Who we are

CEO, F. Xavier Helgesen
A veteran entrepreneur, Xavier founded two million dollar businesses in his 20’s. Better World Books is a profitable social venture with $60 Million in revenue selling books online to fund literacy. He’s been recognized as Best Social Entrepreneur by Businessweek in 2009, and winner of the Fast Company Social Capitalist award. Xavier also founded Indaba Systems, a software and services company for online retailers with $1.5 Million in revenue. Xavier holds an MBA from Oxford Saïd Business School, which he attended on a Skoll Scholarship, and a BA with honors from the University of Notre Dame.


CTO, Joshua Pierce
Joshua has 15 years in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry, and has designed and built everything from bicycles to buildings. He has a background in sustainable development, managing multi million dollar construction projects. Joshua founded Pierce Consulting in 2007 and later served as Director of Technical Services at RHA Inc. where he managed energy  projects for the US Department of Energy, State of CA, and large investor owned utilities. He has a degree in Construction Management and Building Science from Cal State-Chico, post-graduate education at UCLA and is 2012 Rainer Arnhold Fellow.

COO, Erica Mackey
Erica has over ten years of operating experience in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to co-founding and building operations for Off-Grid Electric, she served as Executive Director for a rural health service provider in East Africa where she led an international team of over 300 employees & volunteers. Erica speaks fluent Swahili and has a deep network in East Africa. She holds an MBA and Skoll Associate Fellowship from Oxford Saïd Business School, where she co-founded the Oxford Women’s Leadership Community, and a Bachelors degree in Ecology from UCLA. She has been recognized as 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes in 2012.


VP of Business Development, Graham Smith
Graham has previously held positions in consulting and finance, working with organizations across the private, public and social sectors. He also spent several years with the Clinton Foundation, improving healthcare systems and developing financing approaches to increase access to medicines for over 70 Latin American, Asian and African countries. Graham has studied at Stanford University, Oxford University and Queen’s University. He was a Skoll Associate Fellow at Oxford and was named an Ideas Scholar by Atlantic Magazine and the Aspen Institute.