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Back to Our People

Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is drawn from across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is committed to our mission; to empower young role models to help children from disadvantaged communities succeed in school.

headshot of Jonathan Beebe
Jonathan Beebe
Chair of the Board of Trustees at City Year UK Head of Strategy and Business Development, Firefly Capital

Jonathan is Chair of the Board of Trustees of City Year UK. He is an experienced financial services executive currently serving as Chairman of the Fintech software provider Red Deer. He also serves as Head of Strategy and Business Development for Firefly Capital. He previously held senior roles in the investment banking sector including Head of Global Equities at Barclays and Head of European Equity Trading at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is also an active private investor consulting with various start up companies and Financial Tech Venture Capital funds.

In addition to his work at City Year, Jonathan has also previously provided executive consulting to other charities through the Pilotlight programme.
Having previously mentored young students from challenging backgrounds in America, he took up the opportunity to mentor a City Year UK volunteer following his move to London and has tutored year six pupils in Tower Hamlets.

These experiences convinced Jonathan of the incredible potential impact of City Year. Both by providing inspirational ‘near peer’ support to help disadvantaged pupils succeed and offering young adults leadership experience through a combination of volunteering and its careers and training programme, City Year is truly making a difference in our communities across the UK.

Who is your hero?
Just one example but Stan Brock who founded the charity Remote Area Medical. Seeing people devote their lives to a cause bigger than themselves is still an incredible source of inspiration for all of us.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
David Foster Wallace - "This is Water". A fascinating take on the freedom education can bring, but also the struggles facing all of us each and every day. It is rare to hear such honesty and insight about what it takes to lead a positive and impactful life.

What is your best career advice?
Intellectual curiosity can be the difference. Choosing to learn and explore on your own is what creates the possibilities to grow. It is the most common trait I’ve seen from successful and happy people.

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headshot of Jim Balfanz
Jim Balfanz
Chief Executive Officer, City Year Inc

Jim Balfanz serves as City Year’s Chief Executive Officer. Driven by the beliefs that talent is equally distributed but opportunity is not, and that all students can succeed if provided with those opportunities, Balfanz has led City Year’s strategic shift towards leveraging national service to improve student achievement in systemically under-resourced schools. To date, City Year serves in over 350 schools in 29 cities and has 4 international sites in the UK and South Africa.

Prior to his role as CEO, Balfanz served City Year as President for nine years and Chief Operating Officer for five years. During this tenure, Balfanz led the organization through a sustained period of growth that enabled City Year to expand from 15 to 21 sites, as well as launch its second international affiliate in London. Balfanz also led efforts to establish new national partnerships with companies such as Deloitte, T-Mobile, and Pepsi. In addition to these partnerships, Balfanz co-led the development of Diplomas Now and strategies such as the Long Term Impact strategy.

Balfanz received his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and his graduate degree from the Wharton School of Business Executive Management Program. He currently serves on the governing board for Eye to Eye, the City Year London board of trustees, and vice board chair for Compass Academy. In 2011, Balfanz joined the fourth cohort of Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows, and in 2016 he was appointed to the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social Emotional, and Academic Development as a Distinguished Educator. Most recently, Balfanz was selected as a member of the Science of Learning and Development National Advisory Committee.

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headshot of Aliza Blachman O'Keefe
Aliza Blachman O'Keeffe
Partner, Joy Capital LLP Chair Emerita of the MIT Sloan School Alumni Board

With 30 years of experience in professional services, Aliza has expertise in growth, strategy, business development, strategic marketing, relationship building, leadership and coaching.

Currently a Partner at Joy Capital LLP and Chair Emerita of the MIT Sloan School Alumni Board, Aliza holds a portfolio of board and advisory roles across business, non-profit, community and political organisations, which have included Affenium, City Year UK, Eden McCallum, Invincible Me and Working Families. She is a SheEO Activator, funding female entrepreneurs who are working on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and was co-Chair of Pomegranate, the women’s poverty initiative she launched for World Jewish Relief. Aliza has served on multiple International Finance Committees for Democratic Presidential campaigns, as well as being a member of the UK Council of Democrats Abroad, and she received the Margaret L.A. MacVicar Award for ‘innovative, dedicated service of meaningful impact’ to MIT.

Previously, Aliza was a Partner at Spencer Stuart, serving international clients in retail, luxury goods, technology and media, handling CEO and other board-level appointments for corporates, venture capital firms and portfolio companies. She co-led the European Broadcasting & Entertainment Practice and launched and ran the European Internet & New Media Practice.

Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Aliza worked for McKinsey & Company in London and Hong Kong. Her early career was as a development economist at the World Bank, based in Washington, D.C. and covering macroeconomic policy for several countries in Latin America. Holding dual US/UK nationality, Aliza received a B.A. Honors degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.Sc. in Management from MIT's Sloan School. She and her husband live in SW London and have two children. “I was excited to get involved with City Year because of its unique ability to transform the lives of their Volunteer Mentors and the children they support, as well as my belief that widespread commitment to a voluntary service year would have a strongly positive impact on our society.”

Who is your hero?
There are many people who have inspired me in different ways. At the moment, one of my heroes is Greta Thunberg, for her extraordinary environmental activism, challenging those in power with an unrelenting focus on the evidence and refusing to allow her age, gender, Asperger’s diagnosis or anything else limit her influence.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Night" by Elie Wiesel, about his experience as a teenager, along with his father, in Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Holocaust. From a review: "This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of people from a survivor's perspective, "Night" is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of hope, it remains one of the most important works of the twentieth century.”

What is your best career advice?
Find good mentors.

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headshot of AnnMaura Connolly
AnnMaura Connolly
Chief Policy, Advocacy & International Relations Officer, City Year, Inc. President, Voices for National Service

For more than two decades AnnMaura has worked to expand opportunities for young people to serve across the United States and around the world. She serves as President of Voices for National Service, a coalition of service organizations that work together to advance citizen service policy. AnnMaura is also a member of City Year’s Management Executive Committee, overseeing City Year’s international work, public policy, and public affairs.

After college, AnnMaura served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in California where she led a counseling program for refugees. After returning to Washington, AnnMaura held senior positions at Youth Service America, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the AmeriCorps Anniversary Committee and the Grantmaker Forum on Community and National Service.

AnnMaura holds a B.A. in political science from the College of the Holy Cross. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program and the Leadership Council of the Service Year Alliance, and on the Boards of Directors of My Good Deed, City Year South Africa and City Year UK. In January 2015, AnnMaura was selected for the inaugural class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a project of the Johnson, Bush, Clinton and Bush Presidential Libraries.

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Matthew Davies
Head of Global Transaction Services, EMEA, Bank of America Global co-head of Corporate Sales, GTS, Bank of America

Matthew Davies is head of Global Transaction Services (GTS) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Bank of America. He is responsible for developing and executing the integrated strategy for the full end-to-end transaction services business in the region, including cash management, trade finance and commercial cards. In this role, he is a member of the Regional Executive Committee and the EMEA Philanthropy Board.

He is also global co-head of Corporates Sales, GTS where he leads the delivery of the firm’s transaction services solutions to corporate clients across the United States, Latin America, Asia and EMEA.

Prior to joining the bank, Matthew worked for Citigroup for 12 years in various roles located in London, Chicago, Amsterdam and Dubai.

Matthew is passionate about education and social mobility and has devoted significant time and focus to this area over the last 10 years.

Who is your hero?
Elon Musk. Nothing is out of reach and no objective is unattainable. The greatest minds in the automotive industry told him it was impossible to take on the major manufacturers and succeed and that the world was not ready for electric cars. He proved them all wrong. He has done the same with space travel. The sky is not the limit!

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"To Kill a Mockingbird". It resonated strongly with me when I first read it 30 years ago and is more relevant today than ever before.

What is your best career advice?
The most influential person in your career trajectory is you. It seems an obvious thing to say but so many people think that if they work hard, the opportunities will just come to them. The reality is that working hard is just the entry ticket – navigating beyond the entrance is very much down to the individual.

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headshot of Patrick Flaherty
Patrick Flaherty
Managing Director, Credit Suisse

Patrick Flaherty is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Global Markets division, based in London. He is the Senior Relationship Manager for our large Hedge Fund and Asset Manager clients in Europe, running the sector coverage with Key Account Management responsibilities across the bank.

Patrick was previously responsible for the Prime Services clients in Europe, running all the client facing businesses across financing for hedge funds including origination, consultancy and Capital Services. Prior to that, he was Head of European Equity Sales in London.

He joined Credit Suisse First Boston in 1998, from HSBC where he was Head of European Equities Sales. Between 1994 and 1996, he established HSBC James Capel’s European Emerging Markets Equities Sales and Research team. Prior to that, Patrick was a European Equities salesman in London and Sydney.

