Alexandre Waldman: VP Business Development and Strategy
Alexandre, a native of France, has been interested in Africa since his first humanitarian experience after high school in Togo. Since then he has set foot several times on the African continent, first in Burkina Faso for a schooling association, then in Uganda, working for a successful social business - Green Bio Energy - as a training and capacity building consultant.
As VP of BizDev, Alex is InvestED's primary contact with potential business partners. Prior to joining InvestED, Alexandre also worked in the INSEAD Social Innovation Center on Humanitarian Logistics and Cross-Sector Collaboration problematics, for SANOFI pharmaceutical on the training of lead researchers to open innovation perspectives and the design of crowdsourcing approaches, and, most recently, as a student assistant in the Danish CBS Sustainability Platform, on joint university partnerships and Africa development strategy.
A musician since he was 4, dancer since 11, Alexandre spends much of his non-working time practicing, nurturing and sharing his passions. He has recently been giving swing dance classes in Accra, Ghana.
Alexandre holds a Master in Management from EDHEC Business School and wrote his thesis while on an exchange program at the Copenhagen Business School. He speaks fluent French, English, and business Spanish.
Ariel Diallo: Country Representative | Mali
Ariel Diallo is Country Representative, MALI at InvestED. His duties include representing InvestED in Mali, providing and developing overall leadership and strategic direction to InvestED Mali country program. He also does voice-overs, translations, and localization of lessons.
Ariel has been working in the field of education for 4 years and has participated in and co-managed different projects on expanding online learning and mobile learning throughout West Africa. As a former Director of Research at Open University of West Africa, Ariel co-managed the first mobile pilot in two refugee camps (Krisan and Ampain) in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The pilot consisted of preloading smartphones with an entrepreneurship course from the Ecole Politechnique Federale de la Lausanne (EPFL). He played a major role in the success of the program by facilitating learning via mobile phones.
Ariel’s primary interest is the popularization of education in Africa. He is motivated and inspired by projects that contribute to the empowerment of people in Africa through education. Dedicated to this interest, in his community, he provides consultation services and encourages individuals who are working towards the expansion of learning opportunities. Ariel also provides tutoring services to youth who are interested in learning English language and some aspects of computer.
Ariel graduated from Azusa Pacific University, California, with a BA in Political Science. He speaks Bambara, French, and English. Ariel enjoys reading, watching and playing soccer games.
Ayuma Michelle: Lead Storyteller
Ayuma believes in the power of stories breaking boundaries in the pursuit of positive change. She realized this early in life when at age 14 she won over the respect of school bullies by reading out her own story of change.
She is a Professional Storyteller with 8 years of experience in the fields of Broadcast Journalism (Radio), Newspaper and Magazine Writing, Public Relations, Humanitarian Communication and Theatre Acting. She is also a Social Innovator, Leadership Coach, Community Builder, and Lifelong Learner. Ayuma is a fluent English and Kiswahili speaker.
Before InvestED, Ayuma founded a Social Enterprise based in Nairobi called LETS which inspires the application of authentic storytelling by female and executive leaders for adaptive leadership that motivates action. She also worked at CARE International’s East & Central Africa’s Regional Management Unit as the Regional Communications Lead for 10 countries.
Ayuma has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Daystar University with a double concentration in Electronic Media and Public Relations. She is an Amani Institute Fellow with a postgraduate certificate in Social Innovation Management.
She is also a +Acumen Corps Global Community Member and an Executive Advisory Council Member at the Women Economic Forum 2017.
Charles Ndungu: Animator
Charles is a multimedia developer with expertise in 2D and 3D animation. He studied advanced multimedia in Malaysia, and then went back home to Kenya to contribute to various industries with the dream of seeing a vibrant content and culture industry grow. He has worked and consulted for a variety of industries including media, finance, advertising, production, and animation.
He has worked for Royal Media Services, where he revamped Citizen TV’s station graphics, KTN Television, where he developed a series of station and program graphics, and Tinga Tinga Tales, a joint Walt Disney and Tiger Aspect production, where he led two teams in the production of 52 ten-minute episodes for television which won several BAFTA awards.
