A global team bringing private sector rigor and experience to purpose-driven projects
Synergos is headquartered in New York and has offices in Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia and Egypt. Our internal staff team has expertise in a broad range of industries, cultures, languages and social process technologies. Synergos’ on-staff consultants are complemented by a network of Consulting Associates who bring additional sectoral and country expertise.
Don Mohanlal is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Synergos Institute, a global nonprofit organization that helps solve the complex problems of poverty and inequality by promoting and supporting collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalized communities. He is also a member of Synergos’ Board of Directors. Mohan, as he is known, brings more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in building and leading organizations dedicated to addressing some of the planet’s most pressing social challenges – including health, climate change and economic issues. In this capacity, Mohan led innovative partnerships with dozens of other leading foundations and companies aimed at advancing the conditions and prospects of vulnerable populations. He has worked in 110 countries.
John leads Synergos Consulting Services and brings more than 20 years of international development and private sector experience. He has served as a senior strategy consultant to companies investing in emerging markets and has been instrumental in the creation of partnership initiatives in areas of health system reform (Namibia), indigenous people (Canada) and agricultural transformation (Nigeria). Prior to joining Synergos, John worked with the Council on International Educational Exchange, the Open Society Institute, the Population and Community Development Association and also as a commercial real estate developer. He holds a BA in Sociology from Haverford College and an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University.
Surita is Vice President of Programs at Synergos. She brings many years of experience in the non-profit sector holding senior positions in Amnesty International and the Rockefeller Foundation and deep expertise in building multisectoral partnerships around the world. While at Synergos, she also acted as CEO of the Bhavishya Alliance focused on child nutrition in India. Born and raised in Singapore, she holds a degree in history and politics from the London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies and a law degree from City University London.
Leah Bradford Francis
Leah Bradford Francis is Director at Consulting Services. Prior to joining Synergos, Leah was President of the Kraft Foods Group Foundation, leading the company’s philanthropic investments in community partnerships, humanitarian aid and employee civic engagement. Prior to Kraft, Leah served as a Program Officer in Community Development at The Chicago Community Trust. Leah has worked for both Deloitte and Accenture’s Human Capital practices. In these roles, she provided organizational development, change management, culture transformation, and strategic communications counsel to Fortune 500 companies and federal government clients. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Swati Chaudhary is Senior Manager at Consulting Services. She brings 13+ years of experience in management consulting, investing and economic development. Most recently she was a Manager at PwC Advisory, where she advised clients on FinTech strategies, banking and payments, revenue growth, cost cutting, risk management, as well as inclusive business, financial inclusion, social entrepreneurship, gender equality and value chain diversity. Swati has worked closely with UN Global Compact on developing Compass – a guide for companies to align their strategies with SDGs. She brings knowledge of impact investing from Acumen Fund and growth equity from General Atlantic. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin and Marshall College, and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. A third culture kid (TCK), Swati grew up between Bihar, India and Manila, Philippines, and has worked in 12 countries.
Elliott WallElliott is Manager at Consulting Services. He is a graduate of the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut. He previously worked in the Human Capital Consulting division of Deloitte & Touche Middle East, where he contributed to projects involving organization transformation, corporate governance compliance, and performance evaluation. While at Synergos he has worked on projects in Africa and the Middle East.
Adewale AjadiAdewale is based in Nigeria and is currently leading the State Agricultural Transformational Agenda initiative. He is sought-after leader, speaker, writer, creative spirit and facilitator. Adewale has over 20 years experience working on issues that transform human interaction in the direction of meaningful dialogue, authenticity and empowered value creation. His book, Omoluwabi 2.0 - A Code of Transformation in 21st Century Nigeria offers guidance on achieving African excellence through values-based transformation. Adewale holds a MSc in International Business Economics and a Honorary MBA from De Montfort University.
Abera Tola Gada
Abera is the Regional Director for Ethiopia. Prior to joining the Synergos staff in 2011, he was the Regional Director of Oxfam America for the Horn of Africa Program. Prior to this role, he was the founder and executive director of HUNDEE, a well-known local development organization in Ethiopia. Abera holds a BA in business administration from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, a certificate in management of non-profit organizations from Open University in the United Kingdom, and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Melissa DurdaMelissa represents Synergos in Europe and is Director, Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC). Prior to this Melissa created and managed a Philanthropy Program at Vaclav Havel’s Forum 2000 Foundation. She also spent four years in New York working with members of the GPC, where she ran an African Working Group and organized a number of events for members to learn from each other and leaders in the field of international development and philanthropy. Melissa’s nonprofit experience is in a variety of fields (education, children, nutrition, advocacy, emergency response, water, media) on projects in the Czech Republic, Africa, Asia and the United States. Melissa has a MSc. in European Political Economy: Transition from the London School of Economics and a BA in International Relations from the University of Virginia.
Hisham El RoubyHisham serves as Synergos’ country director in Egypt, focusing particularly on our promotion of social entrepreneurship. He founded the Egyptian Volunteer Center in 2000 to introduce volunteerism to the development movement by matching young people with volunteer opportunities at organizations and companies. He has worked with the Near East Foundation in Cairo and the EU in community development and youth development. He has also written scripts for television programs for nonprofits, as well as several manuals and books for UNICEF and the World Bank on subjects such as volunteer management, youth development, civic education, and life skills. He also currently serves as the Synergos Arab World Social Innovators Representative for Egypt, Lebanon, and Morocco.
Len le Roux
Len, Senior Director, Southern Africa, is an expert in the area of financial sustainability of grantmaking foundations and has conducted training exercises and consultancies both in Namibia and internationally. He has been instrumental in the formation of a number of Namibian foundations, is a founding member of the Namibian NGO Forum and sits on the Boards of a number of local foundations. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science from Graeme College.
Daniel, Director, Senior Fellows, is primarily responsible for programming for the Synergos Senior Fellows. He is also working on Synergos’ monitoring and evaluation systems and on employing Internet technologies for our programs. Daniel has experience in formulating strategy and developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks for projects as diverse as nutrition and housing. Before joining Synergos, Daniel worked in university administration as well as volunteered with the Trickle Up Program, a microfinance organization. He is an honors graduate of Hunter College and holds a Master's degree in public and nonprofit management with focus on policy analysis and program evaluation from New York University.