meet the team

Sandra Ro

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra Ro

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra Ro is CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, where she serves the GBBC and blockchain community to foster education and build bridges across enterprises, governments, and start-ups to help fulfill the potential of blockchain technology to solve real world problems and help society.

As a fintech entrepreneur, blockchain / crypto keynote speaker, hackathon judge, crypto trader, angel investor and advisor, Sandra is focused on delivering financial access and products to people and communities using technology to enable next generation market infrastructure and financial products. 

Sandra was named to the Innovate Finance, Women in Fintech 2016 Power List and holds directorships / founding memberships on several industry boards as well as advises several emerging tech start-ups. Previously, she served as a former Treasurer and founding board director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and founding member of the Post Trade Distributed Ledger Group (PTDL), founding member of Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger.

Previously, Sandra was the former Executive Director of Digitization at CME Group, where she was responsible for the company’s digital asset and blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) initiatives. Previously as Executive Director Foreign Exchange (FX) Research and Product Development, she was responsible for the global development of CME Group FX solutions within listed and cleared OTC products.

Prior to joining CME Group in 2011, Ro led the EMEA M&A FX and interest rates derivatives advisory group at Morgan Stanley, London and worked at Deutsche Bank as a FX structurer on the London trading floor. Ro holds a M.B.A. in Finance from London Business School and a double B.A. Degree in History and Studies in the Environment from Yale University.

Mercina Tillemann-Dick

Chief Operating Officer

Mercina Tillemann-Dick

Chief Operating Officer

Mercina Tillemann-Dick currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). Experienced in strategic planning and communications, she has spent her career translating complex ideas for broad audiences in the public and private sectors. Mercina has advised state and national governments and fortune 100 companies on issues surrounding technology and public health. An expert in blockchain technology, Mercina works with corporations and governments to identify relevant applications for the technology; she speaks regularly about the technology around the world – from the G20 Summit to the European Parliament to the U.N.’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Mercina has worked in the offices of the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and for the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress. While working with Janssen’s Global Public Health Group, she drafted congressional testimony, authored publications and spearheaded multiple public information initiatives. She holds a degree in Bioethics, Political Science and  Law from Yale University.

Hernando de Soto

Economist

Hernando de Soto

Economist

Mr. de Soto is currently President of the ILD —headquartered in Lima, Peru— considered by The Economist as one of the two most important think tanks in the world. Time magazine chose him as one of the five leading Latin American innovators of the century in its special May 1999 issue "Leaders for the New Millennium", and included him among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.

Mr. de Soto was also listed as one of 15 innovators "who will reinvent your future" according to Forbes magazine’s 85th anniversary edition. In January 2000, Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit, the German development magazine, described Mr. de Soto as one of the most important development theoreticians of the last millennium. In his speech opening the 2004 World Economic Forum at Davos, former US President Bill Clinton described him as “the world’s most important living economist.” In October 2005, over 20,000 readers of Prospect magazine of the UK and Foreign Policy of the US ranked him among the top 13 "public intellectuals" in the world from the magazines’ joint list of 100; in April 2013, some 10,000 Prospect readers ranked him number 36 out of 65 top world thinkers.

Mr. de Soto has served as an economist for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as President of the Executive Committee of the Copper Exporting Countries Organization (CIPEC), as CEO of Universal Engineering Corporation (Continental Europe’s largest consulting engineering firm), as a principal of the Swiss Bank Corporation Consultant Group, and as a governor of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank. In the early 1990s, he led the effort to insert Peru into the global economy; and, with his ILD team, drafted and promoted more than 187 laws that gave the poorest Peruvians access to economic opportunities, including title to their property and businesses; and created the national office of Ombudsman to defend the constitutional and human rights of the Peruvian people (Defensoría del Pueblo).

In the last 30 years, Mr. de Soto and his colleagues at the ILD have been involved in designing and implementing legal reform programs to empower the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations by granting them access to the same property and business rights —and the institutions and tools needed to exercise those rights and freedoms— that the majority of people in developed countries have. Over 30 heads of state have invited him to carry out these ILD programs in their countries. During the past few years, Mr. de Soto has been focusing on three new kinds of problems that have emerged around the world, which he has translated into three new strategies stemming from the ILD’s property rights paradigm: i) the financial crisis; ii) the increasing number of conflicts in developing countries between local communities and private corporations over control of mineral rich territories and agricultural lands; and, iii) the Arab Spring. At the root of each of these apparently different problems, he argues, is the lack of enforceable formal property and business rights and/or the lack of information about them. Mr. de Soto’s reform vision and the ILD’s work in Peru, Africa and the Middle East has been featured in three one-hour documentary films broadcast throughout the US on PBS, the national public television network, and available on-line at FreetoChoose.TV: "The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto (2009); "Globalization at the Crossroads with Hernando de Soto” (2011); and "Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring” (2013).

