Ms. Magnoni is President of EA Consultants and has over 18 years international development experience. Much of her recent work has had a strong focus on understanding clients, their needs and their preferences and linking these into the development of products and programs to improve access to finance, markets and social protection for low-income segments. She recently managed the Client Value component of the Microinsurance Learning and Knowledge (MILK) Project, a research initiative that aimed to understand the business case and clients value of microinsurance. Ms. Magnoni has also supported efforts to better understand some of the constraints to financial access for immigrants in the United States, with funding from the IADB/MIF as well as the City of New York’s Office of Financial Empowerment of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Her work includes numerous efforts to strengthen the attention to client needs by financial institutions, particularly in developing countries. This has included working with microfinance institutions such as ProMujer to develop a client feedback loop, supporting a microfinance investment fund in measuring the social outcomes of its end-clients, and most recently, working with insurers to develop products microinsurance products that improve women’s health in Central America, and studying key constraints to small business growth in the United States and in developing countries. Ms. Magnoni holds a Masters degree from Columbia University in International Affairs. She is a member of Woman Advancing Microfinance-New York Chapter, she has recently co-founded Andares, a network of professional women working in microfinance in Latin America.
Rodolfo Quirós is a Costa Rican economist, with degrees in Economics from the Universidad de Costa Rica and in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University. For over 20 years he has been conducting evaluations and research on microfinance organizations and projects as well as analyzing diverse issues in economic development, with an emphasis on rural finance. He has been a consultant in many Latin American countries for a multiplicity of international organizations, including the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He worked in Bolivia as development finance specialist and Deputy Director for SEFIR, a financial services project funded by USAID and implemented by DAI. He was Regional Director for Central America, México and the Caribbean for LOCFUND, a microfinance oriented second-tier lending program. He has been associated with Academia de Centroamérica, a research institute based in Costa Rica where he has participated in numerous research and policy dialogue exercises. He now works as independent consultant.
Fernando Prado is a Bolivian economist with more than 30 years of experience, mainly in the field of public and private finance, with special emphasis in the area of new development finance and institutional strengthening of microfinance organizations (MFOs). He has a thorough understanding and experience of the microfinance problematic in Latin America. Currently, he is the General Manager of Prospero Microfinanzas Fund LP, an equity investment fund oriented to provide equity and institutional strengthening to small and intermediate microfinance entities of Latin America and the Caribbean. He was the Executive Director of the Association of Financial Entities Specialized in Microfinance (ASOFIN), the Bolivian network that congregates all the private financial entities that are prudentially regulated and supervised by the Superintendence of Banks. From August 2001 to January2004, he worked for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) in Bolivia, as Chief of Party of the USAID Rural Finance Services Project (SEFIR). In January 1996 he joined the CAF, the Latin American Development Bank, in order to establish the unit that would implement operations and activities that contribute to the establishment and consolidation of formalized, supervised and prudentially regulated MFIs, in its shareholder countries. He was based in Caracas for six years as the Director of Microfinance in CAF. In 1999, he also was requested to develop new and innovative funding mechanisms for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), such as venture capital funds, as well as through the design and implementation of strategic alliances between institutions specialized in training/strengthening of the SME. Since February 1989, when Catholic Relief Services (CRS) hired him as Project Coordinator for the AID-Washington Small Enterprise Development Program in Bolivia (SED Matching Grant), he has been engaged in the institutional strengthening of MFIs and their efforts towards becoming formalized financial intermediaries. His role involved also the coordination of similar actions in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. In January 1995 he was hired, under a UNDP-Ministry of Finance Program (UMBRELLA Project), as National Coordinator for the development and promotion of the People’s Microcredit Program (PMP)
Rebecca Thornton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan. Dr. Thornton completed her PhD in Political Economy and Government with a joint degree from the Harvard University Economics Department and the J.F. Kennedy School of Government in 2006. She was an NIA post-doc from 2006 to 2008 at the University of Michigan Population Studies Center. Her research focuses on health and education in developing countries with a focus on gender. Dr. Thornton's research has involved a number of field-experiments in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East including topics such as HIV prevention, reproductive health, family planning, primary education, and health insurance. Dr. Thornton is an affiliate with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) whose main aims are to use experimental methods to translate research into policy action and alleviate poverty in the developing world. She is also a junior affiliate in BREAD (Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development).
