Thom Sinclair is the founding Chair of the ChangeFunder Board of Directors and has been a champion and advisor to the ChangeFunder team since its inception, leveraging his 20 plus years of experience in international development, adult learning, capacity building, and knowledge management.
Thom is currently the CEO of Gateway Academy, an initiative of CGAP, housed at The World Bank. Gateway Academy is a digital capacity building/learning marketplace focused on emerging markets. Before joining CGAP, Thom was a Senior Knowledge Management and Learning Adviser with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Policy, Planning, and Learning Bureau. From 2001 to 2012, he worked in the private sector consulting with the USAID Microenterprise Development Office on value chains and financial inclusion, overseeing major knowledge management and learning projects that developed training, e-learning, seminars/webinars, and websites.
Thom’s professional experience includes work in the following counties: Botswana, Canada, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, UK, US, and Zambia. He has an MPA from Rutgers University in International Public Service and Development and an MA in Political Science from Georgia State University. Thom is also on the faculty of The George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, where he teaches graduate courses in international development management.
Paul Dahm is an entrepreneur, food and beverage sector investor and was the CEO of a D.C. nonprofit in the food and job training space. Paul has many years of experience in fundraising, relationship management, team development and public speaking/media appearances with local and national media.
Most recently, Paul was co-founder and is an equity holder of WorkChew, a social media platform that connects digital nomads to the restaurant and hospitality industries. Paul brings relevant experience to ChangeFunder including serving as CEO of Brainfood, whose mission was to engage, empower and employ teens and young adults, Board service for the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and the Sean Standing Strong Memorial Foundation and more than 20 years in staff and leadership positions with several nonprofit organizations.
Nichola Dyer, a Canadian and UK national and US permanent resident, is a seasoned international economic development professional. Having retired in 2019 from the World Bank Group (WBG), she now serves as an independent board member and consultant, advisor, and mentor to diverse client groups.
During 26 years at the Bank, ten of which focused on Africa, she held various operational and corporate roles, at headquarters and in the field. Highlights include establishing the Bank’s office in Gabon, leading the WBG’s ethics office, developing greenfield engagements on disability and excluded minorities, and managing the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.
Before joining the Bank, she worked at KPMG’s Policy Economics Group. Her Ph.D. studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she obtained her MSc in Economics, focused on econometrics and industrial organization. Nichola earned her BA (Co-Op, Economics) from Concordia University in Montreal. She is fluent in English and French.
Josepha M. Musabyemariya has more than 25 years of experience in leading special projects and initiatives in global development. Her “spiritually focused, international development” mindset is underscored at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church where she serves as co-Chair of the church’s Global Mission Ministry. As an elected member of St. Alban’s vestry, Josepha’s involvement is broad, deep and highly respected, especially when it comes to the church’s long standing work in the Middle East and Africa.
Born and raised in a refugee camp in East Africa, Josepha is Rwandan. With faith, commitment, hard work, and a loving family, she graduated from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. Her passion for learning led her early in her career to become a teacher of young children in Rwanda. Later, after moving to the United States, Josepha attained her master’s degree in Health Administration. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. which centers on her day-to-day work and her interests at the African Union which represents all 55 countries of Africa. Josepha is exploring the intersection of leadership, gender and AU’s Agenda 2063, Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.
Josepha was voted overwhelmingly by her diaspora community to become President of Rwandan Community Abroad (RCA) in Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia (DMV) and also the United States Rwandan Community Abroad (USRCA) Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs. In the midst of working, volunteering, pursuing her Ph.D., and raising a family, Josepha finds time to write articles about Africa, its people and what they both mean to a diverse world.
Shelley Spencer is an entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience in the U.S. wireless and ICT industry. Since 2011, she has worked with USAID and NetHope to support market developments and advancements in digital payments. In 2014, she founded Strategic Impact Advisors (SIA), where she continues to serve as CEO. Shelley has a commitment to driving the digital revolution and spreading the use of digital technology for financial inclusion.
Shelley is an experienced corporate officer with a track record of building, sustaining and creating value in venture-backed ICT companies. She brings extensive and applicable experience to the ChangeFunder Board in the areas of digital payments and mobile money in emerging markets. She has founded/co-founded four companies prior to SIA and has served as attorney in the telecommunications sector. She is well-versed in supporting startup ventures, raising venture capital and follow-on financing, as well as regulation of the US mobile telecommunications industry.
Shelley has a JD in Law from the Georgetown University Law Center and holds a B.A. in Economics from Baldwin-Wallace College.