Courses Focused on Capacity Building

Our Team, Focus and Culture

We blend our passion for amplifying local impact with technology and build upon our backgrounds in international development, tech and philanthropy. We are committed to strengthening the capacity of 5,000 organizations by 2020.

We don’t just confront difficulty — we embrace it. We associate difficulty with progress and growth, and ease with settling and stagnation.

Powered By Philanthropy U, Inc.

We share a deep commitment to providing local organizations with greater access to the knowledge, resources and support so they can do more: extend their reach, deepen their impact and strengthen local leadership where it matters most.

Connor Diemand-Yauman
Chief Executive Officer

Connor Diemand-Yauman is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Philanthropy U. His academic research on improving learning outcomes has been cited in over 160 academic articles and covered by The Economist, The New York Times, and BBC International. He is the recipient of the Pyne Prize, Princeton University’s highest undergraduate distinction, and was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30.

Prior to Philanthropy University, Connor launched and led the B2B business at Coursera, an edtech company providing universal access to classes from top universities and companies. Before Coursera, he created and starred in “Speak Smart News,” a children’s educational program in Northeast Asia distributed to 10 million middle school learners, and taught primary school and teacher training programs in South Africa, Kenya, and South Korea.

He is the founder of Own What You Think, a national campaign focused on bringing accountability into the way we interact and behave online, and received his yoga teaching certification from Yoga Vidya Gurukul in Nashik, India. He is a featured contributor on The Huffington Post.

Phil Clark
Head, Product

As the Head of Product, Phil is responsible for establishing and executing on the product vision, building and leading the product team, and managing relationships with key partners.  

Prior to joining the Phil University team, Phil was the Chief Creative Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Exygy, where he was responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the company. Under his leadership, the company fully pivoted into social impact space, grew 400% in annual revenue, and was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the US by Inc Magazine. Additionally, he established and grew the design practice, and recruited and matriculated much of the team, including the Leadership Team.

Previously, Phil worked on the strategy team at Teach for America, was a Coro Fellow in Civic Leadership and Public Affairs, and taught 6th Grade in Brooklyn through Teach for America. He graduated cum laude from Vassar College.

When not at work, Phil enjoys working in his garden, swimming, biking, and running around Oakland, and traveling around the world.

Jenna O’Brien
Manager, Partnerships

Jenna leads Philanthropy U’s non-revenue partnership management and growth, with a focus on external stakeholder engagement and programming.

She has over 12 years of experience in the education, philanthropic, and international development sectors. She attributes her passion for programmatic efficiency to working in design right after college, which taught her that there was a difference between asking questions and asking the right questions. She seeks to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, ensure client/user groups to have a seat at the table, and believes in the power of local organizations to solve the world’s most pressing social problems.

She is one of eight children, a 24-year old first-gen college grad, who aggressively reps her hometown of Chicago. Jenna holds a BA in Media and Sociology, an MA in Multicultural Communication, and a MA in Higher Education Administration.

Mark Goldstein
Associate, Community

As a Community Associate, Mark works with the wider Community and Learner Operations team to support and manage online communities at scale, rapidly develop and test new programs to facilitate online peer-to-peer learning, and collaborate with functional leads to deliver on new product features.

Prior to joining Philanthropy University, Mark graduated with a BA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he studied global social and environmental issues, focusing on global health, climate change, and international development. He has previously worked on issues related to international development and global health at Princeton’s Innovations for Successful Societies and at Harvard University’s Global Health Delivery Project. While at Princeton, Mark founded the University’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity International and participated in a number of student-run service groups. He was also a member of the men’s rugby team, serving as co-captain during his senior year.

In addition to being passionate about driving social impact, Mark loves to travel and explore the outdoors. A Boston native, he is an avid fan of his hometown teams, despite his new home in California.

Sophia Li
Executive Assistant & Associate, Office and Culture

Sophia helps oversee recruitment, employee experience, and organizational development at Philanthropy University. Her role is to ensure our working environment is every bit as innovative and dynamic as our products, programs, and mission. She also supports the CEO in managing his day-to-day priorities.

Sophia holds a BA in Cognitive Science from University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Philanthropy University, Sophia was Program Assistant at our partner organization, the Center for Social Sector Leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Muhammad Amjad
Software Engineer, Arbisoft

Amjad leads the front-end engineering team working on Philanthropy University projects including the Learning and Community platforms. He breathes life into the user experience of Philanthropy University’s web applications.

