People make all the difference. Our work is possible thanks to our ambitious and passionate team, the strategic guidance of our Board members, the expertise of our partners, and our founding family.
People make all the difference. Our work is possible thanks to our ambitious and passionate team, the strategic guidance of our Board members, the expertise of our partners, and our founding family.
Jenny Abramson was appointed to the Board in January 2021. She is Founder and Managing Partner of the venture capital fund Rethink Impact. She has a master’s degree in sociology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Zoe Bozzolan-Kenworthy is a Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. She is passionate about child wellbeing and fostering collaborative partnerships to bring about positive change and ensure children are able to learn and thrive. In her current role, she supports a network of schools to strengthen the global education landscape by sharing teacher driven innovations, building capacity, and scaling evidence-informed practices. Furthermore, she promotes the use of evidence in EdTech to improve learning outcomes.
Zoe has also worked on two large-scale multi-stakeholder flagship programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and has broad experience in relationship building, policy strengthening, grant- and contract management. Prior to joining the Jacobs Foundation, she held a position at the Comparative Literature Department at the University of Zurich and worked in the banking sector in London, Geneva, and Zurich.
Zoe holds a degree in modern languages from Kings College, University of London, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Marketing and Corporate Communications from the School of Management and Law, ZHAW, and is completing an advanced study program in International Development and Cooperation at the ETH in Zurich.
Ana Isabel Cubillo Fernandez is one of the Co-Leads of the Learning Minds Portfolio at the Jacobs Foundation. In her role, Ana draws on years of research experience to convene and support the most brilliant minds to create an international network of leading experts in child development and learning, fostering an environment of knowledge-sharing and collaboration. She is passionate about identifying opportunities for new initiatives, partnerships, and multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaborations that drive new ideas and solutions around human learning.
With over 14 years of academic background and her role within the Learning Minds portfolio, Ana remains dedicated to advancing research on learning variability, always striving to contribute to our understanding of how children learn and grow, with the hope that her work may have a positive impact on education and child development.
Ana holds a PhD in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurosciences, King’s College, London, and MPhil in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, an MSc in Clinical and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid, Spain, and is accredited as Certified Clinical Psychologist by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Madrid, Spain.
Donika Dimovska is the Chief Knowledge Officer at the Jacobs Foundation, where she has been leading the organization’s knowledge initiatives since 2020. Her role focuses on advancing the Foundation’s mission as a leading learning organization, overseeing strategic learning, knowledge-building, impact monitoring, and external communications. She is passionate about ensuring that evidence is at the core of policy and practice.
Before joining the Jacobs Foundation, Donika founded and led the Scaling Education and Health Innovations practice at Results for Development (R4D) for over a decade, establishing the Center for Education Innovations and the Center for Health Market Innovations. Throughout her career, she has spearheaded large-scale knowledge initiatives in health, education, and climate, collaborating with FCDO, SDC, Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and others. Donika’s international development experience is diverse, gained through roles with organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Action Against Hunger, The Trickle Up Program, Religions for Peace International, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).
Donika holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Ross Hall is Co-Lead of the Learning Societies Portfolio at the Jacobs Foundation, which is modelling approaches to creating ‘thriving learning ecosystems’ in which every child is developing holistically through varied learning experiences.
Ross is passionate about weaving together multi-stakeholder collaborations that transform education systems so that whole child development becomes the central purpose. In this way, he hopes to see a world in which whole communities are becoming equipped and inclined to care for themselves, each other, and the world.
Ross is also a Co-Founder of the Weaving Lab, a global community who are aiming to advance ‘weaving’ as a leadership practice that is essential for collaborative system change. Ross incubated the Weaving Lab while leading Ashoka’s global education strategy for 5 years. Before that, he designed the Learner Guide & Better World Programmes with Camfed, empowering 500,000 young people across Zimbabwe and Tanzania to be well and do well. This extended the Education for Economic and Social Development project that he conceived while leading Pearson’s international qualifications business, using it to evaluate the effectiveness of education systems internationally. Before joining Pearson, Ross spent 15 years designing and launching 20 businesses on 5 continents.
Libby Hills is the Co-Lead of the Learning Schools portfolio at the Jacobs Foundation. The focus of the portfolio is on promoting evidence use in schools and EdTech globally through impact investing and grant-making. Libby has spent 15 years in UK and international education. This includes as a teacher on the Teach First programme in the UK, Chief Technical Officer for an award-winning network of low-cost private schools, and on the board of Lively Minds, a fast-growing education charity.
