Anyone can create an impact on their own, but those who want to drive system-level change work with a team.

We match ambitious leaders, strong concepts, and capital with the executional power required to launch and scale transformational development ventures.

More than ever before, the world needs meaningful and transformational action.


GDI is an incubator for transformational development ventures, working to build and scale the next generation of social impact solutions.

Whether these concepts originate from sector experts, or are developed and tested ourselves, we create new approaches to address persistent global issues.

Break Silos

We listen closely, interrogate the process, and bridge sectors to arrive at the best solutions to specific problems.

Hold Ourselves Accountable

We work closely with our partners every step of the way and measure our success by the real-world impact we create, not simply the advice we deliver.

Make the Connections

We catalyze potential partnerships and connect opportunities for funders, individuals, and organizations to work together towards common goals.

Think Long Term

We engage and empower organizations and initiatives to stand on their own as influencers in their fields.

We provide our partners intensive and comprehensive collaboration throughout the life-cycle of a new venture.


Over 12-36 months, we deploy our functional teams to help early-stage initiatives design their business strategy and model, develop their brand identity, hire and retain talent, and construct their financial and operational infrastructure.

Conduct a thorough and thoughtful review to understand the root problems and a hypothesized solution. Develop key business plan questions and refine an early concept note.
Collaborate with partners and funders to align on theory of change, validate the approach, build a governance system, and shape a powerful brand.
Develop leadership teams, pilot interventions with emerging results, build core operating infrastructure, and establish a strategic plan.
Launch entrepreneurs and incubated initiatives into the next phase of growth. Set future milestones and transfer knowledge to ensure the initiative’s long-term success.

For social impact pioneers, GDI serves as both a guide and implementer, looking to elevate our ventures and the broader causes they represent.


From a venture’s discovery to its operational building blocks, we leverage our outsider experience and insider commitment to turn big ideas into action. We are committed to working with our partners for the long-haul, crossing sector boundaries to forge critical relationships between traditional and non-traditional development actors.

Browse case studies of our incubated initiatives to see how we design and build transformational development ventures.

At GDI, we believe the world is full of good ideas, but great ideas are few and far between. We select the best concepts and bring them to life.


Big Ideas
  • COVID-19 and Modern Slavery: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Future of the Fight

    How the pandemic is affecting victims of modern slavery, and the opportunity for the public and private sector to recover responsibly in order to prevent exploitation.

    Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS)

  • GDI and ITT Partner to Design Tech Solutions for COVID-19 in Low-Income Countries

    The initiative will focus on high-impact technology innovations for primary healthcare systems, along with solutions for the necessary operational and logistics challenges, policy imperatives and capacity needs.

    GDI & the Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT)

  • Leapfrog to Value Initiative Launches With Flagship Report

    Leapfrog to Value is an early-stage health initiative incubated by GDI that is building a coalition around value-based care.

    Leapfrog to Value

  • New Pathways to Prosperity Report Introduces Tools to Bridge the Persistent Rural Agricultural Financing Gap

    Updated data on the size and scope of the rural agricultural finance market, and new models for closing the $170B global smallholder financing gap.

    ISF Advisors & RAF Learning Lab

  • Creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods in a changing world

    The jobs and livelihoods sector has transformed significantly over the past decade, and is expected to see even greater shifts in the coming years. GDI Director Alice Gugelev brings forth opportunities that have the potential to transform systems to create sustainable jobs across the value chain.

    Alive Gugelev, GDI

  • CSAF Releases its 2019 State of the Sector Report

    The Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance presents sector insights in its 2019 report.


  • GDI is growing: 2018 Annual Report

    We’re thrilled to share GDI’s 2018 annual report, which takes a look at GDI’s milestone year in 2018 and outlines our approach to building initiatives from the ground up.


  • Solving youth unemployment requires youth voice

    We often talk about youth representing our world’s future. But, too often, when discussing challenges facing young people, we exclude them from the conversations and talk about what we can do for them, not with them.


