CBi is an initiative supported by the UN and driven by the private sector. Its Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and it receives guidance from an Executive Committee that meets once a year.
In 2021, CBi Executive Committee is made up of:
- Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, Under Secretary General, National Society Development and Operations Coordination, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
- Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, President, UPS Foundation
- Firzan “Hush” Hashim, Country Director, Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL) CBi Member Network representative
- Lila Karbassi, Chief, Programmes, United Nations Global Compact
- Shaheen Kassim-Lakha, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- Marcos Neto, Director, Finance Sector Hub, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Emmanuel Nouga-Ngog, Chief, Private Sector Engagement, Diaspora, and Innovation Division, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Edem Wosornu, Chief, Emergency Response Section, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- David Young, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group
Kareem Elbayar is the Programme Coordinator of the Connecting Business initiative.
Kareem was a Partnerships Manager for OCHA's Centre for Humanitarian Data, where he was responsible for identifying, assessing and securing strategic partners with a focus on the private sector. From 2016-2018, Kareem was a Technology Partnerships Adviser for the Director of OCHA’s Corporate Programmes Division, managing relationships with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and dozens of other technology companies. From 2013–2016, Kareem served as a Programme Manager for UNOPS in Iraq, overseeing a portfolio of more than $25 million in law reform and emergency humanitarian relief projects.
Prior to joining the UN, Kareem worked as a Legal Advisor at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, specializing in freedom of association in the Arab world. Kareem holds a Juris Doctor and a Masters in International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Nara’s role as the digital and knowledge management analyst includes managing CBi’s global portal, supporting communications and working in the field of innovation and new technologies in disaster management. Since joining CBi, Nara has successfully participated in the trainings in disaster management such as “Advancing Government Innovation and Leveraging Frontier Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction and Building Resilience” organized by UNDRR and UNDESA and “Humanitarian Coordination Foundation Programme” organized by OCHA.
Previously, she worked as a marketing professional in Fortune Global 500 private sector companies in China. Her skills are in business development, project management and marketing strategies.
Nara enjoys working with people from diverse backgrounds and has a deep understanding of cross-cultural communications thanks to her experience in extensive traveling and volunteering with community-based organizations in Africa for various projects including women’s empowerment in Tanzania, sustainable development of coffee value chain in Rwanda, and inclusive education in Senegal.
Nara holds MBA from Cass Business School at City University of London in the UK.
Priscilla Lecomte joins CBi as the team's Communications Specialist. She has been working with the UN since 2014, first as a radio producer in Swahili with UN News, then as an economic affairs officer with the Economic Commission for Africa in Kigali, and the UN social media team in New York. She joined OCHA in June 2020 where she managed the corporate social media accounts. Her prior experiences include project management for NGOs in Tanzania and Rwanda, and communication management for local governments in France. She is a graduate from Sciences Po Bordeaux and holds a Master in development, cooperation and humanitarian action from La Sorbonne. She’s the mother of Jasmine, 12 & Eyad, 9 and an aspiring triathlete.
Tiina Mylly is the Conflict & Fragility Specialist at CBi.
With over 12 years of experience working for and with the private sector, Tiina has been in charge of driving and supporting corporate sustainability and development projects and policies in different contexts. Prior to joining CBi in 2017, Tiina spent over four years with the United Nations Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. She worked with companies and private sector networks to expand and deepen their contributions to peace and led the organization’s initial engagement in the humanitarian space. Tiina has also worked as a corporate sustainability specialist at a publicly listed retail company, coordinating their sustainability efforts and engagement in various initiatives (UN Global Compact, BSCI, The Bangladesh Accord, CDP). Tiina started her career working for the largest corporate sustainability network in the Nordic Countries.
Tiina holds a MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the Helsinki School of Economics. In addition to her mother tongue, Finnish, she speaks English and French.
Rhiza Nery is the Local Network Coordination Specialist of the Connecting Business initiative (CBi) based in Istanbul, Turkey. Her portfolio includes network support and management, impact measurement, accountability to affected populations and SME disaster resilience.
Previously, Rhiza used to be the Business Continuity Program Manager of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) - the Philippines’ major coordinator for private sector engagement in disaster risk reduction and management efforts. During her work with PDRF, she led the implementation of PDRF’s business continuity programs for Micro, Small, Medium enterprises (MSMEs), corporations and critical infrastructure. One of her major accomplishments include leading the establishment of a Continuity of Operations or Public Service Continuity Program for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the Philippines. She also worked as a Professional Fellow at the Florida Division of Emergency Management where she acted as an emergency planner for Emergency Support Function (ESF-18) - Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization during Hurricane Michael in 2018.
She is an environmental/urban planner and a certified business continuity professional by the Disaster Recovery Institute International. Due to her contribution in the field of business continuity, the Business Continuity Institute has recognized her as “Continuity and Resilience Professional in the Public Sector for Asia” in 2018 and 2019.
She completed her Masters in Disasters, Adaptation and Development at King’s College London as a Chevening Scholar.
Shahnaz is a freelance writer and communications adviser based in rural Portugal. She supports CBi in all things communication-related: social media, reports, blogs and articles, and more.
Previously, Shahnaz worked as Senior Communications Specialist at the Vitality Institute, where she managed all aspects of communications, events, and public relations for the Institute. She also led the initiative on integrated heath metrics reporting, and supported project work ranging from healthy aging to intergenerational mentorship, and design for health.
