Presenter Biographies

Tech@State: Mobile Money

Former Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero
María Otero was sworn in as Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on August 10, 2009. During her time as Under Secretary, she oversaw and coordinated U.S. foreign relations on a variety of global issues, including democracy, human rights, and labor; environment, oceans, health and science; population, refugees, and migration; trafficking in persons and avian and pandemic influenza.

Bill Barhydt, m-Via
Mr. Bill Barhydt is CEO of m-Via, the first U.S.-based international mobile money transfer service that enables migrant workers and their families to send and receive funds and promote financial inclusion via their mobile phones. Mr. Barhydt is a well known technology visionary who is involved as an investor and advisor in many technology and media start-ups. In 2000, the World Economic Forum recognized Mr. Barhydt with the Technology Pioneer award for his work in Internet technologies and group communications. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Barhydt has worked with organizations including NASA and the CIA, as well as Netscape, where he was Technical Director.

Monica Brand, Principal Director, Frontier Investments, ACCION International
Ms. Monica Brand has spent her career in the financial services and social enterprise sectors, expanding and enhancing the value offered to the majority. Ms. Brand currently manages Frontier Investments, whose mandate is to invest in early stage companies with disruptive business models that catalyze breakthrough innovation in financial inclusion. Prior to assuming responsibility for managing this fund, Ms. Brand launched and ran ACCION’s Marketing & Product Development Unit, where she oversaw the creation of new financial services to move the industry beyond microcredit.

Before joining ACCION, Ms. Brand worked with Anthuri Ventures – an early stage equity fund based in Cape Town, South Africa – and founded Anthuri Catalysts to help prepare potential portfolio companies for investment. Ms Brand began her career in financial services in California where she worked as a commercial loan officer of a green fund and separately, helped launch a $50 million multi-bank lending intermediary to finance small businesses and community facilities. Ms. Brand’s professional experience also includes training and teaching at all levels, including working as a business trainer of female entrepreneurs at the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment (WISE) and as a case-writer for 2nd year MBAs at Harvard Business School. Ms Brand currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) teaching a graduate-level course on impact investing.

Ms. Brand received both a M.B.A. and a master's of education from Stanford University and her Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from Williams College, where she graduated with honors. Ms. Brand serves on numerous boards including Compartamos Bank in Mexico, Paralife Holdings (a micro-insurance company), and Leap Frog Investments.

Jan Chipchase, frog design
Mr. Jan Chipchase is the Executive Creative Director of Global Insights for frog design. Based in frog's Shanghai studio, Mr. Chipchase oversees frog's global user research practice working with clients to turn insights into innovative solutions for business challenges. Mr. Chipchase joined frog from Nokia, where as a principal researcher he studied behavioral patterns that informed the development of new products based on emerging consumer trends. With deep experience in running complex, international design research projects, he is widely considered to be the authority on applying human-centered insights to the development process. His extensive research projects have taken him around the world to collect insights into the broader emotional, social, and cultural contexts of the impact of technology. Recent projects include research studies into the design of mobile money services for emerging markets; travel to Uganda to look at shared phone use; trips to India to examine how design can make mobile devices more accessible to people with low or non-existent levels of literacy; and a study in South Korea exploring how early adopters were reacting to the then recently launched mobile TV. A world-renown thought leader, Mr. Chipchase has delivered keynotes at conferences including TED, CES, LIFT, and the Global Philanthropy Forum. He sits on the advisory boards of organizations including FrontlineSMS, the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, and the Pecha Kucha Foundation. Chipchase holds 25 patents granted or pending, and his research has been extensively profiled in the New York Times, The Economist, New Scientist, and BusinessWeek, among others. Jan writes about the intersection of people, technology, and culture at

Menekse Gencer, mPay Connect
Ms. Menekse Gencer founded mPay Connect, a consulting service for clients seeking to launch mobile payments. Her consulting service advises banks, mobile network operators, and third parties on go-to-market-strategy, product design, and business development. She also consults with clients in industries such as mHealth, Agriculture, and Clean Technology on how to leverage mobile payments for their efforts. Her market expertise extends from North America to emerging markets such as Bangladesh and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to founding mPay Connect, Ms. Gencer led PayPal Mobile’s Business Development efforts in North America for 2 years during which time she closed PayPal’s first mobile network operator deal to launch PayPal Send Money on Sprint.