  • GDI team shares insights on scaling impact with 400 social sector leaders in China

    What does it mean to scale impact? Why does it matter? How can we do it better?


  • If a Report Is Published and No One Reads It, Did It Really Happen?

    Investing in smart communications can help ensure that valuable research gets read and put to use in solving global development challenges.

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Opinion: 4 reasons why development professionals can't be social media skeptics

    A closer look at the ways leading global development organizations have tapped into social media to advance their causes shows that ignoring social media may mean missing out on having a greater impact.


  • State of Digital Health 2019

    The inaugural State of Digital Health report provides the first ever snapshot of digital health ecosystems throughout the world and lays the foundation for better informed and coordinated investments in digital health.

    Global Digital Health Index

  • Paradigm Shift: How investments can unlock the potential of refugees

    Paradigm Shift offers impact investors, grant-makers, and development finance professionals the first landscape of the what, why, who, where, and most importantly, how, of investing in and with displaced people.

    Refugee Investment Network

  • The Bretton Woods II Leaders List: The 25 most responsible asset allocators [PDF]

    For long-term institutions, investing sustainably is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.

    GDI, New America, Dalberg and the Fletcher School report

  • When and How to Shut Down a Partnership

    In a global development sector tight on resources, partnerships should shut down after accomplishing (or failing to achieve) their missions.

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Reimagining the Global Health Convening: What's Next?

    Fundamental shifts are changing global health as we know it, requiring diverse and disruptive groups of people from across sectors to collaborate on solutions.

    GDI, Dalberg, and Johnson & Johnson report

  • Rethinking the Global Development Convening

    This year marks the last Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. How might future global development convenings build on the meeting’s success to create even greater impact?

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • Are You Sure You Should Be Launching Another Partnership?

    For funders and founders thinking about launching a multi-stakeholder initiative for social impact, the question of "whether" is just as important as "how."

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • No Exit: The Case for Nonprofit Holding Companies

    Applying the structure of a holding company to the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors could help both small, high-potential organizations and larger anchor organizations flourish.

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • More than the Sum of Its Parts: Making Multistakeholder Initiatives Work [PDF]

    Multi-stakeholder initiatives can help address challenging global problems. But when are they the right solution, and what makes them succeed or fail?

    GDI Report

  • Innovative Financing for Development [PDF]

    Innovative financing that blends public and private capital can unleash scalable business models with economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

    GDI Report

  • What's Your Endgame? [PDF]

    Nonprofits each play a specific role in the overall solution to a social problem. To scale impact, they must define and pursue one of six "endgames."

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • From Idea to Action: How Far We’ve Come in Catalyzing Smallholder Finance

    How the Initiative for Smallholder Finance has driven key progress in closing the financing gap for smallholders.

    Inclusive Business Hub

  • Funding Impact at Scale Through Market Segmentation [VIDEO]

    Innovators and their funders can use market segementation of underserved customers to create a meaningful impact in their target areas.

    Skoll World Forum

  • Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance

    The world’s 450 million smallholder farmers represent a large — and largely unmet — opportunity for agricultural financing. This landmark report led to the creation of GDI-incubated ISF Advisors.

    Dalberg report

GDI is your trusted advisor when you need guidance, your “start-up team” when you need to get stuff done, and a mentor when you need a push in the right direction.


The GDI team comes from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences, but we’re united by a proven track record of entrepreneurship, deep social sector expertise, and a culture of doing whatever it takes to get things done. Below is a snapshot of GDI’s leadership team.

