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.
Founder & CEO
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).
Lead Research & Development
Dr. Rory Tews
Dr. Rory Tews is Lead Research & Development at Roots of Impact and an expert on social entrepreneurship and impact incentivization. Prior to joining the firm, he completed a PhD in Social Sciences, focusing on social entrepreneurship in a broader institutional framework. Since joining Roots of Impact, 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.
Lead Market & Capacity Building Programs
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.
Lead Impact-Linked Finance Programs
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.
Lead Gender-related Programs & Advisory
Sana Kapadia is Lead Gender-related Programs & Advisory at Roots of Impact and a passionate advocate for gender smart investing. Sana is bringing a rich global background in impact investing, venture capital, equity research, and social entrepreneurship to the team, having spent the first half of her career in traditional finance and then in the social impact space, with roles at mission venture fund Renewal Funds and social impact accelerator Spring Activator. Honoured as a “Business in Vancouver Top 40 under 40” winner, she is also a co-founder of the RAISE Collective, a community of female investors and founders changing the gender ratio in investment. For Vancouver-based Active Impact Investments she acts as a gender lens and deal flow advisor. Sana holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.
Lead Communications / Advisor Market & Capacity Building Programs
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. She is also active as a pro bono advisor to several impact enterprises. Christina 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 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.
Senior Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs
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.
Senior Associate Impact-Linked Finance Programs
Leonessa Crisci is Senior Associate Impact-Linked Finance Programs at Roots of Impact and actively supporting various Impact-Linked Finance and Social Impact Incentives (SIINC) projects of the firm. Her prior work experiences span the private sector and intergovernmental organizations, having worked with different stakeholders within the impact investing space such as a venture capital firm in India, a family office in Germany and a business and investment management advisory firm in Switzerland. Furthermore, she was a communications specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for two years. Leonessa is fluent in five languages and holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor’s degree from King’s College London – both with a focus on political economy of development.
Senior Associate Market & Capacity Building Programs
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.
Dr. Thomas Scheuerle
Dr. Thomas Scheuerle is Scientific Advisor at Roots of Impact. He works as a consultant for innovation management and corporate venturing with a focus on sustainable business innovations. Previously, he was at the Centre for Social Investment at the University of Heidelberg, where he contributed to several research and advisory projects in the field of social entrepreneurship and social impact investing. Trained in economics and social sciences at the Universities of Heidelberg, Mannheim, St. Gallen and Philadelphia (UPenn), his work focuses on how to leverage market mechanisms to achieve social and ecological goals. In his PhD thesis at the University of St. Gallen, he analyzed cross-sector business models in the field of new sustainable mobility solutions.
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.
Vilma Manjani is Analyst at Roots of Impact, supporting the team on Impact-Linked Finance projects. Previously, she worked as a sales account manager for the UK market in a business outsourcing company. Vilma has been very active in supporting social impact initiatives in her country of origin Albania, volunteering in various projects of United Nations Youth Association as well as AIESEC. As part of the Frankfurt Data Science Initiative, she has a strong passion for data analytics. Vilma holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Epoka University and is currently a first-year M.Sc. student in International Management at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.
Wiktor Gralewski is Analyst at Roots of Impact, supporting the firm’s market & capacity building programs. He has a B.Sc. in Finance and Accounting from the Warsaw School of Economics and was a team leader of Enactus Warsaw School of Economics, the world’s largest experiential learning platform dedicated to creating a better world while developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. Previously, he worked as junior accountant at Apleona Real Estate, and is now studying at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt to receive his M.Sc. degree in Business Administration.