San Diego Micro-Finance

Micro-Finance in San Diego

Learn About the Speakers

Plenary Speaker

Chris Dunford, Senior Research Fellow

Chris Dunford has over 35 years of rural development experience in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.  He joined Freedom from Hunger in 1984 as Director, Arizona Programs and then became Regional Director, U.S. Programs; Director, International Operations; and Vice President for Programs prior to becoming President in 1991. Chris was co-creator of the Credit with Education methodology and provided organizational leadership for 20 years.  He is now Senior Research Fellow, continuing to speak and write for international audiences on the impacts of microfinance for the chronically hungry poor, on measurement and management toward social objectives, and on integration of microfinance with lifeskills education and health protection.  Before joining Freedom from Hunger, Chris worked for the U.N. Environment Program in Kenya and then for USAID contractors in Tanzania, Botswana, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Sudan. Chris has a PhD in ecology (University of Arizona in Tucson) and a BS in biological sciences (Cornell University).

After the Plenary session, there will be a Microfinance Client Panel where small business clients from local microfinance organizations including ACCION San Diego, CDC Small Business Finance, Foundation for Women and International Rescue Committee will share information on their businesses, the impact of microfinance on their operations, and how they use technology and innovative marketing strategies to improve their small business in the San Diego community.



Sean Carpenter, Senior Technical Officer for Agribusiness and Microenterprise

Sean Carpenter has worked for Project Concern International (PCI) since 2005, where he serves as the organization’s Senior Technical Officer for Agribusiness and Microenterprise, supporting agriculture, microfinance and economic development programs in 16 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Sean has more than a decade of experience supporting micro small and medium (MSME) enterprise development and microfinance and he has lived and worked in Bolivia, Mexico and South Korea.  Sean holds a BA from Michigan State University and a MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Sean will participate as a panelist for the “Innovation In Microfinance Models” afternoon break-out session.


International Rescue Committee


Sarah Smith, Director of Children and Youth Protection and Development

Sarah Smith is the Director for the Children and Youth Protection and Development at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). In this role, Sarah provides direction for the IRC’s global portfolio of child and youth programs, including its MicroFranchise Programs in Kenya and Somalia, and oversees a team of 18 technical professionals in the fields of Child Protection, Education, and Youth and Livelihoods. Sarah has worked in education and child protection for 14 years and has been with the IRC since 2004 – first as an education advisor and then as a senior advisor for research and evaluation. Prior to joining the IRC, Sarah worked for Concern Worldwide and UNHCR, served in the Peace Corps, and was primary school teacher in New York.  Sarah has managed programs in Nepal, Namibia, Guinea and Bangladesh and has been a technical advisor to programs in over 20 countries throughout Asia and Africa. Sarah holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

To address the barriers faced by Kenyan and Somali girls living in the slums of Nairobi, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is implementing an economic development initiative called microfranchising. The microfranchise model enables low-income individuals to own and operate a ready-made “business-in-a-box”, utilizing proven strategies from an established brand from a corporate, franchise partner. The IRC has been at the forefront of global microfranchise program development and has pioneered the use of the model among young people and in conflict-affected settings. The IRC plays a crucial role in linking vendors and entrepreneurs, helping to identify, train, and match prospective business partners. Ultimately, the goal of each microfranchise project is to fully embed operations within local businesses so that assistance from the IRC is no longer required.  Sarah Smith will participate as a panelist for the “Innovation In Microfinance Models” afternoon break-out session.


Erase Poverty

Joanna Wamuth, CEO and Founder

Recognized as the 2009 Global Woman of Influence at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council conference, Joanna Wasmuth’s guiding passion is to inspire and empower people to thrive, making the world a better place. As a proven entrepreneur, she spent 12 years building an award-winning international marketing and design agency. But her life took a different path when she discovered the horror of human trafficking in her own community, leading to a personal vision to reduce the exploitation of women and children worldwide through economic empowerment.

Joanna joined the executive team of World Vision’s microfinance network (one of the microfinance networks providing microloans in 47 developing countries). She created their first Global Microfinance Marketing division, dramatically increasing recognition and awareness of microfinance, as well as donations to support it. She was recognized with the Excellence in Innovation award for her leadership in creating World Vision’s first online platform to enable donors to fund individual loans for micro-entrepreneurs (

She has travelled to over 50 countries and has seen the power of microfinance to restore hope and dignity, and move people from dependence on aid to self-sustainability. She has committed her life to helping women and their children flourish through inclusion in economic opportunities. She sits on a variety of advisory boards for non-profits, and is a business mentor to many small- and medium-sized businesses. Joanna is a multi-dimensional thinker and a visionary leader who lives with passionate tenacity.