Prior to that, she was on the Health Team of the World Economic Forum, managing the Workplace Wellness Alliance project which worked with leading multinational companies, facilitating best practice sharing and carrying out data collection across geographies for peer-to-peer and regional benchmarking. She also worked on the broader chronic disease portfolio, integrating health into the agenda of the Annual Meeting in Davos for four consecutive years.
With a diverse background in health, communications, and business, Shahnaz has experience running global campaigns for the International Labor Organization as well as with startups in Bolivia, Switzerland, and the US. During the few years she spent in Bolivia, she volunteered extensively with the Red Cross and the La Paz Children’s Hospital.
Originally half Iranian, half Bolivian, Shahnaz grew up in Switzerland and did her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania before completing a Healthcare Management MBA degree in Europe. She and her husband are now renovating an old farm into an ecotourism project in Portugal.
Michael Sudarkasa has joined CBi as the Regional Private Sector Consultant for Africa. Michael is the CEO of Africa Business Group (ABG), a South Africa based continentally active, African economic development company. The Group specializes in the areas of private sector development, trade and investment within Africa and between Africa and the global business community. A U.S. commercial attorney by training, Michael has lived, travelled, and worked in 50 countries around the world (including 35 in Africa), and is the author of several publications, including: The African Union Commission’s Africa Business Directory: Toward the Facilitation of Growth, Partnership and Global Inclusion(African Union, 2014), A Field Guide to Inclusive Business Finance (UNDP 2012) and Investing in Africa: An Insider’s Guide to the Ultimate Emerging Market (John Wiley & Sons, August 2000). Michael currently serves as the Chair of Impact@Africa, a continentally focused impact investment ecosystem development platform, as the sole sub-Saharan Africa representative on the global board of the UNDRR’s Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE), as an Advisory Committee Member of the ASPEN Network SA Gender Equality Initiative Action Lab, as a member of the University of Michigan Provost’s Advisory Committee, and as Chair of the Advisory Board of the African Studies Center of the University of Michigan. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (High Honors in History), a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
Luis Tello has joined CBi as the Regional Private Sector Consultant for Latin America. Prior to this position he worked for more than 6 years as a ranked official for the Peruvian government, specialized in social development, social and financial inclusion, women economic empowerment, environmental and social affairs. Before working for the public sector, he worked and lived in Venezuela, USA, and Peru, and worked in environmental and social impact assessment, and stakeholder’s engagement in the private sector, with projects in the Latin America region. Most recently he was a consultant for the UNDP in Peru, integrating the SDGs into the post-disaster recovery process in the North of Peru, and preparing a UNDP project document PRODOC, to support the implementation of the Pan American and Parapan American Games 2019.
He started his career working in banking process operations for American Express Bank in Venezuela. Luis holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas City, an MBA from American University in Washington DC. Luis speaks fluently Spanish, and English.
Tiina Turunen is the Knowledge, Partnerships and Innovation Specialist at CBi.
Tiina has over 12 years of experience in multi-stakeholder partnerships in the development and humanitarian fields. Previously, she worked at the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response in Accra, the Innovation and Development Alliances Cluster at UNDP headquarters in New York, the UNDP Regional Center for Eastern and Southern Africa in Johannesburg, the UNDP Country Office in Lesotho, in academia and the private sector in international trade facilitation, insurance and retail sector. She has worked on UNDP’s global corporate strategies, policies and partnerships, supported national development planning processes, engaged in national and regional policy work, managed several development projects, led the development of global and regional knowledge products and developed communities of practice.
Tiina holds a CEMS MSc in International Management from ESADE Barcelona and Helsinki School of Economics and a MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the Helsinki School of Economics. Tiina speaks Finnish, English, Spanish, French and some Swedish.
The knowledge sharing between CBi networks has given the VBRC additional capacity to change lives. Thanks to CBi tools and guidelines, the private sector has a credible voice in disaster response in Vanuatu.
The CBi platform has enabled us to explore international standards and guidance in achieving resilience along with sustainable development as well as with a value addition of networking with partnering nations in terms of knowledge management and expertise.
Over the last 5 years, our partnership with CBi has been beneficial in pushing forward the agenda of how private sector networks coordinate and collaborate with governments and the UN - ultimately, making a significant difference to people's lives affected by crises.
CBi has changed the private sector vision and perception in the humanitarian field. Private sector business activities are often exposed to risks. However, thanks to CBi, Member Networks have know-how and support to use their potential resources to reduce risks related to disasters.
CBi has enabled AGERCA to learn from other networks about emergency response initiatives that we can adapt to your reality in Haiti in order to achieve better results.
CBi has helped us to look at the world differently - especially in humanitarian relief focus areas. at large, this partnership has helped to increase engagement pushing us closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
CBi and its networks have made a big difference during the first five years of the initiative. Their expertise has helped us to deliver what matters to communities in need.
Our work with CBi recognizes the role that the business sector can play in limiting disruption and facilitating recovery. It brings critical expertise and coordination on disaster preparedness and recovery to the UN Global Compact and our local networks.
CBi is reimagining how partnerships can work more effectively and ensure local voices and member networks are leading solutions for their own communities.
CBi's 5-year journey is a terrific testimony to the power of collective action. Its networks have touched the lives of millions of people and CBi will have even greater impact as it engages more companies in more countries.
In the last five years CBi business networks have helped people in over 100 crisis. We look forward to expanding our work with our business partners in these critical context to leave no one behind and build back better while accelerating progress towards the SDGs.
Coordination with the private sector for enhanced and effective humanitarian principled responses is CBi’s core strength. CBi has built from its unique value proposition, which includes harnessing coordination with the private sector and its expertise and unique capacities to respond effectively to disasters and complex crises around the world.