Our People




Joy Anderson is a prominent national leader at the intersection of business and social change. She began as a high school teacher in New York City Public Schools. She went to New York to understand how power works in big systems and stayed for eight years because she fell in love with the students. Joy played leadership roles in the teachers union and managed federally funded programs for the school and the district.

After leaving New York, Joy transitioned from a school teacher to an entrepreneur, founding Criterion Ventures in 2002, co-founding Good Capital with Tim Freundlich and Kevin Jones in 2006 and leading the development of Rockefeller-funded Healthcare_Uncovered from 2006 until 2009.

Literally hundreds of ventures have been shaped by Joy’s insights and experience. As faculty on the leading social innovation award programs, including Unreasonable Institute and Echoing Green, she advises the next generation of leaders. As chair of the board of directors of Village Capital and through involvement in Investor’s Circle, she is actively involved in shaping early stage social investments. And through her role in developing and leading Structure Lab© workshops she has helped over 300 organizations think through their legal and financial structures.

A serial entrepreneur and consummate networker, Joy’s leadership and expertise have been at the forefront of the development of the social capital markets over the last 10 years. Her interest in the role of finance in changing the world was sparked during her eight year consulting relationship with the General Board of Pensions of the United Methodist Church.  She was instrumental in her board position at Lutheran Community Foundation in their recent $10 million allocation to social investment. As a recognition of her business leadership, in 2011, Joy was ranked 51st in Fast Company’s annual of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Currently, she leads Criterion Institute which serves as a think tank around shaping markets to create social and environmental good. Criterion houses three field building initiatives, Structure Lab, Gender Lens Investing and Church as an Economic Being. Her speaking and thought leadership is focused on the practices of shaping markets, whether that is focused on how the church is both an actor and implicated in the economy, on how legal structures shape the possibilities of enterprises, or a gender lens on investing.

Joy’s intellectual interests draw on her research for her Ph.D. in American History from New York University. Her dissertation examined prison reform in the 1830s and how individuals and organizations in democracies claim expertise in order to shape public institutions.

Dr. Anderson lives with her husband and daughter in a Connecticut apple orchard, and can be found in the fall pressing cider and boiling apple syrup.


Simi Wilhelm Shah is an experienced institutional investor who has spent 15 years in the social investment space spanning the US and UK markets.  Most notably, she was the Investment Director of The Social Investment Business, a £400m fund using a variety of impact-first strategies and blended vehicles to achieve positive social and economic outcomes for UK beneficiaries. Simi was also a senior member of the founding team of Women Effect, a pilot project to develop capacity amongst investors to include gender analysis within their diligence.

Simi was first lit up about finance as a tool for social change at the University of Pennsylvania where she pursued joint coursework at the Wharton School of Business and the Graduate School of Education.  She is excited to keep that fire burning now by serving the Criterion team as the operational leader.

Simi is Canadian and is based in London.


Melissa (Mel) Díaz join Criterion Institute in December 2015. With over 10 years of administrative experience, Mel has dedicated most of her career to supporting nonprofits such as The Multicultural Leadership Institute and Connecticut Humanities. Mel’s background is in office administration, board and executive support, and data management. She enjoys being the person with the itemized lists and procedures, making sure nothing falls through the cracks and that everything (and everyone) is accounted for.

Mel holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Connecticut.


Kelly Northridge is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford researching gender lens investing. Her interest in this space was fueled by her frustration with the discrepancies and biases surrounding angel and venture investments in women-led high growth companies. She has worked with, started, and grown several entrepreneurial ventures across industries including corporate services, fashion, biotech and health tech. She has a background in finance including venture capital and mergers and acquisitions; economic impact; international strategy; change management and organizational development. She holds a BS in International Business and Economics, cum laude, from the University of Nevada, Reno, an MBA focused in International Sustainable Development from Cornell University, a Master’s in Public Health focused in International Health Management from UCLA.


