Nomi Network's Co-Founders
Our US Team
Jessica Pham, Director of Operations
Jessica has over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector in the areas of operations, fundraising, program management, strategic growth, and consulting for domestic and international organizations. She has an undergraduate degree in International Development from UCLA and an MPA in International Policy and Nonprofit Management from NYU Wagner. Over the past decade, she has worked with various causes that serve women across the US, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As a strategic and empathetic leader, Jessica is committed to helping NGOs build culturally-competent and dignity-enhancing services to women struggling with trauma and poverty. When not in the office, she enjoys cooking and hanging out with her husband and son. When in the office, you can find her making spreadsheets and drinking tea.
james vanreusel, cfo
James had an 8-year career on Wall Street at Banc Of America Securities LLC as a Vice President in US Institutional Equity Sales. In this position, James generated approximately US$8 Million annually by leveraging primary and secondary capital markets and building deep relationships with hedge funds and mutual funds. As a consultant with Grassroots Capital (private equity) and BlueOrchard Finance S.A. (asset management) in New York in 2008 and 2009, he worked primarily on fundraising and building proprietary portfolio and holding company models. From 2009-2014, he served as CFO at SPBD Microfinance, where he launched and operated 3 start-up micro-finance banks in Tonga, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. He also created a network-wide holding company based in Singapore, growing the platform by 600%. James is a CFA Charter holder since 2009 and has been published in CFA Magazine on the topic of Microfinance. He holds a MBA from Rice University and a BA in Mathematics and Accounting from the University of Kent at Canterbury. Originally from Oostende, Belgium, he speaks English, Dutch, and French and is conversant in Spanish. He played Division 1 Varsity Tennis and continues to play competitively for the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Maria Blackburn, Strategic Partnerships Manager
Maria is a connector who is passionate about helping others utilize their talent, treasure, and time towards ending modern-day slavery. Formerly, Maria worked as the Program Officer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia supporting Nomi Network’s Fashion Incubator by bringing in industry experts as trainers and mentors, conducting social media marketing training, and planning events. She loves planning and facilitating events that bring a variety of stakeholders together, which she has done not only for Nomi Network, but also Fashion Revolution, Chab Dai Coalition, Price of Life NYC, and others. Maria has her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Hofstra University. While in university, she founded Hofstra Freedom Movement, a campaign using art installations to raise awareness about modern-day slavery and equip students with resources to fight human trafficking. In her spare time, Maria loves meeting friends for coffee, learning about different cultures (especially through food), and discovering new places with her husband, Sean, and adorable mini dachshund, Peaches.
princy prasad, grant writer
Princy received her BA from Hofstra University (HU) with a dual major in Creative Writing and Photography and minors in Art History and Computer Applications & Digital Media Design. Through HU's Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, she learned about social justice causes and found her voice. Passionate about causes impacting children, Princy enjoys empowering and teaching kids whenever she can. She previously served as as Sales Manager, overseeing customer service, warehouse logistics, merchandising, and production for Nomi Network’s retail arm. Gift giving is one of her love languages, and Princy is still one of Nomi Network’s best customers. When she's not writing for Nomi Network, she creates art that she hopes will make a difference in the world.
Sweena Varghese, Director of Development
Sweena is passionate about seeing young people and vulnerable communities access greater success and resilience. Her background includes national event planning and management, experiential marketing and project management, fundraising, marketing, youth mobilization and graphic design. Prior to joining Nomi Network, Sweena worked for World Vision. Her work executing awareness raising events and large-scale experiential marketing products allowed for over 5,000 children throughout Africa, India and Latin America to secure long-term sponsorship for their basic needs. Sweena graduated in 2002 from Hofstra University with a degree in Political Science. She lives with her husband Joe and their two beautiful daughters in Long Island.
