Llenay is CEO of Bhavana World Project Inc. She has more than twenty years of experience in international business development, product design, fashion, and is experienced in Fair Trade standards and certification. Llenay served as CEO and Executive Director of Ten Thousand Villages, the largest Fair Trade organization in North America, working with more than 120 MSMEs in 35 countries using trade as a solution for poverty alleviation. Prior to her work in economic development, Llenay was the Creative Design Director of Chico’s FAS, a national women’s apparel retailer. Llenay also served various roles at Liz Claiborne Inc., including as Vice President of Design, where she led product design for the fashion brand and directed a design staff in all aspects of apparel development with a global factory base.
Llenay has focused much of her development efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). She has partnered with the private sector and government programs to facilitate successful business relationships for African companies. Since 2011, Llenay has consulted on projects focusing on MSME business development in the Textile, Fashion and Personal Accessories sectors. Her work in SSA includes market access programs for more than 400 companies and capacity building interventions for more than 150 MSMEs in the region. Over the course of her work business revenue exceeded $50 million within Bhavana’s MSME portfolio with significant increases from the top 30% performers.
Llenay has been an advisor for The Ministry of Trade in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, contributing to their national strategic export plans in Textile, Fashion and Personal Accessories sectors. From 2015 to 2018 Llenay served on the Trade Advisory Committee for Africa for the Office of the President of the United States in the Obama Administration.
Llenay has a Masters in International Economic Development from American University School of International Service and a BFA in Fashion from Moore College of Art. She holds USAID Economic Evaluation and M&E Certifications from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Kristen Bibikos is an Associate at Bhavana World Project. Since joining Bhavana in 2012, Kristen has played a key role in the development and growth of the company, serving as a Project Impact Specialist, Training Development Specialist, and Project Coordinator.
In her various capacities, Kristen has worked on a wide variety of trade development projects that help small and medium sized enterprises located in emerging markets identify and capitalize on international business opportunities.
In addition, Kristen advises on business development, brand and product development, and marketing strategies. She plays an integral role in identifying business opportunities and responding to RFPs.
Kristen received her B.S. from Penn State University in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on women and children and her J.D. from Widener University Commonwealth Law School.
Apurba Deb Roy
Apurba Deb Roy is a Dhaka, Bangladesh Textile and Dyeing Specialist working with Bhavana World Project as a Technical Training Consultant for USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. Apurba is currently a Senior Level Technical Advisor of Super Enterprise Limited in Dhaka Bangladesh and was a Consultant of Nijera Cottage &Village Industries Limited in Bangladesh. He is well conversant in designing product ranges on shibori, quilting indigo dyed materials for international markets.
Apurba began his studies at the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh in Natural Science and did his research on extraction process with James Finlay PLC, UK with the University of Cambridge. He has also studied several courses on natural indigo extraction, natural dying techniques and Shibori at Natural Dye Resources in India and Aranya Craft Limited Bangladesh. He is a PhD Research Fellow on Social Enterprise at Asia e-University, Malaysia.
Apurba has worked closely with number of international companies in textile development including Hermes-France, Maiwa Handprints Ltd, Canada and Living Blue, a project of USAID CARE Bangladesh.
Apurba has provided training to more than 600 women in Bangladesh on shibori, natural indigo dyeing, and extraction. In 2012, he taught at the Universities in Canada for Maiwa and other organizations during the Textile Symposium.
Apurba’s textile work is exhibited internationally.
Kelly DeNooyer received her BFA in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Florence, Italy. Her design perspective focuses on story-telling and how beauty, quality and culture can be translated into wearable fashion concepts.
Before joining Bhavana, Kelly has been women’s wear apparel designer with an important Florentine company for a decade, with the brand working closely with local artisans, Kelly incorporated quality Italian craftsmanship techniques into the collections. This experience coupled with her design perspective began to shift her focus towards design development work in emerging economies. Kelly began meaningful collaborations with social enterprises and artisans in apparel, accessories and textiles in Uganda, East Africa with Sleepy Genius by K. DeNooyer.
With Bhavana, Kelly consults as a technical design expert for USAID Competitiveness Projects: Specifically The Moldova Competitiveness Project which focuses on improving quality and developing innovative products that may compete and trade on the global export market. Under CE-WIN and SMART Kelly is assisting various apparel and knitwear companies in Moldova, Eastern Europe.
Within the project, Kelly’s design intervention ranges from: development of new brand concepts, collection design and concept training assistance, direction for incorporating local artisanal techniques in fashion apparel through surface design, embroidery, and finishing details, mentoring through all stages of the process in preparation for international trade opportunities.
Adele Mattern is an artist and a socially engaged product, textile and fashion designer, specializing in international collaborations with small artisan producers and fair trade collectives. After 15 years in the mainstream fashion retail world, Adele changed course, trained as a studio artist and re-entered the design world with a commitment to making, makers and sustainable materials. Through her work, unlikely players come together for outcomes none of them would realize separately.
Hand/Eye Magazine featured Adele’s embroidered newspaper project, NewsFeed Mumbai, a collaboration between her and 250 women from fairtrader Marketplace India in Mumbai. Adele has recently been nominated for the Lillian Elliott prize for excellence in fiber. Adele holds an MFA in sculpture from The Ohio State University.
