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.
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.
Allyson has eight years of Canada-based major gift fundraising experience in post-secondary education and healthcare. Most recently, she was with University of Vancouver BC Business School and prior to that was Director of Individual and Corporate Giving at the Alberta Cancer Foundation. She is a graduate of both the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia.
Ally and her husband were introduced to the great work Asante Africa Foundation was doing while on their honeymoon in Tanzania in early 2007. She joined the Board with a primary focus on Strategic Partnerships and Development.
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.
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”.
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.
As the Director of Pipeline Development at Intel Corporation, Joseph develops strategy and implements all Pipeline Development Initiatives funded through the $300m Diversity in Technology Fund that Intel established in January 2015.
Joseph holds a BA and MS in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is an advocate for investing in African youth on top of being a strong supporter of girls’ education.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deepali has been a volunteer with Asante since 2015. She works as a Finance and Accounting Associate. Before joining the Asante Africa Foundation, she served as an Associate Vice President at Amba Research, India. She has worked in the areas of business development support, and research and sales support for the structured funds division of a leading investment bank.
She also has expertise in competitor analysis, Request for Proposal, and Market research. Deepali graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce in India and received an MBA in Finance from ICFAI Business School, India.
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.
Soumya joined Asante Africa Foundation in 2013 as an HR coordinator. She brings her analytical and problem-solving skills coupled with project management, information management, writing, and research skills.
She holds a Masters in International HRM from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Before joining Asante Africa as an HR consultant, she has worked in the Telecom CRM space as a BI consultant. Soumya believes in education and contribution, and Asante provided her the opportunity for both.
Parul joined Asante as a volunteer Financial Analyst in 2015. Her past roles include financial analyst intern for ON Semiconductors, USA, Associate Vice President for Amba Research India and Business Development Associate for Torry Harris Business Solutions, India.
Parul’s expertise includes financial and data analysis, research and analytics support for the CMBS research team and funds sales support for the funds team of a leading investment bank.
She also has extensive experience in project management, client management and business development. She graduated from San Jose State University with a management degree, Georgia Institute of Technology with a Masters degree, and CMR Institute of Technology with an Engineering Degree.