Co-Founder & Board Member, Watsi [Peace Corps Costa Rica]
Chase Adam is the Co-Founder & Board Member of Watsi, a startup that builds technology for health financing systems with the goal of helping countries achieve universal health coverage. Prior to Watsi, Chase worked in private sector intelligence in Washington, DC, started a health program in Haiti, served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, and launched a small business loan fund in San Francisco.
Founder & Managing Director, Taleem [Peace Corps Mozambique]
Baktash Ahadi served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique from 2005-2007 and served as a combat interpreter in Afghanistan for 3 years. He is the founder of Taleem, which is a strategic communications company. He is the creator and host of the Stories of Transformation podcast, where he speaks with remarkable individuals about overcoming hardships, learning their craft, and finding their purpose. He holds degrees from Susquehanna University and The Johns Hopkins University.
Founder & CEO, Good Tree Capital [Peace Corps Georgia]
Seke Ballard is the Founder & CEO of Good Tree Capital, a Seattle-based lending firm focusing on the cannabis industry. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Seke spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia. During his time in Georgia, he partnered with World Vision International to start a competitive small enterprise development fund that financed micro-businesses operating out of local bazaars. The program was later expanded to World Vision centers in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Seke earned an MBA from Harvard University and subsequently spent years working for Procter & Gamble and Amazon. In 2015, he started Good Tree Capital. Today, Seke is advocating for social equity applicants, helping to ensure equal opportunity for access into the cannabis industry.
Associate, Clearsight Advisors [Peace Corps Ethiopia and Lesotho]
Co-Founder & CEO, Vectorly [Peace Corps Mexico]
Sam Bhattacharyya is the Co-founder & CEO of Vectorly, a startup developing new AI-powered video compression technology which cuts the bandwidth needed to stream video content by up to 98%. Vectorly works with video platforms like YouTube to compress their videos, making them easier to stream or download in low-bandwidth areas. Sam served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mexico from 2012-2014, and has a background in CS/robotics from Columbia as well as an MBA from MIT. Before Vectorly, Sam co-founded “Dot Learn”, a social enterprise delivering K-12 online video courses to hundreds of thousands of students across West Africa. Sam is an MIT Legatum fellow, has a U.S. patent, and is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Senior Program Manager, Tesla [Peace Corps Peru]
Eben Carey was a water and sanitation volunteer in Changuillo, Peru from 2011-2013. He has held positions at SolarCity and Tesla in consumer education, leadership development, and project management. As a Senior Program Manager of Learning & Development Operations at Tesla, he currently oversees strategy and administration of enterprise training initiatives. He is also the current President of Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (AARPCV), where he has fostered RPCV engagement in social and community service activities and raised nearly $20,000 for Peace Corps Partnership Projects over the past two years. Eben holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia.
Partner, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP [Peace Corps El Salvador]
Matt Crowe is a partner at the Michigan law firm of Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, where he has practiced law since 2011. Matt’s practice primarily consists of advising clients in the negotiation and structuring of complex corporate, M&A, and business transactions, with an emphasis on the purchase and sale of senior care businesses. Matt and his wife Danielle served together as Municipal Development Volunteers in El Salvador from 2006-2008. Matt earned his J.D. at The University of Michigan Law School. He also holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Western Michigan University. In addition to his law practice, Matt currently serves on the Board of Directors of San Juan Diego Academy, which is a small elementary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the majority of students are children of Latin American immigrants.
Founder & CEO, Regroup [Peace Corps Guatamala]
David Cohn is the Founder & CEO of Regroup, a company revolutionizing mental healthcare delivery. David’s prior work has ranged from strategic consulting with the CIOs of global companies to service with the Peace Corps in Guatemala. He was the Director of Sales and Service for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal with CEB. During those years, his time was split between 11 different countries. In 2018, Crain’s recognized David’s contribution to the advancement of mental healthcare by including him on their list of 40 Under 40. IE Business School nominated David as one of their “Epic” alums of the year in 2019.
David graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He holds an International MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.
Founder & CEO, Women’s Group [Peace Corps Rwanda]
Markey Culver is the Founder & CEO of The Women’s Bakery (TWB), an international social enterprise that empowers women and builds bakeries in East Africa. TWB specializes in an accredited training program that readies East African women for gainful employment at bakeries in their communities. They employ these women (moving their income levels from $13/month to $45-$100/month) within their bakeries to produce breads. TWB harnesses business as a tool for positive social change. The project began when Markey was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda.