Ana Bel Campos
Lead University Experience Designer, Exygy

Ana Bel leads the Design team for The University initiative where she applies a human centered design approach to designing product features with the Learners at the forefront.

Rachael Estess
Design Researcher, Exygy

Rachael joins the team with extensive experience in leading user interviews and product testing. She helps represent the voice of our Learners to inform Product development.

Eric Lam
Product Owner Delegate, Exygy

Eric leads the product direction and delivery for The University initiative. He collaborates with the Design and Engineering teams to prioritize, develop and user test leading product features following an Agile methodology.

Wendy Fong
Lead Design Researcher, Exygy

Wendy heads our design research by conducting user interviews with Learners and Partners to gain insights on priority Product features for these users.

Muhammad Nadeem
Principal Software Engineer, Arbisoft

Nadeem is a seasoned full-stack web engineer leading the engineering team for the Philanthropy University Learner Platform. He has extensive experience developing and customizing the Open edX platform

Muhammad Raza Dar
Principal Software Engineer, Arbisoft

Raza leads the Community Platform engineering team for Philanthropy University. He uses his full-stack software development experience to implement a robust platform for discussions.

Mari Toledo
Visual Designer, Exygy

Mari is the Visual Designer for both The University initiative as well as the Philanthropy U Website. She incorporates the organization’s brand guidelines into our online presence.

Alice Yan
Lead Website Experience Designer, Exygy

Alice leads the Design team for the Philanthropy University website. She leverages her user experience design expertise to showcase our initiatives and organization to all those we serve.

Muhammad Zeeshan
Solutions Architect, Arbisoft

Zeeshan is a Solutions Architect with several years of experience in software engineering and delivery. He is the Scrum Master for the engineering teams working on Philanthropy University projects including Learning & community platforms, mobile application and the website.

Ann Canela
Strategic Advisor

As a strategic advisor, Ann advises and assists the Philanthropy University team to improve organizational outcomes. She has a deep expertise in the intersection of partnership and marketing with clients that have included Hilton Worldwide, Cisco, Accenture, Grainger, Counterpart International, Pact, Seattle International Foundation and many others. She also led the development and implementation of a revolutionary new product to democratize philanthropy: Growfund.

Prior to joining Philanthropy University, she was vice president at Global Impact where she led the organization’s diversification efforts where she launched a new line of business, Partner Solutions, and managed new business development, adding millions of dollars in new services.

Ann also serves on the Global Impact UK board, the US board of advisors, the Growfund board of advisors, board of advisors for World Vision’s “Strong Women, Strong World” initiative and the Host Committee for the Atlas Corps.

David Crook
Director, Partnerships

David Crook leads the organization’s work on partnerships and fundraising. Prior to his current role, was Development Director with Stars Foundation for eight years where he successfully established the foundation’s external partnerships and resource generation function, co-funding Stars programs with other foundations, individuals, companies, governments, international NGOs and multilateral agencies.  David also lead Stars Foundation’s external relations and policy dialogue activities and served on the advisory group for the OECD Network of Foundations Working for Development (NetFWD).

David has helped to forge ground-breaking partnerships between non-profits, companies and philanthropists for 20 years.

Paige Dearing
Director, Marketing & Communications

Paige leads Philanthropy University’s marketing, communications and thought leadership as director of Marketing and Communications.

Drawn to projects that blend technology and social missions, she previously ran her own boutique marketing agency that specialized in social campaigns, branding, communications and marketing for international NGOs, small businesses, tech start-ups and government agencies. She became deeply interested in the intersection of technology and international development working with her longest-standing client, NetHope: a consortium of 50+ global nonprofits that collaborate with technology companies and funding partners to design, fund, implement, adapt and scale innovative solutions in development.

She also worked as growth director at a tech start-up in McLean, Virginia just prior to joining Philanthropy University. She holds a B.S. in Newspaper Journalism and a B.A. in Political Science from Syracuse University.

Stan Hou
Senior Manager, Strategy

As the Senior Manager, Strategy, Stan helps oversee organizational strategy development and planning, as well as mobilize strategic projects.

Prior to joining Philanthropy University, Stan spent five years in management consulting with PwC, where he worked with a variety of clients in the public sector, financial services, and telecommunications industries, developing expertise in strategic planning, IT project management, and process design. Stan also brings nonprofit and education experience from his time working with a locally-led anti-trafficking organization in Cambodia, in addition to a K-12 charter school management organization in the U.S. Stan holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Kamilla Sakkijha
Manager, Learner Operations

Kamilla leads our Philanthropy University course operations, overseeing our strategy around optimizing the learning platform to best support a dynamic and engaged experience of learners that results in improved capacity.