Mr. de Soto also co-chaired with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and currently serves as honorary co-chair on various boards and organizations, including the World Justice Project. In 2005, the President of Peru appointed Mr. de Soto as his personal representative to design and implement Peru’s free trade program so as to give the poor access to the globalized economy; and also to draw up the strategy to convince the U.S. to sign the Free Trade Agreement with Peru, which it did in 2006.

Mr. de Soto has published two books about economic and political development: The Other Path (1986) and The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (2000). The latter has been translated into some 30 languages, has sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide and has received 25 prizes in Europe and North America. His work has been the subject of several books, including: The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality (2008), which examines the philosophical implications of Mr. de Soto’s ideas; Realizing Property Rights (2008); Hernando de Soto and Property in a Market Economy (2010), which looks at his work from the legal point of view; and from the economic perspective The World’s 12 Most Important Economists (Die zwölf wichtigsten Ökonomen der Welt, 2007), which profiles him among a list that begins with Adam Smith and ends with recent Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz; and The facts are in: The Arab Spring is a Massive Economic Revolution (2012).

Tomicah Tillemann

Chair of the Board | Governance & Regulatory Engagement Committee

Tomicah Tillemann

Chair of the Board | Governance & Regulatory Engagement Committee

Tomicah Tillemann is a leader in the fields of social finance and civic innovation. He serves as director of the Bretton Woods II program at New America. He and his team work with large asset owners to reduce risk and volatility through strategic investments in social impact and development. He is also cofounder of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator and a member of the advisory board of the BitFury Group, a leading provider of Blockchain infrastructure. He works with the firm to harness Blockchain technology for governance and social impact applications.

Between 2010 and 2014, Tillemann served under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as the secretary of state's senior advisor for civil society and emerging democracies. Tillemann led a team of experts that operated like venture capitalists in translating promising ideas and technologies into successful foreign policy. He also established and chaired the State Department's Global Philanthropy Working Group and the State Department's Federal Advisory Committee on civil society.

Tillemann joined the State Department in 2009 as Secretary Clinton's speechwriter and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Previously, he spent four years on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an advisor to Chairmen Joe Biden and John Kerry. Tillemann’s other professional experience includes work with the White House, five U.S. Senate and congressional campaigns, Reuters New Media, and the World Bank.

Tillemann is a co-holder of four patents. He has helped launch and lead numerous civil society organizations and foundations. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS). He has lectured at Yale and Princeton and testified repeatedly before Congress. He is a frequent keynote speaker and guest on media outlets including the BBC and public radio.

Richard Shade

Consultant, PTDL Group London

Richard Shade

Consultant, PTDL Group London

Richard has worked in the City of London for over 20 years. He has worked as a consultant at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi for 10 years before managing Business Change at NYSE Liffe. He then was Head of Market Operations at CME Europe for 4 years. He is now helping the transition of the PTDL working group into GBBC, as well as providing project management for Uwincorp.



Bruce Degn

Managing Director, External Affairs

Bruce Degn

Managing Director, External Affairs

Bruce Degn is a Washington, DC-based industry association veteran. With over 15 years of association and advocacy experience, Bruce understands the collective power of industry associations, and the impact for good this collective power can have.

Bruce comes to the Global Blockchain Business Council from AHF—the largest trade group representing non commercial food service—where he served as the association’s Executive Director.

Bruce also led sales teams at the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), US Telecom, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Originally from San Diego, Bruce is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has a degree in marketing from Brigham Young University.

Bruce and his wife Holly, a Senior Analyst at NASA, their three young children, and two indolent guinea pigs live in McLean, Virginia.

Zlata Baldekova

Director, Industry Affairs

Zlata Baldekova

Director, Industry Affairs

Zlata graduated from Boston University Questrom School of Business with BSBA degree and currently resides in NYC.

She started her career as a management consultant at Deloitte & Touché Consulting, then joined Family Office Advisory group at KPMG and subsequently spent more than 5 years working for Leonard Stern Single Family Office.

In her previous roles in the blockchain space, Zlata was a Partner at a fintech company Bankex, overseeing global business initiatives and a Senior Vice President - Strategic Partnerships of Hollywood blockchain technology venture MovieCoin.

Recently, Zlata co-founded Jaroona, a blockchain cyber security platform for prevention of cyber attacks in real time and currently serves as a Managing Partner of Tokyo based blockchain company Soramitsu.

She is also an advisor at Atari Token & Platform, a blockchain division of popular publicly listed gaming company Atari.

In 2017, she joined US education non profit Dare to Run as a Founding Board Member and a Treasurer with the mission to help women run for office.

Sofia Arend

Program Analyst

Sofia Arend

Program Analyst

Prior to joining the GBBC, Sofia Arend worked with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and worked at Emergo, a global medical device consulting firm. At Emergo, Sofia helped medical device manufacturers, including a top-twenty Fortune 500 company, enter new markets in Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia. She holds a degree in International Relations and Global studies from the University of Texas at Austin. While at Texas, Sofia competed on the Division I rowing team and was awarded the highest academic achievement for a student athlete.

