Mission

Our mission is to construct schools and support educational programs as a way to break the cycle of poverty and violence in areas that are impoverished and affected by conflict. We strive to provide education as a tool for our students to carve a path forward so that they may enjoy happier, healthier, more financially stable, productive and meaningful years ahead.

Corporate Sponsors

Board of Directors

Philippe Houdard

Founder and President
Mr. Houdard is the Founder and President of Developing Minds Foundation, where he oversees the strategic direction of the organization. He is also co-Founder and President of Pipeline, a shared workspace for entrepreneurs, startups and professionals. In 2008 Mr. Houdard started another company, SkyBank Financial, and he remains on the company’s board of directors. Prior to launching these entrepreneurial ventures, he served in executive positions for a number of early-stage and Fortune 500 companies, including Lucent Technologies. Mr. Houdard began his career in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Legislative Aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, and he subsequently served on the campaign staff for U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. He graduated with a Master of Public Policy from Harvard and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida.

Natalie Shoup

Executive Director
Ms. Shoup first worked with Developing Minds as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow. She currently serves as Executive Director focused on evaluating the impact and strategy of the organization. Most recently she was Program Manager at Data-Pop Alliance, a non-profit working to promote a people-centered Data Revolution. She led many projects at the intersection of Big Data and development including trainings on data literacy and an initiative to promote access to private sector data for social good, the Open Algorithms project. Ms. Shoup has previously been involved in volunteer work with UNICEF and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She has professional experience in data analytics, risk management and financial services through work at financial and consulting firms. Additionally, she has worked with the education e-learning startup, EZLearn Educacional, and a social enterprise for market research, Mobile Metrix, both based in Brazil. Ms. Shoup graduated with a BSE in Operations Research and Financial Engineering and certificates in Engineering and Management Systems and Latin American Studies from Princeton University.

Dehdan Miller

Board Member
Mr. Miller joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October of 2008 and manages the Executive Office’s Strategic Planning and Engagement team, in support of the Foundation’s Co-Chairs and CEO. Immediately prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Mr. Miller was in charge of strategic development, and legislative and public policy matters for the Council for Information and Planning Alternatives (CIPA). Mr. Miller previously served in Lehman Brothers’ Global Corporate Strategy Group, as a Legislative Aide to former Congressman Ron de Lugo (VI), and as a Budget Analyst for the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, Mr. Miller has served as a consultant or staff member to multiple Presidential campaigns, the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance, and the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Miller is a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands Bar Association, and holds an A.B. in Government from Harvard College, a Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Chris Mehringer

Board Member

Mr. Mehringer is the President of Park Street, the leading provider of productivity enhancing and cost-saving back-office solutions, advisory services, and working capital solutions for domestic and imported alcoholic beverage brands. Park Street is an importer and national distributor working with hundreds of wine and spirits brands from the U.S. and around the world, including craft and non-craft distillers, vineyard owners, multi-brand global suppliers, celebrity brands, and more. Under Mr. Mehringer’s leadership, Park Street’s financial services practice provides emerging and established brands working capital and trade financing to accelerate growth. Previously, Mr. Mehringer served as President of a national consumer products distribution company where oversaw all aspects of the operations and growth and developed and maintained strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 consumer products companies. In addition to Developing Minds Foundation, Mr. Mehringer serves on the Board of the Harvard Club of Miami. He holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University.

Joseph Mohan

Board Member
Mr. Mohan is President and COO of Viva Airline Group, the leading low-cost airline company in Latin America. Previously he was Commercial and Planning Vice President of Copa Airlines, based in Panama City, Panama. Prior to accepting his position at Copa, Mr. Mohan spent 10 years working with Continental Airlines, where he was part of the upper-management training program, participating in the areas of strategic planning, revenue analysis, sales and marketing. He was an active participant in Continental Airlines’ turnaround from “worst to first.” While at Continental, Mr. Mohan was part of the team that engineered the airline’s equity investment in Copa, which contributed to Copa’s becoming one of the most profitable airlines in the world over the past 10 years. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Mohan began his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he served on the legislative staff of former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, focusing in the areas of intelligence and foreign relations. Mr. Mohan has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Florida and an MBA from Georgetown University.

Seth Zalkin

Board Member

Mr. Zalkin founded the Astor Group, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, private placements and the development of cross border strategies in 2004. The following year, Mr. Zalkin founded Astor Capital, an investor in consumer and technology companies. 

As Managing Partner of Astor Group and Astor Capital, Seth has executed complex transactions, negotiated investments for a wide range of clients and portfolio companies and created a myriad of innovative growth strategies. Mr. Zalkin is recognized for his knowledge of the Brazil market and of the consumer, internet and TMT sectors and is frequently quoted in publications such as the New York Times, Forbes and Private Equity International.

Prior to founding Astor Group, Seth served as CEO of, and successfully exited, venture-backed internet, technology and professional services companies. As CEO, Mr. Zalkin led the sale of businesses to both public and private companies and successfully cultivated relationships with clients such as Time Warner, IBM, Bacardi, Sony Music and Perrier.

Mr. Zalkin currently serves as an Executive Director of Matter Unlimited, a creative agency that creates integrated strategic marketing, branding, and digital campaigns and serves on numerous corporate boards within Brazil, Canada and the United States. Mr. Zalkin received a JD from University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a BA from Duke University.

Board of Overseers

Marc Gonsalves

Mr. Gonsalves began his career as a military intelligence analyst then in civilian life became an international security/counterintelligence lead for Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. In 2014 Mr. Gonsalves left the corporate world and is now a real estate investor and co-owner of The Cave Bouldering gym in Kansas City Missouri. In 2009 while working a counternarcotics airborne surveillance mission, Mr. Gonsalves and his fellow aircrew suffered a catastrophic engine failure and were forced to crash land in the jungles of Colombia. Upon exiting the wreckage the survivors were quickly abducted and held hostage for five and half years by a terrorist group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC. During captivity Mr. Gonsalves saw first hand the militarization of children. Mr. Gonsalves was awarded the Secretary of Defense medal for the Defense of Freedom and is co-author of New York Times best seller Out of Captivity.

Craig Levinson

Mr. Levinson is Director of Sales & Client Development for Berger Singerman, and the co-creator of RainmakerVT, an online, virtual reality, business development training system. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of JFS Broward, a social services foundation providing counseling, support programs, clothing, and a food bank, to our area’s most vulnerable children, families, and seniors. Mr. Levinson chairs JFS’s Entrepreneurial Growth Committee. Previously, he served as Vice President & CMO of JAMS, Inc., where he was also a principal benefactor of the JAMS Foundation, which offers financial assistance for national and international conflict resolution initiatives. At his prior position, Director of Business Development & Marketing for national law firm Brown Raysman, Mr. Levinson won the Marketing Partners’ Forum/Spherion “Marketing Initiative of the Year” award. Mr. Levinson earned his J.D. from Boston University School of Law/School of Graduate Communications dual degree program. He received his B.S. in Telecommunications from the University of Florida.