With a background in business creation and administration, technical training, and strategic communication, Markey leads TWB’s team. Markey oversees operations in the U.S. and East Africa, manages personnel, implements strategic partnerships, designs strategic and tactical plans, and manages business development initiatives. Markey holds a BA in Communications from Furman University and an MBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School.
Watch her TedTalk here.
Founder & CEO, Kuli Kuli [Peace Corps Niger]
Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli, the leading brand pioneering the superfood moringa in the U.S. market. Lisa founded Kuli Kuli after working with moringa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Lisa has grown Kuli Kuli from a Peace Corps dream into a multi-million dollar social enterprise that sells products in over 7,000 stores. Lisa and Kuli Kuli have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and hundreds of other publications. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic where she managed a team of six to grow the company from zero to over $5 million invested in solar through Mosaic’s online marketplace. Previously, Lisa wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, served as a United Nations Environment Programme Youth Advisor, and worked at an impact investment firm in India. She is a regular contributor to Forbes and has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30, a StartingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, a Udall Scholar, and a “dedicated humanitarian” by the Muhammad Ali Center. She was also honored as a 30 Under 30 Leader by GreenBiz and the University of California.
Co-Founder & President, Coltala Holdings U.S. Navy Veteran, Bronze Star recipient [Peace Corps Dominican Republic]
Edward Crawford is a Co-Founder & President of Coltala Holdings, a purposed-based private equity firm. He has over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship, investing, and building operating teams. As a Managing Director of Avesta Holdings, he led business development activities. Edward helped build Avesta’s business to include over 320 employees and $1 billion in assets. He was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs where he spent seven years as an advisor to numerous CEOs, institutions, and private company owners. He joined Goldman Sachs from the private equity firm Advantage Capital Partners (ACP), a national lower, middle-market, private equity firm. Prior to joining ACP, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic where he founded a four-member coffee cooperative and grew it to include more than 300 coffee farmers with access to global markets.
Crawford is a trustee of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida; a trustee on the Business School Council at The Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana; and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Edward is also a Tedx speaker where he speaks on the “courage to serve” and “servant leadership”. As a U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer, he served with Special Operations Command South in Latin America. From 2012-2013, he was deployed to Afghanistan as the Tribal and Political Adviser for SEAL Teams Two and Four as part of a Special Operations Task Force. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
Edward earned his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management, his MA at Tulane University, and his BA at Texas Christian University.
Executive Director, DC Democratic Party [Peace Corps Gabon]
Claudette David is the Executive Director of the DC Democratic State Committee (DC Democratic Party) where she is responsible for overseeing programs that build the Party at the grassroots level, strengthen its infrastructure, and effectively execute the Strategic Plan of the State Party. Claudette reports to and serves at the pleasure of the Chair of the DC Democratic Party.
Prior to joining the DC Democratic Party, Claudette interned for Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), she then worked at the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. In 2016, Claudette was selected as one of ten congressional staff members to participate in the U.S. Congress-Bundestag/Bundesrat Staff Exchange designed to enhance U.S. – German transatlantic relations.
Claudette earned a Bachelors of Art degree in International Relations from George Mason University and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon where she was a community health educator.
Minister, United Methodist [Peace Corps Togo]
Rev. Ann Duncan is a United Methodist minister living in Western North Carolina. A graduate of Duke University and Boston University, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2008 to 2010 in Togo, West Africa. She was a Girls Education and Empowerment Volunteer and taught English in the local middle school. Ann serves local congregations and enjoys sharing with them the wonderful life and cultural experiences she gained during her service in Togo
Dr. Kevin Fiori Jr
Cofounder & Chief Science Officer, Integrate Health [Peace Corps Togo]
Dr. Kevin Fiori Jr
Dr. Kevin Fiori is a general pediatrician, researcher, and educator. As an Assistant Professor in both the Division of Academic General Pediatrics and Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), his research aims to address health disparities in communities both in the Bronx, NY and abroad. In 2002, he participated in the Master’s International Program combining graduate work at Boston University School of Public Health and Peace Corps service. As a Peace Corps health specialist Volunteer in Togo, West Africa from 2003-2007, he collaborated on multiple community based health initiatives that led him to found an international non-governmental organization called Integrate Health (IH), for which he currently serves as Chief Science Officer. Now in its 15th year of collaboration with the Togolese Ministry of Health, Integrate Health works with local communities to improve access and quality of primary health care in Northern Togo. Dr. Fiori and IH cofounder Jennifer Schechter were awarded the 2016 Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service by the National Peace Corps Association.