Shoshana Riley

Director, Administration and Finance

Shoshana Riley

Director, Administration and Finance

Shoshana joins the GBBC with 20 years of experience helping to manage several non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the GBBC, Shoshana started a consulting business helping start-ups and established businesses comply with federal and local regulations. In joining the GBBC, Shoshana is eager to make her mark in the Blockchain community. Shoshana attended James Madison University. She currently resides in Maryland with her two daughters.

Elyse Lee

Policy Analyst

Elyse Lee

Policy Analyst

As a policy analyst, Elyse conducts policy research and supports various advocacy and outreach efforts at the GBBC.

Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Elyse has years of experience working with the multi-stakeholders in the global tech sector to expand the business beyond borders and promote an open, free, and safe technology for all the peoples.

In KT(Korea Telecom), the biggest telecommunications operator in Korea, she worked at the global corporate development unit where she collaborated with strategic partners to do successful investment projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She later worked as a global PR manager for the chairman of KT and got KT’s stories published in the WSJ and Financial Times in their US and APAC editions.

As a graduate policy fellow at the Global Network Initiative, she worked with 50+ global multi-stakeholders including tech companies, civil society groups, academics, and investors to advocate for the internet's user's fundamental rights to free expression and privacy.

Elyse graduated with honors with an M.S in Foreign Service(MSFS) from Georgetown University.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Business Administration from Ewha Woman's University based in Seoul, South Korea.

Valery Vavilov

Board Member | Founder and CEO, Bitfury

Valery Vavilov

Board Member | Founder and CEO, Bitfury

Valery Vavilov is the CEO and founder of The Bitfury Group – the world’s leading full service Blockchain company. Vavilov’s entrepreneurial experience and passion for Blockchain technology led him to found the company in 2011, when Blockchain technology was just beginning to capture the world’s attention and imagination. A native Latvian who experienced first-hand the challenges resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vavilov was inspired by Blockchain technology and saw an opportunity to build technological solutions that could improve the lives of people all over the world. He focused first on the hardware solutions that would ensure security and trust in the Bitcoin Blockchain, leading The Bitfury Group to develop five generations of cutting-edge mining chips and state-of-the-art data center designs. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its focus to provide custom-designed software, consulting solutions, and advanced hardware, all while maintaining its position as one of the major public Bitcoin Blockchain security and transaction providers. Prior to founding The Bitfury Group, Vavilov spent more than 15 years in a variety of technical and leadership positions. He received his Masters degree from Riga’s Transport & Telecommunication University in Latvia.

Yew Kiat Phang

Board Member | CEO, Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group

Yew Kiat Phang

Board Member | CEO, Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group

Yew Kiat Phang is the Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group Limited (CSF). CSF is a leading publicly listed (stock code: 8207.HK) Fintech group in Asia with a growing presence in China and Mekong region.  Headquartered in Hong Kong, the company successfully established a fully-integrated Fintech ecosystem, providing 7X24 and one-stop efficient intelligent financial lifestyle services to over 30m registered Small Medium Enterprises and middle-class consumers via internet & mobile internet channels.

Phang began his career with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in 1994 and over his 17year career in banking, he held various management roles across SCB's corporate and consumer banking businesses, including the appointment as Chief Financial Officer for Indonesia & General Manager for Small Medium Enterprises, Singapore & Malaysia.  In 2005, Phang was seconded to China to build a brand new national joint-stock bank in Tianjin, China Bohai Bank and he served as an Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive Officer with full responsibilities for the consumer banking business.  He has also served as DBS’s Group Head of Strategic Planning.

Phang is a member of the United Nations -Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Business Advisory Council.  In addition, he serves as the Chairman of Remuneration Committee & Independent Non-Executive Director and of Chuan Holdings Limited (stock code: 1420.HK).

Phang has a B.A. in Microelectronic Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and an M.B.A. from the University of Bristol.

Wei Wang

Board Member | Chairman, China M&A Group

Wei Wang

Board Member | Chairman, China M&A Group

Wei Wang is Founding Chairman of China Mergers & Acquisitions Association (CMAA), Founder and Chairman of Chinese Museum of Finance (Group), Chairman of China M&A Group. Wang has organized and supervised IPO underwritings for over 40 Chinese companies in both domestic and overseas markets. He is the financial consultant on restructuring, financing, M&A and IPO for many leading companies in China. He had worked in a number of international corporations including Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, the World Bank in Washington D.C. and the Chase Bank in New York. He also serves as the economic advisor in several ministerial and provincial governments in China as well as independent director for several listed companies.

