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INVESTMENT TEAM

 
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DAVID SIMMS
Managing Partner and Founder

In the spring of 1984 David and his wife Kim were standing in a farm field in Guatemala, where he understood for the first time the power of business to accelerate the Great Commandment to love God and love our neighbor. He has been privileged to spend a significant portion of his life using sustainable, finance-driven solutions to bring Hope, create jobs and transform lives for people living in poverty, principally in the developing world.

David has served as president of Opportunity U.S and Chaired the Opportunity Global board during a time when it had some ten million clients. He was a founding chair of MicroEnsure, a Bridgespan Partner, S.E.V.P. at MBNA, CEO of the Red Cross Washington/Baltimore Region, and a White House Fellow. David started his career at Bain & Co.

David and Kim live in the U.S. and have two wonderful adult sons. They enjoy sailing, touring historic sites, involvement with both their local church, C12 and serving throughout. David graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Penn/Wharton and has a joint J.D. and MBA with distinction from Harvard.

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HARRY TURNER
Partner

Harry has a 25-year career leading cross-cultural teams primarily in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa delivering large-scale programs in the finance industry. Harry has led global teams for large commercial firms (Macquarie Bank and Anderson Consulting) and for global social impact organizations (Opportunity International and Oikocredit).

He is personally involved in several startup social enterprises in the UK, is on the board of a $50M microfinance investment Fund (Dia Vikas Capital India) and is excited about the impact of bringing significant capital into SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and beyond. He spends his free time with his wife and three teenage children, enjoys listening to and playing good music and loves sport of all kinds – still managing to play cricket on a regular basis.

Harry has an MBA (with distinction) from the University of Oxford and a BS in Computer Science (honors 1st class) from the University of NSW, Australia.

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JON HALVERSON
Partner

Jon has 25 years of experience in international business leadership, investment, development and strategy consulting with two of the world’s leading food and agriculture multinationals, Cargill and Land O’Lakes, where he served as a Vice President. He has lived and worked on three continents, most notably in Tanzania where he led a talented team in executing over 50 loans to Small Market Enterprises across East and West Africa. Jon witnessed firsthand the transformational impact of a thriving business achieving scale in challenging contexts. His areas of passionate interest outside of impact investing are mountain climbing, canoeing and skiing, both alpine and skinny skis!

Jon has a BA from Wheaton College and an MBA – International Business from Regis University.

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IRIS WEN
Associate Partner

Iris has 15 years of experience in financial services, small business startups and scale-ups in Africa, and leading cross-cultural teams. Prior to Talanton, she was the Executive Director of a faith-driven social impact venture, Videre, that incubated and funded over 70 rural businesses in South Sudan, Ghana and Senegal.  She has also provided financial and strategic consultancy to impact-driven businesses in India and Eastern Europe. Iris started off her career as an investment banking analyst for UBS Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She enjoys creative deal structuring and the detective work of due diligence to uncover the growth potential in businesses. Most of all, she is passionate about using business as a God-given tool to alleviate poverty and fight injustice, and believes that funding the missing middle is a lynchpin to doing so in low-income countries.

Iris received her BS at Cornell University in Applied Economics and Management, and her MBA with distinction at the University of Oxford. She is Chinese-born, New York City-grown, and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her husband Henry and two young boys. She hopes that her boys will grow up to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. And also brush their teeth.

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CAROL JERREHIAN
Senior Vice President Marketing

Carol has an extensive Marketing background, with experience in financial services, enterprise software, retail and other industries.  She has held management positions with industry leaders including AIG, QVC Network and SAP.  

 

While reporting to David Simms at MBNA, Carol became further inspired to pursue her dream job to help the poor in the developing world.  That dream became a reality with Talanton. With a heart for the homeless and the poor, Carol supports several nonprofits through sponsorship and volunteering.  

 

She has a B.A. in Business Administration from Grove City College. Carol is passionate about traveling the world to experience different cultures and meet new friends. 

