Global Alliances Program

Past and Current Participants

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November 11-15, 2013

Andrew O'Brien, Special Representative to Global Partnerships, US Department of State

Andrew O'Brien serves as the Special Representative for Global Partnerships in the Secretary of State's Office of the Global Partnership Initiative. Previously, Special Representative O'Brien worked with Secretary Kerry as the State Director in the Senator’s Massachusetts office, reprising a role he had served in from 2003 to 2005. In this position, Drew played a lead role in the major policy and legislative deliberations affecting Massachusetts in the United States Congress, and is particularly proud of his work with small businesses, organized labor, veterans groups and new immigrants on behalf of the Senator.

Drew had also volunteered in several capacities throughout the course of the campaign, including time spent in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. In the past several years, he has lectured on politics and government at the city, state and national levels. In 2007, O'Brien was named one of city’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Boston Jaycees.

Jamie Van LeeuwenJamie Van Leeuwen, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor Hickenlooper

Jamie Van Leeuwen currently works as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Governor Hickenlooper (CO). Prior to this appointment, Jamie was the Policy Director for the Hickenlooper for Colorado gubernatorial campaign. In 2006, Jamie was appointed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to head up Denver's Road Home, the city's Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. In the first five years, Denver's Road Home generated over $50 million in new resources for the homeless, developed over 2,000 new units of affordable housing, prevented over 3,500 families from becoming homeless and reduced chronic homelessness by 70 percent.

Prior to his role in the public sector, Jamie directed fundraising, legislative work and research as the Director of Development & Public Affairs at Urban Peak, a non-profit agency serving homeless and at-risk youth. In 2008 he was appointed to the faculty of University of Colorado Denver School of Public Health. Jamie completed his PhD in Public Policy at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver with an emphasis on affordable housing and homelessness. He has a Master's degree in International Public Health and a Master's degree in Sociology from Tulane University.

Julie McDermott, Fixed Income Trading, Former Endeavor Fellow

Julie McDermott has over a decade of experience as a Wall Street bond trader. At Citigroup, she ran the Adjustable Rate Mortgage trading desk, overseeing a portfolio of $1Bn. Additionally, she traded the Commercial Mortgage Credit Default Swap Index at Bank of America. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Art History from the University of Colorado at Boulder and four FINRA securities licenses. Julie has lived and worked in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. She has traveled extensively and currently lives in New York City where she manages an investment portfolio. In her free time, Julie enjoys sailing, traveling and philanthropy.

Nina WeissbergNina Weissberg, Angel Investor & President, Weissberg Corporation

Nina Weissberg is CEO of Weissberg Corp., a 55 year old commercial and residential real estate development firm based in Arlington Virginia with projects in Arizona, Pennsylvania, but concentrated primarily in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Ms. Weissberg joined the company in 1994, became CEO in 2006, and continues to lead the privately-held real estate business. Ms. Weissberg is also the founding board member of the Weissberg Foundation, a charitable foundation that began in the early 90s, where her concerns focus on international organizations that work to empower women and change regulations on gender through promoting political access, social rights, and economic security.

Ms. Weissberg is presently a Trustee of Beloit College (2010 – present), a member of the Beloit Weissberg Chair Advisory Council focusing on Human Rights, a Trustee of New York University (2012-present), a member of the DC-NYU Task Force, and a member of the Philanthropy Board of The Global Fund for Women. She served for many years on the board of Yachad, a DC-based non-profit partnering with religious-affiliated organizations to develop and to rehabilitate housing and buildings in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Recently collaboration also includes the Root Capital Gender initiative. Ms. Weissberg has a BA from Beloit college and an MA in Anthropology from UVA.

Sarah WilliamsSarah Williams, Co-Founder, Advective Capital

Sarah directs her own consulting business – working with foundations, donors, social investors, and corporations to help them give and invest smartly and strategically. She builds and manages grant and impact investing portfolios in areas including poverty alleviation, women’s rights, prison education, and social entrepreneurship, among others.

Sarah is co-founder of Advective Capital, an impact investment and philanthropic fund that supports and invests in social entrepreneurs. In 2011, she launched, for ImpactAssets, the IA50, a resource for investors that showcases experienced impact investing fund managers. Her clients have included the Calvert Foundation, ImpactAssets, KPMG, Pfizer, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, family foundations, and individual donors and investors.