Wang received his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and Master’s degree in finance in China and his Ph.D. in economics from Fordham University in the United States. He is the author of many books and journal articles, and a well-known lecturer—he has given seminars and lectures at universities including CEIBS and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Wang has been named “Top Five Chinese investment Bankers” by Talents magazine in 2003, “The Most Influential Independent Director” by Directors & Boards magazine in 2006 and “The Most Influential Investment Banker” by China Finance Network in 2006. He was selected as a member of Shanghai Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Advisory Committee in 2007. In 2010, he founded the Chinese Museum of Finance (Group) and currently has 6 museums in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Suzhou. Furthermore, he has received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the M&A Advisor in New York, the 2013 Social Innovator Award from The Wall Street Journal, 2015 IFFM Financial Literacy Award and many others. In 2013, Wang successfully summited Mount Everest. He was elected as the Chairman of Asia Mergers & Acquisitions Association (AMAA) and Co-chairman of International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) in November 2015.

Paula Guedes

Board Member | CEO, Jobzi

Paula Guedes

Board Member | CEO, Jobzi

Paula Guedes is the founder and CEO of Jobzi, where she leads her team’s efforts in building technologies that learn and power the world’s work. She is a specialist at Instituto Millenium (IMIL), where her areas of expertise are entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems. An active member in the civic sphere, Guedes advocates that technology and transparency can dramatically improve the business environment. Her work has earned her a seat at Conselho da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro's City Advisory Board to the Mayor’s Office), where she was the youngest member at the time of her appointment. As contributor to the Cidade Competitiva, Inovadora e de Oportunidades Committee, she focuses on creating a local economy that is more globally-competitive. Guedes founded IFL Dialogues - sister chapter to Instituto de Formação de Líderes. While President of IFL Dialogues, she co-founded the "5-points Project”—which prioritizes municipal actions aimed at improving Brazil’s World Bank’s ranks in ease-of-doing-business. In 2012 Paula advised the Department of Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro towards the creation of the Startup Rio Project, recognized by Latam Founder’s Network as a "Top Latin American Accelerator” in their 2016 award edition. Guedes began her career at Citigroup’s Mergers and Acquisitions Group in New York City, where she focused on cross-border transactions. She is an MBA graduate and Joseph Wharton Scholar at Wharton School of Business, and holds a B.S. in Finance from Marshall School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from University of Southern California.

Elizabeth Rossiello

Board Member | CEO, BitPesa

Elizabeth Rossiello

Board Member | CEO, BitPesa

Elizabeth Rossiello co-founded BitPesa Ltd. in 2014 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Rossiello began her work in Kenya as a Microfinance Analyst and Investment Associate in 2009. She is an expert in East African financial product development and establishing best practices in risk, governance and IT for local banks. Prior to her work in East Africa, she served as an Analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich and a Robert Bosch Fellow in Frankfurt. She speaks five languages and holds a Masters in International Finance from Columbia University’s SIPA.

George Kikvadze

Board Member | Vice Chairman, Bitfury

George Kikvadze

Board Member | Vice Chairman, Bitfury

George Kikvadze is the Vice Chairman of The BitFury Group, the world's leading Blockchain infrastructure provider and transaction processing company. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of GCF, a $6 billion private equity partnership. Kikvadze has worked for York Capital Management, AFK Sistema and Morgan Stanley. He obtained his MBA at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and his Masters at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Kikvadze is a member of the Europe One YPO Club.

Brian Forde

Board Member | Co-Founder, MIT's Digital Currency Initiative; Fmr. Obama WH Advisor

Brian Forde

Board Member | Co-Founder, MIT's Digital Currency Initiative; Fmr. Obama WH Advisor

Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-founded the Digital Currency Initiative, an academic research group on cryptocurrencies, at the world-renown MIT Media Lab to research and incubate high-impact applications of this technology. Previously he was Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Forde founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps. In recognition of his work, he was named one of the "Most Influential People in Bitcoin and Blockchain" and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Forde received a B.A. at the University of California at Los Angeles and an M.B.A. at the London Business School.

Daniel Gasteiger

Board Member | CEO, Procivis

Daniel Gasteiger

Board Member | CEO, Procivis

Daniel Gasteiger has worked in financial services for more than 20 years. Starting out as an FX trader at Credit Suisse, he later joined UBS to work with hedge funds and third-party banks promoting UBS’s business-to-business API solutions and Prime Brokerage services. In his last role at UBS, he built up and managed the Office of the Chairman as a Managing Director.

Gigi Brisson

Board Member | Partner, Attractor Ventures; CEO, OceanElders

Gigi Brisson

Board Member | Partner, Attractor Ventures; CEO, OceanElders

Gigi Brisson co-founded Attractor Ventures which invests in private and public technology companies. Past private investments include Verisign, Omniture, Salesforce.com and more currently Launch (Launch Festival, Summit &Angels), Brilliant, ProductionPro, Underground Cellar, Captricity, and Ztux. Gigi is also Founder and CEO of OceanElders, a group focused on ocean and wildlife protection and conservation. She created the organization in 2011 to be a locus of collaboration in the field of ocean conservation and sought out global leaders who have a personal passion for the ocean and its wildlife. OceanElders supports the work of ocean organizations and nonprofits, and elevates their visibility and impact through personal connections, business networks, and combined experience. Gigi and her husband fly antique airplanes.