Libby is interested in the intersection of technology, research, and practice in education. She is involved in research projects on AI in education, and runs a podcast on the same topic called Ed-Technical. She has two master’s degrees – a Master of Science (MSc) from the University of Oxford focused on EdTech & AI, and a second MSc in social business from the London School of Economics – and a BA from King’s College London. Libby also has two teaching qualifications, including as an Advanced Skills Teacher.
Angela Holzer is the Assistant to the Co-CEOs at the Jacobs Foundation. With extensive experience as a dedicated travel agent in both the leisure and business travel industries, she has catered to the needs of managing directors, CEOs, and board members throughout her career. Her most recent role was at Sonova, a leading international hearing aid manufacturer. However, driven by a desire for a fresh and meaningful challenge, she made the decision to join the Jacobs Foundation, where she could contribute to the most significant cause in the world – children.
In her current position, Angela provides invaluable support to our Co-CEOs, Board of Trustees, and management team, serving as a central hub and primary point of contact for the entire team. She has a strong passion for actively assisting the management and team in their daily operations, thereby creating space for them to focus on their crucial responsibilities, ultimately contributing to the benefit of the children’s education. Angela is a graduate of the KV Business School Zurich.
Natasha Hofer is a Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. In her role, she orchestrates the Young Scholar Program, provides integral assistance to research-centric grants and initiatives, and manages the annual KJJ Awards.
Natasha is passionate about promoting equitable education and securing students’ access to a high-quality educational experience, preparing them for an ever evolving future.
Natasha holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University in Washington, DC and a B.S. in Psychology from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Cathrin Jerie is Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. In her work, she focuses on creating multi-stakeholder coalitions to improve cross-sectoral cooperation and has built partnerships with different universities, accelerators, and thinktanks to co-create different programs. The ultimate goal is to contribute to a better education system by bridging research with practice for the benefit of more effective education solutions.
Cathrin is passionate about bringing people together to inspire and learn from each other using innovative ways to co-create solutions that tackle the education challenges in this world. She brings years of experience in stakeholder management and community building as well as communication and journalism.
Cathrin holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) from Quantic School of Business and Technology, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the American University in Washington DC, and a Bachelor in Communication and Journalism from the School of Applied Sciences Zurich.
Samuel Kembou is the Knowledge and Learning Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. He plays a pivotal role in steering the Foundation toward dynamic learning. He supports the Foundation’s efforts and co-designs methodologies for measuring impact, driven by his passion for data and social science. He consistently applies rigorous scientific principles to inform program design and evaluation.
With over a decade of professional experience, Samuel has worked as an Economist in prominent international organizations and served as a full-time Lecturer at the University of Lausanne. He is also a co-principal Investigator in large-scale randomized experiments assessing educational interventions in West Africa.
Samuel holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Aix-Marseille School of Economics and an MSc in Game Theory, Applied Econometrics, and Experimental Economics from the University of Lyon, France.
Romana Kropilova is a Program Manager in the Learning Schools Portfolio at the Jacobs Foundation. In her role, she manages programs strengthening evidence use in schools and education technology globally. She coordinates the engagement with school networks to improve evidence generation and uptake as well as learning across partner organizations.
EdTech’s potential is an area that excites her. Together with colleagues and partners, she tries to find tangible answers to the question: How can we unlock the impact of EdTech to advance learning and development? She believes that education is a superpower and would like to contribute to more quality education opportunities for all. Her own curiosity and appetite for learning led her to experiences in different countries and types of organizations.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Romana worked at Education First, the United Nations, and in consulting. She holds the double degree CEMS Master in International Management from Bocconi University and WU Vienna and a Bachelor in International Development from the University of Vienna. And she is always keen to keep learning.
Lone Le Floch-Andersen is the Curator and Program Manager at the Digital Museum of Learning and the Johann Jacobs Museum. Her role centers on crafting captivating narratives from curated digital cultural heritage tailored for children aged 7 to 12. The goal is to make cultural heritage and the history of education accessible in interactive and engaging ways, primarily within classrooms worldwide.
Lone’s passion lies in art and history, which she combines effectively in her work at the Digital Museum of Learning. She thrives on multidisciplinary projects, collaborating with colleagues and partners who share her enthusiasm for providing enjoyable and educational experiences for children to explore the past and present of learning and education.
With a background in film production, media research, museum mediation, and audience outreach, Lone brings a wealth of experience to her role. She holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) from the Geneva School of Economics and Management, a Master in Political Science and Journalism from Sciences-Po Paris, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Entertainment Law and Business Administration. She is also a certified PMP (Project Management Professional) and holds an ICOM certification in Museum and Collection Curation.
Daniela Lozza is the Program Manager at the Digital Museum of Learning and the Johann Jacobs Museum. She manages the Digital Museum of Learning and works with a team of curators and specialists to transform the digital museum space.
