Community area

Meet the team

Our team brings together the brightest minds, working together to turn job seekers into job creators.

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.

Andrea Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Specialist

Andrea is responsible for the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning of the Youth Entrepreneurship Program for Latin America and the Caribbean and he is based in Bogotá, Colombia. Prior to joining YBI, Andrea was in charge for the monitoring and evaluation of the projects funded by Barrick Mining Company within its CSR strategy in Peru. Previously, he has worked for NGOs and private companies in Italy and other countries.

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.

Bankole International Finance Manager and Analyst

Bankole joined YBI as an International Finance Manager and Analyst and has a considerable amount of operational and strategic leadership experience, attained through 20 years of working with bigger and smaller INGOs such as Marie Stopes International, National Autistic Society and Save the Children International. Bankole holds an MBA in Strategic Finance and International Business Administration from Cardiff University, and a BSC in Accounting & Finance from South Bank University. He is also a Member of CMA and AMBA.

Beatrice Office Manager and Finance Assistant

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.

Carol Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 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.

Catalin Digital Communications Manager

Catalin is our Digital Communications Manager, working within the Learning and Influence Team. Catalin manages all of our digital communications channels, focusing on driving brand strengthening and securing firm positioning in the sector. Before joining YBI, Catalin has been working in the third sector with particular focus on youth development and social entrepreneurship delivering youth-focused campaigns and events. Previously, he co-founded two social enterprises and has worked in the private sector as an e-Learning consultant.

Cathrin Director of Programme Delivery (Maternity Leave)

Cathrin heads the Programme Delivery Team and is responsible for overseeing programme strategy, development and delivery. Cathrin has over ten years of programme and senior leadership experience within the NGO sector, gained in the UK and overseas. She has previously worked in Sierra Leone as Country Director for Restless Development, in Burundi for Quaker Peace and Social Justice and most recently as the Head of Christian Aid in Wales. She speaks four languages and is currently studying part-time for a MA in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation. *Cathrin is currently on maternity leave.

Charné Digital Community Manager

Charné is YBI’s Digital Community Manager working across the Evidence & Learning and Technology teams to strengthen our online engagement with members. Charné manages the YBI Network Community, our online platform where members can connect, share and learn. Prior to joining YBI, Charné gained significant experience in the private sector working in South Africa and the UK, with particular focus on PR, communications and social responsibility.

Chris Planning & Performance Manager

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.

Christina Youth Entrepreneurship Programme Director

Christina leads YBI's regional Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean. She brings 25 years of relevant experience to her role having worked in both the public and private sectors focusing on economic development, building the Latin American investment ecosystem, innovation and importantly entrepreneurship. Christina has contributed to several significant publications, serves on a number of Boards, and has an extensive track record in planning and organisational development, delivery of facilitation and training services, and undertaking of evaluation and feasibility studies.

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.

Dianne Director of Network Members

Dianne heads the Network Members team, responsible for all aspects of membership of YBI, including membership structure, member relationship management, member programmes, quality assurance and accreditation, and the expansion of the YBI network to new countries. She works closely with members on strategy, programme design and resource raising. Prior to YBI, Dianne worked with two international NGOs following a 20 year career in investment banking.

Emilia Partnership Development Manager

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 is a Senior Partner at Sarkis & Associates, one of the largest well integrated law firms in Syria. He joined the firm in 1996 and is a key figure in both domestic and cross-border issues. He is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees to Syrian YBI member organisation BIDAYA. In the area of development, Fadi has acquired vast experience as a legal expert and consultant for EU, World Bank and UN development projects in Syria and abroad.

Fearchar Fundraising and Communications Officer

Passionate about entrepreneurship, Fearchar supports a variety of functions within the Network team, including Network Expansion, Fundraising and Network Member Management. Fearchar, previously worked in a project management role within the public sector and is an English Literature graduate from the University of East Anglia.

Hannah Director of Finance and Operations

Hannah is Director of Finance and Operations at YBI, overseeing the Finance and People teams. She is ACA qualified having studied whilst working at Deloitte, before moving into the charity sector. Hannah has considerable experience in charity finance and operations, having worked at Amnesty International and Prostate Cancer UK. She is experienced in strategic financial planning, systems development, and people management. Hannah speaks Spanish and holds a postgraduate certificate in Global Development Challenges from the University of Edinburgh.

