Emily Chandler is a marine scientist and educator, who is passionate about science communication and using scientific understanding as a mechanism to empower decision-makers at all levels. A 2017 NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and a member of the staff of the Oceanographer of the Navy, she worked on marine, climate, and Arctic security and policy. At present, Emily works as an oceanographer for the federal government. She has first-hand knowledge of remote communities in the Arctic, Africa and the central Pacific Ocean, who are disproportionately affected by impacts of climate change.
Emily is particularly interested in the impact of climate and environmental changes on communities and societies. Emily’s work with Rockflower began in 2018, when, together with her spouse Taylor Washburn, she led a successful crowdfunding campaign to support S.O.U.L. Foundation in Bujagali Falls, Uganda. Emily and Taylor also visited all Rockflower partner organizations in Uganda (as of 2018) to first-hand the impact that Rockflower funds have had in these communities. From the village of Bujagali Falls to the drought-stricken region of Kasese and the slums of Kampala, they met and learned from the inspirational people that are transforming their communities in the initiatives and organizations they are building. This work strengthened Emily’s conviction that empowering women and girls is a key to advancing peace and security on a global scale.
When not contemplating the realities of environmental change, Emily can be found trying to keep up with Taylor, hiking, skiing, cycling and rowing, and spending time with their wonderful family, friends and yellow lab, Morgan.
Taylor is high school mathematics teacher who in his work in boarding schools strives to empower young people as students, athletes, and members of their community. His passion for this work stems from the opportunity to get to know his students as multifaceted individuals and work with them at a time when they are figuring out who they are and how they want to impact the world. Oftentimes, people speak of teachers who inspire their students, but Taylor is attracted to teaching as much for the opportunity to be energized by his students’ passions. In fact, it was his work with two of his former students and current Youth Advisory Board members - Francesca and Lulu Ward - who inspired his interest in Rockflower.
Having had the opportunity to work with dynamic and inspiring young women in his career, Taylor is convinced that investing in and empowering young women and girls is the key to the future. Taylor and his fiance, Emily, are excited to partner with Rockflower to promote the Five Keys and support the S.O.U.L. Foundation Deliver With Dignity Campaign.
Beyond teaching, Taylor is most interested in exploring the outdoors in any form with Emily and their yellow lab, Morgan. He can most often be found running, rowing, cycling, or hiking. Taylor and Emily are honored to begin a partnership with Rockflower in celebration of their upcoming wedding.
Francesca is a soon to be graduate of the University of British Columbia, studying Conservation of Natural Resources with a major in Global Perspective. As an avid skier, surfer, and climber, she sees British Columbia as the perfect place to live and study. Francesca has a passion for nature and the environment and can always been found outside. She is also interested in emerging technologies such as Blockchain, and is excited to combine her passion for philanthropy, social enterprise and protection of the natural environment with innovative technologies to help save the planet.
For the past two summers (2017 and 2018) Francesca has been living in El Astillero, Nicaragua working with Casa Congo, an environmental NGO which she was on the initial team who brought the project to life in 2017. Through Rockflower, Francesca raised $5000 to help upgrade a local women’s’ collective, Las Tejedoras’, smoothie and snack shop. She was responsible for implementing and completing this project on the ground in the summer of 2018.This was the second phase of an economic empowerment partnership between Casa Congo and Rockflower which started summer of 2017 with Rockflower giving an initial investment to Las Tejedoras to start their smoothie business. Francesca strongly believes that investing in women and girls is the key to a prosperous global future.
Amanda is currently pursuing a joint Juris Doctor and Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Prior to beginning her studies at UoM, Amanda studied Arabic for nine years, spending one year conducting research on civil society perceptions of USAID in Jordan as a Fulbright Student Researcher and serving for a little over two years as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Ouled Teima, Morocco. She graduated in 2014 with a BA in Politics from Princeton University. Amanda is passionate about international social justice issues, and her primary professional interests lie in the nexus between international law and socioeconomic development. She is proficient in Standard Arabic, Moroccan Darija, and Levantine Arabic, and she speaks intermediate conversational French.
Dancan is currently an MBA student at Babson College committed to economic and social change. In his native Kenya, Dancan co-founded Jiwo Paro, a social venture that serves a portfolio of predominantly rural and underserved women through microfinance and financial literacy programs. Previously, Dancan worked as a Digital Financial Services consultant gaining international experience across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asian markets. He brings 6 years of emerging-markets experience in private sector financial services with technical specialties in agent banking strategy, microfinance, and business models focused on low- and lower-middle income markets in developing economies.
He has particular interest in the broad interplay of digital technology and impact investment, and its effect on institutions, empowerment of women and business models within the international development context. His academic and research interest lies in exploring and understanding the continuum of impact investing, from the promises of increased access to financial services, to the opportunities and threats to investors’ interests.
Somto is a lawyer from Enugu State, Nigeria. He currently serves as the Head of Gender and Partnerships Officer for the Society for the Improvement of Rural People (SIRP). SIRP is an NGO registered in Nigeria that advocates for inclusive education. Somto is also a member of MenEngage Nigeria, a coalition of organisations based in Nigeria that are committed to increasing men and boys' involvement in promoting issues concerning gender equality and women empowerment.
He is also currently serving as a Team Leader for Unskilled to Skilled (U2S), a Youth Economic Empowerment (YEE) platform that works to further reduce the rate of youth unemployment and poverty.
Somto is passionate about promoting youth and women’s empowerment issues in his native Nigeria.