Training and Capacity Building Team

In addition to the team members listed below, TCB collaborates with global team of technical specialists at Accion and in the financial inclusion industry.

Valérie Kindt
Vice President & Head
vkindt@accion.org

Valérie Kindt is the Vice President and Head of the Training and Capacity Building team, and has been with Accion since 2000. She serves on the board of Swadhaar FinServe, a partner microfinance institution in India, and represents Accion as an observer on the board of United Villages, a Bottom of the Pyramid goods distributor with operations in India. Previously, Valérie provided technical assistance to Accion’s partners in Haiti and Africa and headed business development in the Middle East. Her areas of expertise include microfinance start-ups, business planning, product development, and capacity-based lending. Prior to Accion, she worked five years as a microfinance consultant in Uzbekistan, Albania, Lebanon, and Egypt for the World Bank, UNDP, Catholic Relief Services and the Soros Foundation. She also was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) for three years.

Valérie holds an M.A. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Sussex (U.K.). A native of Belgium, she speaks English, Dutch, and French.
 
Melissa Baez
Vice President
mbaez@accion.org

Melissa Baez is a Vice President with the Training and Capacity Building team, and has been with Accion since 2006. In her current role she manages Accion’s capacity building program, which offers global knowledge sharing and structured peer-to-peer learning activities to Accion’s technical staff and managers of our microfinance partner institutions. In addition to this role, Melissa is responsible for managing short-term technical assistance provided to SOGESOL in Haiti and serves on the board of directors of SOGESOL and as an alternate director at Akiba Commercial Bank in Tanzania. Previously, she was a resident advisor for PADME Benin, a microfinance institution that was undergoing institutional transformation from a NGO to a regulated, share capital company.  Prior to joining the Training and Capacity Building team, she spent over five years managing technical assistance programs and providing advisory services in business planning, financial projections and HR management systems to Accion’s partners in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to Accion, Melissa was an associate at JPMorgan Chase Private Bank, where she provided investment management services to high net worth individuals. She began her career in finance as an investment-banking analyst in Chase’s Middle Market Business Owners group.

Melissa holds an International M.B.A. from the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Business (Finance major) from the University of Colorado. She speaks English and French.
 
Shweta Pereira
Principal Manager
spereira@accion.org

Shweta Pereira is a Principal Manager with the India Global Operations team, and has been with Accion since 2006. She manages Accion’s training and capacity building program in India, which provides knowledge sharing and learning opportunities to our partner institutions and the Indian micro and small business lending industry. Shweta is an ITC-ILO accredited trainer and has developed training modules for senior and mid-managers for in-class and virtual programs. She also provides technical assistance in training, product development, credit, operations, and business planning. Prior to Accion, Shweta was a credit analyst in the Agriculture Credit Division of Axis Bank where she designed credit products, evaluated project risks and trained the bank’s credit officers. Previously, she worked at IMO Control (Bengaluru, India), as an inspector and appraiser of farms seeking organic agriculture certification.

Shweta holds an M.B.A. from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India and a M.Sc. in Agriculture from University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. A native of India, she speaks English and Hindi.
 
Lily Leavitt
Manager
lleavitt@accion.org

Lily Leavitt is a Manager with the Training and Capacity Building team, and has been with Accion since 2004. In her current role she is leading the project to build Accion’s Knowledge Sharing Platform, which will enable Accion staff to more effectively build, store and disseminate knowledge throughout the organization and with key partners. She also supports Accion’s IT team by managing the implementation an organization-wide content management system. Prior to joining the Training and Capacity Building team, she was responsible for the conversion of the lending systems when Accion USA and Accion New York merged to form Accion East. She also led the project to build the first online loan application for a microfinance institution in the United States. Prior to Accion, Lily was an Account Executive / Project Manager for BTS USA, Inc., where she designed and delivered executive education workshops for a change management consulting firm. Results included strategic change, executive empowerment, and improved financial performance. She started her career in finance as an investment banking analyst in Dean Witter Reynolds’ Financial Institutions Group.
 
Lily holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and an M.I.A. from the School of International & Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business (Finance major) from the Wharton School of Business. She speaks English, Spanish and Chinese.
 
