Our 2020 Fellows


Our newest group of innovators are creating ripple effects of social impact across the world

Alejandro Ramirez

CEO + Owner, Universal Spartan, LLC

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Entrepreneur and Veteran Major Alejandro Ramirez retired as a combat army officer after twenty-two years of military service. He is the CEO & Owner of Universal Spartan, LLC, a one-stop sourcing solution for the federal government and and defense industry. He is also the founder of the Kentucky Veteran Business Alliance, which brings back esprit de corps and unity of effort to all Kentucky veteran businesses and transitioning veterans, the community, and the state of Kentucky.

Ali Ahmadi

CEO + Co-Founder, TCARE Inc.

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Ali Ahmadi is a former U.S. Naval Aviator with a Masters & Bachelors degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an Executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Ali is a technologist with extensive experience in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business models and has established strategic partnerships including BlueCross BlueShield, Microsoft, RGAX, SAP, PwC, Salesforce & Anthem. He is the CEO & Co-Founder of TCARE, a venture-backed family caregiver burnout prevention tool powered by predictive analytics. TCARE’s CMS-approved platform is used by health insurance/LTC companies to reduce family caregiver burnout and delay nursing home placement. The company’s evidence-based predictive technology saved Washington State Department of Social and Health Services over $20 million in a 2,300-caregiver pilot by delaying nursing home placements by an average of 21 months and reducing Medicaid LTC service usage by 20%.

Ali Akil

CEO + Co-Founder, Public Bloc

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Ali Akil is a US Army Veteran and the Co-Founder & Chief Vision Officer of Public Bloc, accelerating economic growth through enterprise software solutions. Public Bloc is an innovative platform that leverages blockchain and AI technology to raise capital and secure payments for infrastructure related projects around the world. Ali also serves on the National Small Business Association Leadership Council and the Small Business Technology Council. 

Amanat Anand

Co-Founder, SoaPen

Bio

Amanat Anand is the Co-Founder of SoaPen, making handwashing fun and colorful for kids. She was born and raised in New Delhi, India, but has spent the past eight years living in New York City, previously working as a furniture designer. Amanat holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from the Parsons School of Design, and made the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list in 2017.

Anne Rweyora

Managing Director, Smart Havens Africa

Bio

Anne K. Rweyora is an industrial designer and a Ugandan who was homeless for 30+ years. She has experienced first-hand how a lack of quality housing compromises people's development potential, and is on a mission to change this narrative in Africa. As managing director at Smart Havens Africa, Anne works to provide low-cost, eco-friendly affordable housing solutions for low income families, putting community needs at the heart of every project.

Claire Witko

Director of Programs, Dog Tag Bakery

Bio

Claire Witko is the Director of Programs at Dog Tag Bakery, which acts as a living business school for transitioning veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses, and caregivers. She oversees the entire fellowship program, from curriculum development and recruitment through program management and alumni relations. Claire has over a decade of experience working with higher education programming, leadership development training and non-profit management. She has developed programs for The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, working with university boards and institutional leaders; managed international and domestic high school, undergraduate and adult students programs at The George Washington University, the UNCF Special Programs Corporation and American University, Washington College of Law; led The South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP), a non-profit that brings together diverse university students from South Africa for leadership development and peace building; and managed fundraising efforts for the National Symphony Orchestra.

Dereck Faulkner

CEO + Founder, Athletes for Vets Foundation

Bio

A military brat himself, Dereck L. Faulkner was born on a US military base in West Germany. He is the son of two military officers, his father serving as a Captain and his mother as a 20-year Retired Major. As a professional athlete, Dereck signed as a priority rookie free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2007 NFL draft. Following his rookie season with the Eagles, he spent time with several NFL organizations over the next three seasons, and two seasons in the Canadian Football League. As Founder of The Athletes for Vets Foundation, Dereck recognizes the sacrifices of our military personnel. The military has afforded Dereck’s family many opportunities in education, travel, personal development, and career advancement. Athletes for Vets is an expression of Dereck’s gratitude to the military, and his respect and admiration for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. His his goal is to unite, support, advocate and help the heroes who defend our nation’s freedom. 

