Our 2019 Fellows



Meet our social innovators creating ripple effects of change

GGF Fellows Veteran Fellows

GGF


Eyitayo Ogunmola

Founder + CEO, Utiva

Bio

Despite earning a medical physiology degree from The University of Llorin, Eyitayo Ogunmola was jobless for two years upon graduation. He founded Utiva to help college students in Sub Saharan Africa transition from school to work, bridgin the gap between education, employment and entrepreneurship. Utiva's commitment to making higher eduation effective and impactful for Africa's community is a result of global partnerships with companies, learning institutions and policymakers to understand the ever-changing employment landscape.

Hitesh Tolani

Founder + CEO, Virtudent

Bio

Growing up, Hitesh Tolani's family went through years of financial hardship and an immigration battle that made national headlines. Those headlines generated support from 35,000 Americans which led to a resolution and changed the course of Hitesh's life forever. He wondered how he would pay it forward, and found that answer through Virtudent, the first commercial teledentistry practice in the U.S. Hitesh believes that quality oral health care should be a standard, not a luxury, so he's making it more accessible through state-of-the-art mobile dentist clinics. Virtudent dedicates a portion of proceeds to build programs for local communties, brigning quality oral care to those who need it most.

Hyasintha Ntuyeko

Founder + CEO, Kasole Secrets Company Ltd

Bio

Hyasintha Ntuyeko founded Kasole Secrets Company Ltd., a social enterprise that innovates and produces bamboo-made sanitary napkinds, currently distributing across Tanzania, DRC-Congo and the U.S. Kasole Secrets aims to educate and empower young women through menstrual hygiene management (MHM) education programs in primary and secondary schools. The organization also works as menstrual hygiene management consultants for local and international NGOs. In 2015, Hyasintha pioneered the first MHM Day in Tanzania, educating the entire community that the importance of menstrual hygiene managements spreads beyond just women and girls.

Kevin Gibbons

Co-Founder + Executive Director, Health Access Connect

Bio

During his masters research, Kevin Gibbons visited fishing villages in Uganda and learned about the high HIV rates and difficulty accessing care. Many people fail to get treatment because it's too far or too expensive. Kevin's solution was Health Access Connect (HAC), a nonprofit that links Ugandans in remote area with healthcare resources. Through HAC's main program, Medicycles, Ugandan health workers bring monthly outreach clinics to these areas using micro financed motorcycle taxis and community cost sharing.

Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter

Co-founder + CEO, IMPAQTO

Bio

Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter is a social entrepreneur and human rights lawyer from Ecuador, passionate about realizing the potential that her biodiverse, culturally rich country has to offer the world. She co-founded the country's first coworking space and social business incubator, IMPAQTO, to build an ecosystem that fosters purpose-driven businesses. IMPAQTO gives change agents in Latin American emerging cities a home where ideas come together and innovation is driven forward.

Neha Arora

Founder, Planet Abled

Bio

Born to parents with disabilities and having faced challanges while traveling as a family, Neha Arora realized a huge gap existed in society. Her personal experiences drove the inception of Planet Abled, the world's first organization to provide accessible and inclusive travel solutions for poeple with disabilities and the elderly. There are over one billion people living with disabilities in the world, and Planet Abled aims to give them freedom to explore and discover.

Rachel Connors

Co-Founder + Co-Owner, Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Bio

Rachel Connors is the Co-founder and Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Yellow Leaf Hammocks, a social enterprise dedicated to defeating global poverty through sustainable artisan job creation. Yellow Leaf Hammocks empowers women and communities in Thailand by creating high-wage weaving jobs for marginalized hil-tribe groups. Rachel's passion is to help redefine "value" for consumers. She believes that we can transform the world and life the next billion people out of extreme poverty by changing the perception of shoppers and updrating the style of handcrafted goods.

Tonee Ndungu

Founder + CIO, Kytabu Inc.

Bio

Raised in a fast-growing, cosmopolitan city of Nairobi, Tonee Ndungu's life experiences have been a maship of tradition in deep rooted culture and the dynamic influece of technology. Starting one of Kenya's first technology incubators that fueled the Silicon Savannah Revolution in 2008, Tonee belives the widespread impact created by a single person if not bridled by their circumstances at origin. He founded Kytabu, an app that gives teachers and students access to textbooks and learning resources, to enhance the Sub Saharan education system.

