Team: Fellows | Management & Advisors →

Jalia Ventures attracts a diverse group of graduate school students and recent alums for its year-round fellowship program. Fellows conduct due diligence on potential deals, develop financial models and provide hands-on assistance to portfolio companies.


Donnel Baird, Jalia Ventures 2012 FellowDonnel Baird, a 2013 MBA candidate at Columbia Business School, was Jalia’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. Prior to attending business school, he spent three years as a community organizer in Brooklyn and one year as a voter contact director for Obama For America. Donnel received a 2012 Echoing Green BMA fellowship for his venture, BlocPower, which will market no money down renewable energy products to property owners in underserved communities.

Rachele Haber-Thomson, Jalia Ventures 2012 FellowRachele Haber-Thomson is a 2012 graduate of NYU Stern School of Business and earned her BA in economics and French from the University of Rochester. While at Stern, she served on the board of the Social Enterprise Association and interned at Bridges Ventures in London. Rachele is continuing her career in impact investing and social entrepreneurship at Investors’ Circle. Prior to attending business school, Rachele worked in online advertising for YAHOO!.

Candace HewittCandace Hewitt is a 2013 master’s candidate at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and received her BA with honors in American Studies and Economics from Smith College. Previously, she managed brand development as an account strategist in top Madison Avenue advertising agencies.  In her off-hours, she’s pursued a more just world through eco-educational programming, independent arts and media.

Renae Merle, Jalia Ventures 2012 FellowRenae Merle, a long-time journalist, is a 2012 graduate of Columbia Business School. She was a 2011-2012 Columbia University Knight-Bagehot Fellow and also received the business school’s George A. Wiegers Fellowship. Renae has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Associated Press. She has a master’s of journalism from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.

Neela Pal, 2012 Jalia Ventures FellowNeela Pal is a 2013 MBA candidate at Yale School of Management and received her BA in English Literature with a minor in African and African American Studies from the University of Virginia. Neela spent her 2012 summer working at Agora Partnerships, which runs an Accelerator program for early-stage impact entrepreneurs in Latin America. In addition, Neela is a freelance writer and has been published in Inc. Magazine, New York Press, and Telegraph India. Prior to attending business school, she worked with social sector organizations including College Summit and the American India Foundation in Calcutta, India.


Mindy Lin, Jalia Ventures 2011 FellowMindy Lin is a 2012 graduate of Columbia Business School and received her BA in Economics from Trinity College. Mindy is pursuing her passion for purpose by working as a consultant to a socially responsible private equity firm. Prior to business school, she worked as a human resource and strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting for five years. During her Jalia Ventures fellowship, Mindy performed an operational diagnostic and developed a strategic hiring and retention roadmap for Red Rabbit, a Jalia portfolio company.

Lisa Nicole Williams, 2011 Jalia Ventures FellowLisa Nicole Williams is a 2011 graduate of Columbia Business School, where she focused on finance and social enterprise and was a Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow. Lisa is currently an investment associate at Imprint Capital, an impact investment firm. Prior to business school, Lisa spent six years at Citi Investment Research, where she worked in equity and fixed income research.



Nii Koney, Jalia Ventures 2010 FellowNii Koney completed a dual MD/MBA degree from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia Business School respectively in 2012. Nii is pursuing a career as a radiologist and social entrepreneur working at the intersection of cancer prevention, treatment, research and education globally. He has several years of experience in the biotechnology start-up industry and holds a patent for prior work as a medicinal chemist in cancer drug discovery.