Our People

Core Program Leaders


Melanie St.James, MPA

Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer

Awakened to the richness of humanity's diverse cultures along with the critical environmental challenges on a sophomore semester abroad in China, Melanie has dedicated her life to a thriving world.

After experiencing the duality between social and economic movements at the 2007 World Social Forum in Kenya, she saw an opportunity to forge critical partnerships through a hyper-inclusive civic engagement event. Combining fundaments of her Masters thesis, "A New Population Theory: Human Security as a determinant of fertility rates" calling for more cohesive, interdisciplinary policy making to support local self-determination, The Global Summit social, economic, & environmental forum became central to EW's impact eco-system.

In concert with EW, Melanie leads BioNova Health, a social enterprise dedicated to preserving indigenous cultural and natural heritage of source.   After studying abroad in China Melanie earned a BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Schiller International University in Madrid, Spain. and Masters of Public Administration in International Management from the Middlebury (then Monterey) Institute of International Studies (MIIS) . Loves: Horses, Dogs, Tango dancing, Diving.  Fluent in French & Spanish, working Portuguese & Italian.  LinkedIn...

Scholastica Sylvan Kimaryo

Co-Designer & Facilitator, Catalyst Action Training (CAT) Program

Founder & CEO at Kilimanjaro Conscious Leadership Institute

From a rural village in Tanzania, Scholastica created a global legacy in leadership and sustainable development -- earning advanced degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Scholastica served for three decades across Africa for the United Nations, UNDP, UNICEF as Country Director in South Africa and Liberia.

Chopra Center University Certified Instructor in Perfect Health & Primordial Sound Meditation, Scholastica combines her extensive life experience and passion for participatory approaches to support Empowerment WORKS' 7SS Catalyst Action Training.  Scholastica first brought her contagious inspiration and wisdom to EW our 2nd edition of The Global Summit training intensive in  in 2010 and was an honored guest speaker our 5th biennial in Rio de Janeiro, August 2016. LinkedIn...

Jay Markert ("Jay Ma")

Director of Sustainability Education & Event Production
Fiscal Sponsorship Program Co-Coordinator

A seasoned event producer who has produced educational programs, retreats, workshops, conferences and community development projects for 15 years with organizations including the Regenerative Design Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Gaia University, Omega Institute, Harmony Festival, and many others. He is the lead producer of the Northern California Building Resilient Communities Convergence, the largest permaculture event in North America.

As the founder of Living Mandala, and fire walk instructor (through Sundoor International), Jay works with holistic educators, businesses, communities and institutions organizing, and promoting trainings, and initiatives for personal, ecological and social transformation in the Unites States and internationally.

Jay received his first Permaculture Design Certificate in 2001, started his degree program in performing Arts Production Management at Naropa University, received a B.S. through New College of California in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community with a concentration in Eco-Dwelling & Natural Building in 2005. He is a two-time graduate of Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness training through the Regenerative Design Institute.

Bandita Thapa, MA

Regional Director-Asia (Nepal)

Co-Director, 7SS Catalyst Action Training (CAT) / Opportunity Nepal

Nepali born and raised global social entrepreneur, Bandita Thapa, became involved with EW in 2010 when she came to the USA to participate in The Global Summit II.  Bandita has worked for the past 15 years to create locally-led change, founding two organizations and serving as an expert in Monitoring and Evaluations for major international agencies including United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

After The Global Summit 2010, Bandita's follow up exploration and on-the-ground development time in Nepal with EW's Executive Director led to the co-creation of "CAT: Catalyst Action Training" - a unique community development education initiative whereby local organizers develop the 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) training content & tools in their own language through addressing local issues.

As the youngest program officer in PLAN International at 20, Bandita has since traveled the world advancing her skills in Asset Based Community Development, and continues to blaze trails representing the voices of grassroots women. She earned a Masters Degree in Sociology, TU Nepal, 2007, and Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership Development, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada, 2009 (completed as an Award Winner of CIDA).

Tawanda Mutukwa

Partner Lead, 7SS Africa Implementation  / Opportunity Nepal Pilot

Co-conspirator on ICT solutions for BOP markets

Tawanda is a Social Impact Techpreneur. He is  a 2016 Tony Elumulu Entrepreneurship Programme  Entrepreneur for 2016 and a 2016 AmpionFellow. He has been a social entrepreneur for the past 6 years. Tawanda has also served as an ideation consultant for the Center of Design Technology and Management in Munich. Tawanda has a passion for technology usage in Bottom Of the Pyramid Markets and is also a lover of great food, which led him to co found Agro-informatics tech startup Hurukuro Consultancy in 2014. He also holds qualifications from the University of Zimbabwe.