John Bothamley is an investor in property development and real estate holdings. He is also an accomplished architect and often designs the properties himself. In 1996 he founded Four Acre Trust, an organization that addresses the root causes of social problems by supporting charities that provide positive opportunities for youth. John strongly believes that foundations should build relationships with recipient operating charities and that they should work together to help people improve their lives.
Ernie Chow is partner and founder at Sensato Capital Management, a San Francisco-based investment management company focused on Asian equity markets. Ernie has been a long time supporter of Room to Read's programs. Prior to starting Sensato, Ernie was managing director and co-head of active equity at Barclays Global Investors, where he developed investment strategies for Asia and emerging markets. His prior experience includes roles at County NatWest Australia Investment Management and as a lecturer at Monash University, in Melbourne Australia. He holds a doctorate in applied mathematics, a bachelor of law and a bachelor of science from Monash University. Ernie also serves on the board of trustees for the Bay Area Discovery Museum.
Dr. Luis Crouch
Luis Crouch is the coordinator for the Global Good Practice group within the Education for All – Fast Track Initiative Secretariat. Areas of specialization include social sector finance and the political economy of reform, with a particular focus on education, including assessment, early grades, improvement strategies, accountability for literacy as a right and education decentralization. Luis has worked on all aspects of policy analysis research and implementation, from field surveys to quantitative and qualitative analysis to policy dialogue presentations at the Cabinet level in various countries. Prior to his current position, he worked at the Research Triangle Institute and he has also been a lead education economist at the World Bank. Luis has experience in many countries in the developing world. In particular, he was a high-level technical advisor to the governments of South Africa in the period after the end of apartheid and Egypt in the current drive to decentralization. Luis received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Luis is particularly attracted to Room to Read’s literacy focus area, with its emphasis on reading materials, teachers, and the use of materials, and in particular the attention to home language.
Rob Flaherty is Senior Partner, President & Chief Executive Officer at Ketchum, a global public relations firm with 70 offices and affiliates worldwide. Rob serves on the agency's Worldwide Executive Committee, is managing director of the firm's Global Corporate Practice and is responsible for the agency's Global Research Network. As a client counselor, Rob's areas of specialization are corporate positioning and issues management. He has helped companies prepare for and respond to challenging situations ranging from product liability and airline accidents to data security and anti-trust litigation. Rob is on the board of the Institute for Public Relations and serves on the Agency Management Committee of the Council of Public Relations Firms. He is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and is also on the board of the Economic Crime Institute, which focuses on research and solutions to address cyber crime and identity theft. Mr. Flaherty joined Ketchum in 1989 after five years at Burson-Marsteller in New York, where he was vice president/group manager. Prior to that, he was director of public relations for the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, New York.
Dhir is National Coordinator for the Right to Education at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in India. Prior to this, he served as Room to Read’s Chief Program Officer for Literacy. He was responsible for guiding the conceptualization and implementation of Room to Read’s Reading and Writing Instruction program. Dhir also served as Room to Read's Regional Director for Asia for three years. Prior to joining Room to Read, Dhir worked as Director in the Ministry of Education in India. He has worked in primary education for over twenty years as a policy maker at the state and national level. He has headed important “Education for All” programs in India for several years. Dhir has authored two books based on empirical research in primary education and has contributed to many books and journals on education. Dhir holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's degree in economics and a post-graduate diploma in management. He is most pleased to continue his association with Room to Read and its great programs in his role as member of the Advisory Board.
Susan Lodge launched the Tokyo Chapter of Room to Read in 2006 and the Aspen Chapter in 2009. She is currently co-leader of the Aspen Chapter and real estate agent for Sothebys International Realty. Prior to living in Tokyo for five years with her family, she lived in New York City where she had a 20-year career in advertising and marketing management. Susan held the titles of Publisher and Group Publisher for a number of fashion and sports magazines at Fairchild Publications. She also served as Executive Vice President of Iwear, an Internet start-up, in Newport, California. Susan began her advertising career at Benton & Bowles advertising agency in New York City. Susan served as a trustee on the board of Inwood House, a non-profit in New York City which serves teens at risk. She graduated from the University of Colorado.