Kamilla holds an MA in Political Theory and Discourse Analysis from the New School for Social Research. Prior to joining Philanthropy University, she ran operations for the graduate Economics Department at NSSR, supporting the research, teaching and publication of heterodox research in economics and development. She also spent time in Southern California leading the Marketing and Communications outreach for the Women’s Center at UCSD, primarily focused on the creation of programs and learning opportunities that place the experience of diverse women at the center of resource support.

Jessica Sanders
Data Analyst

Jessica works on all things data related at Philanthropy University. This can include maintaining data pipelines, developing analyses to provide insights into learner outcomes, and producing visualizations for the team and partners.

She is passionate about the data privacy of our learners, about the use of analytics to help in key decisions, and about creating a data-driven culture.

Jessica has spent the last two years completing her Masters in Information & Data Science at UC Berkeley. Alongside her studies, she’s been volunteering as a data scientist with DataKind where she has focused on improving graduation rates at a technical college in Wisconsin by using data to identify students at risk of non-completion. Prior to Berkeley, Jessica worked for the better part of six years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher and then code developer. Jessica’s skill set includes data analytics, advanced statistical methods, and data visualization. Jessica holds a PhD in civil engineering from Duke.

Andrew Wyndham
Instructional Designer

As instructional designer, Andrew works with experts in the field of non-profit capacity building to create Philanthropy University courses.

Andrew holds an MA in Education from Stanford University. Prior to joining Philanthropy University, he taught elementary school and led teacher education programs in the U.S. and China. At Gooru, a non-profit education technology company, he created online and blended learning programs for K-12 students and teachers.

With And For Girls

Building on the legacy of Stars Foundation, we are committed to working alongside the With and For Girls Collective to help deliver their strategic vision and ensure we can support the capacity building and training needs of girl-led and girl-centered groups around the world.

Swatee Deepak

Swatee is the Director of Stars Foundation. Swatee joined Stars in September 2015 and led on the engagement of global foundations and donors in innovative funding collaborations.

Prior to joining Stars, Swatee worked at Marie Stopes International, UNICEF, UNWomen and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

In her role at IPPF, Swatee led on new business opportunities with USAID – where she secured a number of awards including a 5 year high value prime Cooperative Agreement: SIFPO2 (Total ceiling $72 million) and a 10 year sub Cooperative Agreement (Total ceiling $100 million) . She went on to assist the start up of the programme with consortium and delivery partners across 8 countries in Africa and South Asia.

With a career straddling policy, business development and implementation of programmes within multilaterals, bilaterals, international agencies and donor agencies, she is passionate about development with specialist experience working in youth engagement, sexual, reproductive and maternal health, human rights and gender empowerment.

Swatee is a board member and adviser to a number of international development agencies, start-ups and funder affinity groups. She also co-founded a social enterprise which runs music,arts and cultural events in the UK and worldwide, a record label and a glamping business. She has recently invested in a sustainable fashion label which empowers indigenous women in India.

Stefano Rovelli
Programme Assistant

Stefano is the Programme Assistant for the With and For Girls Award programme and joined Stars in July 2016. Prior to joining Stars, Stefano worked in Tanzania as Assistant to the Director of an International NGO and acted as coordinator of the Monitoring and Evaluation Team.

Stefano holds a BA in Economics from Bocconi University in Milan and a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Olivia Spazzini
Programmes Officer

Olivia is the Programme Officer for the With and For Girls Awards programme.

Prior to joining Stars in November 2015, Olivia worked as a Strategy Officer at the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and volunteered for several organisations including the Child in Need Institute in India and Pyari Onlus in Italy.

Olivia holds a BA in History from the University of Milan and an MSc in South Asian Studies from the University of Oxford.

Emma Tallamy
Communications and Marketing Officer

Emma joined Stars in May 2014 and leads the Foundation’s communications and marketing activity.

Prior to her roles with Stars, she held communications positions with not-for-profit organisations including SOS Children, English Heritage and Cambridge University.  Emma has also volunteered and interned with charities such as Peace Direct, Camfed UK and Doctors of the World UK.

Emma has lived and worked in Spain, South Africa and Mauritius and holds an MA in Conflict, Governance and International Development from the University of East Anglia, a BA (Hons) in English from Loughborough University and a CAM CIM Diploma in Marketing Communications.

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