Alex Counts - President, CEO
Alex Counts is president, CEO and founder of Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on enabling the poor to escape poverty by providing access to small loans, information and business opportunities. Counts founded Grameen Foundation in 1997, after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years and spending six years as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he learned about innovative poverty solutions from Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Counts has propelled Grameen Foundation’s philosophy through his writings, including Small Loans, Big Dreams: How Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Microfinance Are Changing the World. Counts has also been published in The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Miami Herald, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. In 2007 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Horace Mann School.
David Edelstein - Senior Vice President, Solutions and Regions
David Edelstein is Senior Vice President of Grameen Foundation's Solutions and Regions. As a leader of Grameen Foundation's work in technology, he guides programs that create innovative and sustainable approaches to employing technology for the benefit of the world's poor. This includes efforts to develop services that can be accessed on widely available mobile phones, in domains such as health and agriculture, to improve lives and livelihoods. It also encompasses efforts to enable the poor to manage their finances using mobile phones.
Before joining Grameen Foundation, David spent three years at Microsoft, designing business models to provide affordable technology products for people in emerging markets. David also worked in Brazil for four years with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he developed business strategies tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in developing countries.
Previously, David conducted economic analyses and evaluated public policy with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and with Resources for the Future. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Economics from Colby College and a Master's degree in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton University.
Heather Thorne - Director, ICT Innovation Program
Heather leads Grameen Foundation’s ICT Innovation efforts in Uganda and Indonesia, which include the AppLab and Community Knowledge Worker Initiatives in Uganda, and the AppLab and Microfranchise programs in Indonesia, while advising on other ICT-Innovation programs. Prior to Grameen, Heather spent nearly 6 years at Microsoft in strategy, product management, and operational leadership roles, including work focused on emerging markets consumers, in the Windows, Microsoft Research and Mobile divisions. Prior to Microsoft, she was an associate with McKinsey & Company, started her own outdoor gear company, worked in Russia for a Moscow-based investment bank, and for NASA on the US-Russian space program. She received BA degrees in Russian Language and Political Science from University of Washington, and an MBA from Wharton.
Jason Hahn - Business Development Manager, ICT Innovation Program (supporting the CKW team)
Jason prepares the financial projections that keep us on track to sustainability, and plays a key role in developing partner proposals to extend the reach of our CKW network in Uganda. As in all true start-ups, he pitches in where needed and has also developed a bit of expertise in procuring unlocked G1 phones - not an easy task in the US!
Prior to joining the Grameen Foundation, Jason was a Foreign Service Officer with postings in Haiti, the United Kingdom, and Benin, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. Jason has an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and a Bachelors degree from Washington and Lee University. In his spare time, he enjoys keeping up on his Zarma language skills, a reminder of his time in Niger, with his wife Laura.
Hélène Martin - ICT Innovation Specialist
Hélène has degrees in linguistics and computer science from the University of Washington. During her time at UW, she worked on software projects with human-interest components including an application to help small artisans market their art to a broader audience and a volunteer scheduler for homeless shelters. She has a lot of energy for finding creative solutions to global problems and is passionate about software, sewing and sleeping in. Her favorite color is red and she enjoys wearing rain boots.