Committed to social justice, Lori Holmes has spent over a decade working for nonprofits, including nine years at Advancement Project California. Throughout her career, she has been responsible for new program development, strategic planning, team building, technology design, marketing, organizational development, knowledge management, and fundraising among other areas. Focusing on Health Equity and Political Voice programming, she has collaborated with community, government, foundations, and partner organizations on research, data, and technology campaigns to increase access to open space, fresh foods, and to strengthen community participation in redistricting and public budgeting processes. She had a brief introduction to finance for social change while completing coursework for an MBA in Nonprofit Management and is looking forward to bringing that knowledge along with her professional experience to her role as Program Manager with the Criterion team.


Anna Pezanoski-Cohen is currently a senior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She will graduate in May 2017 with a degree in government, a certificate in international relations, and a minor in contemporary history. Over the years, she has volunteered at Kriti Social Initiatives, a women’s empowerment agency in Hyderabad, as well as the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.  Most recently, she has completed a year of work with the community advocacy group the North End Action Team. Working with such a dedicated group of local leaders has inspired her to take a more global perspective in her approach to social change. She is incredibly excited for the ability to pursue this growth at the Criterion Institute.


Kristen Yee is an Independent Consultant focused on the pursuit of health equity in global health initiatives. Kristen supports organizations to optimize their strategies and processes in order to address structural inequities. Prior to branching out on her own, Kristen managed Grand Challenges Canada’s participation in the Saving Lives at Birth partnership and led the development and implementation of Grand Challenges Canada’s gender equality strategy. While Kristen’s research efforts have spanned many geographies and issues areas, Kristen has worked most prominently in urban Zambia to investigate the efficacy of option B+ on child survival, across northern Namibia to document supports for entrepreneurs, and in the metropolitan US to assess the health needs of people experiencing homelessness. She received her Master of Public Health in Community Health and Development from the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.



Joy is a prominent national leader at the intersection of business and social change. After leaving her career as a high school teacher in New York, Joy transitioned to an entrepreneur, founding Criterion Ventures in 2002, co-founding Good Capital in 2006. A serial entrepreneur and consummate networker, Joy’s leadership and expertise have been at the forefront of the development of the social capital markets over the last 10 years. As a recognition of her business leadership, in 2011, Joy was ranked 51st in Fast Company’s annual of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.



Cheryl Dahle is a journalist, entrepreneur and thought leader who has spent more than ten years working at the intersection of business and social innovation. Most recently, she was a director at Ashoka, where she created a consulting practice that distilled knowledge from the organization’s network of 2,500 social entrepreneurs to provide philanthropic guidance to foundations and companies. Prior to that, she was part of the incubation and start-up team to launch the VC-funded online environmental magazine, Blue Egg. She also founded and led Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist awards, a competition to surface top social entrepreneurs. As the project manager for four years, she helped design an evaluation methodology and sifted through hundreds of non-profit applications each year to find top performers with compelling models for change. She has written extensively on capital markets for non-profits, sustainability, and social entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad. As a consultant, she has served leading organizations in the space of hybrid business/social solutions, including Humanity United, Nike, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Her first book, No Horizon is So Far, the story of the first two women in history to cross Antarctica on foot, was published in 2003 by Da Capo Press.


Michele Kahane

Michele Kahane (MBA and MIA, Columbia University) is a professor of professional practice at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy. She has more than 20 years of experience in the global business, nonprofit, and philanthropy sectors. Kahane was a banker in emerging markets corporate finance and later practiced social investment at the Ford Foundation for a decade. Subsequently, as a senior executive at the Clinton Global Initiative and at the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, she worked with companies, social entrepreneurs, and the public sector to forge innovative, market-based approaches to global development. She is co-author of the award-winning book Untapped: Creating Value in Underserved Markets (Berrett-Koehler, June 2006), which provides advice to managers on how companies can both implement profitable business strategies and improve conditions in poor communities. In addition to sitting on the Criterion Institute Board, Kahane serves on the board of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future, the steering committee of the Institute for Responsible Investment, the NY Regional Association of Grantmakers Task Force on Hurricane Katrina, and the Fast Forward Fund.


andy mccarrollAndy Graduated from Vanderbilt University and holds a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law. He is General Counsel for an investment manager in Memphis and is on the board of Trustees of Memphis University School, Hutchison School, Methodist Healthcare Foundation, The Pyramid Peak Foundation, and The Poplar Foundation. Andy is married with two children and enjoys time with his family, bike riding, and exploring the best structures to promote effective development of communities.