  • Alice Gugelev
    Alice Gugelev
  • Andrew Stern
    Andrew Stern
  • Warren Ang
    Warren Ang
  • Thomas Carroll
    Thomas Carroll
  • Darin Kingston
    Darin Kingston
  • Chintan Maru
    Chintan Maru
  • Danielle Maxwell
    Danielle Maxwell
  • Jon Shepard
    Jon Shepard
  • Stuart Symington
    Stuart Symington
  • Elizabeth VanDerWoude
    Elizabeth VanDerWoude
  • Jason Wendle
    Jason Wendle
Alice Gugelev

Alice is a Managing Director of GDI US and the CEO of GDI Africa, where she works with large corporations, commercial investors and INGOs to integrate social impact, innovation and social entrepreneurship efforts into their portfolios, and helps philanthropists and social enterprises more effectively create systems-level change. Prior to joining GDI, Alice worked at Bridgespan, Bain & Co, the World Bank and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. She is the co-founder and executive director of The Muskoka Foundation, as well as the co-founder and chief strategy officer of AppMkr. Alice earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and has a double major BA in International Economics and East Asian Studies from Columbia University and Stanford Japan Center. Alice enjoys spending time at her cabin in Canada with her family – and lots of uninvited black flies.

Andrew Stern

Andrew is the Founder and CEO of GDI, and also serves as an ex-officio member of GDI’s US Board and a member and the Chair of GDI’s Hong Kong Board. He shapes new opportunities for GDI to drive the global development sector forward and provides strategic guidance to select incubated initiatives. Andrew has played many roles within GDI initiatives, including Interim CEO of Convergence and of Emerging Public Leaders, and currently serves on the Boards of Aceli Africa, citiesRISE, the Institute for Transformative Technologies, and the Refugee Investment Network, and the advisory board of Upstart Co-Lab.

Prior to founding GDI, Andrew was a Global Operating Partner at Dalberg Global Advisors. During that time, he helped design and launch ANDE and served as the founding chairman of mothers2mothers. Andrew holds a joint MBA/MPP from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in Economics from Princeton University. When he isn’t urging nonprofits toward their “endgames,” Andrew can be found pruning cedar groves in his backyard.

Warren Ang

Warren is the Managing Director, East Asia at GDI, where he spearheads GDI’s work in East Asia from Hong Kong. He works alongside the leadership of mission-driven businesses, non-profits and initiatives, as a long-term partner to design, incubate and implement strategies that achieve large-scale social impact. Warren brings strategic consulting and nonprofit management experience to GDI. He has worked at Dalberg Global Development Advisors (Asia), PwC Strategy (Australia), and was the Executive Director of a 170+ employee NGO in Yunnan, China. Warren holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD. He has also developed a comprehensive personality assessment that he can occasionally be persuaded to administer to his colleagues.

Thomas Carroll

Tom is a Senior Advisor at GDI, where he works directly with rural enterprise development efforts. Tom focuses on GDI’s incubated initiatives in this space: ISF Advisors, Aceli Africa, the Rural & Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, and the Council on Smallholder Finance (CSAF). This includes the development and application of products and services for small agricultural enterprises, including finance, digital technology, and education. His efforts aim to make the economics of environmentally sound, community-led rural enterprise development sustainable. 

Previously, Tom was a Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors where he led a strategy consulting portfolio that included efforts such as comprehensive investment/market entry analyses of global and regional commodity markets; the development of public-private partnerships across a host of those markets; the commercialization of agriculture technologies; and the design of innovative financing mechanisms in frontier markets. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Aceli Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, and EarthEnable, based in Kigali, Rwanda. Tom holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a BA in government from the University of Notre Dame.


Darin Kingston
Darin is Managing Director at GDI, where she works closely with the Development Frontiers focus area on building multi-stakeholder initiatives. She currently serves as the interim Director of Operations for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. At GDI, she has also served as the Interim COO of Convergence, and an advisor to Unorthodox Philanthropy and Emerging Public Leaders. Darin co-authored “More than the Sum of Its Parts: Making Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Work.”
Darin has experience designing and implementing social performance strategies at a range of mission-driven organizations, specializing in monitoring and evaluation and economic development. Before joining GDI, she led the social impact measurement work of the top solar energy provider for developing markets, d.light. Darin earned a MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in International Relations from Brown University, and is a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. Darin loves fireworks and is pretty good at Knock-out.
Chintan Maru