He has also worked at MCL-Saatchi and Saatchi East Africa, where he enjoyed being a senior art director. At MCL, Charles created commercials for some of the biggest brands in East Africa including Yana Tires (Sameer Group), Githunguri Dairies (one of East Africa’s premier dairy cooperatives), Reckit Benkiser, and Out of Africa Group. Last year Charles had the opportunity to work in Accra, Ghana on campaign work for Rt President John Dramani Mahama. His animation work, including a political satire comedy skit, hit viral status in 48 hours.
At InvestED, Charles works in our animation team and hopes to develop cutting edge high quality animation content for our organization. He firmly believes in having fun while working and thus can be a little of a workaholic.
Chris Czerwonka: Chief Innovation Officer
Chris lives life through a mantra to explore, learn, share, teach, and create change. He strives to achieve this by driving social impact in emerging markets through the intersections of entrepreneurship, technology, and creative design.
Chris has three years of field experience living in West Africa working for global development sector initiatives centered on financial inclusion, social entrepreneurship, and sustainable business. His technical assistance focused on driving program growth, operational sustainability, and social performance, and he advised senior management and boards around strategy, partnerships, risk management, and training initiatives. By contributing to regulatory and supervisory initiatives for banking sector reform and entrepreneurship promotion in Africa, he helps to advance best practices, transparency, financial literacy, and alignment with collective development goals. Chris holds keen interests in using writing, compelling storytelling, and human-centered design to help people improve their lives. Goals to interact with amazing people and do work that matters led to fulfilling collaboration with the rest of the InvestED team.
Chris is based in Berlin and was previously with the global management consulting firm Deloitte for more than a decade. He holds a degree in Economics from Carleton College and loves learning and refining language skills; he speaks business-level French, conversational German, and basic Spanish – and is currently learning Akan and Swahili.
Christopher Matheis: Advisor
Chris is a Senior Analyst at an Orange County based investment management firm where he works closely with the firm’s portfolio managers to construct and manage customized portfolios for individual institutional clients. In addition to his discretionary portfolio responsibilities, he provides strategic advisory services to intuitional clients’ hedge fund and opportunistic portfolios.
In addition, Chris actively works with entrepreneurs in his community, providing cross-industry business strategy and financial modeling consulting services to early-stage firms. He serves on the Investment Committee at the Orange County Cove Fund.
Chris holds a BA in Business Economics, a BA in Political Science, and a Certificate in Technology Management (TMP) from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Dan Frost: Co-Founder | CTO
Dan Frost has extensive experience in education, software development, and policy. His Ph.D. is in artificial intelligence and automated reasoning. For the last twenty years he has been a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, in the departments of Computer Science and Informatics. He has taught topics ranging from artificial intelligence and software engineering to social impacts of computerization and game engine design. Dan led UC Irvine's innovative Computer Game Science major, which he co-founded in 2010.
Dan is a leader in computer science education policy. He was Principal Investigator on a $600,000 National Science Foundation grant that brought computer science, game design, and cultural education to American Indian high school students, who created games that retold traditional stories and cultural practices. Dan's 1997 paper "Fourth Grade Computer Science" has been widely influential and is credited with making a significant contribution to the recent upswing in computer science education in primary and secondary schools. Dan chaired the K-8 Computer Science Curriculum Design Committee sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is currently co-writing the Framework for K-12 Computer Science Education, under the auspices of ACM, Code.org, and many states and school districts.
Dan's heart lies in developing software that solves problems and extends people's capabilities. He worked for 12 years as a programmer in New York City, Boston, and - for the World Health Organization - Geneva. Dan is committed to open source software, and developed a popular Java-based open source game engine.
Dan's AB is from Harvard University, where he majored in Folklore and Mythology.
Francis Okeke: Co-Director of Expansion | Africa
Francis Okeke has a background in Social Entrepreneurship. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, team-building, development and gender issues, education, e-learning, MOOCs, social and economic development, African Literature and Politics, and also enjoys cultural appreciation in all its forms. Francis believes that education has the key to unlock doors, and access to education shouldn't be restricted. Africa shouldn't be left out in this quest.
