Our Team

Joanna Wasmuth, CEO and Founder


Joanna’s life took a different path when her eyes were opened to the horror of human trafficking. She got involved, and focused on reducing the exploitation of women and children through economic empowerment. She has travelled the world and seen the power of microfinance to restore hope and dignity, and move people from dependence on aid to self-sustainability. She has committed her life to helping women and their children flourish through inclusion in economic opportunities.


  • 2012 BRAVO award nominee from National Association of Women Business Owners
  • 2009 Global Woman of Influence award at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council conference for her efforts to empower women
  • 2009 Excellence in Innovation award from the World Vision International Microfinance Board for her leadership in developing an innovative online platform to fund loans for microentrepreneur
Business Experience
  • Small business owner for 12 years
  • Marketing expert, mentor and advisor to dozens of small businesses
Microfinance Experience and Industry Influence
  • Former Global Director of Microfinance Marketing at World Vision (leading microfinance network providing $400 million+ in loans in 47 countries)
  • Executive leader helping shape the future of 47 microfinance institutions
  • Led the development of a technology platform to enable World Vision donors to fund individual loans for microentrepreneurs (www.wvmicro.org).
  • Spoken to thousands of people about microfinance, met with microentrepreneurs in dozens of countries, and created fundraising and marketing products to connect donors in the developed world with microfinance projects in the developing world

If you would like to request an interview with Joanna Wasmuth, or invite her to speak at an event, please click here to email your request.

Claire Donahue, Business Development

Claire thrives on contributing creative energy to new ventures in diverse, collaborative environments, like Erase Poverty, where she brings more than 25 years of progressive marketing and business development experience.

In start-up and large scale organizations Claire was involved with all phases of marketing, product management, and business development, building innovative marketing and branding strategies, and cultivating collaborative partnerships. Her career began at Interactive Systems Corporation, the first company to hold a commercial UNIX license. Later she joined Eastman Kodak as a key member of the team that launched Photo CD in the commercial software market, and Applied Graphics Technologies where she worked with software and business teams to create large scale digital image archives for major studios such as the Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., and Universal.

Claire serves on the board of  Bayside Community Center, a unique neighborhood center and cultural asset located in Linda Vista and also provides marketing support to non-profits such as the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. She earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis on social change in Africa. Her passions include global adventure travel, creative and social entrepreneurship, microfinance and her children, Luisa and Adrian.

If you would like to speak with Claire about joining our small business program, click here to email her. 

Susie McGowan, Marketing Specialist

After many years in a wide variety of marketing roles, Susie is excited about her role in Erase Poverty as an opportunity to leverage her marketing knowledge and contribute to erasing poverty through the power of small business. She taught math for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, leading to direct experience of the challenges that face developing economies. Having lived in a remote village, she knows first-hand how small businesses impact local economies and have the ability to lift up families. 

Susie is a diversely experienced marketing professional with a unique blend of creative, business and technical acumen:

  • Planning and managing the development of product marketing, event support, marketing campaigns, corporate communication plans, sales plans, collateral, sales training, consumer communications, and PR.
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of creative department with four direct reports; which developed print, web and multi-media collateral.
  • Developing and implementing strategies to identify, engage, train, and sustain volunteer involvement in a non-profit organization.
  • Designing a magazine promoting independent living for people with disabilities.
  • Directing the software product development and launch of turnkey automotive marketing solutions designed to communicate to customers at strategically planned intervals; timed to match the customer needs at each touch point in the customer lifecycle.
  • Providing clients with training and direct marketing expertise for cross-media marketing campaigns which combined print, web and email.
Our small business members can request a free consultation with Susie to discuss how to make the most of your membership. Click here to email Susie.




Joanna with microentrepreneurs in RwandaWe have assembled a world-class team of over 30 advisors with significant depth and breadth of expertise, each dedicating time and strategic influence to helping Erase Poverty succeed. If you would like to join or recommend someone to our advisory committee, please contact us.

Areas of expertise include:
  • enterprise software development
  • personalized variable-data publishing
  • cross-media marketing
  • cause marketing
  • management
  • human resources
  • international business strategy
  • nonprofit leadership
  • Fortune 500 leadership experience and financial management
  • volunteer network organization
  • global brand strategy
  • legal counsel for hybrid entity structures
  • fundraising


Countless volunteers spend time each day using their skills and energy to help erase poverty. This organization would not be possible without them. We are extremely grateful to each of them. If you would like to join our volunteer team, click here to find out more.