Meet the team

We’re a diverse, passionate group of nomads. As a team we have expertise in everything from information activism to responsible data to inclusive facilitation.

Julia Keseru
Executive Director
[PGP key]

Julia is an activist with an incurable crush on civil society and humanity at large. Coming from the Hungarian transparency community, she has been an advocate for government openness with a special focus on corruption and a passion for finding out what motivates people on the individual level. Prior to joining the Engine Room, Julia was leading the international work of the Sunlight Foundation. She regularly speaks and writes about the challenges and potential of using technology for social change activism, and when she doesn’t geek out about work, she loves watching her daughter play.

Julia leads on fundraising, strategy and organisational development.

Nicole Anand
Director of Strategy and Learning
[PGP key]

Nicole is a political economist and avid strategic thinker who loves all types of cultural exchange. Prior to The Engine Room, she pursued her passion for public sector innovation and international development at organisations including Reboot, Global Integrity, and OneWorld Foundation India. She brings her love for designing new ways of solving problems to the The Engine Room.

Nicole focuses on growing organisational impact through leading the development of strategic learning systems.

New York

Anneke Victorica
People Lead
[PGP key]

Anneke is a lawyer-turned-human resources aficionado who loves women’s rights and tango. Prior to moving to Barcelona where she is based, she worked at international civil society organizations on issues of human rights, transparency and accountability, and judicial corruption. She is now developing and improving systems and policies around hiring, development,  compensation and benefits, and the team’s overall well-being.

Anneke acts as People Lead, managing relationships within The Engine Room to ensure the organisation is a happy, healthy and effective place to work.


Maya Richman
Techno Queen
[PGP key]

Maya is an interdisciplinary technologist, researcher and improvisational electronic musician based in Berlin. In 2012, she worked with Development Seed, building websites and interactive maps. Later, she worked as a research assistant for Gabriella Coleman investigating the politics of hackers, and as a radio show host for a feminist, artist-run centre. She is now working with organizations of all sizes to influence their security culture, in addition to managing and developing new internal tech processes for a distributed organization.

Maya acts as The Engine Room’s Techno Queen supporting communication, research, and technology process and intersections between them.


Anca Matioc
Catalyst Team Lead
[PGP key]

Anca has worked in the open government and civic tech space as a community organizer with civil society groups around the world. She has spent the last four years at Chilean NGO Ciudadano Inteligente where she directed the regional open data initiative Desarrollando America Latina and co-founded AbreLatAm, the Latin American open data un-conference. Anca is interested in community organizing, in strengthening the technical – and political – capacity of civil society groups, and donor trends in the space.

Anca is the Catalyst team lead, managing the Matchbox programme globally and coordinating Latin American partnerships.

Santiago de Chile hasta Ciudad de Mexico

Nonso Jideofor
Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead
[PGP key]

Nonso enjoys listening to conversations with a good dose of history and philosophy, but also strategic thinking. Before joining The Engine Room, he worked with Caerus Associates, Herock Nigeria and recently Reboot on ICT4D, open government, open data, public health, media development and public sector governance initiatives. He is passionate about rigorous design and evaluation of social change initiatives, and brings that passion to The Engine Room. Prior to working in international development he worked as a geologist and started several small businesses in technology and education.

Nonso manages The Engine Room’s Matchbox projects in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.


Elissa Williams
Operations Manager
[PGP key]

Elissa is an eager organizer, problem solver, and process implementation expert. She has a keen eye for finding the most efficient and human way to tackle any challenge. Before joining the Engine Room, she taught everything from college-level political science in Ecuador to math for kindergarteners. You can often find Elissa playing Risk with her family, rink-side watching her son play hockey, or at the horse stables with her daughter.

Elissa manages day-to-day operations of project contracts, logistics and contractors, and oversees financial upkeep and billing.


Lesedi Bewlay
Light Touch Support Coordinator
[PGP key]

Lesedi has a background in computer science and non-governmental organizations and has a strong interest in social change. He is also interested in data science, platform development and working with passionate people. Previously, Lesedi co-founded Positive Innovations for the Next Generation, an N.G.O. which focuses on youth, health and technology and more recently he founded Tau Technology with the aim to create innovative, scalable and sustainable technology solutions in resource limited settings. At the Engine Room Lesedi continues his exploration of ways in which tech can help kickstart or improve projects and processes and ultimately change people’s lives.

Lesedi coordinates the Light Touch Support Program. This program provides pro-bono expertise, advice and recommendations to organizations who need help with various aspects of their projects or internal processes.


