Senior Industry Professionals
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Dr. Virginia Alzina is a Managing Director of EmergeVest, where she is Head of Sustainability and is responsible for leading our ESG strategies. She is also the Chief Sustainability Officer of EV Cargo, an EmergeVest company with more than $1 billion of annual revenues and global operations.
Dr. Alzina has over 25 years of global experience across Environmental and Social Governance matters with a particular focus on sustainability, resource efficiency, climate change, sustainable production and pollution control. During her 12 years in Hong Kong and Myanmar, she successfully developed sustainability strategies and applied resource efficiency to improve company performance. Prior to EmergeVest, Dr. Alzina was Group Head of Sustainability at Yoma Strategic Holdings, Managing Director of Environ Myanmar, Managing Director of the UN Regional Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production of Mediterranean countries, and Senior Environmental Specialist at the InterAmerican Development Bank.
Dr. Alzina has a Ph.D. in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering from George Washington University, a M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Licenciatura in Sociology and Political Sciences from Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca.
Lauren Blasco is a Principal – ESG at AC Ventures where she is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of ESG principles across AC Ventures business operations and investments.
She is a seasoned sustainability and impact practitioner with over 10 years’ experience in the private, public and educational sectors. Lauren held multiple roles including Director of Sustainability at Potato Head Group, Executive Director at Clean the World, Guest Lecturer at National University of Singapore, Adjunct Professor at The University of Hong Kong, lead consultant on projects with The National Environment Agency in Singapore, Think Tank/Incubator participant at Asia P3 hub, Incubation Network, Second Muse, Responsible Business Forum as well as frequent ESG panel speaker across Asia Pacific.
She is on a mission to scale impact with technology by supporting our portfolio companies and digital disruptors.
Donald joins CDP with over twenty years of work experience including seven years as a co-founder of two successful companies. He joined from Temasek where he established the internal capabilities to setup and operationalise new ventures and businesses. Prior to this, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Clifford Capital, a project and structured finance company, and also, led the international business for Circles.Life, Asia’s leading digital telecommunications company including its successful launch into Indonesia and Taiwan, China markets. He brings his entrepreneurship to grow CDP as well as his investment experience in Singapore, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. In addition to his private sector experience, Donald has also worked with the governments of Australia and Singapore to develop and execute strategies to achieve national objectives and economic outcomes.
Donald holds a Masters of Business Administration from Macquarie University as well as Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.
Trista leads the Finance Sector across the Asia Pacific region.
With over 15 years of experience in strategic sustainability consulting, Trista is a proven and trusted ESG advisor to clients on managing issues in transactions and enhancing value for post investment and loans.
She advises both listed and private corporate clients across industry sectors, as well as investors and private equities to effect secured investments, facilitate large-scale integration and advance ESG opportunities. Her advice on ESG risks, emerging ESG opportunities as well as potential financial impacts, equipped clients with in-depth insights on the viability and future sustainability of their investment plans. Trista also advises on EHS and Sustainability risks and opportunities associated with cross-boundary transactions involving 20+ countries.
In 2015, she was a delegate to the CEO-lead World Business Counsel for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Leader Program, to help identify the skills needed by future leaders of member companies, and to provide a unique platform for developing and testing skills in a real-world setting. Trista is currently based in Singapore. Prior to relocating to Singapore in 2021, Trista has worked extensively in Canada and in Greater China, transforming businesses to operationalise sustainability.
Mr. Cook joined Bain Capital Double Impact in 2017 as a Managing Director after having been a member of the Bain Capital Private Equity team since 1996. He serves as Managing Partner of Bain Capital Double Impact.
Prior to his current role, he was a Managing Director on the North American Private Equity team in the Industrial & Energy Vertical. Prior to joining Bain Capital Private Equity, Mr. Cook was a consultant at Bain & Company.
Marcia Ellis is the Global Chair of the firm’s Private Equity Group, and a member of our global board of directors. Her practice focuses on private equity transactions and complex mergers and acquisitions involving companies, real estate, and other assets located in Asia. Marcia also assists PE clients in integrating ESG considerations throughout their entire investment cycle, including deal selection, pre-investment diligence, investment documents, and portfolio management.
Having practiced in Asia for more than a quarter of a century, Marcia is one of the most experienced M&A lawyers active in the Asian market. In the past three years, she has advised clients on deals with a total aggregate value well in excess of US$237 billion.