Chintan is the Founder and Executive Director of Leapfrog to Value which is advancing the field of value-based care in low- and middle-income countries. He is also Director at GDI, leading a portfolio of initiatives aimed at improving the value of health systems. Chintan is a medical doctor and public health advocate. Prior to founding L2V, he was a consultant in McKinsey & Co’s health systems practice, where he led value-based care reforms for payers, providers, and state governments in the United States; and advised on public sector delivery transformations in Africa. He also co-wrote a report for WHO/PAHO on financing primary care in Latin America. Chin is a graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and majored in political science at Duke University. He was a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at Princeton University and a Fulbright Scholar to Jamaica. When he isn’t geeking out on health systems, he plays Capoeira Angola.

Danielle Maxwell

Danielle is GDI’s Talent Manager. She has spent her professional career working at nonprofits in various roles, including human resources, administrative operations, event planning, fundraising, donor relations and finance management. Before joining GDI, Danielle was Director of Talent and Administration at Independent Sector and Deputy Director of Human Resources and Operations at New America. She has also worked at the Employment Policy Foundation, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Close Up Foundation. Danielle has a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MPA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from American University. When she’s not in the office, you can find Danielle on her yoga mat, watching the Premier League football, or playing tennis.

Jon Shepard

Jon leads GDI’s Climate and Ecosystems work. He acts as the Chief Strategy & Operations Officer of Emergent, a non-profit market catalyst incubated by GDI which is focused on the protection of tropical forests at national scale and backed by the Government of Norway, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Jon also leads our exploration of game-changing initiatives in waste plastic and alternative fuels. Before GDI, Jon conceived and set up a global non-profit unit at EY that worked with leading impact entrepreneurs in low and middle-income countries. Earlier in his career, Jon worked for Accenture, The Prince’s Trust – a leading youth development NGO in the UK – and was an infantry officer in the British Army.

Stuart Symington

Stuart is the Senior Manager of Brand, Marketing, and Communications at GDI. His passion for social impact was ignited by experience across Latin America, Africa, Europe, and East Asia. Stuart launched his career in East Africa by leading social impact projects in Djibouti, working with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and researching the post-genocide legal system in Rwanda.

After a successful career in tech startups, he joined National Public Radio (NPR) to lead marketing, brand and digital strategy. Stuart partnered with the Programming, Digital, and Partnership divisions, among others, to serve 165 million monthly listeners. Highlights included launching new podcasts (Life Kit, Throughline, White Lies, and Peabody-winning Believed), along with key projects for the NPR newsroom and NPR Music’s Tiny Desk. In recognition of his work, Adweek selected Stuart for their inaugural Executive Mentor Program cohort.

Stuart is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, leading digital initiatives for D.C.’s official Capital Pride which has over 400,000 people attend annually. He grew the community online by partnering with platforms like Instagram, Giphy, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Stuart volunteers on the boards of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation and Seven United in Rwanda. He also served on the DC Board of Indego Africa.

Stuart earned his BA degree from Yale University in East Asian Studies. He is from Missouri and has lived, studied, and worked in Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Spain, Niger, Djibouti, Rwanda, Nigeria, China, and Japan. He is fluent in Spanish, conversational in French and rusty in Japanese. After hours, Stuart enjoys eclectic live music, iced coffee, traveling with friends, and writing about pop culture.

Elizabeth VanDerWoude

Elizabeth is GDI’s Director of Finance and the Treasurer of GDI U.S. In addition to leading finance and general operations across GDI, she also supports initiatives in building policy, procedure, and systems to effectively run their organization.

Elizabeth has experience managing finance, accounting, compliance, human resources, and planning at a range of non-profit organizations in positions focused on capacity development. Before joining GDI, she served as Senior Director of Finance and Accounting at NASTAD and as Vice President of Finance and Administration at Education for Employment. Elizabeth received her MBA from Georgetown University and studied both International Development and Accounting as an undergraduate. Elizabeth aspires to grow a flourishing garden.