Liz SchafferLiz is currently the CFO/COO at the Global Fund for Women – the largest foundation exclusively funding international women’s human rights organizations. She is also the co-author of Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives: Guiding Your Organization to Long Term Success (Wilder). She is a trainer at CompassPoint’s workshops and conferences and lecture in Nonprofit Financial Management at The Haas School of Business and The University of San Francisco. In her consulting work, she coaches nonprofit leaders and help organizations enhance their decision-making ability by improving the quality of their financial data and analysis.


Nina Weissberg is CEO of Weissberg Corp., a 55-year-old commercial real estate firm, and also a founding board member of the Weissberg Foundation. Ms. Weissberg joined the company in 1994, became CEO in 2006. At the Foundation, her concerns focus on the empowerment of women through regulation and Impact Investment to promote social rights, economic access and physical security. She is presently a Trustee of Beloit College (2010 – present), a member of the Beloit Weissberg Chair Council on Human Rights, a Trustee of New York University (2012-present). Recently collaboration also includes the Root Capital Gender initiative.



phyllis anderson

Phyllis Anderson joined Criterion Institute in January 2014 to lead and support the 1K Churches movement, which seeks to engage 1000 churches of all denominations across the country in a process of reflecting on the relationship between their faith and the economy through Bible study and the experience of investing in a micro-business in their community.

She lives now in Sonoma, California, having recently retired as President of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. She served for nine years as the first president of a Lutheran seminary in the United States.  She is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) who has served as pastor of a rural parish in Iowa, as assistant to the Lutheran Bishop in Iowa, as Director of Pastoral Studies and Assistant Professor of Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and as Director for Theological Education in the Churchwide Organization of the ELCA. She worked with many denominations as the Associate Dean and Director of the Institute of Ecumenical Theological Studies at the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, an ecumenical theological school within a Jesuit Catholic university.

She holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University; an M.Div. from Wartburg Theological Seminary; and a Ph.D. from Aquinas Institute of Theology.  Her areas of specialty are ecclesiology and ecumenics.  She is married to the Rev. Dr. Herbert Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Research Professor of Practical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. They have two children: Joy Anderson of Haddam, Connecticut, and Joel Anderson of Leiden, the Netherlands.



Suzanne Biegel is founder of Catalyst At Large Ltd, with more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, social impact angel and venture investor, philanthropist, board member, and hands-on operational manager. She founded the Clearly Social Angels network in the UK for ClearlySo and serves as a senior adviser there. Her consultancy is focused on impact investing with a women and girls lens.  She is the Investment Director for SPRING, a venture accelerator focused on companies that improve the lives of adolescent girls in East Africa.  She is a Senior Adviser at the Criterion Institute, on our gender work. She serves on the global advisory council for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, and is a Wharton and Penn alumnae.  Suzanne serves on the board of Confluence Philanthropy in the US, a network of foundations moving their capital into mission related investing, and founded and runs Women in Social Finance, in London.  She is a fellow at the Aspen Institute. She speaks and writes frequently on the topic of impact investing.  Suzanne has been based primarily in London for the past five years.


KaplanSarah Kaplan is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Previously, she was on the faculty of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she remains a Senior Fellow. She is co-author of the bestselling business book, Creative Destruction. Her research explores how framing processes of managers and entrepreneurial actors affect the evolution of technologies and fields, organizational response to change, and strategy making inside organizations. Her studies examine the biotechnology, fiber optics, personal digital assistant, financial services and nanotechnology fields. Her interest in gender lens investing is in understanding how whole new ecosystems can be built. She received a BA in Political Science from UCLA, an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a PhD. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


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Criterion Institute, 501(c)(3) 81 Church Hill Rd · Haddam, CT 06438 860-345-3520 (main) · info@criterioninstitute.org ©2017, all rights reserved.

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