About us

Meet The Founders Pledge Team
and Supporters

About Founders Pledge

Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to do immense good. We approach this mission with a deep understanding of the sector – Founders Pledge was built for and by entrepreneurs, and launched out of Founders Forum, Europe's foremost network of digital and technology entrepreneurs. Our board members, advisors, sponsors and funders include some of the most influential voices in the tech sector and social sector.

Want to know more about our community and approach to philanthropy?

Meet the Team

David Goldberg

Co-founder & CEO

Bio

David is the co-founder and Global CEO of Founders Pledge. He moved into the non-profit sector from an eclectic commercial background. Having run the gauntlet of finance, start-up, and academia, he started Founders Pledge to make it absurdly easy for entrepreneurs to do good in their work and lives. Following high school, David joined Mortgage Capital Associates, one of the largest privately held mortgage banks in the U.S., where he launched the secondary marketing department. After that, he worked as a mortgage and investment banker at CS Financial in Beverly Hills. David also founded and ran a boutique real estate firm in Germany and was the general manager of Urban Motion. David is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Cambridge.

Q&A with David

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I think I'd enjoy having dinner with Socrates because he's the intellectual backbone of Western philosophy and also asks great questions. Although the case could be made that Plato would be the more interesting person to sit down with. So maybe a toss up.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It changed a couple of times throughout childhood, but I always harbored a secret desire to play basketball in the NBA. My more practical ideas were dentist, lawyer, and scientist.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Science Fiction would be the genre and Adrian Brody would be the actor.

Charlotte Monico

Chief Operating Officer

Bio

Charlotte brings a wealth of experience to Founders Pledge from working in startups and scale ups as well as in top corporates. She began her career delivering analysis and strategy at Boston Consulting Group, and then went on to lead global teams in both Finance and People Operations at Google. Charlotte played various tactical and operational roles for Cloudreach as it launched and scaled, built her own property side-business, and consults and facilitated for Women Ahead. Charlotte is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of Cambridge.

Q&A with Charlotte

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Jeanne Baret because I am passionate about travel and exploring. Jeanne was the first female explorer ever to circumnavigate the Earth. Unfortunately she had to do it in the guise of a man, since the French Navy didn’t allow women on its ships. She for sure has some good stories to tell!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A show jumper

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Action adventure / romance combo, and I'd flatter myself by being played by Kate Winslet

Neil Jansen

Chief Information Officer

Bio

Neil joined Founders Pledge in October 2015 from both technical and artistic careers. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and then moved to Los Angeles to work on the Space Shuttle Main Engine as a systems engineer. As NASA wrapped up the shuttle program, he successfully transitioned into a career as a freelance brass musician - teaching and performing across the greater Los Angeles area. Founders Pledge brought him to London in 2017 to support the team from the global HQ.

Q&A with Neil

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Robyn. Must include an evening out afterward. Her choice of venue(s). She's idiosyncratic. I like this.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Astronaut. Possibly some sort of robot. Space robot. Robonaut. Interstellar Exploratory Being.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Science Fiction. Visually, my character would be artificially generated based on an average of what people would expect me to look like given where I am psychologically at each point in my life. They'd match each version to the voice of the actor that is the closest visual match to that version, and then generate the lines artifically based on recordings of that actor.

Danielle Gram

Managing Director - San Francisco

Bio

With 15 years of non-profit management and humanitarian experience, Danielle joined Founders Pledge to transform philanthropy through an evidence-led approach. She was formerly the Head of the Tony Blair Foundation-US, and has founded successful non-profit and political initiatives, the largest of which, Kids for Peace, engaged 13 million children in 2018. Danielle has traveled to more than 60 countries and worked as a humanitarian in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. She received an A.B. in Religion and Sociology from Harvard College.

Outside of the office, Danielle enjoys adventures in the Great Outdoors, political activism, community-building, and is an avid reader.

Q&A with Danielle

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I'd like to have dinner with Karen Armstrong, one of the leading comparative religion thinkers of our day. I've read many of her books and listened to interviews of her, and find her personal journey and religious/cultural analyses fascinating.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young child, I wanted to be a tooth fairy, giving money away to children. When I grew to be a bit older, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist before I discovered policy and politics as a way to create change.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

I would want to be in an action film/drama starring Natalie Portman.

