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.

Ali Siddiqui
Senior Instructional Designer

As an instructional designer, Ali takes industry best practices in capacity-building and translates that information into engaging and effective courses for learners across the globe. 

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University, Ali joined Teach for America where he served as the founding Chemistry teacher at a high school on Chicago’s South Side. During this time, he earned an M.A in Education from Dominican University.

As the Creative Lead on a number of projects at Smart Sparrow, Ali helped produce half a dozen next-generation, adaptive science courses. For his work, Ali received the Reimagine Education E-Learning award as well as two OLC Online Learning Awards. He has also participated in joint endeavors with groups including ACT, NASA, Arizona State University and the Chan Zuckerberg Institute. 

When he’s not working, Ali enjoys traveling, going on hikes, and scouring the internet for the best recipes and food videos.

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.

Ann Canela
Strategic Advisor

As a strategic advisor, Ann advises and assists the Philanthropy U 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 U, 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.

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 U, 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.

Dancy Fu
Instructional Designer

As instructional designer, Dancy works with experts in the field of nonprofit capacity building to create Philanthropy University courses.

Dancy brings a diverse background across risk management consulting, data analytics, communications and storytelling. Prior to joining Philanthropy U, Dancy was the co-founder of ChitChat VR, an ed tech venture creating immersive virtual reality lessons to teach foreign students how to speak English in a more effective and fun way. Dancy holds an M.A. in educational technology from Harvard University.

Leila Makarechi
Vice President, Partnerships

Leila leads Philanthropy U’s partnerships team. She is responsible for the organization’s financial and learner acquisition growth. She’s on a mission to link Philanthropy University’s global network of social impact professionals with the top foundations, individuals and companies who invest in leaders that serve their own communities. 

Previously, she was head of government partnerships at Coursera, a billion-dollar online education company. Leila managed go-to-market strategy and millions in enterprise revenue from governments and organizations who sought to upskill their countries’ workforce for a more competitive economy. Prior to Coursera she was the chief operations officer at a health start-up that she scaled from 3 people delivering one program to more than 1,000 people across four continents. She began her career as the youngest member of the United Nations Development Programme, where she helped manage a $46 million impact fund with investments across Latin America. 

Leila speaks 4 languages fluently and has worked with governments, for-profit and non-profit companies in more than 30 countries — ranging from Appalachia in the US to refugee camps across the Middle East. She has a B.A. in political science and social welfare (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Master of Public Affairs from the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) Paris. She loves spending time with her two young sons who teach her how the world really works.

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.

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.

Gina Herrera Moreno
Manager, Marketing

As our Marketing Manager, Gina works to strengthen our online presence and improve the customer journey as an integral part of the marketing team.

Prior to joining the Philanthropy U team, Gina was the Business and People Operations Program Associate at One Acre Fund, Zambia. As a key member of the leadership committee, she drove strategy to support the growth of the program by 1000% during her tenure. Previously Gina worked for Bridge Education Group as a Sales and Marketing Manager during their 8x expansion of language center locations.

Gina brings extensive experience in international adult education, international development, marketing and scaling enterprises. She as a B.A from Smith College and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In her free time, she enjoys travel, gardening, and spending time with her cats.


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, 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.

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.

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.

Muhammad Amjad
Software Engineer, Arbisoft

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

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 U. He uses his full-stack software development experience to implement a robust platform for discussions.

Paige Dearing
Director, Marketing & Communications

Paige leads Philanthropy U’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 U. She holds a B.S. in Newspaper Journalism and a B.A. in Political Science from Syracuse University.

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 Philanthropy U 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.

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.

Stan Hou
Director, Strategy and Business Operations

As the Director, Strategy and Business Operations, Stan helps oversee organizational strategy development and planning, as well as mobilize strategic projects and people operations.

Prior to joining Philanthropy U, 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.

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.

Sunga Kufeyani
Volunteer Program Coordinator

Sunga works as a program coordinator who works directly with the Course Ambassadors to refine the program, grow the Ambassadors’ impact and escalate general feedback to the Product and Operations team.

Prior to Philanthropy U, Sunga co-founded a nonprofit called Loving Arms in her home country of Malawi that works with young people and is committed to providing girl education empowerment and victim support for abuse victims.

Sunga is very passionate about human rights, education empowerment for marginalized communities as well as mental health issues. In her free time, she enjoys reading, music, volunteering and exploring the Bay Area.

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.

Alice Yan
Lead Website Experience Designer, Exygy

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

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 U, 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.

Jessica Sanders
Data Analyst

Jessica works on all things data related at Philanthropy U. 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.

Kamilla Sakkijha
Senior 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 U, 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.

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 U projects including Learning & community platforms, mobile application and the website.

Thao Tran
Learner Operations Associate

Thao helps oversee the learning platform and fosters relationships with our learners as learner operations associate to ensure that a custom-tailored experience is consistently delivered.

Prior to joining Philanthropy U, she managed the daily operations of a social enterprise initiative within the non-profit sector, and designed staff training workshops to better serve the geriatric population. Thao has spent several years in the healthcare technology and management consulting industry, gaining expertise in project management and business development. Lying at the heart of her combined passion for civic engagement and technology, she strives to leverage the two realms, and build the bridge that will help elevate communities, both locally and globally.

Thao holds a BA in Sociology from University of California, Berkeley. During her time there, she served as a Director for a national mentorship organization that focuses on female empowerment, with a special focus on youth in underserved communities.

When she is not working out of the Oakland office, she can be spotted at a spoken word/poetry night event, de-stressing through boxing, playing her ukulele, or hopping on a plane to immerse herself in a different culture.”

Course Ambassadors

Our Course Ambassadors are super-users who stimulate peer-to-peer learning and connections on the platform.

Dr. Asha Vijai Rao

I was given a chance to learn ABCD of running a nonprofit organization. I have developed my confidence and I am meeting new people around the cause dear to my heart. I have learned many skills from Philanthropy University.

Carolyne Nyarangi

I am passionate about vulnerable children in Africa.

Igiraneza Raymond Olivier

I help to enable women and their communities to drive their own development by helping them generate and implement their own solutions to the problems they face.

Nelson Fung
Hong Kong

I run social enterprise and technology startups with social impact.

Olumuyiwa Adedina

I saw the Course Ambassador program as a call to service.

Paul Danjuma Musa Ambi

I am an ex-banker, an entrepreneur, profound business administrator and manager as well as a financial analyst. I am a peace and conflict resolution advocate, a dedicated volunteer, a mentor and a coach in both primary, post primary and post secondary education.

Unia Nalugya

I work as a director at a social enterprise working with small, holder farmers to improve their livelihood through poultry and livestock.

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