Meet the team
DIRECTOR OF BRAND AND OPERATING STRATEGY
COUNTRY DIRECTOR (GHANA)
COUNTRY DIRECTOR (RWANDA)
WHOLESALE ACCOUNT MANAGER
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION MANAGER
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
Board of Directors
Matt has a longstanding interest in African development, stemming from his six years living in Nigeria and his personal experience working with African women. Currently, Matt serves as Managing Director of Global Firmwide Campus Recruiting at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Matt began his professional career as a practicing attorney at Akin Gump LLP in Washington, DC where he advised on infrastructure projects in developing countries such as Bolivia, Morocco and Congo. In August 2011, Matt joined Google's People Operations function where he managed university outreach programs across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, and led Google's programs to develop and educate students from backgrounds underrepresented in the technology industry. Matt's honors include Fellow of the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics (2007), StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation Fellow (2007), 85 Broads' "Guy Who Rocks" (2011), and Devex 40 under 40 International Development Leaders in London (2011). Matt graduated magna cum laude from American University's Washington College of Law in 2003 and earned a bachelor's degree in economics and history from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000.
Lindsay Abrams is an experienced sales and merchandising professional with a background in the fashion industry and nonprofit sector. She currently leads sales and outreach for the Little Market, a nonprofit fair trade shop featuring ethically sourced, artisan-made products. Lindsay also serves as Executive Director of the Bruce C. Abrams Foundation which is dedicated to supporting mental health research and development worldwide. She holds a Master of Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business as well as a BA in Human and Organizational Development and English from Vanderbilt University.
Chris Birosak has over 30 years of Investment Banking, Leveraged Finance, and Private Equity investment experience. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of Indego Africa's Board of Directors (August 2017-present) and a Senior Advisor and Investment Committee member of Star Mountain Capital, an investment firm focused on growth capital investments in small and medium sized US businesses. His career includes former work as Managing Partner of North Cove Partners and as Managing Director of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity where he served on the investment committee and was responsible for investments in the Health Care and Energy sectors. Across his career, Chris has worked with early-stage businesses, middle-market companies as well as Fortune 500 companies having completed over 150 transactions. In addition to his corporate board experience, Chris has extensive experience in the non-profit sector and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and the Board of the Student Partner Alliance, an organization enabling inner-city youth to attend parochial schools. As a long time resident of Summit, NJ, Chris formerly served on the Board of the Summit Area YMCA and was a former President and Board member of the Summit Educational Foundation. Chris graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in economics and from the University of Detroit Mercy with an MBA in finance.
Steve Foresta is a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in New York. Foresta joined McGuireWoods from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he led its global business litigation unit from 2011 to 2016 and chaired its life settlements working group. Steve also devotes a substantial amount of time working with community service organizations. During the summer of 2009, Steve traveled to Rwanda with his son Michael to work with Indego Africa’s staff, artisan partners, and Generation Rwanda interns, and he’s been a devoted Indego Africa supporter ever since. Steve also serves as Chair of the New York Board of Advisors of Disability Rights Advocates. Steve graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1987 and received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar.
Conor is in his second invigorating decade of being a business lawyer, social entrepreneur, and policy wonk. He currently serves as General Counsel at Zipline International, the world’s first commercial drone delivery system to operate at a national scale in both Rwanda and Ghana. Conor previously led legal, regulatory, and government affairs as GC of Funding Circle, the world’s leading lending platform focused exclusively on small business. Conor also spent four years helping to build and scale Indego Africa, where he served in various roles as CFO, COO, and eventually CEO. He began his career as a corporate finance attorney at Latham & Watkins LLP. Active in the policy community, Conor is a Presidential Leadership Scholar, Truman Security Fellow, and has helped found the Marketplace Lending Association (a trade association supporting responsible financial innovation), the Responsible Business Lending Coalition (which authored the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights), and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise (a global initiative supporting the artisan sector). He currently serves on the alumni board of NYU Law and the financial institutions committee of the CA bar, and was recently recognized as 2017 Bay Area Corporate Counsel of the Year. Conor received his JD from NYU Law and his BA from Georgetown. He is admitted to the CA, DC, MA and NY bars.
Ryan is a Vice President in the Regulatory Audits & Inquiries group at Goldman Sachs & Co. He formerly practiced law for seven years in the New York office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. Before joining Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Ryan worked with several international governmental organizations devoted to international lawmaking, governance and enforcement, including the United Nations Liaison Office of CARE International in New York, the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. Ryan received a B.A. with highest honors in Political Science and Film at Vassar College in 1997; an M.A. in International Affairs at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in 2001; and a J.D. at Stanford Law School in 2002, where he served on the Executive Board of the Stanford Journal of International Law.
