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Success Stories
Colombian Physician Starts Again

Name: Paola

Country: Colombia

Profession: Resident – Family Medicine

A native Colombian, Paola was working at one of the Chile’s largest public hospitals. In 2007, she moved to the Windy City to start a new life. "For a long time I didn't do anything, because I didn't have the contacts or anything…” she says. Then Paola connected with Upwardly Global. “They really changed my life.”

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Upwardly Global's Impact

"Through Upwardly Global, I was able to start building my professional network in America and the importance and value of this expands far beyond the immediate needs of a job search."

Name: Nikolai Kastioukevitch

Country: Belarus

Profession: Business Analyst

Company: NYC Department of Small Business Services

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Board Group Photo 2017

Upwardly Global Board of Directors List

Todd A. Harding, Board Chair, Managing Director, Global Programs & Reporting, Accenture

Todd A. Harding's career spans over twenty years in management consulting, internal finance and operations with Accenture.Currently Todd leads Accenture’s internal business process and reporting organization globally, where he is accountable for managing internal operational improvement programs and maintaining Accenture’s core Finance, HR, Forecasting, and Sales systems, in collaboration with their IT organization. In his current role he is also accountable for overseeing the delivery of the standard reports that Accenture uses to meet their internal and external financial, sales, and HR reporting requirements. Prior to this he held various area and global leadership roles in Accenture’s finance organization and was manager in their management consulting practice. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in economics. Right now he lives in Chicago, but he has had the fortunate opportunity to live and work in several other great cities in the world, including Innsbruck, Milan, and London. He has been a big advocate of Upwardly Global at Accenture as our National Relationship Executive Sponsor and in the Chicago community as a member of the Chicago Leadership Council.

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Jennifer Ramirez, Board Vice Chair, Vice President, Global Customer Experience, The Western Union Company

Jennifer Ramirez leads Global Customer Experience for The Western Union Company. She plays a key role in Western Union's transformation from a transaction and distribution-focused organization to a customer-focused organization. Based at Western Union’s global headquarters in Englewood, Colorado, Jennifer has held various leadership roles with the company over 15 years, serving Western Union's unique customer base of global citizens who travel across borders seeking economic opportunity and a better life for themselves or their family. Jennifer is responsible for developing the organization's multi-year customer experience change strategy and transformation initiatives, and driving the optimal consumer and Agent experience into the business, channels, and touchpoints.

Jennifer has always had a passion for volunteering and giving back to her community. From an early age, she has continually volunteered with local organizations, worked on church-related projects, led fundraising efforts, and has even started her own 501c3 nonprofit that is in its fifth year. While at Western Union, Jennifer served as an executive in residence with Upwardly Global as part of the Western Union Ashoka Executives in Residence program. During her time with Upwardly Global, Jennifer worked directly with President & CEO Nikki Cicerani to build strategies for generating sustainable revenue. This experience has led Jennifer to commit more of her time and professional expertise to supporting the Upwardly Global community.

Prior to joining Western Union, Jennifer spent five years in management consulting and three years in the nonprofit sector. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a Masters Degree in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. She lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with her family.

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Wendy Zimmermann, Board Secretary

Wendy Zimmermann worked for over 15 years at the Urban Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank, where she focused most of her research on immigration and immigrant integration issues, including the effects of education and welfare reform on immigrant and refugee communities. She also serves on the board of Groundwork Hudson Valley, a non-profit organization that helps make low-income neighborhoods more livable and sustainable. Wendy attended Duke University and received a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford.

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Jennifer Geissel-Zervigon, Immediate Past Chair, Independent Strategy Consultant, JAG Consulting

Jennifer Geissel-Zervigon is an Independent Strategy Consultant with over 15 years experience in strategy and corporate finance, predominantly serving technology companies. Most recently, Jennifer was a Senior Managing Director at the Nasdaq Stock Market, where she managed sales for Nasdaq's stock trading business. Prior to working at Nasdaq, she was a strategy consultant for many years; first as a Manager at Deloitte Consulting, and then at Treacy & Company, a strategic consulting boutique, where she was a Senior Principal. Prior to business school, Jennifer was an Associate in Investment Banking at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, focusing on M&A and Bridge finance. Jennifer received her BA in English from New York University and her Masters in Business Administration at the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Tuck Club of New York and Tuck's Women in Business Club.

