Project Team

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Daryl Collins

Project director

Dr. Daryl Collins is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor and Managing Director at BFA, a global consulting firm with offices in Boston, New York, Nairobi, Medellín and Delhi. Dr. Collins has built up a broad portfolio of work with foundations, bilateral institutions and private financial services providers linking an understanding of household financial management to the business case for services that will help address some of the most significant challenges that face low income households. Her work is grounded in a deep understanding of the financial behaviors of low income people across the globe, leveraging the experience of executing Financial Diaries studies in Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Pakistan and advising the U.S. Financial Diaries. Dr. Collins holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from New York University.

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Maelis Carraro

Project Manager

Maelis Carraro is a Senior Associate for the Supply Side and FinTech Practices. Her work focuses on the business case of alternative delivery channels such as agent networks and mobile money and business models for financial service providers. She joins the firm from the International Finance Corporation, where she advised and worked with regional teams on microfinance projects globally.  Maelis holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master in International Affairs from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.

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Ashirul Amin

Senior associate

Ashirul Amin is a Senior Associate at BFA, specializing in forensic portfolio analytics of financial institutions which provide savings and loan services to low income clients. His work informs discussions around client segmentation, product sustainability, savings behavior, and cross-sell by utilizing custom-built algorithms. Projects he has worked on include InFocus, GAFIS and OPTIX, and his work-related travels have taken him to Latin America, East Africa, and South and South East Asia. Ashirul has a PhD in Development Economics at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Prior to joining the Doctoral program, he worked at a financial services company focused on emerging markets, and an impact investment firm. He holds a M.A. from The Fletcher School, and a B.S.E. (Computer Science) from Princeton University.

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Gabriela Zapata

Senior Associate

Gabriela is a strategic advisor to various private and public institutions and fintech startups involved in financial inclusion in Latin America, with special emphasis on Mexico. She is also actively involved on a number of projects focusing on applied product innovation, user-centered design, behavioral sciences, product cross-sell, access channels, financial capabilities and others with MetLife Foundation, CGAP and the Center for Financial Inclusion.

Previously, she was Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Director of Promotion of Financial Organizations at the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico. She holds a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and lives in Mexico City.

Full biography here.

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Kelly Nguyen

assistant Project Manager

Kelly Nguyen is an Associate in the FinTech Practice at BFA. Her expertise isin-depth research and building market competitive analysis. Kelly recently received a Bachelor of Science degree from Babson College, where she studied Business Management with a concentration in Economics and Entrepreneurship. She founded “Young Entrepreneurs Adventure Vietnam,” a youth development non-profit organization for students, instructing and encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship.

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Laura Cojocaru

associate

Laura works for the demand-side practice of BFA, focusing on quantitative analysis of behavior, and on demand-related aspects of financial inclusion. Since joining BFA in 2012, Laura has assisted work on Financial Diaries projects in South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, and Mexico. Laura has also provided research support on projects related to mobile money adoption, usage of banking correspondents, and consumer protection in financial services. Her current research interests are the implications of behavioral biases related to salience for the propensity to save. Laura holds a Masters and a Ph.D. degree in Economics from the University of Delaware, where her Ph.D. thesis focused on the macroeconomic effects of financial development on economic growth, inequality and poverty in Central and Eastern European countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States, following the fall of Communism. 

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Natalia Gomez

Latin america regional director and director, business insights

Natalia is Latin America Regional Director and Director of Business Insights. She specializes in business case analysis and strategy for financial institutions focused on increasing financial inclusion. Natalia began her career as an investment advisor in New York for the Latin American private banking operation of a large British bank. She then moved to Colombia and began an eleven year career at Bancolombia where she worked in several areas including process management, small businesses and microfinance, and alternative sales channels. One of her final roles at Bancolombia was to create and direct the Financial Inclusion team. Natalia holds a BSc in industrial engineering from Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (Colombia), an MSc in applied mathematics from EAFIT University (Colombia), a Certificate in Latin American Studies and an MA in international development policy from Duke University. In 2008, she was granted a Fulbright scholarship to undertake her graduate studies in the US.

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Sushmita Meka

Senior associate

Sushmita Meka focuses on client insights with the demand-side team at BFA. While with BFA, she has focused on the potential to bring low-income households into the formal financial system via digital channels. Prior to BFA, Sushmita supported financial inclusion impact evaluation and policy dissemination with the IFMR Centre for Micro Finance in India. She has also worked in Kenya and Zimbabwe to explore the potential for mobile payments to support the health and financial services sectors. Sushmita holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics from the University of Southern California. 