Giffin Daughtridge

CEO + Co-Founder, UrSure Inc.

Bio

Giffin Daughtridge is a medical doctor by training and the CEO & Co-Founder of UrSure Inc., a company creating patient-friendly diagnostic tests that measure and improve adherence to medications. He was born in South Carolina and grew up in Utah, Indiana, and North Carolina,  moving to Bogotá, Colombia after college to work on Hepatitis B vaccine access for sex workers. After returning to the U.S. and starting medical school, Giffin continued to make sure medical technology worked for the patients who needed it most.

Jeanette Haynie

Founder & Executive Director, The Athena Project

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Jeannette Gaudry Haynie, PhD, is a career Marine Corps officer and combat veteran with a PhD in International Relations. A New Orleans native and a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, she is a Cobra attack helicopter pilot by trade with multiple operational deployments. Jeannette’s academic research focuses on the intersections of gender, leadership, and security, connecting her operational experiences and academic work. She is a member of the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ Class of 2019, where the roots of the Athena Leadership Project were planted. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Athena, which seeks to elevate the stories of female veterans and conduct research to inform how we consider gender, leadership, and security.

Jenny Anderson

CEO + Co-Founder, Celebrate EDU

Bio

Jenny Anderson is passionate about leveling the playing field for people with disabilities. Having a brother with autism influenced her immensely and fostered a desire to disrupt the status quo in the disability community. Jenny created Celebrate EDU, a nonprofit organization, to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to explore entrepreneurship and find their paths to a meaningful life. She is proud to be leading the national conversation to build cross-organizational, entrepreneurial ecosystems for people with disabilities across the United States.

Julio Lavalle

Co-Founder & CEO, MiBolsillo

Bio

Passionate about behavioral science, scalable technologies, and finances, Julio seeks to contribute to the monumental task of helping the un/underbanked 1.7B citizens around the world by building the next generation of digital financial services to improve the quality of their lives. Having dedicated the last 10 years to applying user-centered, participatory design and co-design methodologies to build low-cost high-impact solutions in a dozen countries, Julio has led the development of innovative mobile app-based startups that promote access to formal financial services and digital financial identity in Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. Julio is also an MIT's D-Lab's Scale Up's Fellow where he focuses on bringing together academia and on-the-field work to gain insights for informed product development and public policy advice.

Justin Constantine

Chief Business Development Officer, JobPath

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine is an Iraq combat veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, an accomplished author, inspirational speaker, veteran employment expert and the Chief Business Development Officer at JobPath, a robust veteran employment platform that provides a variety of solutions to corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. For Justin, getting back to work in a fulfilling career was an important part of his recovery after being shot in Iraq, and he wanted to help others with their employment challenges. In fact, he is now leading the company's pivot to also support people with disabilities and the formerly incarcerated.  

Justine Abuga

CEO + Founder, ECOBORA

Bio

Justine Abuga is an award-winning social entrepreneur as CEO & Founder of ECOBORA, a for-profit social enterprise that provides clean cooking energy to rural marginalized homes in Kenya. He is using his frugal solar kiosk model to distribute green energy solutions and other life changing products to the people who need them most. Justine has five years of experience working with rural groups and is a believer of status quo disruption using innovation, technology and sustainability to uplift families out of energy poverty.

Kaveto Tjatjara

CEO + Co-Founder, Worldview Technology

Bio

Kaveto Tjatjara is passionate about using business as a force for good in society. Prior to starting his social enterprise, he received a Bachelors in Financial Accounting and worked at PKF and Deloitte. Currently, Kaveto is the CEO and Co-Founder of Worldview Technology, a company on a mission to provide innovative solutions to the sanitation problem. As a social entrepreneur, he has won numerous prestigious awards such as Total Startupper of the Year 2019, Pitch Night by Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS), and was also named as one of the top 5 Eco-Entrepreneurs by the Namibia Business Innovation Institute.

