Impact Programs Manager
Bennadette holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health –Epidemiology and population Health statistics from Maseno University Kenya, Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Health Psychology from the University of South Africa and is certified as a Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse. Prior to joining Nuru in January, 2014, she worked as an Art/Safe Motherhood Program/Nurse Manager- with Catholic Medical Mission Board in South Sudan. She has also worked as an Emergency Medical nurse and Study Coordinator in Kenya and Eastern Congo with (Medicins-Sans-frontieres), and as a nurse nutritionist with UNICEF in Dadaab refugee camp north eastern Kenya.
Pauline Wambeti has a diverse and extensive background in international development. Before joining Nuru in September 2013, Pauline worked for the United Nations Environment Programme at the African regional office in Nairobi. Pauline was also a Programme Officer for the National Organization for Peer Educators; a Business Development Officer for K-Rep Bank Ltd; and a Program Facilitator for Doctors of the World. Pauline has a BA in Community Development and is currently pursuing an MBA at African Nazarene University.
Victor Charo Simon
Healthcare Assistant Program Manager
Victor has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health Science from Makerere University, Uganda, and certificates in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Washington/University of Nairobi, and in Project Planning and Management, Dynamic Leadership, Financial intelligence from World Vision. Prior to joining Nuru, he served as a Public Health officer with the Ministry of Health, where he led the Community health workers and natural leaders in implementing community health strategy. He has wide experience in water sanitation and Hygiene activities, home based care and support for people living with HIV in the community and maternal and child health.
Agricultural Extension and Rural Livelihoods Program Manager
Alemseged is a graduate of Gondar University and completed a double major in Applied Geography and Environmental Science. Prior to joining Nuru Ethiopia, he worked for the Boreda Woreda agriculture office as an expert and head of office leading a crop production project, managing a watershed project, and advised farmers on animal husbandry. Alemseged decided to join Nuru because he has witnessed the impacts of hunger and extreme poverty and realizes the farmers have the capacity to address their food security problems.
Nuru Ethiopia Strategic Advisor
Becca joins Nuru after receiving her MA in Development Practice at UC Berkeley. While there she focused her studies on social and environmental justice, particularly in regards to rural communities. During the program she also taught impact evaluation and worked with a non-profit in Colombia to build a monitoring and evaluation framework for their youth empowerment programs. Before Berkeley, she worked in finance in New York City. She earned her BA in Business Administration at Boston University. In her spare time you can find her planning her next outdoor activity – hiking, camping, biking, farming, picnicking, etc.
Education Program Manager
Feven has a MA in Sociology from Indra Gandhi National Open University and a Bachelors of Education in Biology from Debube University, Dilla College of Teacher Education and Health Sciences. Prior to joining Nuru Ethiopia, Feven worked as a subject teacher at multiple schools for six years in Addis Ababa. Similarly, she has worked as an English Language instructor for Turkish nationals since 2008. Her most recent experience before joining Nuru Ethiopia is working as a business partner at Emas Advert.
Leadership Program Manager
Ms Birhane Araya, has extensive years of experience in the fields of Education, Gender, Leadership and Youth empowerment, in governmental and nonprofit organizations. She got her 1st degree in History and MA degree in Gender and Development Studies. To mention few of her experiences, before joining Nuru International as Leadership Program Manager; she served as Project Coordinator in the USAID Project, which afforded her the skills to lead projects, work on fundraising and partnership networks, deliver training’s, and capacitate government institutions on targeted programming. She had Director and Lecturer job experiences in a public university. Her belief in giving back to the community through voluntary services, trainings and motivational speech for the youth, gave her the opportunity to represent her cause in a prestigious international leadership program. She is passionate about gender and youth empowerment, leadership, civic engagement and politics.
Zerihun graduated with a Master’s degree in Tropical Animal Health, specializing in Epidemiological Data Collection and Processing, from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium. He also holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Addis Ababa University. Before coming to Nuru he worked as a Field Team Leader, Monitoring & Evaluation Team Leader, and head of the GIS & Data Management Department at the Southern Tsetse Eradication Project in Ethiopia. He developed experiences in agricultural project management during his long journey from district level expert to federal level senior expert. Zerihun joined Nuru Ethiopia in May 2017 as a Livestock Expert for the Livelihood Diversification pilot project.
Monitoring & Evaluation Program Manager
Born and raised in the heart of Sheger, Tatek has 15 years of professional experience in program management and monitoring and evaluation. He has worked for humanitarian and development organizations such as ICRC, IFRC, British Red Cross, GOAL Ethiopia, Comic Relief and Cordaid. While in the Red Cross, Tatek had the fortune of travelling extensively throughout Ethiopia and working with the most vulnerable communities across the country. He also worked with Somali, Eritrean and South Sudanese refugees during which he witnessed the traumatic effects of armed conflicts on non-combatants. Tatek, who earned his BSc from Addis Ababa University in Applied Mathematics, enjoys watching and playing soccer and also reading about the intriguing mysteries of the universe of which we are a part.
