Paula heads the Business Call to Action, working closely with our partners and member companies to advance inclusive business contribution to the SDGs. Prior she worked for BSR, a leading sustainability organization, advising large corporations on a range of sustainability issues including responsible sourcing, human rights, sustainability strategy, and inclusive economy. Paula worked for 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. Previously Paula worked with international NGOs such as CARE International, and the Aga Khan Foundation on value chain development projects, social impact investing, and microfinance. She has worked and lived in a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Kenya, Mozambique. Paula began her career in Bogota, working in marketing for Grupo Aval, the largest financial economic holding in Colombia. Paula 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.
Sahba Sobhani is a Global Programme Advisor-Private Sector in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS), UN Development Programme (UNDP). In this capacity, he provides programme support and policy advice on private sector development issues and technical oversight for UNDP’s multi-stakeholder initiatives including the Business Call to Action Initiative, the Connecting Business Initiative and the G20 Global Platform on Inclusive Business. He has significant experience in programme design, development and resource mobilization in the area of private sector in development including the design the first in the world mobile money-enabled housing repair initiative for early recovery in Haiti and the successful setup of a national CSR Center in Egypt and a global center in Turkey. He has also designed and implemented a successful targeted corporate outreach strategy that tripled the number of inclusive business member commitment by leading companies from 50 to 150 through the Business Call to Action Initiative. He has been the principal author and content manager of all 5 major UNDP-led reports in the area of private sector in development, including 2003 African Stock Exchanges Handbook, 2004 Report of the Commission on the Private Sector and Development: Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business for the Poor, 2008 Global Growing Inclusive Markets Report: Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor, 2010 Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative, MDG Report and Report Team co-manager of two regional Growing Inclusive Markets Reports for Africa (2013) and Emerging Europe and CIS (2011); .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, 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).
Nazila leads the Knowledge and Partnerships work for the Business Call to Action. Before joining BCtA, Nazila worked on regional economic integration, agricultural value chain development, youth entrepreneurship, and SMEs development projects with the UNDP International Center for Private Sector in Development and the Private Sector AFIM Unit at the UNDP Regional Centre for Africa. Prior to re-joining UNDP in 2015, Nazila worked as an Economist and Project Coordinator with Coffey International Development, a leading UK-based consulting firm that focuses on coordinating and managing donor funded projects in developing countries globally. She supported the management of multiple M4P (Making Markets Work for the Poor) Private Sector Development Projects for major clients such the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Previously, Nazila worked with the UNDP Kenya Country Office on governance reforms, civic and voter education and youth and women empowerment. Nazila started her career as an intern with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Nazila holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from the University of Geneva and an MSc in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has worked and lived in a number of countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Iran and is fluent in French, English, Italian and Farsi.
Tolga Cebeci is the Impact Management Specialist at the Business Call to Action. He has policy and research experience on a wide range of economic issues for a total of 12 years.
At the World Bank, as a consultant, he conducted research on large scale databases and published technical papers for policy purposes on such topics as firm productivity, export competitiveness, entrepreneurship, gender and labor markets. He was also one of the founders and the programmer of the Bank’s Exporter Dynamics Database.
At the Ministry of Economy of Turkey, as a trade specialist, he executed safeguard investigations in several sectors based on WTO rules, implemented diplomacy to advance trade and investment relations of Turkey with Middle East countries and involved in activities to help Turkish contractors and technical consultancy companies expand their overseas presence.
He has an MPA in International Development (MPAID) from Harvard University, where he was a Vice President in the Organizing Committee of the “Harvard International Development Conference 2010”, a BS in Economics as well as a minor in Mathematics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
Rabayl Mirza is the Impact Management Specialist at the Business Call to Action. She has a strong track record of supporting organisations and companies manage and measure their impact. Prior to joining BCtA, Rabayl worked as a Senior Manager for the Measurement, Learning and Evaluation function at the Aman Foundation, $100 million social impact fund of the Abraaj Group.
At Aman, she put in place an impact framework and institutionalized evidence-based decision-making. She also led the Corporate Social Responsibility department for Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT), a private shipping conglomerate. At PICT Rabayl set up Organization for Social Development Initiatives (OSDI) that invested in health, education and livelihoods in the rural areas of Pakistan. She has also worked as a consultant with Stimulus (Pvt) Ltd to provide technical support on program design and impact measurement, and as Monitoring and Evaluation lead for the Sindh Rural Support Programs, a Pakistani government initiative to improve livelihoods for women in the rural areas.
She has an MSc in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham (UK) and a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan.
Maria Alejandra Blanco-Iturbe serves as Private sector and Philantropy SDG National Advisor at UNDP Colombia, and acts as focal point for BCtA in Colombia. With over eight years of experience in international development and prior to joining BCtA, Maria Alejandra worked at UNDP as a Public-Private Partnership Advisor for the Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation designing and implementing the Agency´s Public-Private Partnership Strategy contributing to the Government ́s development priorities and SDG ́s. Previously, worked at Plan International in Colombia as an International Cooperation Officer developing and overseeing Human Rights projects in the region and worked in the Ministry of Planning and Development in Venezuela advising bilateral and multilateral development and MDG programs. She holds a Master´s Degree in Applied Political Studies and a B.A in Government and Politics.
Zain Kazmi joins Business Call to Action team as a UNV Programme Analyst focusing on client facing Outreach with companies practicing inclusive business models. Prior to joining BCtA Zain worked for Unicef UK on their Corporate Partnerships and Child’s Rights and Business teams focusing on supply chain and travel and tourism sectors. Before moving into development Zain worked in the private sector in merchandising for Arcadia Group in London.
Recently, Zain completed his MSc in Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam. For his thesis, Zain conducted independent research on how the influx of refugees into Jordan impacts how education is governed within a context of humanitarian and development aid.
Sheila Casserly joins Business Call to Action as part of the Outreach and Risk Assessment Team. Sheila’s professional background in education and international relations has spanned from her native Minnesota to Berlin, Vienna and Istanbul. Sheila previously worked in the German Bundestag as a recipient of the International Parliamentary Scholarship and later moved to Istanbul, where she trained business professionals in corporate and cross-cultural communication skills at numerous Turkish and multinational companies. During her graduate studies in international management, Sheila served as representative of Koç University on the CEMS Global Student Board, where she led a team focused on responsible leadership and social responsibility in business education.Sheila holds a BA in Geography and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a CEMS MSc in International Management from Koç University in Istanbul and Vienna University of Business & Economics. She speaks English, German and Turkish.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In operating with other federal offices concerned, SDC is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.
Sida works according to directives of the Swedish Parliament and Government to reduce poverty in the world. The overall goal of Swedish development cooperation is to contribute to making it possible for poor people to improve their living conditions. Sida's head office is located at Valhallavägen in Stockholm, but staff are also stationed in the partner countries. We are organized in ten departments, Internal Audit and the Director-General's Office. Five departments work with implementing the development assistance and five with support, steering and control A large proportion of the contribution management is delegated to the foreign missions. Sida's Director-General is called Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. Bo Netz is Deputy Director-General. The total number of employees is 678 people (jan. 2014), of which approximately 140 persons work outside Sweden. Approximately 65 per cent of the employees are women.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the channel through which the Dutch Government coordinates and carries out Dutch foreign policies, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
USAID is the principal U.S. Government agency working to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.
UNDP is the UN’s global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.
Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) supports the private sector and foundations to become transformative partners in development through research, advocacy for inclusive business, facilitation of public-private dialogue and brokering partnerships. IICPSD, established in 2011 in partnership with the Government of Turkey, is one of UNDP's six Global Policy Centres.