Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Susan M. Puska, is a retired U.S. Army Colonel turned entrepreneur with over 27 years of experience as a logistician and China Foreign Area Officer. She has experience in the U.S., China, South Korea, and Germany, managing U.S. Army and joint logistics operations and personnel. Ms. Puska is a noted China expert with experience spanning from 1988 to the present, including five years living and working in China, which allowed her to witness the challenges and benefits of fast paced economic development. Her expertise includes data analytics and research and analysis on complex national security, regional, and socio-economic issues. She also led joint humanitarian logistics support at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, providing care and feeding to over 30,000 Haitian and Cuban refugees, and supported U.S. Pacific Command’s medical humanitarian assistance to Mongolia. As an experienced logistician, she knows the value standardization and best practices bring to making processes more effective and efficient to realize positive impact, while also understanding how to tailor problem solving to specific situations and circumstances. Ms. Puska holds an MBA from George Mason University and an M.A. in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan.
Carol J. Yee, our Chief Operations Officer, brings an equally deep background in international development and finance. Ms. Yee is a recognized operations specialist with over 25 years of international development experience with expertise in assessing and building organizational capacity, and developing pragmatic systems, policies, and procedures based on best practices adapted to local conditions, constrained resources, and needs of the client. She knows first-hand the challenges organizations face at different points of their development and understands how critical sustainable economic development is to stable growth. Ms. Yee has extensive knowledge of the financial, procurement, and administrative structures required, and strong expertise in U.S. government contracting compliance. She possesses extensive field and home office experience, including as Chief of Party in southern Afghanistan in a dynamic threat environment working in close proximity to US military forces. Ms. Yee has managed multi-million dollar projects in the Middle East, Africa, Central Europe, and Asia. Ms. Yee holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute for International Studies and a Master’s Certificate in Government Contracting from the George Washington University.
Matthew Tyson, IT Specialist -- Matthew provides computer security, support, and administration, develops web applications, and leads the digitization, application, and testing of KANAVA’s Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) Certification program. He specializes in software development and has over twenty years of experience working on both hardware and software issues.
Samer Badawi, Senior Communications Advisor -- Samer Badawi is a journalist and communications consultant with more than 20 years’ experience, including with international development programs worldwide. His writing and analysis have been featured by CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and others. A former Executive Director of a Washington, DC-based NGO, he has led strategic communications efforts for donor-funded programs in the United States and internationally.
Barbara Fillip, Senior Organizational Development Advisor -- Dr. Barbara Fillip is an organizational development practitioner with 20 years’ experience supporting individual, team, project, and organization-wide learning. She holds a PhD in International Development, has conducted evaluations of international development projects for the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank, and supported knowledge management efforts at NASA. She now leads her own woman-owned small consulting business, Fillip Consulting, LLC.
Erran Persley, Senior Economic Development Advisor -- Erran Persley brings 27 years’ experience in international trade and economic development. He served as the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advisor for the U.S. Department of Commerce and coordinates the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG) on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. Under former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown, he served as the international trade specialist in charge of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) program.