EXECUTIVE TEAM

Adwoa K. Barwuah – President and Chief Executive Officer, ICEN
Ghanaian born, Ms. Barwuah graduated from Catholic University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and also holds a Master’s degree from George Mason University in International Commerce and Policy. Ms. Barwuah currently holds a position in the Housing Finance industry.

Ms. Barwuah first followed her passion for international volunteerism in college where she interned and volunteered for think tanks and non-profit organizations in Washington, DC, including: The Cato Institute, National Catholic Social Justice Lobby (NETWORK), American Council for International Education, and Program for Academic and Leadership Skills (PALS) at George Washington University.

In addition, she has served as a reporter for OSIWA: ‘E-Governance Validation’ workshop in Accra, Ghana (March 2008), and participated in the World Bank Strategic Communications conference and the World Bank Institute: Trade Finance Tools for Export Diversification.

When not working, Ms. Barwuah volunteers with Literacy Volunteers and Advocates in Washington, DC.

Marinda Erskine – Program & Development Officer, ICEN
A graduate of Rider University, Ms. Erskine holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In 2008 she was a recipient of the New Jersey Senate & General Assembly Outstanding Achievement Award. She is a member of the Prestigious Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, a platform for young African social, business, & political entrepreneurs across the globe.

As an HEA ’08 Associate, Ms. Erskine served as a Founding Country Director at the first annual Bretton Woods Symposium, a stage for launching youth led social and entrepreneurial ventures on the Continent. Ms. Erskine has a background in social services specifically in the field of public health, youth development and community based mental health services both domestically and internationally. She has a passion for service and is a long time volunteer for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

FOUNDING BOARD

Crystal Byrd
Before starting Econogroup in 2007, Ms. Byrd worked on independent projects with non-governmental organizations, charities and think tanks assisting with organizational development and project management, assessing the impact of risk; developing project goals and focus, and composing projection plans.
Ms. Byrd currently works for the US Agency for International Development.
Papa Yaw Addo-Boateng Annan
Papa yaw Addo-Boateng Annan has parlayed his extensive experience in youth development Arts and entertainment in several parts of the world. His love for youth empowerment began during his years at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas in the United States, where he volunteered as a soccer coach for the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP). During this time he served as the International Students president, Press secretary -Student Government Association, and a radio presenter. He is also a member of the Little Rock drum circle in Arkansas, USA which promotes indigenous African music.

Mr Annan is currently the C.E.O of Mi Prime Entertainment, an organization that demonstrates excellence in event development and management, marketing and promotion, and constantly strives to build its existing foundation with events and initiatives that support Ghanaian youth talent. He also sits on the board for New Generation for Africa (NGO). In January 2008, Mr. Annan collaborated with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in Ghana, to launch a campaign and educational workshop to end Child Labour.

Kwadwo Adjei-Barwuah
A graduate of McGill University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management, Mr. Adjei-Barwuah spent 2 years working as a financial consultant in Canada, before returning to Ghana.
Mr. Adjei-Barwuah is a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants and sits on the Board of the Longevity Ghana Project.
He currently works as an analyst for the Banking Supervision Department of the Bank of Ghana. He is passionate about Ghana’s future and views child empowerment as a means of ensuring Ghana’s future leaders achieve their full potential.
Sarah Kuukua Mills
As a senior at Ashesi University College, Kuukua Mills helped start Ashesi’s Writing Centre and served as one of its first tutors. In 2006, she became the youngest member of the InterAction Leadership Programme for Africa, a leadership skills building programme developed by the British Council, Leeds International and Questions of Difference.

As a Development Associate /Alumni Relations Officer at Ashesi University, she is in charge of publicity, fundraising and keeping
Ashesi’s alumni connected with the University through the design of programs and services. See www.ashesi.org.

Kuukua has interned with the USAID’s West Africa Trade hub, in Accra, Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd and Databank Financial Services. She is a member of the Ashesi Shotokan Association.

Lebene Ledi
A product of Achimota School, and The University of Science and Technology, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry, Lebene Ledi currently works as the Assistant Director for Career Services, at Ashesi University College (Labone, Accra). Before taking up this role, she worked in various outlets including Project Coordinator for The JobBank, University of Ghana Legon, Accra and Project Coordinator with the Employability, University of East London (London, U.K).

