Interim Chief Executive Officer
Based in Oakland, CA
Melinda has been an executive with various biotech companies for the last 25 years, serving as a senior executive in several diagnostic companies developing cancer and infectious disease tests, including GE Healthcare and Roche Diagnostics. She has directed the global licensing programs for the Nobel Prize-winning PCR technologies, which enabled the sequencing of the human genome, and has led successful initiatives to develop transformative medical devices and products.
Melinda is a co-founder of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, providing free or low-cost legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Since 1983, ALRP has handled over 65,000 legal matters. She currently serves as a mentor for social entrepreneurial businesses as part of Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Institute. Melinda has a B.S. in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley, and a J.D. From Hastings College of the Law.
Chief Program Officer
Vietnam Country Director
Based in Vietnam
Loan joined Thrive Networks in 2016, bringing with her more than 20 years’ experience in finance and trade, and impact evaluation; and more than 10 years managing water, sanitation and health programs in Vietnam.
Loan previously worked with The State Bank of Vietnam, The World Bank, and the Vietnam Social Policy Bank. She has designed, implemented and evaluated multiple microfinance and rural finance projects, earning a reputation as an expert in the field.
Prior to joining Thrive Networks, Loan served as Executive Manager at the Australian International Development Agency (AusAID Hanoi). There she oversaw an extensive Water and Sanitation and Health portfolio, led policy dialogue and advocacy for health reform programs and HIV programs, and conducted in-depth research and analysis on public financial management, anti-corruption issues and governance reform in Vietnam. Loan is a Certified Financial Analyst and holds a PhD in Development Economics.
Chief Financial Officer
Based in Oakland, CA
Burt joined Thrive Networks in 2012. Prior to this, Burt served as Corporate Controller for United Commercial Bank, a publicly traded financial institution that focused on Asian-American businesses with operations in Greater China.
Burt’s industry experience also includes several years in the Napa wine industry including a stint with the Charles Krug Winery. He also worked for over 10 years at Deloitte serving a variety of industries including real estate, retail, manufacturing, financial services, alternative energy and transportation.
Burt is Thrive Networks’ Jack of all accounting and finance trades, an expert at mergers and integration as well as taxes and financial planning. Burt is a licensed CPA, and has an M.A. in Accountancy from California State University Northridge, an M.A. in Taxation from the University of Southern California, and a B.S. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Country Director, Cambodia
Country Director, Lao PDR
Minh Chau Nguyen
Special Advisor, Thrive Water
Knowledge & Learning Manager
CHOBA 2 Program Manager
Regional M&E Manager
Senior Financial Analyst
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Carrie Eglinton Manner
Board Chair, Thrive Networks
President and Chief Executive Officer, Detection & Guidance Solutions at GE Healthcare
Before moving into her current role at GE Healthcare, Carrie Eglinton Manner served as President and CEO of Surgery. Prior to that, she was President and Chief Executive Officer, Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc., a GE Healthcare Company. Carrie has been with GE since 1996, where she has led a number of businesses and served in a variety of roles across the disciplines of sales, marketing, services, quality, and acquisition integration.
Prior to Clarient, Carrie led GE Healthcare’s Maternal Infant Care (MIC) division, a global market leader providing solutions to support healthcare providers in caring for mothers and their babies during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and neonatal intensive care. Her team was instrumental in advancing GE’s rural health strategy globally and developed partnerships with thought leaders and across sectors to address the need to improve mother and child health outcomes while decreasing neonatal and maternal mortality rates worldwide. Working with Thrive Networks toward a shared vision in Maternal and Infant Care was a personal and professional inspiration for her. Carrie is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. She is married to Derek, and they have two children.
Vice Chair of Board of Directors, Thrive Networks
Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter LLP
Jerry Falk joined the Thrive Networks Board in 2007. Jerry is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP (and prior to that a partner at Howard, Rice, which combined with Arnold & Porter in 2012), where he was a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law. Following law school, Jerry served as law clerk to Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States. For 10 years, Jerry also taught constitutional law at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. He now is a mediator and arbitrator at JAMS in San Francisco.
Jerry’s litigation practice includes substantial cases in the fields of securities, antitrust, contracts, financing, professional liability, environmental, intellectual property and constitutional law. Representative clients include American Express, McKesson Corporation, Genentech, Inc., University of California, and the State of California. For more than 20 years, Jerry has been listed in Best Lawyers in America. For the third consecutive year, he was in 2006 recognized as a Top 100 Super Lawyer by Law & Politics, and he was recently recognized by The Best of The U.S. for his commercial litigation work. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Jurisprudence Award of the Anti-Defamation League. Jerry has received numerous other awards for his litigation service.
Jerry received his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, where he graduated first in his class in 1965, and his BA from the University of California at Berkeley (with honors, Economics) in 1962. Jerry lives in Berkeley with his wife, Nancy and has supported our Operation Healthy Heart program since visiting program sites on the ground in Vietnam.
Board Treasurer, Thrive Networks
Principal, Bethesda Group
Before joining the Bethesda Group, Melinda Griffith was the head of business development and general counsel of CardioDx, a company specializing in cardiovascular genomic testing. She has been an executive with various biotech companies for the last 25 years, serving as a senior executive in several diagnostic companies developing cancer and infectious disease tests, including GE Healthcare and Roche Diagnostics. She has directed the global licensing programs for the Nobel prize-winning PCR technologies, which enabled the sequencing of the human genome, and has led successful initiatives to acquire pioneering rights in HIV, Hepatitis C and Human Papilloma Virus for the development of the quantitative viral load testing.