Daniela’s expertise lies in digital education. She is responsible for developing the Museum’s strategy, educational concept, digital platform, and interactive assets. She oversees the Museum’s communication strategy, community outreach, and events at the Johann Jacobs Museum.
Daniela is passionate about education and digital innovation. She thrives on exploring new approaches to learning and challenges conventional notions about museum education. She loves a good story and particularly enjoys collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to create engaging digital learning experiences.
Daniela was formerly in charge of the digital education division of Zurich University of Applied Sciences in the Life Sciences and Facility Management department. She played a key role in advancing digitization initiatives and digitally transforming teaching and exams. She also has experience as a copywriter and community manager.
Daniela holds a Master of Science in Digital Education from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Advanced Studies in Educational Technologies from the Teacher University Lucerne, and started her career as a Mediamatician.
Nataly Markhobrod is the Administrative Assistant at the Jacobs Foundation. She is dedicated to ensuring that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes and supports the team’s administrative needs from coordinating schedules to ensuring efficient communication. This allows our team to focus on their vital work in advancing child development and education.
Working with the Jacobs Foundation aligns with Nataly’s passion for making a positive impact as she strongly believes that education and support are the keys to unlocking children’s full potential.
Nataly completed her college education in Hotel and Restaurant Management in Kiev, Ukraine and specialized in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Food Technology University.
Artemis Papoutsakis is a Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. In her role, she covers the strategic program development of the Foundation’s work in target countries, developing impactful working relationships with in-country partnerships to ensure strategic alignment and operational efficiency as well as conceptualizing new projects and initiatives relevant to the Societies’ portfolio. To do this, she combines her love of bringing people, ideas, and resources together to develop innovative, impactful projects that tackle local and global inequalities to foster systemic change. Weaving together the right partnerships and applying strategy, governance, and innovation tools is part of the daily work.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Artemis worked as Program Developer for the Impact Hub Bogota in Colombia in the social entrepreneurship and innovation sector, as well as Partnership Manager at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, building strategic partnerships in sustainable development.
Artemis holds a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of Geneva and a Bachelor of International Relations from the University of St. Gallen.
Georgine Paltzer is a Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation, primarily focusing on the Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship Program. Experienced working in project development and partnership management, Georgine administers this globally competitive research fellowship, including candidate selection, grant management, and fostering collaborations.
With a passion for children’s learning and development, as well as event and project management experience, she is dedicated to ensuring the work is meaningful and has an impact. She has worked with various nonprofit organizations and in hospitality.
Georgine holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) from Quantic School of Business and Technology, a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a Bachelor in International Studies from Fordham University.
As Co-CEO, Fabio Segura plays a pivotal role in ensuring the organization’s overall success and leading the development and execution of its 2030 strategy.
During his tenure as Head of International Programs, he assumed responsibility for the strategic, financial, and operational aspects of programs in Africa and Latin America. Notably, he designed and led two of the Foundation’s largest initiatives to date, Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC), and Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) a comprehensive strategy engaging both the public and private sectors to enhance the quality of education in Côte d’Ivoire.
His passion is to unite financial investments and impact, crafting opportunities that secure a prosperous future while empowering the next generation to thrive.
Before joining the Jacobs Foundation, Fabio Segura held the position of Senior Investment Manager at LGT Venture Philanthropy. Preceding this role, he served as a Project Manager at the Center for Sustainability at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Furthermore, he has a notable background as a peace and development worker in Colombia, underscoring his commitment to humanitarian efforts in complex environments.
Fabio Segura holds a professional degree in Government and International Relations from the Externado de Colombia University.
Rezgar Sharifi is Finance Controller at the Jacobs Foundation. In his role, he oversees accounting and controlling for the Foundation and leads in shaping the Business Intelligence Unit. He offers actionable insights and refines financial processes, emphasizing the internal control system. He assists in preparing accurate financial statements, adhering to regulations. He supports budgeting and forecasting and ensures robust internal controls to prevent errors and fraud. He collaborates with external auditors, playing a significant role in financial audits. He analyzes financial performance, spots trends, and suggests strategies for optimization. He implements and supervises financial policies to maintain the organization’s fiscal responsibility.
Rezgar enjoys collaborating with different departments and serving as the liaison between finance and the programs. He brings over 15 years of professional experience in various financial positions across sectors such as headhunting, insurance, the automotive industry, real estate, and tech.
Rezgar is a Swiss Certified Expert in Accounting and Controlling. He holds a Master of Legal studies from the University of Fribourg, a Master of Advanced Studies in Controlling from Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, Zurich, and a Bachelor in International Affairs from the University of Geneva.