In November 2006, Ms Ledi took part in a workshop on ‘Dealing with demanding customers’, (University of East London, U.K), and another on ‘Setting up an effective Careers Service’, (University of Manchester, U.K) in April 2007. She participated in the
England-Africa Partnership Seminar, (University of East London) in July, 2007 and The Hague International Model United Nations (Thimun) Youth Assembly (The Hague, The Netherlands) between 2002 and 2005, ranking from participant in 2002, committee coordinator in 2003-2004, Deputy president in January 2005, to President in July of the same year.

In her own words, she states, “my greatest achievement was having the opportunity to publish my work on International Efforts Against Preventable Diseases and on HIV/AIDS Education for Prevention and for People Living with AIDS in the annual report
book titled ‘The Voice of the Youth’. I believe in what ICEN stands for and hope that as a team we will begin to make a difference in the lives of many young people”.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Melissa Cuba – High Intensity Language Training (HILT) Teacher, Arlington County Public Schools
Born in Lima, Peru, Melissa moved to Washington, D.C. when she was four years old and attended public schools in Arlington County, Virginia. In 2002, she completed her B.A. in World Politics, Philosophy, and Spanish Literature at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Over the next seven years, she actively pursued a way to combine her love of traveling and giving back to the marginalized. This led her to work as a grant writer for an international non-profit organization in Cuzco, Peru, and to teach English as a Second Language to children in Bundang, South Korea.

Currently, she teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) as a HILT Resource Teacher with Arlington Public Schools, working with students who have special needs and are English language learners (ELLs). She is also culminating a Master’s in English as a Second Language and Spanish Instruction at George Mason University, in hopes of advocating for equitable education and bilingual schooling.

In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, photography, and spending time with her dog, Kimchee.

Maxwell Dapaah – Financial Management Specialist, World Bank Group
Maxwell is currently working at the World Bank as a Financial Management Specialist. In this position, Maxwell is involved in providing expert advice to governments in the African Region on public financial management issues including budget formulation and execution, fiscal transparency and accountability, treasury management, revenue administration, legislative oversight, internal controls, among others. Maxwell has designed public financial management reform programs, negotiated Credit agreements and task led the implementation of reform programs in recipient countries.

Working with governments in the West Africa sub-region has enhanced Maxwell’s understanding of the challenges in public financial accountability and governance in African countries and the collaborative efforts by Governments, Non-State Actors and Development Partners needed to tackle such challenges and forge a new development paradigm that harnesses the continent’s enormous potential.

Prior to working at the World Bank Maxwell worked as Senior Financial Analyst in the Finance and Capital Markets Divisions of Fannie Mae for five years. At Fannie Mae, Maxwell oversaw the Cash Flow work stream of the Single Family business where he led the analysis of derivative, Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), Real Estate Investment Conduits (REMICS) and Pooled from Portfolio (PFP) transactions for the preparation of quarterly cash flow statements for SEC reporting. Prior to working at Fannie Mae, Maxwell worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the U.S. as an Audit Senior for three years. In this role, Maxwell provided assurance services primarily to Fortune 500 Banking, Capital Markets and Real Estate clients.

Victoria Cho – International Trade Compliance Analyst, US Department of Commerce
Born in Chongju Korea, Victoria and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 7.

Graduating from Catholic University of America with a BA in International Affairs, and an MA from George Mason University in International Commerce and Policy, she harbors a passion for International Commerce and travel.

Another of her passions is working with children, which stems from her church and traveling. While traveling, she experienced cultures from all over and encountered children that couldn’t attend school because of the lack of the basic necessities in life, a stark contrast from the children with which she had worked. These experiences helped to implant the idea that some of the bounty she saw at home can be shared with the rest of the world.

Victoria is a generous, kind hearted person who likes to give back to the community. Her caring nature has led her to volunteer and donate to local charities and become an avid advocate for ICEN since its inception.

She currently works for US Department of Commerce.

Marilyn Addo-Boateng