Hope on a String's work is located in the Arcahaie region of Haiti, northwest up the coast from Port-au-Prince. Rather than operate within the Haitian capital city, we made the conscious choice to locate our program and the associated development in Arcahaie to encourage the decentralization of Haiti's assets away from Port-au-Prince.
Arcahaie is a historic town that lies in a pocket of fertile land between arid mountains and the Port-au-Prince Bay where the population supplements their main income of remittances with small-scale commerce, agriculture, and fishing.
With a population of roughly 115,000 people, Arcahaie will sustain robust participation in Hope on a String programs and serve as grounds for new economic activity. Also, Arcahaie’s relative proximity to Port-au-Prince allows for supplies to be transported and visitors to travel with relative ease. Because the town sustained only minimal damage from the earthquake in 2010, Hope on a String focuses on solving long-term, system challenges and not simply those aligned with this acute natural disaster.
Bennett is a full-fledged believer in the transformative power of music to make the world a better place. He co-founded the organization after traveling to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake in 2010. Bennett is responsible for Hope on a String's overall performance and growth, including program management, strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, and operations. Prior to building Hope on a String, Bennett worked in the private sector for a financial management consulting firm in New York City. Bennett holds an MPA from New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and graduated from Amherst College, where he played rugby.
Stacie brings to Hope on a String experience in law, international economic development, community organizing, human rights advocacy and immigration. She is passionate about Haiti and has worked with the Haitian community domestically and abroad. In Haiti, she worked closely with governments, NGOs and private donors to implement development programs in microcredit lending, education and child welfare. In the U.S., Stacie worked as a advocate for Haitian immigrants. Having completed her Juris Doctorate, she is currently a litigation associate at a law firm in Boston, Massachusetts. She will act as counsel for Hope on a String, providing legal guidance to the organization as it develops into a leading nonprofit.
Born, raised and educated in Haiti, Pierre commands a sophisticated understanding of Haitian culture and the devastated country’s socio-economic framework. Additionally, years of education and experience in the United States have earned him a mastery of community planning, management and public administration. Pierre’s successes include supporting the health, welfare, and integration of hundreds of thousands of immigrants in New York, Massachusetts and California. He brings unique expertise to Hope on a String’s team and is poised to leverage two decades of executive experience in not-for-profit, philanthropy and government to advise program implementation and operation as co-founder and Senior Country Advisor.
Felix grew up in Corail, Haiti and is an active participant and leader in Hope on a String’s community development initiatives. Felix is highly respected in the community for his ability to take on tasks that require important leadership skills. He is known for his sense of wisdom and ability to solve complex problems, which he has demonstrated in numerous ways throughout his participation with Hope on a String. Prior to serving as Country Director, Felix was HOAS' program manager and also led a team of local electricians in planning and installing the solar electrical system that now powers our community center. Felix's dedication and skills promise to help build our capacity to deliver impact at Hope on a String.
Andrew is currently the Venture Capital Business Development Manager at Amazon Web Services. He was previously a Senior Associate at Triangle Peak Partners, LP, a multi-strategy investment firm with offices in Palo Alto, Carmel-by-the-sea and Houston, where he sat on the firm’s five-person Investment Team, which is responsible for managing venture capital, growth equity and hedge fund strategies. Andrew also managed trading and hedge fund operations as well as being the lead Associate on Triangle Peak's venture capital strategy. Prior to joining Triangle Peak, Andrew was an equity analyst at Columbia Management Advisors, where he worked with a team managing high net worth client portfolios, as well as two Columbia mutual funds. Andrew began his career with U.S. Trust Company, a private bank specializing in high net worth client portfolios and diversified mutual funds. In 2006, he served as a summer analyst at Lehman Brothers in the Private Investment Management group. Andrew received a B.A. in Sociology from Amherst College in 2007, with concentrations in Political Science and History.
Cassandro is currently Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase. Previously, Cassandro served as a Legal Fellow for the Haiti Country Department at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where he worked on a variety of development projects in Haiti, including the development of an industrial park, education reform and public-private partnerships in a number of sectors. A native of Haiti, Cassandro hopes to build on his experience at the IDB to help make Hope on a String a driver for the development of social capital throughout Haiti. Cassandro received his B.A. from Bowdoin College and his JD from Columbia Law School.