Ms. Gencer has an MBA from Wharton and a BA in Macroeconomics from Harvard University and was previously featured on the cover of Fortune Small Business Magazine for her innovative startup in emerging technology. She is the founder of the Mobile Payments Series(TM) initiative which hosts panel discussions and networking events for professionals in the mobile money industry and has over 440 members in her LinkedIn Group: Mobile Payments Series – mPay Connect. She is a recognized expert in this field and has lectured on mobile money at events for Harvard Business School, Wharton MBA, MIT, and Columbia Business School. She participates in the World Economic Forum around Mobile Finance and Economic Development and is a frequent guest speaker at mobile money conferences globally. Ms. Gencer is an Open Council Advisor to IntraHealth and a board advisor for FrontlineSMS:Credit, a clean energy startup utilizing mobile payments, and several other startups in this space. She advises angel investors, venture capitalists, and hedge funds on the mobile money industry and has 17 years of experience as a consultant and industry leader in high tech, mobile, and financial services.

Shainoor Khoja, Roshan
As Director of Corporate Affairs at Roshan, Ms. Shainoor Khoja has established an award-winning Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department and a comprehensive medical, dental and physiotherapy clinic with laboratory facilities, vaccination and health promotion units in Kabul, Afghanistan. Roshan's CSR Department encompasses activities in commerce, health, social welfare and education. The focus is on developing innovative solutions using technology to address the needs of a developing country like Afghanistan. Solutions utilize the power of public-private sector partnerships in an effort to bring together unique expertise to create maximum impact. Examples include an initiative to develop a telemedicine solution to address shortcomings in Afghanistan's health-care system, working to address transfer of money using mobile money, and using microfinance to create social enterprise for women. Ms. Khoja studied in England, Canada and the United States and holds a Bachelors of Physiotherapy, a Masters in Health Management and Postgraduate Certificates from Cambridge University England and Harvard in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Kabir Kumar, CGAP
Mr. Kabir Kumar is a Microfinance Analyst working on the Technology Program at CGAP. Mr. Kumar designs experiments and builds partnerships on the use of cell phones and other technologies to expand the poor's access to finance. He was an IT and telecommunications marketing and strategy consultant and has worked at the World Bank on gender equality and economic growth. Mr. Kumar has a dual masters in public administration and international relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Benjamin Lyon, FrontlineSMS:Credit
Mr. Ben Lyon is the founder of FrontlineSMS:Credit. He graduated from Rhodes College with a degree in Economics & International Studies, where he specialized in microfinance and informal economics in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has presented on microfinance and mobile payment systems at Barcamp Diaspora 09 and Africa Gathering (London).

Raul Hinojosa Ojeda, UCLA
Professor Raul Hinojosa Ojeda is the Founding Director of the North American Integration and Development Center and Associate Professor in the Division of Social Sciences and the César E. Chávez Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, he received a B.A. (Economics), M.A. (Anthropology) and Ph.D. (Political Science) at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous articles and books on the political economy of regional integrations in various parts of the world, including trade, investment and migration relations between the U.S., Mexico, Latin American and the Pacific Rim. Among his publications a is a co-authored book on Latinos in a Changing U.S. Economy: Comparative Perspectives on the U.S. Labor Market Since 1939 (New York: IUP/CUNY, 1991) and co-editor of Labor Market Interdependence between the United States and Mexico (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), and a co-authored book on the political economy of U.S.-Latin American relations in the late 20th century including the impact of a potential Free Trade of the Americas Agreement, Convergence and Divergence between NAFTA, Chile, and MERCOSUR: Overcoming Dilemmas of North and South American Economic Integration (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2004). He has been a visiting scholar at the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and at several academic institutions in Mexico and the United States.

Carol Realini, CEO, Obopay
Ms. Carol Realini is a successful veteran entrepreneur with three decades of technology experience. She has successfully lead companies through initial public offerings, as well as, into acquisitions. Ms. Realini is passionate about improving people’s lives through delivering universal and affordable access to financial services through mobile technology. She has focused her latest venture, Obopay, on addressing this issue.

There are now over 4 billion mobile phones in the world with penetration of mobile phones even in the remotest areas of the world; however, there are only around 1.5 billion people with access to bank accounts. Ms. Realini’s vision to start Obopay took root when she witnessed this first hand while traveling in Africa, where she saw people with mobile phones who were un-served by traditional banking. By leveraging the growing mobile network, Ms. Realini had the vision to use mobile technology to bring access to financial services to people that have never had them before. Access to banking through mobile devices holds the promise to bridge the gap in access to financial services and in doing so the potential to empower the life and work of millions of people and small businesses around the world.

Obopay was selected as a 2010 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum for its work in this area. Ms. Realini has also worked to craft partnerships with leading financial institutions such as Citi, MasterCard and FIS Global; and by mobile carriers and technology providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Nokia and Qualcomm in order to help realize her vision.

Bart Stidham
Mr. Bart Stidham is a senior technical executive with 6 years of experience at the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) level. He has 20 years of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experience, including over a decade of consulting experience. Mr. Stidham is well versed in a wide range of infrastructure and information technology systems including security, telecommunications, application and business architecture.