Jonathan Gartside

VP of Product

Bio

Jonathan joins Founders Pledge as VP Product from a diverse business background and with a passion for sustainability. Most recently, he was the Chief Experience Officer and SVP International at Bulb, the UK’s largest renewable energy supplier and one of its fastest growing startups.

He began his career at the Boston Consulting Group, delivering strategy and ops projects in industries as diverse as financial services and hospitality. Jonathan graduated with an MEng from Oxford University.### Q&A with Jonathan

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Probably a notable inventor / engineer / innovator - think Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Nikola Tesla, or Archimedes.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A sportsman or a pilot.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

An off-beat comedy starring Chris O’Dowd or Buster Keaton as the classic hapless chancer.

Crystal Chiu

Community, Europe

Bio

After graduating with a BSc Geography from UCL, Crystal started her career in climate change research across Northern Scandinavia. She then spent three years in the city recruiting quant analysts in the finance world. Having reached her savings goals, she moved onto a publishing house in Athens as an editor and writer of children’s books.

It wasn’t until her return from Mediterranean shores that she found her mojo in major gift fundraising joining Christian Aid, Teach First and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), where she was Head of Major Giving. It was at these incredible charities that she spent almost six years building close and fruitful relationships with HNI’s from across a range of sectors including finance and technology.

After completing a start-up programme, Crystal started a side hustle focussed on dating, as well as setting up a charity that supports young mothers in Sierra Leone.

Crystal has also worked as a silver service waitress at Tottenham’s stadium (don't tell Meera or Sach!), and the first match she ever saw was Arsenal at the Emirates stadium.

Q&A with Crystal

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

David Attenborough - because I can't think of anyone who has done more for raising awareness of nature's treasures and threats with the average person than our Dave! Besides, who could be better to compile your dream travel bucket list with?!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An 'explorer', which probably explains my dinner guest choice!

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Has to be a romantic comedy (oh the long quest for love!) starring Nora Lum as me.

Tessa Kalaher

Deployment

Bio

Tessa started her career at City law firm Allen & Overy, where she qualified as a UK lawyer working in the corporate tax team. She took a 5 year career break to have a family and, 3 children later, returned to work at PwC in London. Tessa took on a number of roles in the UK Tax business during her time at PwC, including Chief of Staff for the partner responsible for reputation, regulation, policy and purpose, where she was responsible for strategic focus and driving/managing specific projects, as well as COO for a number of emerging businesses. Tessa is a graduate of the University of Oxford where she studied Mathematics.

Tessa joined Founders Pledge in April 2020 and heads up the Deployment team.

Q&A with Tessa

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I am going to cheat and have dinner with Lauren Laverne everytime she is interviewing for Desert Island Discs - then I can get to meet loads of fascinating people who would be otherwise mostly unknown to me!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Doctor - but mainly because grown-ups used to like the answer rather than an actual desire.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Genre would probably be a mixture to fit the various stages of my life - so Claire Danes would be perfect so we can go from Angela Chase (My So Called Life) to Carrie Matheson (Homeland).

Denise Marica

Fundraising

Bio

Denise joined Founders Pledge in February 2020 following nearly 13 years leading strategic philanthropy and community building initiatives at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the San Francisco Symphony. At SFMOMA, Denise was a key member of the philanthropy team through the museum's closure for expansion, successful capital campaign, and reopening in 2016. Denise hails from Hawaii, and is a graduate of Haverford College, where she majored in History and History of Art.

In her free time, Denise is studying Italian language, and enjoys travel, art, and food adventures.

Q&A with Denise

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Madame de Pompadour. I wrote my college thesis on how she exerted considerable power in an unprecedented way, with incredible skill. I think she's an underrated historical feminist figure. Also - Elena Ferrante - I am enamored by her writing style and have devoured her novels. I imagine conversation would be lively and deep, and I could practice my Italian!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A mermaid.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Coming of age comedy/drama, played by 80's Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Raquel Abrantes

Programmes

Bio

Raquel leads our global programming. She joined Founders Pledge HQ in London in early 2019 after 10 years in the US managing social impact programs for the Clinton Foundation, the Organization of American States, and the World Bank.

Q&A with Raquel

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Leonard Cohen, obviously.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Football Commentator (unapologetically biased for Portugal and F.C. Porto).

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A crossover of BoJack Horseman and The West Wing, maybe probably definitely played by Winona Ryder.