Inga People and Administration Apprentice

Inga works within our Finance and Operations team as YBI’s People and Administration Apprentice. With a long-time passion for Human Resources Management, Inga supports the team while studying and gaining on the job skills for a CIPD Foundation Certificate in HR Practice Level 3. Inga previously 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.

Jessica Director of Learning and Influence (Maternity Leave)

Jessica is Director of Learning and Influence at YBI, overseeing the Evidence and Learning and Communications Teams. She is responsible for creating the culture, structures and capabilities to drive learning across the YBI network. She also leads on the network's engagement in global campaigns and advocacy. Jessica has over ten years’ experience in the non-profit sector in a variety of roles. She has worked for Restless Development as Country Director in Uganda, for Plan UK on their youth portfolio, and most recently for Bond in their Effectiveness team. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. *Jessica is currently on maternity leave.

Jo Interim Director of Programme Delivery

Jo is Interim 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.

John Downie Trustee

John Downie is Managing Director – Resources EALA in Accenture’s London office. He specialises in strategy and organisational development, as well as M&A and large scale transformation. He has served clients throughout Europe, Asia and North America. John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from Swinburne University in Melbourne and a Masters of Business Administration from London Business School. He is married with two children.

Joshua Network Members Officer

Josh is Network Members Officer; working within the Network Members Team. Josh works closely with both Chris on member knowledge & KPIs and with Katharina on YBI’s accreditation. With a background in analytical roles, Josh brings data collection & analysis skills and customer service experience to the Network Members team. Josh is an active volunteer at two London charities and also has a history of international development research through his Human Geography studies at Newcastle University.

Liz Director of Learning and Influence (Maternity Cover)

Liz Lowther is our Director of Learning and Influence at YBI, covering Jessica Greenhalf's maternity leave. She leads the Evidence & Learning and Communications teams, and is responsible for creating the culture, structures and capabilities to drive learning across the YBI network. Liz has extensive experience in the non-profit sector, most recently as Head of Innovation and Learning at Bond, the UK network of organisations working in international development. Liz is a qualified executive coach and speaks Russian and French.

Lucy Network Expansion Manager

Lucy, part of the Network Expansion Team, conducts research and outreach to new partners across the world in order to expand the scope and scale of YBI’s valuable work. She has a background in youth work and international development, having previously worked for VSO, Y Care International and Muslim Aid.

Meagan Partnership Programmes Manager

Meagan works in the Partnerships and Programmes team at YBI managing some of our key corporate partnerships, including Barclays and Accenture. Meagan’s previous experience includes being a news- and features journalist, political liaison, and a History and English teacher.

Pippa Communications Assistant

Pippa is Communications Assistant at YBI, having joined in September 2018. She helps to write and facilitate external website and social media content, as well as assisting with member communications, including research and reports. She previously worked at Hostelling International, a global non-profit membership organisation. Before that, she obtained a degree in French and Spanish and worked at an NGO in Santiago, Chile during her year abroad.

Ramanie Kunanayagam Trustee

Ramanie is a social anthropologist with over 25 years’ experience of working on social performance, human rights and sustainable development issues in both emerging and developing economies in the context of the extractive sector. Ramanie is the former Group Head of Social Performance and Human Rights for BG Group, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Previous to that Ramanie was Principal Adviser Community Relations at Rio Tinto, where she had a global remit. Ramanie has also spent nine years working for two of Rio Tinto’s mines in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and has also worked for the World Bank Group in Washington DC in the Oil, Gas and Mining Department as Senior Social Specialist.

Sarah Director of Development

Sarah is the Director of Development 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 (Maternity Leave)

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. *Sophia is currently on maternity leave.

Tatiana Finance and Administration Specialist

Tatiana manages the Finances and Administration of YBI's regional Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs with more than 50 years in the Colombian market. Prior to joining YBI, Tatiana was the Procurement Specialist for a public programme funded by the Inter-american Development Bank in Colombia. Previously, she has worked for the Multilateral Investment Fund, part of the Inter-american Development Bank group, for seven years.

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.

Verena Evidence and Learning Manager (Maternity Cover)

Verena is our Evidence and Learning Manager and supports members to strengthen their monitoring and evaluation systems in order to find out and show what works in youth entrepreneurship. Before joining YBI, she worked for several years as a policy advisor in international development projects in Germany and Peru. Verena is a Sociologist with an MSc in Impact Evaluation and is currently writing her doctoral thesis in vocational psychology.

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