Prior to her consulting career, Sarah spent 10 years creating and directing philanthropy programs for Pfizer Inc. She was responsible for the establishment of The Pfizer Foundation, which was, at its inception, the largest corporate foundation in the United States with over $320 million in assets. Sarah has worked in public education, designed HIV education programs, organized campaigns for pro-choice candidates, and served in senior management and board positions for a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Carlos NietoCarlos Nieto, Managing Director, OnNe Consulting

Mr. Nieto is a Managing Director at OnNe Consulting, a Family Office and Business advisory firm in Miami. He is a strategy and finance professional with over 18 years of experience in Private Investment and portfolio management Investment with leading global banks such as Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers and Barclays. Experienced in entrepreneurship and business growth in the areas of alternative fuels, power generation, clean technology, information technology and environmental services. Specialist in developing business model for companies and capitalization strategies thereof. Graduated from Universidad de los Andes as Master in Textiles with concentration in Business Administration and has an MBA with focus on Corporate Strategy & Economic Policy from Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht, Netherlands. He is currently involved as advisor or board member in ORCO S.A., ORCO POWER SAS, IDEA.ME, IMPULSARME, ADSMOVIL and IN3O.

Natalia Oberti NogueraNatalia Oberti Noguera, Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship

Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder and CEO of the Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women. The Pipeline Fellowship works to increase diversity in the U.S. angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Natalia holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale. She has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Mashable, Reuters Money, TechCrunch, The New York Times, and Fast Company's Co. Exist Change Generation series. Natalia was named to the Forbes list "Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter," as well as's "25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech," and she was selected as a Readers' Pick for HuffPost Tech's "27 Women in Tech You Need to Follow on Twitter." Women's eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012 and Business Insider included her on its 2013 list "The 30 Most Important Women in Tech under 30."

Camilo Andres FerroCamilo Ferro, President and Founder, Better Bag Corporation

Camilo Andres Ferro is the founder and CEO of Better Bag Benefit Corporation, a social enterprise that focuses on the 3 P's of business: people, planet, & profit. Camilo is a serial entrepreneur with tech and logistics firm under his belt. Camilo comes from a family of business owners and has found his true passion in working with Better Bag to eliminate the use of oil based disposables and develop composting. Camilo graduated from Belen Jesuit Preparatory in Miami, Florida, continued the Jesuit tradition and graduated from Loyola University of Chicago. Camilo is a founding member of the Chicago Composting Coalition, which is working on developing compositing initiatives in Chicago, as well as in other communities.

Laura Pastrana, Founder, COO, QVIT Corporation

Laura Pastrana is Co-Founder and COO of Qvit Corporation. As an online shopper herself, Laura truly appreciates accuracy, convenience, and novelty. It is with that in mind that she founded Qvit, a unique and outstanding online experience that allows customers to virtually try on different garments and sizes on a free virtual avatar in a matter of seconds, cloning the garments' look and feel. Laura started her career in Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital. She holds a BSA and a concentration in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Babson College. She currently lives between New York and Bogotá.

Brett HamsikBrett Hamsik, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, US Department of State

Brett Hamsik is a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. Department of State. He is the lead officer in charge of implementing the Small Business Network of the Americas, an effort launched by President Obama at the Sixth Summit of the Americas to promote entrepreneurship, small business participation in trade, and job creation in the United States and throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Brett also specializes in program impact evaluation, providing technical oversight to rigorous, scientific studies of business assistance and other development programs. He previously served as the desk officer for Guatemala and a development policy officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Brett has an M.A. in International Economics from the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California at San Diego and a B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He speaks Spanish and Japanese.