Christina Bechhold is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Empire Angels, a member led angel group of young professionals investing in technology enabled startups with a focus on supporting your entrepreneurs, as well as investor at Samsung’s Global Innovation Center, focused on early stage investments in software and services. Christina is a Regular Contributor for the Wall Street Journal on startups and small business, a mentor at The Brandery and Venture for America and a member of VFA’s Rise Committee focused on increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. She is a frequent speaker and panelist at events in the U.S., Europe and Asia and was recognized by the New York Business Journal as a 2016 Woman of Influence.
Christina was previously a Vice President at Citigroup with background in capital markets, emerging markets and structured finance. She serves as Chairman of Hope on a String as well as Vice President of the Board of Governors of the Hotchkiss School Alumni Association.
Edward is a Haitian-American with firsthand experience and knowledge of the socio-economic conditions in Haiti. As an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, Edward worked with members of the Student International Business Council in Leogane, Haiti to assist with the creation of KOLEMO, a mosquito net manufacturing business. During his graduate studies in City Planning and Spatial Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania, Edward served as a graduate intern for Development Innovations Group, an international development firm that provided the Government of Haiti with strategic advisors for various ministries involved with land use and urban development following the earthquake of January 12th 2010. Edward was also a graduate intern for Deutsche Bank’s Community Development Finance Group, where he assisted with strategic projects and program evaluations for long term housing finance solutions and economic development in Haiti. Edward is currently a Vice President with the Strategic Investments Group for the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Janet O’Connor Cornell, a founding member of law firm CornellGrace, is an “AV Preeminent” rated attorney and has more than 25 years’ experience as a litigator in the New York City area. Ms. Cornell is a seasoned trial attorney with experience handling a wide range of complex litigation matters for corporate and individual clients in state and federal courts, as well as in court-sponsored and private arbitrations and mediations. Ms. Cornell is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She is also admitted to practice in the District Courts of New York and New Jersey as well as the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Cornell and her firm help sponsor the award-winning Diversity Initiative designed by the Defense Association of New York (DANY) providing mentorship and guidance to minority and women attorneys. In addition to serving on the Board of Hope on a String, Ms. Cornell’s charitable work includes helping create a scholarship in memory of her parents that provides financial support to college bound students from public high schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She is also certified with the Literacy Volunteers of America, which assists those learning English as a second language. Ms. Cornell graduated from cum laude from Fairfield University and received her JD from Fordham University School of Law.
Negin is a research associate at Causeway Capital Management, a global equity asset manager based in Los Angeles. For the past 5 years, Negin has focused on equity investments, working at investment firms such as Kopernik Global Investors and Vinik Asset Management and covering the consumer and materials sectors. Prior to investment management, Negin worked in management consulting for 4 years, advising sellside firms on their fixed income operations. Negin graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in International Political Economy and received her MA from Harvard University in Middle Eastern Studies. Negin is a CFA charterholder.
Tim Visser is a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice. In this capacity, he prosecutes hate crimes, incidents of official misconduct, and other cases involving the violent interference with individual's civil rights. Tim previously worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Covington & Burling LLP, where he focused on anti-corruption investigations. He also worked as a law clerk to Judge Liam O'Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Tim received his law degree from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he served as President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the nation's oldest student-run legal services office. Prior to law school, Tim spent four years working with Teach For America, first as an elementary school teacher in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, Florida, and then as member of Teach For America's national teams focused on teacher recruitment and preparation. Tim graduated with honors from Amherst College, where he majored in history.
Cherie Abbanat is CEO of Haiti Projects, a nonprofit organization with focused initiatives to empower women of rural Haiti toward self-sufficiency. Haiti Projects provides access to jobs at fair trade wages, education, health care, and avenues for building sustainable community. Cherie, a Haitian/American, has worked to empower women throughout the world, particularly in Haiti. Cherie brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, project development and management, finance, grant writing, and social medial networking and fundraising. Cherie also lecturers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and in the Department of Architecture. She has been teaching at MIT for over twenty years where she lectures rebuilding post-disaster in New Orleans, Haiti and Chile. Cherie has her undergraduate degree in Economics and French from Simmons College and her Masters Degree in City Planning with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.