Mark Gemmola, Advisory Board
Mark has over twenty years of experience in commercial advisory roles undertaking work for senior management, Boards and Governments as well as expert advisory work for the courts in Australia. During that time, he also has been an active working Board member for charities operating in Cambodia and Tanzania.
Mark graduated as a mechanical engineer and spent two years working for BHP Petroleum, including on the drilling rigs in the Timor Sea. After completing an MBA, Mark worked for various economic consultancies predominantly in the energy sector advising on the rapid regulatory and market restructuring changes that occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was during this time that Mark first fell in love with Asia traveling to Nepal and India and later embarking on a long trip exploring most of south-east Asia.Read more
In 2005, Mark had the opportunity to become a founding volunteer Director of Cambodian Kids Can, an Australian charity supporting projects in Cambodia providing education services to underprivileged children with a particular focus on girls. During more than 20 trips to Cambodia, Mark found the most rewarding aspect of this role was building trust and relationships with local communities, and empowering individuals to develop personally and grow into leadership roles through their work on the projects.
In 2010, Mark began work in the corporate finance sector, performing valuations of businesses and intangible assets, principally in the infrastructure and resources sectors. On several engagements, he was engaged to provide expert evidence in relation to valuation issues arising in disputes before the courts. This led to his present role as a Senior Manager with Ernst & Young in the Forensics and Disputes team.
Through Mark’s work in Cambodia, he became aware of Liger and the extraordinarily innovative nature of the program. Mark lives in Melbourne with his wife Biheng, who is an experienced and accomplished philanthropy executive and their cavoodle puppy Goji.
Matteo Marinelli, Advisory Board
Matteo comes with over 16 years of microfinance and development finance experience in emerging markets. Matteo left Italy, his native country, in 2003 and never returned. He is currently the CEO of Maha Agriculture Microfinance, an agri-focused-fintech-oriented-microfinance institution based out of Yangon, Myanmar, where he has been living since 2013. Maha is owned by Myanma Awba Group, the leading corporation in the Myanmar agricultural industry and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.Read more
Matteo began his career with Grameen Bank, in Dhaka, Bangladesh and after short term consulting assignments in Tanzania, Afghanistan, Serbia and Thailand, he relocated to Geneva, Switzerland, working for Blue Orchard Finance, an impact investing asset management firm specialized in lending to financial institutions in emerging markets. After three years in Switzerland, BlueOrchard asked Matteo and a colleague of his to relocate to Phnom Penh in 2010 running BlueOrchard operations in South Asia and South East Asia and this is where his love for Cambodia started. After half of his career spent on the “debt-side” of the microfinance industry, he began his “equity” journey with Fullerton Financial Holdings, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, one of the two Singapore Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). At first, he was still based in Phnom Penh responsible for the start-up phase of a greenfield MSME banking co-investment which led to the creation of Cambodia Post Bank and then later as the Country Rep based out of Yangon, Myanmar, responsible for the set-up and launch of Fullerton Myanmar. It is here in Myanmar that he got interested and became familiar with the challenges faced by agri-businesses and small-scale farmers who lacked access to capital and markets and that’s what brought him to Maha.
Born and educated in Italy (bachelor of science in Economics from Bocconi University in Milan), Matteo has enjoyed quite a number of academic exchange programs at the University of Niigata in Japan, at New York University, at the London School of Economics and at the University of California in Berkeley. He has an executive management diploma from INSEAD and speaks fluent English, Spanish and basic French. He lives in Myanmar with his Argentinean wife Ana Cecilia and their naughty beagle Jackie and loves travelling and exploring South East Asia and South Asia. He is a vivid contemporary Asian art collector, passionate interior designer, and since 2017, a triathlete. He happily completed his first two 70.3 Ironman in Dubai and Thailand in the year 2019.