NORTH AMERICA TEAM
Based out of Oakland, California, this team is composed of local and virtual members with expertise in Programs, Finance, Marketing, Events, and Administrative work.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Erna Grasz co-founded Asante Africa Foundation with two visionary African women from Kenya and Tanzania. While spending 25 years in the corporate world as a senior executive, she earned the reputation as a strategic leader, “organizer of chaos” and with demonstrated success in diverse industries, including medical device, defense research, and semiconductor capital equipment.
In 2011 she left the corporate world to manage the organization full time.
Colin is the President of Golub Group, which provides institutional grade investment management to high-net worth individuals, registered investment advisors, foundations and select institutional investors.
He graduated from Washington and Lee University with a Bachelor of Arts where he was a team captain and an All-American lacrosse player. Colin is drawn to support AAF mission because of his belief that education has the power to transform, empower and strengthen our global community.
Mark has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering, an MBA, and is a recently retired executive from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he has worked for nearly 38 years. He is currently working for a Boston based Start- up company and spending more time enjoying technical contributions to global needs.
Mark has supported both the development and implementation of projects in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as helping to develop the basic business tools needed to operate the organization in the United States.
Heather is a leadership-focused P&L executive with experience across intelligence, defense, and federal markets in the US and UK. She has portfolio management experience of $175+M annual portfolio with 300+ people, mostly in systems development and integration. Her most recent experience is in products, services, and enterprise IT.
Heather has experience as a Director at Northrop Grumman Corporation, a global security company providing innovative solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide. She holds a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, a master’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Heather is passionate about Asante Africa Foundation’s work.
Monica has over 25 years of experience and held senior marketing positions with such well-known companies as Aramark, Burger King, Einstein Noah and Knowledge Learning. She is now an independent consultant and executive coach inspiring companies and individuals to unleash their potential through brand management and strategic planning.
She holds degrees from Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University. Her friend and former safari guide, Tanzanian board member Dennis Lyamuya, introduced Monica to Asante Africa Foundation.
Waldemar is a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Cedar Street Asset Management LLC in Chicago. With over 20 years of entrepreneurial and investing experience, Waldemar manages investment strategies that focus on smaller, publicly listed companies in developed and emerging markets.
Waldemar studied Economics (BA) at Boston College, and Finance and Entrepreneurship (MBA) at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Living through a similar childhood in Romania, he joins the Board to contribute in the creation of better opportunities for African youth.
Nabiha started in the semiconductor capital equipment space where she introduced multiple products to the industry at KLA Tencor and Verigy. She has since transitioned to the biotech industry, working at Thermo Fisher Scientific in the Genetic Sciences space.
Nabiha holds a MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and a Bachelors from the NED Engineering University in Karachi, Pakistan. She is an advocate of girls’ and women’s professional education and has been a supporter of Asante Africa from its inception.
Chris is the successful entrepreneur behind Paws Pet Resorts, a 12-year-old dog boarding, daycare, grooming, and training business that has since expanded to two locations in San Clemente and Lake Forest in California.
Besides her advocacy in animal rescue, Chris is also passionate about Education. In 2015, she co-founded Sopa Kenya in order to build classroom infrastructure in partnership with Asante Africa Foundation.
Rani is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP based out of San Francisco. She focuses on digital health and has 18+ years of experience in consumer digital transformation initiatives across multiple industries from strategy through execution. Rani holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Engineering from India.
Nancy is a Deputy Program Director in the Office of the Deputy Director for S&T at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) with over 30 years experience in applying science and technology in the interest of national security.
She currently holds a joint appointment with Georgetown University as a Professor of the Practice in the Graduate School of Arts and Science and is the Executive Director of the Emergency and Disaster Management Master degree program. Her current research interest is the nexus of climate change, emergency management, and urban planning.
Michael Carter serves as the Program Director for DoD Technology Programs and serves as a member of the senior leadership staff in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and Photon Science Principal Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Mike holds technical degrees, including a B.S. in Physics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Applied Science from University of California, Davis. Mike is also a professional photographer and supports Asante Africa Foundation through his photography.
Maria Wayne is a global HR executive with twenty years of experience providing talent management, organizational effectiveness and learning solutions for Silicon Valley tech companies. She currently serves as the head of learning and development, performance management, diversity and inclusion at Seagate Technology. Previously she served as a senior intercultural consultant with NASA, providing training to astronauts and flight surgeons.
Wayne holds a Ph.D. from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She is a co-author of “Moscow at Your Door” and a contributing author to “Global Diversity”.
