OUR BOARD

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Felipe Arango

For two decades, Felipe’s energy and attention have focused on advancing sustainable development as an advisor, a facilitator, a social entrepreneur, a speaker, a coach and an activist. Felipe co-founded the BSD Consulting Network, and for 18 years acted as Managing Partner. He led offices in Colombia (2006), Mexico (2010) and the United States (2013), and led global initiatives and partnerships to provide knowledge and solutions for sustainable development. As CEO / CFO, he led the acquisition of BSD Consulting by ELEVATE in 2018. Felipe advises investors, businesses, public / development agencies, civil society organizations and educational bodies in the design and implementation of projects / strategies towards sustainable development. He has advised organizations worldwide in the design and roll-out of sustainability strategies and systems.  Felipe has been deeply engaged in the development of the Fairtrade movement and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and most recently, the Integrated Thinking / Reporting (IIRC) and Welcoming (Welcoming America) movements. In the development arena, he has led the design and implementation of programs geared towards the development of sustainable supply chains, the strengthening of sustainable management systems in SMEs, social entrepreneurship, democratic governance strengthening, gender equality, financial education, digital empowerment of small farmers and indigenous communities, worker engagement, human rights, sustainable urbanism, financial inclusion and capacity building for sustainable development. In the impact investment arena, Felipe has supported financial institutions in the implementation of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Equator Principles, the IRIS catalog, the Global Compact, the IFC Performance Standards and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Financial Sector Supplement. Once an investment banking analyst on Wall Street, he designs systems and develops capacities for the integration of impact and ESG issues in investment decisions, due diligence and monitoring processes. Felipe has previous experience as an investment banking analyst for JP Morgan in New York, and as a program coordinator for the Colombian National Ministry of Education / Escuela Galán for the strengthening of democracy. He has Bachelor degrees in Political Science (International Relations) and Business Administration from Boston University.

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Isabelle Barres

Isabelle is a creative strategic leader with a proven track-record of building effective relationships and driving change within complex multi-cultural, multi-stakeholder environments. For over two decades, Isabelle led a series of unique, bold and impactful initiatives to improve access and impact of financial services for the 1.7 billion people still unbanked, fueling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She has an excellent track record building and inspiring teams  and developing strategic alliances. She has leveraged partnerships and technology to minimize risk and maximize impact for sustainability and inclusion at a global level. She has influenced  providers, policy makers, governments and funders to adopt responsible and fair practices through advocacy, standards, certification and capacity building. Isabelle is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She has an MBA from McGill University, a  post-graduate degree in Development Economics from the Sorbonne, a BA in Economics from the University of Montréal, as well as professional certificates from the HBS Leadership program and the Fletcher School.

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Mark Elsdon

Mark is the President of the WCCN Board of Directors. He has served as Executive Director and Campus Co-Pastor at Pres House, a campus church and student apartment community at UW-Madison, since 2004. Born in the Midwest to immigrants from England, Mark has lived in the southern, western, and eastern parts of the United States. He has a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison. He is passionate about bringing business skills, organizational leadership, and effective strategy together with mission commitment for non-profit success. When not working Mark can be found training and racing his bike in the hills surrounding Madison.

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Grecia De La O Abarca

Grecia is an international development specialist from Mexico who has worked and volunteered in various international organizations, nonprofits, and educational programs in the U.S. and the Latin American region. Currently, she is the Lead Analyst for Mexico and Central America at Southern Pulse and a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank. Early in her career, Grecia spoke at the United Nations’ headquarters and shared a message about youth inclusion in high-level decision-making positions. As a Mexican woman, a passionate economist, and a Sustainable Development Goals advocate, she has shared her experiences and expertise with young people in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Recently she was awarded with the 2019 Youth Leadership Award for the Promotion of international policy and political culture in Mexico, given by the State Government of Guerrero, as well as she has been a speaker and facilitator in numerous training programs for the 2030 Agenda. Grecia holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in International Policy and Development.

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Layla Kaiksow

Layla is the Vice President of the WCCN Board of Directors. She was raised in Madison, WI and spent 12 years living overseas in Palestine working in various fields of international development. She has extensive experience working in fair trade and is a World Fair Trade Organization certified Fair Trade Auditor. Layla currently serves as the Executive Director of a small non-profit, Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy, whose mission is to promote the ongoing development of a vibrant and sustainable economy in Palestine by building bridges and supporting the indigenous business community. Layla is fluent in spoken Arabic and loves to read and spend time with her children. She is passionate about racial and social justice and believes firmly in walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Layla now lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Mohammed, and her two children, Nishan and Zayna. 