Saskia Sickinger is a Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. As part of the Learning Societies team, Saskia focuses on driving systems change in the education sector and promoting the sustainable integration of evidence into policy and practice for the holistic development of children. This encompasses fostering evidence-based policymaking and establishing strategic partnerships for generating and implementing actionable evidence in education.
Saskia is an experienced international development professional, with a strong focus on child well-being and holistic development. Her broad experience with NGOs like Save the Children spans child protection, education, disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian work. Saskia excels in project and program management, impact measurement and MEL, and child-centered program design. She has expertise in leading small teams, and holds a profound understanding of on-the-ground challenges from her experience working in Asia and Africa. Her former research work on social policy at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) underscores her commitment to evidence-based interventions and community-led approaches driving impactful results for children worldwide.
Saskia holds a Master of Science from University College London (UCL) in development studies and non-profit management, including research work in Uganda, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Birmingham (UK) in political science, political economy and modern languages, with semesters abroad in Chile and Brazil.
John Soleanicov is the Co-Lead of the Learning Schools Portfolio at the Jacobs Foundation. He is a Romanian-born, U.S.-raised professional with more than 15 years of global experience in financial services, management consulting, and education.
Prior to working at the Jacobs Foundation, John was the Program Director for Education at the UBS Optimus Foundation. He founded Teach for Romania and continues to serve on its board. Previously, he worked for the Health and Education Investment Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington, Mexico City, and Cairo. John has also worked as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company and as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.
John holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MPA/ID from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA from Columbia University.
Simon Sommer is Co-CEO at the Jacobs Foundation. His drive is to make the Jacobs Foundation the world’s leading learning foundation by developing, selecting, and promoting the best programs and projects. And by finding and developing the best minds – inside and outside the Foundation. Simon’s primary responsibilities at the Foundation are strategy, board governance, operational excellence, human resources, and research funding.
Before joining the Jacobs Foundation in 2006, he worked at the Volkswagen Foundation in Hannover, Germany’s largest private research funder, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Berlin, Germany.
Simon holds Masters in Musicology (2001) and Cultural Studies (2000) from Leuphana University, Germany, and from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he graduated with a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission.
Julie Swaenen is a Strategic Program Manager at the Jacobs Foundation. She works across the Foundation, focusing on bringing education evidence into practice in collaboration with the various stakeholders of the education ecosystem, so that children around the world can thrive.
Julie believes in quality and equitable education as the cornerstone for improving lives of people around the world. She brings experience from both public and private industry through her work for the Public and Social Sector Hub at McKinsey & Company and her internships within diplomacy, consulting, and banking.
Julie holds a Master in Strategy and International Management from the University of St. Gallen as well as a Master and Bachelor in Applied Economics from the University of Antwerp.
Gemma Wirz is Editor-in-Chief of BOLD, the digital publication on child development and learning supported by the Jacobs Foundation. In her work, she strives to translate the complex ideas behind the latest research into engaging, accessible multimedia content. The ultimate goal is to better equip anyone with the interest – but not necessarily the expertise – with the tools and knowledge they need to help children in their care thrive.
Gemma is passionate about the stories behind the science and the ways in which scientists and the public can learn from each other. As a parent, she learns something new from BOLD every day about how she can better support her children. As an Editor, it is her mission to ensure all other caregivers and educators have equal access to this knowledge.
Gemma brings almost two decades of communications experience, including Public Relations, digital strategy, copywriting, and lecturing. She holds a Master of Science in Science Communication from Imperial College, London and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Newcastle University, UK.
Hanna Woodhead is Program Manager and Curator at the Jacobs Foundation at the Digital Museum of Learning and the Johann Jacobs Museum. Her job is to develop the exhibitions and activities of the Foundation’s Digital Museum of Learning as well as the Museum’s activities in Zurich. She finds it fascinating to align the Museum’s exhibitions and learning journeys with the Jacobs Foundation’s activities in order to achieve a common goal: to help children thrive and learn in the best possible conditions. She firmly believes that museums are ideal places for this, as they integrate the playful dimension and the pleasure of intellectual discovery.
Before joining the Jacobs Foundation, Hanna worked in several museums, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Musée International de la Réforme in Geneva. She was also responsible for corporate communications at engineering group Assystem, which gave her the opportunity to reflect on the issues of Corporate Social Responsibility and philanthropy for this major French company.
Hanna is a graduate of Sciences-Po Paris and the University of Geneva. She is a member of the 2023-2024 class of the University of Geneva’s DAS in Philanthropy.
The Jacobs Foundation invests in the future of young people by working to ensure all children have access to opportunities for positive development and the best education possible that enables them to thrive.