Operations and Admin Director
Sisay received his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Hawassa University and is in the final stages of completing his MBA at the same University. He began his career in the government Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (BoFED) and after holding several administrative and finance focused positions, Sisay made a transition to the NGO sector. In 2007, Sisay joined CARE Ethiopia, where he worked for 9 years in a variety of roles. He was most recently working as Finance and Administration Head of CARE’s SNNPR regional office. Sisay joined Nuru Ethiopia in late 2016 as the Finance and Administration Director. He brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the administration and financial regulation of NGOs in Ethiopia to the Nuru Ethiopia team. He is married with three young daughters.
Cooperative Development Program Manager
Biruk has extensive experience in organizing agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives, managing and coordinating the cooperative development process, and managing financial and non-financial resources to accomplish the establishment process of primary and secondary level cooperatives. He worked for ten years as an expert in government cooperative promotion office and Coordinator for Zonal cooperative development work process. Biruk received an MA in Public Management from Ethiopian Civil Service University and studied BA in Cooperative Business Management at Hawassa University. In addition, he earned a Diploma in Cooperative Marketing Management from Ardayta Cooperative College.
Chief Program Officer
Having spent the majority of his adult life living throughout Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, Aerie has traveled extensively, speaks seven languages, and brings a global perspective to his work at Nuru. He earned his BA in International Affairs from John Cabot University (Rome, Italy) and his MA in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK). He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso and specialized in microfinance. Aerie joined Nuru in 2008 as Team Leader and CED Program Manager for Foundation Team Two. He then served as the Director of International Operations and now leads the operations team as Chief Program Officer.
Chief Financial Officer
Elizabeth is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Certified Global Management Accountant who earned her BS in Business Administration and her Masters of Accountancy with honors from The University of Montana. Prior to Nuru, she provided audit and advisory services to public companies, nonprofits, and governmental organizations at KPMG. In addition, she taught Auditing and pursued doctoral studies with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility reporting at The University of Arkansas before deciding to follow her true passion: ending extreme poverty. At Nuru, she leads the Finance Department, serves as a mentor and trainer for her finance counterparts in Kenya and Ethiopia, and in 2016 she received the InsideNGO Excellence in Finance Award. Beyond Nuru, she has served since 2013 as a Congressional District Leader for the ONE Campaign.
Founder & CEO
Jake graduated with distinction from the US Naval Academy and served seven and a half years as an Infantry and Special Operations Platoon Commander in the Marine Corps. He led four operational deployments and was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat. Jake’s experiences convinced him that the “War on Terror” can’t be won on the battlefield alone; the contributing causes of terrorism–specifically extreme poverty–must also be eradicated. Jake left the military and enrolled at Stanford Graduate School of Business to found Nuru International. Upon graduation, Jake led a team to launch Nuru’s first project in Kenya.
Chief Operating Officer
Marc is the Chief Operating Officer of Nuru International. He has over 15 years of experience in strategy consulting and general management. He worked nine years with Bain & Company, managing strategy development, operational improvements, private equity, and implementation projects in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Marc then served as the Chief Financial Officer of the global education nonprofit Escuela Nueva in Colombia, South America, before joining the Bridgespan Group in New York. Marc earned his MBA with emphasis on Entrepreneurship from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and has a B.S. in Business Administration (finance and information systems) from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Athena Childs Fleisher
Social & Behavior Change Strategic Advisor
Athena comes to Nuru after more than a decade in the fields of international public health, disaster risk reduction, microfinance, and social business creation. During graduate school, she earned both an MBA and MPH from the University of Arizona. She previously worked as a disaster preparedness field coordinator for the Dominican Red Cross, facilitated the creation of an all-terrain wheelchair social business in Mexico, led strategic planning exercises for the US/Mexico Healthy Border 2020 initiative, and developed food security/nutrition plans for an orphan and vulnerable children organization in Kenya. Athena served as a public health volunteer with the Peace Corps in Guinea.
Leadership & Training Strategic Advisor
Born and raised in New York City, Brian has extensive teaching, research, and curriculum development experience in Taiwan, Thailand, and Kenya. During his time in Thailand, Brian researched Burmese refugees’ access to basic health and education facilities and helped design a curriculum for a new school focused on refugee education. In 2012, he founded a nonprofit organization that provides daily lunches to primary school students in Kenya. He has a BA in Political Science and English Literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an MA in International Relations from New York University, where he received the 2011 Lauren Moilien Johnson Human Rights Award.