Shirley has 25+ years of experience working with ASSE International Student Exchange- hosting foreign exchange students, supervising, mentoring, learning about new cultures, and helping others learn about & adjust to life in the United States.
For the past 17 years, Shirley also has headed the Bay Area interviews for the Congress Bundestag Scholarship between the United States and Germany. Shirley hold a degree from Wartburg College in Political Science. She also holds a certificate in Volunteer Management.
Suhasini Iyer has had over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry that spans drug discovery, translational research, regulatory interactions, and clinical development. She is currently Senior VP, Development & Regulatory Affairs at Teneobio.
She earned her Ph.D. from University of California at Davis, is a co-author on over 40 publications, has presented at numerous national and international forums and is a co-inventor on 5 patents.
Shardul Kazi is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc., where he oversees $2 billion business and operational performance and directly manages strategic direction. In 2000, Shardul founded ArTile Microsystems–a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba and was a Chief Operating Officer of the company till 2004. Prior to joining Toshiba, he had held numerous senior level positions at technology companies such as Adaptec, SONY, MIPS and AMD.
Shardul holds various patents and publications and earned a Masters of Science degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Betty Stallings has spent her career engaged with nonprofit organizations. She was the founder and 14-year CEO of a Volunteer Center and went on to become an author of 6 books, and an international trainer, keynote speaker and consultant specializing in volunteer management, fundraising, and board development. For 12 years she was the Training Editor of the e-Volunteerism.com Journal. She has received numerous awards for her dedication and contributions to the field of volunteer engagement.
Vijay is a director of product management at Intel Corporation based out of Santa Clara. Vijay has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry and is currently responsible for a product portfolio with revenues of $1B+. Vijay holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from LSU, Baton Rouge and a Bachelors in Electronics and Communications Engineering from India.
Jane Tuohy is a partner and principal of Cambridge Hill Partners, Inc. (CHP). She is an executive coach who works with leaders to assist them in preparing for their next level of leadership or with executives who have been recently promoted, helping them to fully internalize their authority and succeed at new levels of leadership.
Jane is the convener of the Northeast Regional Chief Diversity Officers Consortium. She is Director Emeritus of Integral Coaches East and a Board member of New England Women’s Leadership Institute.
Kanan has a background in Materials Science (PhD, 2005) and has worked for 10 years in R&D of organic electronic displays and batteries for application in consumer electronics. Her work experience includes post doctoral research positions at U C Berkeley and Northwestern University, as well as a senior researcher & program lead position at Sharp Laboratories of America.
In her previous role at Apple, she worked on reliability of Li-ion battery modules in mobile applications. She brings her passion for girls’ education and her expertise in research, data analysis and program management to her role at Asante.
Tania holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in International Relations. Her professional background includes extensive academic research on global health governance issues, over 6 years as a contract negotiator with Doctors of BC, and 3.5 years as an international field worker with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Africa and the Middle East as an Administration Manager and Finance Coordinator. She is thrilled to be part of the Asante Africa team!
Jennifer Haist is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator based in British Columbia, Canada. She is the owner of a freelance design and illustration company, OwlBox Designs, which specializes in providing design and branding solutions for non-profit organizations and small businesses.
Since joining the Asante Africa Foundation’s marketing team in 2014, Jennifer has been developing eye-catching designs to promote the Foundation’s programs and accomplishments. She holds a Diploma in Digital Arts and New Media and has more than 10 years of experience with design and illustration.
Emily joined Asante Africa Foundation in late 2016 as the Grants and Gender Programs Manager after volunteering with the Monitoring and Evaluation team for over a year. She brings over ten years of expertise in research, writing and project management. Emily is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment and girls’ advancement, with hands-on experience working with underserved youth.
Prior to joining Asante Africa, Emily was a Forensic Consultant with KPMG’s Risk Advisory practice. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus in Gender Studies and her Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific with concentrations in Tax Law and Business Law.
Armina is a management graduate in International Business with 10+ years of experience in Marketing and Research, Business Development and Brand Building at national and international levels.
Armina has strong experience in developing Online Marketing Strategy, Paid Search, SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Lead Generation. She has worked in different sectors like education, IT consulting, non-profit, and chamber of commerce. She is passionate about education, likes to go on long walks, and enjoys authentic ethnic cuisines.
Megha is a graduate in Business Management (Marketing), from New Delhi, India. She has worked with multiple Telecom players for their Value Added Services division. She has experience in handling product planning, customer engagement and marketing.
Alongside, she has also worked on creating content for educational institutes in India. She joined Asante Africa Foundation in 2016 and works on various marketing initiatives.