Our Team


Our team of experts is committed to overcoming the obstacles of providing safe water to those in need. With backgrounds in engineering, operations, finance, health, policy and social development, we are focused on achieving lasting impact on human development.  

Ghana
India

New York Headquarters

Kurt Soderlund, Chief Executive Officer
Kurt is the founding CEO of Safe Water Network. He previously co-founded NorthStar Partners and an internet start-up funded by leading technology firms. He was also special assistant to the president at the New School in New York City, where he supported new initiatives, international projects and the president’s work as Chairman of Human Rights Watch. Kurt has degrees from Cornell University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Peter Neidecker, Chief Financial Officer
Peter was the co-founder of CR Advisors, a boutique consultancy offering social and environmental sustainability services to the energy sector. He served as chief executive officer of Millennium Promise, the non-profit responsible for the Millennium Villages Project with Columbia University. Peter spent the majority of his career with Hewlett Packard where he grew their UNIX and services businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He is a graduate of Hobart Collage and Harvard Business School.

Amanda Gimble, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Amanda was first vice president and co-head of corporate strategy at Merrill Lynch. She was previously a senior consultant at KPMG Peat Marwick as well as a nonprofit consultant. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Hunter College and a Master's degree in management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a member of the Microfinance Committee of the Financial Women’s Association.

Hew Crooks, Senior Vice President, Operations
Hew has nearly 20 years of successful private equity and project development experience, focused mainly on transportation infrastructure, energy and logistics in emerging markets. Previously he was a founding partner and managing director of Great Circle Capital, focused on the former Soviet Union, Central Asia and Turkey. He has also worked at Stanton Capital, a Lima, Peru-based private equity investment firm, Investcorp International and Lehman Brothers. He is a graduate of Amherst College.

Nat Paynter, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
Nat joined Safe Water Network in May 2013. He has spent nearly a dozen years in international development, entirely in the water sector. Nat started his career at the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) at the World Bank, both in Washington, DC and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While at WSP, he helped with donor relations, business planning, and managed a public-private partnership, as well as launching and running WSP's office in Tanzania for three years. More recently, Nat worked at charity: water, a New York-based non-profit, where he headed up their Water Programs department. Nat holds a BA in English Literature from Brown University and a Masters in Engineering from MIT.

Dave Colner, Communications Manager
Dave joined Safe Water Network in July 2011 after receiving his Master of Public Administration in International Nonprofit Management from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. Prior to this, Dave worked as a Development Assistant at the Center for Global Development, a leading international development think tank in Washington, DC. Dave’s previous work and studies have sent him to South Africa, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

Ruth Rosenberg, Program Associate
Ruth is responsible for overseeing several aspects of market development programming including our groundbreaking Field Insights Series. She joined Safe Water Network in April 2014 after completing the Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration dual degree program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carey Business School. Prior to graduate school, Ruth served as a research assistant with the Yale School of Public Health. She has worked in health promotion in the Dominican Republic, Chile and Peru.

Stacy Johnson, Special Projects,
Stacy Johnson joined Safe Water Network in March 2013. She oversees special projects and manages a variety of activities including program integration, events and fundraising. Her previous position was at ClearWater Initiative, where she was the program and development director for the organization's Uganda-based water projects. Stacy has a master's degree in public administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and has extensive experience in program, logistics and events management.

Bibi Naseefa Hamid, Senior Accountant
Bibi joined Safe Water Network in April 2013. She is responsible for overseeing the accounting and human resource departments. Bibi has five years of prior experience in Audit from BDO LLP and Deans Archer & Co, CPA combined. Bibi has her BA in Accounting and Information System from Queens College CUNY and is currently pursuing her CPA license.

Mohammad Awais, Business Analyst
Mohammad started working at Safe Water Network as an intern in 2012. After graduating from Baruch College with a BBA in Economics, he joined the team full time. Previously, he was an intern at a boutique investment bank that focused primarily on the energy sector. Prior to that, he interned in the corporate development group of a large retail company in Pakistan.

Nikki Thompson, Administrative Associate
Nikki is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the office and supporting the development and finance departments. She joined Safe Water Network in March 2014 after graduating with a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington and completing a Bonderman Fellowship for extended solo-travel. While at the University of Washington, Nikki spent nine months in India working as a public relations intern for the U.S. Department of State and then working with an NGO in rural Uttarakhand doing a water management/irrigation survey.

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Ghana

Charles Nimako, Director, Africa Initiatives
Charles was the CEO of PepsiCo Bottler in Ghana and franchise operations manager for East Africa. He was previously a consultant with McKinsey & Company in South Africa. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and has lived and worked in the United States, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Angola, and Ghana.

Charles Yeboah, Coordinator, Monitoring & Evaluation, Health and Hygiene
Charles was the programs coordinator for Health Foundation of Ghana. He has also worked for the Ghana Health Service’s National Buruli Ulcer Control Program. Mr. Yeboah received his BSc in Zoology and Master of Philosophy Degree in Zoology from the University of Ghana.

