Our Team

Founder

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.

Staff

Helen McEachern

CEO

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.

Clare joined the team in 2016 and worked as the Foundation’s Interim CEO for over a year. She has over 15 years’ experience in international development in a variety of strategy, planning and programme management roles across the charity and public sectors. She previously led on strategic planning at the Fairtrade Foundation. Clare holds an MSc in Information Systems from Brighton and a BA Hons in International Relations and French from Sussex University.

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.

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.

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.

Allison joined the Foundation in 2011. She has scaled our pioneering mentoring model to reach thousands of women, mentors and partners in over 90 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.

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.

Sarah Stockwell

Finance Manager

Sarah joined as the Fundraising and Partnerships Coordinator in 2013. She brings over 10 years’ experience of working in trusts, foundations and institutional fundraising. Sarah previously worked for The Family and Childcare Trust as well as a broad spectrum of other charities ranging from smaller youth centres to umbrella bodies, such as the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, LVSC, Refuge and Help the Aged.

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.

Anna Nichol

Events Manager

Anna joined the Foundation in 2016 and brings with her ten years of comprehensive international event and conference management experience in the not-for-profit sector. She previously worked for Consumers International on a high profile event in partnership with the Ministry of Justice in Brazil. Anna holds a BA Hons in Latin American Studies.

Kristel joined the team in 2017. She brings over six years’ experience in communications and has worked for a number of charities, including Barnardo’s and Turning Point. She has also undertaken programmatic and research roles in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. She holds an MSc in Social Development Practice 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.

Isabel joined the Foundation in 2017. She previously worked as a Fundraising and Communications Assistant for an international peacebuilding organisation and has volunteered with a number of NGOs. She holds a BA in History and International Relations from Loughborough University and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Previously a volunteer for the Foundation, Lucy joined the team in 2015. She has experience in fundraising from her time at university working with the Alumni Relations and Development Office. She holds a BA in English and Italian Literature from the University of Warwick.

Fiona Khandoker Shaba

Mentoring Programme Officer

Fiona joined the Foundation in 2016. Previously, she worked for an international development research organisation where she evaluated the impact of aid programmes on health, nutrition, income and livelihoods in Bangladesh. She also founded and managed a social enterprise that connects trained workers to jobs in the apparel sector. Fiona holds a BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trustees

Jessica Learmond-Criqui

Chair

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.

Sara Carello

Sara has devoted many years to charity work, raising money for various charities in the UK and Italy. In addition to serving as a Trustee for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and being the Founder Chairman of the London Committee of Sargent Cancer Care for Children (now Clic Sargent), Sara has volunteered with many other charities in the UK, including the NSPCC, Imperial Cancer Research, RNIB, and the Royal Academy, where she was Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee. Since 2009 Sara has been Contributing Editor for Tatler. In 2011, Sara was awarded  the ‘Ufficiale all’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’ medal, literally Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, one of the country’s highest Orders.

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.

Joana Schliemann

Joana has over 20 years’ experience in the arts, including publishing, film, co-producing and marketing of cultural television, including the Southbank Show in London, New York, Los Angeles and Munich. She is the author of ‘Verrückt nach Troja’ and founded her production company, Mind the Gap Productions, to focus on cultural ‘gaps’. Joana was a Programme Contributor for cultural diplomacy for the inaugural Edinburgh International Culture Summit, is a member of the International Development Council of the British Film Institute and sits on the Strategic Advisory Board of the Delfina Foundation. She is also a Trustee of the Kartika Soekarno Foundation UK and a WOW (Women of the World) Patron.

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.

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.

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