Kyleanne Hunter

Managing Director, The Athena Project

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Dr. Kyleanne Hunter, PhD, is a Marine Corps combat veteran with multiple combat deployments as an AH-1W “Super Cobra” attack pilot. She finished her active duty time in the Marine Corps’ Legislative Liaison Office in the House of Representatives. Dr. Hunter is currently an adjunct professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She created a first of its kind course in gender and war, which is being integrated as the cornerstone for a forthcoming Women, Peace and Security Certificate. She serves as the Chair of the Employment and Integration Subcommittee for the Secretary of Defense’s Advisory Committee of Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She was part of the Department of Veterans Affairs inaugural class of “Women Veteran Trailblazers,” and named as one of HilllVets 100 most influential veterans in 2018.

Manish Ranjan

CEO + Founder, NanoHealth

Bio

Manish Ranjan is the CEO & Founder of NanoHealth, a social enterprise focused on managing chronic diseases. Manish started NanoHealth while pursuing his MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB), where he was awarded the Torch Bearer title for outstanding leadership and won the prestigious Hult Prize in 2014. Manish previously worked as a business consultant with i2 Technologies (presently JDA), where he helped design business processes aimed at driving efficiency and profitability for large multinational firms.

Margo Baines

CEO + Founder, Chicks with Class

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Margo Baines is the CEO & Founder of Chicks with Class, a girls empowerment company developing workshops to help young women reach their full potential. Margo joined the United States Army National Guard after her first year of college, and went on to join the Texas Army National Guard while pursuing a finance degree from Texas Southern University. After graudating in 2013 and working in investment banking, Margo realized she wasn't making enough of an impact on society. She left corporate America to start Chicks with Class in 2015, and by 2017, opened her first brick and mortar location. By 2019, Margo had grossed over $250k in revenue and impacted over 10,000 girls.

Mary Ackley

CEO + Founder, Little Wild Things Farm

Bio

Mary Ackley discovered her love of plants during a graduate school botany course at the University of Vermont. She was later inspired to start farming to prove that environmentally sustainable farming methods are the most productive, and therefore also the most profitable. She is the CEO + Founder of Little Wild Things Farm, an urban farm producing Certified Naturally Grown microgreens and edible flowers in Washington, D.C. Mary has also worked in international development in the fields of conflict mitigation, agriculture, and natural resources management, serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C. She came to USAID from the private sector, where she worked on program planning, design, and evaluation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, green building, environmental compliance, and remediation.

Michele Nesbit

Co-Founder + VP of Engineering, BoxPower

Bio

Michele Nesbit is the Co-Founder and VP of Engineering at BoxPower, a company that's integrating solar microgrid systems into easy-to-deploy containers for rapid electrification and diesel generator replacement. Michele is dedicated to BoxPower's mission of increasing renewable energy accessibility to people in rural areas. She was born and raised in Grass Valley, CA, received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science at UC Berkeley, and is now married with two dogs. 

Nidhi Pant

Co-Founder, S4S Technologies

Bio

Nidhi Pant is the Co-Founder of S4S Technologies, a food preservation company that converts farm losses into value-added products by intervention of sustainable solar technology. In 2013, Nidhi's hometown suffered from a severe drought that destroyed the lives of many local residents, with her own family forced to migrate to another town. She vowed to dedicate her career towards helping farmers. S4S Technologies operates agri-entrepreneur networks in eight countries such as Kenya, Nepal and India and was the winner of DBS NUS Venture Challenge 2018.

