Meet Our Board
Rebecca Gross, U.S. Chairperson, Founder/Executive Director at Student Driven Solutions
Jay Crosby, U.S. Board Member, Founder/Executive Director at Leadership Exchange, a
cross-cultural exchange program that connects American High School students with organizations working in Haiti, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. He has more than 20 years of experience in education and a lifetime commitment to travel and service. Prior to developing Leadership Exchange, Jay was a teacher and coach at Riverdale Country School, Bronx, NY, and served as the Executive Director of Somarela Fund, a small family foundation whose mission is to advance humanitarian work in southern Africa.
Sarah Baran, U.S. Board Member, Project Manager at Digital Divide Data, a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) Social Enterprise, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Digital Divide Data subcontracts with Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation (gui2de) to conduct studies on development policy regarding behavioral economics. She currently manages a team that implements randomized control trials, which, at the moment, focus on road safety and passenger empowerment with local minibuses, governance over school sanitation with parents, board of managements, and school management, and finally digital data collection through mobile phones to improve the speed and accuracy of Kenya’s Ministry of Education data collection. She has experience in project management, event management, operations, logistics, data analysis, government relations, and development policy. In her free time, she also teaches an introductory writing course in Kamiti, a maximum security prison in Nairobi.
Sarah is a board member for SDS, and in addition to her experience working with diverse communities, she brings a vibrant enthusiasm to support the overall mission of SDS. Sarah joined SDS because she is committed to the empowerment of individuals and believes in the capacity of young women. One of the largest impediments to development within any emerging economy is poor leadership that feeds a culture of corruption. The only way to address this issue is to develop ethical leaders who are committed to truly serving the public. This public participation must begin at the local level and must begin with the youth. Moreover, it is an opportunity and responsibility that should be shared among everyone, including women.
Gift Nhlane, Trustee, Business Development Manager at Goods for Good, a US based International NGO whose particular interest is in providing opportunities to the Orphans & Vulnerable Children. He is the overall manager for a business enterprise value chain program supporting community based organizations to generate income through a sustainable Community Enterprise Program. He is a University of Malawi, Chancellor College trained Economist with over 9 years of experience working and managing International and grassroots Non-Governmental Organizations, Cooperate Industry of the banking sector and management consulting. Currently, he is studying for his Masters in Strategic Management with the University of Derby with an interest in people management and marketing strategies. He has been a trustee of Student Driven Solutions since its inception. His role as a trustee is mainly to advise the Executive Director in all areas of his expertise on a need basis and to assist in networking. Besides that he pays particular interest in the financial management of the resources used in the programs to ensure that the goals of the organization are met.
The main reason he joined SDS is his belief that knowledge is power, which gives freedom. The fact that SDS looks at girls’ education, financial literacy and community advocacy among others, he believes that these programs augers well with his beliefs. If the girls are able to attain the right education and financial literacy then their future can as well be well equipped. Besides, he has great faith in the capabilities of the Executive Director whom he has worked with before and he is therefore confident in her carrying the mission of SDS to higher levels.
Elita Chamdimba, Program Advisor, Masters Candidate. She is a young leader who recently completed her undergraduate studies at Chancellor College where she majored in Sociology. Her passion for girls’ education is evident in the project that she initiated in her final year of college called Little Big Prints. Little Big Prints works with girls in community-day secondary schools by linking them with female college mentors who encourage the girls to aspire for tertiary education. Elita has since joined the National Girls Education Network in Malawi as a keen member. Prior to pursuing her masters, she worked as a Programs Assistant at NASFAM, a leading development organization that works with smallholder farmers. Elita advises the program at Malindi Day Secondary School. She acts as supervisor to our college mentors and provides guidance and advice to our lead team at Chancellor College
Nathan Banda, Accountant /Financial Advisor & Resource Mobilization, Accountant at R. Gaffar Transport Litd. He is an accountant with vast experience in financial reporting for more than 15 years. He is zealous about girls education, this emanates from a heart breaking experience of his mother who failed to get quality education due to lack of parental support. He wants to make sure that the girl child is well educated and become self reliant in order for them to contribute to the success of their individual families and a nation as a whole.
He is a holder of Bachelor of accountancy degree from Exploits University, ACCA Diploma and is currently studying Master’s Degree in Business Administration with MANCOSA. He is also a volunteer accountant for There Is Hope Malawi. His responsibility is to assist Student Driven Solutions in setting up the accounting system and to ensure accountability in all financial matters.
Clement Udedi, Technical Advisor M&E, Resource Mobilisation, Director of Programs at MACRO where he is responsible for management of community case management projects in 4 districts. He has a lot of interest in assisting vulnerable people in the community. He holds Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Malawi, Diploma in Computer Studies from National College of Information Technology, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He has more than 7 years’ experience in project management, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation.
His role is to assist Student Driven Solutions fulfill its monitoring and resource mobilization strategy to ensure sustainability and expansion of activities. His desire to see his daughter succeed in life made him to join Student Driven Solutions to contribute towards assisting other girls achieve their life goals. Clement, believes that education and socio-economic empowerment will contribute greatly to alleviating some of the challenges that girls in Malawi face and efforts by organisations like Student Driven Solutions need to be supported by Malawian.
Tchizah Nhlane, Accounts Advisor, Financial and Internal auditor at Malawi Union of Savings and Credit. He runs internal and financial audits for the Savings and credit cooperatives and all the partner projects. He is a Chartered Accountant certified by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He obtained his certificate from Malawi College of Accountancy. He has over eight years of Finance, Audit, and Lecturing experience in the private sector and for nongovernmental organisations. He prepares our financial statements and cross-checks all spending to make sure that Student Driven Solutions manages funds in an accountable and transparent manner.
Compstone Soko, Program Advisor, Project Officer at Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute Malawi. He assists Student Driven Solutions in the development of the entrepreneurship curriculum and trains our mentors and teachers to support our students in their business ventures.
Rebecca Martin, M&E advisor, Project Coordinator at Consolidated Claims Group, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014, where she studied Exercise and Sport Science. After a year of working in an elementary school in New York, she joined Student Driven Solutions as Monitoring, Evaluation and Social Media intern. She was attracted to SDS because it addresses a need in the community while empowering its members. She uses her experience in schools and her logical personality to help create an M&E strategy that can make the program even more effective.
Rodney Likaku, Trustee, Program Officer at Arts and Global Health Center Africa. Rodney is a writer, artist, young scholar and academic. He uses creative leadership methods to inform youth projects and entrepreneurial ventures that are designed as innovative solutions to challenges in society. He is the program officer for first of its kind creative leadership program called Students with Dreams, which he designed with a diverse international and multicultural team for the Malawi context. The program works with teams in colleges where Rodney hopes to begin prototyping the future of Malawian leadership by emphasizing creativity and collaboration to address challenges. He is a part-time lecturer in English Literature at Chancellor College, University of Malawi.