Matthew StevensMatthew Stevens, Global Partnerships Initiative, US Department of State

Matthew Stevens is a Presidential Management Fellow on detail at the Department of State in the Secretary's Office of the Global Partnership Initiative (S/GPI). He is S/GPI’s liaison for public private partnerships in the Western Hemisphere. Prior to his detail at State, Matt was an analyst at the Small Business Administration's Office of Entrepreneurial Development, working on cluster initiatives in twenty five states. Previously, Matt managed a microenterprise assistance program at the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; he began his career in entrepreneurial development while serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador as a small business advisor. Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts from Southwestern University in economics and Spanish and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

Michael "Mickey" BergmanMickey Bergman, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program

Michael "Mickey" Bergman works in Fringe Diplomacy, a discipline exploring the space just beyond the boundaries of States and Governments' capacity and authority in international relations. He is co-founder and President of Capsoole Inc.; Executive Director of the Global Alliances Program at the Aspen Institute; Senior Advisor to Governor Richardson Center for Global Engagement; consultant to the Clinton Global Initiative; and Founder and President of Solel Strategic Group. Mickey also teaches at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

At the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, Mickey manages private diplomacy efforts in N. Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Middle East, and Africa, as well as on efforts to negotiate the release of political prisoners. At the Institute, Mickey directs partnerships engaging both public and private sectors on shared development agendas in the Middle East, Latin America and South East Asia.

Michael "Mickey" BergmanRachel Samuelson, Program Manager, Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program

Rachel Samuelson currently manages the Institute's Global Alliances Program (GAP), where she oversees a number of projects including a delegation-based platform for supporting entrepreneurship, leveraging Venture Capital, and encouraging impact investment across Latin America and specifically Colombia. Before shifting her focus to Latin America and co-founding the Global Alliances Program, Rachel served as a Program Coordinator for the Institute's Middle East Programs, where she contributed to the launch and development of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), one of the Institute's premier locally-driven partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa.

Simultaneously, Rachel manages the Institute's collaborative partnership with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The series, New Ideas @ OSD, brings leaders in Business, Science, and the Arts to the Pentagon to meet with defense leadership and policy makers. These conversations explore the insights, values, beliefs, and methodologies that garner success in the private sector, and applies these lessons to generate innovative and improved policymaking in the public sector.

Becky BaileyBecky Bailey, Chief Operating Officer, Agora Partnerships

Becky fueled her passion for utilizing business as a force for good while earning her MBA at the Wharton School, where she was Co-President of the Social Impact Club and an Associate for the Wharton Social Venture Fund. Prior to Wharton, Becky worked as an Analyst and then Associate in the Equity Capital Markets (ECM) division of the Investment Bank at J.P. Morgan, where she helped found the San Francisco Technology ECM practice. At Agora, Becky focuses on organizational and financial strategy, as well as advises the next class of entrepreneurs. Becky holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Smith College.

Jesse GraingerJesse Grainger, Director of Marketing and Communications, Agora Partnerships

After working on a variety of international development projects in Africa during his undergraduate studies ranging from educational initiatives to aid distribution, Jesse was hired as a marketing consultant for a small-business development project called Africa B2B that extended mid-range loans to companies in Uganda. It was here where he discovered the importance of SGB growth to international development efforts. After attending graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill for Journalism & Mass Communication and working as a social media specialist at a record label, Jesse joined the staff of Agora Partnerships as the Director of Marketing and Communications.

Maria RodriguezMaria Rodriguez, Business Development Associate, Agora Partnerships

María Angélica was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. At an early age, she realized that business has a great power to make a difference in Latin America, which is why she has focused her studies on Business Administration. Maria has a Business Bachelor’s Degree from Universidad de Los Andes (2005) and an MBA from Duke University (2013). She has over six years of experience, having served as a social entrepreneur, management consultant, and project manager for the Colombian government. This variety in roles has allowed her to see the great potential that exists in using business tools for impact, which is what drew her to impact investing and, specifically, to join Agora Partnerships' team. María Angélica is supporting efforts to strengthen Agora's presence in Colombia and develop new services for Agora Alumni.

Ricardo Garcia-Amaya, CEO, AngelPolitics & Executive Director, NAA Angels

Ricardo is the founder & CEO of AngelPolitics - the intelligence & automation killer app for political & non-profit fundraising leveraging big data & artificial intelligence prioritization. AP introduces candidates to prospective donors with the highest probability of contributing to their campaign. Ricardo is a 2012 Fellow of, top NYC accelerator, ERANYC, and 2013 Fellow of the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Innovation. Currently Ricardo is also leading the launch of the first national Latino angel investor group in the US as a member of the New America Alliance (NAA), a national organization comprised of Latino founders of alternative investment firms (Private equity, hedge funds etc.) and industry leaders.

