Meet the team

Our team brings together highly skilled, knowledgeable and passionate minds, working together to turn job seekers into job creators.

Adenike Adeyemi Trustee

Adenike is the Executive Director of FATE Foundation in Nigeria. She leads the foundation’s efforts to design and implement strategies and programmes that enable aspiring and emerging Nigerian entrepreneurs while fostering enterprise development in Nigeria. She has extensive experience with youth support strategies, learning design and policy advocacy. Prior to FATE Foundation she worked with KPMG Nigeria and the Nigeria Leadership Initiative. Adenike has a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Diplomacy & International Relations from Seton Hall University, US, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Adenike Adeyemi
Andrew Smart Trustee

Andrew Smart is the Global Industry Senior Managing Director for Energy and is based in Accenture’s London office. He is responsible for defining and driving Accenture’s global industry program for oil and gas. He has led large scale and strategic M&A and business transformation programs at many oil and gas clients, as well as helping address their strategic priorities and planning. Andrew holds a Philosophy degree from Durham University and a post graduate degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University. He is married with four children.

Andrew Smart
Anita Tiessen Chief Executive Officer

Anita Tiessen is CEO of YBI, and leads the global network’s efforts to connect members, partners and young people to develop and scale new solutions that leverage the power of entrepreneurship to drive social and economic change. Anita has extensive experience in international development, human rights and leading global networks. Before joining YBI in 2018, Anita was CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a global movement of 150 country members, where she focused on growing the organisation’s reach and impact. Previously she was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK, and Head of Communications at Amnesty International’s global headquarters.

Anita Tiessen
Anna Social and Green Entrepreneurship Lead

Anna C is YBI's Social and Green Entrepreneurship Lead, leading the network's efforts to support young entrepreneurs to develop and scale effective social and green solutions. Anna has over a decade's experience in launching, strengthening and scaling up purpose-driven businesses globally, with a particular focus on the UK and East Africa.

Babajide Oluwase Trustee

Babajide is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ecotutu, a tech-enabled company that accelerates access to affordable solar-powered cold chain solutions, particularly for small and medium-scale businesses in Nigeria. He brings his entrepreneurial expertise, youthful energy, and dedication to shaping the strategic direction of Youth Business International to the board.

Babajide Oluwase
Beatrice Finance Manager

Beatrice ensures the smooth running of day-to-day finance activities at YBI, ensuring robust finance policies are in place and collaborating with budget holders and senior management to ensure finance requirements are met.

Carol Deputy Director of Membership Services

Carol leads the Membership Services Team at YBI, supporting the creation of relevant and quality services that enable YBI’s members to develop and improve their entrepreneurship support programmes. Prior to joining YBI, Carol worked for Aliança Empreendedora, YBI`s member organisation in Brazil, for 10 years - supporting low income entrepreneurs in the field and developing and systemising entrepreneurship training methodologies. Carol holds an MBA in Business Management, an MBA in Group Dynamics, and speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and German.

Carolina Development Manager

Carolina is the Development Manager at YBI and supports the delivery of partnerships with Corporates, Trusts and Foundations. She has a background in Political Science and Human Rights. She has work experience in the public and non-profit sector, writing proposals and developing projects with marginalised groups such as women, victims of conflict, migrants and refugees in Latin America, with a particular emphasis on social inclusion, access to education and relief of poverty.

Dejan Head of Innovation

Dejan is Head of Innovation, leading the innovation agenda to deliver a step-change in the number of young people accessing our products and services and, in our ability, to equip them to thrive in a digital, globalized world. Dejan has considerable experience in developing and implementing strategic, innovation and business development ambitions as well as innovation project design and delivery using Human Centered Design and Lean Startup. Before joining YBI in 2020, Dejan began his career at Deloitte before moving on to lead corporate strategy and innovation at Bupa for eight years. Having spent over ten years in the private sector, he went on to work for one of UK’s largest charities focused on building a more integrated society. Dejan holds a Biotechnology degree from UCL and an Executive MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology.

Elinor Development Manager

Elinor is Development Manager at YBI.

Ellora-Julie Parekh Trustee

Ellora-Julie, an Indian-French executive, honed her strategy, education, ESG and regulatory experience over 20 years in senior roles at McKinsey and company and leading education programs including Salzburg Global Seminar, an American non-for-profit. Ellora-Julie’s accomplishments reflect a track record of leading complex scale up initiatives and strategic pivots induced by external factors, regulatory and/or geopolitical. She has successfully scaled global initiatives, navigated complex stakeholder relationships, developed and mentored talent (in particular women leaders), and brokered significant partnerships while working on-the-ground in a range of geographies (US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa). She is proficient in French and English, has some knowledge of German and Russian and basic Gujarati

Ellora-Julie Parekh
Federica Membership Manager

Federica is the Membership Manager at YBI, where her role is to support YBI members in all their needs, managing accreditations of new and existing members of the network. She previously worked for five years for Microlab, YBI’s Italian member. She has an extensive experience as project manager and communications manager, specialising in the non-profit sector and media across Europe and the US. Her professional experience stems from her International Politics and Data Journalism studies and from years of working in the field, concentrating on human rights, community building and anti-discrimination with different organisations, international networking and creative problem solving. She speaks Italian, English, Spanish and Serbian. Her goal every day is to bring positive change in the world, making it more equal, just and diverse.