“I work to reshape business processes to enable small producers to work within a corporate structure, translating and bridging the gaps in scale between artisan and brands. My work as an artist and socially engaged fashion designer creates space for unlikely collaborators in the fashion business to work with artisan producers. Partners convene around materials and create resonant juxtapositions of people, the product they make, and how they make it. The output of these collaborations may be fashion product, but the process is entirely sculptural.” –AM
Brooklyn based Artist, Kate Minford went to University of the Arts for Illustration and then to Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts to study sculpture from 2002 – 2006. Since moving to New York, she has worked within the Fine Art world designing and producing artwork for internationally acclaimed artists as well as managing galleries. Along with her work for other Artists and galleries, she continued exhibition nationally. In 2011, Kate was accepted into the residency program at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY to continue her focus on fiber based work.
Her extensive and varied material knowledge and experience with management has allowed her the opportunity to consult small business owners throughout the years as well. Since joining Bhavana, Kate has served as a design and product development consultant helping companies set and meet objectives to further their growth in the world market”
Paul Myers work with the poor in the developing world puts him in an unsurpassed class of socially minded business leaders. Paul has serviced in numerous leadership and visionary roles throughout his illustrious career working to improve, change and bring awareness to the issues faced by the “bottom of the pyramid”.
With unwavering commitment spanning over 30 years, Paul currently consults on Fair Trade development projects internationally and also holds the position of Chair Emeritus of International Development Enterprises (IDE) and is an Honorary Member of The World Fair Trade Organization(WFTO).
In 2014 Paul traveled to Sri Lanka on behalf of The International Service Executive Corps(ISEC). Under the direction of the Sri Lankan Export Development Board, and during a four weeks on site training program, Paul worked with 10 small entrepreneurs in the crafts sector to help them understand Fair Trade and to dialogue with them about best practices for their growing businesses. A one day seminar conducted in Eastern Sri Lanka for 40-45 small Tamil speaking crafts entrepreneurs concluded the training program.
Formerly Paul has served as President of The World Fair Trade Organization ( 2007-2001), Chair of International Development Enterprises ( 1993-2007), CEO of Ten Thousand Villages ( 1989- 2006) and Middle East/South Asia Secretary for Mennonite Central Committee ( 1981-1989).
Paul holds a BA in Economics from Goshen College USA and a MA in International Economics from the University of St Gall, Switzerland.
In addition to his speaking engagements at major US universities, Paul volunteers his time and expertise to many small SME’s around the world and is the Co-Director of 115 plot community garden in the city of Chicago where he lives with his wife Kate, their children and grandchildren.
Paul says, “I believe the solutions to poverty will generally be found among the poor themselves. We have so much to learn from each other. However, without an adequate income there are two things that are almost impossible to achieve: access to basic healthcare and education, and sustainable peace within a family, a community, a region and a nation.
The potential at the “bottom of the pyramid” is enormous. However, if we are to eliminate chronic poverty, it is imperative that we engage the poor themselves in the search for and in the application of the solutions.”
Lesli Robertson is an interdisciplinary artist and project developer who partners with local and international organizations to develop impactful engagement through interactive programs. Her focus is on the preservation and promotion of textile based knowledge and expanding that knowledge to reach a broader audience through a contemporary lens. By continually exploring new approaches to traditional techniques, she has developed ongoing initiatives and educational platforms to foster the understanding of textile making, history, and contemporary uses. As a former Principal Lecturer of Fibers at the University of North Texas, she worked over a decade developing curricula for textile based courses while leading initiatives including the development of the UNT Natural Dye Garden and partnerships with local museums and arts organizations to support student led projects in the arts.
Her passion for working within communities has enabled her to create numerous engagement projects that allow visitors to become active participants, including The Mother Load project which focuses on the intersection of art and motherhood. Additional work has taken her to Kuwait as a 2015-2016 Fulbright Specialist. There, she co-curated an interactive exhibition and workshop series focused on sadu weaving in addition to developing weaving curricula to be used in local schools. She began working in Uganda in 2008 on projects and exhibitions that support the local textile arts and continues this work as a 2018 Fulbright Specialist, partnering with arts organizations and artisans on the development of contemporary product design.
She joined Bhavana in 2018 as a consultant on the USAID/Smithsonian My Handmade Armenia initiative and works to bring her passion for textiles to each project she takes on. She is currently launching her business, Mekeka Designs, while serving on the board of the Textile Society of America.
Jill brings a decade of experience in inclusive economic growth programming, including in the TA&A sectors in Eastern and Southern Africa. Her background includes economic competitiveness, export promotion and market systems development programs where she has led assessment work for a variety of clients including donors, multilaterals and projects. Her assessment work covers designing value chain assessments, leading financial services landscape mapping, and conducting gender assessments to identify opportunities and constraints for women-led MSMEs across multiple countries and sectors. Her most recent assessment work is for the World Bank, where she is identifying best practices for improving women’s access to markets. She is happiest working directly with MSME owners, whether through leading MSME focus groups on export bottlenecks or facilitating a trade mission. Jill is passionate about inclusive economic growth that preserves a country’s culture and environment. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Boston University and an M.A. from Georgetown University in Conflict Resolution.
Nicole Versaevel is a visionary leader, seasoned facilitator and innovative program developer. She holds a PhD in Health Promotion from Western University and resides in Canada. Nicole has extensive experience in strategic planning, capacity building and project management, including being responsible for design, implementation and monitoring of projects. She spearheads a consultancy that works with small mission-driven organizations to become more effective in fulfilling their visions. Her expert skill set combined with desire for global social change has led her to international development work.
Her passion for social consciousness and equality has guided her to international positions in rural Haiti, Nicaragua and Switzerland. Combining passion, commitment and expertise, she contributes to sustainable outcomes in a global environment.
Nicole has a proven track record in creating collaborative cultures that produce superior results for stakeholders that increases participant insight, capacity, commitment and collaboration in bridging cultural differences.