Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors


About Us


Melissa Paulsen, Chairman

Melissa A. Paulsen is Assistant Director at the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame.  She serves as director for the Center’s social entrepreneurship program and is a concurrent instructor in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Melissa collaborated with Mendoza’s former dean, Dr. Carolyn Woo, franchising business leader Frank Belatti, and former Gigot Center director, Dr. James H. Davis, to design and implement the Gigot Center’s unique undergraduate offering, the Microventuring Certificate Program. The program incorporates microenterprise development and microfinance theory along with practical skills and tools in a domestic and developing country technical assistance setting.  Melissa’s white paper detailing the program’s learning objectives, methodology and stakeholder impact has been presented at several conferences and was published in Journal of College and Character in November 2012.  Most recently, Melissa’s teaching includes courses in Social Entrepreneurship, Microventure Consulting, and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries, as well as numerous workshops involving social and traditional entrepreneurship.  In addition to Melissa’s curricular responsibilities, she manages experiential and service-learning programs in South Africa, Haiti, Kenya, Uganda, and Guatemala, among others.  She has experience in business model development, nonprofit strategy, operations and consulting.  Melissa holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, and a BA in English and philosophy from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Jacob Stanton, Alumni Member

Jacob is  a graduate of the University of Notre Dame from Marshall, Missouri with majors in Finance and Economics. Jacob's interest in lending to borrowers whose credit-worthiness would be questionable under traditional standards was sparked after he worked for a locally-owned community bank in his hometown that often used non-conventional methods to determine credit-worthiness. He continually works towards the mission of offering reasonable loan terms to those most in need and improving the level of financial literacy among clients.

Aaron Bode

Aaron is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame from Avon, Indiana studying Economics and Applied Mathematics. Upon arriving at the University, he began looking for an organization that was dedicated in its work and focused on bettering the lives of those in the South Bend community. He wanted to be a part of an organization that would engage with and make a substantial impact in the South Bend community, and he felt JIFFI was far and away the best opportunity for him to do just that. Besides JIFFI, Aaron is involved with Economics Club events, ACMS club, and College Democrats.


Thomas Flaim

Tommy is senior Finance major from Clifton Park, NY at Notre Dame that is extremely passionate about impact investing. He is co-founder and president of Unleashed, an impact investing initiative at Notre Dame with the goal of obtaining a student-run social venture capital fund. His interest in impact investing started after reading about Goldman Sachs’ involvement in a social impact bond that dealt with early childhood education, pairing his interest in Wall Street with his passion for social issues like educational inequality. This interest was soon solidified after he was able to attend the 2013 SRI Conference in Colorado Springs due to the generosity of Notre Dame’s funding entities for conference attendance.


Tommy also took part in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition with Reading for Life, a mentoring program that combines literature with a personal study of seven classic virtues. Reading for Life serves as an alternative to prosecution for non-violent offenses by juvenile delinquents. He served as the team’s expert on social impact bonds, exploring how the social enterprise could utilize this new and innovative financial tool to expand their extremely successful model. Tommy was the youngest member of the competition to make both the semi-finals and finals of the competition and Reading for Life was awarded over $20,000 and several awards. When not working on Unleashed or related activities, he can be found on the soccer field with Notre Dame’s club soccer team or hanging out with friends. Tommy is honored to be a part of the JIFFI board.


Cristina Gutierrez

Cristina is a senior majoring in Finance and Psychology, with a minor in Studio Art. Besides serving on JIFFI's Board, Cristina is President of SIBC and works as Business Manager for the Observer. In her spare time, Cristina enjoys learning about design, reading, and baking.

Peter Lombardo

Dr. Peter Lombardo currently serves as the Director for Community Involvement at one of JIFFI's partner organizations, South Bend Center for the Homeless. His responsibilities in the community include a role as a Community-Based Learning Coordinator, connecting the Center's work with the University of Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns.

Jack S. Markwalter III

Jack is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame from Atlanta, Georgia studying Finance, Political Science, and, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE). Jack joined JIFFI because he wanted to use his academic interests to change the lives of the poorest of South Bend. In addition to JIFFI, Jack is involved in MSLA as well as dorm government as an interhall commissioner. Jack enjoys keeping up with Notre Dame sports.

Connie Mick

Connie Snyder Mick, Ph.D., is director of Community-Based Learning and co-director of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor. Dr. Mick works with faculty to design and implement academic community engagement in courses across the University, informed by pedagogical research on engaged teaching and learning. Her teaching experience includes a variety of Social Concerns Seminars (e.g. Digital Education in Northern Ireland), the Capstone for Poverty Studies, Introduction to Poverty Studies, Community Writing and Rhetoric, Multimedia Composition, Writing Center Theory and Practice, Graduate Practicum: Teaching Writing, Scientific Writing and Communication, Foresight in Business and Society (CBR), Management Communication, as well as the Ethical Leadership Through Service and Civic Engagement courses for Notre Dame's Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program and for a State Department funded English for Academic Purposes international service-learning course.


Dr. Mick awards community-based learning Course Development Grants and Faculty Fellow positions to foster sustainable engaged teaching and scholarship. She also leads the new Community Engagement Faculty Institute, a three-day deep dive into the theory and practice of community-based teaching, research, and scholarship. Prior to this work, she directed the University Writing Center at Notre Dame.


Her research interests include assessment of community engagement to measure impact on student learning and community development, the function of community engagement and service-learning in socio-cultural acquisition among English language learners, the role of writing in social change, the rhetoric of poverty, and the pedagogies of community engagement.


Dr. Mick received her B.A. in English from Manchester University, her M.A. in English Literature from Boston College, and her Ph. D. in English Literature from Loyola University, Chicago.

William Schmuhl

Bill Schmuhl has broad experience in general and financial management, law, public accounting, management consulting, college teaching, and academic administration. He currently teaches introductory courses in both Financial and Managerial Accounting. He also serves as Faculty Advisor to the Notre Dame Accounting Association, Notre Dame College Republicans, snd the Notre Dame Ace of Spades Poker Club. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Schmuhl serves on the Board of Directors of Heywood Williams USA, Inf., JSJ Corporation, MISCOR Group, Ltd., and Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc. In the non-profit sector he serves on the boards of Memorial Health Foundation, Saint Mary's College, Stanley Clark School and Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion. He is also on the Finance Committee of the Girl Scouts on Northern Indiana-Michiana. Schmuhl has B.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Amber Werner

Amber is a third year AmeriCorps service member who currently attends IUSB in pursuit of her degree in General Studies with minors in Psychology and Anthropology.  She co-facilitates Getting Ahead and Investigations into Economic Class while co-instructing the Financial Management Class for JIFFI's partner organization, Bridges Out of Poverty.  Amber has the gift of being able to empathize, communicate, and learn while motivating those who are under-resourced.

© 2015 JIFFI, All Rights Reserved



803 Lincoln Way West Second Floor, Room 1 South Bend, IN 46601

 (574) 400-5258


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