Melinda is a co-founder of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, providing free or low-cost legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Since 1983, ALRP has handled over 65,000 legal matters. She currently serves as a mentor for social entrepreneurial businesses as part of Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Institute, including for Jacaranda Health, a provider of maternity clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.
Melinda was born in Australia and immigrated to the United States during the turbulent times of the ’60s in Berkeley. She received a B.S. in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley, where she was a member of the women’s varsity basketball and softball teams and was Oski, and a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law. She lives in Oakland and Bolinas, where she maintains an organic vegetable farm for the local food for families program.
Gil Kemp founded Home Decorators Collection, one of the nation’s leading direct sellers of home furnishings and accessories, in 1991. He led the company as President and Chief Merchant until his retirement in July 2009, approximately three years after the company was purchased by the Home Depot. Prior to founding Home Decorators Collection, Gil was co-founder of Kemp & George, a catalog of products for the home. From 1976 to 1988, Gil developed direct-marketing programs for books and newsletters for New American Library, Bantam Books and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Gil graduated with honors from Swarthmore College and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He is also a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. Gil is the co-author of Dale Carnegie: The Man Who Influenced Millions, published by St. Martin’s Press and printed in five foreign editions. Gil has been the Chair of the Board of Managers at Swarthmore College since 2012. He was also on the board of the United Way of Scarsdale for over 20 years, and served for 10 years on the board of the Scarsdale Foundation.
“As a donor to Thrive Networks, I have seen how effective Thrive Networks is in improving the health and welfare of Vietnam. It’s been extremely gratifying to be a supporter of programs such as SPELL, Breath of Life and the Dental Program, and I look forward to the opportunity to deepen my involvement through serving on the Thrive Networks Board.”
Chief Executive Officer, Oji Life Lab
Matt Kursh is CEO and Founder of Oji Life Lab, which creates hands-on learning experiences that help high school students get ready for life. Oji Life Lab focuses on life literacy, the array of ideas and skills that allow us to thrive, ranging from the value of money to the meaning of life, from managing teams to managing emotions.
Matt was the Chief Executive Officer of Blue Planet Network in 2007. He oversaw strategy, operations, and the successful execution of Blue Planet Run 2007, the organization’s global relay run to raise awareness and funds for safe drinking water.
Matt’s career in high-tech companies includes starting and selling companies to Apple and Microsoft; running MSN.com and other businesses at Microsoft; and serving on the Board of Directors of public and private companies. He currently serves on the Board of the Tamalpa Institute. Matt lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Board Secretary, Thrive Networks
Assistant City Manager, City of Riverside
Alexander Nguyen serves as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Riverside, California. In this capacity, he provides leadership and policy guidance to city departments and divisions. Prior to this position he served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Alameda, CA. Prior to that he was elected Chief of Staff to the elected City Attorney of Oakland, California. Alex has also served as director of Oakland’s Neighborhood Law Corps since 2001 — a program recognized nationally for its innovative work in Oakland’s poorest communities.
Alex has a background in social work, having worked in direct service to immigrant populations from Southeast Asia and Central America. In his most recent volunteer work, Alex served on the Board of Directors for the Family Violence Law Center in Alameda County, with four years as president.
Alex was born and raised in Vietnam. He holds a B.A. in International Development from Clark University.
Partner, Olive Hill Investment Partners
Andrew Popell is an entrepreneur with 20+ years of business and nonprofit experience. He has been involved in most aspects of business, including: product conception and development, marketing, sales, business development, finance and operations. Andrew is currently a Partner at Olive Hill Investment Partners. Prior to that, he founded several companies, including OQO, creator of the world’s smallest full powered computer, where he was the Chairman; Keynote Systems (KEYN), where he was the VP of Marketing; and Harvest Technology, a financial software company, where he was the COO.
Andrew also founded two education-related nonprofits: Passion for Learning and The Athena Project. He has done a great deal of pro-bono strategic and marketing consulting to Bay Area nonprofits through the HBS Alumni Community Partners (where he was on the steering committee for several years).
Andrew holds an A.B. degree from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two children and enjoys playing soccer, travel and the arts.
Peter A. Singer
Board Chair Emeritus, Thrive Networks
Chief, Clinical Endocrinology Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California
Peter A. Singer, M.D., served as Board Chair for over 20 years, and has been an active board member since 1990. Dr. Singer’s interest in Thrive Networks is an outgrowth of his experience as a battalion doctor with U.S. Armed Forces in Da Nang, Vietnam from 1966-1967. At that time he became aware of the significant needs of the very poor in Vietnam, and began medical and relief efforts. His association with Thrive Networks has allowed him to continue to assist the poor in Vietnam.
Peter is a native San Franciscan, and completed his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, and received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He currently is Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, where he is active in clinical practice, teaching, and research. Dr. Singer has been married since 1971 to Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, who is Professor of Public Health and Asian-American Studies at UCLA. Despite being employed by rival universities, Peter and Margie have set aside their academic differences and have raised two great kids, Jonathan and Joana.
Founder, Blue Planet Network
Jin Zidell founded Blue Planet Network in 2002 and served as its Chairman of the Board. As an entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist, Jin is deeply passionate about solving the global water crisis by improving the long-term sustainability and impact of water programs and empowering communities to take charge of their futures. As Jin puts it, “I have invested one half of my wealth, 10 years of my time and most of my mind space in Blue Planet Network.”
Jin has served on the boards of The Natural Step, the Predator Conservation Alliance and the Earth Trust Foundation. Since 1979, Jin has been affiliated with Dia Rosatsu Zendo Kongo-Il, a Zen Buddhist Monastery. Jin Zidell received a B.S. in Business from the University of Colorado in 1960. In June, 2012, Jin completed the Race Across America, a week-long cross-country cycling race, in support of Blue Planet Network water projects.