Meet the Inaugural Class of Acceso Fellows

This year, we introduced the new Acceso Social Business Fellowship Program with the goal of giving graduate students and driven young professionals the opportunity to obtain hands-on, real-world experience while working within our portfolio of innovative social businesses. By joining our team, Acceso Fellows directly learn from Acceso experts about efficiently managing social businesses, business case development, best practices in farmer training, financial and social reporting, traceability tools, and other topics. They also benefit from tapping into Acceso’s extensive network of partners including impact investors, foundations, NGOs, and other organizations who are leaders in their field.

We are pleased to introduce the inaugural Summer/Fall 2020 class of Acceso Fellows whom we firmly believe represent the future of social enterprise leadership!

Olivia Thompson joins us as an MPA student from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where she is specializing in Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment. Olivia grew up outside Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy in 2014 with a focus on international development policy. She worked for a small education nonprofit in Lusaka, Zambia through a one-year Princeton in Africa Fellowship. Upon her return to the U.S., she spent three years working as a management consultant for higher education institutions before deciding to attend Wagner. Olivia’s favorite experience at Wagner has been the experiential learning course on scaling social enterprises with Acceso in El Salvador, where she developed an intimate understanding of Acceso’s operations and evaluated growth opportunities for their fish and seafood line. She is very excited to join the Acceso team as an Acceso Fellow based in New York to analyze and improve financial and social data across the agribusiness portfolio.

Diego Santana is a passionate impact-driven social entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience leading agro-industrial projects, through executing inclusive business models and based in the philosophy of B Corporations. His background as an industrial engineer with a degree from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia allowed him to work in the private sector with renowned consulting, retail and energy companies. He has worked with different actors in private-public projects, and nonprofit organizations. His most important achievement was leading the inclusion of the quinoa in a school feeding program for 80,000 children of the Boyacá region and the opening of the Canadian market for quinoa exports from Colombia. He loves outdoor activities and traveling, where he can combine his passion for sports, appreciation of nature, and photography. Diego has been following Acceso’s work for some time and is thrilled to join the team based in Bogotá with a focus on developing and implementing export strategies for multiple products.

Ashley Casandra Célestin brings extensive experience in agriculture and food production. Ashley was born in Queens, NY and grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business and Food production from the State University of New York in Cobleskill. She started her career at a leading New York produce distributor, A.J. Trucco in the Hunts Point Produce Market, where she oversaw sales operations, warehouse management and import/export freight coordination. Ashley completed a master’s degree in Global Development with a focus in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. For her research, Ashley conducted an analysis between small scale producers and market access within Haiti’s agricultural sector. In addition, she is part of the Ceres2030 organization’s research team on marketing channels for Vibrant Food Systems. She is passionate about building businesses and excited to work with Acceso Haiti’s team focusing on revamping farmer training programs, improving export activities as well as the set-up of new community processing centers.

Jupille Facile is the founder and CEO of the Haitian bamboo company Bambou Facile, which uses its bamboo to build earthquake-resistant, affordable houses that avoid the environmental issues related to the use of traditional housing materials, such as concrete. Jupille is also an Assistant Director at Build Health International and was previously an Assistant Manager at Build Change. Jupille was a recipient of a prestigious four year scholarship with the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) and has a civil engineering degree from Quisqueya University, one of Haiti’s leading private universities. Jupille brings extensive engineering and construction experience working with various construction companies and will be focused on leading the pre-construction phase for Acceso Haiti’s new processing and collection centers.

Santiago Mesa was born and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. He is an Industrial Engineer from Universidad de Los Andes. He started his career in the technology sector working at Oracle Corp, where he improved customer adoption and satisfaction, retention and expansion of the cloud footprint in Latin America. Later, Santiago completed a master’s degree with honors in Management from University Commerciale Luigi Bocconi with focus on social entrepreneurship and sustainable business models. After finishing his studies, he interned at the United Nations Environment Programme, where he developed resource mobilization proposals for the Caribbean region. He is passionate about bringing innovation and tech to the UN SDG agenda, one that targets environmental and social challenges for a better world. Santiago’s fellowship is focused on deploying farmer to consumer traceability and other data management tools in Colombia.

Francisco Kilgore graduated from The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and his continued interest in languages brought him to Amman, Jordan where he worked for an international youth-led non-profit. There, he led several teams in Arabic and in English while working with partner organizations to create and fill various international internship opportunities. Having grown up with a Brazilian family, Francisco speaks Portuguese and Spanish. He is passionate about Latin America, and spent several months in Aracaju, Brazil, where he taught English in small rural towns. Over the last year he has worked for the local homeless shelter in California as a media director, working with the executive director on fundraising strategies and donor outreach. Francisco is excited to use his nonprofit experience and digital marketing background to work with Acceso in researching funding prospects that will further enhance the organization’s impact.