Honoring two women leading through crisis with the 2020 Claugus Award

Please join us on December for a virtual event honoring two pioneering leaders with the 2020 Edward W. Claugus Award.

The economic crisis has made life even more challenging for underserved consumers and small business owners worldwide. Still, extraordinary leaders ensure that financial service providers rise to meet those challenges, helping vulnerable people access the credit and resources they need to weather crises and build financial resilience. Please join us on Dec. 2, 2020 for a virtual event honoring two pioneering leaders with the 2020 Edward W. Claugus Award:

Luz Urrutia

Luz Urrutia is CEO of Accion Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit lender to small businesses. She is a recognized pioneer in financial services with a track record of bringing new solutions to market, investing in the future of consumers and small businesses, raising capital, and driving scale. Her career has focused on expanding financial services for underserved populations, from unbanked immigrants to  small business owners. Luz has successfully led numerous organizations through change, including guiding a start-up bank for Hispanic immigrants, aiding the geographic expansion of an early-stage consumer lender, and transitioning an established global financial provider away from payday lending. Previously, Luz was Vice President of Retail Sales & Service at Oportun, Co-Founder and President/COO at El Banco de Nuestra Comunidad, and Managing Director at Wachovia Bank.

Luz has served on the Board of the Center for Financial Services Innovation and the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank. Luz is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She received a B.S., magna cum laude, in Business Administration and Finance and an M.B.A., both from Georgia State University.

Gowri Thyagarajan Mukherjee

Gowri Thyagarajan Mukherjee is Co-Founder of CreditMantri, a fintech based in Chennai, India that provides comprehensive credit analysis and credit improvement programs. Founded in 2014, CreditMantri helps consumers better understand the reasons their loans or credit card applications were rejected and helps them become loan eligible. Gowri has nearly two decades of experience in financial services, having previously worked as Global Head of Digital Marketing at Standard Chartered Bank and Director & Head of Digital Business at Citibank, with prior experience at HSBC and SIFY, an Indian telecom company. To help CreditMantri support its clients, Gowri leverages her expertise in digital financial services, including product development, marketing, ecommerce, and mobile payments.

Gowri also serves as chairperson of the Reserve Bank of India’s committee on securing card transactions. She is originally from Chennai, India, and graduated from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani and the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta.


  • Presenter Diana Taylor, Chair of the Accion Board of Directors
  • Presenter Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion
  • Emcee Vikas Raj, Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab

The Claugus Award is named in honor of Accion benefactor Edward Claugus, a skilled investor who was passionate about social change. In recognition of his generosity and commitment to Accion’s mission, we host this annual event in his name to encourage discourse on building a more financially inclusive world, and to recognize honorees for exceptional work and innovation in financial inclusion.


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