John Halstead

Research

Bio:

John joined Founders Pledge in 2017 from a background in policy think tanks and academia. He has a doctorate in political philosophy from Oxford and taught philosophy at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford. Following that, he moved to the Global Priorities Project, working as a researcher on global catastrophic risk. He likes quips, tennis, football, boxing, and not spending money.

Q&A with John:

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Bob Mortimer

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Footballer

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Romcom; John O'Shea

Sam Carter

Advisory

Bio

Sam joined Founders Pledge as a Research Advisor in January 2020, based in New York. Prior to this, Sam spent over three years at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, where she managed J-PAL’s policy work related to financial inclusion and contributed to J-PAL’s government partnerships, cost-effectiveness analyses, and outreach in Brazil. Sam has also worked at the World Bank and various think tanks in the United States and Latin America. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Johns Hopkins.

Q&A with Sam

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Jeff Probst, host of the long-running competition show Survivor, to convince him that I should be a contestant on the next season.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The heroine of a young adult dystopian novel.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Finding Sam (the sequel to Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo)). My character would be a jellyfish voiced by Kristen Bell.

Emily Jablonski

Community, US

Bio

Emily joined Founders Pledge in September 2019. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has the pleasure of getting to know each member of the Founders Pledge community. Emily has four years of experience in social impact consulting. She also spent a year teaching high school English in Massachusetts.

Emily grew up in Connecticut and earned her B.A. in English from Williams College in 2014. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, creative writing, and being outdoors. She’s probably hanging out with her dog, Rosie, right now.

Q&A with Emily

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I'd choose to get dinner with Elizabeth Gilbert, both because I love her writing and because she seems very kind.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a talk show host or a writer (...I had a lot to say).

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A dramedy with Emma Stone!

Anu Khan

Advisory

Bio

Prior to joining Founders Pledge in 2020, Anu was a materials science researcher. She studied high-temperature catalysts for solid oxide fuel cells and thermochemical reactors. Outside of lab, she has worked with organizations that provide financial education, tax assistance, yoga in healthcare settings, college-prep mentorship, and STEM tutoring. She received her MS in chemistry from Caltech and her AB in chemistry from Princeton. In her free time, Anu is trying to visit all the US national parks and finish writing a collection of science fiction short stories.

Q&A with Anu

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Ben Franklin seems like a guy who could hold a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation. I'd love to see how he reacts to the modern postal/package delivery economy. I bet he'd also like to hear how successful public libraries have been!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A philologist, because I loved Lord of the Rings, and at some point learned that Tolkien was a philologist. Or an astronaut-lawyer. Perhaps so I could adjudicate disputes in space.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Something animated and satirical. Voiced by Maya Rudolph.

Adriana Lowe

Advisory

Bio

Adriana joined Founders Pledge from the University of Kent where she spent three years researching and teaching. She has a BA, MSc and PhD in anthropology and specialised in behavioural research. For her research she has spent time living and working in both Nigeria and Uganda.

She has also worked for several charities spanning social care, health, conservation and education.

Q&A with Adriana

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

All of the Andrex puppies.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A librarian.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A friend with an unexpectedly high opinion of me thinks I would be leading a pack of survivors in a film set in a dystopian future. I think it would be something a bit more low key - maybe a documentary about gardening.

Layal Marten

Growth, UK

Bio

Layal had a commercial background in sponsorship and large events including the F1 in Australia before moving into the not-for-profit sector in the UK in 2013 as a Programme Manager and Fundraiser. She was the Director of Philanthropy at Girl Effect and Movember. She is on the board of the Advocacy Academy and the Montana Foundation.

She worked with the European Commission to launch the inaugural European Week of Sport in September 2015, and contributed to Doug Strycharczyk's book 'Developing Employability and Enterprise: Coaching Strategies for Success in the Workplace', published in 2016.

She also wishes she did more interesting things so she could have a better last line for her bio!

Q&A with Layal

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Atticus Finch. I've read and re-read To Kill A Mockingbird since I was 16 and harbour an irrational love for him.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was really young I wanted to be a mermaid. I was quite definitive about this. Then, a professional gymnast/ballerina/Inca farmer before eventually settling on lawyer. Obviously.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Probably a comedy of errors and I'd be played by someone slightly clumsy like Zooey Deschanel (with a tan).

Philip Kasumu

Growth, Europe

Bio

Philip has spent the last few years building health and wellness tech products in both London and New York. He's extremely passionate about tackling the global issue of obesity and diabetes in particular the impact of fizzy drinks. In addition to his passion for health and wellness reform Philip truly does drink the startup kool-aid and regularly nerds out on his weekly podcast Startup Handmedowns where he sits down with successful founders.

