Trey Beck retired from the finance industry in 2015 to devote more time to social policy, particularly in public education and in poverty alleviation strategies. He joined the IPA Board in 2016.
From 1993 to 2015, Trey was employed at the D. E. Shaw group, a New York-based investment firm that is among the world’s largest and longest-established alternative investment firms and widely regarded as a pioneer of quantitative finance.
Trey has served since 2007 on the board of directors of Turnaround for Children, an organization focused on improving poverty-challenged public schools by addressing the effects of traumatic stress on child development. Trey served a three-year term as board chairman.
Trey received his B.A. in 1993 from the University of Virginia, with a dual degree in history and Russian Studies, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and designated an Echols Scholar for academic distinction. He is an emeritus trustee of the College Foundation of the University of Virginia.
Steve Toben is the president of the Flora Family Foundation in Menlo Park, California. FFF supports the philanthropic activities of the descendants of Bill Hewlett, co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company. Interests of the Flora Family Foundation include international development, the environment, education, and human rights. Before joining the staff of the Flora Family Foundation, Mr. Toben served as a program officer at the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation where he directed the foundation's programs on conflict resolution and the environment. He is a former chair of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and a co-founder of the Peace and Security Funders Group. He is a recipient of the Peacemaker/Peacebuilder Award from the National Peace Foundation in Washington for his work in international conflict resolution. Mr. Toben is a graduate of the Yale Law School and the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He began his career as a law clerk for the Hon. Sam J. Ervin, III, on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and practiced law for eight years. His board service includes the Consensus-Building Institute in Cambridge, the Global Justice Center in New York, the Great Valley Center in Modesto, Legacy Works in Palo Alto, and the Institute for Conflict Transformation in New York. He is a former member of the Portola Valley Town Council and twice served as mayor.
Wendy Abt has just now re-joined the IPA Board, which she left when she was appointed to USAID as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, a position she has recently left. Immediately prior to her appointment to USAID, she worked with J-PAL and IPA on several projects in West Africa. Since leaving USAID, WPA, Inc the advisory firm she founded in 1995, is advising the African Development Bank on its financial sector development strategy. She has extensive transactional experience in Africa working as an adviser to African governments and central banks as well as institutional investors. In 2003, WPA sponsored and was the General Partner for a private equity fund whose anchor investor was HSBC, First Rand. Ms. Abt is an expert in commercial banking privatization, and has written, published, and lectured on the topic. Prior to her advisory and investment assignments, she held executive positions in a major US commercial bank. Before her career in banking, Ms. Abt spent over ten years in public policy research, first in Africa and then in the United States with the African American Institute in New York, and Abt Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ms. Abt received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Government from Connecticut College, and a master’s degree in statistical research from Harvard University’s School of Education.
Laura Hattendorf directs the social investments – grants, debt and equity – of the Mulago Foundation. In this role she is responsible for Mulago's investment strategy and process. She and her team evaluate new funding opportunities, make recommendations to the Mulago board and work closely with portfolio organizations to maximize their social impact. Laura is also a Lecturer at Stanford's Graduate School of Business - co-teaching the course Starting and Growing Social Ventures – and an advisor to many social enterprises around the world, including the Rainer Arnhold Fellows.
Laura thrives in entrepreneurial environments and most of her professional career has been in early stage companies. In the social sector, Laura co-founded Sustainable Conservation, a non-profit organization that innovates and implements economic solutions to environmental problems. Laura was its Executive Director from 1993 to 2000 and served on its Board of Directors through 2012. In the private sector, Laura was an early employee – and ultimately a partner – in the McArthur/Glen Group, a national commercial real estate developer that had a successful IPO. Laura started her career doing business strategy consulting with Strategic Planning Associates, which has since been acquired by Oliver Wyman. To jump-start her transition to the social sector, Laura spent a fantastic summer working at Yosemite National Park, where she focused on improving park operations and exploring the backcountry of the High Sierra.
Laura received her BS in Economics and Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her MBA and Certificate in Public Management from Stanford University.
Dean Karlan is Professor of Economics at Yale University and Founder of IPA. He received his Ph.D in Economics 2002 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and prior to that completed an MBA and MPP from the University of Chicago. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Dean is also on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.
His research focuses on microeconomic issues of public policies and poverty. Much of his work uses behavioral economics insights and approaches to examine economic and policy issues relevant to developing countries, with particular attention to policies to increase income and financial wellbeing for those in extreme poverty. In the United States, he works on charitable giving, financial services for the under and unbanked, and behavioral health.
J.J. Prescott is a Professor at the Law School whose research and teaching interests include criminal law, sentencing law and reform, employment law, and torts. Much of his work is empirical in focus. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, in 2002 from Harvard Law School where he was the Treasurer (Vol. 115) and an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Professor Prescott clerked for Judge Merrick B. Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and he earned a Ph.D. in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Professor Prescott was a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School in 2003–2004, a Special Guest at the Brookings Institution (Economic Studies) in Washington, D.C., in 2004-05, and a Research Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center from 2004 to 2006. He received a double B.A. with honors and distinction in Economics and Public Policy from Stanford University in 1996.
Tavneet Suri is the Maurice F. Strong Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Suri is a development economist, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her research centers on agriculture, household financial access and informal risk sharing, and, more recently, governance and political participation. A large body of her work focuses on the constraints to technology adoption in agriculture. She has also conducted a lot of research on the impacts of mobile money (for example, M-PESA in Kenya) and applications of the mobile money platform for credit contracts (e.g. trade credit and credit for solar panels).
Her most recent work has focused on governance issues in the Kibera slum in Nairobi and a large scale field experiment she conducted in Kenya during the 2013 general election (the project where "they sent a million text messages, literally!"). She spends a lot of time in the field, collecting her own data, primarily in Kenya, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.
Kentaro Toyama is W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. He is working on a book titled Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology.
Previously, he was a researcher at UC Berkeley and assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India, which he co-founded in 2005. At MSR India, he started the Technology for Emerging Markets research group, which conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world's poorer communities interact with electronic technology and to invent new ways for technology to support their socio-economic development. The award-winning group is known for projects such as MultiPoint, Text-Free User Interfaces, and Digital Green. Kentaro co-founded the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) to provide a global platform for rigorous academic research in this field. He is also co-editor-in-chief of the journal Information Technologies and International Development.
Prior to his time in India, Kentaro did computer vision and multimedia research at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, USA and Cambridge, UK, and taught mathematics at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana.
Kentaro graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a bachelors degree in Physics. He was born in Tokyo, raised in both Japan and the United States, and now lives in the Seattle area.