Andrea Armeni, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Andrea brings to Transform Finance a combination of expertise in corporate law and finance, social justice work, and nonprofit management. A lawyer by training, Andrea was previously the Executive Director of the Gaia Amazon Fund, an organization advocating for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest and for its environmental protection. His direct experience with the impact of outsider-led projects on Amazon communities led him to rethink the priorities of investments and social entrepreneurship through a community-focused lens. Andrea was a longtime correspondent for Emerging Markets magazine, with a focus on Latin America. He has taught sustainable development at Université Paris-Dauphine (France) and was a lecturer at the Yale Law School on the connections between law, power, and democracy.
Andrea is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and the BMW Responsible Leaders Network. He is a graduate of Columbia University, the Yale Law School, and the United World College of the Atlantic.
Curt Lyon, Associate Director of Programs
Curt brings his passion for developing innovative solutions to social and economic issues to Transform Finance as Associate Director of Programs. Overseeing the logistical components of Transform Finance’s ongoing projects, he provides tactical support for fundraising initiatives, communications campaigns, relationship building, and research. Curt’s skills in project management stem from experiences in programmatic activities and event planning with the New Economy Coalition, where he worked on the CommonBound 2016 team, and the Small Planet Institute, where he helped develop a field-building project on campaign finance reform. He considers himself an active learner of community engagement with capital and alternative economic systems, conducting a research project as an intern for the Boston Ujima Project in 2016. Curt studied math and economics at Hamilton College.
Eric Horvath, Program Manager, Community & Social Justice Partnerships
Eric Horvath is Program Manager for Community and Social Justice Partnerships at Transform Finance. He is passionate about mobilizing more capital to the social sector, whether that be human or financial. Through years of previous work alongside refugees, adoptees, and marginalized communities, he has been shown time and again that our path ahead must be paved with listening, better representation, and amplification of community expertise.
Eric leads Transform Finance’s work around its local Institute for Social Justice Leaders, which has trained organizers and activists around finance for social justice in Atlanta, Phoenix, Cincinnati and Denver, as well as its 2019 Cohort: The Future of Workers is Now.
Before Transform Finance, Eric worked in philanthropy, supporting the foundation's grantmaking and impact investing efforts. Outside of work, he is committed to participatory budgeting in his district, mentoring youth, and growing a grassroots scholarship fund at his alma mater. Eric earned his MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and is an alumnus of the Fulbright program. He calls Brooklyn home.
Emily Sladek, Lead Project Researcher, Capital & Equitable Communities
Emily is an avid community wealth building strategist. As Project Researcher at Transform Finance on the Capital and Equitable Communities project, she brings her thought leadership in community-led economic development and community engaged anchor institutions. Emily’s skill in program development stems from her previous experiences at The Democracy Collaborative where she managed the higher education anchor mission network. She also has a background in research design and evaluation, especially for academic bridge programs, such as TRiO, as well as the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program, which provides education pathways to youth in the juvenile offender system. Her passion for community-led finance developed after Native communities called for divestment from the Dakota Access Pipeline and she began organizing with the DC Reinvest campaign. She earned an MPA from The Evergreen State College.
Sophie Kemp-Sherman, Operations Associate
Sophie is passionate about economic justice and wealth redistribution. She moved from West Virginia to New York in 2013 to attend Barnard College, where she studied economics and mathematics, learning the models of our current economic system and ways impactful change can be made within them. Her senior thesis examines the rise of the coal industry and historical patterns of labor exploitation and poverty in Central and Southern Appalachia. Since graduating, she has gained professional experience in communications, research, and data analysis. As the Operations Associate, she manages the logistical and administrative components of Transform Finance's projects, events, campaigns, and networks.
Kat Vang, Project Researcher, Capital & Equitable Communities
Kat is an applied researcher who utilizes analogous research methods to ideate innovative strategies for building community wealth, dismantling food apartheid, and accelerating economic justice. An Emerson Hunger Fellow alumnus and UC Davis graduate, her research experience includes cultural food identities in immigrant communities, economic drivers of social inequality, food equity, and self-determined capacity building. Her work has directly supported entrepreneurship programs, microbusiness, food start-ups, community wealth building initiatives, grassroots outreach efforts, and government partnerships. Kat’s commitment to socio-economic justice and building power for frontline communities is inspired and informed by her Hmong diaspora heritage.
Isabelle Clérié, Researcher
Isabelle has been working and living in Haiti, her native home, for five years, before which she was completing her university studies in the US, acquiring a Master’s in nonprofit management. Initially her work was focused on small business development as the director of an organization that worked with young Haitian entrepreneurs by providing capacity building, training, and technical assistance. She has since worked with multiple organizations, including an environmental group doing conservation in one of Haiti’s last remaining forests. She recently completed a second Master’s in Applied Anthropology while focusing her energies on developing an impact investment fund that can have more meaningful considerations around impact and provide much needed flexible capital to young entrepreneurs, social businesses, and rural farmers.
Meredith Benton, Project Manager, Repurposing Financial Innovation for Social Change
Meredith Benton is principal of Whistle Stop Capital, LLC, which works with advisors and asset owners to identify and implement strategies to increase the social and environmental impact of the total investment portfolio, regardless of asset class.
Meredith formerly served as the Director, Head of Client Relations at Sonen Capital, a Vice President at Boston Common Management and the Associate Director of Social Research at Walden Asset Management. Meredith has led numerous successful shareholder engagement programs, conducted extensive analyses of corporate human rights and environmental practices, and directed the impact investment parameters of more than $2 billion in assets. She has worked with a wide range of client types – including institutional investors, asset managers, advisors, foundations and high net worth individuals. Meredith was twice-elected by her industry peers to the board of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. She obtained her BS at Oberlin College and her MBA at INSEAD.
As project manager for Transform Finance's project on Beyond Divestment and Engagement, Meredith leads the research team in analyzing financial innovations, creating outreach documents and briefings, and conducting interviews.
Camille Kerr, Project Manager, Conversions to Employee Ownership
Camille Kerr is a business developer and consultant with expertise in ESOPs, worker cooperatives, and other structures that empower workers and communities. Camille has served as the Associate Director of The ICA Group, the Director of Field Building at the Democracy at Work Institute, and the Director of Research at the National Center for Employee Ownership. Camille serves as a member of the Council of Cooperative Economists, is an Executive Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, is an advisory board member for start.coop and Certified Employee Owned, is on the design team for Fifty by Fifty: Taking Employee Ownership to Scale, and was on the planning committee for the Platform Cooperative Conference and the Cooperative Professionals Conference. She earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College Of Law, where she was an Arthur Russell Morgan Fellow for Human Rights and graduated cum laude.
As Project Manager for Transform Finance's project on building a fund to foster conversions to employee ownership, Camille leads research, relationship-building, and coordinating our partners and advisors.