Sandra Ro

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra Ro

Chief Executive Officer

Sandra Ro is CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, where she serves the GBBC and blockchain community to foster education and build bridges across enterprises, governments, and start-ups to help fulfill the potential of blockchain technology to solve real world problems and help society.

As a fintech entrepreneur, blockchain / crypto keynote speaker, hackathon judge, crypto trader, angel investor and advisor, Sandra is focused on delivering financial access and products to people and communities using technology to enable next generation market infrastructure and financial products. 

Sandra was named to the Innovate Finance, Women in Fintech 2016 Power List and holds directorships / founding memberships on several industry boards as well as advises several emerging tech start-ups. Previously, she served as a former Treasurer and founding board director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and founding member of the Post Trade Distributed Ledger Group (PTDL), founding member of Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger.

Previously, Sandra was the former Executive Director of Digitization at CME Group, where she was responsible for the company’s digital asset and blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) initiatives. Previously as Executive Director Foreign Exchange (FX) Research and Product Development, she was responsible for the global development of CME Group FX solutions within listed and cleared OTC products.

Prior to joining CME Group in 2011, Ro led the EMEA M&A FX and interest rates derivatives advisory group at Morgan Stanley, London and worked at Deutsche Bank as a FX structurer on the London trading floor. Ro holds a M.B.A. in Finance from London Business School and a double B.A. Degree in History and Studies in the Environment from Yale University.

Mercina Tillemann-Dick

Chief Operating Officer

Mercina Tillemann-Dick

Chief Operating Officer

Mercina Tillemann-Dick currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). Experienced in strategic planning and communications, she has spent her career translating complex ideas for broad audiences in the public and private sectors. Mercina has advised state and national governments and fortune 100 companies on issues surrounding technology and public health. An expert in blockchain technology, Mercina works with corporations and governments to identify relevant applications for the technology; she speaks regularly about the technology around the world – from the G20 Summit to the European Parliament to the U.N.’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Mercina has worked in the offices of the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and for the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress. While working with Janssen’s Global Public Health Group, she drafted congressional testimony, authored publications and spearheaded multiple public information initiatives. She holds a degree in Bioethics, Political Science and  Law from Yale University.

Hernando de Soto

Economist

Hernando de Soto

Economist

Mr. de Soto is currently President of the ILD —headquartered in Lima, Peru— considered by The Economist as one of the two most important think tanks in the world. Time magazine chose him as one of the five leading Latin American innovators of the century in its special May 1999 issue "Leaders for the New Millennium", and included him among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.

Mr. de Soto was also listed as one of 15 innovators "who will reinvent your future" according to Forbes magazine’s 85th anniversary edition. In January 2000, Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit, the German development magazine, described Mr. de Soto as one of the most important development theoreticians of the last millennium. In his speech opening the 2004 World Economic Forum at Davos, former US President Bill Clinton described him as “the world’s most important living economist.” In October 2005, over 20,000 readers of Prospect magazine of the UK and Foreign Policy of the US ranked him among the top 13 "public intellectuals" in the world from the magazines’ joint list of 100; in April 2013, some 10,000 Prospect readers ranked him number 36 out of 65 top world thinkers.

Mr. de Soto has served as an economist for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as President of the Executive Committee of the Copper Exporting Countries Organization (CIPEC), as CEO of Universal Engineering Corporation (Continental Europe’s largest consulting engineering firm), as a principal of the Swiss Bank Corporation Consultant Group, and as a governor of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank. In the early 1990s, he led the effort to insert Peru into the global economy; and, with his ILD team, drafted and promoted more than 187 laws that gave the poorest Peruvians access to economic opportunities, including title to their property and businesses; and created the national office of Ombudsman to defend the constitutional and human rights of the Peruvian people (Defensoría del Pueblo).

In the last 30 years, Mr. de Soto and his colleagues at the ILD have been involved in designing and implementing legal reform programs to empower the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations by granting them access to the same property and business rights —and the institutions and tools needed to exercise those rights and freedoms— that the majority of people in developed countries have. Over 30 heads of state have invited him to carry out these ILD programs in their countries. During the past few years, Mr. de Soto has been focusing on three new kinds of problems that have emerged around the world, which he has translated into three new strategies stemming from the ILD’s property rights paradigm: i) the financial crisis; ii) the increasing number of conflicts in developing countries between local communities and private corporations over control of mineral rich territories and agricultural lands; and, iii) the Arab Spring. At the root of each of these apparently different problems, he argues, is the lack of enforceable formal property and business rights and/or the lack of information about them. Mr. de Soto’s reform vision and the ILD’s work in Peru, Africa and the Middle East has been featured in three one-hour documentary films broadcast throughout the US on PBS, the national public television network, and available on-line at FreetoChoose.TV: "The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto (2009); "Globalization at the Crossroads with Hernando de Soto” (2011); and "Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring” (2013).