Jason Wendle

Jason Wendle has been a Director at GDI for the past five years, designing and building initiatives in the AgEnterprise and Development Frontiers portfolios. In this capacity, he has most recently been acting as Director of Strategy and Programs for the recently launched Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. Jason has focused on the Fund’s overall organizational strategy, how to effectively deploy over $80M in seed funding from donor countries, and designing new programs that can secure additional funding. The fund prioritizes private sector engagement to develop ethical alternatives in sectors affected by forced labor, and its largest area of programming is in the area of forced labor among vulnerable migrants. Previously at GDI, Jason launched and directed the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, which advances the knowledge frontier in smallholder finance and advises the directors of $175M worth of programs on how to capture actionable learnings. Jason started designing the Lab as an Associate Partner in the Nairobi office of Dalberg Advisors, where he spent seven years providing strategic advice to clients across a broad range sectors – such as impact investing, agricultural development, energy, technology for development, and access to finance. His clients have included the world’s largest private foundations, bilateral and multilateral donors, African governments, and Fortune 100 firms. He also provided leadership to Dalberg’s evaluation work on the continent. Jason holds a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and has published and presented work on smallholder finance, SME banking, modern slavery, and impact measurement.


  • Andrew Stern
    Andrew Stern
  • Elchi Nowrojee
    Elchi Nowrojee
  • Sewit Ahderom
    Sewit Ahderom
  • Nazanin Ash
    Nazanin Ash
  • Shashi Buluswar
    Shashi Buluswar
  • Xi Chen
    Xi Chen
  • Robert E. Duggins
    Robert E. Duggins
  • Kate Montgomery
    Kate Montgomery
  • Bilha Ndirangu
    Bilha Ndirangu
  • Dr. Bernard Olayo
    Dr. Bernard Olayo
  • Gretchen Phillips
    Gretchen Phillips
  • Bethlehem Shiferaw
    Bethlehem Shiferaw
  • James W. Wert, Jr.
    James W. Wert, Jr.
Andrew Stern

Andrew is the Founder and CEO of GDI, and also serves as an ex-officio member of GDI’s US Board and a member and the Chair of GDI’s Hong Kong Board. He shapes new opportunities for GDI to drive the global development sector forward and provides strategic guidance to select incubated initiatives. Andrew has played many roles within GDI initiatives, including Interim CEO of Convergence and of Emerging Public Leaders, and currently serves on the Boards of Aceli Africa, citiesRISE, the Institute for Transformative Technologies, and the Refugee Investment Network, and the advisory board of Upstart Co-Lab.

Prior to founding GDI, Andrew was a Global Operating Partner at Dalberg Global Advisors. During that time, he helped design and launch ANDE and served as the founding chairman of mothers2mothers. Andrew holds a joint MBA/MPP from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in Economics from Princeton University. When he isn’t urging nonprofits toward their “endgames,” Andrew can be found pruning cedar groves in his backyard.

Elchi Nowrojee

Elchi is the Chair of GDI’s US board and a Principal at the Carlyle Group in New York City. Prior to joining Carlyle in 2014, Elchi was Director and Counsel at Credit Suisse, where he served as head of Alternative Investments Legal for the Americas. Elchi also worked at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen + Hamilton LLP specializing in complex financial transactions, including private investment fund formation and private acquisitions. Elchi currently sits on the Sub-Committee on Africa of the Advisory Committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. He is also a past Chair of the Committee on African Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Elchi has worked and lived in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Sewit Ahderom

Sewit Ahderom is a member of the GDI Kenya Board and the Co-Founder and COO of Gro Intelligence. Previously, Sewit was a Vice President at Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private investment fund with more than $1.7 billion in capital under management. She joined Helios after working with IPS, an investment arm of the Aga Khan Development Network focused on food and agro processing as well as infrastructure development. Before moving to Nairobi, Sewit was a VP at Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in NY where she worked in the leveraged finance and global portfolio management teams. Sewit holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Connecticut and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Nazanin Ash

Nazanin is a member of GDI’s US board and currently the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee. From 2007 to 2012, she served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, designing policy initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of U.S. government aid. Nazanin also served as principal advisor and chief of staff to the first Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Nazanin worked for ActionAid-Kenya, one of the largest rights-based NGOs in Kenya.

