Namaste's vision is that low-income business women in the developing world shall have the tools and access necessary for attaining sufficiently higher business cash flow to move from semi-poverty towards middle class status. This will promote the well-being of the woman and her family, healthy community economics and participatory democracy.
Our mission is to directly contribute to Womens' Economic Empowerment by providing business development programs that increase the business cash flow of low income women.
We are fortunate to have a committed team of talented staff and volunteers to help with all aspects of program management and fundraising. Please feel free to contact any of us at (firstname)@namaste-direct.org
Kara Andrade // NamasteGuatemaya Board Member
Kara has years of nonprofit development, public health and community organizing experience. She joined the Namaste board in 2009. She is a Fulbright fellow based out of Guatemala where she is funded by the US State Department to implement a citizen journalism web site. She was also recently awarded an Ashoka Fellowship.
Michael Berolzheimer // Strategic Advisor
Michael Berolzheimer is an entrepreneur and angel investor. In 2008, Michael formed Bee Partners (www.projecthoney.com), a genesis-stage angel investment fund that seeks opportunities to partner with entrepreneurs with deep consumer insights. Michael provides financing, customer development and marketing support to promising teams and supports existing portfolio companies with advisory work.
Previously, Michael pursued opportunities in addressable television advertising, home office document management solutions, digital out-of-home media technologies and individual productivity software. He began his career in New York with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette / Credit Suisse, raising capital for private equity & venture capital funds, and with Harvest Partners, a middle-market private equity fund managing over $2 billion in assets. He earned his MBA from Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and completed his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University in Computer Science & Economics. Michael resides in San Francisco with his wife and family.
Bob Graham // NamasteDirect Founder and CFO
Bob is a businessman, philanthropist, CPA, and author. He founded the Katalysis Partnership in 1984 and NamasteDirect in 2004. He has extensive international development experience in Central America, and in India with the Tibetan Government in exile. Bob is the CFO of NamasteDirect and since retirement, dedicates most all of his time to consulting and coaching the staff.
Kristin Houk // NamasteDirect President and CEO
Kristin joined NamasteDirect in March of 2006 and has developed and implemented several unique programs designed to meet the changing needs of microcredit clients. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a double major in fine art and education and studied abroad in Europe. She has collaborated on several San Francisco based projects as well as international initiatives.
Bob Ilse // NamasteDirect Advisory Board Chair
Bob is a co-founder of NamasteDirect and a lifetime businessman and executive in the food processing industry, most recently CEO of Stanislaus Food Products. Bob has been on the Namaste board since 2004. He was a member of the Katalysis Partnership Board of Directors and is now the Chair of the NamasteDirect Advisory Board. Bob is retired.
Sherrie Ilse // NamasteDirect Advisory Board Member
Sherrie is a co-founder of NamasteDirect and a longtime social activist, especially for women's and children's issues. She has been on the Namaste Board since 2004. She is an active political organizer and fundraiser. Sherrie is retired.
Chutta Ratnathicam // NamasteDirect Advisory Board Member
Chutta has twenty-seven years of experience in Finance and Executive management with a $4+ billion global transportation and logistics company headquartered in Palo Alto. He joined the Namaste board in 2007 and has been extremely active in Namaste’s strategic planning. He makes several trips to Guatemala annually and has been an integral part of the creation of the Namaste Business Development Program.
Doug Spencer // NamasteDirect Advisory Board Member
Eugenia has over 20 years of business experience ranging from global companies to personal ventures, like the successful Hass avocado farm she created in Guatemala. She joined Namaste in 2012 and enjoys the challenge of working to create business development programs for impoverished women.