Philip studied Accounting and Management at the University of Essex.

Q&A with Philip

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Kevin Systrom– to ask him if he knew instagram would be what it is today

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A "business man"

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

It would have to be a mix between comedy and drama played by Jamie Foxx

Matt Hurst-Smith

People

Bio

Matt joined Founders Pledge in early 2019 as Head of People. Taking an untraditional route to People Operations, Matt started his career with Deloitte before moving into the Visual Effects industry, where he focused on building exceptional employee experiences, and then moved into the startup world. He strongly believes in the power of HR to unlock teams' potential and help great work happen.

Outside of work, Matt is a huge rugby fan and plays regularly (though isn't as fast as he used to be). He is also a musician and loves a good dad joke.

Q&A with Matt

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Derren Brown - I realise that by the end of the meal I will either be hypnotised or he will have stolen all of my possessions, but I reckon it would be worth it.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A musician. Or failing that, a Power Ranger.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

It would be a hybrid of musical, comedy and boring documentary. Probably starring Mark Ruffalo.

Alessandra Ferrari

Community & Growth, UK & EU

Bio

Alessandra joined Founders Pledge in September 2018. She’s a very (very) proud Venezuelan, and lived in Colombia for six years before moving to London. After getting her BA in International Relations she worked at a nonprofit advising high-net-worth individuals on more effective giving practices and seeking grants for projects in education. She also partook in a brief but fascinating stint in the beekeeping industry.

Alessandra is a house plant and US politics aficionado – she is not, however, an Arsenal or Maduro fan and has never seen Thea wear black.

Q&A with Alessandra

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Marianne Lake because she's unapologetically the woman she wants to be.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The President of Venezuela.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Satire – Brie Larson or Matthew McConaughey (hopefully?).

Callum Calvert

Impact Analytics

Bio

Callum joined the research team in spring 2018. Before joining Founders Pledge, Callum worked as a quantitative analyst at a hedge fund. He holds a First Class MMath in Mathematics from the University of Warwick, where he set up the Warwick effective altruism group.

He's interested in ethics and football.

Q&A with Callum

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Oskar Schindler, because he went to great lengths and initiative to save many people when it was very dangerous.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A footballer and international mega-star.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A coming of age classic, played by a young Simon Amstell.

Johannes Ackva

Research

Bio

Johannes joined the research team in autumn 2019. He brings five years of experience working in a think tank advising decision makers on climate policy and has also researched the intersection between effective and feasible climate policies.

Johannes holds a M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a M.Sc. in Sociology with a focus on research methods from the Interuniversity Centre for Social Science Theory and Methodology from the University of Groningen.

In his free time, he enjoys local warming in the sauna, lake swimming, and nature walks.

Q&A with Johannes

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Jean-Luc Picard, for his wisdom and integrity.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Tiger-saving activist!

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A Tragicomedy with surprising twists, starring Tom Hanks.

Sjir Hoeijmakers

Research

Bio

Before joining Founders Pledge in early 2018, Sjir advised Dutch municipalities in setting up experiments with elements of basic income, and organized coordination between experiment initiatives on an academic, political and governmental level, crowdfunding his own ‘basic income’ to independently do this for two years.

In 2017, he co-founded Effective Altruism Netherlands (EAN), where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board.

Sjir holds a Master’s degree in Operations Research (cum laude) at Tilburg University.

He enjoys doing sports such as futsal, running and cycling; playing board games with friends; and going out on a walk to explore.

Q&A with Sjir

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

John von Neumann - He is a good candidate for 'smartest person ever lived', and not just in one area but in many, both in the pure and applied sciences. On top of that, he has had a major influence on 20th century history (e.g. via his involvement in WWII and the Cold War) and is supposed to have been an intriguing personality. I'd love to see how his mind would deal with the major challenges of our time.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A bus driver!

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Sci-fi, simply because the world in 40 years (when I hope to still be alive) will likely be so different from the current world that if a movie was made of it now we would believe it to be sci-fi. And if I have to choose a professional actor, it would probably be Edward Norton.

Aidan Goth

Research

Bio

Aidan joined the research team at Founders Pledge in August 2019. Prior to working at Founders Pledge, he studied at the University of Oxford. He graduated with a First Class MMathPhil in Mathematics and Philosophy, specialising in formal epistemology, decision theory and ethics.