Shashi Buluswar

Shashi is a member of GDI’s US board, CEO of the Institute for Transformative Technologies, and the founder of the LIGTT Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Prior to creating ITT and LIGTT, Shashi was a Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors. Previously, Shashi has worked with the UN’s Peacekeeping Department to restructure global operations, with the Bill + Melinda Gates Foundation to launch large-scale agricultural development programs in Africa and Asia, and with dozens of NGOs fighting for human rights and economic empowerment. Before his career in global development, Shashi was an Associate Partner at McKinsey. Shashi teaches International Development at UC Berkeley.

Xi Chen

Xi Chen is member of GDI’s Hong Kong Board and Associate Director at Deloitte Sustainability & Climate Change team advising corporates, governments and NGOs on topics of transitioning to low carbon economy, developing corporate climate change strategy and measuring social impact. Prior to Deloitte China, Xi was Finance Director at Blue Ventures Conservation, a UK based environmental NGO that engages the coastal communities in alternative wealth creation and responsible fisheries supply chain to reduce their reliance on marine resources. Xi also has over 9 years of Finance & Strategy consulting experience from Accenture and PwC UK with expertise in managing sustainable change programs. Xi worked with the Accenture Development Partnership, a not for profit arm of Accenture and advised a microfinance network to improve their outreach and impact in Africa. Xi is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a master’s degree in Finance and Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Warwick in the UK. Xi is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, English, French and Romanian.

Robert E. Duggins

Robert (Bob) Duggins is a member of GDI’s Hong Kong Board. Bob retired as Deputy Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Asset Management Limited, the London based holding company for all global asset management businesses within the HSBC Bank Group. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific of HSBC Asset Management Asia Pacific Limited and Managing Director of the global retail (mutual fund) business. He also served on a number of boards for the group, including the board of HSBC Investment Bank plc. Bob joined the HSBC Group in 1993 as Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Life Group where he had responsibility for all life insurance, pension, and retail investment funds. He lived and worked in Asia for more than 9 of his 26 years in financial services. Previous to joining HSBC, he worked in the insurance industry in senior management positions in the United States and Asia. He continues to serve on boards for organizations involved in non-profit work in China and mentors several individuals in the USA and Asia. He and his wife, Charla, have been married for 50 years and currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas, just north of Houston.

Kate Montgomery

Kate Montgomery is a member of the GDI Kenya Board and Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships at Acumen. She leads business development and partner engagement for our Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative and Africa. Prior to joining Acumen, she was d.light’s Director of Global Partnerships for five years, developing d.light’s strategy for engaging with the public sector and other key partners globally. A key part of this work is the institutionalization of d.light’s strategy to rigorously measure and communicate their social impact. Prior to that, she was in the humanitarian aid sector working for Tuft’s Feinstein International Center and the International Rescue Committee in Pakistan and Haiti. She holds a BA with honors in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Colgate University and a MS in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Bilha Ndirangu

Bilha Ndirangu is a member of the GDI Kenya Board and the Chief Operating Officer at Africa’s Talking (AT), a Pan-African mobile technology company that provides technology infrastructure and support to software developers with the aim of building a viable, entrepreneurial technology ecosystem for Africa.. Bilha oversees the company’s operations across seven African markets including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Malawi. Prior to joining AT, Bilha was a senior project manager at Dalberg Global Development advisors in its Nairobi office where she advised varied clients including national governments, multilaterals, foundations and private sector companies. As the first employee of the Dalberg Nairobi office, she helped grow the office from one consultant to a team of forty consultants advising clients across Africa. Bilha also worked as a business analyst with the Mitchell Madison Group in New York. Bilha holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Bernard Olayo

