Our Staff

Photo of Yumna Abuhassan

Yumna Abuhassan- Associate Director, Programs/Partnerships

Yumna is a development expert with over ten years of experience in managing and assessing humanitarian and development projects in Jordan and 15 years in the field of education both in Jordan and the US. She has extensive experience in managing and supervising projects pertaining to resilience and refugee programs.

She has developed, implemented, and monitored projects across Jordan as Programs Director for Save the Children Jordan (SCJ) and also headed the Training and Consultancy Division of the Jordan River Foundation, worked as Programs Director for Mercy Corps, and as Development Officer for the American Center for Oriental Research.

Yumna has M.A. degree in Education from Boston University.

Favorite book:

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

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David Acquaye – Operations Coordinator

David has followed and supported the vision of Worldreader since 2011 when he vied for an operations support role. It’s a dream come true for him to be part of the Worldreader family.

David’s experience spans over 5 years, supporting operations, administration and field functions in different funded projects in Ghana. Most recently, he was instrumental in enrolling over 10,000 households in a USAID funded project aimed at reducing Malnutrition in nursing mothers and children in Northern Ghana.

David will energize the Worldreader office experience, and play a key role supporting the administrative and operational needs of the West Africa team. He holds a degree in Agriculture Technology from the University of Development Studies, and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

His favorite book is Loyalty and Disloyalty by Dag Heward Mills.

Photo of Kezia Agbenyega

Kezia Agbenyega – Publisher Relations Manager

Based in Accra, Ghana, Kezia leads West African Angolphone Publisher and Author Relations. She desires to see more children all over the world read and love books from a very young age. To enable her to become a change agent in the area of reading, she conducted a research in the Factors that will Influence Lifelong Reading Among Tweenagers in Ghana.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Publishing Studies. She has worked in the Ghanaian Publishing industry for the past seven years and is a freelance editor.

Currently reading:

Living from the Heart by Nirmala

Photo of Abdul-Kahad Alhassan

Abdul-Kahad Alhassan – Program Manager

Abdul helps Worldreader’s education team and leads training design and implementation in Ghana. He has over a decade of experience working as a teacher in basic education. He enjoys teaching and believes that children should have a deep and strong foundation in reading to support their endless learning. Throughout his career, Abdul has conducted a variety of teacher training programs on pedagogy, curriculum development as well as motivational and study skills for students. He has also worked with the Ghanaian Danish Community Programme as an accounts/administrative assistant.

He studied Commerce at University of Cape Cost in Ghana and has a Diploma in accounting from Tamale Polytechnic in Ghana.

His most reflective read:

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne.

Photo of Samuel Alomenu

Samuel Alomenu – Programs Manager

Samuel leads partnership development activities and scaling opportunities in West Africa. This includes working with new partners to successfully implement e-reading programs and train school project managers. He also manages media relations for Worldreader Ghana.

Sammy started a reading community in his neighborhood called Eselfone, which aimed to spread the message of self-education — to get people to pick up a book and to pick up a passion. His belief was that if only every kid were to learn to enjoy reading, their community would be a better place. He volunteered for Worldreader for a year as part of the Eselfone team.

How Reading Changed His Life:

As a child, his father would always buy him the “junior graphic” [a newspaper for young people] and ask him to learn about the world. Reading has taken to him to worlds unknown, and for him, that is what all children need to be empowered with; the opportunity to feed their imagination and explore the endless possibilities in their world.

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Walter Alvarado – CreceLee Director

Walter oversees Crecelee, our first project in Peru, and works closely with Marco and Pablo. He has several years of experience leading and running CSR departments and projects in the corporate sector, with a special interest in communications and stakeholder relations.

Walter graduated from Universidad de Lima with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. He also obtained an MBA degree from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

A few top choices in books he recommends are:

The Element, by Ken Robinson; El Hombre Duplicado, by Jose Saramago; Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

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Jesús Ballivian – Grant Writer

Jesús brings over eight years of experience in proposal development, project management and critical policy analysis, working alongside nonprofit, academic, and multilateral organizations engaged in key Sustainable Development Goals sectors (e.g. education, gender equality, WASH).