In his free time, Aidan enjoys film & theatre, audiobooks and playing squash.

Q&A with Aidan

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I'd love to meet David Hume. He made many fascinating and important contributions to philosophy in his time and it'd be interesting to hear his thoughts about today.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to work in the second window of the McDonald’s drive-thru (i.e. not the one that takes orders or payment, but the one that gives out food). Failing that, an author.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A colourful, surrealist comedy, starring James McAvoy.

Stephen Clare

Research

Bio

Stephen joined the research team in 2019 with intentions of saving the world, or at least making it suck less. Previously he lived in Rwanda and Panama, where he worked as a Program Analyst for the United Nations and sweated a lot. Born and raised in rural Canada, Stephen is passionate about campfires, cedar trees, and highly-effective charities. He has complicated feelings about fish.

Q&A with Stephen

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

David Foster Wallace

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Part of me still thinks I might become an astronaut someday.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

It's a musical and every part is played by Danny Devito.

Ashley Neff

Community & Growth, US

Bio

Ashley joined Founders Pledge in the summer of 2018, in a fortuitous confluence of her interests in philanthropy and startups. In a past life, she was an early employee at a tech startup,managing the community and communications. Before that, she worked in Tanzania with a sustainable development non-profit and launched a small food business with a group of women in her village.

Ashley earned a BA from St. John’s College, where she studied epistemology and the art of asking questions.

For the love of rivalry, she is now a Tottenham fan - sorry Meera & Sach!

Q&A with Ash

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Leonardo da Vinci, because I want to get inside his brain. I would eat and listen, and have him teach me about all the things. There's no time limit on this dinner, is there?

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An explorer, or a discoverer. Someone like Marie Curie, or a reporter for National Geographic.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A mockumentary. I'd be played by a Roomba with googly eyes, or Frances McDormand a la Fargo.

Antigone Cote

Finance

Bio

Antigone joined Founders Pledge as its Financial Controller in August 2019. Previous to this, she started her career at PwC in the Refinancing, Restructuring & Insolvency team, working on a potential bank restructuring for a central bank, accelerated M&As and debt restructuring for publicly listed companies.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Antigone was seconded into PwC’s Business Recovery Services Digital, using technology to deliver client work for primarily distressed businesses. She then gained experience in PwC’s Technology & Investments team, working with some of the most innovative scaleups in the Health sector before joining PwC’s Forensics business unit within the Digital and Forensics Investigations team in February 2019.

Q&A with Antigone

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines. I listened to him on a podcast and he had so many interesting stories/wisdom to share. Also seemed like a very funny guy.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

No idea, but it would be a french movie.

Niki Buys

Operations

Bio

Niki joined Founders Pledge in September 2018. Following a foundation course at drama school in Oxford, Niki spent eight years as a Stage and Production Manager on over 50 different productions. The adventure took Niki from pub theatres to the Edinburgh Festival, the London West End, the Royal Albert Hall, and a very big tent in Saudi Arabia.

Most recently Niki worked at the Royal Horticultural Society as part of the Operations team for their flower shows. She worked across their portfolio of five major events including the Chelsea Flower Show.

Despite this, she is still incapable of keeping her house plants alive.

Q&A with Niki

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Tyrion Lannister. I'd love to pick his brains on strategy and battle plans over a glass of wine.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A horse. I was very definite about this.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The film would fall somewhere between a drama and a complete farce.

Tania Phipps

Events

Bio

Tania joined Founders Pledge in the spring of 2018 to lead all logistical and production aspects for our events. After completing her business studies degree at the International Business College in Prague, Tania moved to London.

Tania has a background in covering events and managing programmes across both commercial and non-profit sectors.

Tania is an amateur film editor, having taken it up a few years ago, studying at MET Film School in London. Her free time is mostly spent playing beach and indoor volleyball, and hiking in beautiful parts of the country.

Q&A with Tania

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

I would invite Sixto Rodriquez to sing all night, Levison Wood to get some travel tips, Nelson Mandela for interesting conversation, Kerri Walsh for inspiration and Anthony King just to make me laugh. If only this was possible…

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

According to my mum I wanted to be a police woman. I was such a tomboy and watched many cop movies so I probably thought chasing ‘baddies’ was very exciting and a lot of fun. Little did I know….

