About

Our Mission

We promote projects that enable people to lift themselves out of poverty. By educating entrepreneurs on how to design simple market-based businesses, we support solutions that address basic human needs around the globe.

The Butterfly Effect

The butterfly in our logo is meant to represent the butterfly effect, a concept where even small actions every day, like a butterfly in motion, can create massive change. Transform Poverty Global hopes that by helping promote new projects and solutions, we will help impact the end of world poverty.

Paul Polak

Founder

Paul Polak dedicated his life to serving the 1 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 a day and helping them escape from extreme poverty. Paul was a brilliant doctor, entrepreneur, designer, mentor and beloved friend to people around the world, including the over 3,000 poor people he met and spent time with. He started a design revolution with “Design for the Other 90%,” a movement that has changed the way designers everywhere think about the power of their work.

Paul was Founder and CEO of Windhorse International, a for-profit social venture with the mission of inspiring and leading a revolution in how companies design, price, market and distribute products to benefit the 2.7 billion customers who live on less than $2 a day, combining radically affordable technology with radically decentralized supply chains to earn profits serving bottom billion customers. The first division of Windhorse International, Spring Health Water (India), sells affordable safe drinking water to rural Indians through local kiosk owners using a simple electro-chlorination technology. In 1981, Dr. Polak founded International Development Enterprises (IDE), a non-profit organization that has brought nearly 30 million of the world’s poorest people out of poverty by making radically affordable irrigation technology available to farmers through local small-scale entrepreneurs, and opening private sector access to markets for their crops.

Paul passed away in October 2019 and is lovingly missed.

Learn more about Dr. Paul Polak

Team

Stephan Reckie

Co-Founder and Board Chairman

Stephan is the Board Chairman of Transform Poverty Global, focused on addressing global problems through market-based solutions.  He is also the Executive Director of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Space, a global ecosystem for Astropreneurs.  As the co-founding CEO of Angelus Funding, he runs a trust-based global angel network investing in innovative and meaningful opportunities.  Stephan serves on the board of directors of numerous impactful companies, including Spring Health India, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and has personally made 39 investments since 2012.  He is an adjunct professor at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, teaching entrepreneurial presentation and sales skills.  

Prior to angel investing, Stephan served in several international executive roles including: COO of DigiLink Software, a China-based embedded video solutions developer, and the Director of Sales at India-based Ittiam Systems.  While as founding Director of EMEA Operations at Telogy Networks, his company was acquired by Texas Instruments.

Stephan holds Bachelor’s and Masters of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.  He is a second-generation Armenian Russian and a true native New Yorker, fluent in 5 languages. Stephan enjoys travelling the world, having flown over 8 million miles, the equivalent of 16 moon missions.  Stephan is a driven volunteer for several impactful organizations and is an active community leader.  He resides in Golden, Colorado with his family.

Kathie Michie

Executive Director and Board Member

What does it take to transform poverty – one person with a dream and there are many more of you out there.  Kathie was looking for new ways to make an impact in the world and ran across the work of Paul Polak, the founder of Transform Poverty Global.  Not only did he live nearby, she started working with him on a regular basis and he became a long-time mentor, sharing the passion of helping others help themselves, and making a difference in the world.

Kathie’s career includes work in both nonprofit and corporate leadership roles to implement many high-profile, strategic technology programs and projects.  Now as a Consultant, she is implementing integration projects for merging companies, problem-solving and motivating teams to add value and get “it” done.  Kathie earned her BA in Psychology, and MBA in Finance, is an active Certified Scrum Master and Project Management Professional, and learner for life. 

She loves to travel, and volunteers with Giving It Back to Kids, NGO, visiting Vietnam and Cambodia 5 times to meet and build relationships with the kids they sponsor.  Her most recent trip was to India with Paul and Stephan in late 2018.  She is devoted to her family and friends and lives in Arvada, CO.

James Hodge

Board Member

With a deliberate focus on meaning rather than money, Jim Hodge became the most prolific fundraiser in the history of Mayo Clinic. A nationally-sought after speaker, Jim teaches graduate-level classes in philanthropy. He currently leads the principal gifts team at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, charged with raising gifts of $1 million and more, and he helps shape strategies around big ideas across the academic medical campus.

Ed Harris

Board Member

Ed Harris is a Partner and Co-Founder of Edge of Space, a commercial spaceflight company headquartered in Golden, CO with offices in Houston, TX.  Ed serves as Chief Projects Officer for Edge of Space, working with clients to provide innovative payload flight services.  He has overseen more than a dozen spaceflight payloads on a variety of vehicles, including high altitude balloons, suborbital rockets, and cargo missions to the ISS.

Ed also serves as Chief Development Officer with the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the world’s most productive astronomical research facility.  In his role with Keck, Ed raises philanthropic funding to support instrument development, visiting scholar and science collaboration programs and educational initiatives.  He also develops partnerships that provide greater access to the twin 10-meter Keck Telescopes.

Ed has 30 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising, in addition to venture philanthropy and entrepreneurship.  He provided leadership for a billion-dollar fundraising campaign at Baylor College of Medicine; built from scratch a fundraising organization at the University of Denver that raised $500 million; founded a nonprofit management consultancy, Key West Consulting; and co-founded innovative health care nonprofit, the Institute for Collaboration in Health.  Ed also worked with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, focusing on fundraising, partnerships, new space commercial startups, and STEM education projects centered around the use of the International Space Station as a science and educational platform.  In 2019, Ed started a new arts+science nonprofit called Energy Made Visible.

Ed holds a B.A. from Rice University and resides with his family in Houston, Texas.

Ryan O’Meara

Development Director

Ryan O’Meara brings a variety of experiences to his role as Development Director. Before joining TPG, Ryan worked with Exponential Impact, a non-profit tech accelerator that focused on local economic development. With Transform Poverty Global, he is passionate about developing support, awareness, and funding for life-changing business solutions around the globe that will lift people out of poverty.

Ryan is currently finishing his undergraduate thesis at Colorado College. His Independently Designed Major, “The Economics and Anthropology of Tourism” investigates the implications and ethics of tourism on local economies. Though originally from Boston, Ryan works and lives in Colorado Springs, CO. He is also Marketing Director for the Cannacist medical application, supports a local youth organization through marketing and development, and periodically works at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Elizabeth Seero

Marketing Intern

Elizabeth Seero currently works with TPG managing social media and learning about the non-profit sector, among many other things. She is currently studying Computer Science at Colorado College, but is originally from Dorchester Massachusetts. At school she is also a member of the Cutthroat Rugby Team. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys the beautiful sights the Colorado Springs area has to offer. Before Colorado College she lived in Dorchester