Joseph Ampadu-Boakye, Market Development
Joseph was most recently at the MAPLE Consult, where he was a key member of the team involved with in developing sector policies including the Ghana Water Sector Strategic Development Plan and The National Rural Sanitation Model. Joseph has a Master of Science in Development Planning and Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Francis Tetteh-Zomayi, Program Associate
Francis brings a wealth of expertise in community engagement and program monitoring and evaluation to the Safe Water Network’s team in Ghana having worked for five years as a Community Liaison Officer with World Vision International (Ghana). He currently supports market development, operations and monitoring and evaluation initiatives at Safe Water Network and is a graduate of the University of Ghana.

Benn Botsio, Head of Operations
Benn was previously an engineering manager for SABMiller in Accra, where he rolled-out a change management program on sustainable development focused on efficient energy and water usage. Prior to this, he spent ten years at Guinness Breweries in Accra as corporate manager, overseeing all three breweries in Ghana. As head of operations for Safe Water Network he is responsible all engineering and technical aspects of our field initiatives. Benn has a degree in chemical engineering from University of Science and Tech, Kumasi, Ghana.

Mark Owusu, Head of Budget and Administration
Mark is an enterprise development specialist and chartered accountant who brings extensive experience in building financial and managerial capacities in small and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and communities. Mark was recently the country program coordinator for the United States African Development Foundation's (USADF) Ghana Program.

Akosua Afreh, Civil Engineer
Akosua will strengthen our ability to help communities own and manage decentralized water systems. With her previous experience at the international development and humanitarian aid organization CHF International, she complements the team by bringing several years of rural-water project experience in Ghana to our work. Her expertise includes design, construction and project management. Akosua has also managed on-going water systems in remote areas and delivered safe water to villages in need.

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India

Ravindra Sewak, India Country Director
Ravi, a Mechanical Engineer with an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad, brings extensive, valuable technical and operating experience in the field of water and wastewater, bulk water processing, point of use purification system for vending machine, and is sought by Foundations, Fortune 500 companies, multilateral organizations for technical and advisory services in the water sector. As Sustainability Director for PepsiCo, India he was truly instrumental in developing and implementing plans to attain positive water balance through annual saving of over 2.6 billion liters of water across 34-plants, a 50% saving in three year leadership. At Safe Water Network India, he has led the development and expansion of Rain Water Harvesting in Rajasthan, and Safe Water Stations in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in villages affected by high fluoride and salinity. He has also contributed towards innovative concept of water containers with residual chlorine to improve water quality at homes, and development of remote monitoring and sensing technology suited to rural environment. Ravi is on the National Water Committee of FICCI and CII and a mentor in Legatum Center MIT and Santa Clara University.

Poonam Sewak, Development & Partnerships Manager
Poonam is a health professional with a Gold Medal in Masters in Pharmacy from Nagpur University. She brings over 25 years of experience in education, training, communication and medico-marketing services. She also worked as a Lecturer in IP University, Delhi. At Safe Water Network, she leads a) resource mobilization & partnerships; b) implementation of a 360-degree experiential marketing program to enhance rural activation and appreciation of safe water with willingness to pay through branding, visibility, neighborhood meetings, schools education programs resulting in high adoption; c) development of Technical Assistance modules, consisting of village-level visual toolkits used to engage and educate the rural communities as well as field staff of Safe Water Network and partner NGOs alike for their capacity development.

Subhash Chand Jain, Program Leader
Subhash brings 25 years of experience from AFPRO, a leading national socio-technical development organization. He has a Master of Technology in applied geology from Sagar University, India and a degree from Galilee College, Israel. At Safe Water Network India, he brings his expertise in diverse stages of program development and management with specific reference to Integrated Water Resource Management, Decentralized Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation and Capacity Building at community level. Subhash is on the drafting committee for the National Water Policy, Government of India.

Sumanta Mitra, Head of Operations
Sumanta is a market and result oriented professional with over 25 years’ experience in sales, distribution, field marketing, operations and channel management in Telecom (Bharti Airtel) and Beverage (PepsiCo India) industry. At Safe Water Network India, he is responsible for inculcating market based principles in the local NGO partners, Communities and Entrepreneurs to increase volumes to ensure financial sustainability through focus on adoption and establishing viable distribution footprint. He uses effective tools such as clustering, optimal route mapping and assessing market potential value among target villages basis village water quality challenges and socio-economic profile.

Pooja Sarvotham, Program Associate - Monitoring & Evaluation
Pooja brings over 8 years of experience in corporate planning, project management, international marketing, networking and research. She has previously convened India-ASEAN business summit at FICCI and liaised with Ministries and Senior Government Officials. At Safe Water Network, she brings her expertise in recording monthly project performance-metrics and dashboard, donor progress reports, Intranet web conceptualization and content development, legal agreements, proposal writing, TA modules, picture stories/calendars, HR manual and creating appointment letters. She has an Environmental Law degree from the National Law School of India University, a Master's degree in International Business from Western International University and have earned a Certificate Course on International Water Law from the University of Geneva and UNITAR.