Elizabeth Lynch is Executive Director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase & Co. where she supports the firm’s investments to champion veteran employment, talent development, and small business growth. She has worked for over 20 years in mission-driven organizations, with a focus on empowering women and generating wealth for low-income households. Prior to joining the firm in 2017, Elizabeth served as the Head of Executive Coaching and Mentoring for Creative Metier, a UK-based consulting firm. Her work focused on leadership development and coaching for senior leaders in the East African financial sector. Elizabeth also held a variety of roles at Women's World Banking (WWB), one the largest global microfinance networks, most recently as the Head of the Center for Microfinance Leadership, where she was responsible for WWB’s global work in leadership development. Elizabeth holds an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in History from Haverford College. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.
Puneet Mansharamani has more than 15 years of investment experience. He has served as a Partner and Portfolio Manager at LSV Asset Management since 2006 and a Quantitative Analyst since 2000. As part of the quantitative and implementation team, Puneet is responsible for the day-to-day data management, portfolio implementation and ongoing enhancement of LSV's models and systems. He earned a B.S. in Engineering from Delhi University, Delhi College of Engineering and an M.S. degree in Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Case School of Engineering.
Joe comes to Indego Africa after over 30 years at American Express where he held leadership positions in finance, business transformation and reengineering, and revenue development. Most recently, he was Vice President, Strategic Transformation for American Express Global Business Travel, one of the largest corporate travel management companies worldwide. Prior to that, Joe was CFO of Global Business Travel. He has held cross product line CFO positions in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. During his career with American Express, he has lived in Bangkok, Rome, London, Frankfurt and Miami, as well as his base in New York. Joe holds an MBA in finance and accounting from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, and a BS in Economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Joe is an active member of the alumni board of the Owen School at Vanderbilt. He resides in Brooklyn.
Steph Stephenson is co-chair of the Cordes Foundation, working to advance the Foundation’s ethical fashion and sustainable supply chain initiatives. Prior to joining the Foundation, Steph held positions at Condé Nast and luxury fashion brands Alberta Ferretti and Maiyet. Passionate about the intersection of fashion and philanthropy, she serves on the board of directors for Indego Africa, a non-profit dedicated to lifting artisan women and their families out of poverty, and advisory boards of Soko, a Kenyan-based ethical jewelry brand, and Remake, an advocacy group committed to building the conscious consumer movement. As an active member of NEXUS, Steph co-chairs the NEXUS Impact Investing Working Group and the NEXUS Ethical Fashion Lab. She is a StartingBloc Fellow, Milken Institute Young Leader and Hive Global Leader.
Selom is a Vice President in the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He has extensive experience in management consulting having served clients for Ernst & Young LLP, Capgemini and Deloitte Consulting LLP. His industry experience spans across Financial Services, Technology, Healthcare, Energy and Consumer Business advising and executing on Transformation and Integration initiatives. A native of Ghana, Selom has always had a keen interest in giving back to his country and the continent as a whole and brings a unique perspective to programs and strategy. Selom obtained a BSc. in Computer and Electrical Engineering, an MSc. in Electrical Engineering from the Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science and an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Leveraging a 24-year career with Merrill Lynch, Karen joined Indego Africa in March 2012 as Chief Financial Officer, assumed the Chief Operating Officer role in June 2012 and was promoted to CEO on January 1, 2014. Karen was drawn to Indego Africa for both its mission, which intersects with her passion for education and helping women achieve financial independence, and for Indego Africa’s entrepreneurial culture. Karen was Managing Director of the US Business Selection and Conflicts group within Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch. Previous roles at Merrill included debt markets finance, investment banking business management and corporate budgeting. Karen received an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and her B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Emeritus Advisory Board
Leveraging 24 years of experience at Merrill Lynch, Karen drives Indego Africa forward with her keen business acumen, energy, wisdom, and vision. She was drawn to Indego Africa for both its mission - which intersects with her passion for women’s education and economic empowerment - and its entrepreneurial culture. Karen received an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and her B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Deirdre received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 2007 and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2010. After graduating law school where she focused on women's and refugee rights in Africa, Deirdre joined Indego Africa and took the reins of Indego's growing sales department as Creative Director. As Design Director, Deirdre designs Indego's product line and works on all things brand related. Deirdre has spoken at Parsons the New School for Design, Princeton University, FIT, NYU Stern, and Columbia Law on global markets, fashion as a social venture, ethical design, and sustainable sourcing. While at Indego she has managed partnerships with large designers and global brands such as Eileen Fisher, JCrew, Madewell, Anthropologie, Goop, Jonathan Adler, Target, and Google.
Country Director (Ghana)
Louisa Adu graduated in 2011 from University in Tamale, Ghana and in received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Tampere in Finland. A women’s empowerment and health care advocate, Louisa has worked as a trainer for socioeconomically marginalized women in Ghana’s northern region, teaching soap-making, sewing, and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, she has held roles as a Junior Nutrition Officer at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and as a Field Officer for Development Studies in a rural Ghanaian community.