Dr. Bernard Olayo is a member of the GDI Kenya Board and a Kenyan physician and public health specialist with more than 14 years’ experience as an Africa based Public Health Practitioner. He is also an entrepreneur and is the founder of a non-profit organization (Center for Public Health and Development) and three social enterprises working toward improving access to quality healthcare in Africa. He currently serves as the Chair where he provides strategic direction, thought leadership and oversight of the CPHD programs and subsidiary social enterprises. Dr. Olayo is also a technical team member for several World Bank programs in East Africa and an advisor to several ministries of Health in the region- with the main focus on enhancing the role of private sector in improving access to health services and goods through public private partnerships. He previously worked for Columbia University’s Earth Institute as a health specialist in the Millennium Villages Project, and Italian Development Corporation as a Health Advisor. He started his career with the Ministry of Health in Kenya as medical officer of health.

Gretchen Phillips

Gretchen is a member of GDI’s US board and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of GenerationHope, Inc., a consumer products company that reinvests its profits in innovative programming for the economic advancement of Filipinos. Gretchen is passionate about building organizations that drive innovative, market-oriented solutions to enable inclusive growth, and has worked with a range of organizations to that end, including Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company, the US Department of State, TechnoServe and PRADAN. Gretchen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in addition to GDI, she currently serves on the Boards of GenerationHope and Friends of Hope in the Philippines. She holds a Masters in International Development from Harvard University and has an A.B. in Economics, Spanish and Latin American Studies, summa cum laude, from Duke University.

Bethlehem Shiferaw

Beth is a member of GDI’s US board and the Founder and Managing Director of Lucid Capital, an investment company focused on investing in and creating value in companies located in eastern and southern Africa. Prior to establishing Lucid Capital, Beth worked for ONCAP Management Partners L.P., a $575 million middle market private equity fund established by Onex Corp. in Toronto, Canada to invest in North American small and mid-size companies. Beth was responsible for identifying, analyzing, negotiating, executing, and monitoring private equity investments. Beth holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a native of Ethiopia.

James W. Wert, Jr.

Jim Wert is member of GDI’s Hong Kong Board and the managing director of Wert & Associates, a consultancy focused on building strategic clarity and organizational health for a wide array of clients spanning from Fortune 500 businesses to nonprofit clients, including single-site agencies and national and international networks. Prior to Wert Associates, Jim gained more than 20 years of experience as a strategic consultant with McKinsey & Company and Triaxia Partners. Jim also spent seven years in national and multinational corporate environments. He served as the Chief Financial Officer at National Service Industries’ (NSI) Atlantic Envelope Division, directing strategic planning, performance management, sourcing, and merger and acquisitions efforts. Prior to NSI, Jim served as the Vice President of Marketing for Mead Coated Board, where he led market assessment, customer service, logistics, and product development teams. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with majors in political science and German, Jim earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar.

For us, scalability and impact aren’t just a metric of success, they’re a criteria for support. We make big bets that can push the limits of our current systems, or outright transform them.


The first step to creating real change is believing that it’s possible. GDI appreciates the contributions from its funders whose support is instrumental in bringing innovative ideas to life.

The time is now to build solutions that can create impact at scale.

Will you join us?



155 West 23rd Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10011

washington dc


1401 K Street NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20005



Sanlam Tower, 4th Floor, Waiyaki Way Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya

SF office


351 California St, 11th Floor San Francisco, CA, 94104



29th Floor, Unit C, 23 New Praya Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

East Asia Strategic Partner:

Shenzhen Longgang District Henggang Street Sillan Community, Fulishi Road No. 3, Building 5, 3rd Floor, Room 306

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