Our Team

Jacaranda Health is a social enterprise and operates as a 501(c)3 in the US.  Our mission is to transform maternal health care in East Africa and make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women and newborns. If you are interested in donating or partnering with Jacaranda Health, please visit our Donate page.

Jacaranda’s staff is made up of professionals from diverse backgrounds in business and healthcare, supported by a network of advisors around the globe.

Management Team

Nick Pearson

Executive Director

team-nick Nick Pearson is Founder and Executive Director of Jacaranda Health. Nick has worked at the intersection of business and global health in East Africa, Vietnam, and India. Prior to founding Jacaranda, he worked in Kenya for the Acumen Fund, providing management support to businesses serving the urban poor. Nick is married to an obstetrician, and spent most of his childhood outside of the US.

Massimo Prati

Chief Administrative Officer

massimo-prati Massimo oversees Jacaranda’s US operations, including finance, human resources and regulatory compliance, and works closely with the leadership team of Jacaranda Health Kenya. An electrical engineer by trade, he spent the better part of the last twenty years as a Vice President at Cisco Systems and he also served as the Director of Operations at Embrace. He holds a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, both from Stanford University.

Faith Muigai

Chief Medical Officer

team-faith Faith oversees clinical operations and is responsible for ensuring the delivery of high quality, cost effective, patient centered services which is responsive to the needs of the population served. Her professional background stems over 15 years of local and international health experience in both public and private sectors. Previous roles include frontline health service delivery, clinical research, program development and executive management in leading health institutions (Johns Hopkins Hospital and University Specialty Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Maryland Medical Systems and LifeBridge Health). Faith has designed and implemented local and regional healthcare projects, participated in local and national health collaboratives that positively impact healthcare services. She is an elected Board Director for the Kenya Healthcare Federation, nominated Board Member for Nairobi County’s Pumwani Hospital and serves on the Kenya Nursing Council’s Discipline, Standards and Ethics committee.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Curry College, Milton Massachusetts, and a Master’s Degree in Nursing and Post Graduate Certificate in Health Administration from Towson State University, Maryland USA. She is certified in Lean and a Six Sigma-Green Belt.

Catherine Nyokabi Ongeti

Hospital Manager, Ruiru Maternity Hospital & Kahawa West Maternity Hospital

Jacaranda Health Catherine is a nurse-midwife by profession and has over seven years experience in maternal and newborn health. She joined the Jacaranda team two years ago as a nurse-midwife and rose the ranks to become the hospital manager for both the Ruiru Maternity Hospital and Kahawa West Maternity Hospital. Catherine is responsible for overseeing the daily running of the facility. She has a passion for nurse development, patient experience and quality care. She also assists in quality projects at Jacaranda's two hospitals by reviewing the protocols and providing technical assistance. Catherine has a diploma in nursing, is a registered Community Health Nurse and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health Systems Management.

Cathy Green

Quality Improvement Consultant

Cathy Green Cathy Green is an independent consultant specializing in the improvement of healthcare systems and leading sustainable change. After working for many years as a senior manager in the National Health Service and Department of Health in England, she moved to Cape Town in 2005 to support improvement programs designed to increase access to treatment for people living with HIV and reduce transmission rates. Initially she worked with local non-governmental organizations across South Africa and then expanded her projects to include women and children's health in Africa and Asia. She joined Jacaranda Health in December 2015 as their Quality Improvement Team Leader. Cathy still lives in Cape Town and when she is not traveling, loves to sail, cycle and scuba dive.

Suha Patel

Clinical Programs Manager

suha Suha is an Obstetrician-Gynecologist and global health fellow through Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She is the technical lead on a number of maternal and newborn care initiatives at Jacaranda. Suha completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California-San Francisco.

Lindsay Sanders

Communications and Development Manager

lindsay-sanders Lindsay is a digital media professional who is passionate about storytelling for social change. She has four years of experience designing and implementing communications strategies for companies in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Lindsay has a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Electronic Communications, with an emphasis in documentary film production. She joined Jacaranda Health as Communications and Development Manager in December 2015.