Chantal Musabimana joined Indego Africa in July 2015 as its new Production Manager. Previously, she worked for two years as the president of Ibyishimo Cooperative, one of Indego's partner co-ops, and also served as the Business Development Officer at Inkomoko Business Development. She holds a BSc. in Business Information Technology from the National University of Rwanda.
Brittany is a design-driven change-maker. She plays a pivotal role in Indego Africa’s branding strategies and communications, combining her innovative and vibrant design aesthetic with her commitment to empowering African women artisans. She holds a B.A. in Communications and Digital Media Art from Manhattan College.
Modeste joined Indego Africa in June 2013 as the Kinyarwanda trainer for Ejo Hazaza cooperative. In February 2015, Modeste assumed the role of Education Associate, serving as a Teaching Manager at the Leadership Academy and the Head Teacher for all of Indego Africa's basic training programs. Prior to joining Indego, he worked for UAP Insurance Rwanda Ltd as a Marketing Executive for the Direct Sales Unit. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Kigali Independent University.
Development & Communications Director
Shelby plays a central role in developing Indego Africa’s communications content and executing its fundraising and evaluation strategies. Prior to joining Indego Africa, Shelby worked for a variety of human rights organizations and women-focused nonprofits where she developed a passion for youth education, grassroots activism, and international development. Shelby is a City Year AmeriCorps alum and holds a dual B.A. in Journalism and Women's Studies from the University at Albany. She earned her MPA with a concentration in International Policy and Nonprofit Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University in 2016.
Finance & Administration Manager
Godwin joined Indego Africa in January 2016 as a trainer for the Basic Business Training program at AJ Cooperative before working as a Finance Intern at Indego Africa’s Kigali office. Today, Godwin oversees the organization's financial and administrative operations in Rwanda. Prior to joining Indego Africa, Godwin worked with FAO, Laterite, Sanejo, and Kepler. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics.
Wholesale Account Manager
Annie is a motivated merchant dedicated to showcasing Indego Africa’s beautiful product assortment in the right places at the right time. She is a lifelong supporter of celebrating and featuring women artisans in the fashion industry, and Indego Africa allows her to combine this passion with her experience in merchandising. Prior to joining Indego Africa, Annie worked in merchandising and planning positions at Macy’s and Ann Taylor. These experiences gave her the necessary knowledge to grow Indego Africa’s wholesale business and overall mission. She holds a B.S. in Textile and Apparel Management with a focus in merchandising from The University of Missouri-Columbia.
Emelienne is one of Indego Africa’s first artisan partners, the founder of Cocoki Cooperative, and a former Education Associate at our Leadership Academy in Kigali. She is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, a Peace Through Business business plan competition winner, and an influential mentor and leader in communities across Rwanda.
Yves joined Indego Africa in 2013 as a teaching intern for Ejo Hazaza Cooperative before finding employment with Cogebank. He rejoined Indego in 2015 as a full-time Education Associate, providing business instruction and guidance to our artisan partners and students across Rwanda. Yves holds a Bachelors Degree in Business and Economic Studies with a specialization in Accounting from Kigali Independent University. He also holds a secondary school certificate in trade and accounting.
Solomon studied at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Before joining Indego Africa, he worked with the Forest Services Division in Sunyani as a Field Personnel. Solomon also served as a Delivery Officer at Vodafone Ghana for two years. In March 2016, Solomon joined Indego as a Production Intern in Kumasi and was quickly promoted to Country Associate in which he assists with all production and education projects in Ghana.
Production & Fulfillment Associate
As a maker and self-described craft nerd, Markisha brings a passion for product development and social entrepreneurship to the Indego team. She is the founder of Junior Baby Hatter, a kids brand that donates 10% of its profits to support homeless moms in NYC. Before joining Indego, she volunteered at organizations that promoted economic independence for women, including Gifted Hands’ P.E.T. (Potential, Empowerment and Train) program. Markisha is an active business member of the New York City Fair Trade Coalition and holds an MBA, BFA, and AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Director of Brand and Operating Strategy
Sapna has over 15 years of experience within the luxury accessories industry, designing for Coach, Calvin Klein, as well as launching the handbag collections for Rag & Bone, Eddie Borgo and most recently Rosetta Getty. Her expertise ranges from design and development to production and operations, as well as building brand and sales strategy. In 2014, Sapna shifted directions towards artisan development through Nest’s professional fellowship program and co-founded Khokho, an artisan social enterprise in Eswatini, working with women weavers from rural communities. She has leveraged her industry experience to help build capacity and impact for artisans around the world, including partnering with UNHCR in Kakuma Refugee Camp.