Marcia has extensive experience advising leading investors on M&A transactions, including SoftBank Vision Fund, Alibaba, GLP, Bain Capital Credit, BlackRock, Farallon Capital, Ascendent Capital Partners, Silver Crest Acquisition Corp., Macquarie Asset Management, Hillhouse, Hony Capital, and Celadon Partners. In addition, she is experienced in representing U.S., UK and Asia based institutional investors in the acquisition, financing, and disposition of real estate in China, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in Asia, including numerous logistics and internet data center projects, and investments in, and acquisitions of, real estate developers.
From 2008–2011, she was the Chief Legal Officer for Asia of D. E. Shaw, where she assisted various group entities in making, restructuring, and exiting investments in various countries in Asia, including a number of significant and highly structured investments in China and India.
Marcia has recently been named to Law360’s 2022 Private Equity Editorial Board and elected as the Co-Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong’s Women of Influence Committee. Clients consider her as “a lawyer whose judgement you trust and who knows how far they can push the boundaries” and a “super skilled technical lawyer” who offers “incredible problem-solving skills on all aspects of matters, both legal and commercial.”
Mark Errington is the Chairman of Asia Pacific for ERM, the world’s largest pure-play sustainability consultancy. He also leads the M&A advisory service across the 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
With over 30 years of experience in technology enablement, mergers & acquisitions advisory, and ESG strategy, Mark has driven outstanding business growth and oversees large-scale decarbonization partnerships to help clients address their global sustainability challenges.
Prior to his APAC role, he was the Global Managing Partner of Digitization & Commercialization, and lead ERM’s Global Transaction Services Practice based in New York. Before joining ERM, he worked at Deloitte Consulting in London. He has lived and worked extensively in Hong Kong, Sydney, New York and London, transforming businesses to operationalize sustainability.
Purnima Gandhi is an investment professional with global experience across investment banking, private equity, public equity and angel investing. She has worked across cultures and countries such India, UK and Singapore.
She has been with the investments team at Temasek International, Singapore for more than 8 years. Purnima has experience in investing in energy transition and climate-tech companies. Passionate about sustainability, she works to align the ESG initiatives of the portfolio companies of Temasek. Prior to this she was in Citigroup in Investment Banking in London. Purnima has an MA from University of Oxford, UK and BA from University of Delhi, India.
David Katz is Director of Public Affairs for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) Asia Ltd. based in Singapore. In this role Mr. Katz leads the corporate communications, government relations, corporate citizenship and environmental, social and governance functions for KKR across all markets in the Asia Pacific. Mr. Katz also sits on KKR’s Asia Pacific leadership team.
Previously he was the Deputy Head of Global Government Relations and Head of Asia Pacific Government Relations for PayPal Inc. and sat on PayPal’s Asia Pacific leadership team. Prior to PayPal Inc., he worked at eBay Inc., where he managed Asia Pacific GR for both eBay Marketplace and PayPal - then owned by eBay Inc. Before joining eBay, Mr. Katz worked at Visa Inc. where he served as their first head of GR for the Asia region.
Mr. Katz was also Chief of Party of a USAID program in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat in Singapore, where he advanced policy and capacity building. Mr. Katz served in the Executive Office of the President for eight years as a Senior Director at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) with responsibility for Southeast Asia, APEC, and China trade policy. Prior to USTR, Mr. Katz was an economic officer in the U.S. diplomatic service, with tours in Taiwan, Mongolia, and Singapore, and he was a special assistant to U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. Mr. Katz earned an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and his BA from the University of California at Berkeley.
Mr. Octoman is a Navis Senior Partner and an Investment Committee member. Mr. Octoman is also the Chief Operating Officer.
Navis was founded in 1998 to make private equity investments in buyouts, recapitalizations and financial restructurings in Asia, particularly on enterprises with a strong presence in Southeast Asia, Australia and China/Hong Kong. The firm manages several private and public equity funds totaling USD 5 billion. Navis acquires control of its portfolio companies, and since its founding in 1998, has made over eighty controlling investments. Navis when it invests has direct strategic involvement alongside an incentivized management teams, focused on growth, margin enhancement, organizational systems/structure/governance strengthening and cash management.
Mr. Octoman joined Navis in 2000. As COO he oversees the investment committee decision-making process, the portfolio operations group, portfolio company deep dives, and ESG at Navis. He continues to selectively originate transactions and work with companies with a primary focus on Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Prior to joining Navis, Mr. Octoman worked with Price Waterhouse Coopers with a focus on capital market transaction and financial due diligence in emerging markets. Mr. Octoman also worked for KPMG in Australia and Canada in Business Advisory services.
