Our Team

James Beaver
Treasurer/Director of Finance

Cedric de Beer
Vice President

Nic Christoforou
Investment Officer

Neal DeLaurentis
Vice President

Thomas Heck
Junior Analyst

Thomas Jetter

Mwewa Kapotwe
Investment Analyst

Evgeniya Kim
Program Assistant

Kate McNamara
Investment Analyst

Fawzia Naqvi
Vice President

Stewart Paperin

Aruna Ramsamy
Investment Officer

Catherine Sandy-Margao
Program Officer

Maria Santos Valentin
Secretary and General Counsel

Magdalena Sklarski
Office Manager

Jocelyn Songco
Investment Officer



James Beaver - Treasurer/Director of Finance
James Beaver joined SEDF in September 2011 as Director of Finance. Beaver has a Bachelors of Arts in Accounting from the University of Delaware. A Certified Public Accountant, Beaver began his career at J.H. Cohn, moving on to the banking industry with several years experience as a Vice President and Controller in the Alternative Investment division of Credit Suisse Securities.


Cedric de Beer - Vice President
Cedric de Beer joined SEDF as Vice President and Director of Africa Operations in July 2009. Based in Johannesburg, he is responsible for opening up new investment areas in Africa and monitoring the progress of new investments. He also represents SEDF on the Board of Nurcha, of which he was the founder and formerly the chief executive. With SEDF and government support, Nurcha has financed the construction of more than 300 000 low income houses in South Africa over fifteen years Prior to this, de Beer was the Director of Urbanization for the City of Johannesburg. He has directed the Rural Health Services Development Unit at the Witwatersrand University Medical School, in addition to setting up and co-directing the Centre for Health Policy there. Furthermore, he worked with an environmentally focused rural development agency and served on the executive board of the National Union of South African Students and on the Board of the Independent Development Trust. De Beer has a BA in Political Science from the University of the Witwatersrand.


Nic Christoforou - Investment Officer
Nic Christoforou joined SEDF in 2013 as an Investment Officer based in Johannesburg, and is responsible for new investments and monitoring the progress of existing investments in Southern and East Africa. His prior roles were in Investment Banking with a focus in Private Equity, Corporate and Structured Finance and Real Estate Development Finance. Christoforou’s responsibilities included deal origination and marketing, deal screening, analysis and structuring, deal evaluation to credit boards and completion, and client account monitoring. He previously worked within the corporations of Deloitte, Board of Executive Merchant Bank, Nedbank Corporate Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, and Norfund - the Norwegian Development Finance Institution, managing investments in East and Sub Saharan Africa. Christoforou was previously an Investment Director in the investment committee of the FIPA Fund in Angola on behalf of Norfund, and the Managing Director of Lord Securities South Africa, managing and structuring Special Purpose Vehicle on behalf of Lord Securities New York. He has also held Director positions in Black Economic Empowerment Corporations in South Africa involving project acquisitions, investments and development, and the Head of Workout and Restructuring in Land Bank SA. Christoforou holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics from The University of the Witwatersrand, and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Bond University Australia.


Neal DeLaurentis - Vice President
Neal DeLaurentis joined the Open Society Institute in 1998 as a Program Manager in the Economic and Business Development Network Program. He is currently a Vice President at SEDF, overseeing a number of portfolio companies in Eastern Europe and West Africa. He serves on the boards of directors of several SEDF portfolio companies. Previously, DeLaurentis was a Program Manager at Partners in Economic Reform, a USAID-funded project working in the coal mining regions of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. He was also part of the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Russia, focusing on small business development and municipal infrastructure issues. Additionally, he has worked in community banking focusing on small and medium enterprise lending. DeLaurentis has a BS in Finance from Villanova University and an MPA from the University of New Hampshire.


