Chief Executive Officer
Prior to working at Esperanza, Alex worked in a major government defense company for 11 years. She began serving in Esperanza in March 2012 as the Vice President of Public Affairs and Caribbean Investment prior to taking on her new role in February 2014. Alex received her MBA from Belhaven College, a B.S. from Eastern Mennonite University, and graduated from the Lifework Leadership Program in 2012. Alex was asked to join the Board of Directors in December 2014.
Finance & Administration Manager
Pedro Castillo holds a Bachelor Degree in Commercial Education with an emphasis in Accounting from the School of Accounting and an Associate Degree in Business Education from Dominican World University. He has more than 40 years working in community organizations of which 9 of these years have been with Esperanza International.
Nelly has more than 15 years of experience in microfinance in the Dominican Republic. She earned degrees in both accounting and education. Nelly identifies with Esperanza’s love for Jesus and wants to focus on serving impoverished communities.
Coordinator of Non-Financial Services
Eliana has a degree in Clinical Psychology. She has worked for Esperanza since 2016, performing several functions and serving in various roles. Today, she serves as Coordinator of Non-Financial Services. Her passion is for others to know about Jesus’ love in an integral way.
Dave is a former MLB player; he played for the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers during his 13-year professional career. Dave was a color commentator for the Seattle Mariners TV and radio broadcasts, and since 2007, he has co-hosted the post game show on the Mariners’ radio network. He was also named the manager of the Everett Aquasox, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, for the 2014 season. In 1995, Dave founded Esperanza International together with his wife Victoria.
Director of Development
Melinda was raised in Argentina, earned her undergraduate degree in Wisconsin, and has focused her professional career on positioning vulnerable populations to flourish. With a degree in Home and Family Studies, graduate credential in Christian Non-Profit Leadership, and MBA in progress, she has held leadership positions in multiple sectors. For almost a decade Melinda served as CEO of a faith-based non-profit in Colorado, where she spearheaded marketing campaigns, cultivated meaningful donor partnerships, and managed two capital campaigns and a complete re-branding process. Melinda is a passionate leader, communicator, mentor, and most of all, a woman who deeply loves God, her family, and the community of faith. Melinda and her family live in the Lancaster, PA area (with their emotional Lhasa Apso and a bunny named Maggie) where she enjoys good coffee, hikes, and the beautiful chaos of advocating for people in hard places to thrive.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dave Valle cofounded Esperanza International in 1995 with his wife, Victoria after playing winter baseball in the Dominican Republic and seeing the needs of the children on the island. Dave is a former Major League baseball player for the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and Texas Rangers from 1984 to 1996. In 2000, Dave was asked to become the President and CEO of Esperanza and has grown the loan program to 235,000 loans disbursed, totaling more than $74 million dollars. During that time, both the school and water loan programs were implemented.
Chairman of the Board
Toby Kilgore is an experienced business leader with an extensive track record of over 25 years working with leading domestic and international institutions to successfully address core issues of strategic focus and differentiation, operating model effectiveness and scalability, and organizational alignment and transformation. Toby received an MBA from Harvard University, and a BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Toby was a partner at A.T. Kearney where he had various responsibilities, including Co-Head of the North America Financial Institutions Group and lead partner on a number of key accounts. Toby also held senior positions at Bank of America and in PwC’s Strategy Consulting Group. From 2005 through early 2017, Toby was a partner in the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting. Firm leadership roles included Deloitte’s Australian banking consulting practice leader and advisory board member of the Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to working at Esperanza, Alex worked in a major government defense company for 11 years. She began serving with Esperanza in March 2012 as the Vice President of Public Affairs and Caribbean Investment prior to taking becoming Director in February 2014. Alex received her MBA from Belhaven College, a B.S. from Eastern Mennonite University, and graduated from the Lifework Leadership Program in 2012. Alex joined the Esperanza Board of Directors in December 2014.
Jerameel is an executive coach and trainer, specializing in leadership and team development through his firm Achieve Consulting Group. He also leads Crown Financial Ministries in his home country, Dominican Republic, serving as personal finances and career coach. Jerameel holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from UNPHU University and master’s degree in Executive Management from INTEC University. Certified Master Trainer of the Career Direct® career orientation system for the Spanish market. Father of three and loving husband to one for more than 20 years.
Scott Olson began his legal career at Andrews Kurth, LLP, as an Associate; was a Managing Partner at Larson King, LLP; then founded the Dallas office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, an international law firm, and assumed the role of Managing Shareholder of that office. Beginning in 2006, Scott took on the role of advisor and/or investor in a variety of business opportunities, including serving as Managing Director of an asset-based hedge fund from 2006-2009.
Currently, Scott is the CEO of Pathway Healthcare, a national owner and operator of outpatient addiction and mental health clinics. He is also a Partner with Turtle Creek Holdings, a 22-year-old investment partnership focusing on private equity and venture capital investments. Turtle Creek Holdings is a founding investor in Pathway Healthcare.
Scott attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds a JD from Vanderbilt Law School. Before college, Scott served our country in the USAF. He is committed to philanthropic involvement and to his church and serves on a number of ministry boards. Scott has been married to Erin since 2000, and they have three children.
Elie is an Executive with nearly 20 years of experience. He has managed teams in humanitarian and development programs to meet complex needs of individuals, businesses, NGOs, and Government Agencies, with experiences across the globe, especially in Haiti and Africa.
He began his career with the Central Bank of Haiti (BRH) and has with Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) around Micro-Finance and Financial-Inclusion initiatives. He is a partner of the Haiti Venture Impact Partners and has significant experience in supporting the development of local grassroots non-profit organizations.
Mr. Lafortune holds a BS from the State University of Haiti’s School of Agriculture, a MBA from the Simon Business School of the University of Rochester, and a MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Elie resides in Petion Ville, Haiti, with his wife Katarina and two young kids, Samuel and Esther. They can often be found enjoying Haiti’s magnificent beaches or far off in Eastern Europe.
Daniel J. Devine is committed to “helping people help themselves” through social, philanthropic, and educational ventures. A well recognized distance learning pioneer, Mr. Devine co-founded and led Compass Knowledge Group (sold to Pearson as Embanet Compass) for almost 20 years creating the marketplace leader in serving the distance learning needs of top higher education institutions. Mr. Devine currently serves as Chairman of Lighthouse Works (http://www.lighthouseworks.org) which supports job growth for the visually impaired, serves on the board of Hope Africa Collective (http://hopeafrica.com) located in Cape Flats South Africa, and advises several other organizations (Man in the Mirror, Choices Women’s Clinic, etc.) Additionally, Mr. Devine is the founder of MoveUp which provides actionable and accessible content that changes lives to the impoverished delivered via the mobile phone in the Dominican Republic.
Jesse serves as Chief Operating Officer for HOPE International, where he has served since 2004. He has a B.A. from Eastern Nazarene College and both an M.A. and an MBA from Boston University. The field of microfinance falls at the intersection of these degrees, combining Jesse’s heart for developing countries and his business expertise. Prior to and during his graduate work, Jesse gained experience in international banking at State Street Corporation’s international headquarters in Massachusetts and later at a subsidiary of Advent Software. He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America working in the finance, accounting, operations, and administration teams while at HOPE. He has served as a church board member and treasurer and is deeply committed to HOPE’s Christian mission. Jesse and his wife, Krista, live in Lancaster, PA, with their two children.