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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.

Alessandro Global Technology Manager

Alessandro's current role at YBI is to support existing Members around the world in the use of Salesforce, implement our OMS system for new Members and support the needs of teams based in the London office. He has worked in the charity sector as a Salesforce administrator for the past 10 years.

Alex Digital Content & Communications Manager

Alex is the Digital Content & Communications Manager, working closely with partners and members to convey the impact of YBI’s work through campaigns, story gathering and online communications. She has several years’ experience across press and communications within the charity and creative sectors, with a particular focus on digital storytelling.

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.

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.

Beatrice Finance Officer

Beatrice is the Office Manager and is responsible for the day to day smooth running of the office. She started her working life as a young entrepreneur selling goods to family and friends in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to joining YBI Beatrice worked in the private sector for a number of years and more recently has undertaken voluntary charity work in the UK.

Boris Tkachenko Trustee

Boris is the CEO of IBLF Russia, the Mentoring Institute and Youth Business Russia (YBR). He is also a member of the International Network Strategy Implementation Steering Team (INSIST), the Mentoring Steering Committee and the Soft Skills Curriculum Working Group. As a mentor, organisational consultant and coach, Boris has 27 years’ work experience in small and medium-sized business development and has worked in the field of youth entrepreneurship and mentoring for 11 years. Being one of the first experts in Russia in this field, he supports YBI members in other regions with developing entrepreneurship and mentoring programmes.

Carol Head of Training

Carol is responsible for managing and developing YBI`s global training offering and facilitating knowledge sharing on training matters between YBI`s members around the world. 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.

Chris Project Accountant

Chris is the Grant Finance, Planning & Performance Specialist at YBI ensuring our financial reporting of Grants and Partnership is donor compliant as well as strengthening planning and performance within YBI. Chris joined YBI from WWF where he was previously a Programmes Accounting Executive.

Crispin Rapinet Trustee

Crispin is a commercial litigation lawyer and a partner with Hogan Lovells based in London with particular expertise in international and cross-border litigation arising out of insolvency, fraud and asset recovery situations. He has worked in Asia for many years and was Regional Managing Partner of the firm’s offices in Asia and the Middle East from 2005 to 2013. He is the leader of Hogan Lovells’ Investigations, White Collar and Fraud practice and is also co-chair of the pro bono practice and co-chair of the firm’s Citizenship Panel.

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.

Diana Junior Communications Assistant

Diana is a Junior Communications Assistant, working at YBI as part of the Kickstart programme. She helps the team with backend projects which continue to improve the efficiency of internal record-keeping, as well as contributing to social media and website posts. Diana has an English degree from the University of Oxford, and a volunteering background with Royal Trinity Hospice shops. Her own experiences as a graduate looking for workplace training and guidance precipitated her desire to work with organisations which help other young people achieve their goals.

Emilia Head of Development and Programmes

Emilia is part of the Development Team, delivering global partnerships at YBI with institutions, corporates and leading foundations and helping members to build organisational sustainability. She has been working in the humanitarian and development sector for the last 10 years. Most recently, Emilia worked in Turkey with Syrian refugees, Iraq with displaced populations and as part of the Ebola response in Liberia.

Fadi Sarkis Trustee

Fadi acquired vast experience as an expert and consultant for the EU, World Bank and UN development projects in Syria and abroad. He has successfully invested in global industries and is outside counsel of some of the leading consultancy firms in the GCC.

Hannah Head 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.

Inga People Manager

Inga works within our Finance and Operations team as YBI’s People Officer. With a long-time passion for Human Resources Management, Inga supports the team and recently achieved the CIPD Foundation Certificate in HR Practice Level 3. From 2009-2010 Inga volunteered as Chair of the International Relations and Finance Committee for the not-for-profit ‘School of Success’ organisation in Lithuania, where focus included entrepreneurship training. More recently, Inga has worked in retail where she received a number of awards for her Customer Service skills.

Jeannie Arthur Trustee

Jeannie Arthur (J) is a serial entrepreneur who has created, grown and exited two marketing technology businesses. J is enthusiastic about all aspects of business, technology and entrepreneurship; investing and working as a non-exec director for a broad range of businesses as well as working with school kids to encourage them to explore opportunities in the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Outside work she can be found travelling to remote parts of the world, usually with a camera in her hand, on a horse or on a snowboard.

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.

Joerg Head of Mentoring

Joerg has supported entrepreneurs from diverse, underserved backgrounds for over 20 years. In the past 4 years he has worked in transnational projects focusing on developing thriving programmes for young entrepreneurs, promoted social entrepreneurship and access to finance. His current focus is on supporting a brilliant community of mentoring experts globally with the aim to design, test, implement and scale innovative solutions in mentoring.