Jesús holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Favorite books include:

Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Divya Bansal – Sr. Node.js Engineer

After earning a Master’s degree from one of the best engineering institutions in India, Divya entered the software engineering world to explore her passion for coding. She has spent the last 8 years learning everything there is to know about this industry.

Divya has held a number of roles, from Associate Software Engineer in Automation to Senior Software Engineer, and most recently she helped to build new software solutions fast and heavily loaded new generation API servers and databases.

In her own words:

Influenced by fast growing and changing IT industry, I aspire to build, lead and manage fully automated and fault resisting systems in the future.

Photo of Lulu Botwey

Lulu Botwey – Administrative Assistant

Lulu has joined the Finance team in Barcelona and is key to maximize the overall efficacy and productivity of the team. She is currently in her final year at the University of ESEI (Barcelona, Spain) in collaboration with Worcester University (UK) pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

For the past 6 months, she has worked with Natura Selection as an intern in their logistics department and also helping the other departments with various administrative tasks. She has volunteered for OAfrica in teaching sports and helping kids with their homework.

Her favorite book is Poor Economics and two of her favorite authors are Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

Photo of Roberta Campassi

Roberta Campassi – Publisher Relations Manager

Roberta works on both the Production and Content teams. She sources books in Portuguese and English and manages strategic relationships with publishers and authors in Portuguese-speaking countries as well as in South Africa.

She holds a Masters Degree in Book Studies from the University of Mainz, in Germany, and a BA in Journalism. Prior to Worldreader, Roberta worked in Brazil as a journalist, as an acquisitions editor in a publishing house and as a business development manager with an e-book producer.

“Falling in love with a book is to me one of the greatest little joys of life. I’ve recently fallen in love with Plantation Memories, by Grada Kilomba; The Business of Books, by André Schiffrin, and Tschick, by Wolfgang Herrndorf.”

Photo of William Coffey

William Coffey – Compliance Manager

William Coffey is a member of our infrastructure team. He is responsible for compliance and data privacy, ensuring Worldreader’s activities and systems globally remain abreast of evolving regulations and best practice. William’s passion is leveraging new technologies to drive innovation and sustainability.

William has an Honours Degree in Economics & Law from Downing College, Cambridge University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley. In his free time, William enjoys, travelling, photography and playing the cello in a local amateur orchestra.

Currently reading:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.

Photo of Tanja Commike

Tanja Commike – Executive Assistant & Admin Coordinator

Tanja provides executive support to our CEO and Co-Founder, David Risher, and serves as Board Liaison. She also coordinates and performs a wide variety of administrative duties across several other departments. Her background is in luxury hospitality, where she has worked in different countries for more than 10 years prior to starting a family. She feels passionate about working with and for people and creating memorable experiences and is overjoyed at the opportunity of bringing literacy to people without access to books. She speaks German and English fluently.

Books that left a lasting impression on her:

As a child The Animals of Farthing Wood, and as a young adult Buddenbrooks, Decline of a Family.

Twitter: @tcommike

Photo of Annya Crane

Annya Crane – Project Manager

Over the past 4 years at Worlreader, Annya has managed programs such as Read to Kids in India and contributed to the success of Tuta Tuta in Jordan. She currently leads on our behavior change work supporting a variety of projects worldwide.

Annya comes with a diverse work experience ranging from policy work and advocacy at UNESCO, passing through consumer marketing and international development. Annya grew up in a foreign country and then moved to yet another at the age of 17, she doesn’t only speak three languages entirely fluently but has a natural affinity and curiosity for understanding new cultures and forging connections. Annya completed her studies in Communication, Cultural Management and International Development.

Photo of Selena Garrahan

Selena Garrahan – Brand Content Manager

Selena is a member of the Marketing and Communications team and manages the communication with Worldreader’s social media communities. She plays a key role in creating and editing new engaging content for our blog. She also assists with design needs for social media use and with the management of marketing campaigns.

Selena studied Business Management at Newcastle University and has international experience in marketing and business development for companies such as Coty and Elizabeth Arden.

Currently reading:

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.

