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We build on cross-sector expertise
Meet our multicultural team that combines long-term experience and expertise in venture capital, corporate finance, development and innovative finance, public policy, social entrepreneurship, investment readiness and impact measurement & management.
Founder & CEO
„My biggest drive is to unleash the power of business and finance for real world impact. Every business and every investment has an impact, so let’s optimize for the positive one.“
Bjoern Struewer is Founder and CEO of Roots of Impact. He has more than 20 years of experience in the finance sector, including 12 years at Credit Suisse, most recently as a Managing Director. After leaving the banking industry, he started working closely with public funders and impact investors across the globe to scale high-performing enterprises and innovations with strong potential for impact.
With his team at Roots of Impact, Bjoern developed pioneering solutions such as Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) and Impact-Linked Finance. He also leads the Initiative for Blended Finance at the University of Zurich, is Senior Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth, and mentor at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Impact Investment for the Next Generation Program. In addition, Bjoern is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the recently established Impact-Linked Finance Fund and Co-Founder of the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE).
Lead Transaction Management & Consulting
„I am passionate about engaging with inspiring entrepreneurs and identifying how best to support their economic and impact growth with Impact-Linked Finance.“
Leonessa Crisci is Lead Transaction Management & Consulting at Roots of Impact. The transactions she leads cover a variety of sectors including WASH, agriculture, healthcare and vocational skills development, and span various regions such as Central America, Asia and Africa. She is also actively involved in Roots of Impact’s efforts to inspire actors to engage with and practice Impact-Linked Finance.
Her professional career started in the private equity space, but she soon moved on to working for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She entered the impact investing space in 2018 and has worked with different stakeholders ever since, including a venture capital firm in India and a family office in Germany. She is an EFFAS-Certified ESG Analyst and is fluent in five languages. Leonessa holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and from King’s College London – both focusing on the political economy of development.
Lead Impact Intelligence & Education
„I am most excited when I can help impact entrepreneurs identify the metrics that highlight how their impact and business models intersect.“
Maxime Cheng is the Lead Impact Intelligence & Education at Roots of Impact, which includes managing the B-Briddhi program in Bangladesh and the Social Finance Academy as an education platform that curates both online and onsite education in the field of impact measurement & management, impact investment readiness, and Impact-Linked Finance.
Before joining the team, Maxime built an impact measurement and evaluation database at Impact Hub (Global) and advised mission-driven organisations and policymakers on the subject. She also worked with start-ups creating digital content on business model design and leadership training, and established data analysis processes to drive UX and product development.
Maxime holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance and investigated the design process of impact indicators of social impact bonds in Europe in her final thesis. She also worked as a marketing officer at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and History from Jacobs University Bremen.
Lead Advisory & Advocacy
„I consider myself so lucky to have a front row seat to what is, undoubtedly, the future of finance. Impact enterprises shouldn’t have to choose between creating impact and realizing growth, and I get to build ways to ensure that they don’t have to.“
Natasha Dinham is the Lead Advisory & Advocacy at Roots of Impact. Her work includes offering inspiration, advocacy, and critical support to build the Impact-Linked Finance market through high-end programs, facilities, and partnerships. Before, she led the Innovative Finance Initiative at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, an organization using creative and disruptive tools to drive capital towards better social outcomes. Here Natasha co-convened the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business’s ‘Impact Investing in Africa’ course. Prior to this, she managed technical assistance portfolios in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia at FMO, the Dutch Development Bank.
Natasha has served on multiple investment committees and/or TA advisory boards for SME funds, and is currently the Chair of the Green Outcomes Fund. She holds a Master’s degree in Economic Science from the University of the Witwatersrand, where she was an associate lecturer in Economics, and a certificate from Harvard Kennedy School’s Rethinking Financial Inclusion Program.
Lead Finance & Business Operations
„What makes my work feel meaningful is being in an impact-driven environment and ensuring that our impact keeps growing.“
Annelene Tonn is the Lead Finance & Business Operations at Roots of Impact. In this role, she is responsible for optimizing internal processes and ensuring strong execution capabilities of our project teams. Annelene has a broad professional background, having worked in multinational as well as medium-sized companies both in Germany and abroad.
Before joining the Roots of Impact team, she worked in Costa Rica as a manager for investor relations, financial planning and reporting, having been responsible for the establishment and continual improvement of strategic and operational performance indicators. Annelene also brings extensive knowledge from the healthcare industry.
She has lived in Germany, England, Spain, Costa Rica and Guatemala and speaks three languages fluently. She holds a Master’s degree in Finance and Management, having graduated with distinction from University of Exeter, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from ESB Reutlingen.
Lead Communications / Senior Advisor
„My passion and profession is knowledge dissemination. If I can move hearts, minds and pockets of money towards more positive impact, I am all smiles.“
As a freelancer, Christina Moehrle is the Lead Communications and a Senior Advisor at Roots of Impact, supporting on impact investment readiness and impact & blended finance education programs for various impact stakeholders. She also leads the communication and branding activities for multiple initiatives and programs in which Roots of Impact is involved.