In 2013, he was part of the team that helped organize the launch of Impact Hub Accra (IHA) - a collaborative co-working space // incubator for startups in Ghana. To date, IHA has become one of the most sustainable and impactful nodes in the Ghanaian entrepreneurship ecosystem.
He is a lifelong learner with over four years of working experience in online education in Sub-Saharan Africa. He worked as an Associate Director for Gambia, with the Open University of West Africa (OUWA) from 2013 to 2014. Still with OUWA, He became the Program Manager for the outpost in Kumasi (the capital city of the Asante Region of Ghana) where he helped to pilot online entrepreneurship training for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and recruitment of students for the University of the People (Uopeople) - providing the best alternative option for those who could not afford the traditional (in-house) universities, thereby opening the doors of higher education to the community.
Francis is an undergraduate Business Administration student at the University of the People.
Ibrahim Amidu: Country Representative | Ghana
Ibrahim is a motivated team player, startup enthusiast and a lifelong learner. Ibra is a third year student at the Islamic Online University pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Education and taking Bsc Computer Science at University of the People. He’s a beginner in computer programming learning Python. Ibrahim is also passionate about education projects that expand learning across Africa. He created Education Made in Africa Foundation due to his desire to help develop a sense of moral character in Ghanaian citizens and in all institutions across the country. He believes when there’s an upright moral character in a person, it would deter the hungry from stealing.
He worked as a Facility Manager in Ghana then Associate Director for Gambia during his tenure at the Open University of West Africa. When he was back in Ghana he went on to play the same role as Associate Director but this time co-directing OUWA’s partnership with University of the People. He was also the Co-Manager for the first mobile pilot of OUWA in which an entrepreneurship course from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology was featured.
Ibra speaks English, Sissala (native tongue), Ga, Twi and basic Arabic. He also foundered Muslim Youth Initiative to help contribute and serve his community and also inspire the youth to take charge of their lives. He’s also a member at Voice of La.
John Roberts: Co-Founder | CEO
John Roberts is a serial social entrepreneur. He has spent 10 years growing non-profit, hybrid and for-profit models with a focus in sub-Saharan Africa. John is also an expert in online education with regards to the African market. The various ventures he has co-founded have raised over one million dollars in philanthropic and social impact investment capital.
John co-founded and ran the Open University of West Africa (OUWA). OUWA worked with institutions like Udacity, Coursera, edX, University of the People and EPFL. OUWA aided these institutions’ online education offerings to penetrate the African market, retain their students, as well as localize learning. OUWA later spun off their campus to become Impact Hub Accra (IHA). John was instrumental in getting IHA off the ground. He helped fundraise when IHA was getting started and helped negotiate key partnerships which have now led to sustainability.
John spent 10 years living, studying and working abroad. He speaks fluent French, traveler's Spanish, and basic Mandarin. He has a Bachelor's Degree in International Affairs from the American University of Paris and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the National University of Singapore.
John has consulted for the World Bank (on entrepreneurship education in Ghana) and the University of California at Irvine (on establishing an African focused research institute).
John is a Fellow of the Unreasonable Institute and a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum.
Julie Monniot-Gaillis: Co-Founder | COO
Julie is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at InvestED. She has over 8 years of experience in International Development work, International Humanitarian Law, and start up technology Localization processes.
Julie has created and developed multiple curricula in International Human and Humanitarian Law for international aid organizations as well as a Universities in the US and Mexico. Her past experience also lies in International Development ranging from West Africa to Eastern Europe.
Before joining InvestED, Julie worked for MyFitnessPal as the Localization Coordinator, bringing the program from an English centric focus to a multi lingual-international app of 15 languages. She created the Localization processes that lead MyFitnessPal to be the top health and fitness app. Her prior experience was focused on the dissemination of International Humanitarian Law through the American Red Cross. There she developed multiple curricula for Master level programs around the country.