Addy Loudiadis is responsible for the Goldman Sachs insurance business in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions and leads the firm’s efforts in providing liquidity to the market and solutions to corporate clients. Prior to assuming this role, Addy served as the co-head of the European Financing Group and co-head of the Investment Banking Group in Europe. Before moving to banking, Addy was the head of European Fixed Income Sales. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 and was named managing director in 1997 and partner in 2002. Prior to joining the firm, Addy was a vice president at JP Morgan. Addy earned a bachelor’s degree from Oxford in 1986. Addy has been an enthusiastic and generous supporter of Room to Read’s work in Africa since the early days.
Melissa J. Ma
Melissa J. Ma is the co-founder and managing director of Asia Alternatives, an Asian private equity fund-of-funds. With offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, and San Francisco, Asia Alternatives has over $2 billion assets under management and invests across Asia in local fund managers. Asia Alternatives is a corporate partner of Room to Read. Previously, Melissa was a director at Hellman & Friedman, a leading U.S. private equity firm, and has also worked at McKinsey & Co., Inc. in Hong Kong and San Francisco. Melissa holds an M.B.A. with distinction and a bachelor’s degree in economics and East Asian studies, magna cum laude, from Harvard. She also serves on the board of trustees for the Asian Art Museum and the Half the Sky Foundation (dedicated to improving the lives of orphans in China).
Patte McDowell is a former trading, sales and marketing executive with the Charles Schwab Corporation. She is the founder and board chair of the Cloud 9 Foundation and an early supporter of Room to Read's work. Patte has participated in three Room to Read country visits, endowed three schools in Vietnam, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the Girls' Education Program. She recently joined the Board of Hospice of Marin.
Arul Menezes is a principal software architect at Microsoft Research, working on natural language processing and machine translation. He previously served several roles in product research and development at Microsoft and was educated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Stanford University. Arul also spent a year with the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a group working with tribals and farmers displaced by a massive World Bank dam project in India. He currently serves on the board of trustees for the Nature Conservancy of Washington. Arul and his wife Lucy have been enthusiastic supporters of Room to Read since its early days as Books for Nepal. They reside, with their two children, in Sammamish, WA.
Dr. Shirley Miske
Shirley Miske is president of Miske Witt & Associates Inc., a small consulting firm based in St. Paul, Minnesota, that works collaboratively with education ministries and international organizations to improve quality and enhance equity in education systems. In particular, MWAI focuses on girls’ education through research and program initiatives in literacy, teacher professional development, and gender mainstreaming. MWAI is also a partner with the University of Minnesota and Seward Inc. in the Minnesota International Development Education Consortium. Shirley and her associates consult in most regions of the world with organizations such as CARE-US, UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, and the World Bank. For nine years Shirley lived and worked internationally as a teacher (Guatemala), school principal (Hong Kong), and foundation program officer for women’s concerns in Asian higher education (Thailand). Shirley earned a doctorate from Michigan State University in international development education, a master’s degree from Stanford University in bilingual/cross-cultural education, and a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University–Chicago in education. Shirley has been a strategic advisor to Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program since 2009.
Dr. Karen Mundy
Karen Mundy is a leading expert on educational assistance in the developing world. Much of her recent work has focused on efforts to make education a universal right. Her published works, widely read and cited in the field of international and comparative education, provide valuable insight into the evolution of many of the world's governmental and non-governmental institutions with educational mandates. She has published on educational reform in Africa, on the role of civil society in the reform of educational systems, and on the issue of global education in North American schools. Karen has been a consultant for organizations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, CIDA and USAID, and is the founder of the Canadian Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, teachers unions and universities committed to advancing education for all. Formerly an assistant professor at Stanford University (1996–2001), she returned to her home country, Canada, in 2002 to join the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where she is an associate professor and Canada research chair in comparative education, and directs the University of Toronto's Centre for Comparative, International and Development Education.