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Wanjiku Gathoni – Regional Manager, Impact & Evaluation

Wanjiku Gathoni Munyiri believes that Monitoring and Evaluation is an integral part of any project being implemented and is inevitable for the success of any project. She is passionate about recording results and learning lessons from any intervention.

She has an undergraduate course in Business and Information Technology and supplemented this with certificate courses in Monitoring and Evaluation, Statistical Package for Social Sciences to strengthen her skill in Monitoring and evaluation. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Project Planning and Management. She has previously worked for the United Nations- World Food Programme, African Women’s Studies Centre and for Parliament of Kenya.

Her favorite author:

Joel Osteen

Photo of Sergio Grau

Sergio Grau – Analytics Manager

As a key member of the technology team, Sergio brings lots experience in data, software and data publishing. His team collects, store and analyze books, readership, and other data that help us increase the impact of Worldreader’s reading products. He has more than 15 years of experience in different academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University (USA), Nottingham Trent University (UK), and the University of Oxford (UK).

Sergio graduated with a B.Eng. degree in Computer Science from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), and a Specialized Master from Telecom Bretagne (France). Furthermore, he holds an M.Sc. degree in Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.

Favorite children’s book: Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver by Michael Ende

Last book read: La casa by Paco Roca

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Rachel Heavner – Associate Director, Impact and Evaluation

As part of the Global Insights and Emerging Initiatives team, Rachel supports Worldreader’s mission through research, cross-team coordination, and strategic planning. Beginning her career as an Editorial Research Assistant at Hesperian Books, she later spent a year teaching English and French at a teacher training college in Northwest Tanzania where she launched a computer course and after-school tutoring program.

Rachel holds a BA in International Affairs and French from Skidmore College and a Masters Degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Favorite children’s book: Daniel Pinkwater’s The Big Orange Splot.

As an adult: Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.

Photo of Rachel Heavner

Marco Hurtado – Associate Director, Program and Operations for CreceLee

Marco is responsible of all CreceLee activities and operations. He has been actively involved in human development projects in Latin America for the last ten years, in a wide range of topics: entrepreneurship, gender studies, capacity building, and public policies.

He graduated Cum Laude from Pacifico University with a Bachelor of Business Sciences and received an MBA from Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business School from Barcelona, Spain.

He highly recommends Blindness, by Portuguese author José Saramago.

Photo of Ivan Koomson

Ivan Koomson – Associate Director, Operations

Ivan is responsible for Worldreader’s global supply chain and logistics operations. Prior to Worldreader, Ivan worked at PEG Ghana where he led a team of data analysts to provide solar solutions to 7,000 households within a year, including gathering customer insights.

Ivan studied Chemical Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, where he received his Bachelor of Science. He also holds a Master’s Degree from the Brunel University in London.

His favorite books are The Clothes of Nakedness by Benjamin Kwakye and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. He is currently reading Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead

Photo of Pradeep Kumar

Pradeep Kumar – Associate Director, Programs and Partnerships

Pradeep has been working in the Indian development sector for over 18 years, managing education, protection and humanitarian programs with grassroots, national and international NGOs both in rural and urban settings. With Room to Read since January 2015, he managed operations in various states and specifically led a Scaling up Early Reading Intervention (SERI) program across the state of Uttarakhand.

Pradeep holds a Masters in Education & Political Science and a Masters in Philosophy in Education from the University of Delhi. He lives in Delhi with his wife, daughter, and son.

Reading is one of Pradeep’s passions alongside traveling, movies and sports. He loves Urdu Shayari (a genre of poetry) and can recite Urdu and Hindi poems for hours. He is currently reading ‘The Idea of India’ by Sunil Khilnani. This book explores the journey of India and its evolution since its independence in 1947.

Kevin Lauber – Major Gifts Manager

As a part of the Development team, Kevin works directly with our donors to communicate program success stories, manage fundraising events, and cultivate Worldreader’s global sponsorship program. He has over 7 years experience working in account management and client relations.

Kevin studied Marketing and International Business at the University of Cincinnati.

Favorite book:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

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Omega Letana – Business Information Systems Manager

Omega holds a BA in International Studies and Linguistics from CSU Long Beach and a Masters in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco’s School of Education.