Mr. de Soto also co-chaired with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and currently serves as honorary co-chair on various boards and organizations, including the World Justice Project. In 2005, the President of Peru appointed Mr. de Soto as his personal representative to design and implement Peru’s free trade program so as to give the poor access to the globalized economy; and also to draw up the strategy to convince the U.S. to sign the Free Trade Agreement with Peru, which it did in 2006.

Mr. de Soto has published two books about economic and political development: The Other Path (1986) and The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (2000). The latter has been translated into some 30 languages, has sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide and has received 25 prizes in Europe and North America. His work has been the subject of several books, including: The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality (2008), which examines the philosophical implications of Mr. de Soto’s ideas; Realizing Property Rights (2008); Hernando de Soto and Property in a Market Economy (2010), which looks at his work from the legal point of view; and from the economic perspective The World’s 12 Most Important Economists (Die zwölf wichtigsten Ökonomen der Welt, 2007), which profiles him among a list that begins with Adam Smith and ends with recent Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz; and The facts are in: The Arab Spring is a Massive Economic Revolution (2012).

Tomicah Tillemann

Chair of the Board | Governance & Regulatory Engagement Committee

Tomicah Tillemann

Chair of the Board | Governance & Regulatory Engagement Committee

Tomicah Tillemann is a leader in the fields of social finance and civic innovation. He serves as director of the Bretton Woods II program at New America. He and his team work with large asset owners to reduce risk and volatility through strategic investments in social impact and development. He is also cofounder of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator and a member of the advisory board of the BitFury Group, a leading provider of Blockchain infrastructure. He works with the firm to harness Blockchain technology for governance and social impact applications.

Between 2010 and 2014, Tillemann served under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as the secretary of state's senior advisor for civil society and emerging democracies. Tillemann led a team of experts that operated like venture capitalists in translating promising ideas and technologies into successful foreign policy. He also established and chaired the State Department's Global Philanthropy Working Group and the State Department's Federal Advisory Committee on civil society.

Tillemann joined the State Department in 2009 as Secretary Clinton's speechwriter and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Previously, he spent four years on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an advisor to Chairmen Joe Biden and John Kerry. Tillemann’s other professional experience includes work with the White House, five U.S. Senate and congressional campaigns, Reuters New Media, and the World Bank.

Tillemann is a co-holder of four patents. He has helped launch and lead numerous civil society organizations and foundations. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS). He has lectured at Yale and Princeton and testified repeatedly before Congress. He is a frequent keynote speaker and guest on media outlets including the BBC and public radio.

Richard Shade

Consultant, PTDL Group London

Richard Shade

Consultant, PTDL Group London

Richard has worked in the City of London for over 20 years. He has worked as a consultant at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi for 10 years before managing Business Change at NYSE Liffe. He then was Head of Market Operations at CME Europe for 4 years. He is now helping the transition of the PTDL working group into GBBC, as well as providing project management for Uwincorp.



Bruce Degn

Managing Director, External Affairs

Bruce Degn

Managing Director, External Affairs

Bruce Degn is a Washington, DC-based industry association veteran. With over 15 years of association and advocacy experience, Bruce understands the collective power of industry associations, and the impact for good this collective power can have.

Bruce comes to the Global Blockchain Business Council from AHF—the largest trade group representing non commercial food service—where he served as the association’s Executive Director.

Bruce also led sales teams at the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), US Telecom, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Originally from San Diego, Bruce is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has a degree in marketing from Brigham Young University.

Bruce and his wife Holly, a Senior Analyst at NASA, their three young children, and two indolent guinea pigs live in McLean, Virginia.

Zlata Baldekova

Director, Industry Affairs

Zlata Baldekova

Director, Industry Affairs

Zlata graduated from Boston University Questrom School of Business with BSBA degree and currently resides in NYC.

She started her career as a management consultant at Deloitte & Touché Consulting, then joined Family Office Advisory group at KPMG and subsequently spent more than 5 years working for Leonard Stern Single Family Office.

In her previous roles in the blockchain space, Zlata was a Partner at a fintech company Bankex, overseeing global business initiatives and a Senior Vice President - Strategic Partnerships of Hollywood blockchain technology venture MovieCoin.

Recently, Zlata co-founded Jaroona, a blockchain cyber security platform for prevention of cyber attacks in real time and currently serves as a Managing Partner of Tokyo based blockchain company Soramitsu.

She is also an advisor at Atari Token & Platform, a blockchain division of popular publicly listed gaming company Atari.

In 2017, she joined US education non profit Dare to Run as a Founding Board Member and a Treasurer with the mission to help women run for office.

Sofia Arend

Program Analyst

Sofia Arend

Program Analyst

Prior to joining the GBBC, Sofia Arend worked with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and worked at Emergo, a global medical device consulting firm. At Emergo, Sofia helped medical device manufacturers, including a top-twenty Fortune 500 company, enter new markets in Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia. She holds a degree in International Relations and Global studies from the University of Texas at Austin. While at Texas, Sofia competed on the Division I rowing team and was awarded the highest academic achievement for a student athlete.

