OUR TEAM

Shutterstock / © rawpixel.com

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 management.

Bjoern Struewer

Founder & CEO

Bjoern Struewer

Bjoern Struewer

„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 to scale enterprises and innovations with strong potential for positive impact.

With his team at Roots of Impact, he developed pioneering solutions such as Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) and Impact-Linked Finance as well as the Social Finance Academy. 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 a mentor at the Harvard Kennedy School’s ‚Impact Investment for the Next Generation‘ program.

Bjoern is member of various investment committees and advisory boards, served as a senior advisor to Ashoka on social finance and is co-founder of the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE).

Dr. Rory Tews

Lead Research & Development

Rory Tews

Dr. Rory Tews

„Linking impact with finance is massively challenging, and a good reason for me to get out of bed in the morning!”

Dr. Rory Tews is Lead Research & Development at Roots of Impact and an expert on social entrepreneurship and impact incentivization. Prior to this role, he completed a PhD in Social Sciences, focusing on social entrepreneurship in a broader institutional framework.

Since joining the team, Rory has been responsible for impact assessment and guiding social entrepreneurs on impact generation, incentives, and impact measurement. He is actively involved in shaping the emerging ecosystem of impact measurement and management practices and possesses a broad network in the public and private sectors. Among other projects, he has leveraged his knowledge to design, implement, and evaluate the Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) pilot in Latin America (where he is now guiding the second phase of implementation) as well as shape Roots of Impact’s efforts to promote blended finance as a solution to unleashing the positive social and environmental impact potential of social enterprises worldwide.

Maxime Cheng

Lead Market & Capacity Building Programs

MC_Website

Maxime Cheng

„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 Lead Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact, which includes managing the Social Finance Academy and building the education platform by curating both online and onsite educational experience in the field of investment readiness, social finance and impact management.

Before joining the team, Maxime built an impact measurement and evaluation database at Impact Hub (Global) and advised mission-driven organisations and policy makers on the subject. She also worked with start-ups creating digital contents 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.

Patrizia Baffioni

Lead Impact-Linked Finance Programs …………………..

Patrizia Baffioni

Patrizia Baffioni

„What makes me get up every day is helping impact entrepreneurs overcome tensions between business and impact goals by creating financial incentives that reward them for the great impact they create.“

Patrizia Baffioni is Lead Impact-Linked Finance Programs at Roots of Impact. In particular, she leads and facilitates the open platform initiative for Impact-Linked Finance and manages several Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) projects, for example in the vocational skills development and the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors.

Before joining the team, she worked for over two years for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), first as communications expert and then as project assistant, and was involved in technical cooperation projects in Chad, Benin and Haiti. Patrizia studied and worked in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Austria, and speaks four languages fluently.

She is also a member of the Global Shapers, a youth community of the World Economic Forum. Recently, she finalized her second Master’s degree in Development Finance at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, with a thesis on how to accelerate and scale Impact-Linked Finance.

Natasha Dinham

Lead Advisory & Executive Education …………………………………

Natasha Dinham website

Natasha Dinham

„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 realising growth, and I get to build ways to ensure that they don’t have to.“

Natasha Dinham is the Lead Advisory & Executive Education at Roots of Impact. Her work includes offering critical support and services 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 organisation 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.

Ramona Liberoff

Lead Strategic Initiatives …………………………………

Ramona Liberoff

Ramona Liberoff

„After years of supporting and funding impact innovators, I realised the entire financial system needs a change. With Roots of Impact, I want to be a crucial enabler for Impact-Linked Finance at scale!“

Ramona Liberoff is Lead Strategic Initiatives at Roots of Impact. She has over 20 years of experience in inclusive innovation, strategy and impact investment.  Prior to joining Roots of Impact, she was the COO of the Innogy Innovation Hub, investing globally in the future of renewable energy and CEO of SPRING Accelerator supporting high impact ventures in East Africa and South Asia. She has also been a senior advisor to DFID-(now FCDO) backed Partnerships for Forests, a portfolio of global sustainable land use innovators.

Ramona spent the first half of her career working on global innovation for large multinationals, leading the consumer insight and analytics teams at WPP and Nielsen. She has also been on the founding team of three technology businesses and an early stage investor in global impact tech ventures and has a variety of advisory and mentorship roles.

Ramona holds master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Yale University and has worked extensively in East Africa, South Asia, Russia, China, East Asia, and Latin America, and speaks three languages fluently.

Christina Moehrle

Lead Communications / Advisor Market & Capacity Building Programs

Christina Moehrle

Christina Moehrle

„My passion and profession is knowledge dissemination. If I can move hearts, minds (and pockets of money) for more positive impact and do some communications magic, I am all smiles.“

Christina Moehrle is Lead Communications and Advisor Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact. In addition to designing impact finance and investment readiness content and programs for onsite and online education, she oversees the firm’s communication activities.

