Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth Funk is actively engaged in designing innovative programs that address world poverty with commercial projects and funds. She is the founder and CEO of the Dignity Fund, which provides small loans to the world’s poor allowing them to start businesses and build their own way out of poverty. Until recently she served as Chairman of the Board of Unitus, the leading microfinance acclerator. Her other board involvements include Root Capital, Deutsche Bank’s Global Microfinance Consortium Fund, FINCA’s Microfinance Fund, the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network, Glide Community Development Corporation (San Francisco), and Imperial Parking (Hong Kong). She was the founding Chairman of MicroPlace, a service that allows retail investors to invest in Microfinance, until it was sold to EBay in 2006.
Elizabeth was one of the earliest employees of Yahoo! During her tenure at Yahoo she was responsible for the strategy and development of a wide variety of new products including Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Local, Yahoo! Classifieds, Yahoo! Greetings, Yahoo! Finance, and Yahoo! Auctions. She managed the team responsible for business development on many of Yahoo’s most important services including Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo’s core Search. Most significantly, Elizabeth was the founder of Yahoo! Shopping, managing the initial design and creation of what later came to account for over 2/3 of the company’s revenues.
Prior to Business School, Elizabeth spent four years at Microsoft Corporation where she served as a Product Manager for Microsoft Word and as one of the early members of the Microsoft Office team.
Elizabeth is an active member of the Young President’s Organization (“YPO”). She currently serves on YPO’s International Board of Directors and was a founder of Social Enterprise Networks, an initiative within YPO that brings together members worldwide on projects that “make a difference” in the world. She is an active member of the American Friends of the Louvre and the Prince of Wales Foundation.
Elizabeth holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Economics with Honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she graduated in 1996 as a Baker Scholar. She is a frequent speaker about Microfinance, to audiences such as at the US Department of State, the Forbes CEO Conference, and the Clinton Global Initiative. She was recently named the “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” by TiE. She has been profiled in publications including Forbes, the San Jose Mercury News, and Business Week. In 2010 she was named “Businesswoman of the Year” by Veuve Clicquot. Elizabeth has two children and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Susan Zeleznik has served as Dignity Fund’s Managing Director since 2008. In her current role, she manages investor communications and operations which include loans and guarantees in twelve countries around the world. Prior to working with the Dignity Fund, Susan was the director of several Bay Area High-wealth family offices.
Susan is a seasoned executive with extensive private and nonprofit sector experience domestically and internationally. She began her career with Arthur Andersen and spent nearly two decades working as a CPA and consultant. She helped start a new service line focusing on the needs of the small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits. In the early 1990s she went on to help start Andersen’s office in Prague, Czech Republic. She managed much of the office’s administrative functions while her client focus was primarily on Global 1000 inward investment and the valuation of Czech and Slovak companies.
After moving to San Francisco, she created Andersen’s first stand-alone Community Affairs function and served as the Director of Community Affairs and Marketing for the Pacific Northwest region. In addition to her marketing responsibilities, Susan was in charge of all philanthropic activities including grantmaking, pro bono work, and employee volunteer programs (including skills-based volunteerism and board placements).
Susan has been an active board member and officer of Tax-Aid, a nonprofit that helps give back millions of dollars to thousands of the Bay Area’s working poor each year. After more than a decade of service, she has recently moved to an advisory capacity. Past board and nonprofit involvement includes Grantmakers without Borders, Committee on Jobs, Northern California Grantmakers, Habitat for Humanity, and San Francisco Opera’s BRAVO Club!.Susan holds and undergraduate degree in Honors Accounting from the Ohio State University where she graduated Cum Laude. She also holds an undergraduate degree in voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco where she was a Graduate Merit Scholar and earned the Dean’s Medal of Honor for academic excellence.
B. Maya Chorengel
Consulting Advisor and Former Managing Director
Maya Chorengel is a co-Founder and Managing Director of Elevar Equity, a leading global growth investor that provides equity capital to microfinance institutions and other companies focused on the underserved four billion at the base of the economic pyramid. Prior to co-founding Elevar, she was the initial Managing Director of the Dignity Fund, a private investment fund that provides local currency debt financing to high-growth microfinance institutions in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Maya grew up in Asia, has long been active in international investing and is passionate about commercially viable, market based solutions to development challenges.
Before beginning her work in impact investing in 2005, Maya was at Warburg Pincus, working in the private equity firm’s New York, Hong Kong and Menlo Park offices. She invested in a variety of companies spanning venture and growth capital to leveraged buyouts to post-Asian-crisis balance sheet restructurings in the US, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, China and the Philippines. She also previously worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley (Hong Kong and Singapore) and James D. Wolfensohn, Incorporated (New York).
Maya is a Director of Caja Rural Los Andes, GlobokasNet, the International Association of Microfinance Investors, Dignity Fund and Wokai. She has served as Director or observer on several boards, including Comat Technologies, North Pole Ltd., Eagle Family Foods, printChannel, GT Nexus and RFM, Philippines. Maya graduated with Honors in Social Studies from Harvard University and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.