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©2017 BRIDGES FOR UNDERSTANDING

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Website designed by Helena von Nagy

Our Leadership 

Eight dedicated individuals who decided enough was enough and took a stand to make a difference. Meet our first bridges. 

      Monica  has been living in Mexico City for over 15 years. Born to a Bolivian mother and an American father, she has been drawn to development issues and social action. This has led her to work extensively in the financial inclusion sector, managing strategic and digital marketing programs. In her previous role as Senior Marketing Manager at PayPal, she was responsible for managing the customer lifestyle experience for the over 2 million PayPal users in Mexico. Prior to that, she also worked as Deputy Director for Gentera, leading customer insights on micro entrepreneurs needs related to credit, insurance and savings. Monica has an MBA from NYU Stern, is a Consortium  Fellow, and has a BA from The University of Texas, Austin in Economics and Latin American Studies. She is a Co-founder of the female MBA network, MBA Mujeres de Mexico, and enjoys time with her Mexican husband and three daughters. 

Monica French

Services Co-Leader

      A Master of Public Health (Columbia University), Mary (Maria) came to Mexico in the late 1980s to works on issues of access to maternal child health care and women’s empowerment. These issues lead her to work on issues of financial inclusion, to investigate decision-making and administration of resources in conditions of poverty, to found, and direct micro-finance institutions and the leading professional network thereof. In addition, Mary’s been privileged to participate on in developing service delivery channels and financial products throughout Mexico, lead nationwide qualitative and quantitative research, and contribute to relevant public policy.  

      The opportunity be immersed in development efforts in communities throughout Mexico, reinforced her dedication to undertake direct community service, as well as serve on finance, education and health care boards.  With her Mexican husband and dual national sons, Mary, a pre-Nafta import to Mexico has crisscrossed the nation to climb ruins, run rivers, traverse beaches and mountains, and sleep in hammocks.

Mary O'Keefe

Services Co-Leader 

 

       Nancy is a retired professor of history and international relations from the University of the Americas and the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Originally from Boone, Iowa, Nancy has lived in Mexico since 1961. After teaching at her alma mater for 10 years, she joined the faculty of the Universidad Iberoamericana where she served as coordinator of programs for foreign students, including special programs with the Center for International Understanding at the University of North Carolina. Nancy especially enjoys reading and traveling, and she and her architect husband, Juan Ramón, love spending time with their three children and four grandchildren. Nancy is the author of "Nancy's List."

 Nancy Westfal de Gurrola 

Blog and Content Leader

      Sam is the Secretary for Democrats Abroad Mexico and Deputy Counsel for the Americas for the Democratic Party Committee Abroad. Born in Chicago to a Mexican mother and a Jewish-American father, Sam is a dual citizen. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science, International Relations, and History from Baldwin Wallace University and also holds a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with High Honors. Sam has traveled to 29 countries on five continents, and in addition to his native English and Spanish, he also speaks French and Italian. He currently lives in Puebla, Mexico, with his dog, Félix.  

Jan Silverman

Membership & Network Leader

Samuel Stone

Advocacy and Partnerships Leader

Helena von Nagy

Digital Partner

 

      Helena is going into her last year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies international relations and theater. Previously, Helena interned in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department. Originally from Reno Nevada, Helena grew up surrounded by alebrijes and Ibarra chocolate and speaking Spanish with her Mexican historian mother and Mesoamerican archeologist father. When she is not designing for B4U, Helena can be found acting Shakespeare, blogging, ballroom dancing, and working on her podcast, Political MissAdventures. Eventually, Helena wants to be an international human rights litigator and work towards advancing the enforcement of human rights all over the world.

      Lisa founded L.A. Voice, a non-profit where she trained community leaders in Los Angeles  to gain health care for immigrant children in LA, to start a film school for highschoolers, and to improve community safety.  She currently runs AZAP Flores, a start-up based in Mexico City, which delivers flowers and gifts in 20 cities across Mexico.  Lisa graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University with a degree in Economics and Political Science, she studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University through the Oxbridge Scholars Program, and she holds an MBA from Wharton.

Lisa Milton

Advocacy Advisor

 

      Originally from Boston and South Florida, Jan graduated with a JD from NYU in 2001 after getting her B.A. in English from the University of Maryland. She has lived in Mexico for 11 years with her husband, Ricardo. Jan is very involved in her children's schools and the Jewish community. She is a member of the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO), which helps to raise funds for women and children's causes in Mexico and Israel. Jan is an amateur children's playwright and photographer. She has two children, CeCe, who is eight, Mili, who is seven, and Noah, who is four. She is also a failed dog trainer. 

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