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

"It would have to be Adventurous Comedy, since life is comprised of humorous and ironic developments and is full of new and exciting experiences.
Who would play me? Audrey Hepburn. Come on…who would not want to look so elegant and stunningly gorgeous on the screen."

Chelsey Mann

Fundraising

Bio

Chelsey joined the fundraising team at Founders Pledge in December 2019. Prior to working at Founders Pledge she worked as an analyst at a family office. She graduated from University of Bristol with a BSc Politics degree.

She enjoys practicing yoga, boxing and being outdoors as much as possible.

Q&A with Chelsey

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Peter Singer

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Lawyer or a Princess

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A parody of a thrilling action movie played by Miley Cyrus (I was mistaken for her several times when I was younger)

Erin Arnold

Operations

Bio

After graduating with degrees in Music Education (bassoon) and Theater performance, Erin Arnold started her career in Arts Administration and Music Business Management at Manhattan School of Music and RZO, LLC. At RZO, she worked with celebrity bands and musicians as well as their charitable foundations. From there she transitioned into startups and tech, supporting executives at Etsy and one of the founders of Blue Apron.

Outside of the office, Erin can still play all orchestral instruments up to a 6th grade level (some better than others). She’s written, directed and produced off- and off-off Broadway plays, and her voice can be heard in radio ads and video games, most recently the NHTSA/Ad Council campaign against Buzzed Driving. She lives in the NYC suburbs with her husband and their Chow Chow, Ted.

Q&A with Erin

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

My ideal dinner party guests would be Oprah because I find her to be wise and inspiring (and I've had a subscription to "O" Magazine since way before it was cool--ok, it's still not cool, but I love her) and David Sedaris, because his stories entertain me endlessly.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional cheerleader or a singer, but ideally a singing cheerleader. (It should be noted that though I do sing, I never actually became a cheerleader at any level. I just really enjoyed pom-poms.)

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

My life would be best represented as a mockumentary, but with a narrator a la Ron Howard in Arrested Development, so that when I say something like "This will work out perfectly!" he'll interject with "It did not work out perfectly". Either Amy Adams or Isla Fisher would play me, as I demand a fellow ginger.

Rachel Baxter

Communications

Bio

Rachel is a Communications Writer at Founders Plege. Before joining the team, Rachel was a copy editor and staff writer at the popular science news website IFLScience, where she wrote about everything from astronauts to dancing chimps. She has a degree in zoology from the University of Bristol and master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London.

Q&A with Rachel

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

David Attenborough, so I could listen to endless stories of his travels, or Richard Ayoade because he always makes me laugh.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A vet.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

It would probably be a comedy/drama with Aisling Bea as the lead.

Edward McCaughan

Technology

Bio

Edward joined Founders Pledge in 2020 to support the tech team. With his background of web development, web development and more web development, he supports the tech team in building software tools to enable Founders Pledge to make real world changes. In his free time he enjoys teaching, dancing, woodworking and interactive art.

Q&A with Edward

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Chrysippus of Soli. Deep thinker, great teacher, still knew how to party.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Airship pilot.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Space opera, Rowan Atkinson

Matt Jenkins

Deployment

Bio

Matt has a Masters degree in Human Rights from UCL, specialising in asylum law. After working in multiple refugee projects in Greece, he worked as a risk manager for a green finance company in London before joining Founders Pledge.

Q&A with Matt

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon - I find mutualism a really undervalued concept in how to balance social and economic equity with individual rights, so dinner with the movement's founder would be fascinating. Also, absinthe.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Palaeontologist - I'm still a little disappointed dinosaurs aren't still around if I'm honest.

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

My heart says a rags to riches musical bio a la Walk the Line. Reality says Tommy Wiseau - The Room (in both acting prowess and coherence).

Bryan

Chief Cuddles Officer

Bio

Bryan is a dog. He has been with Founders Pledge since day one. He often thinks he's in charge and even though he's not, no one tells him otherwise. In his free time he likes to collect sticks and play fetch. He is based in London.

Q&A with Bryan

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Did someone say dinner?

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A good boy!

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

A David Attenborough documentary starring myself!

Bellatrix

Chief Happiness Officer

Bio

Bellatrix (Trixie for short) joined Founders Pledge in February 2019. She has a strong background in tummy rubs and attempting to lick everyone's ears. Once described as problematically cute, Trixie can often be found curled up on the office beanbag or being fought over by serious grown ups. She's not really a football fan, though is a big fan of balls generally.

