Advisory Council

A Special Thank You to the Following Advisory Council Members for their Ongoing Guidance:


Jenn Hamilton

Ambassador James Michel, Special Advisor

Amir Dossal

Kalon R. Gutierrez

Michael Novak

Yu Kakusaka

Kakoli Ray

 Tom Gottlieb

Diane de Terra



Jen is passionate about creating opportunity and social change through education and entrepreneurship. While pursuing her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Queen’s University in Canada, Jen co-founded The Perth Bagel Company. Upon graduating, she began her finance career working with Citibank Canada in Toronto and later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to become a technology investment banker first at DLJ and later Credit Suisse and UBS. She went on to obtain her MBA from INSEAD (at both the France and Singapore campuses) where she explored various passions including travel, culture, and microfinance. This led her to found On The Road Travel, an online resource for independent travelers in Latin America. She subsequently joined, where she served as Chief Financial Officer.

Jen has two young children and a big, shaggy dog. When she is not chasing them around, or practicing yoga (she is a certified yoga teacher), she works as an independent consultant providing strategy and implementation to technology companies in the Bay Area. She also serves as Board Member for Mission Graduates, and as an Expert in Residence for the Women’s Initiative For Self Employment.


James Michel is an independent consultant in international development cooperation, specializing in support for good governance and the rule of law.  Previously, Mr. Michel served in a number of senior positions during a long career of public service with the United States Government and with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

He joined the U.S. Department of State as an attorney in 1965.  His assignments in the State Department included service as the Deputy Legal Adviser (1977-1982) and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1983-1987). After an assignment as U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala in 1987-1989, he joined the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1990 as Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. He later served as Counselor, Acting Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator of USAID. From 1994 until 1999 he was Chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, where he presided over the principal international forum for coordinating development cooperation policies.

After leaving government service in 2000, he was senior counsel to DPK Consulting, a division of ARD Inc. He returned to USAID temporarily in 2009 and 2010 to assist in the Agency’s management during its transition to new leadership. Mr. Michel is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Missouri Bar, and several professional associations.  He is also active in community affairs in Falls Church, Virginia, where he resides with his wife, Conception Michel. He holds a law degree (Juris Doctor, cum laude) from Saint Louis University.


Tom has served as the Managing General Partner of Geolo Capital since 2005, bringing to the group more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, banking, real estate development and in managing private equity investments throughout the US and the Pacific Rim. Following a career in banking and international finance, Tom lived in Hong Kong and was the Chief Investment Officer and one of the founding partners for the InterPacific Group – a privately held company active in the Pacific Rim in the hospitality industry, consumer services & products, real estate development and recreational facilities. In 1995, Tom founded Mandara Spa in Bali, Indonesia serving as its Chief Executive Officer and growing the company to become the largest resort spa operator in the world. Today he serves on the boards of Joie de Vivre,  Exclusive Resorts, Roost, Local TV and Western Athletic Clubs – and also serves as a Trustee for the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.


Yu Kakusaka’s lifetime of service in Japan has included valuable contributions in the areas of urban planning, e-government and international non-governmental organizations.

He began his career in urban planning with a survey of village structures in both Japan and Latin America, which led to a consultative role with the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. He continued his work designing Nigeria’s capital Abuja, and did architectural consulting in Singapore, Algeria, and with several municipal governments in Japan. He also established the Municipal Resource Planning Center software company with the cooperation of Japan’s Ministry of Economic Trade, and Industry.

Throughout his career, Mr. Kakusaka has also been involved with International NGO’s – from cultural anthropology work on the Yucatan Peninsula to a two year stint with Sir Edmund Hilary’s Himalayan Trust.

He received his university degrees at Tokyo University in Architecture and is currently conducting seminars at the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa campus.


Amir Dossal is Founder of the Global Partnerships Forum, a new global initiative to address economic & social challenges through innovative partnerships. Amir is also Co-Initiator of the Pearl Initiative, which promotes transparency and accountability in the Gulf Region as well as Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union for Global Partnerships.

Until recently, Amir served as the United Nation’s Chief Liaison for Partnerships where he developed strategic alliances with governments, corporations, foundations and philanthropists to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. One of Amir’s many responsibilities was as the UN’s Representative for the partnership with media mogul Ted Turner’s $1 billion donation, through the UN Foundation, supporting over 450 programs and projects for women and children’s health; population; climate change; and biodiversity. This partnership attracted social investments of over $560 million from other donors and partners, such as American Red Cross, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola, Rockefeller Foundation, Rotary International etc. In addition, Amir oversaw management of the UN Democracy Fund, which he established in 2005 to strengthen institutions and enhance democratic governance in new or restored democracies.

Amir works globally across sectors, including Health, Education, Environment, Peace, Security and Human Rights. He has built strong links with governments, multilateral agencies, business group, foundations and networks, such as the Arab Foundations Forum, Business Council for International Understanding, Chambers of Commerce, China World Peace Foundation, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, Commonwealth Business Council, European Foundation Centre, Foreign Policy Association, IDP Foundation, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, LTB Foundation, NEPAD Business Group, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Synergos Institute, United Nations Associations, US Council for International Business, US Department of State, and more.

Amir has spearheaded the UN’s engagement with leaders in the finance, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, including 3Com, BT, Cisco, Ericsson, Google, GSK, Merck, Microsoft, Nestle, Novartis, Pfizer, Standard Chartered Bank, Telefonica, Vodafone, and Walmart. He also works with high-profile personalities to support humanitarian causes, such as the Countess Sondes, Cherie Blair, Geena Davis, the Duchess of York, Julia Ormond, Joan Rivers, Russell Simmons, Joss Stone, Christy Turlington Burns, and others.

  • 1997: Set-up the Management Policy Office to oversee reform within the United Nations.
  • 1999: Established the UN Fund for International Partnerships, as the interface for the UN Foundation.
  • 2004: Set-up Diaspora Networks for Africa and the Caribbean, to promote innovation & investments.
  • 2005: Established the UN Democracy Fund.
  • 2006: Set-up the Peace-Building Support Office to spur development in post-conflict countries.
  • 2007: Established the UN Office for Partnerships, to oversee multiple partnership functions.
  • 2007: Created a Business Advisory Council for Greater Tumen Region, to attract investment in NE Asia.
  • 2008: Launched Digital Health Initiative focused on m-health applications & services, and telemedicine.
  • 2008: Spearheaded key report of public & private sector commitments for MDG Summit ($1.6 billion).
  • 2009: Substantially increased UN engagement with private sector and civil society in the Middle East.
  • 2009: Launched several new initiatives in Arts, Culture and Inter-Faith.

Amir is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) trained with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, London in 1975. Prior to joining the United Nations, he worked in business for over 15 years. He has lived and worked in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, and North America. Amir regularly undertakes speaking engagements, and serves on several non-profit boards. He is married to Tas, and they have one son, Zecki.