Joshua Programme Manager

Josh is the Network Members Officer and Programme Manager for the High Flyers Youth Entrepreneurship Programme. Alongside overseeing the High Flyers programme, Josh works on member knowledge, KPIs and on YBI’s accreditation. With a background in analytical roles, Josh brings data collection & analysis skills to the Network Members team. Josh is also studying for a masters degree at Birkbeck College, University of London and mentors for a London charity.

Marie Staunton Trustee

Marie has experience of governance in the Public, Commercial and NGO sectors. She served as Chief Executive of Plan UK having earlier worked for UNICEF and Pearson’s. She has been the UK board member at the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, chaired Raleigh international, the Equality and Diversity Forum and a variety of NGO and commercial organisations. She currently chairs Crown Agents, a social enterprise in international development, SOAS University and is on the board of the Baring Foundation and her local community organisation. Marie started her career working with homeless people as Chief Caseworker for the Simon Community in London and Belfast. A solicitor, she worked with community groups and women’s organisations at community law centres, was Legal Officer at Liberty and UK Director of Amnesty. She moved to the private sector as Publishing Director of a Pearson company and became vice chair of the global Amnesty Board (the IEC). She moved back to the NGO sector and became Deputy Director of UNICEF UK , then served as CEO of Plan UK, a member of its Global Management Team and subsequently CEO of Plan Canada. Marie has received a CBE for her humanitarian work.

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, mess-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.

Merline Tete Junior Administration Assistant

Merline is a Junior Administration Assistant working at YBI as part of the Kickstart programme. Merline works closely with the programme manger Josh on different programmes and projects. She also takes part in arranging innovations and reminders for YBI’s webinars and meetings. Merline has 5+ years customer service experience, developing a patient, understanding and compassionate approach. Merline has a passion for helping young adults who face challenges and obstacles during their everyday lives. She aims to one day be able to help young adults in her motherland of Congo with advancing their talents and skills in careers and employment.

Miranda Head of Communications (Maternity Leave)

Miranda is Head of Communications and works to promote the impact of our partnerships, the network and its members through a variety of online campaigns, story gathering and membership communications. She and the team showcase the inspiring stories of the young entrepreneurs supported by the network and work to shift stereotypes and promote YBI as a thought leader. Miranda has been working in the humanitarian and not-for-profit sector for the last 10 years and holds an MSc in International Security and Global Governance.

Rika Programme Manager

Rika is a Programme Manager for Youth Business International (YBI), supporting the Network Team and global programming. She has over 10 years’ experience within international development, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship development and partnership management. Most recently she has been working with farmer organisations in East and West Africa to develop their coffee and cocoa value chains, access finance and enter specialty markets. She is passionate about Investing in youth and women to create an enabling environment for their dreams.

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.

Sarah International Director of Development and Programmes

Sarah is the International Director of Development and Programmes for Youth Business International (YBI) working in the Network Team and supporting YBI's members globally. Sarah has 15 years' experience in the charity and NGO sector having worked in fundraising, communications and programme management. Having recently returned from six years overseas in North Africa, the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa, Sarah is passionate about international development, advocating for those who need a voice and ensuring the underserved have the necessary support to be able to empower themselves.

Sir Malcolm Williamson Chair of Trustees

Sir Malcolm worked for Barclays Bank PLC from 1957 to 1985. He was then appointed a member of the Post Office Board and Managing Director of Girobank plc. In 1989, he joined Standard Chartered PLC and became Group Chief Executive. In 1998, he moved to San Francisco, USA, as President and CEO of Visa International until 2004. Sir Malcolm’s current non-executive roles are Chairman of Friends Life Group Limited, NewDay Group Ltd, the Cass Business School Strategy and Development Board and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation. He was previously Chairman of Signet Jewelers Ltd, National Australia Group Europe Ltd / Clydesdale Bank PLC and a Non-Executive Director of National Australia Bank Ltd. He has also previously served as Chairman of CDC Group, Deputy Chairman of Resolution, Chairman of Britannic Group and was a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, G4S and the National Grid Group. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the International Business Leaders Forum.

Sophia Evidence & Learning Manager

Sophia is a member of the Evidence and Learning Team and supports our members to develop monitoring systems and conduct evaluations for their entrepreneurship programmes as well as building the evidence base of what works in youth entrepreneurship. Previously, Sophia has led fuzzy set analyses of WFP food assistance and international earthquake response and coordinated the first national perception survey of young people in Sierra Leone for UNDP. She speaks four languages and has an MSc in European Public Policy.

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.

Wanda Communications Officer

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

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Those who make it possible

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Citi Foundation

Citi Foundation

Worshipful Company of Management Consultants

Worshipful Company of Management Consultants



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