Bpeace and The ExCo Group Forge a Powerful Partnership to Empower Entrepreneurs

By Nicoletta Lisanti
collage of exco volunteers

In the ever-evolving landscape of business mentorship and development, partnerships that bring together expertise, passion and purpose can make a significant impact. Bpeace and The ExCo Group (formerly Merryck and Co.) have come together in a collaboration that promises to amplify the reach and effectiveness of both organizations.

The Journey of Collaboration

image of karen

The roots of this partnership trace back a few years to when Karen Vander Linde, an executive at PwC, began sharing her expertise and skills with Bpeace, providing invaluable guidance to businesses in Guatemala and El Salvador. In 2014, Karen’s commitment led her to become a valued member of the Bpeace Board, where she continues to passionately advocate for the organization’s mission. 

Karen’s advocacy extended beyond her own involvement. She brought more individuals from The ExCo Group into the fold, leveraging their talents and perspectives as volunteers. 

A Wealth of Experience and Expertise

In 2018, Karen introduced Bpeace to her colleague, Patrick Gournay, a former CEO of Danone and The Body Shop. Patrick immediately understood the impact of mentoring emerging business leaders in Central America to help strengthen their leadership skills and business growth. He also played a key role in fostering relationships with Bpeace funder USAID.

Celebrating Excellence in Mentorship

The ExCo Group’s Nina Link, a visionary CEO and board director with three decades of leadership experience, started volunteering with Bpeace in 2020. Her mentorship contributions have been nothing short of exceptional, and she was honored with the Bpeace Mentor of Distinction award. Nina has been recognized as a champion in the advancement of women in the workplace and society by leading change through challenging the status quo and prevailing norms. Her dedication to empowering women entrepreneurs has been invaluable, reflecting the core values shared by both Bpeace and The ExCo Group.

Innovative Approaches to Leadership Development

In 2020, The ExCo Group’s Joan Shafer, a seasoned expert in leadership and culture with 25 years of experience collaborating with Fortune 250 companies, NGOs, and nonprofit organizations, joined forces with Bpeace. Joan played a pivotal role in guiding many businesswomen participating in the Bpeace Women Forward program. She introduced the Leadership Values Assessment (LVA), a powerful tool aimed at helping individuals pinpoint their core values, thereby catalyzing their transformation and boosting their performance. Through the implementation of the LVA, Joan has provided invaluable guidance to numerous businesswomen, significantly impacting their professional journeys.

Expanding Horizons with New Collaborators

In 2022, Karen introduced Kathleen Dyer and Sarah Diamond to the Bpeace community. Kathleen, an accomplished C-suite executive, brought 35 years of expertise in leading transformative initiatives across healthcare, technology, telecommunications, education, government and nonprofit sectors. Meanwhile, Sarah, a seasoned executive, draws from her rich background in the financial services, technology, consulting and regulatory fields.

Kathleen’s work on the Bpeace U.S. Jobs Maximizer program, along with Sarah and Karen’s direction in the Leadership Learning Lab, deeply enriched the mentorship landscape, providing tailored guidance to many entrepreneurs.

A Decade of Impactful Collaboration

In January 2024, Karen, along with her fellow Bpeace volunteers Patrick, Joan, Sarah and Kathleen, shared personal experiences with Bpeace in front of The ExCo Group’s mentors and professional staff at their annual summit. The power of these impactful stories resonated deeply with the whole team, including The ExCo Group CEO, David Reimer, igniting a collective desire to transition from collaborators to strategic partners.

After a decade of impactful collaboration, The ExCo Group has proudly become an official corporate sponsor of Bpeace. This partnership aligns seamlessly with The ExCo Group’s core values of curiosity, generosity, and courage; reinforcing a shared mission to foster business growth and empower entrepreneurs.

Looking Ahead

As Bpeace and The ExCo Group embark on this exciting new chapter, the possibilities for driving positive change and fostering innovation in the business landscape are endless. 

Together, the two organizations are set to make a lasting difference in the lives of entrepreneurs, unlocking new avenues of growth and creating a legacy of empowerment and success.

If you are interested in exploring corporate partnerships, contact Silvia Ramos at sramos@bpeace.org



  • Nicoletta Lisanti

    Nicoletta Lisanti, the Marketing and Communication Director at Bpeace, boasts extensive marketing experience from her time at industry giants like L'Oreal and The Walt Disney Company. At Bpeace, Nicoletta spearheads marketing efforts, leveraging her strategic insight and creative prowess to enhance the organization's brand visibility and communicate its mission effectively.