Sameer Muthreja, Development & Partnerships Associate
Sameer holds over 7 years of experience in strategic marketing and business development in three diverse markets – India, Afghanistan and USA. He brings expertise in marketing, installing and maintaining water purification systems as Country Manager of Seema International Ltd in Afghanistan where he built the business and organization from scratch and dealt with US Army as a major customer. Sameer has a Master’s degree in Marketing & International Business (MBA) from Hofstra University, New York. At Safe Water Network, he assists in fundraising and consumer activation program development and training. His extensive background in RO plants will also enable him to coordinate with field on their spares requirements.

Venkatesh Parasuram, Project Manager – AP
Venkat has over 13 years of experience in various capacities in the fields of rural development, engineering, infrastructure, training and IT related services. Venkat has worked on projects from FAO of United Nations on rural groundwater management and with Reliance, Tata, MTNL, GTL in setting up telecom infrastructure. As an entrepreneur, he briefly worked in rural electrification, water, agriculture, IT infrastructure, Biometric, Project Funding. Venkat is a Graduate in Computer Science from Osmania University and an MBA in International Trade & Finance from Canadian School of Management, Hyderabad.

Shanker Lal Batra, Project Manager – UP
Shanker Lal Batra brings over 8 years of experience in new market development, strategic planning and system implementations, having formerly worked in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with PepsiCo. His insight and implementation skills helped rapid rural distribution expansion and company profit lines in terms of service market expansion to over 150 million rural population with organized awareness and communication activities. He has been awarded BU ring of Honors in 2006 for his remarkable rural execution and outstanding sales. Shanker is an MBA in Marketing Management from Sikkim Manipal University.

Arvind Iyer, Systems Analyst
Arvind is a graduate from BITS Pilani with a degree in Electronics and Instrumentation. He has previously worked at the Aditya Birla Group as a part of their corporate R&D division. At Safe Water Network, his responsibilities are broadly classified into Systems' Monitoring and Analyses, Documentation work, assisting in Development and dissemination. Arvind is enthused about leading new developments and will assist in projects, such as IBM & CISCO.

Shipra Gupta, Finance Associate
Shipra has experience in accounting, auditing, taxation and transfer pricing. At Safe Water Network, she brings her expertise in handling partner NGO audits, Donor audits and statutory audits. She is responsible for legal compliances apart from developing financial models for effective market based interventions. Shipra is a qualified Chartered Accountant with Master in Commerce and is pursuing Company Secretary (Final).

Shweta Arora, Financial Analyst
Shweta holds five years of hands-on experience in accounting and administration. At Safe Water Network, she brings her demonstrable skills into preparing village-level financials on QuickBooks and Tally, key financial transactions and book-keeping, purchase orders, daily office-related administration and coordination with vendors, employee compensation management and reimbursements. Shweta has a Master's degree in Finance. She was formerly with PepsiCo India, where she handled all vendor-related queries, MIS reports and other administrative tasks, before beginning her career in accounting.

Ravi Bhoopathi, Project Officer – AP
Ravi holds a Master’s degree in Ecology & Environment with 9 yrs. of working experience as a development professional with NGOs, INGOs, Government & Environmental Research Institute. Over the years, he has provided technical training to the NGOs across the country on Water Quality Management and contributed to several research studies during his association with Peoples’ Science Institute (PSI, was founded by a group of IIT-educated professional with 3-4 decades of experience), Govt. of Orissa on behalf of Water Aid. His major work has been on water quality with special focus on Fluoride & Fluorosis.

Goutam Mukherjee, Accounts Officer
Goutam holds over 16 years of experience in finance and accounting, expense control, administration, SAP and ERP, vendor management, quality and customer support. Prior to joining Safe Water Network, he has worked with GMR Energy Limited (Delhi Airport Concessioner) and Shyam Telecoms. At Safe Water Network, Goutam manages administration, Tally entries, ledger reconciliation, field-based audits and training, vendor and inventory management, and employee attendance. He holds a Bachelor degree in Commerce from Calcutta University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Computers.

M. Mallikarjun, Field Engineer
Mallikarjun brings hands-on experience in service engineering of different water treatment systems. At Safe Water Network India, he acts as the mobile field service engineer on assigned activities as well as regular technical visits to our project sites, assists in erection and installation of RO plants, to resolve technical issues, if any and provides inputs for smooth operation and service support of all plants. Mallikarjun is also responsible for providing training to operators and apprentices to ensure trained manpower availability in case of emergency situations.

Vinod Kumar, Community Mobilizer
Vinod brings over collective experience in technical operations and business development. At Safe Water Network India, he assists the Project Manager – North in identifying potential sites for expansion, liaising with the village officials, managing plant operations and troubleshooting, training the plant operators and organizing demand generation activities.

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