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Jorge Hernandez

Analyst

Jorge Hernandez brings a strong background in financial analysis and financial modeling. Most recently, he has been working with Lexmark International as a Financial Planning Manager among six countries in Latin-America and before that with NOVUS Group. He also worked as a consultant in business strategy and financial analysis. Jorge holds a BSc in industrial engineering from Universidad de La Sabana (Colombia) and MSc in business administration from Instituto de Empresa (Spain).

 

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Sebastian Barrera

Associate

Sebastián is an Associate in our Customer Insights team. His work specializes in conducting in-depth user research to ideate, design and prototype solutions that will inform new business and product concepts using human-centered design (HCD) methodologies.He joins BFA from the Design Impact Group (DIG), where he worked on a broad range of projects in East Africa and Latin America. His area of expertise includes human-centered design, ethnographic research and user experience (UX) for financial services.Sebastián holds a BA in Design from Los Andes University (Colombia) and an MFA in Design for Social Innovation from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

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Benson Gathecha

ASSOCIATE

Benson is an Associate in Business Insights. He focuses on data analytics across a range of BFA projects. Prior to joining BFA he worked as a radio planning and optimization engineer at Safaricom Ltd, where his work focused on statistical analysis of 2G/3G & LTE KPIs as well as investigation and improvement of mobile network quality. Benson is currently finishing up on his thesis in Masters of Science in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovations Development at Strathmore University. He holds a Bachelor of Technology (Electrical & Communications Engineering) from Moi University.

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Damian Milverton

Director, Insights and Influence

Damian is Director of Insights and Influence at BFA, leading a team that strives to show and share BFA’s work in promoting tech-enabled financial services as a way to accelerate the path out of poverty. He is a veteran of more than 30 years in the media and communications fields, with a focus on driving support for poverty reduction efforts globally through better understanding of the plight of the poor and the solutions that work to help them improve their lives. Damian spent several years as a communications consultant to multilateral institutions, NGOs, and think tanks after serving as media manager for the World Bank at its headquarters in Washington, DC. After gaining a BA in Journalism, he began his career as a finance reporter for several newspapers in Australia before joining Dow Jones & Co., where his work was published regularly in The Wall Street Journal and in other newspapers internationally.

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Stanley Mutinda

Analyst

Stanley is an Analyst in Insights & Influence team. His work focuses on data and quantitative analytics for various BFA projects. Prior to joining BFA, he worked for DataFirst Research Services housed at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Stanley has also worked for Ericsson, and Equity Bank Ltd. He holds a Masters degree in Development Economics from University of Cape Town, South Africa and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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Priyanka Kapoor

Analyst

Priyanka works as an Analyst in the Inclusive Fintech Practice for BFA in Delhi, India. She offers operational and project support to the India office. Prior to joining BFA, Priyanka worked with Dell Services and Infosys Technologies. Her areas of expertise include software testing, quality assurance, data analysis, project management, defect management and integration testing. She is also proficient in R Visual Studio, R Programming Language, and predictive modeling techniques. Priyanka holds a Bachelors of Technology degree in Information Technology from the Graphic Era University, India. She recently completed a post graduate program in Business Analytics from the Great Lakes Institute of Management, India.

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Adam Merberg

Associate

Adam is an Associate in the Inclusive Fintech Practice Area. His work focuses on data and includes descriptive and predictive analytics. Prior to joining BFA, he worked as a data scientist in the healthcare sector. He holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from University of California, Berkeley.

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Akansha Kasera

Digital Marketing Specialist

Akansha is a Digital Marketing Specialist with the Insights and Influence team. She supports the implementation of BFA’s communication initiatives and content marketing strategy. Prior to joining BFA, she worked as a Marketing Communication Officer with Smile Foundation, a national level NGO in India with several livelihood programs and welfare initiatives. Before moving to the development sector, she worked with Zomato as part of their external communication team. She holds a B.A. degree in English Literature from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University.

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Veethi Vyas

Qualitative UX Researcher

Veethi is a qualitative UX researcher at BFA. Prior to joining BFA, Veethi worked on an agricultural extension project in Gujarat, India as a Research Associate with JPAL South Asia. While there, she led the research process and design of an app for smallholder farmers. She was also a field-based Research Associate for a project with the University of Virginia in partnership with the Madhya Pradesh Police Department. She holds a BA in economics from Grinnell College.

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