Growing Our Board, Growing Our Expertise

by Yanki Tshering

Having an accomplished – and diverse – Board of Directors is critical to the success of any CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution,) particularly one with as important a mission as BCNA’s.

Now more than ever we feel the urgency of our role in helping refugees and immigrants get a fresh start in New York and successfully launch or grow a business, buy a home, or get the education or training they need to thrive and contribute to the New York economy.

That is why we are pleased to welcome two exciting new members to our own Board: Michele Danso and Dave Sidhu.

Michelle Danso is an attorney and the co-head of the Prime Brokerage & Trading legal team at The Man Group, a global active investment management firm. Previously she was on the Global Securities Services legal team at Goldman Sachs International.Her volunteer work includes advising the Sandema Educational Resource Centre, an educational charity based in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

Michelle was drawn to BCNA’s mission as well as the city-focused model:

“As I learnt more about BCNA’s mission, I was quite in awe of the work being done and keen to get involved. As an immigrant myself, and knowing how important entrepreneurship is to various immigrant communities, the mission of BCNA is quite inspiring and the opportunity to be involved was one I couldn’t pass.

“I definitely believe other cities could benefit from BCNA’s city-focused model and special outreach to newly arrived Americans. Particularly now, when the word immigrant or foreigner can evoke a negative reaction, it is important for cities throughout the country to have a model that recognizes the contribution of New Americans and to strive to assist their integration into those cities.”

Our newest Board member, Dave Sidhu, is an analyst with Santander Bank’s Project & Acquisition Finance team, which is responsible for executing advisory mandates and the origination and structuring of non-recourse financings across North America. A native of Canada, he graduated with honors with a degree in Finance from the University of British Columbia, and was the co-founder and former President of the Uchara Initiative, an organization focusing on poverty alleviation in rural India through education and social enterprise initiatives.

For Dave, one of the things that impressed him most about BCNA was its support of entrepreneurship:

“I got involved with BCNA both because of its focus on immigrants and refugees as well as its focus on helping entrepreneurs grow and build their businesses. Over the years, a large percentage of my immediate and extended family has had to immigrate from India for political and economic reasons, so I can relate to the struggle of immigrants and refugees.  

“Entrepreneurship is a great equalizer, serving as a platform for those who have good ideas to work hard and move up in society.  As Board Member, I am excited by the opportunity to be part of an incredible organization that has made a meaningful difference in the community. The effort that the BCNA staff and supporters put into helping clients, the community, and NYC prosper is inspirational. And it is incredibly exciting – and humbling – to be a part of the energy and creativity of entrepreneurs and to witness their success stories!”

We are very excited to have Michele and Dave as part of the team, and look forward to their input, energy, and expertise.