Joanna founded Erase Poverty – the first microloan cause-marketing program designed just for small businesses in North America. Participating in the program helps small businesses grow as they attract new customers, and also directly funds microloans for women and men working their way out of poverty around the world. In short, small businesses “do well by doing good.”

Joanna and her husband live in San Diego, and enjoy travelling the world, taking in gorgeous sunsets, long walks on the beach, fine wine, and discovering new restaurants with friends.  Joanna will participate as a panelist for the “Innovation In Microfinance Models” afternoon break-out session.


Joshua Miller, Underwriting Services Manager

Joshua Miller has been underwriting with ACCION Texas for 4 years, during which time he has managed the daily underwriting volume of MMS. Joshua  provides ongoing training and technical assistance to existing MMS clients and presents MMS demos to potential clients. When a new micro lender joins MMS, Joshua is the head trainer to teach the lender how to become more efficient and how to use the MMS software. He also provides cross training on the MMS system and underwriting criteria to all system users as well as loan officers and underwriters at ACCION Texas. Joshua graduated with honors from the University of Texas in San Antonio with a Bachelors in Finance and a minor in statistics.  Joshua will participate as a panelist for the “Technology in Microfinance” afternoon break-out session.


Grameen Foundation

Peg Ross, Director, Human Capital Center

Peg Ross joined Grameen Foundation in August 2008, and is the director of Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Center (HCC).  The HCC helps anti-poverty focused organizations develop people practices that are aligned with both the social mission and organization strategy in order to achieve more sustainable growth and reach greater numbers of the world’s poorest people.

Peg has over 30 years of experience in human resources and organization development, and served as the HR lead on microfinance teams in South Asia with Proshika in Bangladesh and the Bhutan Development Bank Limited (formerly the Bhutan Development Finance Corporation Limited) in Bhutan.  A major portion of Peg’s career has been spent as an HR executive in organizations experiencing profound change, building human resources functions that support strategy attainment and serve as valued strategic partners. In her corporate role as vice president of human resources for Fortune 500 industry leader Equity Office Properties Trust, Peg led the people side of their initial public offering and three precedent-setting mergers, valued at over $16 billion.  The company’s stellar growth and performance led to inclusion in the S&P 500 and recognition as Fortune’s Most Admired Real Estate Company.  Peg has also held HR leadership positions in the legal, financial, and distribution industries, gaining additional international experience in Tokyo, Japan.

Peg received her M.S. in Organization Development with high dean’s honors from Loyola University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Peg will participate as a panelist for the “Technology in Microfinance” afternoon break-out session.


Maika Hemphill, Portfolio Manager

As the Portfolio Manager for North America, Maika is responsible for developing and maintaining Kiva’s US MFI portfolio as well as the newly launched “Kiva City” program. Prior to working in microfinance, Maika first gained her financial analysis skills while analyzing corporations under Piper Jaffray’s Financial Restructuring Group. Working in-depth with companies in financial distress or bankruptcy has allowed Maika a strong eye towards recognizing both strengths and hidden weaknesses in non-traditional organizational settings. Maika also provides a unique familiarity with the US microfinance market. After leaving her investment banking post, she followed her interest in microfinance to begin working directly with US micro-entrepreneurs at ACCION USA. While at ACCION, Maika was charged with developing, servicing and maintaining a healthy portfolio of US entrepreneurs. Her experience at ACCION also led Maika to work extensively with technical assistance, partnership development, internal operational projects and training. Maika holds a B.S. in both Finance and International Business as well as a minor in Spanish from New York University. is a pioneer in online microfinance, allowing technology to bring funding to borrowers at microfinance institutions around the world.  In her role as Portfolio Manager, Maika works with Kiva’s technology staff to explore additional opportunities for creating value-add for Kiva borrowers as well as increasing borrower-lender connectivity on Maika will participate as a panelist for the “Technology in Microfinance” afternoon break-out session.


Microfinance Transparency

Chuck Waterfield, CEO

Chuck Waterfield has 25 years experience in microfinance, with a mixture of practical field experience (six years starting MFIs in both Haiti and Bolivia) and experience leading network strategy development (serving as microenterprise director for both MEDA and for CARE International). He developed Microfin, the most popular financial planning software in the microfinance industry and teaches business planning courses around the world, with more than 3,000 microfinance professionals having been trained in his courses. His current work as an independent consultant includes clients across the industry.

Currently on faculty of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, he was formerly on the faculty of the Boulder Microfinance Training Program for ten years and Southern New Hampshire University’s Microenterprise Development Institute for eight years. In addition to Microfin, he has a broad range of products and publications including the SEEP FRAME Tool, the CARE Credit and Savings Sourcebook, and CGAP Handbook on Management Information Systems. In 2008, he founded MicroFinance Transparency and works as the CEO. Chuck will present during the “Microfinance Transparency” afternoon break-out session.


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