Q&A with Bellatrix

Q: If you could choose anyone famous (real or fictional) to have dinner with who would they be and why?

Sunny and Bo Obama. The real driving force behind the former President.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A sunglass-wearing Dogue De Bordeaux (google it).

Q: If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?

Emma Stone in an action film with a romantic twist.

Join the Team

Want to work with Founders Pledge? Follow our Careers page for current vacancies.

Trustees

Sabrina Pourmand

US Trustee

Sabrina is a Silicon Valley native who's lived in Peru, Haiti and Jordan.

Sabrina has spent more than ten years working in international and domestic aid and development, and has led programmatic initiatives for large-scale international humanitarian aid organizations. She has significant experience in the Global South as an international humanitarian crisis responder and proven experience implementing and delivering upon high growth revenue strategies.

She holds a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco, a Bachelor’s in Political Science from University of California San Diego and has been named the Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Blaine Vess

US Trustee

Blaine founded Student Brands as a college freshman in 1999 to help students share course notes and research online. He bootstrapped the company for nearly 18 years and Barnes and Noble Education (NYSE:BNED) acquired it for $58.5mm in August 2017. He also founded Solve in 2016, a service that helped people quickly get through immigration and customs when traveling overseas. Solve was in Y Combinator’s Summer 2017 batch and it was acquired by Blacklane later that year. Blaine is now focused on acquiring and building bootstrapped companies and investing in startups and funds in the US and Asia.

In the nonprofit world, Blaine is a member of the board of directors of Liberty in North Korea, the Wende Museum of the Cold War, and the Amani Project. He’s an active supporter of the Sundance Institute and invests in documentaries and scripted films.

Neil Hutchinson

UK Trustee

Neil is the founder of NEON Adventures, an investment vehicle with activities in finance, property, lifestyle and philanthropy. He is also a principle investor in the Forward Internet Group, which creates, acquires and invests in web businesses across a variety of industries and territories. Neil is committed to giving back through the Forward Foundation, helping exceptional charities and social enterprises transform young lives.

Andy McLoughlin

US Trustee

Andy is a Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active Bay Area seed stage investors. Prior to joining SoftTech in 2015, Andy was co-founder and EVP of London and San Francisco-based Huddle, a leading enterprise SaaS content collaboration company.

Andy has been an active angel investor since 2010 and built a portfolio covering 35+ pre-seed and seed stage investments, mostly in the B2B space but also covering e-commerce, marketplaces and mobile. His companies include innovative SaaS businesses like Apiary, tray.io, Bugsnag, Rolepoint, Intercom, Import.io, Pipedrive, and Buffer, as well as retail plays including Postmates, Secret Escapes, and Zesty.

Andy was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s birthday honours list for services to UK business and technology leadership.

Dafna Bonas

UK Trustee

Dafna was founding CEO and co-founder of Founders For Good (now Founders Pledge). She is now a trustee of the charity, continuing to dramatically impact the way in which entrepreneurs give back. Dafna is also a trustee of The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, a board member of Intelligence Squared, and has supported organisations including The Royal Foundation and The Good Solutions Group. Before founding Founders for Good, she launched Excite in Europe, co-founded eos Ventures and spent seven years as a Operating Partner at Eden McCallum, a disruptor in strategy consulting. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School, and is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Damian Kimmelman

UK Trustee

Damian Kimmelman is the Founder and CEO of DueDil, the London-based fintech business whose vision is to organise the world’s private company information and which was recently listed among Wired magazine’s Hottest Startups in Europe. Before launching DueDil, Damian set up two other businesses: a peer-to-peer Chinese gaming platform and a digital agency. In June this year, he was named “International Entrepreneur of the Year” by Tech City News.

Rob Chapman

UK Trustee

Rob is CEO of Founders Intelligence, the entrepreneur-powered consultancy within Founders Forum. He helps corporate clients to participate in the new ideas, technologies, consumer behaviours and business models pioneered by the start-up community. His clients include Facebook, ITV, BP, Sky, Unilever, Lloyds Banking Group and Diageo. Prior to starting FI, Rob was at the data visualisation start-up Bime, which sold to Zendesk, and in PwC's strategy team.

Luke Ding

UK Trustee

Luke studied medicine at Oxford University, subsequently switched to a career in finance and held a number of senior management positions at Natwest and Merrill Lynch, and became a senior partner at fund management firm Brevan Howard. He now engages full time with his philanthropic activities in parallel with pursuing his business interests. He is a keen supporter of many organisations associated with Effective Altruism. Luke has sponsored many health care initiatives in developing countries, as well as organisations safeguarding future generations. He is based in London.

