2017 Executive Board
John Licciardello: CO-PRESIDENT
John is a Masters of International Affairs (MIA) candidate concentrating in Economic Development and specializing in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis. In 2009, while still completing his bachelor’s engineering degree, John began to work on a financial technology start-up aimed at addressing the needs of unbanked remittance beneficiaries in Mexico by giving them access to any ATM. John moved to Mexico City to fully dedicate himself to this venture after completing his undergraduate studies in 2011. As an early collaborator, backer, and significant stakeholder, John played key role leading the venture to a $10m Series A equity financing which closed in late 2013. By 2015, with the venture well-funded and managed by a team of industry experts in large part due to John’s many contributions in Mexico, John sought to further his education, first at Rutgers University, where he earned a second bachelors economics degree, and now at Columbia University. John is interested in building a career focused on building new technologies for developing markets through business thinking and impact investments.
SOPHIA SUNDERJI: CO-PRESIDENT
Sophia is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate, concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in Management at SIPA. She is keen on leveraging the private sector for social impact and looks forward sharing this with the Columbia community through CI3. Hailing from Canada, Sophia studied international management at McGill University, with a focus on exploring market-based solutions to international development issues. Prior to SIPA, Sophia spent two years working at a microfinance bank in Osh, Kyrgyzstan under the Aga Khan Development Network, where she performed research and product development (and hung out in yurts). Sophia is an avid baker, chocolate fanatic and enjoys listening to indie acoustic music at all hours of the day.
Lorenzo Ligato: Consulting Chair
Lorenzo is a MPA candidate in International Finance & Economic Policy at Columbia University. Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Lorenzo is passionate about devising creative solutions and driving innovation across disciplines, perspectives and cultural lines. He has experience working in business development, strategy consulting, and media across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Prior to SIPA, he worked as a business reporter for Thomson Reuters and The Huffington Post, where he covered energy and commodities markets, technology, and business trends. In the Summer of 2016, Lorenzo was a Summer Analyst at Pamir Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm that provides business and legal solutions to clients in East Asia. In this role, Lorenzo drafted comprehensive business plans for two Taiwan-based NGOs, devised cross-border wealth management solutions, and investigated Chinese and Western source to conduct financial and operational due diligence. Lorenzo is fluent in English, Italian, and French, and is proficient in Mandarin. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Journalism from Yale University.
Noopur Desai: Consulting Chair
Noopur is a MPA in Development Practice candidate in Development Practice at SIPA, Columbia University. Armed with a BA in International Studies, Noopur worked for social sector advisory firms like Intellecap and Shujog that introduced her to the compelling concepts of social enterprise and impact investing. Along with helping enterprises assess their impact, she has worked on research engagements cutting across themes like inclusive finance for agribusinesses, urban poverty, sanitation, health and sustainable land management, amongst others. Most recently, Noopur completed her summer consultancy with the World Food Programme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For the fall 2017 semester, she will be interning with the Rockefeller Foundation's food and agriculture programme team. Noopur was born and raised in Hyderabad, India and is fluent in Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati and English.
Shivani Agrawal: Consulting Chair
Shivani is a Master of Public Administration candidate at SIPA, with a focus area in Economic and Political Development. Originally from India, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Claremont McKenna College in California. Prior to SIPA, she worked at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) as a Research Associate, where she led the design and implementation of an impact evaluation study in the Vocational Skills Training sector.
Rhea Subramanya: professional development chair
Rhea Subramanya is a Master of Public Administration student specializing in Economic and Political Development at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicative English, English and Psychology from Christ University, India. She has spearheaded business development and outreach efforts at technology start-ups for over three years, across sectors like internet commerce and financial technology. Currently, Rhea is interested in projects related to impact investing, social entrepreneurship and ICTs for development. In her free time, she likes to backpack and cook, and once moonlighted as a restaurant reviewer in a previous life.
Ana Lucia Grajales: INVESTMENT CHAIR
Ana Lucia is a Master of Public Administration in Development Practice candidate, with focus area on business, finance and social enterprise at SIPA. Originally from Colombia, she completed her BA in Economics and Global Affairs at Yale University. Prior to graduate school, Ana worked at StratCo Consultores, a strategy and management boutique consulting firm in the Andean region and the Caribbean. She also worked for SELCO India, a solar energy social enterprise and its sister organizations. Ana Lucia looks to focus her career on private sector solutions for development, impact investing and social enterprise. She enjoys scubadiving, trekking and ballet.
Astha Arya: OUTREACH chair
Astha is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate studying Economic and Political Development and Management at SIPA. She has earned a Bachelors of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India. Prior to attending Columbia, she pursued a two year fellowship with Teach For India (TFI), a part of the Teach For All Movement. Currently, Astha is interested in working in the education sector and also enjoys projects related to impact investing and social enterprise. She likes traveling, swimming and listening to acoustic music.