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The Business & Government Professional Interest Council serves as the dynamic forum for HKS students and fellows interested in the thought-leadership, partnerships, careers and innovations at the intersection of business and government.
Co-Chair: Paolo Fresia
After a brief stint as bond trader with Goldman Sachs and a year in Haiti with Doctors Without Borders, Paolo lived in Asia for the past two years before coming to HKS. He most recently worked at boutique CSR consultancy BSR, focusing on corporate sustainability strategy and integration. His projects have focused on working with global companies on opportunities in the Myanmar and Laos garment, forestry, and telecommunications industries, especially around labor and human rights topics. Moreover, Paolo has recently founded an impact investment fund with five friends, and therefore has a keen interest in the social enterprise ecosystem. Paolo is excited to Co-Chair the B&G PIC and looks forward to connecting with all those interested in sustainable development.
Co-Chair: Rebecca Barnes
Rebecca is a Canadian Foreign Service Officer who has worked in diplomatic missions in Washington D.C., Australia, Singapore and China. Most recently, she completed a three-year assignment to the Canadian High Commission in Singapore, where she helped Canadian companies in the financial services, education and life sciences sectors take advantage of business opportunities in Asia. In Canada, she worked on the G20 Summit in Toronto and outward investment promotion for the Federal Government. Rebecca is looking forward to Co-Chairing the B&G PIC and exploring how governments can support their companies to internationalize through export credit agencies, trade agreements and diplomacy.
Co-VP of Finance: Christopher Jan
An engineer by education and management consultant by trade, Chris spent the last couple years advising various financial institutions and bank holding companies with EY’s Financial Services Advisory practice in Chicago. During his time there, he focused on regulatory reform, risk transformation, and bank regulation. Born and bred in the Midwest (with Taiwanese influences), Chris is a proud Detroit native and Wolverine. He is excited to learn more about the intersection between the public and private sectors, and is interested in the effects that economic policies, trade, and foreign investment can have on quality of life in developing countries. Chris’ hobbies include sports, international affairs, and Michigan football.
Co-VP of Finance: Katharine Bodnar
Katharine’s professional career to date has focused on addressing health-related challenges in both the public and private sectors. After graduating from Duke in 2012, Katharine spent two years working at an economic consulting firm in Boston, where she supported economic analyses related to hospital antitrust litigation and patent litigation in addition to health economics modelling for biotech and pharma clients. Katharine spent the past two years at a public health non-profit in Africa working to helping governments in the region overcome operational challenges and build stronger health systems necessary to scale HIV diagnostic and treatment services. Katharine is a joint degree student with the Harvard Business School and is excited to spend the next three years further exploring challenges and opportunities at the intersection of business and government (including those outside the realm of healthcare!).
Co-VP of Communications: Kristine Lee
Kristine is a first-year MPP student at HKS and an alumna of Harvard College. She studied abroad in China during her undergraduate years and spent time in Seoul, South Korea on a Fulbright Fellowship prior to attending HKS. Kristine has a strong interest in international affairs, particularly with regards to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia. She hopes to work at the intersection of the private and public sectors, and eventually become a diplomat.
Co-VP of Communications: Matthew Spector
As a journalist, editor and storyteller, Matthew equips organizations to seize a generational moment of reset between business and government. Matthew’s training began at ABC News, where he crossed business and national reporting in digital and broadcast capacities during the recession. Following work in corporate affairs and urban planning, Matthew spent several years architecting programs and marketing campaigns for public affairs entities and Fortune 500 companies, most recently through the creative intelligence group Bow Bridge. His strategic and messaging leadership has included work for Obama for America, UNICEF, UNHCR, Coca-Cola, LVMH, IBM, and Hillary for America. At HKS, Matthew focuses on framing new opportunities and vocabularies for shared value, public-private partnerships, corporate social responsibility/sustainability and citizen engagement.
Co-VP of HBS Relations: Amrita Vir
Amrita is a second-year MPP / MBA joint degree student with Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. She is from Houston, Texas and attended Southern Methodist University, where she received a BBA in Finance and Minors in Economics, International Studies, and Chinese. During college, she founded a microfinance non-profit to support underserved Dallas entrepreneurs, and after graduation, she worked in energy consulting at Booz & Co. in Dallas and Houston. Amrita is interested in harnessing the public and private sectors to facilitate financial empowerment. When she is not reading cases or writing policy memos, Amrita also enjoys power yoga, cooking, and seeing live music.
