Mark Cheng, Co-Director at Ashoka UK
Mark is the Director of Ashoka UK, as well as Ashoka’s senior advisor on social finance, a role sponsored by international law firm Hogan Lovells. Since joining Ashoka originally as an ASN member in 2007, he has assisted many Fellows in raising investment for social causes, in areas including micro-finance, renewable energy, conservation, healthcare and education. Mark is also advisor to several international Ashoka initiatives such as Globalizer, a program for Fellows expanding their work into multiple countries. Mark is founding Director of Chelwood Capital, a social investment firm that supports mission-driven organizations. He has more than 15 years experience in finance, having previously worked at Deutsche Bank and AMBAC Assurance. He serves as Board Member and Trustee for several social enterprises and is a business mentor for the Emerge Venture Lab, an incubator for UK student social ventures.
Rob Wilson, Co-Director at Ashoka UK
Rob has a background in social entrepreneurship. He founded READ International as a student in 2004 which has since provided over 1.5 million books to school children in Tanzania. Rob moved on from READ in early 2011 to co-write a book about social entrepreneurs in Africa called On the Up. Rob joined Ashoka UK in October 2011. Find Rob on Twitter @Iamrobertwilson and on Linkedin.
Julia Koskella, Venture Manager
Julia joined Ashoka in 2012 to lead our search and selection process for new Ashoka Fellows. Previously, she worked at Global Giving helping grassroots NGOs access crowdfunding, helped set up Move Your Money UK, and worked for an indigenous rights organisation in Ecuador. Julia graduated from Oxford University with a first class degree in Human Sciences. While she was there, she chaired the Environment and Ethics Committee and acted as the founding director of the Oxford Climate Forum. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaKoskella.
Clarice Ramalho, Operations Manager
Clarice joined Ashoka in February 2012 to coordinate events and assist the Ashoka Support Network global leadership team. She is now responsible for revamping the UK operations, boosting the office productivity and strategically mapping stakeholders’ interactions. Prior to joining Ashoka, she ran a travel agency in Brazil and worked as an International Marketing Executive at Auvergne Tourist Board in France. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism, and was lured into the citizen sector by fascinating Ashoka Fellows when carrying out community-based tourism research in Brazil.
Felicity McLean, Communications and Framework Change Manager
Felicity joined Ashoka in June 2012 to lead on Communications and Framework Change. She works to 'make shift happen', through powerful storytelling, exceptional innovation and the power of brands, corporates, organisations and key people of influence. As the founding member of a technology startup focussing on employee engagement in CSR, her skills combine partnerships, entrepreneurship and 'tech for good'. She's also a trustee for NGO Childreach International, has an MA in Geography, and a real passion for developing creative and value based partnerships. Find her on Twitter @flickmclean.
Zuhura Plummer, Ashoka Support Network Manager
Zuhura brings six years experience from the social enterprise and international development sectors with a particular focus on enabling individuals with expertise to become involved in creating change. She has worked in the UK, Mongolia and Mumbai, the latter at Dasra, a strategic philanthropy foundation which scales mid-range social-purpose organisations, readying them for investment. Zuhura joined Ashoka in December 2012 as the Ashoka Support Network Manager.
Caroline Guyot, Partnerships Manager
Caroline joined Ashoka in October 2012 to work on partnerships and strategy. She holds two Masters degrees: one in history and one in diplomacy. Her previous experiences include consulting for a an international microfinance organisation in South Africa, supporting the growth of a young social enterprise in London and analysing African politics for a London think tank. She particularly likes to take on challenging projects, having been the president of a not-for-profit organisation focusing on education in Morocco and undertaking a documentary film project in East Africa.
Viliana Dzhartova, Youth and Changemaker Skills
Viliana is a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham where she studied International Business with French. Throughout her university degree she led several entrepreneurship societies and social innovation projects. She spent a summer at the Yunus Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she worked with Professor Yunus and his team in the Social Business department. Now Viliana works on Ashoka’s youth programme, taking the organisation one step closer to its vision: Everyone A Changemaker.
Petya Gulubova, Operations and ASN
Petya joined the Ashoka UK team as an ASN intern in March 2013. Prior to that she spent a gap year travelling around developing regions of the world, driven by her eagerness to learn more about the third sector and the role social entrepreneurs play in reshaping it. Petya’s former educational and professional background is in accounting and finance. She has always been passionate about effecting social change and is excited to be a part of the biggest international community of changemakers at Ashoka.
Elena Koerver, Venture
Elena joined Ashoka to help the venture team to search for and select leading social entrepreneurs into the fellowship programme, as well as develop future funders. She has previously worked at Convoco – a think tank that seeks social change through interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and debate. She also gained work experience in the field of philanthropy consultancy. Elena holds a BA in Business Administration from Free University Berlin and a MA in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics, where she specialised in the philosophy and politics of climate change.
Josephine Korijn, Social Finance
Josephine joined Ashoka in August 2013 to work with the Social Finance team, specifically on creating the Social Business Accelerator. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a B.A. in Development Studies, focusing her thesis research on the UK social finance field. She has previously worked at SharedImpact, which provides financial intermediation services for the range of stakeholders in the social investment field. She also founded the SEEED student steering committee to organise an annual conference that brings social enterprise support organisations across the US together to share best practice.
Pauline Verhaeghe, Community Engagement
Pauline joined the team in March 2013 to help promote the voice of Ashoka through community engagement. Previously, she founded the GoYoung project, a documentary project featuring young social entrepreneurs from around the world. This has taught her the power of storytelling to inspire others to take action. Pauline has a BA in History and a MA in European Studies. She is passionate about traveling and the evolution of the social entrepreneurship movement.
Our Interns / Consultants
Margot joined Ashoka’s Fundraising and Partnership team in February 2013. Previously, she spent three years at Ernst&Young in Paris working on financial audits, due diligences and policy evaluations. Margot holds a BA in Finance and Management and a Master in Entrepreneurship from Paris Dauphine University, where she created the ‘Bistro des Entrepreneurs’ to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship through round tables, conferences and debates for students. In 2008, she founded Spi&Spi (Spirits and Spirituality), a non-profit that helps young people (20- 35) to find meaning in their lives through re-connection with nature, rediscovery of the senses, religious and philosophical talks and the sharing of a good glass of wine.
Mirjam joined Ashoka UK in April 2014 to support the team with communications and administration. After graduating from Leuphana University, Lueneburg with a BA in Cultural Studies and Business Economics Mirjam gained further experience in the field of communication and events at Koerber Foundation in Germany. Previously, she worked at the social enterprise wellcome gGmbH which was founded by an Ashoka Fellow and supports young families. Since working at wellcome Mirjam has become dedicated to the global social entrepreneurship movement.