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.

Our Team

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 University. 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.

Jason Bigman
Director, Community Operations

Jason oversees community management, course operations, learner support, and localization at Philanthropy University. As part of this, Jason led the development of the Philanthropy University community platform and continues to lead high-level community strategy.

Prior to Philanthropy University, Jason led Coursera’s localization program where he fostered an online translation community of more than 50,000 volunteers to successfully translate 150+ online courses. Prior to Coursera, Jason was the content and product manager for a language learning tech startup in Shanghai, China where he produced and starred in a culture and language-focused podcast that received “Podcast of the Year” from ITunes China in 2014 and 2015.

Jason speaks more than eight languages and has lived in seven countries. In his free time, he enjoys exploring cities, biking, hiking, yoga, and eating all varieties dumplings.

Ann Canela
Vice President, External Relations

As Vice President of External Relations, Ann leads partnership engagement and oversees the marketing communications function of Philanthropy University. 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.

Kate Chadwick
Program Manager, The Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley

As program manager, Kate oversees partnership programming and account management at Philanthropy University. Kate is also program manager with our partner organization, the Center for Social Sector Leadership at The Haas School of Business, the University of California Berkeley.

Prior to joining Philanthropy University, Kate was the program analyst with the Local Grantmaking Program at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Kate also served as research coordinator with Visa Inc., where she drafted a recommendation on how the company should organize around humanitarian aid. Kate spent ten years working both domestically and internationally in the nonprofit and humanitarian aid sectors, including with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the American Red Cross (ARC), and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.

Kate holds a Master of Development Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts from The Colorado College.

Maggie Coffin
Manager, Instructional Design

Maggie drives Philanthropy University’s pedagogical strategy. As a learning designer with expertise in online education and global education programs, she has experience building learning programs from scratch and designing from ideation to implementation to iteration.

Previously, Maggie worked as an Education Program Analyst for UCSF Global Health Sciences and created global health curriculum for online, blended and in-person learning that reached university learners as well as external partners. She also launched and designed a new PhD program.

She is passionate about increasing access to education and taking a user-centered approach to content strategy, online course design and measurable competency development.

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.

Schnel Francis
Executive Assistant

Schnel joined Philanthropy University in 2018 as executive assistant to the CEO. She specializes in administrative tasks such as calendar scheduling, email management and documentation as well as event management and logistics. Schnel holds a B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Public Relations.

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
Associate, Course 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.

Jacob Schultz
Head of People Operations

Jacob oversees recruitment, employee experience, and organizational development at Philanthropy University.  His role is to ensure our working environment is every bit as innovative and dynamic as our products, programs, and mission.  

Jacob has more than 20 years experience in a variety of roles in social impact organizations.  He created the social impact strategy and was general manager of the non-profit vertical for a venture-backed SaaS start-up.  As VP of People for Kiva, a microfinance technology nonprofit, he oversaw HR and the Volunteer programs that enabled the deployment of over $150 million annually in loan capital to entrepreneurs in over 80 countries.  

Jacob has traveled to 50 countries and in his spare time loves enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two wonderful children.

Angie Windle
Manager, Marketing & Communications

Angie is the External Relations Advisor for Philanthropy University where she drives marketing and communications for our Awards program as well as key partnerships.

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.

Our Collaborators

We are proud to partner with experts in technology, product design and programming to help deliver our vision and build best-in-class courses and communities designed for nonprofit leaders in the Global South.

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.

Phil Clark
Product Strategy Advisor, Exygy

Phil brings a wealth of experience in delivering end-to-end products and acts as a product advisor for Philanthropy U. He works with the team on planning the product rollouts and preparedness strategies.

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.

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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