Gerardo Espinoza, Executive Director
Gerardo has served as Executive Director of LEAF for the last nine years, spearheading the Fund’s growth at the national level and developing financing programs and technical assistance to small businesses in Massachusetts. He joined LEAF after spending many years in the commercial banking and investment management field. His background includes ten years as a Vice President at First National Bank of Chicago, and 15 years in investment management in the positions of Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President with Baring Asset Management and John Hancock funds. Gerardo serves as advisory member of the annual Federal Reserve's Financial Innovations Roundtable, a member of the Boston Federal Reserve's Working Group on Wealth Inequality, and a board member the Food Coop Initiative, the Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority, and Third Sector New England. He has a master’s degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Amine Benali, CFA, Managing Director, Strategy & Development
Amine is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and brings with him a vast experience in investment analysis and management. He joined LEAF after 19 years as an investment analyst and portfolio manager focused on Emerging Markets and Global Natural Resources. He worked as an equity analyst at Baring Asset Management, as Senior Research Officer at John Hancock Advisors, and as Managing Director at Manulife Asset Management. He has co-managed equity portfolios with up to $1.8 billion in AUM. Amine has devoted himself academically and professionally to development economics. He is also an entrepreneurship Lecturer at Northeastern University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in Economics from Boston University.
Nathan Hixson, CFA, Director of Lending & Operations
Nathan performs financial analysis for LEAF and identifies new sources of funding to support our work. Prior to joining LEAF, Nathan served as an AmeriCorps New Sector Fellow at Aspire Institute. He has also performed underwriting at RSF Social Finance, co-founded the BYU Social Innovation Leadership Council, and served a two-year mission in Albania. Nathan graduated with a B.S. in Finance and International Development from Brigham Young University.
Benjamin Selden, Development & Marketing Manager
Ben joins the LEAF team on the development side after serving an 11-month fellowship as part of New Sector Alliance’s Residency in Social Enterprise. RISE is an AmeriCorps program that pairs fellows with nonprofits to work on capacity-building projects. Ben previously interned at the Harvard Art Museums and Dumbarton Oak’s Research Library. He graduated with a degree in Classics from Harvard University.
Alex Plowden, Development Manager
Alex supports LEAF’s development efforts by seeking out and renewing investments and grants, maintaining current investor relations, and building out LEAF’s broad network in the CDFI ecosystem. He holds a Master’s of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s with Independent Concentration in Informed Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before joining LEAF, Alex worked on the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign and interned for Massachusetts Peace Action, an advocacy group for peaceful foreign policy based in Cambridge.
Emma Turcotte, Communications & Programs Analyst
Emma joins LEAF for an 11-month fellowship through the Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS). QVS is a national service program that places fellows in nonprofits addressing various social issues, while living in cooperative housing, and engaging with local Quaker communities. Emma graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana with a degree in Human Development and Social Relations.
Christopher Hunter, Financial Analyst
Chris joined the LEAF team in 2017 to support the growth of the Boston focused L-TAP program. Chris graduated with a degree in Business Analytics and Operations Research from MIT. He uses his finance and economics background to support LEAF's Technical Assistance Program.
James Louney, Controller
James has significant experience in the accounting field, holding CFO-level positions in a variety of private and publicly traded companies, as well as working for Deloitte.
Rebecca Lin, Systems & Operations Coordinator
Rebecca is the overseer of LEAF’s general operations and is in charge of seeking funding to ensure clear communication between departments. Prior to joining LEAF, she started a branch of the micro enterprise Threads of Hope and interned with Artistri Sud, an NGO that provides business coaching to artisans in the developing world. She graduated from McGill University with a BA in Economics and Social Entrepreneurship.
Conor McFarland, Loan Manager Conor joins LEAF after working for the Resident-Owned Communities-New Hampshire (ROC-NH) program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a CDFI located in Concord, NH. At ROC-NH, he consulted new and existing manufactured housing park cooperatives and supported the Credit/Portfolio Analyst in monitoring the manufactured housing park portfolio. Conor earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Minor in Spanish at the University of New Hampshire.
Margaret Lund, Consultant
Margaret brings over 15 years of experience in healthy foods retail lending gained in her previous position as Executive Director of the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF), a 30 year-old CDFI which focuses on financing cooperative enterprises. More recently, Ms. Lund has served as a trainer and consultant for a number of CDFIs through the Opportunity Finance Network’s healthy food lending program. She holds a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.