She enjoys photography, live entertainment, reading, music, and being outside in nature. Most of all, she cherishes time with family and friends.

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MICHELLE OCHIENG
Vice President Investor Relations

Michelle is a Kenyan national and a permanent resident of the United States. Prior to joining Talanton, she worked for Volkswagen at their Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters in the Sales Africa department, and with Hilton Hotels Worldwide in London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya. 

She brings a wealth of Sales, Marketing and Account Management expertise to Talanton, and understands the SME business dynamic, having worked in Kenya with both Lattice Consulting and Young & Rubican.

Michelle is a Christian whose walk with God started in her early teens.  She has served with Word of Life Ministries in Kenya as a youth counselor and also briefly as Bible School Administrator.

Having lived and studied in Nairobi, Kenya, she has seen the first-hand effects of poverty on individuals and families.  Talanton’s mission to honor God through impact investing in growth-stage companies to help lift people from poverty resonates deeply with her.

Michelle has an MBA in Finance & Marketing from the USA WASC affiliated Kenyan University (USIU-Africa), is an Alumni Fellow of the GIZ German government Fellowship program 2017-2019 cohort, and is trilingual, speaking English, Swahili & German fluently.

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FLORENT NDUWAYEZU
Senior Analyst

Florent has five years of experience in financial advisory and management consulting supporting small, medium and large companies, investment funds and other strategic investment partners in the Sub-Saharan African region. Before joining Talanton, he was a Senior Analyst at Open Capital Advisors (OCA), a consulting firm based in Nairobi that drives growth, enables investment, and builds markets across Africa.  While at OCA, Florent provided advisory and consulting services/client support through financial market research, development of financial models and creation of investor-specific materials.  He reviewed capital structures to fit company balance sheets, risk level, growth goals, projected cash flows plus assessed relevant financing options. In addition, he developed and executed fundraising strategies for partner companies.   

 

Florent has a Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science from Strathmore University, Kenya. He is passionate about values-led investments, specifically faith-driven social impact ventures.  He is also an advocate for sustainable or socially responsible investing. In his free time, he enjoys reading and outdoor sports. Having lived in different parts of Africa, Florent can fluently communicate in English, French, Swahili, and Kirundi. 

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PAUL CHERRY
Business Assessment

Paul has 30 years of professional experience in the petrochemical industry in a variety of technical, manufacturing, sales, procurement, supply chain and strategic roles with responsibilities in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. He was employed for 20 years by Lyondell Basell and its predecessor companies, initially in Australia and then in Hong Kong. Since 2010, he has been a freelance consultant working with clients on strategic and operational projects.  He also delivers petrochemical and polymer training globally. 

  

Paul and his wife Michele live in Hong Kong and enjoy sports and hiking in the beautiful (and hilly) Hong Kong country parks. He also runs in road races up to marathon distance. Their two children are both attending university at Paul’s alma mater, leading to lopsided family debates about the best university in Australia.  

 

He is thrilled to work with Talanton to identify and support businesses in East Africa, which not only generate financial returns, but bring jobs and meaningful incomes to thousands of people. Paul has a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honors) and Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne.   

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SHELLY BALBACH
Executive Assistant

Shelly’s walk with God began at the age of 20 when she immediately knew she wanted to study His Word and dedicate her life to Him.   

 

Prior to joining Talanton, Shelly was the Executive Assistant for several executives at FedEx Services and has held similar roles at other organizations.  At one point in her career, she was the Office Manager at a local Christian school and was blessed to “go to school” each day with her three boys. 

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies and Helping Professions from Cincinnati Christian University, where she met her husband, Bill.  He is a lead pastor at a church near Pittsburgh, PA, where they have been privileged to serve since 2001.  

Talanton’s mission to honor God through impact investing in faith-driven,  growth-stage businesses to help people lift themselves from poverty is quite meaningful to Shelly. She is excited to be a part of something that directly works to enrich the lives of those in need.