Board of Directors

Board of Directors

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Sylvester Turner (Chairman)

Member of the Board since September 2020

Sylvester is serving his second four-year term as the 62nd mayor of Houston. Since taking office, Mayor Turner has expertly managed significant challenges facing the US’s fourth-largest city, including budget deficits, homelessness, Hurricane Harvey, and the COVID-19 pandemic. He has created more responsive and efficient delivery of city services while shoring up Houston’s financial future.

Amid national unrest and calls for improving community and police relations, Sylvester signed an executive order restricting the use of force and created a Task Force on Policing Reforms. Sylvester’s signature priorities include Complete Communities, an initiative to revitalize Houston’s most underserved neighborhoods and create a more equitable and prosperous city for all Houstonians. He also created the Hire Houston Youth program to provide job opportunities for thousands of young people each year. He has forged public-private partnerships to improve neighborhood parks and increase Houston’s technology footprint. Sylvester has also expanded municipal investments in renewable energy.

Before becoming Houston’s mayor, Sylvester served for 27 years as the Representative for Texas House District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. Prior to his career in public service, Sylvester practiced law at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, and later founded Barnes & Turner Law Firm.

Sylvester is a member of the US Conference of Mayors Transportation and Communications Standing Committee, Vice-Chair of the National Climate Action Agenda, member of the Global Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy, and an advisory board member of the African American Mayors Association. In March 2020, the University of Houston honored Sylvester with the Pioneer of Public Service Award. Sylvester is also the recipient of the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honor.

Sylvester is a graduate of the University of Houston and earned a law degree from Harvard University.

Daniel Stander (Deputy Chair)

Member of the Board since September 2020

Daniel is a special advisor to the United Nations on matters of risk analytics and finance. Over the last 20 years, Daniel has worked on every continent, advising public and private entities on a variety of complex risks, including natural hazards, pandemics and cyber attacks. He is a pioneer of #ResilienceFinance, helping capital find responsible investments in the face of climate and other extremes. He also supported the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Wildlife Fund in a pioneering initiative to protect UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 
From 2006-2020, Daniel held a variety of leadership positions at Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the world’s leading catastrophe risk modelling company. Most recently, he was Global Managing Director at RMS, leading among other things the firm’s relationships with all levels of government. In 2018, Mayor Francis Suarez presented Daniel with a City of Miami Proclamation recognizing his commitment to raise awareness, foster cooperation, and deliver resilience to urban economies and communities in the face of sea level rise and the threat of extreme events.

Prior to RMS, Daniel was part of the group strategy and development function at an 80,000-employee, £10-billion, global healthcare group, serving 30 million customers in over 190 countries. He also has considerable start-up experience, having been part of the founding team of an award-winning fintech. He continues to advise tech companies, including Agritask, whose precision agronomics platform is improving economic resilience, protecting livelihoods and increasing food security.

Daniel holds a Master’s from the University of Oxford. He also studied for a master’s degree at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and is a graduate of the Center of Creative Leadership. A frequent keynote speaker, Daniel is often quoted in the Financial Times, the BBC and other tier one media.

Naina Batra (Secretary)

Member of the Board since September 2020

Naina is the CEO and Chairperson of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network.

Under Naina’s leadership, AVPN has grown fourfold. A regional force for good with 600+ members, AVPN today supports the entire ecosystem of social funders, from venture philanthropists to impact investors and corporate CSR professionals. In 2019, Naina was identified as one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks.

Prior to joining AVPN, Naina was a member of the senior leadership team the Monitor Group, a leading global strategy consulting firm aimed at catalyzing markets for social change. She was also a co-founder of Group Fifty, providing a medium for Indian artists to showcase their work to large and diverse audiences.

Naina has a Master’s in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where she graduated at the top of her class. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, as well as a Diploma in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Dr. Sameh Wahba

Member of the Board since September 2020

Sameh is the Global Director of The World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience, and Land Global Practice. The practice, which also covers territorial development, geospatial, and results-based financing issues, has a portfolio of $30 billion in commitments in investment projects, program-for-results, and development policy lending, and around 450 staff.

Prior to this, Sameh served as the Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management, and Resilience at The World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice, where he oversaw the formulation of The World Bank’s strategy, design, and delivery of all lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities, and partnerships at the global level. He also served as Practice Manager for the Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit in Africa and the Global Urban and Resilience Unit, and as Acting Director of Operations and Strategy for the Global Practice. He worked as Sustainable Development Sector Leader for Brazil, based in Brasilia, and as an urban specialist focused on housing, land, local economic development, and municipal management and service delivery in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Middle East and North Africa regions. Prior to joining The World Bank in 2004, Sameh worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam, and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies.

Sameh holds a PhD and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University, and a BSc and MSc in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. He co-authored The World Bank’s flagship publications on “Regenerating Urban Land: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leveraging Private Investment” and “The Hidden Wealth of Cities: Creating, Financing, and Managing Public Spaces,” as well as the “Culture in City Reconstruction and Recovery” jointly with UNESCO.

Monica Barone

Member of the Board since September 2020


Monica has been the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Sydney since 2006. She oversaw the development and implementation of Sustainable Sydney 2030, the City’s long-term vision for Central Sydney.

Monica manages around 2,400 staff, an annual capital expenditure and operational expenditure budget of around $850 million, and $12 billion in net assets, including the Council’s commercial property portfolio. In 2019, the City of Sydney processed over $2.4 billion in new development. Sydney’s major projects include the $13-billion Green Square Urban Renewal site, and the CBD and South East Light Rail, which opened in December 2019. Initiated and partly funded by the City of Sydney, the line is now managed by Transport for NSW.

Monica holds a master’s degree in Creative Arts and was a 2014 “100 Women of Influence” finalist. She is Chair of the Resilient Sydney Steering Committee, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of Chief Executive Women.