Distinguished Board of Directors

Vijay MahajanChairman: Mr. Vijay Mahajan, is the Founder and Chairman of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group (www.basixindia.com), which promotes livelihoods of two million poor households. Established in 1996, BASIX offers financial services, fee-based agricultural, livestock and vocational training services to individual producers, institutional development services to producer groups, environmental services to enterprises, and consulting services to development agencies.  Earlier, in 1983, Vijay co-founded PRADAN, an NGO involved in livelihood promotion of poor households in rural India.

Vijay served on the boards of major Indian NGOs – ASSEFA, Gram Vikas, PRIA and DSC, and some major Indian policy fora such as the Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion, the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.  Vijay co-founded support institutions Sa-Dhan in 2000, APMAS in 2001 and the Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) in 2008. In 2010, Vijay was elected Chair of the Executive Committee of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the global apex body for microfinance and in 2011 he was listed as one of the five pioneers of microfinance by Microfinance Focus.   Vijay is a Distinguished Alumnus of both the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and was selected as a Mid-Career Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, USA.   In 1996, he co-authored a book “The Forgotten Sector” and has written over 20 published papers and 60 articles.  Vijay was selected as among the 60 “outstanding social entrepreneurs of the world” at the World Economic Forum, Davos in 2003 and listed among the 50 most influential Indians by BusinessWeek, Asia in 2009. In 2011, the Financial Express named him among twenty Indians who will lead India’s reforms in the current decade.

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Director: Ms. Mary Houghton is an Independent Director. She is co-founder of ShoreBank, the largest and oldest community development bank. Houghton, along with Milton Davis, James Fletcher and Ron Grzywinski purchased what was then South Shore Bank to fight redlining in the Chicago neighborhood. She retired as its president in May 2010. Houghton serves as a Director of the Calvert Foundation, the Rapid Results Institute, BASIX SEG and Women’s World Banking. She is a member of the Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. Mary also sits on the following Boards and Advisory Committees:

Director: Vancity Community Investment Bank, Vancouver, B.C., Chair, BASIX and director BSFL, Hyderabad, India; Grassroots Business Fund; Rapid Results Institute; Founder, Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

Advisory committees: AEO Enterprise Economic Impact Council of Advisors and MicroCapital Task Force; Samridhi Fund, India.

Director (Former ShoreBank affiliates): Equator Capital Partners, Northern Initiatives, Craft3.

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Mark MilsteinDirector: Prof. Dr. Mark Milstein Dr. Milstein is Clinical Professor of Management and director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He oversees the center’s work on sustainable innovation and enterprise development. Milstein teaches and conducts research on strategy, decision making, technology commercialization, and innovation. Milstein is a member of the Management and Organization Group at the Johnson School, as well as the university-wide Entrepreneurship@Cornell program.   He is currently serving as a faculty advisor to Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and was a member of Cornell’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainable Endowment Practices. Dr. Milstein frames the world’s social and environmental challenges as unmet market needs which can be addressed most appropriately through business innovation and entrepreneurship so that the private sector can achieve financial success by creatively addressing problems such as climate change, ecosystem degradation, and poverty. His work includes private sector approaches to poverty alleviation and technology commercialization strategies to catalyze sustainable innovation. He has worked closely with a variety of firms in renewable energy and carbon markets, life sciences and sustainable agriculture, healthcare and hospitality management, as well as finance and international development.

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Saurabh NarainDirectorSaurabh Narain is the President and Chief Executive of National Community Investment Fund. He joined NCIF in 2003, and, under his leadership, the fund has become the largest equity investor (in numbers) in CDFI Banks in the country, grown assets under management to $228 million (including $203 million in NMTC allocations) and pioneered the development of NCIF’s Social Performance Metrics.

Prior to NCIF, he has had extensive experience in capital markets and risk management having worked at Bank of America for almost 17 years based in Asia and the US. Towards the end of his tenure in Hong Kong, he was Head of Marketing, Non-Japan Asia for Global Derivative Products. He has done business in almost 10 countries in Asia/US dealing with financial institutions, global multinational corporations and governments.

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NicolaDirector: Ms. Nicola Armacost is the managing director and founder of Arc Finance, formed in the spring of 2008 to link the fields of finance, energy, water, and sanitation. Ms. Armacost has over 20 years experience in microfinance and development in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. From 1993 to 2008, she worked at Women’s World Banking, a global microfinance network where she held various leadership positions. Ms. Armacost is an advisor to a number of organizations, including Distributed Capital (financial services, USA), Frontier Markets (energy distribution systems, India), SIMPA Networks (energy payment systems, USA/India), Stima Systems (solar micro-leasing, USA/Kenya), Angaza Design (solar pay-as-you-go system, USA and Tanzania), Lumeter Networks (pre-paid metered off-grid electricity), and EcoZoom (clean cookstoves, USA). She is the co-chair of the investment and finance working group for the UN Year of Sustainable Energy (2012). She also serves on the Board of MISFA (the donor consortium for microfinance in Afghanistan) and is a trustee of the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson in New York. Ms. Armacost has a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Toronto, an LLB from Queen’s University in Canada, and an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School in Canada.

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rebeccaRebecca Savoie is an international agribusiness development professional with nearly 20 years of experience designing and managing agricultural and economic development programs around the globe. She recently managed a US$22 million project in Tanzania working with edible oil processors, maize millers and various input and equipment suppliers, wholesalers and retailers. She has served as Country Director for TechnoServe Tanzania and has worked with Land O’Lakes, Inc., a Fortune 250 company and the second largest cooperative in the US. She has provided technical assistance and consulting services to countless agribusinesses of all sizes in Africa and elsewhere.  Ms. Savoie has strong operational and financial management experience and is known for her systems approach to project management.

In August 2015, Ms. Savoie began a PhD program in the Division of Applied Social Sciences within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri/Columbia.  She plans to focus her research on collective action and measurement with application in Africa as well as offer consulting services in a range of areas such as program design, proposal development, technical review, management training, and strategic planning.

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2016Executive Director: Mr. Sanjay Behuria has senior executive level banking experience for over 30 years. His specific competences are: Strategy – Internal Resource Analysis, Strategic Plan and Implementation; Banking – Product development, SME, ALM, Treasury, Risk Management, Financial Inclusion and Branchless Banking; Microfinance – Product development, Capacity building, Value Chain Financing, Access to Finance; Business Development – Building relationships across the Globe. Mr. Behuria has lived and worked in India, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and USA. He has also delivered consulting contracts in Namibia, Palestine, Maldives, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Peru, Mexico and Bangladesh.