Michael Freedman - President
Michael graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry and began his professional career as a Chemist for the U.S. Navy in the Afloat Environmental Quality Program. In this role, he led the Hazardous Material Substitution Minimization team to remove both human carcinogens and environmental pollutants from shipboard operations. Concurrently, Michael earned a Master of Science in Environmental Planning and Management from Johns Hopkins University and transitioned professionally to serve as the Business Financial Manager of the Afloat Environmental Quality Program, responsible for $20M+ of Research/Development and Operation/Maintenance funding. Currently, Michael is pursuing a Master of Business Administration through the University of North Carolina with a focus on corporate finance and investment management. Beyond work and school, Michael enjoys snowboarding, high-altitude mountaineering, craft beer brewing, and generally trying new outdoor activities.
Patty Simonton - Executive Vice President
Patty is a program manager, community builder, strategic planner, crowdfunding expert, and event organizer who loves to work with social entrepreneurs, peace makers, and members of the creative community to make the world awesome. Before joining DaizyLogik as the director of client engagement, Patty was the community manager at the Mentor Capital Network, where she supported for-profit social enterprise startups around the globe through the MCN Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration program. Patty was also the director of support at StartSomeGood, where she managed a global support team, and directly assisted 230 social enterprises and non-profits raise almost $1.7M through crowdfunding. In between theatre productions and long distance bike rides, she earned a degree in International Business from Georgetown University and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She was the producer for FIGMENT DC, an annual participatory community arts festival, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for DC Net Impact and arts non-profit Playa del Fuego.
Hannah Lewis - VP, Partnerships and Membership
Hannah has been on the DCNI Board since 2016. She is an Associate at Village Capital, where she helps find, train, and fund early-stage startups solving global problems. Previously, Hannah worked as a nonprofit consultant doing strategic business planning for a variety of mission-driven organizations. She has also managed community development, environmental sustainability, and adult & youth leadership programs across Latin America. Hannah is passionate about supporting women-led companies and has worked for Criterion Institute and Global Success Fund on their gender lens investing initiatives. A native of Austin, Texas, Hannah graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University. She also holds a Certificate in Social Enterprise Management and Impact Investing from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Mark Bershatsky - VP, Programming and Events
Mark has been a member of Net Impact since 2007 and joined the DC board in 2014. He is most passionate about resource efficiency and fighting climate change, especially on an international scale, and so his mission with Net Impact is to connect other similar-minded people. Mark’s career in renewable energy started in 2007 on Wall Street, raising capital for both renewable energy project developers and energy technology companies. Most recently, Mark served as a financial subject matter expert for Booz Allen Hamilton in advising the US Army on implementing its renewable energy program. In his spare time, Mark enjoys soccer, mountain biking, following the stock market, and loves bar trivia. Mark holds an MBA in Strategy & Entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University and a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Michigan.
Rayanne Hawkins - VP, Programming and Events
Rayanne joined DCNI in 2015 after completing her MBA at Georgetown University where she was a student member. She is currently the Business Operations Manager for the Pay for Success Initiative at the Urban Institute where she creates and manages the Pay for Success Initiative budget, oversees operational aspects of program implementation, and hosts an online support center for pay for success technical assistance. Her MBA focus was the study of alternative funding for social impact which includes financing public infrastructure projects, as well as social programs. Through her MBA studies she has developed a business plan for a workforce development social enterprise in Southeast, DC as well as assisted the government of Peru's national investment agency, ProInversión, with a public private partnership marketing plan.
Justine Porter - VP, Programming and Events
Justine joined the DCNI board in March 2017. She is a social enterprise operations professional with experience in creating and implementing social programs and a passion for finding systems-level solutions to inequality through community building and resident engagement. She is a Senior Associate with the Democracy Collaborative. Prior to starting in her current position, Justine worked in various grassroots and operational capacities for a number of organizations. Previous roles include Director of Operations for New Energy Events, an events company focused on Caribbean renewable energy policy; Development and Operations Manager for Della, a fair-trade fashion company in Ghana; Outreach and Tour Coordinator for Falling Whistles, a campaign for peace in the Congo; Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity; and Arts and Outreach Coordinator for Hudson River Housing. Justine has traveled and worked in 30+ countries since 2010. She holds dual degrees in International Relations and French Language from SUNY Geneseo and an MBA in Sustainability from Bard College.
Gabriel Rosner - VP, Programming and Events
Gabriel joined the DCNI board in April 2015, one year after earning a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of Florida. There, Gabriel served as the Education Director for UF’s chapter of Recurso, planning events and discussions that focused on issues surrounding international development. A strong proponent of a market that fully recognizes the benefits of clean energy infrastructure and community development, Gabriel hopes to incentivize more robust investment in sustainable and socially-conscious enterprise. After working as a data analyst for a home energy efficiency start-up, Gabriel now serves as a paralegal in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Lucas Rehaut - VP, Communications
Lucas graduated with a degree in Political Science and Business Management from Columbia University, where he also served as editor-in-chief of Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development. Lucas joined Accenture as an Analyst in 2016, and his current role is in support of the Healthcare.gov insurance marketplace. Prior to Accenture, Lucas worked as a paralegal for Ashurst LLP’s US energy and infrastructure practice, and he also has broad interest and experience in renewable energy and cleantech, having interned with a number of small companies across the industry. Lucas is committed to Net Impact’s mission to use business to build a better world, and he has been on the DCNI board since 2016.
Carla Chissell - VP, Finance
Carla has been a member of Net Impact since 2015 and joined the board in 2016. She is a Director on the Social Enterprise Finance team in the Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Department at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) where she underwrites loans to microfinance institutions and social enterprises. Prior to joining the Small Enterprise Finance Department she served as a director in the Portfolio Management Division where she managed a portfolio of project finance and small business loans in emerging markets supported by OPIC. Prior to joining OPIC she was an investment officer for the Africa Enterprise Fund in the International Finance Corporation’s regional mission for West Africa in Côte d'Ivoire. Ms. Chissell has a BS degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and an MA in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Laura Zaim - VP, Social Media
Laura is Co-Founder of WorkAmerica, a venture-backed social enterprise that connects graduates of community colleges and vocational schools to employment in middle skill industries. WorkAmerica was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce and Department of Labor as an innovative solution to empowering the middle class and closing the nation's Skills Gap. WorkAmerica is backed by leading social impact investors including Acumen, Kapor Capital, and 500 Startups. Outside of WorkAmerica, Laura volunteers with LearnServe International as a venture mentor, and dances salsa. She speaks English, French and Spanish. Laura joined the DCNI Board in 2017, eager to help grow our local community of social-impact agents of change.