Freya Membership Expansion Manager

Freya is Membership Extension Manager at YBI.

Gideon Head of Finance and Operations

Gideon is Head of Finance and Operations at YBI.

Hannah Deputy Director of Development and Programmes

Hannah is Head of Development and Programmes at YBI and works in the Network Team to ensure the delivery of high quality and impactful global partnerships and programmes with institutions, corporates and foundations. She has extensive programme management experience in the international development sector, having delivered education, livelihoods and health programmes across the Middle East and Africa. Hannah is passionate about international development and empowering both the underserved populations to support themselves and the organisations that help them.

Helena Communications Manager

As a Communications Manager, Helena works to promote the key themes and events that make YBI a thought leader of youth entrepreneurship, working closely with partners and members to promote the impact of the YBI network and showcase the inspiring work of the young entrepreneurs it serves. Helena has several years of experience in marketing campaigns, content creation and developing online communities.

Jada Programme Manager

Jada is a Programme Manager at YBI.

Jo Director of Membership Services and Engagement

Jo is Director of Programme Delivery, leading the capacity development and programme management teams to support YBI members and help strengthen and deliver quality programmes in line with partnership objectives. Jo was previously Head of Mentoring at YBI and continues to be involved at a high level in line with her continued belief in the power of mentoring to affect change in individuals and society. Jo was formerly Principal Consultant at Clutterbuck Associates, a recognised thought leader in the mentoring space. She is particularly interested in mentoring as a tool for women’s development and volunteers with Kerning the Gap’s mentoring scheme for women in the design industry.

Laura People Manager

Laura is YBI’s People Manager, a role that sits within the Finance and Operations team. She has worked in the charity sector for several years and enjoys the opportunities afforded by working in HR to support YBI’s biggest asset – its people. Laura holds a Masters in Human Resource Management.

Linsey Programme Manager

Linsey is a Programme Manager at YBI.

Lydia Savill Trustee

Lydia is a partner in the commercial litigation team at Hogan Lovells, focusing on insurance and re-insurance disputes. She has been with Hogan Lovells all her professional life, joining the firm as a trainee. Lydia has more than 15 years’ experience helping her clients navigate their most complex disputes to a successful resolution. Lydia brings to the YBI board her experience of strategic thinking, risk mitigation and an ability to find commercial resolution to problems. Lydia holds a degree in English literature from Bristol University and is married with two young boys.

Lydia Savill
Margarita Communications Officer

Margarita is Communications Assistant at YBI.

Marta Krupinska Board Chair

Marta founded her first business at 19. She has since co-founded three businesses and been widely recognized for her achievements and contribution to the field of entrepreneurship, including recognition in Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in 2016 and their top 60 Female Tech Executives globally in 2018 as well as Evening Standard (London’s Most Influential People). Currently she is CEO and Co-Founder of CUR8, a market-maker for carbon removals - a groundbreaking climate change mitigation and reversal industry. Previously she held the role of Head of Google for Startups in the UK as well as co-led Google’s Black Founders Fund in Europe and Africa. Alongside building CUR8 and chairing YBI, Marta also chairs ACUA Ocean, a marine cleantech startup.

Marta Krupinska
Matt Wallace Trustee

Matt is a dedicated social entrepreneur with over a decade’s experience championing underserved young female business owners through YBI member ONOW, which has launched 500+ enterprises and innovatively employed technology platforms for 350,000 users. With his profound expertise in leveraging technology for MSME growth and a strong commitment to gender inclusivity, Matt brings a unique perspective on scaling impact, promoting technological adoption, and furthering gender equity in entrepreneurship to the YBI board.

Matt Wallace
Meaghan Ramsey Trustee

Meaghan is UK Managing Partner at The Brunswick Group where she co-leads the London Office. She specializes in helping organisations demonstrate their positive role in society, particularly when faced with critical issues such as climate change, financial inclusion, human rights and education. Meaghan joined Brunswick from Unilever where she led the global social impact work of some of their largest brands, latterly Dove where she was responsible for strategy, mass-media campaigns, educational programming and advocacy. Her TED talk speech at the UN’s 59th Commission on the Status of Women helped highlight the importance of her work and she was nominated for the 2015 Women in Business: Australian Business Woman of the Year in the UK Award in recognition of her work on Corporate Purpose.