A lifetime resident of Australasia, having been raised and educated in Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accountancy from the University of South Australia and is an Australian qualified Chartered Accountant. He is also a member of the UNPRI PEAC committee, and the EMPEA Asia council.
Steve Okun has served as GPCA’s Southeast Asia Senior Advisor since 2017. Steve is Founder and CEO of Singapore-based APAC Advisors and is a seasoned private equity professional. Steve supports member relations and expanding GPCA’s industry stakeholder network in the region. He is also responsible for establishing GPCA’s Singapore and regional presence as well as training the local team. As KKR’s former Director of Asia Public Affairs, Steve also advises GPCA on public affairs and industry advocacy in Southeast Asia.
Upasana Rao is a Partner in the Corporate practice, with a focus on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, venture capital and corporate restructuring. Her transactional experience includes a number of share and asset acquisitions, debt/equity investments, joint ventures and distress assets acquisitions. She regularly advises on regulatory matters, corporate governance and conflict management in investments.
Upasana has advised on transactions across various sectors, including energy and infrastructure, alternate real estate assets such as data centres, financial services, retail, logistics, as well as venture capital and private equity in SaaS and technology start-ups including mobility, e-commerce, healthcare and financial services.
In recent years, Upasana has advised on several impact investments in the areas of microfinance, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, clean energy and waste management. Upasana regularly provides inputs to industry associations and government for policy deliberations and advocacy. She was part of the drafting team for India’s Bankruptcy Code, has contributed inputs to the Ministry of Commerce on the issue of liberalising foreign investment in retail, and prepared a research report for the Ministry of Civil Aviation on developing aircraft leasing and financing in India. She is engaged in policy advocacy with the impact Council of India for creating an ecosystem for sustainable investing.
Avina Sugiarto is a Partner at East Ventures. She has over 12 years of experience in investing across alternative assets including venture capital, private equity, private credit, and special situations across industries from technology, property, logistics, to financial services and consumers. Prior to joining East Ventures, Avina was a Senior Vice President at an asset management firm. She was responsible for deal sourcing, analysis, execution, and fundraising across the firm’s investment products. She was also a key member of an investment partnership with a global alternative investment firm headquartered in the United States.
Avina leverages her extensive experiences to invest in seed to growth stage technology companies and drive sustainability and integration of ESG practices in East Ventures’ investments.
Ms. Tavill is the global head of responsible investment, leading all ESG and impact initiatives across all businesses and investment strategies at StepStone Group, a global private markets investment firm focused on providing customized investment solutions and advisory and data services to some of the most sophisticated investors in the world. With more than US$548 billion of private markets allocations, including over US$127 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2021, StepStone covers the spectrum of opportunities in private markets across the globe. Ms. Tavill is also a member of the private equity team.
Prior to StepStone, Ms. Tavill was responsible for AMP Capital’s global alternative investment platform that included private equity, infrastructure and real assets. Before that she spent five years at Van Eyk Research in Sydney, the last four as head of research. Before moving to Australia, she was an executive director at Goldman Sachs Investment Management, responsible for their UK small-and mid-cap portfolios.
Ms. Tavill received a MSc in finance and economics from the London School of Economics, in addition to a BBS with honors in economics and honors in finance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Claudia Zeisberger is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences and Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise at INSEAD, and the Founder and Academic Director of the school’s private equity centre (GPEI). Before joining INSEAD in 2005, she spent 16 years in investment banking in New York, London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Singapore.
Professor Zeisberger is a founding investor of ‘INSEAD Alum Ventures’ (IAV), the business school’s first dedicated seed fund and she actively mentors early stage companies and first-time entrepreneurs. At INSEAD, she launched ‘Managing Corporate Turnarounds’ a popular MBA elective known for its intensive computer-based simulation involving an iconic car brand and its struggle with bankruptcy. As a natural extension, she teaches INSEAD’s Risk management elective. She has frequently been nominated for the MBA ‘Best Teaching Award’ in her PE elective and has been awarded the “Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in MBA Teaching” annually since 2008.
Professor Zeisberger is known for her extensive research on PE in emerging markets, and her output is a function of her close working relationships with private equity firms and their investee companies, institutional investors, Family Offices and Sovereign Wealth Funds.
She is the author of ‘Mastering Private Equity – Transformation via Venture Capital, Minority Investments & Buyouts’ and ‘Private Equity in Action – Case Studies from Developed & Emerging Markets’. (http://masteringprivateequity.com/)