About / Our People
SEWF is a collaborative organisation consisting of a core operational team, a diverse international board of directors, and a series of partners, associates and stakeholders who share our vision.
Azima Dhanjee is a Child of Deaf Adult (CODA), Co-founder/CEO of ConnectHear, the National Youth Delegate at the Commonwealth Youth Council and a member of the National Youth Council (an initiative by the Prime Minister of Pakistan). She is an alumna of the Institute of Business Administration (Class of 2020), with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.
Azima is raised by Deaf parents and Pakistani Sign Language (PSL) is her mother tongue. Growing up, she was always troubled by how simple communication was a challenge for the Deaf due to the language barrier. The lack of awareness and accessibility with regards to the Deaf community led her to initiate and manage “ConnectHear” along with her two high school friends. “ConnectHear” is a social enterprise that strives for sign language accessibility and Deaf inclusion of the Deaf community in Pakistan by utilizing technology.
Founder & Director
CoLab Innovación Social UC
Sebastián is an experienced social entrepreneur, academic and Commercial Engineer who is currently the director of CoLab UC and Chile Regenerativo. Sebastián is an Ashoka Fellow and a catalyst of the League of Intrapreneurs. During his career, he has worked across a range of fields related to the Social Economy. In his role as an academic and consultant, Sebastián has published several studies and academic papers that have contributed to the debate on Entrepreneurship, Business and Social Economy in Chile and Latin America. As an entrepreneur, Sebastián has been behind the creation of various foundations and social enterprises, such as the international foundation TECHO and B-Certified companies Travolution and Manada. Sebastián has an MSc and PhD in Development Studies from UCL in London.
Founder & MD
Gerry is Founder and Managing Director of SEWF and has nurtured the organisation since the first SEWF event in 2008. Gerry also has a part-time role as Director of International Enterprise at Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS) where he is responsible for internationalisation of Scotland’s social enterprises. As SEWF Managing Director, Gerry is leading a small but committed team to support and strengthen the social enterprise movement and to deliver its ambitious programme to build a global impact economy.
Gerry is also a Director at Social Enterprise UK. He is committed to social justice and has spent over 30 years working in the social enterprise sector to assist individuals, communities and enterprises to fulfil their potential. Gerry was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Social Enterprise UK in 2017.
Huda is a product/service/systems designer with a keen interest in user centric design specifically for sustainability and developmental issues. She has an undergraduate degree in design from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and a Masters of Science in Engineering and Business (Integrated Design and Management) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
Huda has been critical in building the necessary processes of SELCO Foundation, which has led to it being known as a pioneer in the field of building the ecosystem for sustainable energy access for the poor.
Amanda is co-founder of Good Market, a curated community of social enterprises, cooperatives, responsible businesses, voluntary organisations and changemakers. Together they are working to create a 21st century economy that’s “good for people and good for the planet.”
The online platform includes more than 1,500 enterprises from 52 countries. Amanda has a PhD in Environmental Studies, a Masters in Sustainable International Development, and a degree in Biology with a specialty in ecotoxicology.
Before Good Market, she spent 15 years in Asia working with local organisations on agroecology and sustainable food systems, organisational change, and social enterprise development. Amanda is an Ashoka Fellow.
Hélène currently serves as the Chair of SEWF. She is part of Pocketknife, a collective of impact-driven professionals who bring their passion for systemic change to initiatives that build bridges to better futures for the communities of Aotearoa NZ.
Hélène is a strategist, a coach, and a weaver and works with entrepreneurs, community groups, local anchor organisations, charities, corporates and government bodies. Her facilitation process and methodology incorporate strategic thinking, coaching, co-design and action planning. She is committed to supporting communities, places and organisations to thrive – meaning that prosperity and wellbeing are intertwined and nourishing each other.
Shortly after moving to New Zealand, Hélène left her corporate job to join the Ākina Foundation and begin a journey growing social enterprise. She led the team that hosted the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch in 2017 – a 1600-person event that catalysed the social enterprise movement at a very auspicious time.
Co-founder & CEO
Tizzita is the co-founder and CEO of Maisha Technologies, a ‘drones for good’ social enterprise based in Ethiopia. Maisha works to provide custom designed and built drones for use cases in medical delivery and agricultural mapping. These custom solutions are designed to democratise access via the use of drones and showcase the potential of drones in humanitarian applications.
Tizzita is also a co-founding member of Social Enterprise Ethiopia, a social enterprise advocacy and support association in Ethiopia, where she is currently the policy/research and events lead. Her passion for the social enterprise field is evident in her career path and her academic background, having earned an MSc in Social Entrepreneurship & Management, with research focuses including the study of how technology can be used to solve pressing social issues.
Additionally she is a youth advisory panellist for British Government programs in Ethiopia and provides insights on how to make programs more youth friendly. She is also a co-founding member of the African Aerospace & Remote Data Alliance, which is a Pan-African association advocating for better policy within the aerospace field on the African continent.
Tizzita believes that women and youth have much to contribute to the development of the African continent when given opportunities to do so. As such she is a strong advocate for gender equality and youth empowerment.
Social Enterprise UK
Charlie is responsible for all aspects of SEUK’s operations and business activities. This includes diversifying SEUK’s revenue streams, leading on membership, advisory work and corporate relationships as well as SEUK’s research and strategic objectives. He has worked with major multinational companies on delivering their social enterprise and sustainability strategies with a particular emphasis on supply chains. He was responsible for creating the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, the largest B2B commitment to spend with social enterprises globally with 23 partners and £65 million already committed. Charlie’s work on social value in the public sector has included co-authoring Communities Count (the largest research into social value implementation to date); advising HS2 Ltd and Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service around their social value policies; and delivering training to a wide range of public bodies. Prior to SEUK, Charlie worked in the private sector with clients across the public, private and third sectors, delivering training and consultancy on public policy issues. He has extensive experience of business development and account management, developing bespoke packages for a wide variety of clients from large multinationals to small charities.
Global Head of Social Enterprise
Paula leads the British Council’s Global Social Enterprise programme, which promotes the development of social enterprise and investment to help address entrenched social and environmental problems, build trust between the UK and other countries, and support more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous societies. Introduced in over 20 countries and delivered with the support of local and international partners, the programme works to improve the ecosystem that social enterprises face in their country. This includes business development and finance, general awareness, as well as understanding from the government. Paula has over 20 years of experience in enabling a more impactful business environment, including creating an evidence base, mainstreaming the agenda within education, and innovating in the area of ethical consumer labels. She has been awarded as a WISE100, recognising her achievements as a leader in the social enterprise movement. Paula is a visiting fellow at the University of London and sits on the steering group for ‘The Future of the Corporation’ challenge from the British Academy. Previously she co-founded a UK-wide social enterprise, as well as having led as a Director at a social enterprise infrastructure organisation.