Brian von Kraus
Brian graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and served in the Marine Corps for the past 15 years as an infantry officer. He had the opportunity to work for a variety of infantry, reconnaissance, and special operations units during multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the Marine Corps, Brian enrolled in UCLA’s Executive MBA program to be completed while working at Nuru. He is excited at the upcoming challenge of working for Nuru and helping achieve the team’s goal of ending extreme poverty in the next generation. Brian is an avid traveler and loves spending his free time outdoors.
Leadership Program Director
Thomas grew up in New York after moving from South Korea to the United States at a young age. He attended the University of Virginia graduating with a BA in Economics and a Master’s in Teaching. He then taught history in a middle school in Maryland for six years. Thomas has experience in the education sector in several developing countries such as Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan and desires to use his talents in the international development sector. He recently received his MBA in International Organizations from the University of Geneva and completed a three-month internship at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Impact & Analytics Director
Matt is dedicated to working with smallholder agriculturalists and rural communities as they interface with their natural and socioeconomic environment. Before joining Nuru International in August 2011, Matt worked with The Nature Conservancy and Peace Corps in Honduras and throughout the US Interior West with the USDA Forest Service. He earned his BA in Government and Spanish from Lawrence University and his MS in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University. Matt has experience in small plot sustainable agriculture, agricultural extension, and project development. Having first joined Nuru as an Agriculture Fellow for Foundation Team 7 and then as the Agriculture Program Strategic Advisor, he is now thrilled to currently work as the Impact Programs Director.
Monitoring & Evaluation Strategic Advisor
Julie comes to Nuru after working in New York City-based philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. At the Rockefeller Foundation, she supported grantees in areas of African agriculture and global eHealth. Prior, she worked on large-scale fund and awareness-raising campaigns at the Food Bank for NYC and coordinated the Nonprofit Computer Academy for at-risk youth at the Fund for the City of New York. Julie earned her MA in International Development from The New School and her BA in English Literature from Ithaca College.
Rural Livelihoods Strategic Advisor
Casey was born and raised on a farm in rural Maryland, and he has spent the past ten years working at the nexus of smallholder farming in Africa and natural resource management. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Luapula Province, Zambia (2009-11), he worked as an agricultural extension agent with the Linking Income, Food, and the Environment program. After Peace Corps, Casey received a dual M.A. in Natural Resource Management and International Affairs from American University in Washington D.C and the University for Peace in Costa Rica. From 2013 to 2016, he began working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on mitigating the negative environmental and social impacts of agricultural production and value chains with a focus on East and Southern Africa. In his free time, Casey enjoys travelling, backpacking, biking, and live music of all kinds.
Field Operations Director
Originally from Nebraska, Amy has spent much of the last decade working in sub-Saharan Africa. After studying biology at Doane College, Amy pursued an MA in International Studies and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming. Prior to joining Nuru, she worked for the Jane Goodall Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Currently, Amy is the Team Leader for Nuru Ethiopia and has worked for Nuru since 2012, when she was the Agriculture Program Specialist for Nuru Kenya. She enjoys getting outside in her free time and her years living rural areas have made her into a very resourceful and pretty decent cook.
Since 2010, Emily has held every role in Nuru’s HR department. She loves supporting Nuru’s mission by creating effective HR solutions for Nuru’s talented staff, and for her efforts received the 2017 InsideNGO Excellence in Human Resources Award. Before Nuru, Emily taught high school English in the U.S. and abroad, and also spent several years at Northwestern Mutual, managing the recruitment process and internship/new-hire program. Emily earned her BA in English and Communications at Concordia University, Irvine. A Washington girl at heart, she loves spending time outdoors with her family and has been found to participate in the occasional triathlon despite an unwarranted fear of sharks.
Strategic Partnerships Director
Billy has spearheaded our Grassroots Movement since Nuru’s inception and catalyzed its growth from a handful of volunteers to thousands of poverty fighters. As Nuru’s lead advocate and storyteller, Billy has been invited to share at events around the country. He is a consummate networker and has been instrumental in building relationships with movements like the ONE Campaign. Billy is as passionate about ending extreme poverty as he is about his home state of West Virginia. And if you are seated next to him on a plane, at an adjacent table at Starbucks, or trapped with him in an elevator, he’ll be sure to invite you to join our efforts, too.
Emily was born and raised in Northern Illinois. She attended Northern Illinois University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Accountancy. Shortly after graduation she began her career working for a non-profit organization serving Africa. Wanting to try the for-profit sector she spent 3 years working for manufacturing companies in the food industry. She is excited to be back in the non-profit sector and working for Nuru to help end extreme poverty. In 2014 she and her husband decided to escape the brutal Midwest winters and moved to Orange County, California. They enjoy exploring the area and taking their rescue dog to the beach.