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John Schroder

John is a commercial and residential banker with 25+ years of experience in banking and business administration. Currently he is the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager at Great Midwest Bank, SSB. John was first exposed to the realities of the working poor in Latin America as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica (1996-1998). His assignment was to provide business consulting services to micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses where he learned first-hand the limits lack of financing places on a growing business. After returning home, John continued supporting entrepreneurs as a volunteer instructor with the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute in Milwaukee where he developed and delivered classes on bank credit to entrepreneurs in both English and Spanish. Other volunteering experiences include serving as the PTO Treasurer at his children’s school and the Treasurer and Grants and Giving Coordinator for the Milwaukee Returned Peace Corps Association.

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Gloria Castillo

Gloria was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and has spent the last decade working in Colombia and North America with various sectors of society and stakeholders on conservation of natural resources, community engagement, and equity and inclusion. Currently, Gloria works at Madison Gas & Electric as a Commercial and Industrial Account Representative where she supports and connects businesses customers to energy solutions including access to renewable energy. In previous roles with local and national Non-profit organizations, local governments and educational institutions, Gloria led and contributed to programs and initiatives that promote thriving communities and healthy environments through a combination of strong collaborative partnerships and coalitions, program development, and effective communication across diverse communities and contexts. Her education includes a Bachelor's degree in Ecology and a Master’s degree in Environment in Resources with a certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies from UW-Madison. 

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Tom Schwei

Tom is the Vice President, General Manager and CFO of DNASTAR, Inc., where he has been employed since 2004. Tom has overall day-to-day responsibility for the business operations, finance, sales and marketing.  Tom also serves as Chief Financial Officer for Scarab Genomics LLC, a company affiliated through common ownership with DNASTAR. Tom has 35 years of business experience, including 19 years working in senior management positions with biotech companies. Tom is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Frank Staniszewski

Frank is the Treasurer of the WCCN Board of Directors. As President of Madison Development Corp, Frank directed all business lending, business assistance, real estate development and housing management programs, providing service to over 400 small businesses with financing and/or financial management assistance. He also serves on the City of Madison Economic Development Committee, and Board of Directors of Independent Living Inc., a Dane County provider of housing and services for the elderly.  Formerly served on the Boards of a local employment & training organization and a technology business incubator. Frank received his B.A. from The Ohio State University and received his M.A. and post graduate study in Public Administration at the University of Texas.

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Jordan van Rijn

Jordan is Senior Economist for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin- Madison's department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. He has 10 years of experience in international development, microfinance, and economic research in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Prior to joining CUNA, Jordan worked as a Senior Loan Officer for Accion New Mexico, a non-profit microcredit organization. Before that, he worked as a Project Associate for ideas42, where he utilized insights from behavioral economics to improve microcredit services in Colombia. Jordan holds a PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics from UW-Madison and is a Fellow at UW-Madison's Center for Financial Security. He also holds a master's degree in International Development and Economics from UC-San Diego and a BA in International Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. 

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Megan Vander Wyst

Megan is the Secretary of the WCCN Board of Directors. She works at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin managing the FoodShare Outreach team. In this role Megan spends time in the community assisting clients as well as building partnerships with community organizations to better serve clients and tackle food insecurity in our local community. Prior to working at Second Harvest, Megan worked at a wholesale artisan fair trade company where she supported operations at the Wisconsin based warehouse, communicated frequently with South American staff and artisan groups, and assisted with the planning of educational tours in South America. Megan speaks Spanish and has spent time studying, living, and volunteering in Central and South America.

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Leilani Yats

Leilani is the Founder of Naturally Smart Travel, a tour coordination company partnering impact investors and social entrepreneurs in the developing world through immersive travel. Earlier in her career she gained experience in the Los Angeles startup industry, growing small domestic teams into international success. Leilani has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Master's degree in Business Management. 

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Laura Graham, Emeritus

Laura is an attorney, currently working for the non-profit Community Immigration Law Center (CILC) in Madison, where she represents detained individuals in deportation proceedings. Previously, she worked for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. Before going to law school, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras and El Salvador, and AmeriCorps volunteer on the Hopi reservation in Arizona, and worked for the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C. She obtained a B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, an M.A. in International Relations from the Universidad del Salvador (Buenos Aires) as a Rotary Peace Fellow, and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Laura speaks Spanish and has lived, worked, and studied in Central and South America for over five years.

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Bob Lamb, Emeritus

Bob is Vice President of Business Banking at US Bank. He is a premier SBA lender with 20 years of banking experience and extensive community service. 

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Sue Lloyd, Emeritus

Sue is one of the original founders of Working Capital for Community Needs. She has several decades of experience spearheading community investment and economic justice projects.

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Eliza Waters, Emeritus

Eliza was introduced to WCCN as a master’s student in Agricultural and Applied Economics conducting research on credit markets in Nicaragua. Following her graduation in 2001, Eliza served as Assistant Director of the BASIS Collaborative Research Program, an international research program funded by USAID. After a family sabbatical to Peru, she worked at Forward Community Investments, a community development financial institution. Since 2015 she has been working as a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She has an undergraduate degree in Public Policy from Duke University.