 

Vaibhav Lodha

Co-Founder, FT Cash

Bio

Vaibhav Lodha is the co-founder of ftcash, one of India's fastest growing fintech companies, empowering 60+ million underserved micro-merchants through financial inclusion. He was inspired by his newspaper vendor, Pankaj, who was denied a bank loan and unable to scale his business. Pankaj is one of millions in India who are unable to access capital from banks, as financial institutions lack data and appropriate risk modeling systems to asses eligibility for loans. ftcash uses a proprietary algorithm to understand credit-worthiness, along with psychometric analysis on their platform.

Wemimo Abbey

Co-Founder + Co-CEO, Esusu

Bio

Wemimo Abbey grew up living paycheck to paycheck in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria. His family was excluded from the traditional financial system, and turned to rotational savings to pay for school and food. Wemimo understood first-hand the power of community savings, and digitized the process through Esusu. A venture backed company that empowers communities to save better, Esusu helps people build credit and bridge a permanent gap to financial access and inclusion.

VETS


Abe Kamarck

Founder, True Made Foods

Bio

True Made Foods founder, Abe Kamarck, is a former Naval Aviator, father of four and BBQ lover. As a lifelong home cook, he had always used carrots as a natural sweetener to cut the acidity in tomato based sauces. True Made Foods was born as a condiment brand naturally sweetened with vegetables. After graduation from Vanderbilt on an NROTC scholarship, Abe served eight years as a Navy Helicopter pilot, deploying on counter-narcotics missions and for OIF. He spent his last tour in England where Abe earned his MBA from the London Business School and was introduced to impact entrepreneurship. This experience prompted Abe to leave the Navy and start a five-year adventure in emerging markets as an impact entrepreneur.

Gail Robinson

Founder, Robinson Business Solutions

Bio

Gail Robinson, US Army Veteran, Owner and CRM Administrator at Robinson Business Solutions, provides knowledgeable database and software services to local and out of state organizations. Robinson Business Solutions has served an ever-growing number of clients since its founding in 2013 and relaunch in 2018. Prior to going into business, Gail worked at organizations where she managed data and software.  Gail brings her personable approach and sharp attention to detail to the CRM software industry and views helping her clients through the selection and implementation process as a true privilege.

Jen Luik

Co-Founder, Decisions Oriented Inc

Bio

Jen Luik is Co-Founder and CEO of Decision Oriented Inc, a consulting and systems engineering company located in Maryland. She is a 15-year Coast Guard Officer and current member of the Coast Guard Reserves where she serves as a Contingency Planning Officer. Descions Oriented Inc was founded in 2016 and specializes in developing strategic solutions to modernize clients cyber mission organization and processes. The company utilizes design facilitation techniques and methodology to frame problems, support innovation incubation efforts and propose feasible and actionable solutions for clients to select, and ultimately resource and budget appropriate solutions and initiatives. The company currently has a small team of employees predominantly military veterans. As a veteran advocate, Jennifer is currently working with the Maryland Tech Connect and the Anne Arundel County to identify resources available to veterans. She is also developing an Atlassian User Training program to train veterans on how to use JIRA and Confluence. 

Laura Renner

Founder, Freedom Makers Virtual Assisstant Services

Bio

Laura Renner is the founder of Freedom Makers Virtual Assistant Services which provides military spouses as virtual assistants to small business owners. She developed this idea after coming across many small business owners who needed super part-time help and knowing how military spouses struggle to build careers due to their constant moves. Laura graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor's of Science in English and a minor in Chinese-Mandarin. She served as a Public Affairs officer before leaving the Air Force to earn an International MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Mark Casper

President + Executive Director, Tech for Troops

Bio

Mark Casper is the President and Executive Director of Tech For Troops (T4T) a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate veteran homelessness and poverty – one veteran at a time. Mark has worked tirelessly to create a high-impact organization that is a powerful force for changing lives of veterans throughout the United States. He believes in mobilizing and working together with other businesses, non-profits and volunteers, providing a network of support for veterans in need. T4T serves veterans throughout the country through providing free refurbished computers, IT training, and placement services by working with each veteran on an individual basis. Additionally, T4T hires displaced veterans to work at the T4T distribution center, giving hands-on educational IT training, while providing layers of support to encourage a positive entry back into the workforce. Mark is a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and for more than 20 years served as an IT expert whose career focused on large-scale government and civilian IT projects.  

