Elmseed Enterprise Fund is run and staffed by a dedicated team of undergraduate student volunteers at Yale University. Our organization has three tiers.

Board of DirectorsEdit

Elmseed’s board of directors works closely with our student management team to shape the organization. Our Directors are committed professionals who bring perspectives ranging from commercial banking and accounting to non-profit management and urban studies.

Linda Berard Citizens Bank

Linda Berard works for RBS Citizens and has been in banking for more than 20 years with experience in Commercial Administration, Financial Analysis and Audit. She previously served on the Cabinet and Allocations Committees for the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and until recently served as the President of the Board for Nehemiah Housing and Not for Profit Transitional Living and Low Income Housing Group in Middletown, CT. Linda lives with her husband in Waterford, Connecticut.

Cynthia Horan Yale College Lecturer

Cynthia Horan (Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1986) teaches courses on the politics of cities. Her research interests focus on the political economy of cities and urban regions in particular the politics of economic restructuring. She has published articles in Polity, Economic Geography, Journal of Urban Affairs as well as in edited volumes on urban politics. Prior to teaching at Yale, she taught at the University of Toronto and Wesleyan University.

Nathan Huttner Redstone Strategy Group

Nathan is an Associate Principal at Redstone Strategy Group, a consulting firm that helps foundations and non-profits solve urgent social problems. Nathan has helped philanthropic programs working on health, education, and climate and energy to develop strategies that build on clients’ strengths to maximize their positive impact. Nathan has significant experience designing and evaluating hard-to-assess advocacy strategies in rapidly changing environments. Particular areas of expertise include climate and energy, education, health, and advocacy campaign design and assessment.

Eliyah Shin Yale SOM Student

Eliyah is a first year student at Yale School of Management. Prior to attending Yale, he spent most of`his careers working for the federal government. During the late financial crisis, Eliyah served as Deposit Insurance Claims Agent at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and assisted depositors of failed institutions by ensuring that depositors received their insured funds. In 2009, Eliyah became one of the youngest commissioned Financial Institution Examiners. As a commissioned examiner, he reviewed banks’ level of compliance with consumer protection regulations and assessed the qualities of board of directors and management teams at numerous financial institutions. In 2011, Eliyah joined Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was founded as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. At the bureau, Eliyah helped develop and implement supervision strategies while conducting complex consumer protection examinations at some of the largest banks in the country.

Adela Martinez Start Community Bank

Adela Martinez works for Start Community Bank as a SVP – Operations and Technology and has been in banking for more than 20 years with experience in Deposit and Loan Operations, Information Technology, Retail Banking and Accounting. She currently serves on the Board and the Development Task Force Committee for Christian Community Action in New Haven, CT and serves on the Boards of Newington Ski Club and Elmwood Community Church in Newington and West Hartford, CT. Adela lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Russell P. Gieselman Franklin Russell Associates

Carlos Eyzaguirre EDC New Haven

Art Mollengarden Post University

Stacey Spell

Rebecca Vollmer Ross School

To see in-depth profiles of some BOD members, please visit backpack .


The two Executive Directors oversee the operations of the entire organization and set the vision for continued growth.They are the liaisons to the Board of Directors and the organization's representatives to external parties. They ensure that client relationships and projects progress smoothly, keep departments and staff on track to meet their goals, and initiate new projects or resolve conflicts as necessary.


Client Services Edit

Client Services staff work directly with entrepreneurs and small business owners at regular consulting sessions. Staffers assist clients with projects, such as developing business plans, implementing marketing strategies, generating financial projections, and identifying and addressing weaknesses in clients’ businesses and business ideas. Typically, staff members work in pairs and will often consult with two or more clients at any given time. Past projects have included work with daycares, food carts, shuttle service companies and educational non-profits.

Client RecruitmentEdit

Our Client Recruitment department is responsible for finding and onboarding clients within New Haven. It is the engine which drives the growth and quality of our client base, and is essential to achieving Elmseed’s mission. In addition, CR acts as the face of Elmseed to the greater New Haven community. Staffers maintain relationships with local organizations, make presentations at community events, and conduct outreach to banks, churches and directly to small businesses. Client recruitment staffers are also responsible for creating and maintaining public relations materials and managing Elmseed’s press.


Development is in charge of Elmseed’s fundraising strategy and various brand-building projects. The Development staff, in addition to learning how to write effective grant applications, will work on a variety of projects ranging from video production to online newsletters. In addition, Development is responsible for maintaining and strengthening relationships with Elmseed alumni, foundation representatives, and donors. Work is time-sensitive and critical to Elmseed’s continued success.


Finance is responsible for underwriting loan applications. Finance also manages Elmseed’s loan portfolio, maintains Elmseed’s financial records, researches best accounting and lending practices, and is responsible for Elmseed’s compliance with tax and legal codes. 


Strategy staffers do internal consulting for Elmseed, which means envisioning and implementing new initiatives and policies to help the organization function better. Current strategy projects include creating systems for evaluating consulting relationships, improving Elmseed’s staff training process, creating a system to track client performance over time, and improving institutional memory (hence this wikia).

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