Shoshana Riley

Director, Administration and Finance

Shoshana Riley

Director, Administration and Finance

Shoshana joins the GBBC with 20 years of experience helping to manage several non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the GBBC, Shoshana started a consulting business helping start-ups and established businesses comply with federal and local regulations. In joining the GBBC, Shoshana is eager to make her mark in the Blockchain community. Shoshana attended James Madison University. She currently resides in Maryland with her two daughters.

Elyse Lee

Policy Analyst

Elyse Lee

Policy Analyst

As a policy analyst, Elyse conducts policy research and supports various advocacy and outreach efforts at the GBBC.

Hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Elyse has years of experience working with the multi-stakeholders in the global tech sector to expand the business beyond borders and promote an open, free, and safe technology for all the peoples.

In KT(Korea Telecom), the biggest telecommunications operator in Korea, she worked at the global corporate development unit where she collaborated with strategic partners to do successful investment projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She later worked as a global PR manager for the chairman of KT and got KT’s stories published in the WSJ and Financial Times in their US and APAC editions.

As a graduate policy fellow at the Global Network Initiative, she worked with 50+ global multi-stakeholders including tech companies, civil society groups, academics, and investors to advocate for the internet's user's fundamental rights to free expression and privacy.

Elyse graduated with honors with an M.S in Foreign Service(MSFS) from Georgetown University.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Business Administration from Ewha Woman's University based in Seoul, South Korea.

Valery Vavilov

Board Member | Founder and CEO, Bitfury

Valery Vavilov

Board Member | Founder and CEO, Bitfury

Valery Vavilov is the CEO and founder of The Bitfury Group – the world’s leading full service Blockchain company. Vavilov’s entrepreneurial experience and passion for Blockchain technology led him to found the company in 2011, when Blockchain technology was just beginning to capture the world’s attention and imagination. A native Latvian who experienced first-hand the challenges resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vavilov was inspired by Blockchain technology and saw an opportunity to build technological solutions that could improve the lives of people all over the world. He focused first on the hardware solutions that would ensure security and trust in the Bitcoin Blockchain, leading The Bitfury Group to develop five generations of cutting-edge mining chips and state-of-the-art data center designs. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its focus to provide custom-designed software, consulting solutions, and advanced hardware, all while maintaining its position as one of the major public Bitcoin Blockchain security and transaction providers. Prior to founding The Bitfury Group, Vavilov spent more than 15 years in a variety of technical and leadership positions. He received his Masters degree from Riga’s Transport & Telecommunication University in Latvia.

Yew Kiat Phang

Board Member | CEO, Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group

Yew Kiat Phang

Board Member | CEO, Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group

Yew Kiat Phang is the Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chong Sing Holdings Fintech Group Limited (CSF). CSF is a leading publicly listed (stock code: 8207.HK) Fintech group in Asia with a growing presence in China and Mekong region.  Headquartered in Hong Kong, the company successfully established a fully-integrated Fintech ecosystem, providing 7X24 and one-stop efficient intelligent financial lifestyle services to over 30m registered Small Medium Enterprises and middle-class consumers via internet & mobile internet channels.

Phang began his career with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in 1994 and over his 17year career in banking, he held various management roles across SCB's corporate and consumer banking businesses, including the appointment as Chief Financial Officer for Indonesia & General Manager for Small Medium Enterprises, Singapore & Malaysia.  In 2005, Phang was seconded to China to build a brand new national joint-stock bank in Tianjin, China Bohai Bank and he served as an Executive Director and Deputy Chief Executive Officer with full responsibilities for the consumer banking business.  He has also served as DBS’s Group Head of Strategic Planning.

Phang is a member of the United Nations -Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Business Advisory Council.  In addition, he serves as the Chairman of Remuneration Committee & Independent Non-Executive Director and of Chuan Holdings Limited (stock code: 1420.HK).

Phang has a B.A. in Microelectronic Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and an M.B.A. from the University of Bristol.

Wei Wang

Board Member | Chairman, China M&A Group

Wei Wang

Board Member | Chairman, China M&A Group

Wei Wang is Founding Chairman of China Mergers & Acquisitions Association (CMAA), Founder and Chairman of Chinese Museum of Finance (Group), Chairman of China M&A Group. Wang has organized and supervised IPO underwritings for over 40 Chinese companies in both domestic and overseas markets. He is the financial consultant on restructuring, financing, M&A and IPO for many leading companies in China. He had worked in a number of international corporations including Nomura Securities Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, the World Bank in Washington D.C. and the Chase Bank in New York. He also serves as the economic advisor in several ministerial and provincial governments in China as well as independent director for several listed companies.

