Mary Ellen Iskenderian joined Women's World Banking in 2006 and has continued to strengthen the organization’s position as the pre-eminent voice for women’s leadership and participation in microfinance. WWB, under Iskenderian’s leadership, works to ensure that women continue to be represented in this evolving industry as both clients and leaders. She also is a co-chair of the Microfinance CEO Working Group.
Iskenderian has more than 20 years of experience in building global financial systems throughout the developing world. She is a strong advocate for moving microfinance beyond credit by providing low-income women with a full suite of financial products and services and a proponent for the role of responsible investment in the microfinance sector. Iskenderian has spoken widely on microfinance at Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Wharton and at numerous industry and banking forums including the annual conference of Le Cercle des Economistes, the Council on Foreign Relations, the IDB Foromic and the Microcredit Summit. She has been published in Forbes magazine and the Wall Street Journal; is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review blog; and is frequently quoted in the media, including the Financial Times, Newsweek, Time, BBC News and the Atlantic.
Prior to WWB, Iskenderian worked for 17 years in senior management at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, where her numerous leadership positions included Director of Partnership Development, Director of the Global Financial Markets Portfolio and Director of the South Asia Regional Department. Previously, she worked for the investment bank Lehman Brothers.
Iskenderian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Rupert Scofield, FINCA International president and chief executive officer, is an agricultural economist with 40 years of experience in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, Eurasia and the Greater Middle East. He also serves as president and CEO of FINCA Microfinance Holdings, LLC, a first-of-its-kind, socially-responsible investment partnership for microfinance, formulated to strike the right balance between attracting capital needed for expansion and protecting the integrity of FINCA’s charitable mission.
Scofield co-founded FINCA in 1984 with John Hatch, and has served as its president and CEO since 1994. Under his leadership, FINCA has grown from 60,000 clients and a loan portfolio of $5 million to a true global presence serving more than 950,000 low-income women and men across five continents with a loan portfolio exceeding $500 million.
A practitioner at heart, he is actively involved in the management of FINCA’s operations, and is also a frequent keynote speaker. As author of The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook: How to Start, Build and Run a Business that Improves the World, Scofield seeks to inspire the next generation of microfinance leaders and social entrepreneurs.
Prior to FINCA, Scofield served as the CEO of Rural Development Services, a consulting firm, and country program director of the AFL-CIO’s Labor Program in El Salvador. He earned two Masters of Arts degrees in agricultural economics and public administration from the University of Wisconsin, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, and served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.
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