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Ganesh H. Betanabhatla, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Ramas Capital Management

Ganesh Betanabhatla is the Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Ramas Capital Management (“Ramas”), an energy focused investment firm based in Houston, Texas. Prior to founding Ramas, he was a Managing Director at Talara Capital Management (“Talara”), a New York and Houston based investment firm, where he helped to lead the firm's private investments in the oil and gas sector. Prior to joining Talara, Ganesh was a Vice President on the energy investment team at Pine Brook Road Partners, where he primarily focused on the firm's investments in the E&P sector, as well as an investment professional on the energy investment team at CCMP Capital Advisors. He started his career as a member of the natural resources investment banking team at J.P. Morgan Securities.

Ganesh currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. In addition, he currently serves as a member of the Columbia College Fund Development Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia College Young Leaders Council as well as Chairman Emeritus of the Columbia College Young Alumni Fund Advisory Board. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia College Alumni Association.

In addition, Ganesh is a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston chapter of the American Enterprise Institute’s Enterprise Club and a member of the Vanguard Chapter of the Society of Fellows of The Aspen Institute.

By appointment of the Office of the Mayor of Houston, Ganesh served on the Gulf Coast Work Force Development Board from 2012 to 2013. The Gulf Coast Work Force Development Board serves 13 counties in the Houston-Galveston region and is the largest of the 28 Work Force Development Boards in Texas. The Board is majority comprised of private sector members and oversees the delivery of employment services, education and training to the constituents of the Houston-Galveston area, affecting 125,000 businesses and 5.7 million residents.

In 2012, he was selected by the Atlantic Council to join the Young Atlanticist NATO Working Group and in 2014, he was selected by the Foreign Policy Initiative to join the New York Leaders Program.

In 2014, Ganesh was recognized by Forbes as one of the top “30 Under 30” professionals in “Finance” in the U.S and in the same year, he was also recognized by Oil & Gas Investor as one of the top “20 Under 40” in “Energy Finance” in the U.S.

He holds a B.A. in Economics-Political Science from Columbia University.

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Chris Emme, Development Co-Chair, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Partnerships at Media iQ

Chris Emme is the EVP of Business Development and Partnerships at Media iQ. He leads the U.S. operations of the global analytics technology firm founded five years ago in London. After graduating from the Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado at Boulder, Chris has been involved in ad tech, digital marketing and data analytics since his first internship in 1997. Having worked at Excite@Home, Centro, Microsoft, Yahoo and Radium One before joining the team at Media iQ. Chris has been an active part of the tech industry for close to 20 years. As a contributor, leader, writer and constant student, Chris is passionate about working at the intersection of data, technology, media and analytics. An alum of Harvard Business School, Chris is an avid global traveler and triathlete. Chris and his wife, Leticia, live in Connecticut and spend hours trying to keep up with their two young boys.

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Amy Henry,Commercial Bank, CFO of Corporate Client Banking, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Amy Henry is a Manager Director and Chief Financial Officer for Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries, which is a business segment in the Commercial Bank that focuses on clients with revenues between $500MM to $2B+. She is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the financial results, along with all aspects of planning, reporting, analysis and accounting standards. Amy also serves as a strategic advisor to the business on product strategy, the financial impact of key business initiatives and regulatory changes.

Prior to her current role, Amy was the Chief Auditor for the Corporate Sector, with overall responsibility for Finance, Legal, Compliance, Human Resources, the Chief Administrative Office and Corporate Responsibility.  In this role she was responsible for developing and managing the global program of audit coverage across the organization for certain topics such as AML and CCAR.

Over her 19 year tenure at the Company, Amy held a variety of roles including Chief Auditor for Consumer & Business Banking, as well as roles in Finance and Operations within the Corporate & Investment Bank. Prior to joining the firm, she worked for New York Life Insurance Company.

Amy is a graduate of the University of Scranton and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant (NY) and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. She lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY with her husband and three children.


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Winita Lau, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo

Winita Lau is is a Director and Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank’s Commercial Real Estate REIT Finance Group. She is responsible for establishing and developing client relationships, originating, structuring and closing balance sheet transactions, managing an over $1.5 billion loan portfolio, coordinating investment banking products with Eastdil Secured and Wells Fargo Securities teams, and partnering with team members in Wells Fargo’s comprehensive platform to deliver solutions for our customers’ needs.

Prior to joining Upwardly Global’s board, she was an active leader in the organization’s Chicago Leadership Council for over five years, helping to build its network of volunteers, employers and donors. She is a graduate of the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. As an avid dancer, she performs with and serves on the Advisory Committee of Tango 21 Dance Theater, a fiscally sponsored project of the non-profit Fractured Atlas, that uses the uniquely expressive art and discipline of Argentine tango to tell contemporary stories.

