Our Team

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Soraya Fouladi - CEO

soraya@joinjara.com

Since she was a teenager, Soraya has designed her life so that she could gain the skills to one day, make Jara a reality. After attending the United Nations school to gain a global education, she went to university for electrical engineering to understand how to build what is now the Jara Unit, where she also designed and manufactured products from prosthetics to wearables. She gained experience in designing and implementing systems and programs through writing curriculum for K-12 robotics, directing the largest technology-education camp of 500 campers and 60 staff members at Stanford, creating a fundraiser for disaster relief called Jamming-for-Relief, and designing and implementing effective systems as Supervisor for an electrical engineering innovation laboratory. Soraya also was a business management consultant for a government technology commercialization organization that had 72 portfolio companies. Her technical capabilities, along with her leadership and management experience, paired with her commitment to Jara’s mission, ensures that Soraya and her team will see Jara to its maximum impact.

 
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Pumla Maswanganyi - Chief Strategy Officer

Pumla Maswanganyi is a South African entrepreneur and development strategist working at the intersection of design, global development and youth and women empowerment. As a global citizen speaking 7 languages, and having lived and worked on 5 continents, she is committed to disrupting conventional development approaches, such as traditional education and employment norms. Through her expertise in strategy, design, writing and project management, she builds startups, emerging and established leaders that are creating social impact in their communities. Her work has been recognised by Forbes, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Resolution Project, to name a few. She pioneers solutions to empower youth and women; from a vocational training program that offers micro-loans and mentorship to equip young women to start and sustain their own businesses, to forging global partnerships that empower youth from low-income backgrounds through greater accessibility to non-traditional learning

 
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Jannate Temsamani - Director of Outreach

Jannate has always been passionate about issues in international education, especially access to rural education in Morocco, where she was born and raised. She obtained her Master’s degree in Global Development Policy from Boston University and her 2nd Master’s degree is in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her time at Boston University, she worked for her university’s Initiative on Forced Migration and Human Trafficking (FMHT) bringing together students, scholars, practitioners and policy-makers to support research and advocacy on migration issues. She has interned at various organizations working on education issues. At School the World, a non-profit that is building quality schools in rural villages in Central America, she worked on fundraising and grant-writing. At Counterpart International, she led a deep-dive analysis to evaluate active programs commitment to social inclusion. Most recently at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), her work in assisting with the preparation of the 21st session of the Commission on Science and Technology led her to conduct research on the role of technology in education. Throughout her experiences, Jannate’s commitment to improving education and catering to the most vulnerable only grew stronger. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Arabic. Jara’s mission deeply resonates with Jannate and is motivating her everyday on the Jara journey.

 
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Lia Ikeda - Director of Social Media & PR

Originally from Maui, Hawaii, Lia bridges the gap between community empowerment and marketing. Having worked at Samsung and a range of start-ups and non-profits, she is currently studying Business Administration and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. With focuses in Marketing and Information Systems, she is passionate about finding ways to build connections between others through digital platforms, and is continuously building Jara's online and social presence. Lia has had a range of experiences in empowering businesses to grow digitally through developing strategies in social media, lead-generation, and product marketing. In her past experience working with non-profits and start-ups, she has developed social media campaigns to raise money for charities, partnerships with influencers to grow brand awareness, and blog sites for companies to share their journey. Most recently, Lia worked as a Marketing Communications intern with Samsung in San Jose where she developed an understanding of the Semiconductor industry and helped her team shape the content and messaging conveyed to a global audience. With her professional and educational experience, Lia has developed a passion for marketing in the technology industry. She is bringing her unique skillset to help strategize Jara's business plan for PR and social media to share our mission with the world.

 
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Mara Ohorodnik - Director of Education

Originally from Michigan, Mara lives in Washington, D.C. where she is studying for her Master’s Degree in International Education at The George Washington University. She received her B.A. in Communications from Michigan State University (MSU) and worked at MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars, where she first began her career in the International Education sector. From there she went on to intern at NAFSA: Association for International Educators and learned the fundamentals of international education and exchange. Most recently, she worked at AMIDEAST as a Program Officer managing several Fulbright alumni programs, both in the U.S. and the MENA region, in coordination with the U.S. State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Mara currently works at The George Washington University as a Research Assistant analyzing refugee education, particularly surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis and higher education interventions, and is also a virtual English tutor for refugees through Paper Airplanes. With four years professional working experience, combined with her commitment to international education, Mara brings a unique set of niche skills that support Jara’s mission and education initiatives.

 
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Isabella Shraiman - Director of PARTNERSHIPS

Isabella Shraiman completed her Masters of Science in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she wrote a dissertation on discourse and aid policy to Central America's Northern Triangle. Prior to the LSE, Bella completed her undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal in with a First Class Joint Honours Degree in History and Political Science. She has extensive experience in fundraising and project development with different NGOs, and has also worked in immigration law, journalism, and incubator management for young social entrepreneurs. Bella’s work includes being a Project Officer in East Africa with Pepal, an NGO which seeks to connect local stakeholders with international corporations to develop infrastructure and nurture leadership in the health development sector. Her research interests include migration and forced displacement; the role of narratives in aid work; and the intersection between development and humanitarian work, specifically how to promote community development in humanitarian contexts. Bella joined Jara because of the passion in the team towards finding unique, yet scaleable solutions to emergency education and long-term community development which put the children and their families at the center of the equation. She knows that how Jara communicates - with communities, with partners, with the way Jara tells its story - will be key to the success of its mission to bring quality education to children around the world. Bella’s relationship management experience, love of positive storytelling, and dedication to the sector will help make this mission a reality.