Patrick holds a BA (Hons.) in Economics from Birmingham City University. He is Chairman of the Credit Suisse EMEA Corporate Citizenship Foundation, and is also a member of the Teach First National Development Board. “City Year is an inspiring organisation. I spent a day wearing the City Year red jacket and serving alongside the corps members at a school in Hackney. It was a great experience and it was obvious the corps members were gaining as much from the experience as the children they were mentoring. The corps members make a big difference to the children in schools but they also develop new skills themselves, making them more competitive in the job market.”

Who is your hero?
My mother, who guided me with her positive attitude and her strength to cope even in the most difficult circumstances. She taught me to empathise with people from all walks of life.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell - for the way it illustrates how the actions of a single individual can be the catalyst to a global event, or can start a trend that eventually becomes the accepted norm for how to do something, and thereby changes the course of history!

What is your best career advice?
Let your light shine, be open to opportunities and adaptive to change.

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headshot of Charlie Geffen
Charlie Geffen
Senior Adviser, Flint-Global Chair at The International Stock Exchange; Non-Executive Director at Kentech

Charlie Geffen is a Senior Adviser at Flint-Global, Chair at The International Stock Exchange and a Non-Executive Director at Kentech. Previously he was the Senior Partner at the law firm Ashurst and Chair of the corporate practice at Gibson Dunn in London. He is Deputy Chair at The Institute of Cancer Research and a member of Council at Surrey University.
He is also a mentor for senior women in the Mentoring Foundation’s Cross Mentoring Scheme, an external adviser on Department for Education panels for Free Schools and participates in Speakers for Schools.
Charlie’s interest in education and improving social mobility has been central to his decision to join the City Year UK Board.

Who is your hero?
My heroes are my children who constantly show optimism and enthusiasm for the future.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell which examines the factors that lead to success and identified the “10,000 hours rule” of constant practice to achieve excellence.

What is your best career advice?
Working hard is essential. Learning resilience is tough and hurts but is also key. And being cheerful, volunteering with a smile and engaging with people maximises your chances for the luck that you will always need.

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headshot of CYUK Trustee Kasey Hooper
Kasey Hooper
Chief Marketing Officer, 80 Acres Farms

Kasey has 15 years of experience in the consumer industry, and is focused on scaling sustainable technologies to be commercially viable. She is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at 80 Acres Farms, an indoor farming company with the goal of disrupting today’s lengthy & inefficient food chain.

Previously, Kasey was the Chief of Strategy at Avon Products leading up to the Natura/Avon merger which formed the world’s largest B Corporation. Kasey was also Head Merchant at Crate & Barrel (a U.S. based consumer company) for 5 years, leading the commercial P&L for the Crate & Barrel business unit. Prior to Crate & Barrel, Kasey worked for McKinsey & Company in their Washington DC and Chicago offices, where she consulted international consumer and retail businesses across a range of topics.

Kasey received a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and a BS in Economics from Duke University, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in London with her husband and two children. Kasey is passionate about supporting children and young adults in their development – in her own life, she has constantly been amazed at how much passion and impact younger generations can bring. Prior to moving to the UK, Kasey was on the Retail Advisory Board at Syracuse University to provide guidance to undergraduates in their transition to the professional world.

Who is your hero?
There are many people who I look up to. As a mother myself, I find mothers who immigrate to a new country so incredible - I am in awe of their ability to navigate both motherhood and a new country at once.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
“Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss – I have kept my copy since childhood, and still pull it out when it’s a particularly tough week.

What is your best career advice?
Design a career to play off your strengths – and first and foremost, focus on building and growing those strengths. As far as your weaknesses: be hyperaware and manage them, but don’t spend too much time trying to change them – it’s all part of the package.

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headshot of CYUK Trustee Sachin Jogia
Sachin Jogia
General Manager of Alexa Smart Home International, Amazon

Sachin is an experienced business and technology executive with expertise in advertising technology, business strategy and operations, marketing, artificial intelligence, leadership and mentoring. Currently serving as the General Manager of Alexa Smart Home International at Amazon, his team is responsible for ensuring customers around the world can access voice-based ambient computing controls and automation, including room lighting, temperature control, security and feeling more comfortable in and out of their homes. Previously, Sachin built and managed digital advertising technologies through his product management leadership across Advertising.com, AOL and Amazon based both in the UK and USA.

