December 8th SVMN Meeting: Microfinance in Failed States

Microfinance in Post-Conflict Areas & Failed States

The next Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN) meeting will be on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 and will feature Karen Doyle Grossman, Vice President, Social Innovations at Mercy Corps and Stephen Tomlin, Vice President, Program Policy & Planning at International Medical Corps.

Karen Doyle Grossman Stephen Tomlin

SVMN’s next Speaker Event will address what microfinance looks like in the most capricious and fragile economic and political regions around the world.

During this meeting we will take a closer look at how economic development tools are provided to individuals in regions where conventional public and private aid sources are scarce.  How do microfinance institutions respond to the needs of clients in these tumultuous settings?  What are the adapted design features that allow organizations to be successful in these unstable climates? And ultimately, is microfinance a tool that will help rebuild these recovering, war-torn states?

Karen Doyle Grossman and Stephen Tomlin bring their extensive, practical experiences in microfinance to answer these questions and others.

Register early!  Online registration closes the day of the event.  At-the-door admission is $10 more.

To register, please click on the SVMN registration link here:


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

6:00-6:30 — Sign-in, dinner, networking

6:30-7:15 — Intros & Speaker Presentations

7:15-8:00 —Q&A

8:00-8:30 — Networking


Salesforce Offices

600 Concar Dr.

San Mateo, CA 94402

(directions here)


in advance: $20 regular attendee | $10 students & non-profits (w/ ID)
at the door: $30 regular attendee | $20 students & non-profits (w/ ID)
(includes dinner + drinks)

Speaker Bio

Karen Doyle Grossman

Karen Doyle Grossman is Vice President, Social Innovations at Mercy Corps.  In this role, Karen is designing and leading Mercy Corps’ work to advance highly-scalable, double bottom line solutions, particularly in fragile and failing states.  By leveraging the agency’s focus on community-led, market-driven programming and 3,700 staff in over 35 countries, the Social Innovations team helps Mercy Corps to assemble the systems and partnerships needed to sustain and scale its most promising community-driven innovations.  Previously, in the mid to late 1990’s, Karen launched Mercy Corps’ global economic development strategy specializing in transitional and conflict-affected environments.

Karen formerly worked as a program director at the Aspen Institute, where she launched the Institute’s Young Leadership Initiative for executives under the age of 45.  She also managed the Socrates Society, a Silicon Valley-based seminar and policy program for private sector and social entrepreneurs.  Karen was an associate director for the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, leading multi-year initiatives to document, evaluate and fund innovative anti-poverty strategies.  Karen has published extensively on social value creation and enterprise development, including Connectors and Conduits: Reaching Competitive Markets from the Ground Up, Business First: Using Technology to Advance Microenterprise Development and the first major study of microfinance in conflict zones, Microfinance in the Wake of Conflict: Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Karen holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree in Education Policy Studies at The George Washington University, and has completed additional education at Harvard, Stanford and the Institute of the Himalayan Tradition.  Karen lives in Virginia with her husband, Brian, and their three children.  She is passionate about yoga philosophy and meditation, issues related to autism and environmental health for children, and travel.

Stephen Tomlin

As Vice President for Program Policy & Planning for International Medical Corps, Stephen has helped mobilize and direct International Medical Corps’ response to crises, including those in Kosovo, East Timor, Iraq, Darfur, Lebanon and the tsunami-affected areas of Indonesia and Sri Lanka. After the fall of Taliban regime in late 2001, he spent six months in Afghanistan, personally supervising the build-up of International Medical Corps programs there to expand health care training programs and to assist communities hit by severe drought. During the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in early 2003, he coordinated a training program that helped relief workers prepare to face the dangers of potential chemical, biological and nuclear attacks. Drawing on first-hand experience of war, famine and disease, Tomlin has directed a wide range of programs for International Medical Corps, including the provision of trauma surgery in war zones, the establishment of large-scale therapeutic feeding programs, creating economic and livelihoods opportunities, and helping to control infectious disease epidemics in remote locations.

Born in Britain and educated at Oxford Brookes University, Tomlin first joined International Medical Corps in 1989, working in Central America to support populations displaced by conflicts in the region. From there, he was appointed to lead International Medical Corps’ emergency relief response to the civil war and subsequent famine in Somalia, 1991-92. The following year, Tomlin directed International Medical Corps’ medical relief and development program in Afghanistan.  Returning to East Africa in 1994 as Regional Director, based in Nairobi, he supervised International Medical Corps’ emergency relief operations in South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and Somalia.

Tomlin has contributed to a wide range of NGO working groups, including those sponsored by the Washington, DC-based, Interaction, a coalition representing U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGO) focused on the world’s most vulnerable people. He was a member of the NGO Leaders’ Forum 1999-2004, and attended the Humanitarian Leadership Program at Harvard Business School in 2003.  Originally from London, Tomlin lived for fifteen years in Africa, South Asia and Latin America before relocating to California in 1995.  He is married with four children and currently resides in Santa Monica, CA.


2 thoughts on “December 8th SVMN Meeting: Microfinance in Failed States

    • Greetings Hildred,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Please go ahead and use any information from SVMN’s website. We kindly request that you site SVMN as the source.

      Thank you,

      Hilary Wilson

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