Our Team

The BCtA Secretariat is a made up of a team of professionals and support staff who manage the day-to-day operations of the program. BCtA is headquartered at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has representatives in partner offices around the world.

Secretariat Staff

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Paula Pelaez

Paula Pelaez is the Programme Manager of the Business Call to Action. She brings over 14 years of experience working with multi-lateral organizations, international NGOs and the private sector, with an emphasis on inclusive business and corporate social responsibility. Paula has been working for BSR for the past 2.5 years advising large corporations in the Financial, ICT, Healthcare and Consumer Goods sectors on a range of sustainability issues including responsible sourcing, human rights, and sustainability strategy. At BSR, Paula was also part of the team advancing business leadership for an inclusive economy through collaboration.

Prior to BSR, Paula worked for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, as Programme Advisor for a large portfolio of programmes in Asia and Eastern Europe, working on issues relating to private sector development, youth employment, and gender economic empowerment. She also worked for CARE International, managing value chain development projects, and providing capital and technical assistance to social enterprises in Latin America, India and Kenya.

Paula has also worked in microfinance as an Aga Khan Foundation Fellow in Bangladesh. She began her career in Bogota, working in marketing for Grupo Aval, the largest financial economic holding in Colombia which owns several banks in Central and South America. Paula is Colombian-Canadian and has lived and worked in Mozambique, Kenya, and Canada. She speaks Spanish and English, and has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, Canada, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia.

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Sahba Sobhani

Sahba Sobhani serves is the Technical Advisor to the Business Call to Action and Global Programme Advisor at the Private Sector, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), UN Development Programme (UNDP). He also serves as the manager of UNDP’s Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative (GIM).

Sahba is the lead author of the first GIM report, Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor, which was launched in 50 countries since July 2008. The report was translated in seven languages. He also authored the 2010 report titled The MDGs: Everyone’s Business. Mr. Sobhani was the first Interim Director of the UNDP Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development, which in partnership with the Turkish Government, is the first global centre of its kind established with a major emerging country.

Previously, he managed two key UNDP private sector initiatives in the executive office of the former Administrator of UNDP, Mark Malloch Brown, including the Commission on the Private Sector and Development headed by Paul Martin, the former Prime Minister of Canada and Ernesto Zedillo, Mexico’s former President, and the African Financial Markets Initiative. He co-authored Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor, the seminal report of the Private Sector Commission produced at the request of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr. Sobhani was the managing editor of the African Stock Markets Handbook. He has also worked in the private sector at Idealab in Palo Alto and Newscom Limited in Singapore.

He is a graduate of Yale University and the Fletcher School of Diplomacy (USA).