Sachin is deeply passionate about using ‘Technology for Good’, and partnered with the CTO of the British Heart Foundation to establish their Technology Advisory Group, of which he is the Chairman. Additionally, he supports TeachFirst by mentoring trainee computer science teachers. He is also a volunteer at BeTheBusiness, mentoring CEOs/MDs at UK-based Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

At Amazon, he also supports various outreach initiatives, including Amazon Future Engineer - to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to try computer science, and advises the London Charity Committee. Sachin holds a BSc (Hons.) in Physics from Imperial College London and spends time advancing his knowledge in artificial intelligence and tech for good, while searching for areas to close the education gap for disadvantaged communities.

Who is your hero?
Not just one: all the children that fight every day to get the education they deserve, and ultimately thrive, no matter their background. Their grit and determination will change the world for the better.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Sapiens" – the depth of Yuval’s research and analysis into the history of humankind is unparalleled and inspirational. It drove me to really think differently about the world, our place in it, and how that has changed over the recent millennia.

What is your best career advice?
Always raise your hand and volunteer to take on new opportunities – even if you don’t think you have the bandwidth or skillset. The worst that can happen is that you’ll simply learn something new – the best could be carving out a new exciting career path, or a step towards a more fulfilling future.

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headshot of Joseph Knoll
Joseph Knoll
Managing Director, TowerBrook

Mr. Knoll is a Managing Director of TowerBrook. Previously, Mr. Knoll was a Director of York Capital where he helped build the European distressed and event-driven credit business.
He was Head of European Restructurings and led numerous formal and informal credit committees on behalf of York and other creditors. Mr. Knoll also sat on numerous Boards, both Public and Private, on behalf of York. Prior to joining York in 2008, he was the founding member of the Principal Investing Group of Morgan Stanley based in London and New York.
Mr. Knoll started his career at Merrill Lynch as an Investment Banker in the leveraged finance team in New York and earned his B.S. from Yeshiva University.

headshot of trustee Pauline Maddison
Pauline Maddison
Director, PMM Consultants Limited

Pauline is a Director of PMM Consultants Limited, advising on children’s services. She is currently interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services in Kingston.

She has held various posts in local and central government in education and children services. She was Director of Education and Community Learning and then Director of Children and Young People in the London Borough of Newham, where she had responsibility for education and children’s social care. In central government, she has been senior adviser for school standards. She was also children’s services adviser, advising 7 local authorities in London, including Haringey, and was closely involved in the baby P case.

Pauline started her career in teaching in her home area of the Sunderland, in the north east before moving into educational administration in the early 1980s. She is still a keen fan of Sunderland AFC. She became involved in City Year in May 2011 and is chair of the Programme Committee as well as being a member of the Board. She is also trustee of a charity in Rotherhithe, a school governor and a Sunday school teacher.

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headshot of Rodney Williams
Rodney Williams
Lead Project Manager, National Grid

Rodney Williams is a Lead Project Manager for National Grid and responsible for a team of engineers that deliver a programme of construction projects.

From 2016 – 2019, Rodney led ‘ONE’, National Grid’s multicultural employee resource group, whose ambition is to support the black, Asian and minority ethnic community at work. As Chair, Rodney relaunched the network, boosting membership by 95% and nurturing new programs such as the successful reverse mentoring scheme. Rodney also co-founded the ‘Development Programme for Diverse Leaders,’ a company-first course designed to accelerate and support BAME employees to positions of management.

Rodney was ranked number 2 in the EMpower and Yahoo Finance Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader Role Models list 2020. His other key achievements include winning the National Grid Chairman’s Award for his efforts undertaken with the ‘ONE’ ERG and being selected to meet HRH Prince Charles. He has also been interviewed by ITV’s ‘Tonight’ program for his contributions to inclusion and diversity within business.

Rodney is an experienced speaker on inclusion in the workplace, having spoken at several INvolve events, Gastech conferences in Texas and Barcelona, and Business in the Community events. Outside of work, Rodney is a trustee for City Year UK, a youth social action charity, and an active member of UNISON.

Who is your hero?
Barack Obama – The challenges that he has overcome to be a success and what he represents really stand out. I recall being at a graduate careers fair in 2010 and seeing an image of him wearing the iconic red City Year jacket, this stuck with me and convinced me to be a part of City Year.

What is the most powerful book you have ever read?
"Sovereignty" – Ryan Michler: this is a life changing book that can provide you with direction in life and put you on the path to being a success.

What is your best career advice?
“Fake it till you make it”.

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