CEO & Cofounder, Numero Former Congressional Candidate [Peace Corps Nicaragua]
Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He’s the CEO and cofounder of Numero, a software startup building financial tools for political campaigns across the country. He started this company based on his experience running for Congress in 2018. Previously, he was the Founding Director of Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab where he led efforts to mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin through research and incubation of high-impact applications of the emerging technology. Before MIT, he was the Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Brian founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps in 2003-2005. In recognition of his work, Brian was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and the Graduate of the last decade by the London Business School.
Associate Director, Communications & Organizational Management, University of Utah Former Congressional Candidate [Peace Corps Moldova]
From Peace Corps to public office, service is an important through line for Shireen Ghorbani. Shireen is honored to serve as Councilwoman in Salt Lake County and works professionally at the University of Utah as an Associate Director of Communication and Organizational Development in Facilities Management. Shireen served in the Republic of Moldova from 2003 to 2005 with her husband, Nick Steffens. While a PCV, she served as the Gender and Development coordinator for volunteers and continues to focus on gender equity in her current efforts. Shireen is a passionate advocate for expanding access to affordable healthcare, building strong, safe, and sustainable communities, and works hard to protect public lands and open spaces. Shireen is a former candidate for the United States House of Representatives, serves as the board chair for the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City.
President & Cofounder, d.light design [Peace Corps Benin]
Sam cofounded d.light, a social enterprise providing solar energy to the 2 billion people living without reliable power. Since its inception, d.light has improved the lives of almost 100 million people in 62 countries and saved its customers billions in energy expenses. Sam was a PCV in Benin, West Africa, from 2001-2004, where he founded an NGO that trained youth and women in animal husbandry and agribusiness; local masons to manufacture low-cost latrines & fuel-efficient cook stoves; and health centers and women’s groups to cultivate and process the miracle tree Moringa to combat malnutrition.
Student Community Manager, Amazon Web Services Educate [Peace Corps Morocco]
Originally from Seattle, Tiffany has lived and worked in France, Switzerland, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and now Washington, D.C. After completing her Peace Corps service in Morocco from 2010-2012, she attended Tel Aviv University for her graduate studies, where she earned an MA in International Security and Diplomacy. Tiffany is the Student Community Manager at AWS Educate. In this role, she works with Amazon’s global community to provide students with the resources needed to accelerate IT and cloud-related learning in and outside the classroom. The program also works with educators to integrate cloud technology course work into curricula, while supporting student learning. The ultimate goal of the program is to unlock opportunity for students around the world and prepare them to enter high-demand technology fields.
Prior to joining Amazon, Tiffany served as Peace Corps Headquarters’ Public Affairs Specialist. She was a member of Shalom Corps (Peace Corps’ Jewish Employee Resource Group), one of the founding members of Peace Corps’ Diversity Board, and she sat on the Chief of Staff’s Diversity Governance Council. Tiffany also served as a Volunteer Placement Specialist and a Desk Officer at the agency. Tiffany currently sits on the board of Directors for the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Dr. Steven Hess
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Transylvania University [Peace Corps China]
Dr. Steven Hess
Steve Hess served as a university TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) instructor in Peace Corps China from 2006 to 2008. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky with degrees from Miami University (Ph.D. in Political Science), the University of Louisville (M.A. in Political Science), and Hanover College (B.A. in International Studies). A specialist in comparative authoritarianism and China-Africa relations, he has written two books, Authoritarian Landscapes: Popular Mobilization and the Institutional Sources of Resilience in Nondemocracies (Springer, 2013) and Charting the Roots of Anti-Chinese Populism in Africa (co-authored with Richard Aidoo, Springer, 2015) and published over twenty research articles and book chapters.
A returned Peace Corps Volunteer (China, 2006-2008), Hess has established Peace Corps Prep partnerships at both Transylvania University and the University of Bridgeport. He has also served as a Taiwan Fellow (National Chengchi University) and an expert witness on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory body to the United States Congress.