Paola Mosso
Organisational Security Manager
[PGP key]

Paola is a feminist Chilean journalist who promotes responsible and effective engagement with tech and data. Through the years, she has worked at Poderomedia Foundation, leading the organization’s training program for Latin American journalists, designers and developers, and she coordinated the community behind the Influence Mapping project, an international group supporting activists to map power networks. She supports the tech and data initiatives of emerging and well-established organisations that fight for social justice, and works closely with with sexual & reproductive rights activists.

Paola oversees The Engine Room’s organisational security portfolio, designing and managing security support to partners and helping the team implement healthy internal security practices, and supports partners on their data and technology projects.


Zara Rahman
Director of Research and Engagement
[PGP key]

Zara is a researcher, writer and linguist who is interested in the intersection of power, technology and social justice. Her past work included campaigning for an access to information law in Spain, investigating the impact of open data in the extractive industries in the Middle East, and supporting data literacy efforts with civil society and journalists across the world with School of Data. She was a 2016/17 fellow at Data & Society, and is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at digitalHKS at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Zara works across the whole team to support the development of strong research outputs and designs ways for us to build meaningful relationships with partners and communities.


Tom Walker
Research Manager
[PGP key]

Tom started out writing and editing for newspapers, consultancies and think tanks on topics including politics and corruption in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, then moved into designing and managing election-related projects in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Bolivia. After getting interested in what data and technology could add in those areas and elsewhere, he made a beeline for The Engine Room. Tom is trying to read all of the Internet, but mostly spends his time picking out useful resources and trends for organisations using technology in their work.

Tom leads research, documentation, and aggregation projects that address the needs of partners and strategic priorities.


Alan Zard
Techno Dragon
[PGP key]

Alan has been building websites and web-based software for quite some time, working with non-profits of varying sizes across the world. Full-stack-born, he likes to be involved in the whole scope of projects, from server setups to final UX tweaks and bug-hunting. He enjoys hardcore music, dungeons&dragons, barbecuing and spending time with his family. He is currently trying to make all of it happen at the same time.

Alan helps maintain and optimise the tech infrastructure, keeping the Techno Castle in good order.


Laura Guzmán
Communications Manager
[PGP key]

Laura is a curious learner and communicator. She is fascinated by technology, international development and grammar rules. Before joining The Engine Room, Laura worked as a communications consultant to mission-driven organisations, as the Editorial Director of a social enterprise in India, and as program coordinator at the Information Program of Open Society Foundations. You can usually find Laura running around outside, exploring the nooks and crannies of New Orleans, or adopting new hobbies (currently, boxing and learning the mandolin).

Laura leads communications efforts at The Engine Room, managing our external communications channels, finding the best ways to distill our research and build knowledge externally and internally.

New Orleans

Paola Verhaert
Research Assistant
[PGP key]

Paola is a Belgian-Peruvian historian, writer and creative coder. Her broad range of interests motivated her to pursue studies in the history of solidarity, logic, and digital humanities. Prior to joining The Engine Room, she worked as journalist, as a research assistant at the University College of London, and as a UX designer at Amnesty International. She’s always up for a chat about archives, creative coding, and NBA trivia.

Paola supports the Engine Room’s research team on a variety of projects with research, documentation and storytelling.


Black and white photo of Sara Baker

Sara Baker
Senior Project Manager
[PGP key]

Sara is a feminist activist and writer with a background in gender and technology, digital movement building,and advocacy. Previously, she worked for the Association for Progressive Communications as the global coordinator of Take Back the Tech!, a collaborative campaign to address online gender-based violence and for the YWCA as the director of women’s advocacy. Sara is interested in how individuals and organisations use digital technology to create change in their communities, and she loves the power of stories.

Sara manages projects related to responsible data, including our digital identity portfolio, and works with partners to develop advocacy strategies.


Matt Foster
Executive Assistant
[PGP key]

Matt is an avid traveler with diverse interests that have taken him from working on post-ebola recovery in Liberia, to teaching English in Sudan, to receiving his Masters degree in Terrorism and Security at King’s College London. While on the road, he is honing his photography skill and continually in search for the world’s best pizza. Matt brings his on-the-fly problem solving to The Engine Room, managing schedules and contributing to organisation-wide operations.

Matt provides day-to-day assistance to the Executive Director and overall operations and logistic support to The Engine Room team.



Raghunandan Hegde
Asia Regional Lead
[PGP key]

Raghu arrived at The Engine Room after working in spaces of technology and development. He is interested in exploring the intersection and power dynamics between the two, particularly in his areas of passion: social justice and environmental sustainability. Raghu has worked in diverse roles, from establishing libraries for the benefit of underprivileged children, to advocating for better tourism policy and practice, to playing a lead role in the tech-driven transformation of one of India’s largest non-profits. Raghu loves conversations about – or playing a game or few of – tennis.

Raghu is the regional coordinator in Asia for The Engine Room’s Matchbox project.