Our Team


Cherie Blair

Leading Queen’s Counsel, wife of the former British Prime Minister and committed campaigner for women’s rights, Cherie set up the Foundation in 2008 to help women build small and growing businesses in developing and emerging markets so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies.

Cherie is actively involved in the foundation, generously and tirelessly giving her time and resources to ensure its success. Travelling internationally, visiting projects and speaking on behalf of women around the world, our founder is an ambassador for women entrepreneurs everywhere, encouraging other non-profits, corporations and governments to do more to support women business owners.

Cherie was an Ambassador for London 2012, supporting the bid to host the Olympics in the UK and was awarded a CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List for services to women’s issues and to charity in the UK and Overseas.


Helen McEachern

Chief Executive Officer

Helen joined the team in 2017 after over a decade at ActionAid, most recently in the role of Director of Fundraising for ActionAid UK. She brings over 20 years’ experience in international NGOs and has held senior leadership positions at Greenpeace, ActionAid UK and ActionAid International. Helen has a BSc. in Social Policy from Birkbeck, University of London, and an International Executive MBA from the IE Business School in Madrid.

Marilyn joined the Foundation in April 2015, bringing eight years’ charity finance experience and a number of years’ commercial finance experience. Most recently she worked for Papworth Trust, a charity supporting disabled people, and previously for Emmaus UK, a charity working in the homelessness sector. Her expertise includes financial and management accounting, business planning, HR management and process development.  Marilyn is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Elaine joined the Foundation in 2014 following seven years at the domestic violence charity, Refuge, where she managed the organisation’s communications and policy activity.  Previously she worked as a journalist. Elaine holds an MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities from the London School of Economics.

Annabel joined the Foundation in 2014. She has 15 years’ experience in international development across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Her areas of expertise include: entrepreneurship, women’s and youth participation, civil society capacity building, and monitoring, evaluation and learning. She has worked for a range of organisations in the not-for-profit and private sectors. Most recently, she was Chief Performance Officer at Insaan Group, a philanthropic investment fund that supports innovative social enterprises. Annabel holds an MA in International Studies from the University of South Carolina and an MSc in Social Research Methods from the London School of Economics.

Saloni Korlimarla

Mobile Technology and Interim Enterprise Development Programme Director

Saloni joined the Mobile Technology Programme team in 2013. Saloni has a background in management consulting where she acquired strong project management and consulting skills. She brings experience in international development from her previous work with GSMA in South Africa. Saloni holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge.

Allison joined the Foundation in 2011. She has scaled our pioneering mentoring model to reach thousands of women, mentors and partners in over 100 countries, developed web applications to support participants and enable knowledge-sharing, and ensured the programme impacts the women entrepreneurs we support. Allison brings over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, with expertise in strategy, M&E, partnership development, communications, volunteer engagement and project management. She holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Macalester College.

Dee joined the team in 2018, after over four years at Carers UK, where she was Director of Fundraising, Communications and Engagement. She brings over 15 years’ fundraising experience across multiple income streams for domestic and international NGOs. She has a BSc. from the University of Bristol, an MSc. from UCL and professional qualifications in Marketing and Coaching.

Ashlee Charlton

Communications Manager

Ashlee joined the team in 2018. She brings over six years’ experience in the non-profit sector. Ashlee has worked across marketing, digital, events and fundraising remits for charities focused on development, disability and the climate. She holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Sydney and Bachelors degree in Humanities and Commerce.

Previously a volunteer for the Foundation, Abi joined the team in 2018. She has a background in the non-profit sector working with international organisations Ethiopiaid and the UBS Optimus Charity Foundation. Abi also has further experience in event management, working with TEDxUCLWomen and Civil Society Media. She holds a BSc in Anthropology from University College London (UCL).

Ellenor joined the Foundation in 2014, bringing with her over seven years of fundraising experience. She previously worked for international children’s charity EveryChild, and has experience working abroad in Chile and Mexico. She is fluent in Spanish and holds a BSc in International Development Studies and Spanish from University of Swansea.

Kirsty joined the Foundation in 2017. She brings almost ten years of fundraising experience and joins us from Christian Aid, where she worked as a Trusts and Foundations Officer. Kirsty previously spent over three years working in Sierra Leone, where she is the founder of a charitable primary school for girls. She holds an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Aberdeen.

Annie joined the Foundation in 2018. She previously worked overseas in both Europe and Peru. Prior to this she was Fundraising and Partnerships Assistant at Comic Relief, and volunteered at a number of NGOs. She holds a BA in English Literature from Newcastle University.

Sofia joined the Enterprise Development Programme team in 2014. She has a background in the not for profit sector, working with international programmes focusing on gender and environmental issues, and has particular expertise in the area of women’s rights. Sofia holds an MSc in Globalisation and Development from School of Oriental and African Studies.