Energy Program Manager, As You Sow [Peace Corps Panama]
Lila Holzman studied Environmental Engineering at Rice University in Houston. After graduating, she worked at a solar installation start-up in Washington, D.C. for two years before applying to the Peace Corps. After completing her service as a sustainable agriculture systems Volunteer in Panama, she received her MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, with a focus on environmental risk management. Her MBA internships were implementing a clean cookstove pilot project in Ghana and supporting the UN Global Compact in New York. Since completing her MBA, Lila has been in San Francisco and is the Energy Program Manager at As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy organization, where she pushes large corporations to mitigate climate change impacts by reducing their emissions. She remains active in the Peace Corps community by serving as President of the Board of Directors for the Northern California Peace Corps Association. She remains dedicated to promoting sustainable development solutions both in the U.S. and globally.
Dr. Lucas Joppa
Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft [Peace Corps Malawi]
Dr. Lucas Joppa
Dr. Lucas Joppa is the first Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft where he leads the company’s sustainability efforts through ongoing technology innovation, program development, policy advancement, and global operational excellence. With a Ph.D. in Ecology from Duke University and extensive publication in leading academic journals, such as Science and Nature, Dr. Joppa is a uniquely accredited voice for sustainability in the tech industry. In addition to formerly serving on the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained U.S. National Climate Assessment, Lucas is an Associate Editor for the Ecological Society of America’s EcoSphere journal and serves on the boards of leading scientific organizations, such as NatureServe and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). In 2017, he founded Microsoft’s AI for Earth program—a five-year, $50-million commitment to leveraging AI and machine learning to help transform the way society monitors, models, and ultimately manages Earth’s natural resources. Along with his Ph.D., Lucas holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin and is a former Peace Corps volunteer to Malawi.
Joe Kennedy III
U.S Congressman U.S. Senate Candidate [Peace Corps Dominican Republic]
Joe Kennedy III
Joe Kennedy has served as the congressional representative for the 4th District of Massachusetts since 2012. Before being elected to Congress, Joe served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Assistant District Attorney. Prior to politics, Kennedy served as a member of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where he designed and implemented an economic development project near Puerto Plata. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Joe is fluent in Spanish and holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University as well as a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Chief of Staff for Congressman Tim Walberg, U.S. House of Representatives [Peace Corps Dominica]
RJ Laukitis served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2002-2004 on the Commonwealth of Dominica (EC-69). His primary responsibilities included working with the Department of Local Government, Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs as a consultant where he helped facilitate community development and actualization projects in six villages throughout southern Dominica. Additionally, he worked on secondary projects which included volunteering at the Bagatelle Primary School and co-hosting a local radio program. Since returning to the U.S., he has spent the past 14 years working in the House of Representatives. He currently serves as Chief of Staff to Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). RJ is a native of Holland, MI and a graduate of Macalester College.
Director, Mississippi Balance of State Continuum of Care [Peace Corps Mongolia]
Hannah Maharrey has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Mississippi. She served in the United States Peace Corps in Mongolia from 2009-2011. After her years of service and traveling she was a Peace Corps Fellow at the University of New Orleans where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Leadership. She moved back to Northeast Mississippi in 2017 and quickly became involved in homelessness outreach and advocacy. Hannah is currently the Director of the Mississippi Balance of State Continuum of Care. The Mississippi Balance of State Continuum Care is Mississippi’s state-wide homeless coalition that is comprised of 71 rural counties. Continuums of Care are a nationwide network of coalitions that are mandated and supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hannah is also the chairperson of the City of Tupelo Homeless Task Force, a board member of the Tupelo-Lee County Hunger Coalition and the American Red Cross of Northeast MS. Hannah is also the Community Service Director for the Magnolia State Peace Corps Association.
Program Manager, Bixal [Peace Corps Costa Rica]
Maricarmen Smith-Martinez is a Program Manager at Bixal—an RPCV-owned small business fueled by an intense desire to transform the lives of people through meaningful communications, design, and technology. She leads the international business development team, applying her technical and leadership skills to identify opportunities, build teams, and ultimately help Bixal clients achieve their development objectives. Since joining the company in 2013 to support a national digital training and certification program for housing counselors, she has managed or provided corporate oversight for a portfolio of nearly $40 million for clients such as USAID, HUD, HHS, and international nonprofits.
