Board of Directors


Mark Gelfand


Mark Gelfand created STEMpower (and its predecessor the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust) because of a passion for science&engineering, as well as a desire to give forward. His mission is to see all students have access to the same kind of quality STEM education experience that he had in the United States.

After witnessing deserving students achieve success at Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel, he knew that if given the opportunity, students in developing nations could thrive and become scientists and engineers in their communities. Mark is also involved in helping build the industrial capacity of Ethiopian exports though TodayTomorrowVentures. Mark is earned his B.S. in Physics at Carnegie-Mellon University.


Mike Castricone

Director I Treasury

Mike is a certified public accountant with years of experience in finance, administration and operations. Mike has served as Chief Financial Officer of various technology companies, such as Guardium, Inc. and WebLayers.

Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in financial operations, strategic planning, and international finance


Helen Mesfin


Born and raised in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Helen Mesfin moved to the United States at the age of 17 to pursue higher education. She worked her way through college, earning a degree in Business Management, and launching her professional career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry.

A multi-faceted Destination Sales, Marketing and Business Development professional, Helen has over 18 years of experience in the Tourism and Destination Management industry representing major US cities like Washington, DC and New Orleans. She couples her extensive experience with a passion for excellent service, and places values on continuously delivering value long after the deal is closed.

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Kidist Gebreamlak

Director I President

Kidist Gebreamlak serves as President on STEM power's Board of Directors and as an Executive Director. Prior to these roles, Kidist had been a program specialist at the Center for Global Health Impact and the Institute for Leadership Impact at Southern Methodist University. Before that, Kidist worked in project development at the Corporation for National & Community Service, and in consulting and program support for the World Bank Group. She also served as a research assistant at George Mason University and at the Institute for Security Studies. Kidist earned her B.A. in International Development at George Mason University and her M.A. in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training. 


Tamrat Berhanu


Tamrat is an Israeli-Ethiopian technologist and entrepreneur, who has established many agriculture projects in Ethiopia, including our Green Mark Herbs farm, one of the most successful and state-of-the-art farms in Ethiopia.

 Tamrat is a pioneer in promoting Israeli technology and know-how in Ethiopia, and has experience finding the right technological fit, coupled with a knowledge of transfer and foreign direct investment, the result of numerous ventures in Africa.


Abebe Girmay


Abebe Girmay is Countrymanager-Mastercard-EastAfrica in Nairobi, Kenya. Abebe is responsible for country management, business development and expansion and relationships to support business strategy by identifying and introducing innovative payment solutions across the Horn of Africa markets. Before joining Mastercard, Abebe  Vice President for Information Technology at Dashen Bank in Ethiopia. He previously worked in Switzerland Payment Technology Company as Sub-Saharan Africa Project Manager and Information Technology Academia. He holds Master of Science Degree in Software Engineering from HiLCoE School of Computer Science and Technology, and an MBA (GeneralBusiness) from Jimma University, Ethiopia. He graduated with Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from American Academy of Project Management (AAPM®) as well as Certified Bankcard Manager from London Business School in the UK.


Shachar Zahavi

Director I Security

A veteran humanitarian aid expert experienced in disaster response and sustainable development, Shachar has led relief missions and built sustainable long-term programs since 1994.  His passion and work has impacted communities in more than 60 countries worldwide. Shachar’s first exposure to humanitarian emergencies was during the Rwanda genocide of 1994, when he led the largest Israeli civilian national campaign to help the Rwandan refugees. Shachar was among the founders of Latet’s (the Israeli "To Give" not-for-profit) international arm. Shachar was also the founder of IsraAID, an international aid agency which he led as Founder, Chairperson and CEO for 16 years. Recently he founded iAID, a global tech aid agency which integrates technology to help communities globally.


Tim Veldman


Tim has been a presence in the field of impact investments since 2003, primarily with Dutch ventures in Africa. During Tim's seven recent years in Ethiopia, he helped to develop and operate successful companies in the agricultural and manufacturing spaces

Tim is also involved in the education field, where he and his wife-colleague founded the successful Interlakes International School, 45 km south of Addis Ababa.

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