Prior to AngelPolitics, Ricardo served as an Associate to the NYC Mayor's Office developing the 2015 technology blueprint for New York City. He also served as the campaign CTO to mayor Angel Taveras; the first Latino mayor of the City of Providence, RI. Ricardo holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Politics from the same institution. He is a Consortium fellow, a Management Leaders for Tomorrow (MLT) fellow as well as a 2013 Council of Urban Professional Fellow. He is the president of the Scarsdale Alumni Association and was recently a guest at the White House reception for Latino leaders. Ricardo is also an active contributor to the Huffington Post.

Carlos Escutia, Investment Banking Associate, Wells Fargo Securities

Carlos Escutia is an Investment Banking Associate at Wells Fargo Securities in the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) group. His experience includes working on a variety of mergers and acquisitions and capital raising transactions across numerous media and technology sectors and has been involved in deals totaling over $4 billion in aggregate value for such clients such as Time Warner, Viacom, Take-Two Interactive, Live Nation Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate. Prior to joining Wells Fargo Securities, Mr. Escutia was an Associate at GroupArgent LLC, a firm that provides investment banking services, business development and principal investing to the rising stars of the digital economy in the e-commerce, interactive advertising and digital content sectors.

Prior to GroupArgent, Mr. Escutia served as Business Development Director at Golden State Textile & Co., a business conglomerate with operations in China, Mexico and the United States working in the textile trading and real estate sectors. Mr. Escutia was also the Founder and CEO of COBETSA Textiles and PEG S.A., a clothing manufacturing company and an advertising firm, both of which he launched and managed while completing his undergraduate education.

Delegation Hosts

Juan Diego Calle, Chief Executive Officer, .CO Internet S.A.S.

Juan Diego Calle, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of .CO Internet S.A.S, the company that runs the .CO top level domain. Under Juan's leadership, .CO was launched internationally in July of 2010, and has quickly become one of the most successful domain extensions in history, with more than 1.5 million domain names registered by people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Attracting the attention of major brands, small businesses and startups alike – hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses are building or extending their online presence on the .CO platform – including companies like Twitter (using T.CO as its official URL shortener); Portafolio (Portafolio.CO); Angel List (Angel.CO); Google (using G.CO as its official shortcut for all Google products and services); 500 Startups (500.CO); ENTER.CO (ENTER.CO); and LaRepublica (LaRepublica.CO).

At the age of 20, Juan co-founded, the largest pay-per-click network in Latin America. The company operated in USA, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, prior to being acquired by Yahoo, Inc. in 2005. Subsequently, Juan founded, a large, global network of premium travel websites, including popular destination sites like, and, among others.

Luis Guillermo Plata, Former Minister of Trade; Founder & CEO, The Cornerstone Group

Luis Plata is the founder and CEO of the Cornerstone Group a private equity fund with significant investments in Colombia. Until 2010 he was Colombia’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism. During his tenure, Colombia had the highest growth in exports, direct foreign investment and tourism in its history. Plata began his career in Asia, as Colombian Trade Commissioner, spending a total of 5 years in the region.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, he also has extensive experience in the private sector, first as a consultant with McKinsey & Co, and later as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He is a member of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, and was recognized with the highest award given by the Young Presidents Organization, the YPO Legacy Award. He has received of the Congressional Order of Merit of Colombia on two separate occasions. Plata served with honors in the Colombian Army.

Stefan Hofmann, Founder, Novarca Group; Senior Advisor, Blue Haven Initiative

Stefan is a founding partner of the Novarca Group, investor and senior advisor with Blue Haven Initiative. He spends his time between Latin America, the United States and Europe working on several impact ventures and projects with family offices and foundations.

Prior to this he was the CEO of a family office branch of one of the largest European investors, investing in excess of USD 1.5bn across all asset classes and worked over 10 years at Goldman Sachs and UBS in trading, the corporate clients and investment divisions in Zurich, London and New York. Stefan is board and advisory board member of various companies with pioneering roles in the finance, technology and consulting sectors. He furthermore co-founded and leads The Pulteney Group; a group of Next Generation Principals from key global family offices and family businesses from over 20 countries.

Stefan holds an MBA from INSEAD, executive education by Stanford University and is fluent in German, English and Spanish.