Prior to Bixal, Maricarmen worked in the nonprofit sector, initially supporting families on the journey to homeownership at Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and later providing instruction as a certified financial education specialist at CredAbility (now Money Management International). She earned a BA at Emory University, and she is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM). She served as a Rural Community Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. A dedicated supporter of the Peace Corps community, she is a member of a variety of affiliate groups and a past president of Atlanta Area RPCVs. In 2014, she was elected to the National Peace Corps Association Board of Directors as the Affiliate Group Network Coordinator, and in 2018, she was elected Chair of the Board.
Cofounder & CEO, OZÉ[Peace Corps Guinea]
Meghan McCormick is the Cofounder & CEO of OZÉ. She started her career in Guinea as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps. During her service, she founded the continent’s first e-reader library and launched Guinea’s first business accelerator, Dare to Innovate. She scaled Dare to Innovate to be French-speaking Africa’s most active small business accelerator training 8,000 youth and investing $400,000 in 50 businesses creating 450 jobs. After her service, she joined Monitor Deloitte working in Doblin, the firm’s innovation strategy practice. In this work, she built innovation capacity within and developed new business concepts for global Fortune 100 firms. In 2018, Meghan founded OZÉ, a fintech company which equips small business owners in Ghana to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital.
Meghan holds a BSBA in Business Administration from Georgetown University, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. At MIT, she was a Fellow in the Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets. At Harvard, she was a Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellow focused on West Africa and an Adrian Cheng Fellow in the Social Innovation and Change Initiative. In her spare time, Meghan is a contributor to Forbes Women covering women building high-impact organizations across Africa.
Founder & CEO, XTR Award-Winning Filmmaker [Peace Corps The Gambia]
Bryn Mooser is a twice Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning filmmaker and humanitarian. In 2012 Mooser cofounded RYOT, a media company specializing in documentary film, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and branded content. Over his career, he has produced more than 200 linear and immersive films garnering multiple Emmy awards, two Oscar nominations, a Peabody, and a Cannes Lion. Mooser sold RYOT to Verizon in 2016, becoming a SVP and helping create the roadmap for immersive and documentary films for AOL, Yahoo, and Verizon. While at Verizon, Mooser built the branded content studio for AOL/Yahoo HuffPost and Tumblr creating content for the top brands in the world and expanding RYOT to 15 offices globally. Mooser most recently launched XTR, an entertainment studio producing premium non-fiction film, television, and podcasts.
Mooser spent two years in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa, and was the Country Director for Artists for Peace and Justice in Haiti. While in Haiti he helped build the nation’s largest Cholera center, and a High School in Port-au-Prince that today educates nearly 3,000 Haitian youth per year. For his charitable work he was made a recipient of the prestigious Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award, and Esquire Magazine named him as one of their Americans of the Year.
Congressional Staffer, U.S. Senate [Peace Corps Nicaragua]
Robert Nelson is an aide to Senator Chris Murphy specializing in American foreign policy. Robert’s Peace Corps experience in Nicaragua regularly informs his work, whether it be understanding the importance of U.S. foreign assistance programs or having better insight into how foreigners view the United States. Following his service in Nicaragua as a small business development Volunteer, during which time he taught at multiple secondary schools, built a computer lab, and took on the role of PCVL, Robert earned an M.A. in International Policy at Stanford University.
Dr. Taya Louise Owens
Foreign Service Officer, Department of State [Peace Corps Uzbekistan and Ukraine]
Dr. Taya Louise Owens
Taya Louise Owens jumped feet first into her Peace Corps service as a university instructor from 2005 – 2007. When the country program closed in Uzbekistan following civil unrest, she chose to serve another tour of service in Ukraine. She took lessons learned from Peace Corps to heart, building a career dedicated to public service. Currently she serves as a foreign service officer with the State Department, bringing years of experience as a higher education specialist to her current role as a diplomat. She developed a scientific evidence base for education development and improvement at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the State University of New York system, and UNESCO-Paris. She joins the local Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group wherever she is, even helping to found the Tennessee chapter in 2008. Dr. Owens holds a PhD in education policy.
International Program Specialist, NASA [Peace Corps Kazakhstan]
Jacob Parsley is an International Program Specialist at NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations, where he supports the worldwide activities of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. His work focuses on growing NASA’s international partnerships, negotiating bilateral agreements, facilitating space science missions, and coordinating NASA’s activities with other government agencies. He has worked with a variety of countries and organizations, including South Korea, Brazil, Australia, Russia, and the European Space Agency.