Wang received his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and Master’s degree in finance in China and his Ph.D. in economics from Fordham University in the United States. He is the author of many books and journal articles, and a well-known lecturer—he has given seminars and lectures at universities including CEIBS and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Wang has been named “Top Five Chinese investment Bankers” by Talents magazine in 2003, “The Most Influential Independent Director” by Directors & Boards magazine in 2006 and “The Most Influential Investment Banker” by China Finance Network in 2006. He was selected as a member of Shanghai Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Advisory Committee in 2007. In 2010, he founded the Chinese Museum of Finance (Group) and currently has 6 museums in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Suzhou. Furthermore, he has received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the M&A Advisor in New York, the 2013 Social Innovator Award from The Wall Street Journal, 2015 IFFM Financial Literacy Award and many others. In 2013, Wang successfully summited Mount Everest. He was elected as the Chairman of Asia Mergers & Acquisitions Association (AMAA) and Co-chairman of International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) in November 2015.

Paula Guedes

Board Member | CEO, Jobzi

Paula Guedes

Board Member | CEO, Jobzi

Paula Guedes is the founder and CEO of Jobzi, where she leads her team’s efforts in building technologies that learn and power the world’s work. She is a specialist at Instituto Millenium (IMIL), where her areas of expertise are entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems. An active member in the civic sphere, Guedes advocates that technology and transparency can dramatically improve the business environment. Her work has earned her a seat at Conselho da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro's City Advisory Board to the Mayor’s Office), where she was the youngest member at the time of her appointment. As contributor to the Cidade Competitiva, Inovadora e de Oportunidades Committee, she focuses on creating a local economy that is more globally-competitive. Guedes founded IFL Dialogues - sister chapter to Instituto de Formação de Líderes. While President of IFL Dialogues, she co-founded the "5-points Project”—which prioritizes municipal actions aimed at improving Brazil’s World Bank’s ranks in ease-of-doing-business. In 2012 Paula advised the Department of Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro towards the creation of the Startup Rio Project, recognized by Latam Founder’s Network as a "Top Latin American Accelerator” in their 2016 award edition. Guedes began her career at Citigroup’s Mergers and Acquisitions Group in New York City, where she focused on cross-border transactions. She is an MBA graduate and Joseph Wharton Scholar at Wharton School of Business, and holds a B.S. in Finance from Marshall School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from University of Southern California.

Elizabeth Rossiello

Board Member | CEO, BitPesa

Elizabeth Rossiello

Board Member | CEO, BitPesa

Elizabeth Rossiello co-founded BitPesa Ltd. in 2014 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Rossiello began her work in Kenya as a Microfinance Analyst and Investment Associate in 2009. She is an expert in East African financial product development and establishing best practices in risk, governance and IT for local banks. Prior to her work in East Africa, she served as an Analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich and a Robert Bosch Fellow in Frankfurt. She speaks five languages and holds a Masters in International Finance from Columbia University’s SIPA.

George Kikvadze

Board Member | Vice Chairman, Bitfury

George Kikvadze

Board Member | Vice Chairman, Bitfury

George Kikvadze is the Vice Chairman of The BitFury Group, the world's leading Blockchain infrastructure provider and transaction processing company. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of GCF, a $6 billion private equity partnership. Kikvadze has worked for York Capital Management, AFK Sistema and Morgan Stanley. He obtained his MBA at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and his Masters at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Kikvadze is a member of the Europe One YPO Club.

Brian Forde

Board Member | Co-Founder, MIT's Digital Currency Initiative; Fmr. Obama WH Advisor

Brian Forde

Board Member | Co-Founder, MIT's Digital Currency Initiative; Fmr. Obama WH Advisor

Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-founded the Digital Currency Initiative, an academic research group on cryptocurrencies, at the world-renown MIT Media Lab to research and incubate high-impact applications of this technology. Previously he was Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Forde founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps. In recognition of his work, he was named one of the "Most Influential People in Bitcoin and Blockchain" and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Forde received a B.A. at the University of California at Los Angeles and an M.B.A. at the London Business School.

Daniel Gasteiger

Board Member | CEO, Procivis

Daniel Gasteiger

Board Member | CEO, Procivis

Daniel Gasteiger has worked in financial services for more than 20 years. Starting out as an FX trader at Credit Suisse, he later joined UBS to work with hedge funds and third-party banks promoting UBS’s business-to-business API solutions and Prime Brokerage services. In his last role at UBS, he built up and managed the Office of the Chairman as a Managing Director.

Gigi Brisson

Board Member | Partner, Attractor Ventures; CEO, OceanElders

Gigi Brisson

Board Member | Partner, Attractor Ventures; CEO, OceanElders

Gigi Brisson co-founded Attractor Ventures which invests in private and public technology companies. Past private investments include Verisign, Omniture, Salesforce.com and more currently Launch (Launch Festival, Summit &Angels), Brilliant, ProductionPro, Underground Cellar, Captricity, and Ztux. Gigi is also Founder and CEO of OceanElders, a group focused on ocean and wildlife protection and conservation. She created the organization in 2011 to be a locus of collaboration in the field of ocean conservation and sought out global leaders who have a personal passion for the ocean and its wildlife. OceanElders supports the work of ocean organizations and nonprofits, and elevates their visibility and impact through personal connections, business networks, and combined experience. Gigi and her husband fly antique airplanes.