Meet our team
Meet our team

Meet our team

We are an ambitious, passionate team, united by our belief in the power of government to tackle today’s biggest challenges

TEAM

Robyn Scott

Co-founder and CEO | robyn.scott@apolitical.co

image

Prior to Apolitical, Robyn co-founded OneLeap, an executive education company, and a Southern African non-profit teaching coding to vulnerable youth. She has written an acclaimed memoir and is an ambassador for the Access to Medicine Index, an advisor to the Responsible Mining Index, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Gates Scholar. She has a BSc in Bioinformatics from Auckland University and a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise from Cambridge.

Tom Dignan

Chief Technology Officer | tom.dignan@apolitical.co

image

A 20-year veteran of Silicon Valley, Tom most recently, as CTO, led Syft’s engineering organisation from Series A to acquisition. Prior to that, he was CTO at ReputationDefender, leading the company’s engineering and data science team. Tom has also led global engineering teams at Hands-on Mobile, Yahoo!, Earthlink and Excite@Home, and has proven expertise in building mobile applications and architecting large-scale consumer Internet systems. Tom holds a PhD Physics from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He is driven toward using his scientific expertise to achieve meaningful social impact.

Pooja Warier Hamilton

Chief Partnerships Officer | pooja.warier@apolitical.co

image

Prior to Apolitical, she was the Founding and Managing Partner of Conduit Connect, an impact investing platform for a community of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. She was the co-founder and former CEO of UnLtd India for 11 years, an incubator for social entrepreneurs. She also co-founded Bombay Connect, a co-working space, and Journeys for Change, offering immersive experiences for global leaders to learn from entrepreneurs. She is an advisor to private family offices on their impact investment portfolios. Pooja is a TED India Fellow, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and an Aspen India fellow.

Jessica van Onselen

Director of Marketing and Communications | jessica.vanonselen@apolitical.co

image

Jessica van Onselen is a communications strategist and entrepreneur. Prior to joining Apolitical, she was founder and managing director of BrightGuide Ltd, specialising in dynamic communications to support transparency and good governance. She has spent almost two decades working with governments and the private sector on communication and partnerships in Africa, the UK and the United States. She studied at the University of the Witwatersrand and Wits Business School in South Africa.

Joseph Buckley

VP of Finance and Operations | joseph.buckley@apolitical.co

image

Joe has spent the majority of his career scaling cutting-edge organisations in the financial technology space, most recently as Director of People Operations at Gambit Research and Chief Operating Officer at RISQ capital. He holds an MBA from Durham University where his research focussed on predicting job performance during the recruitment and selection processes.

Ilana Munckton

VP of Product and Growth | ilana.munckton@apolitical.co

image

Ilana is a growth strategist and experienced digital marketer with expertise in driving tangible business results for start-up and scale-up tech companies. Prior to joining Apolitical, she was VP of Growth at Edinburgh-based healthtech startup Care Sourcer and Director of Growth at Skyscanner, where she was responsible for global growth marketing in over 35 markets worldwide. Ilana has been shortlisted by Scottish Women In Technology for the ‘Inspirational Leadership’ award, and was formerly named one of The Drum’s ‘30 Women Under 30’.

Keri Landau

Head of Government Partnerships | keri.landau@apolitical.co

image

Prior to Apolitical, Keri was at KPMG Learning Services, working with the UK Civil Service to deliver strategic learning and capability development solutions for a range of public sector organisations. Previously, Keri was at ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) leading business development, consulting, and consortia-building for charities and social enterprises. Keri started her career as a local authority officer at the London Borough of Lewisham, contracting and commissioning services for vulnerable adults. Keri holds a BA in Anthropology and Communications Studies from Goldsmiths College (University of London) and an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from LSE. She is continuing life-long learning by studying for an Advanced Diploma in Strategic Learning & Development (CIPD). She is driven by building meaningful partnerships that enable transformative change and positive impact across the public sector and wider society

Katherine Weber

Head of Partnerships | katherine.weber@apolitical.co

Ché Thomson

Head of Course Creation | che.thomson@apolitical.co

image

Ché leads the team in creating interactive online courses for public servants. She is driven by her passions for learning and for building a kinder world. She loves being a part of a team supporting governments to make smarter decisions on important topics. She holds an MPhil in International Development and a BA in Politics, Economics, Knowledge Management and Information Systems.

Derek Alton

Head of Community | derek.alton@apolitical.co

Laura Hanna-White

Senior Software Engineering Manager | laura.hanna-white@apolitical.co

image

Laura previously worked in health tech, legal tech and consultancy. She has a BA in Journalism, an MSc in Multimedia, and a BSc in Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence. She was a finalist for the Women in IT Excellence award, and a recipient of the Tech Women 100 award. She cares deeply about inclusivity, equality, and making a social impact through her work.