Prior to joining NASA, Jacob worked for an international law firm as the lead paralegal on multiple international arbitrations. He is a graduate of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) Russian Overseas Flagship. Jacob holds an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University and bachelor’s degrees in Russian and Political Science from Portland State University. He is the recipient of a 2012-2013 NSEP Boren Scholarship and 2013-2014 Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, both for Russian. Jacob is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, where he taught English in secondary schools.
Larcus Nicole Pickett
Senior Associate, Tetra Tech [Peace Corps Guinea]
Larcus Nicole Pickett
Larcus Pickett, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (’09), is a Project Manager at Tetra Tech, regionally focused on projects in Central Asia and Pakistan to advance electricity sector reforms and country transition towards renewable energy. Larcus has dedicated her career to improving the livelihoods of those in emerging economies, specifically to increase access to electricity and water. Larcus credits her time in the Peace Corps as a math teacher in rural Guinea, as pivotal to defining her career trajectory. Prior to Tetra Tech, for five years, Larcus worked at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) overseeing USAID/Power Africa capacity building projects in East and West Africa aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of electricity regulation to create an enabling environment for private investment. Utilizing her strategic leadership, communication and management skills, Larcus has built consensus among power sector stakeholders across Sub-Saharan Africa to influence implementation of energy regulation and policies.
Larcus was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow (CBCF) on Capitol Hill focusing on energy and environmental policy in both the House and Senate, moving forward key energy efficiency policy. Prior to that, she worked in Blantyre, Malawi for Water for People as a Project Assistant designing the initial monitoring and evaluation system and supporting implementation of innovative water and sanitation programs. She earned her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Howard University.
Congressional Staffer, U.S. House of Representatives [Peace Corps Cambodia]
Jalina Porter is currently the Communications Director for Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA). Previously, Jalina was the Press Secretary at Truman National Security Project and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer of Cambodia. Jalina’s career on Capitol Hill began with time spent in the office of fellow RPCV, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA).
Jalina has worked with nongovernmental and advocacy organizations, publicly traded companies, and sports and entertainment powerhouses, including the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Viacom Media. Jalina received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Howard University and her Master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications from Georgetown University.
CEO & Founder, Duraca Strategic [Peace Corps Peru]
Tasha Prados is the CEO & Founder of Duraca Strategic, where she partners with passion and purpose-driven organizations to help them maximize their impact through business and marketing strategy consulting. Tasha is a bilingual and multicultural strategist with ten years of project management, communications, and marketing experience with the world’s leading brands, publishers, and nonprofit organizations. Her work has been recognized by industry leaders like the Shorty Social Good Awards, the Holmes Report, and the Public Relations Society of America. She created @peopleofpeacecorps to shares stories about the impact of the Peace Corps on people’s lives, careers, and communities. Tasha served as a Water and Sanitation Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru from 2011-2013.
Dr. Kristen Roupenian
Author [Peace Corps Kenya]
Dr. Kristen Roupenian
Kristen Roupenian graduated from Barnard College and holds a PhD in English from Harvard, as well as an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She served as a Public Health Volunteer in Bukhalalire, Kenya, from 2003 to 2005. She is the author of the short story, “Cat Person,” which was published in The New Yorker and selected by Sheila Heti for The Best American Non-required Reading 2018. Her debut collection was published by Scout Press in 2019. She is currently at work on a novel, and a television series based on her work is in development at HBO.
Strategist, General Services Administration [Peace Corps Jamaica]
Chris served as Peace Corp Volunteer in Jamaica from 2007-2009 as a community development specialist. Based in the town of Glengoffe, Chris advised a local civic group and implemented a string of projects in agriculture, small business development, environmental engineering, and rural water supply. During the second year of his service, Chris partnered with agricultural extension officers communities across NE St. Catherine parish, helping farmers organize into functioning groups and embark on similar projects. Chris moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010 and joined a congressional office as a legislative fellow, overseeing a portfolio including international development and LGBTQ civil rights. He found RPCVs in many other offices in the House and Senate and cofounded the Peace Corps Congressional Staff Association.
Chris joined the Board of RPVC/W in 2011 and served in multiple leadership capacities, including President from 2015-2018. Among other things, Chris helped to spearhead the group’s ability to mobilize its thousands of members through digital outreach for purposes such as the election of its all-volunteer staff, coordination for events or surveys, and a welcoming culture for all RPCVs. Chris presently works at General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. as a Strategist for the Portfolio Outreach Division.