Co-VP of HBS Relations: Kaitlin Klaustermeier
Kaitlin is a first year MPP / MBA joint degree student with Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. She is originally from Boyceville, Wisconsin and attended the University of Minnesota, receiving a B.S. in Business (majoring in Management Information Systems and minoring in Finance). After graduation Kaitlin worked for The Boston Consulting Group in Chicago and also spent time in Seattle at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she worked on their Primary Healthcare Strategy. Kaitlin is interested in the intersection of K-12 education, government policy and private education companies, specifically in how to best support rural communities in the United States and around the world. When she is not studying Kaitlin enjoys playing basketball, rollerblading, watching the Green Bay Packers and playing board games.
VP of SECON Relations: Jen Smith
Jen Smith is a second year Public Policy student at HKS. She grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Oklahoma. She joined the Teach for America teaching 8th grade English and worked as an instructional coach and Director of Teacher Leadership in Texas and Oklahoma. At HKS, Jen focuses on experiential learning and using behavioral insights to improve team performance. Over the summer, she worked on social impact consulting at Deloitte. She can often be found in the kitchen with friends and wine.
Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Co-Chair: Sabine Prinz
Sabine started her career as trainee with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Austria, where she worked on European Economic and Financial issues. She then joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington DC where she focused on regional integration and trade issues in Latin America. After this experience she also was a consultant to the IFC where she developed IFC's first-ever inclusive business investment strategy to expand opportunities and choices for those living at the base of the global economic pyramid. She then decided to implement development and training programs for coffee suppliers in Latin America as a project manager for a specialty-coffee importer in Oregon before returning to the IDB as monitoring and evaluation associate for agribusiness and infrastructure investments. This summer, Sabine worked for Nespresso’s Sustainability Innovation Fund in NY.
Corporate Social Responsibility Committee,Co-Chair: Henning Ringholz
Henning is passionate about the power of business to do good. He has worked for nearly a decade in global development, working with corporates, small businesses and social enterprises. Henning is a founder and co-chair of the Irish shared value network, and co-creator of the INGO impact investment network. He has more than 20 years’ experience in business and regional development, having worked as a strategy consultant, entrepreneur, and businessman.
Impact Investing Committee, Co-Chair: Emma Morse
Emma is a second-year Master of Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to starting at HKS, she worked in monitoring and evaluation for Pathfinder International, an international NGO working to strengthen access to reproductive health services globally, and as a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Tanzania. She spent the past summer in Nairobi, Kenya working for Sanergy, an innovative social enterprise, to develop a strategy for expanding access to high-quality sanitation for residents of the city’s informal settlements. At HKS, Emma is particularly interested in exploring how the private sector can be effectively leveraged to promote sustainable development. Besides nerding out over innovative development approaches, she enjoys competing in the occasional triathlon, scouring Boston and Cambridge in search of good coffee, and dabbling in vegetarian cooking. She is thrilled to be co-chairing the Social Enterprise / Impact Investing Committee and looks forward to connecting with others who are passionate about market-based approaches to development.
Impact Investing Committee, Co-Chair: Ivan Rahman
A native of the Boogie Down Bronx, Ivan brings with him five years of professional experience. He has worked as a community organizer, a Coro Fellow, a teacher, a nonprofit executive, a data analyst, and a strategy consultant. His interests lie at the sweet spot between education, innovation, and government. In his spare time, he eats anything in sight. Ivan is thrilled to serve the HKS community as the Co-Chair of the Impact Investing Committee.
Public-Private Partnership Committee, Co-Chair: Hamada Zahawi
Hamada Zahawi is an Iraqi-American, former International Attorney-Advisor with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Hamada was assigned to primarily work on commercial legal reform, private sector growth, and economic development in Iraq, Afghanistan, and countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Bahrain, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen and the UAE. Prior to joining the US Government, Hamada was in private practice with a focus on Project Finance, International Commercial Law, and Islamic/Middle East Finance. Hamada has a J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley Law, a Masters (MPhil) in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. from UCLA. Hamada is excited to co-chair the PPP committee as part of the B&G PIC given his long-term interests in the PPP space, especially in the Middle East.
Public-Private Partnership Committee, Co-Chair: Diogo Faria
Diogo works with financial and economic modeling of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) in Brazil, and in the past nine years he was involved in investments that represented US$10+ billion (mainly in the power sector, but also in water, sewage and urban mobility). His experiences crossed Ernst & Young, UNESCO, LMDM (a boutique consulting company that serves both government and private sector) and Fundação Getúlio Vargas – FGV (business school). Diogo is a mechanical engineer, with a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Power Systems. At Harvard Kennedy School, Diogo is a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Candidate, co-chairing both the Infrastructure & PPP Committee at the Business & Government PIC and the Brazilian Caucus.