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Alex Lipman, PartnerBrown Rudnick LLP

Alex Lipman has over 20 years of experience both in private practice and government with a focus on SEC enforcement, white collar, securities litigation, regulatory, and corporate government matters. His practice focuses primarily on defending individuals and organizations in SEC enforcement and criminal matters relating to insider trading, corporate financial irregularities, and securities sales practices.

Alex's government experience includes serving as a Special Assistant United States Attorney on the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. In that position he prosecuted and tried cases involving accounting fraud, mail and wire fraud, and insider trading. Alex also served as a Branch Chief in the SEC's Enforcement Division, where he conducted numerous high-profile investigations into securities law violations, including cases stemming from the collapse of Enron.

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Scott Mauvais, Director, Technology & Civic Innovation, Microsoft

Scott  Mauvais has been with Microsoft for over 14 years. He is currently the Director of the Microsoft Technology Center: an innovation lab where Microsoft’s top architects help Fortune 500 companies and high profile start-ups envision, architect, and prove out solutions based on Microsoft’s newest technologies.

Prior to joining the MTC, Scott worked for Microsoft Consulting Services where he ran early stage projects for customers in Microsoft's Early Adopter Program. He has written extensively for Microsoft Press and Ziff-Davis and is a regular speaker at both industry and Microsoft sponsored events. Previously, he spent eight years leading the Microsoft Practice at Infogenics. His first job in the industry was using dBase and VisiCalc on a computer with eight-inch floppies.

Scott also serves on the board of Community Technology Alliance and is co-owner of The WELL, a ground-breaking online community which is now entering its 30th year.

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Bassem Moussa, Senior Manager, Internal Audit, Renesas Electronics America

Bassem Moussa has over 17 years of internal and external audit experience in the US and EMEA regions. His audit expertise extends from public accountancy / consultancy to industries; associating with mid-to-large cap companies operating in various sectors and with revenues ranging from $500 million to $23 billion.

Bassem is currently the head of internal audit activity at Renesas Electronics America, a US subsidiary of $7 billion Japanese’s semiconductor public company. In his present role, he provides a full spectrum of internal audit services covering operational reviews, SOX compliance, compliance and risk management, and process enhancement to many stakeholders across the Americas, Europe and Japan. Prior to this, Bassem managed the internal audit function at Saba Software (a US mid-cap company), Dubai Silicon Oasis and Dubai World (global multi-billion dollar investment companies in the UAE.)  Bassem also spent over 10 years working at global audit firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young (EY), where he was responsible for leading various teams to provide attestation, assurance and advisory services.

Bassem received a bachelor degree in accounting and is licensed as Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA) and Certified Compliance Officer (CCO). He is also a Chartered Accountant (CA) in Egypt.

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Pranav S. Ramanathan, Managing Director, Coacharya

Pranav S. Ramanathan is a Principal and Managing Director at Coacharya, an award-winning executive coaching practice. An entrepreneur with 18-years of experience, he has deep expertise managing brand and product marketing services for companies in the consumer product, media, non-profit, and technology sectors.

At Coacharya, Pranav oversees all operational aspects from ongoing strategy and busiBaness development, to day-to-day logistics, and the management of its affiliated technology, investment, and philanthropic arms. Prior to this, he has held corporate marketing roles at The Nielsen Company, Advanstar and startup technology firms.

Pranav sits on the National Board of Directors for Upwardly Global and is actively involved with the Chicago chapter’s Leadership Council. He is a member of the Chicago Co-Founders Team at, and is a President’s Circle member at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs.  He has a B.S. in Architecture from Arizona State University, and an M.S. in Integrated Marketing from Northwestern University. Pranav is an ICF-accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC).

As a first-generation immigrant, Pranav is innately dedicated to this cause. He lives in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, Alexandra, daughter, Carys and Shar-pei mix, Coco.

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Henning Streubel, Ph.D., Senior Partner & Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group San Francisco

Henning Streubel is the leader of The Boston Consulting Group U.S. West Coast system covering offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Henning has worked as a consultant for the past 20 years. Henning started his consulting career in France and Switzerland working on technology transfer and evaluation of intangible assets. He then joined The Boston Consulting Group in 1999 in Munich, Germany. With BCG he worked in all major European markets and headed the firm’s Bangkok office  before transferring to San Francisco in 2010. He is the firm's global expert for O&G Upstream transformation and stakeholder management

Henning has worked on a wide range of strategic, organizational, and operations engagements covering the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Russia, West Africa, Latin America, the U.S., and many European countries. He received his master’s and Ph.D. in business administration and law from Oldenburg University. He is a frequent speaker at industry conventions and executive education programs.ersity. He is a frequent speaker at industry conventions and executive education programs.