Jennifer Powers is a microfinance and international development consultant for EA Consultants. She has 12 years of experience in microfinance, investment banking and financial sector development. Over the last 5 years, Ms. Powers has worked on a number of technical assistance programs for MFIs in Latin America, Tanzania and Eastern Europe funded by organizations such as the IFC, IDB, USAID, EFSE and the ILO. These projects have involved quantitative data analysis; qualitative client feedback tools such as interviews and focus groups; MFI diagnostics; financial modeling and strategic advisory. Her most recent work has been focused on supporting women’s small business growth. She is currently working on an evaluation of a program financed by the MIF to support entrepreneurial capacity in women’s businesses in Latin America. She has also authored two recent MIF commissioned research pieces looking at constraints to women’s business growth, “A Business to Call Her Own: Identifying, Analyzing and Overcoming Constraints to Women’s Small Businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean” and “Pure Perseverance: A Study of Women’s Small Businesses in Colombia”. Before joining EA Consultants, Ms. Powers was an Investment Officer with Deutsche Bank Social Investments where she helped manage their microfinance debt funds. Her work in development finance has built upon her experience as an investment banker in Merrill Lynch’s financial institutions group. Ms. Powers holds a Masters from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelors of Economics from Duke University. She speaks English and Spanish fluently.
Xavier Martín’s fifteen years of professional experience in the banking and non-profit sectors include work in more than twenty-five countries. He served as a financial analyst for a leading Spanish savings bank, in its offices in Spain and in France. Subsequently, he coordinated the International Microfinance Program of Un Sol Món Foundation – a non-profit specialized in the provision of microfinance services in developing countries. Since 2005, Mr. Martín has been an independent consultant, primarily in the United States and Latin America, for organizations such as the Grameen Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Microfinance International Corporation, and CGAP. He has also worked in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Past projects include developing financial projections and leading workshops on financial analysis for senior management, conducting field research on small savers, and leading costing studies of existing and planned savings products. Since 2008, Mr. Martín has regularly collaborated with Shorebank International and EA Consultants. He holds a Master´s degree in International Economics and Development from Johns Hopkins University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Socio-Economics and Statistics. He speaks Spanish, English, French, and Catalan.
Laura Budzyna is the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Coordinator at the International Development Innovation Network, headquartered at MIT D-Lab, where she is building systems to capture the successes and catalog the lessons of IDIN’s programs. From 2011 to 2014, Laura worked with EA Consultants on projects in 10 countries, with a focus on improving financial institutions’ capacity to collect and use data effectively. Her favorite projects included analyzing MIS data from three Latin American MFIs to assess their social impact on end clients, conducting field studies for the Microinsurance Learning and Knowledge Product on health schemes in Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya, and surveying the financial needs of immigrants for the New York City's Office of Financial Empowerment. Laura has taught statistics, program design, and monitoring and evaluation at Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs and at professional workshops with the Boston+Acumen volunteer chapter. She holds an MPA in Development Practice from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs and a BA in Latin American studies from Middlebury College.
Derek Poulton is an expert in financial services for the base of the pyramid with over ten years’ experience advocating for low-income populations with MFIs, cooperatives, insurers, banks and donors, primarily in Latin America. Since 2014 he has worked with FINCA Mexico developing its life and health insurance program for microentrepreneurs and their families. A former Project Manager for EA Consultants, he conducted direct market research and contributed to the design of innovative, gender-sensitive microinsurance products in Guatemala and Panama. At EA Derek also managed pioneering studies on microfinance topics. For example, his research on client value for the Microinsurance Learning and Knowledge Project compared the effectiveness of formal insurance versus alternative coping strategies for the poor, and his work for the Inter-American Development Bank identified key opportunity areas for holistic microfinance in the Caribbean. As an independent consultant, he has compiled several case studies for the International Labour Organisation, including a case study on the evolution of Mexico’s innovative PPP that provides basic protection against climate risks to smallholder farmers. He has also worked extensively with cooperative insurer Seguros Futuro to develop its microinsurance program for Salvadoran migrants, and with the Brazilian Association of Microcredit Operating Entities on the design of a common business intelligence platform. Derek has presented at numerous professional forums, including the Inter-American Microinsurance Forum, the Munich Re International Microinsurance Conference, and the National Microfinance Conference in Mexico. Derek earned his Master’s degree in International Commerce and Business from Georgetown University, and his Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California