Board of Directors
Firmin Backer, President, Washington, D.C.
Co-founder and President of HRA, Firmin Backer was born and raised in Cap-Haitien, Haiti and immigrated to the United States, with strong ties in the New York and Washington, DC, Diaspora communities. An electrical engineer and scientist by trade, he is an intellectual property expert employed by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
With expertise in technical innovations, strategy development, quality assurance, and energy, along with his history in investment management, he is currently the Vice Chair and business development advisor for Global Investment Group (GIG), a Diaspora investment group, developing strategic investment portfolios for Diaspora investors.
Mr. Backer holds two masters degrees in engineering and education from New York University and SUNY Stony Brook respectively.
Magalie Emile-Backer, Vice President, Washington, D.C.
Co-founder of HRA, Dr. Emile-Backer was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, immigrated to the United States at the age of 3, and has been actively engaging the Diaspora for over 20 years. She serves as vice president of external affairs and program development. Dr. Backer is a drug development research scientist with over 12 years’ experience in the biotech/pharmaceutical research industry and government with expertise in regulatory sciences including pharmacovigilance, drug safety, risk management and global health,. She is currently a Senior Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance Specialist with an international clinical research organization supporting federal government drug development activities for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Backer has post-doctoral industry training in Pharmaceutical Development, holds a doctorate in pharmaceutics from Howard University and undergraduate studies at Rutgers and Temple universities.
Nathalie Liautaud, Secretary , Washington, D.C.
Nathalie Liautaud is an international development consultant. She recently served as the Senior Program Advisor at the Pan American Development Foundation with external relations and resource development opportunities for the Caribbean, following her tenure as Manager for Diaspora and Investment Outreach for the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD), a $12 million USAID-funded project supporting investment opportunities and small and medium enterprise development in Haiti. Ms. Liautaud was previously the Senior Program Manager for the Caribbean and Mexico for PADF. Prior to joining PADF, Ms. Liautaud was Program Director at Caribbean Central American Action (C-CAA), focusing on maritime and port security issues , and Chief of Party for the Centre pour la Libre Entreprise et la Democratie (CLED)’s media and civil society outreach policy and discussion program. She also served as Technical Advisor at the Associations des Industries d’Haiti (ADIH), focusing on labor issues and organizational management.
Ms. Liautaud has M.A.s in both Latin American Studies from the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and International Communications from the College of Communication from the University of Texas, Austin.
Raymond Janvier, Treasurer, Washington, D.C.
Raymond Janvier, HRA’s Treasurer, is a Consumer Market Manager for Bank of America and leads 13 banking centers and over 100 associates. He has been with Bank of America since 2008.
He earned a B.S. in Business Management from Mercy College and J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School.
Kit Miyamoto, Miyamoto International, San Francisco, D.C.
Dr. Kit Miyamoto is the CEO of Miyamoto International and a California Seismic Safety Commissioner. He and his team worked with the government of Haiti, the United Nations, USAID and PADF to conduct seismic assessments of more than 430,000 earthquake-damaged structures in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and worked with MTPTC to implement the repair and strengthening of more than 120,000 damaged Haitian buildings. Dr. Miyamoto implemented a training program that trained over 6,000 masons, 600 Haitian engineers and 20 commercial contractors, supporting better business practices and economic growth.
Miyamoto Haiti thrives as a high performance engineering Haitian company in Port au Prince. Miyamoto also is investing and developing a water resource business, DLO Haiti, funded by the IFC and other global investors. Dr. Miyamoto has been featured in major media outlets including CNN, NBC, Discovery Channel, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone.
Joseph Baptiste, Maryland Governor’s Commission for Caribbean Affairs, Silver Spring, MD
Col. Joseph E. Baptiste, U.S. Army (ret.), serves as a Commissioner for the State of Maryland’s Commission of Caribbean Affairs. Dr. Baptiste also serves as Chair of the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) and is President Emeritus of Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF).
Under Dr. Baptiste’s leadership, NOAH has partnered with the fourth largest bank in Haiti, Promobank, forming PROMOCAPITAL, a venture capital bank bringing together experienced, competent Haitians and Haitian-American leaders to create an investment infrastructure with global potential, to contribute to the future welfare of the local community in Haiti and in America. Over 10 million dollars have been invested in Haiti’s local economy as a direct result of NOAH’s investment initiatives.
As an Army Major, Dr. Baptiste served on active duty during Desert Storm. Dr. Baptiste was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed forces Expeditionary Medal, the Army Meritorious Unit Award, Army Achievement Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. He is currently Chief of Dental Services of the 2290th U.S.A.R. at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Dr. Baptiste earned his D.D.S from Howard University School of Dentistry and B.S. in biology and chemistry from the University of Illinois.
Sophie Dessources, Program Officer, FHI360, Washington, DC
Ms. Dessources is a legal analyst and international management professional specializing in international trade and investment policy for sustainable economic growth. Currently, she is the Program Officer for West and Central Africa Geographic Business Unit at FHI360, developing, managing, and maintaining strategic partnerships with a variety of stakeholders including consortium partners, government agencies, local and donor organizations, identifying opportunities for synergies and leveraging resources. Her core competencies comprise quantitative and qualitative research and analysis including assessment evaluation, feasibility studies, value chain analysis, as well as performance management and improvement (KPI), monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and public-private partnership (PPP) structuring in conflict and fragile situations (FCS).
She holds a J.D. in International Private Commercial Law from the University of Brussels and a Masters in International Public Administration and Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA.
Gilbert Hippolyte, Co-Founder and Vice President, Panexus Haiti S.A.
Gilbert Hippolyte, a Haitian entrepreneur and investor, co-founded Panexus Haiti S.A., a construction company involved in the reconstruction efforts, most notably rebuilding and refitting Port-au-Prince’s international airport, among other projects.
He earned his B.S. in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at the City University of New York.