Economic Development Committee, Co-Chair: Christoph Nedopil
Christoph, a second-year MPA2 student, was born and raised in Bavaria, Southern part of Germany. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and received his PhD in institutional development in emerging economies. Prior to HKS, he founded two companies in Germany; one based in Berlin that helps companies adjust their product strategy for ageing consumer groups, the other, to develop an application for taxi sharing. Christoph has also been a consultant at the IFC for the past 8 years and has worked on corporate governance and board issues in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. In his spare time, Christoph enjoys doing sports, playing classical music, cooking, making good espresso and meeting new people! As the chair of the Economic Development Committee, he plans to highlight the relevance of entrepreneurship for economic development.
Economic Development Committee, Co-Chair: Ali Nadeem
Ali Nadeem spent a the last few years in the public and the non-profit sectors. In Toronto, he worked in education policy; on initiatives to increase access for post-secondary education in the province of Ontario, and also financial product regulations before coming to HKS. Prior to that, he co-authored Ontario's first ever economic and environmental impact analysis study on electric vehicle industry in the province. He also worked in economic development and sector strategy for the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, to create economic development opportunities in niche industry areas such as information, communication, technology (ICT), and clean technology. Additionally, Ali has worked as an independent researcher and an analyst, worked for a think tank, and also put in some time in banking and asset management.
Sustainability Committee, Chair: Alberto Rincon
As an engineer and Chicago native, Alberto's work has spanned across industry sectors from vehicle hybridization to social enterprise and community organizing. His work in social enterprise consisted of co-founding an urban agriculture firm focused on issues of food access and sustainability. As an organizer, he coordinated a group that successfully advocated for the removal of a locally-stored industrial product with serious public health and environmental consequences. Now at HKS, he focuses on sustainable economic policy, urban innovation, economic development, and public leadership as a current Center for Public Leadership Fellow. He is excited to work with the B&G PIC and looks forward to the year ahead.
Government Relations Committee, Chair: Malini Bose
Before joining the MPP program at HKS, Malini Bose was an Associate in the India practice of the Albright Stonebridge Group in New Delhi, where she helped multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations assess government policy, identify opportunities for investment and expansion, collaborate with the government, and advocate for reform. She has worked with organizations across sectors like healthcare, agribusiness, fertilizers, sanitation, telecommunications, and logistics through politico-economic research and analysis, and systematic engagement with stakeholders in the highest echelons of business, the government, and the social sector. Malini is eager to gain and facilitate a better understanding of how to create value at this trisector intersection by chairing the Government Relations committee.
Fintech Committee, Chair: Snigdha Kumar
Snigdha was a management consultant for Dalberg in Asia and has worked extensively in energy and financial services access for low-income communities. Her passion lies in expanding access to formal financial institutions by leveraging financial technology (fintech). Previously, she has worked on designing digital payment solutions for low-income merchants in Indonesia in collaboration with a Telecom company. She has also evaluated the small holder farmer's financial needs in Sub Saharan Africa for the Gates Foundations. Most recently, she was involved in setting up a large scale public-private partnership (More than 30+ private companies) to expand digital payments for low income population in India in collaboration with USAID and Ministry of Finance. Additionally, she has worked on designing a credit linked digital payment product for small grocery store owner in India in collaboration with a top India FMCG. Snigdha is excited to chair the first ever 'Fintech for social impact' PIC at HKS.
Regulations Committee, Chair: Jack Pead
Jack hails from Melbourne, Australia. He studied Economics and Finance in college during the global financial crisis, sparking his interest in the economics of financial markets and regulatory policy. Prior to coming to HKS, his experience was primarily in the private sector, having spent four years working for the corporate advisory firm, Lazard, across Australia and the Middle East. At Lazard, he undertook numerous advisory projects with government departments in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt as well as engagements with private firms. His other interests include humanitarian issues and climate policy. Jack has attended UNFCCC negotiations to promote innovative financing mechanisms for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Political Risk Committee, Chair: Ben Yunmo Wang
Before coming to HKS, Ben was a China analyst at Eurasia Group, the world's leading political risk research and consulting company. He advised Fortune 500 companies and major financial institutions on navigating Chinese politics and economic policy, reporting to Dr. Evan Medeiros, former Senior Asia Director in President Obama's National Security Council. His projects included technology, finance, healthcare, energy, social policy, and fiscal policy. Ben also had short stints with Control Risks, another top political risk consultancy, and JD.com, China's largest direct online retailer. He is excited to create the Political Risk Committee at HKS, and looks forward to introducing the industry and connecting with those interested.