Amy Stewart
Manager
astewart@accion.org

Amy Stewart is a Manager with the Training and Capacity Building team, and has been with Accion since 2008. In her current role, she supports the design and implementation of a technical knowledge sharing and capacity building strategy for Accion’s technical staff and microfinance partner institutions.  Amy has over five years of experience in training and capacity building for a global audience, with a particular focus on cross-regional knowledge sharing, virtual and blended programming, and curriculum design and development.  Prior to joining the Training and Capacity Building team, Amy worked in Human Resources where she oversaw Accion’s performance and talent management programs. Prior to Accion, she worked for a variety of government programs, including the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators and the office of Senator John Kerry.

Amy holds a B.A. in International Economic Development from Boston University. She speaks English and Spanish.

Dandan Wang
Manager
dwang@accion.org

Dandan is the Material Development Manager of the International Microfinance Management and Leadership Program (MMLP). In her current role she is managing the MMLP industry training project for double bottom line MFIs in China, which will help improve capacity of mid and senior managers in operational management and human capital management.  Prior to Accion, Dandan was a resident advisor for CFPA Microfinance Co. Ltd, one of the largest microfinance institutions in China, where she established the institutional training center and provided technical assistance in capacity building, human resources, market research, and product and process design. Previously, she worked at Accion as a senior program coordinator for Asia.

Dandan holds an M.A. in International Development from Brandeis University and a B. A. in Youth Work from China Youth University for Political Sciences, Beijing, China.  A native of China, she speaks English and Chinese. 

Roxanne Alvarez
Principal Specialist
ralvarez@accion.org

Roxanne Alvarez is a Principal Specialist for learning and knowledge exchange with the Training and Capacity Building team based in Washington, D.C. She joined Accion in November 2015. She collaborates across Accion and with its external partners on designing, implementing, and evaluating learning initiatives that benefit financial inclusion services and organizational leadership worldwide. Roxanne brings to Accion over fifteen years of diverse experience in the nonprofit sector. She has worked in a variety of capacities – such as in direct social service provision, grant making and management, project development and management, research, and teaching – and in different settings such as community grassroots organizations, charitable foundations, and universities. Prior to Accion, Roxanne was the Manager, Business and Partnerships for the Girls and Women’s programs at the United Nations Foundation (UNF). There she managed the teams’ budgets, contracts and grant making portfolios, while building partnerships to support UNF’s broad range of gender equity and empowerment programs. Additionally while at UNF, Roxanne was the founder and lead for a professional development initiative for staff to exchange lessons and expertise on a variety of staff-identified business topics. Roxanne has developed and delivered learning programs in-person and online in areas as varied as crisis counseling for domestic violence, grants development, fiscal compliance and management, and using microfinance data.
 
Roxanne holds an M.A. in economics from George Mason University, an M.S.W. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and a B.A. in psychology from American University. She is a native English speaker, conversational in Spanish, and has basic French language skills. 
 
Andrea Horak
Program Specialist
ahorak@accion.org

Andrea Horak is a Program Specialist with the Global Operations team, and has been with Accion since 2012. In this role, Andrea's time is divided between the Training and Capacity Building (TCB) team and the Asia region. For TCB, Andrea supports the design, implementation and evaluation of capacity building projects across the globe, and assists with internal and external communications and reporting. For Asia, she is responsible for a number of reporting and program coordination roles and is spearheading a new effort to build greater knowledge sharing across the Asia team (a role also facilitated by her shared responsibilities with TCB). Previously, Andrea was Development Events Coordinator in Resource Development, where her responsibilities included managing all event logistics including scheduling, planning and execution of donor cultivation and stewardship events. Andrea started at Accion in December of 2012 as an intern Program Coordinator for the Center for Financial Inclusion. In this role, she supported the Investing in Inclusive Finance team, spearheading their communications strategy and program-related research, and worked with the Governance Working Group, implementing webinars and meetings in order to foster collaboration across the industry. Prior to Accion, Andrea worked as a Business Development Associate at a small technology start up, and held multiple internships at global NGOs, including Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh as a Micro Credit Analyst Intern, and with the National Federation of Colombian Coffee Growers in Bogota, Colombia as a Social Programs Intern.

Andrea holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies and Spanish from Colgate University. She speaks English and Spanish.