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 is the founder of WPA, Inc., an advisory firm that provides strategic and financial advisory services to the commercial banking sector. She re-joined the IPA Board of Directors after having left to serve as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment at USAID. Immediately prior to her appointment to USAID, she worked with J-PAL and IPA on several projects in West Africa. Ms. Abt 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. She 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 U.S. 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.
Aroon Balani is a Vice President at Oppenheimer Funds, a global asset manager with US$250b in funds under management. Mr. Balani works on the company’s flagship Developing Markets fund and has more than 28 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Oppenheimer, Mr. Balani was a Managing Director at JP Morgan and then for Jefferies LLC. Mr. Balani received his BSE in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Heather is a founding partner of Causeway Strategies, a boutique consulting firm that helps individuals, organizations and corporations to communicate, connect and advance their objectives more effectively. She was formerly a partner at ASG Advisors, which advises corporate foundations and executives on their philanthropic and positioning efforts. Her background includes work in the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well corporate communications in New York and charity sector communications in London. She graduated cum laude with high honors in Economics from Harvard University, where her thesis included original research on giving and volunteering in the United States. Heather is vice chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Stewardship and a member of the Boards of Alpha USA and KidsMatter.
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 nonprofit 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 the Frederic Esser Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Co-Director of the Buffett Institute's Global Poverty Research Lab. He is the Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering and promoting solutions to global poverty problems, and working to scale-up successful ideas through implementation and dissemination to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors. In 2015, he co-founded (with Elijah Goldberg) ImpactMatters, a nonprofit dedicated to producing impact audits, which assesses whether an organization uses and produces appropriate evidence of impact. His research focuses on microeconomic issues of poverty, typically employing experimental methodologies and behavioral economics insights to examine what works, what does not, and why in interventions in sustainable income generation for those in poverty, household and entrepreneurial finance, health behavior, and charitable giving. He works on issues for low-income households in both developing countries and the United States. Karlan is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab. As a social entrepreneur, he is co-founder of stickK.com, a website that uses lessons from behavioral economics to help people reach personal goals, such as weight loss and smoking cessation, through commitment contracts on corporate wellness platforms. In 2011, Karlan co-authored More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics is Helping to Solve Global Poverty, and in 2016 he co-authored Failing in the Field. Karlan received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was awarded distinguished alumni awards from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and the Duke University Talent Identification Program. Previously, Karlan was the Samuel C Park, Jr Professor of Economics at Yale University, and Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University. Karlan received a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., an M.B.A. and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Virginia.
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.
Rakesh Rajani is currently a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, and he has over twenty years of experience in international development. Previously he served as Director, Democratic Participation and Governance, at the Ford Foundation in New York. He was the founding Head of Twaweza, an East African organization that promotes citizen agency, open government, and basic education. He is also a founding member and past co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, which involves 75 countries that are home to two billion people. From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Rajani served as the founding Executive Director of HakiElimu, Tanzania’s leading citizen engagement and education advocacy organization. Mr. Rajani serves on several national and international boards, including the International Budget Partnership and the Hewlett Foundation. He was a fellow of Harvard University from 1998 to 2013, and he has written and edited over 400 papers and popular publications in English and Swahili. Mr. Rajani graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis and Harvard universities.
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 the author of 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.
Ankur Vora leads the Strategy, Innovation, and Impact team at the Gates Foundation. His teams support creation and evaluation of BMGF’s strategies, as well as exploring new paths to impact that align with the foundation’s missions.
Prior to that, he was the director of programs at The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in London where he oversaw a cross-cutting portfolio of programs focused on health, nutrition, education, and climate change across Africa and South Asia, and led CIFF's efforts in designing and performance managing investments with grantees.
He also served as principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he focused on healthcare, financial services, and social impact projects. Before that, Ankur was a lecturer of Economics at the University of Chicago. He also worked briefly at Goldman Sachs, the Industrial Development Bank of India, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India.
Ankur holds a PhD in Economics from The University of Chicago, along with a Masters in Economics and Bachelors in Computer Science from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, India.
Advisor to the Board
Mushfiq Mobarak is a Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management, and serves as an Advisor to the Board at IPA. He also co-chairs the Urban Services Initiative at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, and leads the Bangladesh Research Program for the International Growth Centre (IGC) at LSE and Oxford, and serves as a scientific advisor to the IPA office in Bangladesh. He has previously worked at the World Bank, and at the International Monetary Fund. He is a development economist with interests in environmental issues and has several ongoing research projects in Bangladesh, India, Malawi and Brazil. He conducts field experiments exploring ways to induce people in developing countries to adopt technologies or behaviors that are likely to be welfare improving. His research has been covered by The New York Times, The Economist, Science, NPR, Wired.com, the Times of London, and other publications in Bangladesh, India, Singapore, and Brazil.