Read more about the Ashoka United States Social Entrepreneurship program here: www.ashoka-usa.org.
Maria Laura Acebal is part of the Leadership Group at Ashoka, heading up the Youth Years work for North America. She has over fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit sector both in executive and governance roles. She founded [email protected] Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to food allergy safety, and then became CEO of the country's largest nonprofit organization, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. She serves on several nonprofit boards and has worked as a consultant on a broad range of issues, from board development to fundraising to program strategy. Prior, Maria worked for McKinsey & Company as a strategic business consultant and for Williams & Connolly as a litigation attorney. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. in Mathematics from Duke University.
Tuyet is the Finance Associate for Ashoka in the United States and she has been at Ashoka since February 2016. Prior to joining Ashoka, she worked as the Customer Services Associate for a medium scale construction company and volunteered to help low-income families and individuals prepare their income tax return. She currently holds a B.S. in Finance from the American University.
Lorena is the Director for the Ashoka Support Network in the US. She joined the Ashoka team in Mexico and Central America in 2008. While in Mexico she co-lead the largest philanthropic effort in the country named “Iniciativa Mexico”. This brought together for the first time in Mexico´s history major communication corporations to invest the largest economic figure into the social sector. In 2009 she launched Ashoka efforts in Miami making it one of the hubs of Ashoka´s efforts. To date Miami hosts the largest community of ASN members in the US, two Changemaker Campus and has become a strategic spot for Ashoka Fellows from all over the world. Before joining Ashoka, Lorena worked in the private sector as an Executive Director for an international textile company. She has a degree in Audiovisual Communications at the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain. She also studied French at La Sorbonne in Paris, France and has lived in four different countries since she turned eighteen.
Konstanze is a member of the Leadership Group and leads Ashoka’s new global initiative on Tech & Humanity. She’s also the head of Ashoka in North America. A social anthropologist and journalist by background, she founded Ashoka in her native Germany in 2003 and co-led Ashoka’s emergence and growth in Western Europe, introducing the then radically new concept of social entrepreneurship to the continent. She also co-founded the Globalizer, an initiative re-defining what we mean by scale. She worked for CNN and FAZ and was a board member for GLS Bank, Germany’s leading ethical financial institution, before moving to the US in 2015. She is on the advisory board of CASE at Duke University.
Maria is the team integrator and special projects manager for Ashoka U.S. and makes sure the team is running smoothly, creatively, and collaboratively. Maria started at Ashoka fall 2017, and worked on the Latin America and Search teams and ran the summer internship program before joining Ashoka US. She is most alive when creating -- whether it be new graphic designs for the Welcome Change series or new mugs at her pottery studio in SE DC -- and loves building relationships through the process.
Laura leads Ashoka's selection of U.S. Changemaker Schools. She was born in Madrid and has a BA in Linguistics and International Comparative Studies from Duke University. Bilingual in English and Spanish, fluent in Portuguese and French and having studied Hindi, Sanskrit, Latin and Ancient Greek, she loves working cross-culturally and discovering new ways of thinking, living and being. As a PreK-5th grade science, language, and nutrition educator at the Garden School Foundation, she advanced meaningful education initiatives for underserved youth in LA through hands-on learning in outdoor living classrooms. At SIMA she advanced global awareness of humanitarian issues by exhibiting works of visual storytelling that inspire activism, compassion and social transformation. She aspires to improve how we engage people as responsible citizens of an interconnected world, to prepare them to think critically, creatively and compassionately about current global social and environmental challenges.
Manmeet Mehta is the Director of Program Operations and Impact for Ashoka U.S. She has more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and social sector, working on issues of improving access to philanthropic capital, strategy consulting, strategic philanthropy, and grantmaking. She founded GlobalGiving’s online crowdfunding program, “The GlobalGiving Accelerator" in 2007. The Accelerator was the first globally accessible mechanism for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to access funding from the $270 billion US philanthropic market. She has worked with funders like USAID, The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on developing a systems-driven strategy for finding and funding transformative solutions globally. She grew up living in many cities across India, holds an MBA, and a degree in Masters in International Relations and Public Policy from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY.
Annie joined Ashoka U.S. right after graduating from the University of Virginia in 2016, where she majored in Political and Social Thought. She was a Global Citizen Year Fellow from 2011-2012, when she traveled to Northeastern Brazil and worked in a government crisis center and her host family's snack stand. Since then, she has worked on issues of racial and environmental justice, women's rights, and educational equity for minority students in Washington D.C.
As our Community Engagement Manager, Annie works on bringing together members of the Ashoka network to catalyze meaningful, nurturing, and fun relationships through events, communications, and facilitating connections. She is a co-creator of Ashoka Huddles, DMV native, and chief morale officer at our global offices in Arlington.
Alex Vesey is the Venture Associate for Ashoka US. She recently graduated Sarah Lawrence College with a double major in Creative Writing and Latin. At SLC, she founded her campus's Disability Alliance, which grew into a social and activist group for students with disabilities. Since graduation, she has worked at a variety of health and disability organizations, however, she is very excited to branch out and become a part of the broader citizenship sector with Ashoka. In her other life, she writes science fiction and fantasy stories and takes care of an elderly little dog.