Since 2012, Christina is active as an independent advisor specializing in impact finance and impact entrepreneurship. Besides Roots of Impact, she is working with several European impact pioneers such as the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE), the Initiative for Blended Finance at the University of Zurich, the Impact-Linked Finance Fund, and Ananda Impact Ventures. Her previous career spans management roles such as partner and investor relations manager at the international venture capital firm Star Ventures as well as director of structured products at DB Trust AG, where she was responsible for venture capital, private equity and other alternative fund placements to Deutsche Bank’s high net worth clients across Germany.
Christina also enjoys being a pro bono advisor or mentor to impact entrepreneurs whenever there is time. She holds a Master’s degree with honors in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim and is a member of the German journalist association DFJV.
Senior Associate Impact Intelligence & Education
„The most rewarding aspect of my job is successfully enabling a paradigm shift in impact measurement: from resource-intensive, box-ticking exercises, to insightful, lean data decision-making“
Melanie Siow is Senior Associate Impact Intelligence & Education at Roots of Impact, bringing more than 10 years of experience in environmental sustainability and social impact development sectors to the team. Upon graduation with a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from Hochschule Mannheim, Germany, she was involved in the monitoring and evaluation of environmental engineering projects with multinational consultancy firms in Malaysia.
At the Foundation of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, she spearheaded Malaysia’s first Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) initiative, a sustainable financing mechanism for management of natural resources. She also gained extensive experience in Pay-for-Success methodologies and cost-effective and customer-centric impact measurement. Melanie holds a M.Sc. in International Development Management from the University of Nottingham, UK, where her dissertation was specializing in impact measurement practices in the impact investing industry.
Senior Associate Transaction Management & Consulting
„I am passionate about using innovative ways to optimally connect capital to sustainable business models with better terms and deeper impact.“
Steve McCallum is Senior Associate Transaction Management & Consulting at Roots of Impact. He largely focuses on implementing the Impact-Linked Finance programs covering sectors such as education, as well as water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH). He also supports the facilitation of the initiative „Open Platform for Impact-Linked Finance“.
Previously, Steve was Innovative Finance Project Manager at the UCT GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and an independent consultant to various stakeholders in the impact investing ecosystem. In these roles, he was involved in implementing innovative impact fund structures, investigating impact investment decision-making frameworks, training impact professionals and helping organizations describe, measure and improve their impact. He holds an MCom Business Management degree from Stellenbosch University and was part of Oxford University’s first cohort for the Executive Education Programme on Impact Measurement.
Anieke De Villiers
Associate Advisory & Advocacy
Anieke de Villiers
„I’m passionate about finding the most effective way to do good for people and the planet. I believe Impact-Linked Finance is the highway for driving optimal positive impact in the world.“
Anieke de Villiers is Associate Advisory & Advocacy at Roots of Impact. Her work includes designing, structuring and implementing the Impact-Linked Fund for Gender-Inclusive Fintech and supporting on advisory mandates for donors, impact investors and impact enterprises.
Prior to joining the Roots of Impact team, Anieke worked for a UK-based alternative debt provider specializing in growth capital and venture debt to high-growth potential SMEs in the UK. Before, she spent time with TechnoServe India in Mumbai, developing an assessment tool to evaluate the performance of the farmer producer companies in their programs. She also has experience in investment banking and corporate finance in South Africa and is a qualified Chartered Accountant (South Africa).
„Good communications are key to make the impact sector professional and avant-garde and to mobilize resources to where it matters most. I am truly excited about being able to contribute to the journey of innovative impact entrepreneurs, who are working to better the lives of people.“
Daniela Bolivar is Associate Communications at Roots of Impact and supports the team in creating high-quality strategies and materials to reach out to external stakeholders about our programs and projects. For more than 15 years, Daniela has been working as a graphic design and communications expert. Since 2013, she focuses exclusively on impact-driven organizations and is actively involved in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Latin America, where she developed strong partnerships.
Daniela is passionate about Sketchnotes and visual facilitation that translate complex content in impact finance into user-friendly and accessible visual pieces. As an independent senior consultant in design and strategic communications, she also works with other impact actors in Europe and Latin America, for example, the ES2 Latam platform.
Associate Finance & Business Operations
„I am incredibly thankful to be part of a team who deeply cares about positive impact on people and the planet and to contribute making us fit for scale.”
Tina Ellstroem is Associate Finance & Business Operations at Roots of Impact. She ensures that the right processes and settings are in place for the organization to scale effectively. Tina brings her extensive experience in accounting and human resources from various industries, having worked in Germany, Australia, and Norway before.
Among others, she has been responsible for learning and development programs as well as for recruitment for international and medium-sized companies. In addition, she contributes several years of experience working with accounting, financial planning and reporting. Tina speaks three languages and has a Master’s degree of Human Resource Management from the University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the BI Norwegian Business School.
Associate Impact Intelligence & Education
„What drives me most is accelerating the diffusion of impact capital and community to empower impact enterprises in emerging markets.”