Kelly gage, Senior philanthropic advisor
Kelly is an accomplished public speaker, educator, advisor, and philanthropist, with nearly 20 years of experience with foundations and NGOs dealing with human trafficking, public media, arts and culture, education, and community development. She is passionate about fighting exploitation in women and children. Prior to joining Nomi Network, Kelly served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising and Design at St. Catherine University. She holds a doctorate in apparel studies from the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Art History from the University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University. She has also sat on the boards of the World Childhood Foundation, an organization that combats the sexual exploitation of women and children, and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Aside from being an analytical thinker and an impeccable dresser, Kelly is the proud mom of two sets of twins.
jesse cherry, administrative assistant
Jesse holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, with a specialization in Women & Gender Studies from Columbia University. While on campus, he served on the board for multiple anti-trafficking and women’s rights groups. He’s passionate about alleviating suffering and enabling better outcomes for those who are in the greatest need, and exploring how he can do that at both micro and macro levels. Outside of Nomi Network, his hobbies include cooking and experimenting with spices, traveling domestically, reading philosophy, snowboarding, and playing board games with friends. When he reflects back on his life, he wants to have insights from as many sources as possible.
Alisa Hardison, Development Admin
Alisa received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara. Alisa had always been passionate about creating a better world, especially for people in disadvantaged communities. While in school, Alisa joined a handful of clubs that worked to provide basic services like meals and daycare to those in the community. Before coming to Nomi Network, Alisa interned for another nonprofit, focused on empowering human trafficking survivors. She was inspired by all the stories of the survivors, especially the ones she was able to meet firsthand. This created a passion in her, to fight against human trafficking. Outside of work, her hobbies are traveling the world, going to the beach, trying new foods, and playing sports with friends.
Henry Kathan, Country Director
Henry is a non-profit executive, a people manager, and a strategist. Prior to joining Nomi Network, Henry worked for Compassion International for 14 years, managing Compassion’s 13 state programs in East India, a $20 million initiative serving 68,000 children in 268 centers through partner NGOs. Henry is passionate about building individuals and organizations release their full potential and increase their effectiveness. He has expertise in strategy development and change management for both individuals and organizations. He believes that individuals and communities need a wide diversity of experiences and broad options of expression to thrive and achieve their potential.
Shankar Kumar, Program Manager - Bihar State
Shankar specializes in rural and institutional development and management. He joined Nomi Network as State Program Manager in 2012, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge in the areas of micro-enterprise development and management, market surveys and assessments, feasibility studies, business planning, skills training, and capacity building support to beneficiaries and NGO staff. Prior to joining Nomi Network, he worked for multiple NGOs managing projects on women’s empowerment, education of girls, migrant worker rights, gender-based violence, and the rehabilitation of female sex workers. Shankar received a bachelor’s degree in Business from Patna University in Bihar and a postgraduate degree in Rural Development from Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. He also completed a Management and Development program for development professionals at Columbia University in New York City.
Pramod Nag, Program Manager - West Bengal and Odisha States
Pramod has over 16 years of experience with social welfare organizations, including Compassion International East India, World Vision India, and International Justice Mission. He specializes in creating and implementing high impact programs to benefit women and children; during his time with Compassion East India, he supervised over 80 such projects. Pramod’s approach to program development involves combining effective supporting research with strong communication and leadership. Pramod holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, graduating with Honors from Berharmpur University. He completed a postgraduate course in Applied Computer Science at Computer Maintenance Corporation of Kolkata, and holds a diploma in Rural Development and Management from the Center for Research on New International Economic Order in Chennai, India. He speaks English, Hindi, Odiya, and Bengali.
Hom But, Program Manager
Hom’s passion is to help women and their children live free from trafficking and become financially independent through training and job creation. He has eight years of expertise in project management, social work, counseling, monitoring and evaluation, as well as organizational development. Hom received his Bachelor of Accounting in Business Administration from the National University of Management and his Master’s in Development Management, specializing in community/rural development, from Norton University in Phnom Penh City. Hom received the Mara Schneiders Award for top supervisors from the Social Work Department of Royal University, Phnom Penh.
Kanika Lim, Production Associate
Kanika is the first in her family to receive a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters of General Management from Royal University of Law and Economics. She has previously worked with victims of exploitation and desires to continue to help others through her business skills. Since starting with Nomi Network in 2016, she has developed and grown in her area of expertise. Her favorite Nomi product is the Geo Backpack for the color, shape, and design!