Julie holds a BA from the American University of Paris and a MSc in NGOs and Development from the London School of Economics (LSE). During her time at LSE she was published at the British Library of Political and Economic Science. Julie is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
Kayee Au: Co-Founder | Chief Creative Officer
Kayee is the Chief Creative Officer at InvestED and oversees all production of creative content (animation and illustration). She works in partnership with artists and entrepreneurs to develop the artistic design strategy of the mobile app. Kayee is a strong believer in using good storytelling and art to positively impact communities worldwide.
Prior to joining InvestED, Kayee worked in Arusha, Tanzania where she oversaw the production of a 13-episode financial literacy comic series, to be distributed throughout East Africa. She traveled throughout Italy with international filmmakers, creating award-winning short films and animations that have been screened in Brazil, Kenya, Italy, Argentina, and the United States. Her creative strengths lie in illustration, storyboarding, and 2D animation. She has worked in feature film production at Dreamworks Animation, and was the concept artist for video games such as Thralled and GunTalk.
Kayee graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Animation and Digital Arts. She has also studied animation and fine arts in the Studio Art Center International (SACI) University in Florence, Italy.
Kayee is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese; and conversational in Spanish and Italian.
NEIL SAHOTA: ADVISOR
Neil Sahota (萨冠军) is an IBM Master Inventor and World Wide Business Development Leader in the IBM Watson Group. With over 15+ years of experience in business, he works with Global Fortune 500 clients and high growth business partners to ideate next generation products/solutions powered by Watson. Parts of Neil’s responsibilities include identifying target markets, developing business cases, and creating the market launch strategy. Prior to this role, he was a Thought Leader Consultant and Practice Leader in IBM Global Business Services where he was responsible for the sales and delivery of complex consulting engagements spanning business strategy, new product development, revenue optimization, process improvement, and business and system integration. His work experience spans multiple industries including healthcare, life sciences, retail, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, automotive, telecommunications, media/communication, and government. Moreover, Neil is one of the few IBMers selected for IBM's Corporate Service Corps leadership program that pairs leaders with NGOs to perform community-driven economic development projects. For his assignment, Neil lived and worked in Ningbo, China where he partnered with Chinese corporate CEOs to create a leadership development program.
Neil is also an active volunteer in IBM’s Academic Initiative program that creates partnership opportunities between the IBM and the country’s top universities. He also serves as a business mentor for IBM’s Extreme Blue program that is an incubator for new product ideas. With Neil’s guidance, IBM developed new products and services in the areas of Business Analytics, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Energy, Mobile Channel Development, and Social Media Solutions.
Moreover, Neil partners with entrepreneurs to define their products, establish their target markets, and structure their companies. He is a member of the Tech Coast Angels and The Cove Fund Investment committee and assists startups with investor funding. Neil also serves as a judge in the Butterworth Product Competition, mentor in the K5 Launch accelerator program, and coach for various start up competitions.
In addition to his professional work, Neil actively volunteers his time to help nonprofits and foundations with event management, fund raising, grant reviews, and site visits. Neil is also a dedicated member of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Alumni Association and a former member on the UCI Alumni Board of Directors and Executive Committee. As the former VP of Programs, he developed the Anteater MeetUps, Virtual Roundtables, and cross-school partnerships for joint events. Neil also serves on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Marathon and actively supports their work with the OC Kids program in fighting childhood obesity.
Patrick Steele: Co-Founder
Patrick is a Founder and Investor in InvestED. Prior to joining InvestED, Patrick was the Co-founder & Vice President at Open University of West Africa. During his tenure with Open University of West Africa, Patrick was essential in forming the core strategy behind student engagement and retention. He also helped craft many of the core business model components.
Patrick is also the owner of MeetTheMasters.com, an Art Education tool.During his tenure at MeetTheMasters Patrick took one of world’s leading art enrichment curricula from the classroom into the digital age. First in software form and now online, Patrick made this accessible to homeschoolers, charter schools and anyone worldwide wanting the award-winning program.