Thomas Heck - Junior Analyst
Thomas Heck joined SEDF as a Junior Analyst in 2012. He provides program support, including analyzing financial statements and evaluating political and economic risk, to monitor current investments. He also assists in researching and developing new projects, particularly in French-speaking countries. Heck is fluent in French, German, and English and has an IB in Economics with Honors from the Lycée Français de New York, a BA in Political Science and History with Honors from McGill University, and an MSc in Political Science and Economics with Honors from the London School of Economics.


Thomas Jetter
Thomas Jeter joined SEDF in 2014. He currently serves as Chairman of Sirona Dental Systems, Inc. the global market leader for dental equipment quoted on NASDAQ. He also serves on a number of other boards including the investment committee of the Social Venture Fund, Germany’s leading institution to support social entrepreneurs and SAIS Europe (Johns Hopkins University) a leading graduate school of international relations. Mr. Jetter served as a senior partner of Permira, a European private equity firm with approximately €EUR 20 billion under management, from 1995 through 2008. At Permira, Mr. Jetter initiated, monitored and managed transactions with an enterprise value of more than €EUR 6 billion, largely in the chemical, consumer goods and electronics sectors. Mr. Jetter helped to build and run Permira's global chemicals sector from 2000 through 2007 and was a member of the partner-election committee. From 1989 to 1995, Mr. Jetter worked at McKinsey & Co. in Frankfurt, Germany and São Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Jetter started his career at JPMorgan in Frankfurt and New York, where he worked in the investment banking division covering financial institutions from 1985 through 1988. He received a PhD degree in economics and banking from the University of Saarbrücken, Germany, where he also received an MBA degree.


Mwewa Kapotwe - Investment Analyst
Mwewa Kapotwe joined SEDF in 2013 as an Investment Analyst covering Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, Kapotwe worked in the Corporate Finance team at Renaissance Capital in London, where he focused on equity capital markets and mergers and acquisitions transactions in the Natural Resources sector across Africa. He holds a BA in Financial Economics from Newcastle University and an MBA from INSEAD.


Evgeniya Kim – Program Assistant
Evgeniya Kim joined SEDF as a Program Assistant in 2012. She assists Investment Officers and the General Counsel with financial and legal due diligence and supports the Finance Director with audit and financial compliance obligations. She also provides overall programmatic and logistical support to the SEDF team. Previously, Kim worked with International Higher Education Support Program and interned with Central Eurasia Project, both at the Open Society Foundations. She is fluent in Russian and English and has a dual BA in English and Political Science with Honors from the Macaulay Honors Hunter College, CUNY.


Kate McNamara - Investment Analyst
Kate McNamara joined SEDF in 2013 as an Investment Analyst based in New York. Kate previously worked in debt capital markets within the investment banking divisions of BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole where she focused on leveraged finance transactions for energy companies and esoteric structuring, respectively. Kate began her career at JP Morgan in high yield fixed income research. She holds a Masters in International and Development Economics from Yale University where she studied in the Economic Growth Center of the University's Department of Economics. Kate received her Bachelors of Arts Cum Laude from Barnard College, Columbia University where she majored in Political Science and completed minors in Economics and Religion.


Fawzia Naqvi - Vice President
Fawzia Naqvi joined SEDF in May 2006 and serves as a Vice President. Naqvi's responsibilities include structuring and implementing investment strategies in microfinance, mobile banking, micro-insurance, SMEs, affordable housing and other social sector development initiatives globally. Additionally, she co-manages OSF's Pakistan Economic Policy initiative. Before joining SEDF, Naqvi worked for five years for Women's World Banking as a microfinance specialist, with responsibility for Pakistan and other Asian countries, and for ten years with Citibank in New York, where she worked for the Financial Institutions Group for Emerging Markets. She has a BA in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College and her masters from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


Stewart Paperin - President
Stewart Paperin is the Executive Vice President of the Open Society Foundations and is the President of the SEDF. In these capacities he manages the administration and operations of the foundations network, and provides leadership to the Foundations' economic reform and economic development activities. Paperin also serves as a consultant to Soros Fund Management.

