Chosen from a wonderful group of talented friends and professional colleagues, the Gnu Foundation Board is critical in providing strong internal leadership and direction for the Foundation. Please meet those whose active participation and wise counsel is greatly appreciated:
James M. Sempere
Founder and Board Chairman
Prior to founding the Gnu Foundation in 2009, Jim enjoyed a robust professional career spanning more than 35 years in real estate research and finance, investment management, urban planning and environmental consulting. Jim was President of Wildebeest Advisors and currently holds a Senior Advisory role with Real Capital Analytics, Inc.
Previously, he has been a Senior Advisor to London-based Investment Property Databank and was Managing Director/Head of Global Real Estate Investments and Research with Charles Schwab Investment Management. Jim was Chief Operating Officer for Global Real Analytics and publisher of the National Real Estate Index (NREI), and has also held key leadership positions with Guggenheim Real Estate, Ernst & Young, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and the Henderson Group.
Jim earned his M.F.S. degree from Yale University and holds a B.S. degree from the University of Michigan. He holds the Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) professional designation; is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS); a Homer Hoyt Fellow; and past member of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF); and the Investment Advisory Council of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).
Jim currently resides on the east coast but spends much of his time traveling to visit Gnu Partners and Gnu opportunities. He has four grown children and four inspiring grandchildren — and loves to travel, be outdoors, fly fish, ski, grow things, build stone walls and teach.
Director and Board Secretary
David Bagnani is a portfolio manager for Fidelity Asset Management where he has worked since 1994. Fidelity Investments is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries. Mr. Bagnani manages money on behalf of pension funds, endowments and foundations with an investment focus in high yield real estate debt securities.
Born in 1963, Mr. Bagnani received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Santa Clara and an MBA from Boston College in 1989. Mr. Bagnani was a member of the Board of Governors of CMBS Trade Organization (CMSA) from 2003 to 2006 and has been published in the PREA Quarterly.
An avid biker, tennis player and family man — Dave resides in Brookline Massachusetts with his wife Betty, their two daughters, and two precocious cats.
Director and Board Treasurer
Elizabeth, “Beth,” is Chief Growth Officer for ImpactAssets responsible for leading business development, marketing and client experience for ImpactAssets. She brings more than 25 years of experience in financial services and has served as a volunteer and board member of several industry associations and non-profits. Prior to joining Impact Assets, Beth was Chief Marketing Officer for NestWise, a firm offering personal financial advice to middle class Americans; Executive Vice President for LPL Financial where she led Product and Platform development.
Beth spent nearly 17 years with Charles Schwab, where she held several executive positions in marketing, business line management and product development. She has also held investment management and sales positions with Goldman Sachs and Scudder.
Beth has a BA in Economics from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She serves as a mentor for Students Rising Above, a member of the Marketing Committee for East Meets West Foundation and Impact100, Sonoma.
Beth lives in San Francisco where she enjoys hiking and other outdoor activities.
Pam Kohlberg’s career spans more than 25 years of combined consulting, investments, government, and non-profit work. With management roles in consulting and investment funds, and board chair roles — her experience encompasses business and non-profit worlds. Pam’s extensive non-profit board experience over the past twenty years, in addition to the Massachusetts Nature Conservancy, includes the Trust of the Boston Medical Center, the Vision Fund of the Kohlberg Foundation, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Yale Forestry Leadership Council.
More recently, Pam has been a founding partner and managing director of Ilex, an emerging markets fund of funds, including small to mid-size managers with investments in mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. As a part-time consultant, she works on triple bottom line accounting for Mars Global Brands. Earlier in her career, she worked for the US Forest Service, the Town of Hingham, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Looking at entrepreneurial solutions for global issues, Pam chose the Gnu Foundation for its focus on micro-finance to address poverty and food security. Gnu’s approach utilizing community groups to strengthen individual businesses with the multiple benefits of education, job training and health care is highly compelling.
Married with a blended family of six children, Pam lives in the Boston area and enjoys travel, reading, photography, skiing, hiking, theatre, and museums. Pam holds a Bachelors degree cum laude from Yale College and a Master of Forest Science degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Paul H. McDowell
Paul is currently President, Office and Industrial Group of VEREIT and formerly a founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of CapLease, Inc a New York Stock Exchange traded real estate investment trust where he has worked since 1994. First as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the firm from 1994 until 2001— Paul was named CEO and joined the Board of Directors in 2001, subsequently being elected Chairman of the Board in December 2007.
Formerly, Paul held positions as corporate counsel for Sumitomo Corporation of America, the principal U.S. subsidiary of one of the world’s largest integrated trading companies where he advised on a wide range of domestic and international corporate legal matters, including acquisitions, complex financing transactions, power plant development, shipping, litigation management and real estate. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. McDowell was an associate in the corporate department at the Boston law firm of Nutter, McClennen & Fish.
Paul has long been in love with Africa ever since his first visit in 1983. Since then he has returned numerous times and has visited Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa in his travels.
Paul received a JD with honors from Boston University School of Law and received a BA from Tulane University. He lives in New York City and is married with two children, enjoys outdoor sports including sailing, kite boarding, adventure racing, bicycling and skiing.