Patrick has a double Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business, and Communication Studies from Westmont College.
Randy Kareez: Animator
Randy is a simple young ambitious animator, currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. He received a degree in Film and Animation, having majored in animation.
He is versed in both 3D and 2D animations. Ever since he was a child he has been interested in film production and anything to do with media. He always wanted to draw but was not good at it thus his interest in motion graphics and animation started developing. Randy likes telling stories through the animations he develops.
He has been doing animations for different companies as a freelance for about three years where he designed a number of motion graphics both in 3D and 2D.
He interned at KTN Television developing montages and different designs for the station.
He is outgoing and likes making and listening to music. He also knows a little bit of how to DJ. He is aggressive and committed. He enjoys making new friends and learning more from other people.
He is currently part of InvestED. He works with the animation team creating and developing content.
Sarah Frost: Software Quality Assurance Engineer I
Sarah is passionate about understanding audiences and creating responsive, intuitive technological projects.
Sarah graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Anthropology. While at Barnard she worked with curators at the American Museum of Natural History to digitally repatriate a collection of Malagan carvings to a tribe in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. This repatriation allows young carvers to learn how to carve sacred objects and help the tradition of carving survive. She created an ebook to serve as a cultural repository, and designed a website to provide more information about the project and allow members of the community to contribute information about the carving process.
Sarah has worked for the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. as the project manager for the museum’s Google Cultural Institute account. She spearheaded uploading sections of the collection and worked with several departments and Google liaisons to create new content.
At InvestED, Sarah works with the technology team and the field team to oversee testing of the app and other software products. She is also involved with building an internal tool to improve the internal database dashboard.
Sarah believes in the positive power of technology, and is dedicated to using it to help small business owners grow their companies. In her free time she enjoys reading science fiction, exploring Southern California, and spending time with her dogs.
Tambi Kontogom: Country Representative | Burkina Faso
Tambi’s present and primary focus (workwise) is as a voiceover artist and a market researcher, at InvestED. Tambi graduated from the University of Ouagadougou, in Mathematics and Physics.
In 2009, He attended a Teacher College, and then headed to Shalom School (a primary school in Burkina Faso) for an internship from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, he began his work with the Open University of West Africa (OUWA) as the Mobile Platform Manager. Tambi played an essential role in data collection for OUWA. He then moved back to Ouagadougou for OUWA operations, as an Associate Director in Burkina Faso, from 2013 to 2015. There, he was instrumental in juxtaposing and coordinating relations between the OUWA the University of Ouagadougou. He also played a significant role in managing an entrepreneurship MOOC collaboration between OUWA and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Burkina Faso.
Tambi speaks fluent French, English, Dioula, Bwamu, and Moore (his native language). He likes travelling, reading, and is a lifelong learner.
Tambi is currently pursuing his second Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the University of the People (UoPeople).
Wes Wasson: Investor | Advisor
Wes Wasson is a long-time tech industry veteran who spent more than 20 years building and growing successful companies in Silicon Valley. Over the course of his career, he has served as a senior executive at companies of all sizes, from fast-growing tech startups to multibillion-dollar industry leaders.
Most recently, Wes served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Citrix Systems, a leader in mobile and cloud technology. During his tenure at Citrix, Wes was a key driver of the business, product and marketing strategy that helped Citrix grow from a single-product company into a global industry leader employing more than 10,000 people worldwide. Prior to Citrix, Wes held senior leadership roles at Sun Microsystems and McAfee.
In 2010, Wes was voted “Top Executive Leader in Silicon Valley” by a survey of employees conducted by the San Francisco Bay Area News Group. He stepped down from his role at Citrix in 2013 to focus more time applying his experience in business and technology to help people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty through entrepreneurship.
Wes currently serves on several public and private boards, including Marketo (Nasdaq: MKTO), a market-leading cloud software vendor, and DreamStart Labs, a poverty alleviation nonprofit that delivers innovative software to help micro-entrepreneurs in developing regions. He also continues to invest time in Silicon Valley as a consultant and advisor with a wide a variety of technology startups.