Heriberto Napa Tobar
President, Ecuador
Heriberto was born in Muisne, Ecuador. As a child, he personally felt the effects of lack of clean drinking water. As a teenager, he moved to Guayaquil. He served in the Ecuadorian Navy for several years before leaving to open a chain of restaurants that provided free food to homeless children in Guayaquil. He studied theology and was certified to be an evangelical preacher. Five years ago, he moved back to Muisne, where he opened a restaurant and became involved with Water Ecuador. He now works with Water Ecuador full-time and preaches in his local church on the weekends.




James Golden
Executive Director
James grew up just south of Boston, MA and graduated from Harvard University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Energy and the Environment. James is interested in international development and has done extensive research in the fields of both water purification and alternative energy. James joined Water Ecuador’s team in January 2014, and spent the next two summers in Ecuador conducting bottled water research. His research and efforts laid much of the groundwork for Water Ecuador’s new direction. In his spare time James enjoys volunteering, rowing, scuba diving, and consuming an unhealthy amount of Sour Patch Kids.



Ben Gamse
Director of Communication
Ben is from Baltimore, MD and studied economics and business at Boston University. Working in market research since graduating, he is now the market research manager for the Direct Selling Association, a non-profit trade association in Washington, D.C. Ben volunteered in Muisne in 2009 and in Estero de Platano, Ecuador in 2011 helping to improve water center operations. Upon returning from Ecuador in 2011, Ben began managing Water Ecuador’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, the blog. He later became Director of Communications. Ben enjoys hiking and would love to climb Cotopaxi one day. He also learned from his host family in Estero how to make chocolate from scratch.


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Daniel Schwarz
Director of Finances and Human Resources
Daniel grew up outside Philadelphia and is pursuing a degree in Economics at American University. He joined the Water Ecuador team in the summer of 2014 and has served as the Organization as the Financial Manager and the Webmaster. Now he acts as the Director of Human Resources. Daniel spent over 10 months in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where he got involved with provincial and municipal governments working in agricultural projects, and organizing events. In his free time, Daniel loves to cook, read, find new music, and explore his new home (Washington DC).


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Karla Feeser
Director of Research, Monitoring, & Evaluation
Karla Feeser is a graduate student at Georgia State University studying Environmental Health with a focus on Global Water, Sanitation & Hygiene and Urban Health. She spent the summer with Water Ecuador working on a research study on bottled water quality in Tena and surrounding communities. Previously, Karla has worked with non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a public health microbiologist specializing in neglected tropical diseases. When she’s not analyzing data, she loves making music, tending to her veggie garden, and reading a good book. The thing she misses most about Tena is waking up with steaming cup of fresh guayusa tea in the morning!




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Hunter Davis
Strategic Planning Manager
Hunter Davis is a senior at Wake Forest University and will graduate in May 2016 with a BS in Health and Exercise Science and a double minor in Anthropology and Health Policy & Administration. She began working with Water Ecuador in the summer of 2015 as a Research Fellow in Tena, Ecuador. In her free time she enjoys running any North Carolina trails, practicing her photography skills, and re-reading any book from the Harry Potter series.


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Kelly Mills
Research Coordinator
Kelly grew up split between London, UK and Melbourne, Australia, and has a degree in Global and Ocean Science with First Class Honours in Water Chemistry at the Australian National University. Kelly lead the study looking at bacterial contamination of water sold in the Esmeraldas region and now coordinates and trains volunteers to run this investigation elsewhere in South and Central America. Kelly currently works in wetland restoration in Canada and spends all her spare time climbing mountains.


Adrienne Meehan

Adrienne Meehan
Adrienne is studying Gerontology at Georgia State University. She earned her master’s degree in Statistics at Texas A&M University and her bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science at Georgia State University. Adrienne performs statistical analyses for Water Ecuador’s research projects. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the harp, reading, and hiking.



Ethan Jenkins
Ethan is currently studying International Relations at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C. His extensive travels to over 35 countries, have exposed him to many different cultures and living situations throughout the world. Ethan joined the Water Ecuador team in the fall of 2014 and assists the webmaster in various communications projects, including translations of Water Ecuador’s blogs and their other online publications. In his spare time, Ethan is a member of American University’s volleyball staff and enjoys listening to alternative rock and reggae music while trying to improve his musical talents.


Alexandra France

Alexandra France
Volunteer Recruiter
Alexandra France graduated from American University in May 2014, where she studied Public Health and International Studies. She is currently pursuing her M.D. at SUNY Upstate Medical University. She became involved with Water Ecuador in August 2014, when she lived and volunteered in Muisne through December 2014. She is excited to help select and support future volunteers in her current role in Water Ecuador. When she can find the time away from academics, Alexandra loves traveling, running, hiking and all things outdoors!


