides customized M&E services to NGOs and social enterprises across East Africa. Previously she served as the executive associate at EarthEnable, a Rwandan social enterprise that provides clean, healthy, affordable flooring for people who live on dirt floors. She was Chef Field Officer for WMI in Karatu, TZ from 2016-2017. She has a BA from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study in International Development and Peace.

Archie Mears - Scottish Borders, UK

Archie is an experienced microfinance executive and former Managing Director of Opportunity International Uganda, a regulated microfinance institution serving small and medium enterprise clients with loan, savings and money transfer services. He is a life-long banker specializing in African operations. He spent 28 years with ANC Grindlays Bank and also held executive positions at Stanbic Zambia and Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda. Archie retired from his Opportunity International position in 2012 and currently resides in West Linton, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom, where he provides business management consulting services.

Ainsley Morris Cohen - Alexandria, VA

Ainsley is a Founding Partner at Newid Capital, an impact investing firm focused on expanding financial services in developing markets. Previously, she was an Investment Analyst at QED Investors, a VC firm focusing on financial services and online advertising technology. As an Assistant Project Director for WMI from 2010-2011, she worked side by side with advisory board member Montana Stevenson, in Buyobo, Uganda to build loan program capacity. Ainsley graduated in 2010 from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland with a Master of Arts degree with Honours in Economics.

John Mark Muwangala - Kampala, Uganda

John Mark is Managing Director of Ichuli Consulting, which provides analysis and advice for sustainable development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has over 10 years of experience in business development services and financial services linkages, focusing on small farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). He also provides business growth technical advice to SMEs, including analysis of business controls. Working in northern Uganda, he obtained agricultural value chain finance experience. His experience has been a tremendous help in guiding WMI through the labyrinth of Uganda's regulatory requirements and in negotiating institutional financial relationships.

Harris Recht - Ridgewood, NJ

Harris is a retired attorney who specialized in emerging technologies in the medical field, as well as other issues impacting the medical practice. His clients include a number of companies that are engaged in a number of cutting edge research and development projects. He attended Rutgers University and the National Law Center at George Washington University.

Thomas Richardson - Vienna, Austria

Thomas is a retired, former director of the Joint Vienna Institute, Vienna, Austria. Previously he served as the IMF's Senior Resident Representative in Austria, as well as Senior Resident Representative in India and Nepal and Senior Resident Representative and African Department mission chief in Uganda. He has also been Mission Chief for Moldova, Cyprus and Belarus. He worked as resident representative in Russia in the 1990s and was an assistant professor of economics at Yale University before joining the IMF in 1993.

Montana Stevenson - Denver, CO

Montana is the Responsible Sourcing & Production Manager at Danone North America. She graduated from the Erb Institute at University of Michigan, with an MBA and M.Sci. in Natural Resources and received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2010. Prior to joining Danone, she researched pathways for promoting fair labor standards and human rights in food and electronics procurement at the University of Michigan and worked as a Project Associate Analyst at Abt Associates in Bethesda, MD. As WMI's Project Director from 2010-2011, she worked side by side with advisory board member Ainsley Morris, in Buyobo, Uganda to build loan program capacity.

Al Tetrault - Vienna, VA

Al is a retired Clinical Associate Professor of Real Estate Development previously at the University of Maryland. He received Masters Degrees from American University and the University of Virginia. He has developed a particular expertise in public policy and planning related to urban development, neighborhood revitalization, grant programs, and community development planning. Previously he ran his own real estate development consulting firm for 25 years, and was an instructor and department head at the Institute of Science and Technology in Kiambu, Kenya, while serving in the Peace Corps.

Beth Tomasello - Chevy Chase, MD

Beth is a Board Member and Fundraising Committee Co-Chair at Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS). Previously, she was the Director Of Program Development at the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) and the Director of Advancement and Strategic Initiatives at Sister to Sister, The Women's Heart Health Foundation. She spent 12 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, specializing in cost recovery issues and advising regional case teams on complex litigation. She clerked with both U.S. District Court and MA Supreme Court justices. She graduated from Harvard University and received a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Thierry Van Bastelaer - Bethesda, MD

Thierry currently serves as Senior Technical Director at Palladium International, where he works on financial inclusion, enterprise growth, and health financing. Previously he led the Global Market Centers at Abt Associates and served as Deputy Division Manager and Reputational Capital Director for the company's International Health Division. He was a senior director in the Livelihoods Department and director of the Economic Opportunities Office at Save the Children, and the director of the Enterprise Development Group at the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland. Until recently, he was co-teaching financial inclusion at Georgetown University. Thierry holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland and an MA and BA from Facultés Notre-Dame de la Paix, Belgium.

Carol Van Oudenaren - Bethesda, MD

Carol is a retired librarian previously at Westbrook Elementary School and is a native of the Washington DC area. She has a B. A. in English from Oberlin College, a Masters in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and a Master's of Science in Instructional Technology from Towson University. Before returning to school for her library degree, she worked in international banking and served as Vice President of a start-up high technology company in Cambridge, MA.

Ashley Van Waes - Washington, D.C.

Ashley is a Strategic Engagement Specialist, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, at USAID, where she focuses on sustainable interventions within humanitarian response efforts. Previously, she worked on contract as a Program Analyst on the Operational Data and Analytics Team at HHS and as a Research Assistant at USIP. From 2015-2016 Ashley served as WMI's Resources Fellow at our Buyobo, Uganda HQ. She hails from the great state of Nebraska, received her Bachelor's degree cum laude at the University of Nebraska and holds a Master's degree from Georgetown University in Global Human Development.

Epstein, Becker, Betts - Legal Counsel

Robert Lewis, Esq. at Epstein, Becker, Betts in New York, NY serves as legal counsel.