Vikrant Bhargava

UK Trustee

Vikrant Bhargava is the Managing Partner and founder of Veddis, a multi-asset investment company. He was previously co-founder and Marketing Director of PartyGaming Plc, where he spearheaded the company's growth from a start-up in 2000 to a FTSE 100 business at its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.

After stepping down from PartyGaming, Vikrant has been an active investor and mentor to technology start-ups, while also building a geographically diverse, real estate investment business at Veddis.

In addition to supporting a number of high impact initiatives, via the Veddis Foundation in the UK and India, Vikrant is passionate about transforming high school children’s relationship with STEM. In 2018, he founded FIRST UK (FIRSTUK.org), a high growth organisation with an innovative approach to equip the next generation with the technical knowledge and core life skills needed to tackle tomorrow's challenges.

He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (1994) and Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (1996).

Advisors

Moran Cerf

Moran Cerf is a neuroscientist and business professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience programme at Northwestern university. In his work, Moran helps individuals and businesses harness the current knowledge of the brain to improve thinking and understanding of customers and business decisions. Moran is the beneficiary of several awards and grants for his work, including the Instructional Improvement Grant, and the prestigious Presidential Scholarship for Excellence, and was recently named one of the "40 Leading professors below 40". Currently, Moran is on the board of a number of neuro-tech companies (Nervanix, VR Americas, Best Fit), the Co-founder of ThinkAlike, and also the founder of B-Cube which applies neuroscience to help society.

Mustafa Suleyman

Mustafa Suleyman was co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Deepmind Technologies, a leading AI company, which was bought by Google in 2014 in their largest European acquisition to date. Mustafa is now Head of Applied AI at Google DeepMind and is responsible for integrating the technology across a wide range of Google products. Previously, Mustafa dropped out of Oxford University to help launch a telephone counseling service, building it to become one the largest mental health support services of its kind in the UK. As a skilled negotiator and facilitator, Mustafa has worked all over the world for a wide range of clients such as the UN, the Dutch government and WWF.

William MacAskill

William MacAskill is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Oxford University and the co-founder of Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours, which advises individuals on how to maximise the social impact of their time and money. Through these non-profits, Will has raised over $400 million in lifetime pledged donations to the most effective charities and helped spark the effective altruism movement. He is the author of Doing Good Better, published by Penguin Random House.

Jaan Tallinn

Jaan is a founding engineer of Skype and Kazaa. He is Co-Founder of the Cambridge Centre for Existential Risk, Future of Life Institute, and philanthropically supports other existential risk research organizations. He is also a partner at Ambient Sound Investments, an active angel investor, and has served on the Estonian President's Academic Advisory Board.

Alex Comninos

Alex supports Founders Pledge on tech for good and is an Associate at Founders Intelligence, a specialist consultancy that helps the world’s leading corporates and investors to harness industry defining technologies and business models. Alex advises corporates and investors on digital strategy and technology innovation, and in this role has worked with Visa, News Corp, and Fannie Mae. Before joining Founders Intelligence, Alex worked in M&A, focusing on investments in media, internet and consumer business. Alex has varied volunteering experience, including coaching football at a local school in Costa Rica, and supporting Founders For Good and NSPCC Digital Taskforce.

Alexandre Semboglou

Alexandre is a qualified Swiss lawyer. After being admitted to the bar in Switzerland in 1997, Alexandre qualified as a Swiss Certified Tax Expert in 2002 and went on to work for different financial services companies and prestigious law firms. In 2011, he became Chief Executive Officer of the Rhone Group, a Swiss company which provides clients with sophisticated financial planning advice and support.

Mirit Lugassi

Mirit is a young female powerhouse. She has more than a decade of experience in business and commercial strategy in the finance, fintech and legal industries. Most recently, she acted as Head of Growth and Customer Sucess at a VC backed fintech startup, DueDil, and was part of the extended leadership team.

Prior to DueDil, Mirit held various commercial roles at Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk in both Israel and London. She is currently based in New York City and advising nonprofits primarily supporting women empowerment initiatives and is looking to make a significant impact on women’s lives everywhere.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Economics from Tel Aviv University, a Masters in Business Administration, and she is a qualified lawyer in the state of New York.