Lauren Guido

Lauren Guido
Volunteer Recruiter
Lauren is currently studying International Development and Environmental Studies at The Norwegian University of Life Sciences outside of Oslo. She spent 8 months living in the rural Ecuadorian Amazon where she worked with the municipal government & farming co-ops to develop strategies to produce more cacao & agricultural products. Her time in the jungle catalyzed her following year which she spent researching water development in Mexico, foreign-aid in Cambodia, and herbal medicine in the US. Lauren is passionate about finding solutions to social challenges through social venture capital, education reform, and human potential. She enjoys exploring by bicycle, discovering bookstores, and eating stove-top popcorn.


Jamie Bernowitz

Jamie Bernowitz
Finance Manager
Jamie Bernowitz grew up in Syosset, New York and is working towards a B.S. degree in Accounting from American University in Washington, D.C. She holds the Finance Manager position for the Water Ecuador team and began in the Spring of 2016. In addition, she holds a Finance Internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation which helps provide insight into the finance world of nonprofit organizations. Her interests include reading, dogs, dancing, and enjoying the beach!


John Hernandez

John Hernandez
John graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Economics and Math and has worked as a researcher in education and economics as well as a private instructor in South Florida. He is also a Fulbright Scholar and spent a year and a half in Madrid independently studying software development and providing consulting services for IE University. John will perform statistical analysis on Water Ecuador’s social media and website to help inform decisions.


Benjamin Baxley

Benjamin Baxley
Video Production Manager
Benjamin studied film & television at New York University, and now he teaches video production at a private school in Roswell, Georgia. He speaks Portuguese, rides a unicycle, and founded the Serving Church in downtown Atlanta. He is excited to help produce videos for Water Ecuador and support such an important organization.



Jonathan Ledet

Jonathan Ledet
Graphic Designer
Jonathan plans to study Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech as part of the class of 2020. He is very glad to be able to use his experience in graphic design to aid the progress of Water Ecuador. In his free time, he enjoys kayaking, mountain biking, and woodworking.



Nancy dos Santos

Nancy dos Santos
Publication Manager
Nancy, a marketing professional in the legal industry, is passionate about non-profits that aim to improve society through measurable initiatives. In her spare time, she volunteers with Boston Cares, a non-profit organization that facilitates volunteer service projects. She also enjoys spending her free time reading and exploring the Massachusetts coastline. Nancy is originally from western Massachusetts and graduated from Siena College with a B.A. in English and Spanish.


Erin Kreischer

Erin Kreischer
Content Manager
Erin graduated with a B.A. in International Politics and a minor in Economics from Juniata College. In 2011, she studied abroad at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and lived in Quito and on the San Cristóbal Island. She currently works at English At Large as their ESL Programs and Database Manager. In her free time, Erin enjoys traveling, swimming, and rewatching Gilmore Girls.





Alyssa Bilinski
Research Consultant
Alyssa Bilinski graduated from Yale summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in May 2013 and has been a member of Water Ecuador since early 2012 and worked extensively with the organization on a variety of projects including monitoring and impact evaluation efforts, building local partnerships, and the development of the water system in Chamanga. She traveled to Muisne during 2012 and 2013, where she developed a particular fondness for pan de yucca and for Heriberto’s strawberry ice cream. Outside of her work with Water Ecuador, Alyssa is a data analyst for Partners In Health and an avid distance runner.


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Katherine McDaniel
Research Consultant
Katherine McDaniel graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in May 2014. She manages Water Ecuador’s team development, and led Water Ecuador to the final round of the InnovateHealthYale Thorne Prize, a $25,000 competition for social entrepreneurship in health. Katherine worked in Ecuador in summer 2012 and misses Manglaralto’s nightly exercise classes and swapping crocheting patterns with her neighbors.



Marie Chaffard-Lucon
Engineering Consultant
Marie is a french student in the food science and biotechnology program in AgroParisTech, Paris. She was a volunteer in Muisne for a total of four and a half months working on water quality, her specially was the testing and the cleaning procedure as well as helping with the everyday life of the foundation. She loves camarones encocados (coconut shrimp) a specialty in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas.


Hannah Lupien

Hannah Lupien
Development Consultant
Hannah Lupien, MPH, is Senior Health Policy Associate at the Community Service Society, where she conducts health policy analysis and coordinates the Health Care for All New York coalition. Previously, she worked for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, where she empowered the food pantry’s customers to advocate for change in their communities. Hannah received her Masters of Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she conducted original research in Muisne, Ecuador as a Social Epidemiologist with Water Ecuador. She received her BA in History at Yale University.