Patrick Alcorn

Director + Owner, Veteran Business Outreach Center, University of Texas Arlington

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Patrick E. Alcorn is the Director at UTAVBOC and Founder of Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference. He is a John Maxwell Team speaker, teacher and coach. Having served as an NCAA athlete, a US Army engineer, a deputy city councilman, and an award-winning sales professional for Fortune 100 companies, Patrick knows how to empower you to get up, get out and keep moving– even under the most difficult circumstances. As a co-author, a coach, and a keynote speaker, he delivers power, passion and a dynamic experience to diverse audiences. Patrick's combination of the West Point experience, a Masters in Business Administrations, and relevant real-world knowledge of the small business startup process moves you to discover the talents, skills and abilities you have within. 

Paul Vann

Owner + President, Wealth Building Academy, LLC

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Paul Lawrence Vann is the Founder & President of Wealth Building Academy, LLC, a professional/personal development company in the metro Washington, D.C. area. Paul is passionate about enhancing leadership and team building for organizations he serves and assists them in getting their workplaces to function efficiently. Wealth Building Academy also provides a youth entrepreneurship program to high school students aimed at assisting them in understanding how to start and lead a business. Paul is an international speaker, two-time #1 international best-selling author and the author of three solo books and three co-authored books.

Piyush Jain

CEO + Co-Founder, ImpactGuru.com

Bio

Piyush Jain is the the CEO & Co-Founder  of ImpactGuru.com, a crowdfunding platform in India with a major focus on healthcare. ImpactGuru.com is India's equivalent of GoFundMe. Piyush holds an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Joseph Wharton Scholar, and a graduate degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He previously worked as an M&A investment banker with J.P.Morgan (New York, Hong Kong, and London) and management consultant with BCG and EY (Southeast Asia and India).

Ray Abel

CEO + Co-Founder, Bansen Labs

Bio

Ray Abel loves building communities and movements that make the world a better place. He began his work with the community of people with disabilities at the Muscular Dystrophy Association and continues it today by leading the business initiatives at Bansen Labs, a startup that has created an adapter to allow people with disabilities to control consumer electronics with their own assistive technology. Prior to joining the Bansen Labs team, Ray worked in non-profit for seven years and also launched his own startup with a successful pitch on ABC's Shark Tank.

Rebecca Hui

Founder, Roots Studio

Bio

Rebecca Hui is a designer, social entrepreneur, and urban planner who has spent 8 years working in the rural creative sector. She is the Founder of Roots Studio, which digitizes thousands of endangered art from tribal communities into an online library for royalty licensing. They seek to reverse appropriation into celebration, and reclaim authorship for minority voices by averaging a 5 - 20x return from the original selling price. Roots Studio has been recognized by Forbes 30 under 30, PBS, The Guardian, Echoing Green, The Unreasonable Institute, TechCrunch, WGSN, MIT Tech Review, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Rebecca also works with the World Bank on cultural restoration for post-disaster regions, and previously designed maps to plan and predict urbanizing villages. 

Reyhan Jamalova

CEO + Founder, Rainergy

Bio

Reyhan Jamalova is the CEO & Founder of Rainergy, a rainwater energy generator built for low income families. Her passion for solving the electricity need of impoverished communities in areas with high precipitation led to the birth of this technology. Reyhan is a 17-year-old high school student and the first-ever Azerbaijani to be included on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list for Industry, Manufacturing and Energy, and BBC 100 Women 2018.

Scott Mackes

CEO + Founder, Service Academy MasterMind Group, LLC

Bio

Sponsored by Smithfield Foods

Scott Mackes is a United States Naval Academy graduate and the CEO & Founder of SABM Group and StrengthsMugs.com. At SABM, Scott leads a supportive community helping military veterans achieve financial freedom through business ownership.  Since launching the community in 2017, SABM has received 40,000+ podcast downloads, 1000+ meetup attendees, 300+ investor group members, and 100+ accelerator members. StrengthsMugs.com is an online store officially licensed by Gallup, Inc. to sell products related to the Clifton Strengths assessment which has been taken by more than 20 million people worldwide. Scott is also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.