Stasia Obremskey is currently serving as Interim Chief Financial Officer for several clients. Formerly, Stasia was the chief financial officer for over two years at Posit Science, a leading company in brain fitness programs. Stasia has over twenty years of experience providing financial and strategic planning consulting to health care entities in the U.S. and Asia. She lived for over seven years in Bangkok, Thailand and Hong Kong, China. She began her consulting career as a management consultant with Bain & Company. Previously, she worked in investment banking for Morgan Stanley & Co. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. In addition to her consulting work, she has extensive experience as a member of several nonprofit boards where she has held a number of leadership positions.
Kavita N. Ramdas
Kavita N. Ramdas is currently the executive director of the Ripples to Waves Program on Social Entrepreneurship and Development, which is part of the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Previously, Kavita was a visiting fellow at Stanford University's CDDRL and the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). Kavita served as president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women from 1996-2010, after serving eight years as a program officer at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Kavita extends her expertise and passion for women’s leadership, education, human rights, social justice philanthropy, and international development through a diverse array of professional affiliations that include serving as a trustee of Princeton University, Mount Holyoke College, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. A native of India, Kavita received her academic training at Delhi University, Mount Holyoke College and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs.
M.R. Rangaswami co-founded Sand Hill Group LLC, and has been a strategic advisor to fast-growing technology companies. He has held global VP marketing positions at Baan and Oracle Corporation. M.R. was profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and was named in Forbes' "Midas 100 List" as one of the most influential investors in technology. He holds an MBA from Kent State University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Madras.
Dr. Carol Knuth Sakoian
Carol Knuth Sakoian has served for 17 years as Scholastic Inc.'s Vice President of International Business Development. She focuses on emerging market opportunities for Scholastic in developing countries, currently specializing in Africa and the Middle East. Prior to joining Scholastic, she was an international negotiations representative for Conoco, Inc. and worked on oil exploration and production acquisitions in politically-challenging countries. Carol has assisted with Room to Read’s strategy for publishing local language/English bilingual books and currently helps obtain culturally-appropriate low-cost books and donations from several Scholastic companies.
Tim Wood is the director of mobile health innovation at the Grameen Foundation and specializes in applying information technology to address the problems of poverty and health in developing countries. After 12 years at Microsoft working on software development, Tim spent two years consulting with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation looking at the intersection of information technology and global health. He joined the Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center in 2002 and pioneered replication of the Grameen Village Phone program, launching sustainable initiatives in Uganda and Rwanda and co-authoring the Village Phone Replication Manual. Tim leads the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) initiative underway in Ghana and brings a broad range of technical and business expertise to technology initiatives for developing countries.
Melody Zavala is director of the Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program, the Foundation's longest running program. She has been with the Asia Foundation since 1991 in various capacities, mainly working on projects involving Russia and Central Asia. Before joining the Asia Foundation, Melody worked for Catholic Relief Services as the country director in Vladivostok, Russia (1990-1992). Prior to CRS in Russia, she was based in Kolkata where, as the CRS project manager, she collaborated with partners on emergency relief and long term development projects in 12 states in northeastern India. Melody's primary focus is to ensure Room to Read's partnership with the Books for Asia Program runs smoothly and allows us to jointly ship over 100,000 books to Asia each year.
Steve W. Zimmerman
Steve W. Zimmerman is the chief financial officer for Mercy Corps and former chief of operations for Room to Read. He has more than 25 years of senior and executive-level experience in the field of international development. An accountant and economist by training, he has held numerous headquarters and field-based positions within several large non-profit organizations. In recent years, he has focused on managing organizational growth, including strategic planning, and on the development and expansion of programs supported by the new philanthropy. Throughout his career, he has served in more than a dozen long-term overseas positions, including most recently in Mongolia and China. Steve was the chief of operations for Room to Read from January 2009 until December 2010, participating in the development of the strategic plan and overseeing its launch throughout Room to Read’s nine country programs. He has also worked for Save the Children, AFS Intercultural Programs, and the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City. Steve is a graduate of the University of Southern California, and has also studied at the Université de Tunis in Tunisia and the Université de Grenoble in France.