Mark Mhley

Co-Founder, Re4ormed Organics, LLC

Bio

Mark Mhley is a native of Rockville, MD.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1996, was designated a Naval Flight Officer, and graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School, Top Gun, in 2002.  Mark’s career as an aviator includes 5 deployments around the globe in the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Super Hornet, in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM.  Mark also served at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) in Dam Neck, Virginia from 2010-2013, where he planned and executed numerous special operations missions around the globe, and at the US Naval Academy from 2013-2017 we he served as the Deputy Director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, a Political Science instructor, and the Senior Naval Flight Officer.  After retiring in 2017, Mark founded Re4ormed Organics, a food and farm-animal waste recycling company based in Annapolis, Maryland.  Their anaerobic digestion technology was born from the Navy and Marine Corps’ need for forward-deployable renewable energy systems, and their first system at the Naval Academy demonstrates how midshipmen food waste from a table, or Marine food waste from the field, can be processed into energy.  The Maryland Energy Administration recently awarded their team a grant to build their first digester on a Maryland cattle-farm. In September 2018, The StreetShares Foundation and Boston Beer Company awarded Re4ormed the 2018 Veteran Small Business Award in the food and beverage industry.

Michael Leffer

Principal, Squadra Ventures

Bio

Mike Leffer is a Principal, and member of the founding team, at Squadra Ventures. Squadra is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in remarkable entrepreneurs, empowering them to win and make a difference. Their ideal founder possesses, among other qualities, the ability to operate under adverse conditions. And, several of the portfolio companies have Veteran-led founding teams. Before his current position, he founded Cofoundr, LLC which was a professional advisory firm for founders that were underserved or ignored by typical sources of capital and support. They worked exclusively with Veterans, first-time entrepreneurs, inventors, and doctors with the goal to make the world better a place by fostering disruptive innovation. In his role as Managing Partner, he worked with three companies (two Veteran-led) on business strategy as they raised over one million dollars in venture capital funding. In addition, he previously worked in early-stage venture with Baltimore Angels, co-founded a small eCommerce company which he sold in early 2018, and is expected to graduate with an MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in May of 2019. Mike honorably served as an Army Officer from 2014 to 2017, and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Nicholas Karnaze

Founder, Stubble and Stache

Bio

Prior to starting stubble + 'stache, Nicholas Karnaze served over seven years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. First as an Intelligence Officer, then in 2007 joining the Corps' newly formed elite special operations unit: MARSOC aka the Marine Raiders. He was a member of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion with multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan. Nick is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Post 9/11 Veterans Ignite program. stubble + ‘stache is a certified service disabled veteran owned small business pioneering the development of specialized skin care products for men with facial hair. stubble + ‘stache features a growing lineup of beard and skincare products to hydrate, protect and soothe skin and reduce beard itch. These award-winning products answer all grooming needs, regardless of facial hair length, complexion or skin type. A portion of the profits are donated to organizations helping those suffering from the physical and mental wounds of war.

Sharon Cummings

Founder, Own My Anger

Bio

Sharon L. Cummings, is an experienced entrepreneur with over 25 years of corporate experience. Ms. Cummings earned a MBA, and a MS in Cybersecurity Policy from the University of Maryland University College. She is a disabled veteran of the U.S. Army, mentor, and advocate for the underserved. Her passion for community service lead her to start Teen Sircles, Inc. , a 501(c) 3 organization. Through Teen Sircles she offers guidance and resources to empower youth and young adults. In 2016, Ms. Cummings started  Own My Anger (OMA) Wellness. OMA focuses on helping people to recognize and self-manage personal triggers. Helping people to peel back the layers and get to the core of their anger is one of the best rewards to her. From school aged youth to public service workers, Ms. Cummings has touched the lives of many. Ultimately, her desire is to help in building safe, self-sustainable communities with strong educational foundations.

Toni Staten

Founder, Carael Group LLC

Bio

Toni Staten is founder and CEO of Carael Group, LLC, a mental health and substance abuse private practice located in Rockville, MD. Due to an increase in violence and trauma that young adults are exposed to at earlier ages, today’s college student experience a plethora of complex issues ranging from anxiety, depression and substance abuse at alarming rates. Carael Group, LLC’s mission is to address these unique needs that college students face and to help them reach the goal of Creating A Renewed And Empowered Life through therapy and coaching. Ms. Staten is a veteran of the US Air Force Reserves.