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Ajaita Shah

Ajaita is the Founder/CEO of Frontier Markets and the President of Frontier Markets Foundation. Frontier Markets is a rural marketing, sales, and service distribution company providing access to affordable and quality consumer durables to BOP households; focusing on products in clean energy, agriculture, health, and water sanitation. Ajaita was an American India Foundation Fellow in 2006. She has 5 years of microfinance experience in India with organizations like SKS Microfinance, and Ujjivan Financial Services. Ajaita has worked on numerous development projects in 7 states in India. She has consulted with the World Bank about microfinance in South Asia and Latin America. She served on the Committee of the Social Performance Task Force. Ajaita has been awarded with scholarships from SOCAP, is a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, has been awarded the most influential award in Microfinance for people under 30, and Business Week’s 30 under 30 award. Ajaita Shah holds her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.
Frontier Markets is a sales and marketing distribution company with a mission to reach Base of the Pyramid (BOP) households in emerging markets. Frontier Markets works with microfinance institutions and locally trained field staff to educate, relate, and reach households providing them access to high social impact and affordable products, and customer service. Frontier Markets started operations in rural India and are working with clean energy products like solar lighting and smokeless stoves. Frontier Markets’ innovative marketing and sales channel will open new opportunities for manufacturers to create affordable and relevant products for rural markets. Frontier Markets becomes THE scale solution for manufacturers creating products for rural markets, focusing on areas like clean energy, healthcare, and livelihoods. Frontier Markets’ mission is to provide over 1 million products to 3 million households in India by 2016, and become a global leader in rural distribution and products for BOP households.

 Jeanne M. Sullivan

Jeanne M. Sullivan has been investing in and growing tech companies for many years.  She is a founding General Partner of StarVest Partners.  StarVest is a New York-based venture capital firm with approximately $400 million under management and invests in technology-enabled business services companies. Jeanne has over 20 years of venture capital experience and has spent 28 years in the technology sector encompassing both extensive operating and investing experience with technology companies.  As a General Partner of StarVest Partners and previously with Olivetti Ventures, Ms. Sullivan has served on the boards of many technology companies.  Ms. Sullivan has extensive experience creating “go to market” plans for early and expansion stage companies. Her expertise also includes strategy, a keen understanding of the technology landscape and industry trends.  Prior to her venture experience, Jeanne gained her operating experience with AT&T and Bell Labs while serving in product and industry marketing roles.

Ms. Sullivan is a sought-after industry speaker on the subject of “how to get the wallets out of investors’ pocket”.  Jeanne serves on the board of the New York Venture Capital Association and serves as a member of the Astia Board of Trustees and is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs (and a few good men). Forbes recently cited Sullivan as “one of the women VCs changing the world – grooming the next generation of female entrepreneurs”.    Her credentials also include: lousy golfer, baseball (Yankees of course),   sports addict, and oldest of eight kids where she learned the most about managing people and getting results.

Caren Rabbino

Caren Rabbino has managed large-scale projects and client relationships both as an entrepreneur and chief executive officer. Ms. Rabbino has extensive experience in strategic planning and managing operations to insure growth and stability for non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial businesses alike.

In 1998, Ms. Rabbino formed Fast Forward Consulting, a strategic planning firm that supports organizational development for clients such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Museum of Arts and Design, Knight Foundation, Arts for Learning, University of Miami, Qatar National Food Security Programme, Plum Television, Resnicow Schroeder Associates, Lehmann Maupin Gallery and Citigroup Art Advisory Service; and, we provided project management for web site development for these clients: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Christie’s, Colección Cisneros, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and the Citigroup Art Advisory Service. Ms. Rabbino worked in Karnataka, India on a feasibility plan to market women’s health and hygiene products in close coordination with Frontier Markets and a microfinance institution.

Ms. Rabbino serves as a judge for the Global Social Venture Competition (Columbia University) and served on the Board of Directors of Hester Street Collaborative in New York.

Yolanda M. Wardowski

Yolanda Wardowski, Managing Director, Avalon Group Ltd. Yolanda has 15+ years experience executing Mergers & Acquisitions and advising on various Corporate Finance and Strategic Advisory issues for clients and companies in the Consumer Products & Retail sectors.  This includes completing corporate divestitures, private and public company sales, raising private equity capital, acquisitions and general advisory mandates providing companies, family businesses, CEOs and entrepreneurs with advice on various strategic issues.

Prior to joining Avalon Group Ltd. in 2007, Yolanda was a Vice President in J.P. Morgan’s M&A/Corporate Finance group focusing exclusively in the Consumer Products and Retail sectors, and served as an advisor to J.P. Morgan’s corporate office M&A group, where she advised the Corporate Office and the Board of Directors on potential mergers, acquisitions and equity capital investments in foreign banks.  Yolanda has also held senior positions at Ernst & Young Capital Advisors and 94the Street Capital LLC where she provided strategic and execution services to public and private companies and family businesses in the small to middle market sectors.

Yolanda is on the Business Advisory Board of Directors for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Graduate Global Fashion Management School.  She is also a Business Advisor to CFDA {Fashion Incubator}, Fashinvest, Astia, The Tory Burch Foundation and Springboard Enterprises, where she also acts as a mentor and advisor to early stage or small middle market companies. Yolanda is a frequent speaker, panelist and guest lecturer at various consumer and retail industry events, at FIT conferences and classes, and with Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC), an economic initiative developed and funded by New York City Economic Development Corp. She is a Director in Plum Perfect, a beauty/fashion consumer technology company. Yolanda holds an Honors B.A. degree in Finance/Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


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