The Investment Committee comprises financial experts who provide insights into Verde Ventures investments. The committee meets approximately six times a year to review new and existing Verde Ventures investments.
In reviewing proposed investments, the committee considers a project’s appropriateness in accordance with Verde Ventures’ purpose and objectives, as well as the project’s potential risks and benefits. The committee also periodically reviews the existing investment portfolio.
INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Leslie Barcus is a MicroFinance Specialist at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP)/World Bank managing the development of a MicroFinance MBA for international graduate MBA programs. Prior to joining CGAP, Ms. Barcus served as Director of Lending for Accion New York's microfinance operations. In the late 1990s, Ms. Barcus was Assistant Vice President of Citibank in Slovakia before becoming Vice President of Global Country Risk Management at Citibank, New York. She has prior work experience in commercial lending, economic development and capacity building. Ms. Barcus holds a master's degree in international development from American University and a bachelor's degree in finance from Miami University of Ohio.
Patrick Coady is President of Coady & Co, an international investment banking firm specializing in privatization and infrastructure development with project work in Argentina, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Russia and the United States. From 1989-1993, Mr. Coady was the U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank and was instrumental in the establishment of the Global Environment Facility, environmental practices and procedures and establishing the policy framework for private sector involvement of the World Bank Group. Mr. Coady served as Chief Financial Officer of The Acacia Group, a financial services company involved in insurance, mutual funds and banking. From 1966-1980, Mr. Coady was a principal in the corporate finance department of Dillon, Read & Co. in New York involved in all aspects of corporate finance from capital raising to mergers and acquisitions. In 1994, Mr. Coady co-founded the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust. Mr. Coady has an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard. Mr. Coady has been a Conservation International Senior Fellow since 1993 and a Verde Ventures Investment Committee member since its inception.
Niels Crone is Conservation International’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). Niels provides strategic leadership for Conservation International (CI) and is responsible for the alignment of the organization’s program and operational functions. As a member of CI’s Chairman’s Office, he ensures effective management, integration, and collaboration across the organization and works with division heads to successfully implement CI’s strategy and vision. He also serves as the liaison to the Board’s Audit Committee and participates in the Executive Sessions of the Board. Niels was hired as Conservation International’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration in 2002. In this capacity, Niels was directly responsible for CI’s worldwide financial operations and served as the organization’s treasurer. In 2003, Niels was promoted to Executive Vice President for Finance, Human Resources, and Administration. Under his leadership, CI streamlined its financial and administrative processes, strengthened its financial and risk management capabilities, and further built its international operations infrastructure. In 2004, Niels was further promoted to Chief Operations Officer and was directly responsible for all of CI’s operations and legal functions. In this role, he continued to secure strong and effective management of CI’s resources by fully integrating the support functions with CI’s program activities. He also served as the financial and human resources liaison to the CEO, the Board, and key donors. Niels has over 20 years of experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. His private industry background comes from almost 10 years as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and from direct operations experience as the Chief Operating Officer of The Global Steel Exchange, and as Director of Risk Management at CapitalOne. Niels’ non-profit and conservation experience comes from six years of employment with The Nature Conservancy first as its Chief Financial Officer and later as its Chief Operations Officer. Niels’ areas of expertise are in corporate finance, business & risk management strategies, product development, and marketing & analysis. He is an active member of the conservation community and helps shape its thinking about key strategic and operational issues facing our conservation efforts. Niels earned a M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a M.Sc. Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
Mark Feldman is President and Chief Executive Officer of the L&L Manufacturing Co., a Los Angeles, California-based clothing company. He is actively involved with Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles, whose mission is to foster the potential of fatherless boys as they grow into adulthood. He is also active with City of Hope, one of the world's leading research and treatment centers for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including HIV/AIDS and diabetes. He is a benefactor of the Harvard-Westlake School, and also served on U.S. President Bill Clinton's Commission on Employment and Enterprise Zones. Mr. Feldman is a vice chair of Conservation International's Board of Directors and is a co-chair of its Finance and Investment Committee.
Steven Graubart, CFA, has diversified experience in the areas of financial operations and management, private equity, project finance and international business development. Mr. Graubart recently served as Chief Financial Officer of a number of technology companies, including Prometheus, where he was responsible for financial management and operations and for leading the sale of the company to the top industry player. As Managing Director of Calvert Ventures, he served as a subadvisor to a $60-million OPIC-backed Emerging Europe Fund; worked with Grameen Bank on obtaining financing from The Soros Foundation; and provided support to portfolio companies. As Director of Edlow Resources, Mr. Graubart was responsible for developing infrastructure projects in emerging markets. Previously Mr. Graubart was with Ernst & Young and IPAC Inc., advising companies and international agencies on foreign investment, trade, and private sector development. He is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and SUNY at Stony Brook.
John May is the Managing Partner of the New Vantage Group, an investment firm based in the U.S. state of Virginia that specializes in innovatively mobilizing private equity capital. Mr. May has extensive experience as a venture fund manager and advisor, including Calvert Social Venture Partners and Seraphim Capital, a London based venture fund. In addition to co-founding New Vantage in 1997, he has been at the forefront of the "angel" investing movement in the region and the US, co-founding the Investors Circle, The Dinner Club and Active Angel Investors. In 2005 he co-founded the Angel Capital Association, where he was Chair from 2006 – 2008. He is a Batten Fellow at the Darden School, University of Virginia, and co-authored "Every Business Needs an Angel" (Crown Business: 2001). He is a graduate of Earlham College with a BA and has a MPA from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
Jennifer Morris is Executive Vice President of the Ecosystem Finance and Markets Unit of Conservation International (CI) and co-chair of the Resource Management Group of Conservation International. Jennifer has over 15 years experience in international conservation program development with a specific focus on innovative financing, sustainable economic development and corporate partnerships. Jennifer has a BA in Political Science from Emory University and a Masters in International Affairs with a focus on business development from Columbia University. As Executive Vice President, Jennifer leads a team of 80 professional to develop and implement conservation initiatives supporting CI’s mission of sustainable development in 60 countries with over 1600 partner organizations. Jennifer has lived and worked in Asia, Africa and Latin America Jennifer has served on the board of several organizations including the SEED Initiative, the Conservation Finance Alliance and the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade. Jennifer lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and daughter.