Deepika joined the foundation in 2015 with nine years’ experience in international development, philanthropy and corporate strategy, having previously worked at C&A Foundation in Switzerland and the American India Foundation. She also led a management consulting start-up focused on social initiatives in India. Deepika studied Strategic Leadership in Financial Inclusion at Harvard Business School, and has an MBA from the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Emily joined the team in 2015. She brings experience from both local and international organisations, and has worked in youth programming for Free The Children and as a researcher covering humanitarian crises. She holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and a BA from McGill University.

Nick joined the Foundation in 2015. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Bath and an MSc in Emerging Economies and International Development from Kings College London. Nick is fluent in Spanish and has previously worked for the Bank of England and held voluntary roles with Teach A Man To Fish in the UK and Progressio ICS in Honduras.

Evangeline Arethwala

Mentoring Programme Officer

Evangeline joined the Foundation in February 2017. She has previously worked in the development sector in India at both grassroots and managerial levels, where she worked extensively on issues related to child sexual abuse in the tourism sector, women’s rights and youth mentoring. She holds an MA in Development Studies from the University of Sussex and an MA in Social Work from the University of Mumbai.

Katrina joined the Foundation in October 2016 after working in the community and charity sector in support and advocacy roles. Prior to this, she worked in East Africa as a photographer for sustainable development organisations, after co-founding a social enterprise. Katrina also brings experience of international development in India and Uganda. She holds a BSc in Human Rights with Photography and is currently studying part-time for a MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies.

Audrey joined the Mentoring Programme in 2017 after graduating in Business Management (MSc) from Kedge Business School. She has previously worked in fast-growing startups with a focus on Customer Relations and Recruitment. She was also the President of the Cultural Society of her school and has volunteered for a number of charities in the UK.

Justin joined the Foundation in 2017. He previously worked in a customer relations role, and takes pride in ensuring that people always receive the best customer service possible. Justin has volunteered for Samaritans, providing a listening ear and support to people experiencing emotional distress. Justin holds a BA in Criminology from the University of Lincoln and has experience working abroad as an au pair in Barcelona.

Gabriela Rodriguez Ramirez

Mentoring Programme Officer

Gabriela joined the Foundation in 2017, after completing her BA in Political Science and International Development at McGill University. She has previously worked in the areas of Customer Relations, Administration and Fundraising. Gabriela is fully trilingual (English, French, Spanish) and has held voluntary roles with various local and international organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands, AIESEC Brazil and The Boys and Girls Club of Montreal.

Tim has been providing software development and coding support to the Mentoring Programme since early 2014 through our ongoing partnership with Make More Digital. Tim works to refine and advance our code base and online platform, which enables us to run the programme through our bespoke UMS and offer a range of key learning and peer-to-peer knowledge resources to our mentees and mentors . He holds a National Diploma for IT Practitioners (Software Development) and has been coding for almost 10 years.

Yvonne joined the team in 2017. She brings over six years’ experience in administration support services, including executive Personal Assistant through to managing a large team of business support services administrators. Born in Kenya, she is passionate about international development, education and women’s economic empowerment. She holds a BSc in Sports Science from Kingston University.


Jessica Learmond-Criqui


Jessica is a solicitor and (non-practising) barrister specialising in employment law and executive immigration. She is dual qualified in the United Kingdom and in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago where she was born.  Jessica is a Governor of Brookfield School and UCL Academy and is Chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel in her local community.

Chris Lane

Having been a lawyer for an international law firm for a number of years, Chris has now worked in the not-for-profit sector for five years, for a human rights organisation based in sub-Saharan Africa and then global humanitarian agencies Save the Children and Merlin, before being asked to start up a new charity, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, as Director of Global Operations. Chris is passionate about equipping people in developing or vulnerable countries to survive and thrive and, in particular, the role played by women. Chris is also a trustee of the Royal Pinner Educational Trust.

Lesley Robinson

Lesley is a Director of the Money Advice Service, with specific responsibility for corporate services and for the Service‘s crisis debt programme in the UK . Her background is as a chartered accountant with many years experience as a commercial operating officer in fast-moving consumer goods, leisure, media and ICT companies, and specializing in change management. She spent seven years working in Sub-Saharan Africa  running an ICT company with direct operations in 12 countries. She is also a non-executive director of LIFEbeat, a charity for teenagers and acts as Treasurer for a not-for-profit women’s network in the UK.

Rajesh Agrawal

Rajesh Agrawal is a successful entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist. Born in India, Rajesh moved to live and work in the UK in 2001. He founded Rational FX in 2005, providing the UK’s first online currency exchange system for private individuals offering real-time prices. As a philanthropist Rajesh is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship, creating opportunities for young people and empowering women. In addition to being a Trustee of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Rajesh is Chair of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme, which supports entrepreneurs in some of the most deprived areas of the world. He has been a Patron and volunteer mentor for the Prince’s Trust for many years, Patron of the Loomba Foundation and Champion of Women Empowered.

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