Jordan Wolken is Associate Impact Intelligence & Education at Roots of Impact. He supports the Roots of Impact research agenda and the implementation of the B-Briddhi program in Bangladesh, in addition to assisting with impact measurement and management and investment readiness practices for Impact-Linked Finance transactions.
Jordan has supported social entrepreneurs in emerging markets for over five years through Bridges for Enterprise, a volunteer-led UK non-profit that he leads. Jordan’s prior domestic and international work experience spans venture capital, consulting, government, non-profits, and startups. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from NYU Stern in Business and Political Economy and a Master’s degree from HEC Paris in Sustainability and Social Innovation, where his thesis focused on the perceived utility of impact measurement among early-stage African startups. Outside of Roots of Impact, Jordan actively supports startup ecosystems across Africa and serves on the Advisory Board of Amenuveve, a Ghanaian social enterprise.
Kuhle Mnisi Masilo
Associate Transaction Management & Consulting
Kuhle Mnisi Masilo
„What gets me up in the morning is the opportunity to support entrepreneurs in reaching their goals and rewarding them for their positive impact. I would like to create sustainable solutions to economic problems globally.“
Kuhle Mnisi Masilo is Associate Transaction Management & Consulting at Roots of Impact. She focuses on implementing the Impact-Linked Finance programs and transactions, as well as providing guidelines, standards, and advisory to further develop the Impact Linked Finance practice.
Previously, Kuhle was a Principal at Secha Capital, an early-stage impact private equity firm. She joined Secha to combine her skills in finance with her passion for impact and worked in supporting small businesses in South Africa with both financial and on-the-ground support. Kuhle has work experience in investment banking from Goldman Sachs and auditing from PwC. She also interned with Act in Africa, a design thinking and entrepreneurship development program based in Harare. Kuhle holds a Master’s degree in Development Finance from the University of Cape Town, where she was an assistant lecturer in management studies.
Office Manager ………………………………………………………..
„I am very excited to be part of the Roots of Impact team to share my passion for having a positive impact on the world.”
Jeanette is Office Manager at Roots of Impact and responsible for administration, accounting and customer relationship management. After completing an apprenticeship as a bank clerk, she has trained as a professional in human resources management.
Before joining the Roots of Impact team, Jeanette gained relevant experience as an office manager in various industries in Germany and Africa. In these roles, she was handling tasks related to human resources, accounting, financial planning and reporting.
„I’m very passionate about helping social enterprises to unlock their full impact potential. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of innovative finance and enable maximum impact by making the most effective use of catalytic capital.“
As an Advisor at Roots of Impact, Laura is working with funders and impact enterprises on Impact-Linked Finance transactions, advisory and advocacy mandates. She brings extensive international experience in finance, from corporate finance deal structuring to strategic business planning in the private and impact sectors, and across a variety of industries and geographies.
Laura is very passionate about working with innovative high-potential impact organizations, shaping their strategies, and building their capacity to create systemic change and achieve lasting impact. She believes in evidence-based actions and in the catalytic potential of concessional capital. Her vision is that „better terms for better impact“ will be embedded into any financial instrument and result in a lower cost of capital for the value creators.
Laura holds a MSc in Physics, an MBA from the LUISS Business School and a certificate from MITx on Evaluating Social Programs. She speaks 3 languages and has lived in Italy, the UK, South Africa and Spain.
„I am most excited about being able to contribute to the journey of entrepreneurs, who are working to better the lives of people in innovative ways.“
Adrija is an Analyst at Roots of Impact, supporting the Impact Intelligence & Education team. Previously, she was working in the Asia Berlin program of the Berlin senate, where she was involved in stakeholder research for fostering exchange between the start-up hubs of Asia and Berlin. Her work experiences include practicing competition, mergers and acquisitions law and running an impact enterprise that worked on access to quality primary education in northern India.
Adrija has also worked as a researcher with a member of the Indian parliament and with political parties, where she focused on gender and minority inclusion-related policies. She is a law graduate from India and is currently a student for a Master’s degree in Public Policy at the Hertie School, Berlin.
„I believe passion drives the achievement of social impact. I feel privileged to join that passion and use my skills to contribute to what impact entrepreneurs are working towards: creating a better future for all.”
Fannely Mbewe is Team Assistant at Roots of Impact and supports the entire Impact Intelligence & Education team in various tasks and programs. Prior to joining the Roots of Impact, Fannely was one of the few selected applicants for the AFRIKA KOMMT! fellowship program. As a fellow, she enjoyed working for technology corporate player Robert Bosch in Karlsruhe (Germany) within the automotive aftermarket sector, as part of their marketing and business coordination digital team.
Fannely always had a passion for social entrepreneurship, which developed during her work as a project assistant with the Chamber of Skilled Crafts, a project in her home country Zambia funded by BMZ, as well as a volunteer tutor at a Zambian NGO. Fannely speaks four languages and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from Mulungushi University in Zambia and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Shenyang Aerospace University in China.