Community Development

Announcing the 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator Mentors

June 20, 2023  • Hazami Barmada & Leana Mayzlina

The Digital Equity Accelerator is proud to announce its 2023 Mentors. Ten leaders in digital inclusion from around the world will serve a critical role for the 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator participants by helping them set goals, developing their leadership skills, supporting them in taking full advantage of the opportunities offered via the Accelerator, connecting them to additional resources, encouraging them to pursue change, and challenging them to grow.

Mentors were selected after an exceptionally competitive application process. They hail from countries all over the globe, speak an impressive number of languages, and are leaders dedicated to promoting social justice in their communities.

Names of Mentors 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator, white and green on green-gray background


Headshot of with black hair and white and gray striped shirt on beige backgroundDavid Bates is a govtech, social innovation, and tech for good enthusiast. He promotes the use of exponential technologies to develop creative and scalable solutions for global challenges. He majored in communication and later specialized in impact measurement for social development and human-centered design for social innovation. With his experience in ecosystems development, project management, strategic alliances development, and by harnessing multisectoral collaboration, he seeks to create desirable futures in which no one is left behind.

Woman smiles in bright pink blazer and long brown hairDr. Esther Zeledón is a senior development advisor and strategist, localization expert and transformational coach. Esther works with governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, communities, businesses, and individuals to define and integrate their shared vision into plans spanning business development, sustainability plans, communication strategies, project management, and more. Dr. Zeledón holds doctorate and master’s degrees in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from UC Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in Earth and Environmental Science from Swarthmore College and holds a certificate in change management and systems management.

Headshot of with goatee and salt and pepper hair Hamada Zahawi is a bilingual attorney and entrepreneur with over 15+ years of experience working at the intersection of public policy, business operations, commercial law, and entrepreneurship. He has spent his career working with top international law firms, the US government, and in the private sector. Hamada is an avid traveler, having visited 150+ countries, and a devoted fitness enthusiast participating regularly in athletic events.

Headshot of man in blue blazer and gray hair smiling at cameraHugh Myres spent 30 years in telecoms corporations globally initially as an electronics engineer, with the later 20 years of his career being at “C” level. He has lived in Africa for 50+ years, but has also worked in Europe, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Hugh has been coaching for 12 years, with a Master’s in Coaching and 3750 hours experience, and has supported 12 NGOs. He is accredited as a Professional Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), lectures at business schools on general management, and holds an MBA.

Headshot of man with dark black short hair on green backgroundJia Chuan Kwok is currently a Global Policy Lead for Google’s Trust and Safety team, helping to ensure safe and helpful experiences in the digital space. He is Co-founder and Chairman of Conjunct Consulting, a social impact consultancy that helps to strengthen the capabilities of nonprofits and social enterprises across Southeast Asia. Over the past decade, Conjunct has helped more than 150 nonprofits and social enterprises and trained more than 3,500 student and professional volunteers.

KHeadshot of man, unsimiling, in black and white with a goateeasem Rodriguez Mohsen is a successful executive operator who has led three companies through rapid growth, VC fundraising, and acquisition. He is a mission-driven servant leader, serving as a strategic partner to Fortune 100 clients and as an advisor to the C-suite and the board for multiple startups and nonprofits. He possesses deep experiential expertise scaling B2B SaaS, digital transformation, healthcare, AgTech and learning technology organizations.

Woman looking to the side with short, curly hair and a maroon topKathy Sebuck is a strategic thinker, entrepreneurial leader, athlete, and author with over 25+ years of IT sales and marketing leadership expertise working for tech startups and Fortune 500 enterprise software companies in the public and private sector. As the Founder of Marchitecture, she provides strategic business consulting services, mentors for nonprofit and university accelerator programs, and teaches business transformation and storytelling workshops focused on using growth mindset tools and marketing communications fundamentals to help companies increase sales and online engagement.

Headshot of man with black hair looking upward Mark Vella works at the intersection of business fundamentals and ethical and effective behavior, Mark Vella mentors, advises, and supports individuals and organizations to create impact and value. He is the Managing Director of Sapientt Human Capital & Performance Pty Ltd. and co-founder and Director of, an EdTech education provider. As Non-Executive Director, Mark sits on various boards and committees in the SME funding, incubation and diversity space.

Professional photo of bald man with gray jacket and tieDr. Paul Rivera is an expert in strategic planning and a professional facilitator focused on strengthening communities and organizations through shared visioning and action-oriented planning. As a specialist in locally-led and systems-based approaches, Dr. Rivera applies his deep cross-sectoral expertise to securing widespread buy-in and fostering long-lasting positive impact in communities worldwide. A first-generation American and proud Latino, Dr. Rivera holds a doctorate in Economics from the University of Southern California.

Headshot of man with gray hair, glasses, on blue backgroundRizwan Tayabali is Founder and Director of Fraktal, a pioneering new impact agency specializing in due diligence and scaling support. Rizwan is an accomplished leader with extensive consulting and management experience across both business and impact sectors. Previously CEO of a large award-winning non-profit working with children at risk, Rizwan is an expert in designing, financing, managing and scaling impact, has published a scaling framework called the PATRI Framework, is a Fellow of The RSA, mentors non-profit leaders around the world, and has been featured by Bridgespan and others as a pioneer in organizational design, leadership development, culture and scaling impact.

About the Digital Equity Accelerator

The Digital Equity Accelerator, an initiative of the Aspen Institute in collaboration with HP Inc., works to advance social and economic equality by investing in not-for-profit organizations and NGOs that are accelerating digital inclusion. Founded in 2022, the Accelerator has successfully helped scale seven organizations from India, Morocco, and the United States, boosting their cumulative reach by 1.7 million people and counting. In 2023, the Accelerator is expanding its programming to ten organizations from Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa. Visit or join the mailing list to learn more.