Fridah Mwendwa Mutiiria-Mburu

Clinical Educator

Fridah Mwendwa Mutiiria-Mburu Fridah manages Jacaranda's Continuing Medical Education activities for staff, including case reviews, conferences, workshops, one to one discussions and group discussions. She also oversees the day to day interactions with clinical staff to maintain set standards in line with Jacaranda protocols for provision of quality care. Prior to joining Jacaranda, Fridah worked at an Intensive Care Unit for 5 years, was a general nursing and midwifery tutor for college students, and also worked as a clinical nurse educator for nursing students and post basic nurses. Fridah is a registered nurse and midwife, has a certificate in Intensive Care Nursing, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing at Dundee University.

Chris Lewis

Operations Manager

Chris Lewis Chris manages the day to day operations at Jacaranda Health, overseeing activities in finance, procurement, HR, IT and sales and marketing. He is also responsible for helping improve systems and processes in each of those departments, making Jacaranda’s business operations more efficient. Chris has over six years of operations management experience and he joined Jacaranda in July, 2016 after completing a Master’s in Public Administration at Columbia University. Outside of work, Chris enjoys cooking, camping, bird watching, and motorbiking. He lives with his wife Heather in Nairobi.

Board of Directors

Dr. Ruth Shaber (Chair)

ruth-shaber Ruth Shaber MD is the founder and president of the Tara Health Foundation, which promotes health, well-being and opportunity for women and girls through innovative evidence-informed programs. She started her career as an Obstetrician and Gynecology at the Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center in 1990. From 1997 to 2003, she served as chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and from 2001 to 2007 she served as the director of Women’s Health for the Northern California division of Kaiser Permanente. She is also the founder of the Women’s Health Research Institute in Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Region. Ruth was the Medical Director at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute (CMI) from 2007 to 2012. At CMI she worked with Kaiser Permanente's regional and national leaders to apply the best evidence and successful systems approaches to create reliable clinical performance. She is chair of the board of directors at Jacaranda Health and on the National Medical Committee for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ruth received her B.A. from Yale University and her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She served her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California in San Francisco

Nick Pearson

Executive Director

team-nick Nick Pearson is Founder and Executive Director of Jacaranda Health. Nick has worked at the intersection of business and global health in East Africa, Vietnam, and India. Prior to founding Jacaranda, he worked in Kenya for the Acumen Fund, providing management support to businesses serving the urban poor. Nick is married to an obstetrician, and spent most of his childhood outside of the US.

English Sall

English Sall English is currently pursuing a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology at North Carolina State University. She is currently co-founder of an organization called Impact Thread that specializes in organizational development and metrics and evaluation for social impact and humanitarian organizations. She lives in Raleigh NC with her husband, one-year-old son and two dogs. English is also a board member of the Sall Family Foundation.

Farai Shonhiwa

farai Farai Shonhiwa is Head of Healthcare at Centum Investment Group, where she's responsible for the execution of East Africa's largest listed investment company's healthcare strategy. Previously, she was the Business Projects Manager at Life Healthcare Group in South Africa where she was responsible for driving key strategic initiatives and managing the health policy portfolio. Farai is qualified as a medical doctor and worked in the South African public healthcare sector before joining the global strategy consulting firm, Monitor Group. During her tenure at Monitor Group, she served public and private sector clients across numerous sectors, ultimately becoming Senior Project Manager. She has an MBA from Harvard and also interned for The Prime Minister’s Office in Harare, Zimbabwe, but her most important credential is that she was one of Jacaranda’s first Summer Business Associates in 2010.