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Caitlin Ju - corporate development associate

Since designing her own curriculum while teaching English to children in Taiwan’s lowest socio-economic region, Caitlin is working to be at the forefront of technology and innovation to help increase access to education and knowledge. With experience working with IoT at Samsung and investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City next summer, she is currently studying Business Administration with emphases in finance and corporate strategy at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Originally from the Bay Area in California, she has grown up surrounded by the latest technology, inspiring her to most recently work at Samsung in San Jose to develop successful product strategies that have been implemented for the ARTIK IoT platform at its most pivotal moment in becoming one of Samsung Semiconductor’s core products. Caitlin has also had extensive experience advising multiple non-profits and social enterprises across the country on their growth and fundraising strategies, helping to increase budgets by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and plans to bring this experience to her role at Jara. With her focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, she was selected while a college freshman as one of University of Michigan’s top 30 entrepreneurs across all majors and years and is the Director of the 2019 Startup Career Fair, an annual event that connects over 45 startups and venture capital firms from across the country with over 750 students. Building on her passion to increase knowledge, she has also published research in the No.1 Women’s Studies academic journal Psychology of Women Quarterly on her work with Ph.D. candidates on the effect of technology on the STEM gender gap and multiple articles in the Stanford Daily on a range of topics. She is also currently the Vice President of Finance of the Michigan Journal of Business, the world’s first undergraduate business journal with a global audience. Caitlin brings her unique range of skills in for-profit fundraising, financial and growth strategy, and experiences in technology, education, and entrepreneurship to help Jara scale our product and mission to increase access to quality education globally.

 
 

Our Advisors

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Tenzin Seldon

Tenzin was raised in the Indian Himalayas, her family having fled there from Tibet. She immigrated to the United States as an adolescent, in which she graduated with honors from Stanford University, followed by University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She has spent her career advocating for disenfranchised communities, leading Climate Justice League chapters around the US, working on negotiations with Israel and Palestine, and, most recently, at the United Nations Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific. At the UN, Tenzin witnessed many young migrants experiencing hardships assimilating to a new country. She was a visiting lecturer at Rangsit University. Tenzin’s work has been recognized around the world: as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and one of OZY Magazine’s “5 Civil-Rights Leaders for a New Generation.”

 

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Sergio Mello

Sergio is an Italian entrepreneur who started his first company while studying EE as an university freshman. The IT consulting enterprise he built from zero to a successful exit proved to be a better school of life and business than the actual schools he’s ever attended.

After a few years of jetting between Europe and Asia seeking business and personal challenges, he spent a year learning to integrate himself into the unique society of Korea then landed himself in the fragrant harbor of Hong Kong. There, he launched Satisfly, his second venture which combined his life-long passion for aviation with the newly emerging trend of social media.

As the recognized inventor of social seating, Satisfly helped airlines around the world to serve their customers better by understanding them better. Satisfly was later acquired by Travelstart, Africa’s largest online travel agency. As Head of Innovation, he set up a team in Taiwan to spearhead the company’s pivot into mobile through innovative consumer experiences such as Flapp, the world’s first mobile app to book a flight in only two taps. As a member of the management committee, he played a key role in preparing Travelstart to receive a significant investment from MTN and Amadeus Capital.

He now lives in San Francisco and advises several startup companies and charitable foundations. He is currently advising a croudsourced bluetooth IoT network (nodle.io) and launching a stealth project.

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Abhi Rele

Director, Internet of Things (IoT) at Samsung

Abhi leads the product direction for Samsung’s ARTIK IoT cloud platform. Prior to joining Samsung, Abhi led product management and product marketing for all things IoT at Apigee (now part of Google Cloud). Before Apigee, Abhi worked at eBay (Magento commerce), Microsoft Tellme (voice recognition), A.T Kearney (management consulting), and Oracle (CRM and enterprise software). He holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree in computer science from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai.

 

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Thami Schweichler

Working on projects of co-creativity and social venturing since 2012, Thami Schweichler is a social entrepreneur focused on design for social innovation. After obtaining a Master’s degree at ENSCI – Les Ateliers in Paris, Thami participated in the development of Koneksie, a social enterprise aiming to improve road safety and provide entrepreneurship opportunities for motorcycle taxi drivers in Kenya. At the end of 2015, Thami co-founded Makers Unite, a social enterprise producing sustainable accessories to provide employment opportunities for newcomers with a refugee background in The Netherlands. Makers Unite has be awarded the Refugee Challenge winner from UNHCR and What Design Can Do competition, as well as winner of the prizes ABN AMRO Social Entrepreneurship and EU Innovation - Amsterdamers, Maak Je Stad.

So far Makers Unite has benefited directly more than 70 newcomers in Amsterdam providing their social inclusion program and the awareness workshops of their process have been provided to more than 600 people in 5 different countries.

 

Volunteers

 

Sujan Pariyar

Sujan Pariyar

Praachi Badu

Praachi Badu

Sangye Dolma Lama

Sangye Dolma Lama

Usha Pariyar

Usha Pariyar

Cecillia Tran

Cecillia Tran

Molly Liu

Molly Liu

Hamad Al Badi

Hamad Al Badi

Sarah Khalid

Sarah Khalid

Krystle Ongjanco

Krystle Ongjanco

Emre Turan (Photo Coming Soon)

Josh Cope-Summerfield

Josh Cope-Summerfield