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Kathy Taylor, Executive Recruiting, Taylor Executive Search

Kathy Taylor has lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years. For the past 18 years, Kathy has been an executive recruiter with her own firm, Taylor Executive Search. Her firm had a primary focus on Silicon Valley startups. She has worked with several Venture Capitalists to fill out their executive teams. Prior to recruiting career she worked in Media to include CBS, as well as other national networks. Her role while there was selling media time to the top tier Ad Agencies in San Francisco and the West Coast.

She has served on the Steering Committee of Citizens Climate Lobby, an all volunteer non-profit with a focus on Climate Change from the Congress. She has lobbied Congress over the past 5 years urging them to take action on Climate Change by passing a Carbon Fee and Dividend.

She has been active in fundraising for the Healdsburg Education Foundation in Healdsburg, California, WorldReader (e-books delivered to Africa and India) and the Antigua International School in Antigua Guatemala where she serves on the Advisory Board. Kathy is a graduate of the University of Nebraska where she received her Bachelors Degree in Business. In her down time she enjoys cycling and yoga.

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Justin Thornton, Executive Vice President, Head of Compensation and Benefits, Wells Fargo

Justin Thornton is Executive Vice President, Head of Compensation and Benefits, and a member of the Management Committee for Wells Fargo & Co.  In his current role, Justin is responsible for overseeing design, delivery and governance of the company’s global compensation, benefits, and pay functions. Previously, Justin has held roles at Wells Fargo and Barclays in finance, strategy and marketing, was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., and an investment banker at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette.  Justin has a dual degree in Economics and History from Yale University, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and has held FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses (inactive).

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Kaniaru Wacieni, Director, Business Development, Globeleq Advisors LP


Kaniaru Wacieni is Director, Business Development at Globeleq Advisors LP, a leading developer of independent power projects in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 1.2GW in operation.  He was previously an Executive Director in the Energy Investment Banking team at JPMorgan where he was responsible for executing both strategic advisory and capital-raising engagements for power and utility clients. Prior to JPMorgan, he began his career in investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he worked in both New York and London.


He is passionate about giving back and has been involved in several volunteer efforts in support of immigrant causes and expanding education access.

Kaniaru hails from Nairobi, Kenya and is a graduate of Harvard College, where he earned a BA with honors in Economics. He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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Martha Gallo, Trustee Emerita

Martha Gallo is the executive vice president and head of internal audit at AIG. She previously had over 30 years of experience with JPMorgan Chase, a global financial services firm with assets of $2.0 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. Most recently, Martha was responsible for the firm’s internal audit and credit review functions. Prior to this role, she served as Chief Operating Officer for Global Finance where she provided leadership for Global Finance’s operations and strategic technology agendas.

Martha joined JPMorgan in 1981. In addition to the roles previously mentioned, she has held numerous leadership positions including COO of Credit Risk, Co-Head of Technology, and CFO/COO of Technology and Operations.  She also served as the Chief Auditor for JPMorgan from 1998-2001.  Martha is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.  She has served on a number of other firm-wide committees including Risk Management, Technology, and the Corporate Diversity Council. In addition, she is a Director of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation and on the Board of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

Martha lives in Battery Park City with her husband and two daughters.  She is active in the Lower Manhattan community and was Co-President of the Battery Park City Parents and Neighbors Association from 2002-2007.  Martha is a graduate of Cornell University, with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies and a MBA in Accounting.

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Jane Leu, Trustee Emerita, Founder and CEO, Smarter Good

Jane Leu is Upwardly Global's founder. An internationally recognized social entrepreneur and expert on global immigration and workforce issues, Jane has nearly 20 years experience as an innovator in the social sector. In addition to Upwardly Global, Jane was on the founding side of numerous projects and enterprises, including the Craigslist nonprofit venture forum, RefugeeWorks, seven Welfare-to-Work programs, and the Hauser Research Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and most recently Smarter Good. As the Founder and CEO of Upwardly Global (2000-2009), she focused on creating the day when skilled immigrants from around the world will be seamlessly integrated in the U.S. workforce in ways that optimize their skills.

Upwardly Global's innovative idea and Jane's leadership has been recognized by many awards, including Ashoka: Innovators for the Public; the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award; the Jefferson Award for Community Service; as well as awards and support from the Manhattan Institute, Robin Hood Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Draper Richards Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Jane's vision and work has been covered by National Public Radio, BBC, CNN, TIME and the Wall Street Journal. Jane holds a master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree from Tufts University. She is on the Advisory Council of the Migration Policy Institute, Joshua Venture Group and Ashoka U, Ashoka's university division.

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