Padraig Alton

Lead Data Scientist | paddy.alton@apolitical.co

image

Paddy joined Apolitical in 2017 after completing a PhD in Astrophysics at Durham University. His research focused on the study of star formation in the largest galaxies, making use of statistical modelling to infer large-scale properties via infrared spectroscopy. During this time he also developed interests in government policy, machine learning, and the promotion of public understanding of science. These led him into Data Science, and to Apolitical. Paddy also holds an MSci in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Diego Piacentini

Chairman of the Board

image

Diego Piacentini served as Italian Government Commissioner for Digital Transformation, reporting directly to the Prime Minister, after 17 years as Amazon SVP of the International Consumer Business. Earlier in his career, he worked at Apple for 12 years and was GM of Apple Europe. In addition to Apolitical, he is also a member of the Boards of Directors of The Economist Group and OODA Health. Diego is active in NGOs and is on the board of Endeavor Italy, University Bocconi and Maasai Association (Kenya). He is also an Advisor for KKR and Convoy and serves as a mentor for Endeavor Global. Diego graduated in Economics from University Bocconi and was awarded “Bocconiano dell’anno” in 2010.

Lisa Witter

Co-founder and Board Member

image

Lisa Witter is an award-winning executive, entrepreneur, author and public speaker. For more than 25 years, she’s been working at the intersection of business, policy, government and behavioural science. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and served three terms on the Forum’s council on Behaviour and now co-chairs the Agile Governance Global Future Council. She’s sat on numerous boards including a publicly-traded company and one for the U.S’. National Academy of Science and Engineering.

Adam Parr

Board Member

image

Adam Parr is an academic, entrepreneur and investor based in Oxford. He is Professor of Practice at the University of Western Australia Business School. He chairs Oxford University knowledge graph spin-out, Oxford Semantic Technologies, and The Downforce Trust, a charity aiming to accelerate action on climate change, particularly through nature-based carbon capture. Adam was a founding investor in QuantumBlack, now part of McKinsey & Co. A barrister by training, he served as chief executive and chairman of the Williams F1 team between 2006 and 2012. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and holds a PhD from UCL University of London.

Irena Spazzapan

Board Member

image

Irena leads the venture capital investment manager Systemiq Capital, focusing on climate tech early-stage investments in Europe and North America. Previously she ran the investment side of SYSTEMIQ, the global thought leader and investment firm dedicated to climate change. An energy professional by background, Irena joined SYSTEMIQ in 2018 to build the investment team until the spin-off into Systemiq Capital. Irena invests in Series A companies across 4 ecosystems: sustainable food & materials, clean transport, climate intelligence and climate restoration. Existing companies include ZeroAvia, Jupiter Intelligence, Circulor, Charm Industrial, etc. Exits include OpenInvest, Upside Energy. She is a Board Director with the global power-to-hydrogen developer H1 Energy. Previously she was a Director at Capterio and Upside Energy. Irena was at Goldman Sachs for 13 years until 2017, leading Gas and Power Origination in Europe. She started her career at UNRWA in Syria. Irena has degrees from the University of Trieste and SOAS. She is a CFA charterholder.

ADVISORS

Paul Kirby

Advisor

image

Paul Kirby is a non-executive director of the UK Cabinet Office and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Previously Paul served as Partner and Global Head of the Government and Public Sector Practice at KPMG and Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit. He studied at Oxford University.

Professor Steven Pinker

Advisor

image

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and Johnstone Professor at Harvard University. He has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” His tenth book, published in February 2018, is called Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Advisor

image

Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of care.com; a public company that is the world’s largest online care destination with 20.7 million members in 18 countries. Sheila frequently speaks about women, technology and leadership, and has presented alongside former US President Barrack Obama. Sheila has been named a ‘Top 10 Women Entrepreneur’ by Fortune, is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and was recently appointed to the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. She graduated from Mount Holyoke, where she also holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and received her JD/MBA from Harvard University.

Lindiwe Mazibuko

Advisor

image

Lindiwe Mazibuko is the first black woman in South African history to be elected Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. At 31 she was elected to be her party’s youngest ever parliamentary leader. She successfully prosecuted a Constitutional Court case against the Speaker of the National Assembly that vindicated the right of Members of Parliament to move a motion of no confidence in the President. She studied at Cape Town and Harvard University and was a Fellow of Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

H.R.H. Jaime de Bourbon de Parme

Advisor

image

H.R.H. Jaime de Bourbon de Parme is currently Senior Advisor Private Sector Partnerships at the UNHCR, and the former Netherlands’ Ambassador to the Holy See. Previously, Jaime was the Special Envoy on Natural Resources at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His main focus was long-term and sustainable security of supply of energy, metals and minerals. In this capacity, he initiated the Responsible Mining Index. He set up the Conflict Free Tin Initiative, which brings traceable minerals from conflict-prone areas in Congo to the international market. He also brokered a deal with Bolivia, which has the greatest deposits of lithium in the world, to help industrialise their lithium sector.

Alex Lovell-Troy

Advisor

image

Alex Lovell-Troy is an experienced entrepreneur and technology advisor with organizations including NewsDeeply, OneLeap and the William James Foundation. He is currently a Cloud Architect at Cray, and former Vice President of Transformation with Pythian where he led strategy and analytics consulting practices. As an advisor to Apolitical, he guides strategic use of data and technical leadership.

Nitika Agarwal

Advisor

image

Nitika was formerly a senior policy advisor at the UK Government’s Treasury. She has advised ministers on financial and budgetary policy, led negotiations in Brussels on the UK’s behalf, served as Chief of Staff to the UK Ambassador to the EU, and driven commercial reforms in the public sector. She has also worked in India and France with human rights NGOs and holds a degree in PPE from Oxford University.