DSC_8685_resizedTatiana Bessarabova Tatiana Bessarabova is the Inclusive Business Knowledge and Partnerships Lead for the Business Call to Action. Tatiana is an author of various publications for the BCtA on inclusive business and climate change, agriculture, sustainable energy, low-income housing, and various case studies. Prior to joining the Business Call to Action, Tatiana was a Tinker Fellow in Peru, where she conducted field research on sustainable development in the mining region of Cajamarca. Previously, she worked at the Council of the Americas and UNDP Private Sector Division focusing on fostering partnerships with philanthropic and private sector actors. She also has experience in working on the public-private partnerships in Central Asia and Latin America. In the past, Tatiana served as the Director for Eastern Europe and CIS at the Women’s Equity Council of United Nations Association, and worked as the Sustainability Fund Manager at UC San Diego. She also worked as a researcher for the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies based in San Diego. A native of Kazakhstan, Tatiana speaks Russian and Spanish languages. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University.
YunzhongCheng Yunzhong Cheng Yunzhong Cheng is the Data Management Consultant for the Business Call to Action, where she supports the impact measurement of inclusive businesses. Yunzhong is a dynamic professional with over 5 years of combined experience in private, public and nonprofit sectors. Before joining BCtA, she worked for UNDP NYHQ Independent Evaluation Office and Global Business Intelligence Team respectively with a focus on monitoring and evaluation since 2013. She also worked for the U.S. Department of Education as a Grant Proposal Evaluator after she obtained the Master’s Degree in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University School of Social Work. Her earlier work focused on corporate strategy and financial analysis for clients in various industries while working with Accenture consulting company and Deloitte accounting firm in Shanghai, China.
TatsianaHulkoTatsiana Hulko Tatsiana Hulko is an Outreach Coordination Consultant for the Business Call to Action Program responsible for supporting and conducting client facing outreach to global companies practicing Inclusive Business. Tatsiana joined the BCtA team after working as a consultant for a global FMCG company working in the Russian and CIS markets. Previously, Tatsiana was a regional financial analyst for Bloomberg Emerging Markets division focusing on Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Prior to her private sector experience, Tatsiana managed regional conflict-mitigation and development portfolio for USAID with programs focusing on microfinance, small and medium enterprise, civil society and public health. She holds a Master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from London Metropolitan University.
Tomohiro NagasakiTomohiro Nagasaki Tomohiro Nagasaki is the Impact Team Lead of Business Call to Action, where he leads initiatives on impact measurement of inclusive businesses. Tomo is also a co-author of BCtA’s flagship report “Breaking Through (2014)” on inclusive business and contributes articles on social impact to Guardian Sustainable Business. Prior to UNDP, Tomo worked for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group in Tokyo where he engaged in emerging market financial transactions in Asia. He also worked for the International Finance Corporation in Washington D.C., and consulted for the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture on the country’s private sector development projects in the agricultural sector. Tomo holds a master’s degree in International Business and Development Economics from The Fletcher School at Tufts University where he was a Fulbright Scholar, and a B.A. in International Relations from International Christian University in Tokyo.
 MinjaNieminenMinja Nieminen Minja Nieminen serves as the Outreach Lead for the Business Call to Action. Minja was previously based in Kenya where she supported BCtA’s knowledge and impact activities under a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme Kenya. Minja has worked previously at UNDP Kenya in private sector development and engagement, focusing on building partnerships. Prior to joining the UN, Minja worked at Deloitte in Corporate Responsibility and Consulting. She has also experience from working in India in SME trade development, in Mexico for the Embassy of Finland and in France for the International Finance Corporation (IFC).Minja holds a Master Degree in International Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, with exchange studies conducted in Chile and Spain. Interested in development impacts of inclusive business, Minja wrote her Master’s thesis for the Finnish Development Fund, studying the case of a pharmaceutical company operating in Kenya.

Philippines

Mich RoqueMichelle Roque Michelle Roque is a National Consultant for SDGs and Inclusive Business at the UNDP Philippine country office.  Prior to joining UNDP, Michelle was a consultant who worked on a pilot program of a multinational firm to enable people’s access to safe water in the rural areas in the Philippines.  For four years, Michelle was part of an international consulting firm where she managed multiple emerging market programs across Asia and built meaningful and sustainable partnerships between Fortune 500 companies in agriculture, energy, transport and health sectors and various players in the international development community.  She holds a BA in Economics (Honors program) from Ateneo de Manila University and an MA in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University.

Japan

AiOharaAi Ohara Ai Ohara is the BCtA Outreach Consultant based in Tokyo where she recruits Japanese companies with innovative inclusive business models, provides consultations in initiation of inclusive businesses, as well as advocates the work of BCtA. Ai joined UNDP as a Consultant for the Private Sector Partnerships in 2012. Prior to joining BCtA, she had managed pilot projects to develop inclusive business models jointly with Japanese companies and UNDP country offices in Africa and Latin America, as well as organized several seminars and workshops to promote the concept of inclusive business. Prior to joining UNDP, Ai has had nearly 20 years of experience working for the leading consulting firm of Japan, Nomura Research Institute as a researcher of regional development and as a manager of CSR and corporate communications. Ai holds Master of Development Administration degree from Western Michigan University in the U.S.

Interns

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Roza Budak

Roza Budak is a Communications Intern with the Business Call to Action. Roza has experience as a reporter and a political news editor with independent media outlets in the United Kingdom and Turkey. Following the experience in the media sector, she also participated as a voluntary Turkish Human Rights Association’s women support team where she gained in-depth knowledge on human rights law and gender equality issues. Roza holds an undergraduate degree in Mass Communication from University of Hertfordshire in London, U.K. and is currently enrolled in Master’s degree in Women’s  Studies at Mersin University in Turkey.
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Julia Jäckle

Julia Jäckle is an Outreach Intern with the Business Call to Action. She is about to finish her Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of St. Gallen, based in Switzerland. Also, she conducted an exchange semester at Bogazici Üniversitesi in Istanbul. Before joining the BCtA, Julia gained professional experience at a research institute at the University of St. Gallen specialized in Systemic Management and Public Governance. Having been interested in the workings of the United Nations for a long time, Julia continuously engaged in extracurricular activities such as organizing a study trip to the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus or joining the Model United Nations Team at her university.

Locations

World Map

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