Our Team

Bill Kruvant is currently the President and Chairman of the Board. He served as the President of Creative Learning from 2005 to 2017 and returned in 2020.  After earning a Doctorate in Economics in International Development from American University, Bill worked in both the private and public sectors, collaborating on foundation-funded research projects in the areas of energy and civil rights.

Previously, he served as chief of economic studies for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the areas of energy and natural resources and as a Senior Advisor for Creative Associates, consulting on corporate planning and development.

During his tenure at Creative Learning, Bill has worked with his team to establish the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) and School-2-School programs.  These programs send young people to serve in local NGOs in the Muslim World and match American and foreign schools so that youth in the U.S. and abroad can learn about each other first hand.

When Aid to Artisans (ATA) joined Creative Learning in 2010, Bill became the president of the new combined institution. In collaboration with ATA staff and Creative Learning experts, he is dedicated to making artisans an integral part of international enterprise development, cultural preservation, income and job generation, and economic development.

More recently, Bill has worked with Professors Tahir Shad and Muqtedar Khan to establish the Global Education Initiatives (GEI) at Creative Learning.  GEI runs the Annual Conference on the Muslim World, trains local and provincial level public officials in modern governance practices under the banner of CL’s American Academy of Good Governance, and runs a volunteer program for young people with De La Salle-College of St. Benilde in the Philippines.

Bill is also president of Crea-Learning Mexico, a Mexican not-for-profit group which develops artisans in Mexico, Central, and South America.

When not occupied at Creative Learning, Bill is a farmer, growing lavender commercially at La Paz farm, and is a ceramic artist.

Deborah has experience in policy design and training on a range of topics related to peace and security. She co-authored and contributed to guidelines and handbooks on civil-military-police relations, civilian protection, humanitarian negotiation and corporate social responsibility. She also designed and facilitated training programs for senior political, military, private sector, UN and NGO representatives in various countries. Before joining CL, Deborah has worked and consulted for UNICEF Vietnam, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, The Sustainability Forum Zurich, Oxfam America, and the United States Institute for Peace. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Stanford University.
Lauren Barkume is the Training Director at Creative Learning’s Aid to Artisans division. With over 13 years of experience in international development and artisan programs, Barkume spent nearly 9 years based in South Africa working directly with entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses in the region, developing community co-created programs, designing and running practical business skills workshops for small business owners, and working in collaboration with artisan communities across Southern Africa. Lauren cares deeply about facilitating responsive, community driven development.

Since joining Aid to Artisans in 2007 and Creative Learning in 2012, Maud Obe has more than thirteen years of experience in managing economic empowerment and development projects in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, particularly in the artisan sector funded by USAID, World Bank, US State Department, local governments, and foundations.  Maud has developed and implemented projects around the world that have strengthened artisan businesses and linked artisans to markets across the world. She is responsible for overall project implementation, consultant supervision, organization of activities, compliance with funder requirements, budget reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. She is an expert in organizing artisan capacity building workshops, one-on-one coaching, tradeshow preparation, export readiness training, and marketing events targeted for expats and tourism.

Moreover, Maud has over 7 years experience in organizing participation at several large tradeshows in the US including NY NOW and the Las Vegas Market for home décor, accessories, gifts and hand made products in the US. She coordinates the representation of artisans entrepreneurs to these shows and linkage with US buyers. She is currently charged with the overall supervision of ATA’s signature training program, the Market Readiness Program TM, its e-training platform called Aid to Artisans U and has overall responsibility for the newly designed program called TEAM (Training for Entrepreneurs in Artisan Markets) at the Las Vegas Market. All these programs are designed to help anyone in the artisan sector prepared successful entry into the US retail market.

Born in France, Maud holds a Master’s Degree in International Development and Social Change and a Bachelor in Government and International Relations from Clark University, Worcester, MA. She is fluent in French, English, and Spanish and has travelled extensively in Europe, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Rachel is a project management professional with 6 years of non-profit organization and program management experience. Since joining Creative Learning in 2014, Rachel specializes in effective knowledge management, monitoring & evaluation, and strategic communication to a wide variety of donors. Serving as Project Manager for all programs, Rachel is passionate about empowering vulnerable individuals in the artisan sector, facilitating access to economic opportunities through market linkages, preserving culture and ensuring sustainable impact.

Rachel graduated from Washington College with a BA in International Studies, a minor in Anthropology and French, and a concentration in African Studies and Peace & Conflict.