Earlier, Paperin was president of LionRock Partners, Ltd., a diversified consulting and investment firm in New York City. Previously he served as president of Brooke Group International, a U.S.–based leveraged buy-out firm operating in the former Soviet Union. He also served as chief financial officer of the Western Union Corporation during a major restructuring.

Paperin has served as a member of the boards of directors of Western Union Corporation, PennOctane Corp., Global TeleSystems Group, Inc., Golden Telecom Inc., Armour Reit and OAO Svyazinvest (Russia’s national telephone company) as well as a variety of emerging Internet and telecommunication companies. Paperin also serves on the boards of directors of several economic policy institutes in Central and Eastern Europe and as a director of the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency of South Africa.

Paperin earned BA and MS degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the State University of New York.


Aruna Ramsamy - Investment Officer
Aruna Ramsamy joined SEDF in 2010 as an Investment Officer. Based in Johannesburg, she joins SEDF’s Southern and East African team. Prior to SEDF, she was an investment banking associate at Moelis & Company in New York where she focused on mergers and acquisitions as well as restructuring advisory transactions. Additionally, she worked as an investment banking associate in the Leveraged Finance Origination and Restructuring Group at Credit Suisse and was an analyst in the Global Energy Group where she focused on the utilities and power sector. Ramsamy has a BCom with First Class Honors in Economics and Finance from McGill University and an MBA from INSEAD.


Catherine Sandy-Margao - Program Officer
Catherine Sandy-Margao joined SEDF in 2009 as a Program Officer, in which she acts as the lead implementer of activities in Sierra Leone, which focus on agriculture, access to finance, and empowerment of the private sector. Sandy-Margao is a Sierra Leonean based in Freetown, and for two years, she served as a Project Officer for the IFAD/ADB funded projects -Agricultural Sector Rehabilitation Project/Rehabilitation and Community based Poverty Reduction Project. She worked for many years as a Research Officer at the Sierra Leone Institute of Agriculture Research. Additionally, she has performed short-term consultancies for FAO and worked on gender and HIV/AIDS issues. Sandy-Margao holds a BS in Agriculture from Njala University College, Sierra Leone, and an MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kiel, Germany.


Maria Santos Valentin - Secretary and General Counsel 
Maria Santos Valentin has been with SEDF since 1998. She currently serves as Secretary and General Counsel. Before SEDF, Santos Valentin worked for ten years as an international corporate securities lawyer for Brown & Wood (now Sidley Austin) and Clifford Chance on emerging market transactions in Latin America and Eastern Europe. In addition, Santos Valentin worked for two years as a senior commercial associate with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Santos Valentin has a BA in Economics from Fordham University and her JD from Yale Law School and is a member of the New York Bar and the American Bar Association.


Magdalena Sklarski - Office Manager
Magdalena Sklarski joined SEDF as Program Coordinator in 2007. She coordinates the preparation of the Fund's Annual Report and annual budget, manages grants, provides support for annual audit and external financial compliance obligations, acts as an in-house liaison, and serves as an informational resource to grantees, consultants and partners. Previously, Sklarski worked as a coordinator of the international community training and learning initiative for the International Harm Reduction Development Program of the Public Health Program at the Open Society Institute. Sklarski has an MA in International Affairs from the New School University and an MA in Finance from the Institute of Insurance and Prevention at the Technical University of Radom, Poland.


Jocelyn Songco - Investment Officer
Jocelyn Songco joined the Soros Economic Development Fund in 2008. She serves as an investment officer focusing on West Africa, with an emphasis on agribusiness. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, she worked in reorganization services with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and as a credit analyst for MBIA Insurance Corp. Songco also served as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Ethiopia and as a Crisis Corps volunteer with the International Rescue Committee in Guinea. Songco has a BA in French and psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, an MBA in finance and economics from Columbia Business School, and a Masters of International Affairs in economic and political development from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is a CFA charterholder.