Since 2010, Christina is active as a freelance writer, journalist and communications expert in impact finance. Besides Roots of Impact, she leads the education programs at the Initiative for Blended Finance and works with several impact pioneers on publications, communications and knowledge dissemination, e.g. with the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE) and Ananda Impact Ventures. Her previous career spans roles such as partner and investor relations manager at international venture capital firm Star Ventures and director of structured products at DB Trust AG, where she was responsible for venture capital and private equity fund placements to Deutsche Bank’s high net worth clients in Germany.

Christina also enjoys being a pro bono advisor to several impact enterprises. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim with honors and is member of the German journalist association DFJV.

Annelene Tonn

Operations Manager ………………………………………………..

Annelene Tonn

Annelene Tonn

„What makes my work feel meaningful is being in an impact-driven environment and ensuring that our impact keeps growing.“

Annelene Tonn is Operations Manager 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 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.

Ben West

Senior Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs

Ben West 1

Ben West

“My passion is to embed deep research into our work to prove academically what we have seen anecdotally.”

Ben West is Senior Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact. Besides actively supporting various capacity building projects, he takes care of the development and implementation of the firm’s impact measurement and management practice and also coordinates business development activities.

Before joining Roots of Impact, Ben worked in development consultancies in Afghanistan and humanitarian NGOs in Iraq. During this time, he gained a broad familiarity with business development in the humanitarian and development sectors and also a strong background in monitoring and evaluation. Most recently, he completed a Master’s degree of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance, where he focused on research methods for policy analysis.

Leonessa Crisci

Senior Associate Impact-Linked Finance Programs

Leonessa Crisci SW

Leonessa Crisci

„Engaging with inspiring entrepreneurs and identifying how best to support their economic and impact growth with Impact-Linked Finance, is what I am most passionate about my work at Roots of Impact.“

Leonessa Crisci is Senior Associate Impact-Linked Finance Programs at Roots of Impact. Her main focus lies on implementing ILF programs, with projects covering a variety of sectors including WASH and vocational skills development, in various geographical areas such as Central and Latin 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, a family office in Germany and a business and investment management advisory firm in Switzerland. 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.

Melanie Siow

Senior Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs

Mel Photo - Black n White

Melanie Siow

„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 Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact, bringing eight 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.

Nadia Schneider

Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs

nadia schneider bw

Nadia Schneider

„I see linking impact with finance as the most inspiring idea to create a better future for all of us.  Applying a gender lens provides a clearer view and seeing this potential makes me enthusiastic every day.“

Nadia Schneider is Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs at Roots of Impact. Previously, she was working on defining priorities for public private partnerships in terms of process optimization and database portfolio management, first as an associate and later as an advisor in SDC’s Private Sector Engagement. Her work experience includes inclusive economic development and gender-related projects with governments, businesses and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nadia has also served as a marketing officer for a social enterprise in the WASH sector of Guatemala and has been a research and communications specialist for three universities.

She has studied in Zurich, Berlin, and Rome and holds a MA in History, Cultural Science, and Indology from the University of Zurich. Currently, she is a student in her second Master’s degree in Development and Cooperation at ETH Zurich.

 

Akhil Pawar

Analyst

Akhil 2

Akhil Pawar

„What I’m excited about is the tremendous opportunity in financial innovation to unleash the power of impact enterprises in addressing the urgent challenges facing our society and planet.“

Akhil Pawar is Analyst at Roots of Impact, supporting our R&D activities. Currently an MBA student at the London Business School (LBS), Akhil started his career with Deutsche Bank, before joining Goldman Sachs as an investment banker. Inspired by an NGO, he pivoted his career into impact investing at Yunus Social Business, where he led investments in early-stage impact enterprises in India and supported fundraising efforts and research into innovative finance instruments.

Before joining the MBA program at LBS, he also briefly supported the World Economic Forum’s COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. At LBS, Akhil holds leadership positions in the student social impact clubs and has helped advise the investment transition plan of an international NGO. He holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Masters in Economics from BITS Pilani, India and is a certified Financial Risk Manager.

Adrija Das

Analyst

Adrija Das website

Adrija Das

„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, mainly supporting the Market & Capacity Building Programs team. Previously she was working in the Asia Berlin programme 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 focussed 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.

 

Eren Foerster

Office Manager

Eren Foerster

Eren Foerster

„It makes me happy that by working with our professional team at Roots of Impact, I can contribute to a positive change in the world.“

Eren Foerster is Office Manager at Roots of Impact and responsible for administration, accounting and customer relationship management. Eren is a tax assistant by training and a foreign language correspondent in English and French.

Before joining the Roots of Impact team, she worked at international law firms as an assistant for partners who were specialized in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity. During her employment in several tax consultancies as well as in public and private sector organizations, she gained relevant experience as a commercial clerk in human resources, accounting, customer relationship, administration, and was working with financial reports and analysis, tax issues and translations. 

Blossom_Blue@4x