Cofounder & Executive Director, Integrate Health[Peace Corps Togo]
Jennifer Schechter has been building innovative healthcare solutions since 2005, when she opened Integrate Health’s first rural HIV treatment center while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo. Since taking on the role of CEO in 2012, Schechter has helped to expand Integrate Health’s impact in the fight to end preventable deaths of women and children. Working in the marginalized nation of Togo, Integrate Health collaborates with the Togolese Ministry of Health to implement and test proactive, integrated, community health delivery innovations. Under Schechter’s leadership, Integrate Health has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative and supported by a number of social impact investors. Schechter is a Rainer Arnhold Fellow with the Mulago Foundation, a recipient of the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service, and a recipient of the Cordes Fellowship. Schechter received a Bachelor of Science in International Politics from Georgetown University and Master’s degrees of Social Work and Public Health from the University of Washington
Dr. Tai Esteban Sunnanon
Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force Founder & CEO, Strategic Insights Group [Peace Corps Palau]
Dr. Tai Esteban Sunnanon
Tai Sunnanon is the Founder & CEO of Strategic Insights Group, a business consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. He is also a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and is the Founder of the Global Social Enterprise Summit. Tai has spent nearly 25 years as an international social entrepreneur, university instructor, author, and speaker. Previously, Tai was a visiting instructor at Harvard University, teaching courses on social entrepreneurship and adaptive leadership; he was also a visiting scholar at American University, Tel Aviv University, University of California Berkeley, University of Vienna, and Vanderbilt University. Prior to teaching, he founded several companies, including California WISH (Working In Supporting the Homeless); SeaVit, combating vitamin deficiency in South East Asia; and General Lighting Electric, servicing corporate lighting needs. From 2002-2004, Tai served his country as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Palau, working on sustainable, economic development projects. He served two terms as the President of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles, where he mentored over a dozen social entrepreneurs. He also served as Vice Chair for the National Peace Corps Association and supported domestic and international social enterprise projects.
Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State [Peace Corps Rwanda]
Bob Viglietta works in the Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs in the division of Threat Finance and Sanctions. Alongside his everyday responsibilities, he served for two years as the President of RPCVs@State, the largest RPCV employee resource group within the federal government. RPCVs@State provides a likeminded community to hundreds of self-identified RPCVs serving in the Department of State, both domestically and overseas at U.S. foreign missions, arranging professional development, volunteering, and social activities for its members. Following his 33 months serving in Rwanda as an education Volunteer, during which time he taught at a secondary school, volunteered at an NGO startup, and took on the role of PCVL, Bob earned an M.A. in International Education at the George Washington University.
Senior CPD Representative, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [Peace Corps Macedonia]
Aaron Weaver served as a community development Volunteer alongside his wife, Lori, in Macedonia from 2011-2013. After completing his service, he joined the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Chicago. As a Sr. CPD Representative, Aaron manages a portfolio of over $110 million in community and economic development grants including the second largest Community Development Block Grant in the country. He also cofounded the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at HUD. In addition to his work at HUD, Aaron piloted an international service course at his alma mater, Heidelberg University, pairing juniors and seniors with PCVs in Macedonia to conduct projects remotely. For the past three years, Aaron has served as the President of the Chicago Area Peace Corps Association (CAPCA) where he has overseen the restructuring of the group, streamlining membership, and most importantly, increasing the group’s PCPP and local nonprofit donations by more than 238%. In his community, Aaron serves as an At-large Board Member for his local neighborhood association, Albany Park Neighbors, and is the group’s liaison to the North River Commission. Currently, Aaron is coordinating the relaunch of the Friends of (North) Macedonia.
Founder & CEO, Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty [Peace Corps Mali]
Rahama Wright is the Founder & CEO of Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The Washington, D.C.-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Her entrepreneurial journey spans bootstrapping to securing her first round of venture capital investment from Ron Lauder and Dick Parsons, and landing deals with Whole Foods Markets and MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Washington Business Journal, MSNBC, and CNBC Africa. She has completed 150+ speeches and panels globally including the United Nations Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development, the U.S. Secretary of State Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank Africa Region Growth Dialogue, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In 2014, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and is currently serving her third term on the council. Rahama received her BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
40 under 40 was produced by William Burriss, a former NPCA staff member who served in Morocco from 2016 to 2018 and now works in Congressional relations at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.