Meaghan Ramsey
Michael Programme Finance Manager

Michael is Programme Finance Manager at YBI.

Miranda Director of Strategic Communications

Miranda leads YBI's positing and leadership voice strategy. She and her team also promote the impact of the network and its members and showcase the inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs we support. She started her career with a decade at full-service communications agencies working in PR and campaigns for a host of big brand household names. She has been working in the humanitarian and not-for-profit sector since 2016, was formally Head of Media and Campaign for War Child UK and holds an MSc in International Security and Global Governance.

Neelam Head of Development and Programmes

Neelam is Head of Development and Programmes at YBI.

Nick Director of Finance and Operations

Nick is responsible for finance and operations within YBI. He started his career working with multinational companies such as Hertz and Dun & Bradstreet both in the UK and internationally. More recently he has worked in the not-for-profit sector and held board finance roles with both big and small organisations including the Serpentine Galleries, the British Council and Comic Relief. Nick has a degree in finance and accounting and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Purity Gakuo Trustee

As a social entrepreneur and young leader, Purity has been driven by the desire to make positive change. Her entrepreneurial journey has been defined by creative and innovative solutions. Her businesses Kuza Freezer founded in 2020 has directly improved the livelihoods of over 2,600 young people involved in fish value chain businesses through affordable solar refrigeration. As a trustee, she brings a distinct blend of entrepreneurialism and a deep sense of purpose. Her knowledge of the complexities of social initiatives and ability to inspire teams, will be invaluable in shaping YBI's strategic direction. Her vision for a more sustainable future and track record of turning ideas into success, will help the board's collective efforts to steer YBI toward continued growth and transformative impact

Purity Gakuo
Romeo Effs Trustee

Romeo Effs is Founder & CEO of Aspyre Group as well as Founder and Chief Gladiator at Empire Builders. He is a serial entrepreneur, former corporate senior executive, high performance coach, author and international speaker. Romeo has worked at a senior executive and board level with some of the world’s leading multinational companies, including Accenture, Air Jamaica, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Star, EC Express, ARC Systems, Rosslyn Analytics, Marks & Spencer, DHL, Change Capital, MITIE, and The Office of National Statistics. He sits on a number of private company boards globally including Deputy Chair – Aspyre Corporation PLc., Chairman Ethos Holdings Ltd., NED – AnyData Solutions Ltd., Board Member Black British Classical Foundation and a number of other UK and international charities. Romeo holds a Dual Masters in Supply Chain, Finance and Trade from Cass Business School, a BBA in International Management from the University of North Florida, and numerous other executive certifications.

Romeo Effs
Rosie Membership Services & Engagement Coordinator

Rosie is Membership Services & Engagement Coordinator at YBI.

Serena Director of Development and Programmes

Serena is Director of Development and Programmes.

Simon Evidence & Learning Consultant

Simon is Interim Head of Evidence & Learning at YBI.

Soraya Executive Assistant

Soraya is an Executive Assistant at YBI.

Tim Copnell Trustee

Tim joined KPMG in 1986, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989 and he joined KPMG’s Technical Accounting Group in 1990. He is the founding Chairman of KPMG’s UK Audit Committee Institute and has been specialising in corporate governance since 1993. He is responsible for overseeing a programme of over 40 board and audit committee development seminars per annum and for developing updates, tools and guidance to assist directors in fulfilling their duties. He also has extensive experience of facilitating board effectiveness reviews and in advising on corporate governance matters including compliance with Codes and regulation. Tim plays a major role in shaping UK corporate governance developments and chaired the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations’ (ecoDA’s) working party on audit committees. He speaks on corporate governance matters across Europe, Asia and the Americas and is the author of the Audit Committee Guide (ICSA 2010) and The AGM and Shareholder Questions (ICSA 2007). He is also a past winner for the Accountancy ‘Accountant of the Year’ award for his work with audit committees.

Tim Copnell
Vicki Head of Membership

Vicki is Head of Membership at YBI and is responsible for delivering the membership strategy to grow and foster connections across the network. Vicki’s career to date has been spent working with organisations that support young people to reach their potential both internationally and within the UK, having held senior posts at Mosaic Network, Prince’s Trust International and The University of Kent prior to joining YBI. Vicki is passionate about empowering young people, building communities, and equity of opportunity. Vicki holds an MA in International Relations from the University of St Andrews.

Wanda Communications Manager

As part of the Communications Team, Wanda plans and delivers online communications campaigns relating to key partnerships, events, and themes. She creates content for YBI's website, social media, and member communications. Wanda has previously worked in PR and marketing and holds an MSc in International Relations from Cardiff University.


Careers at YBI

You can also play a vital role in Youth Business International success.

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Those who make it possible

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Argidius Foundation

Argidius Foundation

Citi Foundation

Citi Foundation

EEA and Norway Grants

EEA and Norway Grants

IKEA Foundation

IKEA Foundation

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