Kisimbi Kyumwa Thomas

Kisimbi Thomas Kisimbi has extensive experience in RMNCH, HIV, TB, Malaria and Health Systems Strengthening having worked at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in various capacities including Malawi Country Director and Global Associate Director for Malaria across several countries in Africa and Asia. He has also worked for KPMG’s International Development Advisory Services unit. He is currently the Country Director for Kenya at Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative, which, working with the Government of Kenya, deworms 6 million children in 15,000 school across Kenya. Kisimbi graduated with degrees in nursing and economics from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing and the Wharton School.

Marisa de Belloy

MdB headshot Marisa has 20 years experience in nonprofit management, investment banking, corporate development and M&A oriented consulting with a focus on technology companies. She is currently the COO of Cool Effect, a nonprofit tech start up which provides a platform for the world’s best carbon reduction projects. She also served as COO of Made in a Free World, a nonprofit anti-slavery technology start up. Before that, Marisa created a highly successful media practice at investment banking boutique Michel Dyens & Co. based in Paris and she co-founded, ran and sold Fotango, an online photo sharing site funded by leading European VCs. She has worked at Goldman Sachs and the LEK Partnership and taught M&A at a French university. Marisa speaks fluent French in addition to her native English and has spent 15 years working in Europe. She received her MBA from Stanford University and her BA from Yale.

Susan Doherty

Susan Doherty Susan is Managing Director of Coral Tree Partners LLC, a boutique investment management firm.  Previously she was Program Manager in Intuit's Corporate Communications Division, where she implemented company-wide initiatives highlighting Intuit's customer focus. Before that, she was Client Services Manager at Digital Impact, one of the first companies to harness web technology to effectively target one-to-one marketing to customers. Susan began her Silicon Valley technology career at CM Capital Corp where she gained broad experience in venture capital and asset management.

Michael Spector

michael-spector Michael Spector is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Fortress Biotech, where he identifies innovative science to launch new Biotech and Specialty pharmaceutical companies. Michael is also a founding member of Windhoek Healthcare where he launched two Specialty Pharmaceutical Companies. Previously, Michael was Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Operations at Iroko Pharmaceuticals and he spent 15 years with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Senior Management roles in General Management, Product Marketing, and Research and Development. Michael was Vice-President and General Manager of GSK South Africa where he led the overall business and was elected to run the South African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. Michael holds a BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Rider University where he currently sits on their Business and Scientific Advisory Boards.

Dr. Michelle Sandberg

michelle-sandberg Michelle Sandberg is a pediatrician trained at Harvard, John's Hopkins and UCSF, who currently practices at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the teaching hospital for Stanford's medical school. Michelle is committed to women's rights, and has helped lead several fundraising campaigns and medical mission initiatives for women's health in East and Central Africa.

Catherine Casey Nanda

catherine-casey-nanda Catherine is Director of Global Expansion for Acumen, a global impact investing fund, where she is responsible for setting strategy, building teams, fundraising and investing in new regions. Most recently Catherine launched Acumen's West Africa office in Accra. Today she is focused on replicating that success in new regions, with an immediate focus on Latin America and Southeast Asia. Prior to this, Catherine helped build social enterprises in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, which included expanding HealthStores' clinics in rural Kenya.

France Anne Donnay, MD, FACOG

france-donnay France Donnay currently is the Senior Program Officer, Maternal Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s MNCH and Global Development Program. She manages a portfolio of grants, represents the Foundation at technical meetings and global conferences, and coordinates the execution of the MNCH strategy. France Donnay practiced obstetrics and gynecology in public and private hospitals as well as family planning clinics in Brussels from 1979-1994. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of Nancy, France. Because of her interest in maternal health in developing countries, she also worked as a consultant to the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). As MCH Specialist with Doctors without Borders, she practiced in places such as Chad and Cambodia. She was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and she now is Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Health, Tulane University, New Orleans. In 1994, France joined UNICEF to work on safe motherhood policies and programs. She transferred to UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) in 1999, where she was in charge of reproductive health technical support at Headquarters from 1999 to 2005, before leading the UNFPA office in Pakistan from 2005 to 2008. Between short visits and longer tenures, she has worked in many countries in all regions of the world.