Asha Samtani

As an Associate at BRAC USA, Asha works on the Finance and Administration team providing financial and administrative support. She is responsible for gift processing, database management and contributes to other projects on her team.

Prior to joining BRAC USA, Asha earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Binghamton University.

Alexandra Cohen

Alexandra (Alex) is the Business Development Officer at BRAC USA supporting the development of BRAC’s USG business development function and serving as an integral part of shaping the strategy, processes, systems, and linkages with other BRAC teams.

Prior to joining BRAC USA, Alex managed multiple large-scale USAID-funded programs globally in education and organizational development. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and has previously worked as a professional archaeologist. Her work has brought her to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Kenya, Liberia, Jordan, and more. She holds a Master’s in Public Anthropology from American Unversity and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Cultural Anthropology and Ethics in Public Policy.

Shanti Kumar

As a Technical Officer for the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, Shanti supports the delivery of high-quality technical assistance to government partners seeking to implement the graduation approach on a national level.

Prior to joining BRAC, she worked in strategic planning and business development at Trickle Up, where she supported graduation projects in Burkina Faso, Guatemala, and India. She previously interned at One Acre Fund and at the sub-regional office for Central Africa of the Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO). Shanti has designed and led agricultural research projects in Colombia, Gabon, Madagascar, and Trinidad and Tobago. Her research focused on the obstacles farmers face in adopting sustainable methods and recommendations for improving training programs. She has facilitated trainings and supported Monitoring & Evaluation for projects that use innovative mobile technologies to better reach underserved populations.

Working to expand the graduation approach has instilled in Shanti a commitment to improving the inclusivity, adaptability, and scalability of development work. Shanti holds a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs from the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University.

Sarah Cliffe

Sarah F. Cliffe is currently the director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. Prior to that, she was the Special Representative for the World Bank’s World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, and the Special Adviser and Assistant Secretary-General of Civilian Capacities to the United Nations.

Ms. Cliffe has worked for the last twenty years in countries emerging from conflict and political transition, including Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, South Sudan, South Africa, Somalia, and Timor-Leste. At the World Bank, her work has covered post-conflict reconstruction, community-driven development, and civil service reform. Ms. Cliffe was the chief of mission for the Bank’s program in Timor-Leste from 1999 to 2002; led the Bank’s Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group from 2002-2007 and was the Director of Strategy and Operations for the East Asia and Pacific Region from 2007-2009.

Ms. Cliffe has also worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Rwanda, the Government of South Africa, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, as well as for a major management consultancy company in the United Kingdom on public sector reform issues.

Ms. Cliffe has a Bachelor’s degree in history from Cambridge’s University and a Master’s degree in international relations and international economic policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Shaila Rahman

Shaila Rahman is a biotechnology executive and member of the Bangladeshi diaspora. She is currently senior director of corporate and business development of EQRx, a company committed to making innovative medicines at dramatically lower prices for the benefit of people and society. As a venture capitalist, Shaila was an investor at SV Life Sciences and focused on company creation at Flagship Pioneering. Shaila received her doctoral degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University, where her thesis work focused on protein interactors of HPV including seminal work on the BRD4 complex, and her undergraduate degree from Colgate University. She has published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and Molecular Cellular Biology, as well as other journals.

Siraj Ali

Siraj Ali is vice president of clinical development at EQRx, a company committed to making innovative medicines at dramatically lower prices for the benefit of people and society. Previously, he led a translational research group at Foundation Medicine, a cancer genomics company. Siraj has co-authored >200 peer-reviewed publications in precision oncology and cancer biology. He is a graduate of the M.D.-Ph.D. program from Harvard Medical School and completed residency training at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston and is board-certified in Anatomic Pathology.

Jamira Burley

Recognized by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change and a Forbes Under 30 Honoree in Law and Policy, Jamira has made it her mission to employ her personal experiences as the driving force to advocate for those most vulnerable. From implementing anti-violence programs throughout the City of Philadelphia when she was just a high school student, she organized youth training around the world as an appointee to the United Nations Global Education First Initiative; Youth Advocacy Group, Jamira’s ardor for personal and social advancement is undeniable. Jamira leads with expertise on workforce development, social justice, youth engagement, education reform, and corporate social responsibility. In 2018, Jamira was the first United States citizen awarded the Global Leadership Award for Vital Voices and selected as an MIT Media Lab Fellow. Today, she works as a next-gen social impact consultant and Head of Youth Engagement and Skills for the Global Business Coalition for Education. For more information, follow her on Twitter/ Instagram @JamiraBurley or visit

Lauren Napheys

Lauren is a manager at KPMG in their Deal Advisory practice. She is a Certified Public Accountant and focuses on technical accounting issues for global financial service companies. Lauren is a Colorado native and received her Undergraduate and Master’s degree from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Representing KPMG US, she was selected to participate in the 2041 Foundation’s ClimateForce: Arctic 2019 leadership development expedition. Lauren has a passion for workforce development and poverty alleviation. She created an annual initiative focused on basic bookkeeping training for small business owners and entrepreneurs in Uganda. In addition, she is a member of the Board of the Directors for the Global Livingston Institute and on the Young Professional Board of the Denver Health Foundation. Lauren received the 2019 CPAs Make a Difference award for Colorado. She has traveled to over 50 countries on volunteer and backpacking trips.

Elaina Conrad

Elaina Conrad is a Communications Associate on the UPGI team and is responsible for supporting the development and execution of communications strategies through research and monitoring of key stakeholders and activities, drafting content, supporting administrative work and logistics, tracking ongoing communications efforts, program communications, and advocacy and public relations activities. Elaina holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Iowa State University with a concentration in Global Resource Systems, Agriculture and Society, and Spanish.

Jesmine Romanelli

Jesmine is a Development Associate at BRAC USA and is responsible for supporting the individual giving team with prospect, donor, and stakeholder relationship management.

Prior to joining BRAC USA, Jesmine served as an Agriculture Extension Volunteer with Peace Corps Ghana where she focused on increasing food security, agricultural adaptation to climate change, and women’s empowerment through financial inclusion, literacy, and numeracy. She brings experience in individual and institutional giving from her previous roles at leading organizations such as Climate Group and All Stars Project, Inc.

Jesmine holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a concentration in International Relations and a secondary focus in Environmental Studies.