Board of Directors


Alex Harding
Alex founded Water Ecuador in 2007 and served as the organization’s president for seven years. He is in residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is training to be a primary care doctor. In medical school, he discovered a new water treatment method geared towards the developing world, and in business school, he studied healthcare and international development. He reached the top 10 out of 150 business school start-up teams and the semi-finals of the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition and the MIT $100k Competition, respectively. He lived in Muisne in 2008-2009, where he founded Water Ecuador and built several of the organization’s first water centers. He loves encocado de concha.


Deidre Williams
Marketing Consultant
Easton, CT

Deidre has been on the Water Ecuador Board since 2013 and has appreciated the opportunity to work with Water Ecuador’s talented executive team.

Deidre works for Horizon Group NA, a Marketing Insights & Solutions Agency in Southport, CT. An experienced brand strategist & strategic leader, Deidre helps organizations & brands unleash their full potential. Outside of work, Deidre is interested in volunteering for non-profits focused on addressing and solving global public health & social justice issues and also enjoys playing tennis, skiing & hiking in Vermont.


Vitaliy Elbert
New York, NY

Vitaliy works for the investment team of Briarwood Chase Management, an asset manager based in New York. Before joining Briarwood, Vitaliy worked for the investment teams of Legatum Capital in Dubai and T. Rowe Price in London. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude with a degree in Economics and a certificate in Finance.


Cecilia Villar Eljuri
New York, NY

Cecilia Villar Eljuri ( is a phenomenal Latina singer-songwriter whose powerful rock, reggae and world rhythms fusion, soaring guitars & relevant lyrics inspire the fight for individual freedom. The daughter of Ecuadorian Paco Villar, the revered pioneer of radio, tv and theater and Olga Eljuri a composer of great renown in Ecuador, Eljuri was born in Guayaquil and raised in NYC. Eljuri is touted as one of the top Latina guitarists in the world and has been supported by the Gibson family of brands since 2008. Eljuri tours internationally, performs at world renowned music festivals and has shared the stage with infamous artists such as: Sly & Robbie, Juanes, Los Lonely Boys, Ely Guerra, War, Concrete Blonde, Jose Feliciano, and Steel Pulse.

A believer in the work of Water Ecuador, Eljuri has partnered with them on several fundraising initiatives since 2011.


Ryan McBain
Director of Economic Evaluation
Partners in Health

Ryan is Director of the Economic Evaluation division at Partners In Health, a non-profit global health organization based out of Boston, MA. He has a background in psychology, earning his undergrad in the field at Oxford University and then worked for several years with clinical populations. Following this, he received his masters and doctorate from Harvard University, focusing on econometric methods for evaluating global mental health projects, working with organizations like the WHO and World Bank. Ryan is passionate about working with disadvantaged communities around the world to reduce health disparities and improve access to care, and to use data to inform decisions about how to best achieve these outcomes.


Sean McDonald
Peace Corps Volunteer

Sean McDonald is a high school Spanish teacher in San Jose, California. He holds an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from California State University, Fresno. From 2011 to 2014, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, providing business advice to non-profits. Sean played a key role in improving Water Ecuador’s needs assessments, market research, and branding, and continues to advise the team in community outreach and operations improvements.


Matthew Peckarsky
Regional Technical Advisor for Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning
Latin America & Caribbean Region
Catholic Relief Services

Matt is the Regional Technical Advisor for Monitoring & Evaluation for the Latin America & Caribbean at Catholic Relief Services. Previously, he was the Director of Monitoring, Evaluation & Quality Improvement for Partners In Health. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Esmeraldas province (Ecuador) from 2004-2006. He currently resides in Guatemala City.


Kaveh Khoshnood, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Yale University

Kaveh Khoshnood, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Yale School of Public Health and Faculty Advisor for the Yale Global Health Studies Program. He is co-founder of Yale Violence and Health Study Group and a Steering Committee member of the Program on Conflict, Resiliency and Health at the Yale McMillan Center. Dr. Khoshnood is trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist and has more than two decades of domestic and international experience in HIV prevention research among drug users and other at risk populations, including its ethical aspects. Dr. Khoshnood is the Principal Investigator of a NIH/Fogarty International Center Research Ethics Training and Curriculum Development Program with China. Dr. Khoshnood is also an investigator on two current projects in Lebanon, a parenting intervention with Palestinian refugees and a population size estimation and bio-behavioral surveillance of populations at risk of HIV/AIDS.