Brian Arbogast


Brian Arbogast is currently the Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program, where he leads the foundation’s effort to bring groundbreaking innovations in sanitation technology and new ways to deliver sanitation products and services to people in the developing world. Brian came to the Foundation following a 20+ year career with Microsoft where he served most recently as a Corporate Vice President, responsible for delivering the mobile services strategy, platform, and experiences for Windows Live and Windows Mobile, as well as the strategy, platform, and integrated services for network operators. These R&D efforts spanned campuses in the U.S., China, Israel, and Portugal. Prior to 2000, Brian managed the teams which developed the core technologies behind Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, calendar, contacts, storage, VoIP, and online identity services when these were the highest-scale services in the world, growing from 150 million to over 500 million users. Earlier roles included running Visual Studio from 1997 to 2000 and Access from 1994 to 1997, and working as a lead developer on Access 1.0.

Brian has also been an active angel-stage impact investor in the clean energy sector since 2007, and joined Northwest Energy Angels in 2010. He is also a founding board member of the Progress Alliance of Washington, which organizes a community of donors to make strategic investments in progressive social and political change in Washington State, and of Fuse, which uses online communications and grassroots organizing to give people a stronger voice in Washington State government. Brian holds a B.Math in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a Certificate in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Manisha Chainani

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Manisha Chainani is a Computer Engineer currently working at Microsoft. She previously started her dance school, Liveanklets, imparting Indian classical dance education to children and adults.  Manisha is passionate about supporting education, health and the performing arts in the local community and in the world. She is on the board of several non-profits in the Seattle area such as the Bellevue Schools Foundation, API Chaya, University of Washington’s Meany Center for the Performing Arts as well as the University of Washington Dream Project’s Capital Campaign. She is also connected to non-profits in India that serve children with special needs.  Manisha is well-known in the Seattle non-profit community for her fundraising and community building skills. She is constantly trying to get non-profits visibility and engage the local community with different non-profits.

Robert Gertner


Robert H. Gertner has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1986. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. He is co-author, with colleagues Douglas Baird and Randy Picker, of Game Theory and the Law. Gertner teaches courses in strategic decision-making, entrepreneurial strategy, and social entrepreneurship.

Gertner received a National Science Foundation Research Grant and an Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics, and was a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has held visiting positions at CEPREMAP in Paris, Cornell Law School, The University of Chicago Law School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Gertner is also a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest. He is also a board member of the Interfaith Youth Core, a member of the Evaluation Advisory Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and the Faculty Council of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion International.

Gertner received a B.A. summa cum laude in economics from Princeton University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He worked as a consultant for AT&T prior to attending MIT.

Sriram Gutta


One of Upaya's co-founders, Sriram left his full-time role as Upaya's Director, Business Development in Summer 2013 to pursue a Masters Degree at Columbia University on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Before Upaya's creation, Sriram worked full-time with partners in the Sorenson / Unitus Ultra Poor Initiative providing support in areas such as project planning, business development, and program management. Prior to Unitus, Sriram was with MXV Consulting, a boutique strategy and operations consulting firm based out of Bangalore serving entrepreneurs across several industries including telecom, real estate, and entertainment with capability development, pricing strategy, market entry strategy, goal setting and performance management among others. Prior to MXV, Sriram co-founded Mobile Medics Healthcare – the world's first social venture aimed at creating a sustainable business that provided private sector, high quality, and affordable medical care to rural India with seed funding as winners of the Global Social Venture Competition from the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Sriram is also a staff writer at – a discussion forum on the role of enterprise and markets in addressing the needs of the world’s low-income consumers and producers. At NextBillion, Sriram profiles social businesses, interviews key social entrepreneurs and agents of change as well as reports on the pressing issues affecting the bottom of pyramid. Sriram completed his Masters in Management Studies from BITS, Pilani.


Suhail Kassim


Suhail Kassim is a Specialist and Fellow with the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. He was part of the core World Bank team that worked with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, to respond to the recent global financial crisis, where he participated in providing a record-size US $2 billion loan to capitalize India’s public sector banks. He has earlier been a private equity investor with Tata Industries, a manager with the Tata Administrative Service, and an equities analyst with JP Morgan. He has launched several social initiatives, serves as an advisor to social ventures and hi-tech startups, and has published on competitiveness, microfinance and investment climate.

Suhail is an alumnus of the London School of Economics, where he attended the Gurukul Leadership Programme. He holds an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, where he was a Surrendra Paul Merit Scholar, and an engineering degree with distinction from BITS Pilani. He was conferred the Chevening Senior Scholarship by the British Government as a "Young Indian Leader" in 2009, and the “Global 30 Under 30 Award” for all-round leadership by BITS Pilani in 2005.

Tanya Menon


Tanya Menon is Associate Professor of Management and Human Resources at the Ohio State Fisher College of Business. She studies how social networks, power/persuasion, and national culture affect people's everyday assumptions and their patterns of decision making. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Review, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, among others. Her research has been featured in various media outlets including the The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Times of London, The Guardian, and The Times of India.

As Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Menon was the winner of the 2006 Faculty Excellence Award for exceptional commitment to teaching as voted by students in the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs, and the 2007 Phoenix Award, voted by the class of 2007 for enriching the experience of students inside and outside the classroom. She has also been a visiting professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, Cornell's Industrial and Labor Relations School, the London Business School, Insead (France), and the Indian School of Business.

She has conducted executive programs all over the world, including the US Intelligence Community, Discover Financial Services, Citibank (India), Tetrapak (Italy), Aetna, McCormick,, National Starch, Baker-Tilly, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She has been a keynote speaker at organizations including American Bar Association Chief Bar Executives, Women's Food Forum, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Deloitte Women’s Group.

Menon earned a Ph.D. in organizational behavior in 2000 from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where she was also the recipient of an American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a Kauffman Foundation Grant for Research on Entrepreneurship, a Stanford Center for Conflict and Negotiation Fellowship, and was selected as one of Chicago’s emerging leaders by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Menon earned a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University in 1995.

Bhakti Mirchandani

Bhakti Mirchandani  is a Senior Vice President at One William Street Capital, an alternative investment firm focused primarily on asset-based credit.  Most recently, Bhakti served as Global Relationship Director for Global Development Organizations at Barclays. Previously, Bhakti was a Vice President at Unitus Capital, a financial advisory firm focused on social enterprises and social investment funds in developing Asia, and worked in corporate strategy and investment management at Lehman Brothers, where she was also the firm’s microfinance specialist.  Bhakti co-founded the Global Microentrepreneurship Awards, for which the UN recognized her as major innovator. She was a consultant to Women’s World Banking, and worked in homebuilding equity research at Salomon Smith Barney.  Bhakti holds a B.A. in chemistry (cum laude) from Harvard College, an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where she received the Dean’s Award.  She serves on the boards of Project Enterprise and Arc Finance and is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Suzanne Skees


Suzanne Skees is the director of the Skees Family Foundation, a California-based family foundation which supports innovative self-help programs in the U.S. and 37 developing countries. Suzanne studied English literature (Boston College) and world religions (Harvard Divinity School) but has learned more from the school of personal mistakes and quiet listening. Writing for online and print media, Skees shares stories of what can happen when students and survivors, entrepreneurs and families, receive tools they need to build a life of choice.