Our leaders are a group of dedicated and passionate individuals; who are driven by success and want the best for the people of Haiti.
Founder & CEO
Michaela is the founder, president, and CEO of Lespwa Inc., a nonprofit that works with enterprising people in the developing world to provide free education, competitive agriculture, as well as micro-loans and businesses. Since Michaela's first trip to Haiti at the age of 14, and throughout her dozens of travels back - and to other emerging nations - over the last decade, she has been deeply committed to working hard to help those in need.
Michaela focused her undergraduate and graduate studies at Sacred Heart University in international development; earning a dual Bachelor of Science in International Business and Economics, concentrating in economic sustainable development for emerging nations. She also earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) which had a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Michaela spent 3 years working in Corporate Partnerships for Kraft Sports and Entertainment; mainly working with sponsors for the New England Patriots. She currently resides in Washington, D.C., and does Business Development for Advoc8, a startup experiential marketing agency.
Lespwa Inc. brings Michaela’s love of sports and business together with her passion for helping the poor. Her mission is to be a voice for the poor, the ones who cannot help themselves. Her dream was always Lespwa Academy: a place where every child matters and every child can thrive; where dreams are possible and where education is a right that is ensured to every child. Michaela passionately aims to educate, employ, and empower the Haitian people.
Andrew was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island he was deeply involved in activities such as soccer and community service and continued these passions at the collegiate level as captain of the Division One Men’s soccer team at Sacred Heart University. At Sacred Heart University, he double-majored in Finance and Economics and served as the Vice-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, an Economics Tutor, a mentor in the Sunshine Kids Program, and a fundraising officer in the office of University Advancement. After graduating, Andrew was selected as the youngest member of the Sacred Heart University Alumni Association.
Professionally, Andrew spent two years working at UBS in New York, NY in wealth management first as a member of the Graduate Training Program and then as a Senior Wealth Strategy Associate. Andrew received his MSc of Finance from Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, Portugal and is a Level Two candidate in the CFA program. Andrew’s passions include soccer, community service, and traveling.
After completing his Master's Degree in Film & Television production, Ryan moved to Los Angeles, CA to get some sun and work in more creative-driven content as a professional Videographer/Photographer. Working at his Alma Mater, Sacred Heart University, for two years Ryan worked as a director/editor on numerous profile documentaries of alumni and donors with Michaela, the producer. They both had common backgrounds in philanthropy, worked together on numerous video projects and marketing campaigns. Ryan has traveled to Haiti twice, and is responsible for all videos and photos done for Lespwa.
Growing up in the village of Brely, Osnel brings a unique perspective necessary for Lespwa’s success. He is the voice of the people and communities in which we work. Osnel has worked with non-profit organizations in Haiti most of his life and has traveled and worked in the US as well. His pride in his country, and ambition for his people, drive his dedication and service to Lespwa. Osnel is our “on the ground” operations in Haiti; overseeing all of the day to day operations, employees, and students.
As Michaela’s sister, Katerina accompanied Michaela on her first trip to Haiti in 2008 and has seen Michaela’s passion and determination inspire and grow the successful creation of Lespwa Academy throughout the last decade. Katerina has long supported Michaela’s ambitions and dreams of helping the people of Haiti over the years, and is honored and excited to further assist those efforts through her role as the Chief Security Officer for Lespwa Academy.
Katerina has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with concentrations in Criminology and Counterterrorism from The Catholic University of America and spent several years as a counterterrorism analyst. Her career as a security professional includes a diverse range of organizations, from small business start-ups to government agencies. Through a variety of experiences, Katerina has a deep understanding of security concerns; including how to best mitigate risks and protect Lespwa’s personnel, facilities, as well as sensitive corporate/sponsor information.
Katerina currently lives in Washington, D.C., and is the Director of Security for Whitehorse Technologies.
We are honored to employ the Haitian people. We are proud to be staffed entirely by the locals in the communities we work.