She has volunteered and worked for various nonprofits locally and internationally and has also taught English at a public elementary school in South Korea.

Omega is fascinated with languages and is always interested in learning about other cultures.

Current Reading:

In the Country by Mia. Alvar, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

 

Photo of Ryan Lew

Ryan Lew – Operations Manager

Ryan is a member of the Programs Team, helping scale up Worldreader’s operations in San Francisco. Ryan is passionate about teaching and is highly-motivated by exciting new opportunities afforded by digital technologies to empower students and educators with access to quality books and educational materials. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MS Ecology from the University of California Davis, where he designed genetic assessment tools for monitoring endangered species.

Current Reading List:

Science, Faith, and Society; the Unbearable Lightness of Being; The Baobabs of Tete

 

Photo of Darina Lucheva

Darina Lucheva – Digital Production Manager

Darina works on the globally dispersed Content team and leads its Production sub-team in Barcelona. She oversees the production workflow of the organization, from the moment our publishers and authors share books with us until the moment their books are made available to our readers via Worldreader’s digital platforms. Liaising closely with publishing representatives and technical solutions providers, she contributes to keeping Worldreader’s digital library vibrant and compliant with industry standards.

Darina holds an MA degree in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Bradford, with a thesis on the potential of popular culture to foster peace-building in fragile contexts. She also has a BA in International Relations from the University of National and World Economy and a certificate of International and Global Studies from Bard College.

Books she can read over and over again:

Avalanche, by Blaga Dimitrova and The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Raimon Malatesta – Engineering Manager

Raimon is experienced in web development, cloud technologies and architecting complex software systems which will help the tech team improve and enhance the systems. He is a passionate software analyst and developer with more than 15 years of experience programming in various languages. Most of his previous experience has been in startups, applying Agile methodologies. Over the last years, he’s been managing multidisciplinary teams building complex and ambitious software solutions.

Raimon holds a Masters in Digital and IT Management at La Salle University at Barcelona.

His last reads are:

Orson Scott Card’s The Ender’s Game Saga.

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Benson Mbuthia – Regional Program Manager

Benson is experienced in designing, implementing and monitoring youth, education, employment, TVET and financial capability projects at national scale. He previously led project co-ordination for DfID funded Girl Education Challenge and the GEC-Transition projects under Leonard Cheshire Disability. He also led designing and implementation of Youth and Health Communication Programs in USAID funded APHIAplus Projects as well as held various other roles at Save the Children.

He holds A Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from University of Nairobi and currently pursuing Master of Science in Health System Management (Msc.HSM).

His best read is:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Kirimi Mitambo – Publisher Relations Manager

Kirimi describes himself as a self-motivated and innovative individual who is proactive, creative and analytical; A publishing and digital literacy professional knowledgeable in the 21st Century learning trends, research, strategy and organizational skills. A Knowledge Management and the Future of Work enthusiast. A life-long learner.

Kirimi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics (Kiswahili) and has taken online courses on Digital Marketing, and Project Management Principles and Practices.

His favorite books include:

Smart Thinking by Art Markman; Mastery by Robert Greene, and The Future of Work by Jacob Morgan

Photo of Muthoni Muhunyo

Muthoni Muhunyo – Senior Manager, Content & Business Development

Muthoni initially joined Worldreader as a volunteer and is now managing publisher relations in Kenya. “Volunteering at Worldreader was where my passion for charity met my profession. A soft spot for designing children’s storybooks not only gives me an opportunity to read them but envision children enjoying them as ebooks.”

A layout artist and publishing coach with over 10+ years of cross-border experience in the book publishing industry, Muthoni completed her studies at the Institute of Advanced Technology.

Her favorite books are:

The Bible and books by Seth Godin and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Twitter: @mmuhunyo

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Austin Okoth – Programs Assistant

Austin supports a network of LEAP 2 libraries in implementing e-reading programs, in greater Western Kenya.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and is an ardent fan of growth of language and creativity expression in English. Having worked as a teacher of English, as well as on various community-based projects in marginalized parts of the country.

His favorite book is ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Photo of Mar Ortega Pueyo

Mar Ortega Pueyo – Accountant & Financial Analyst

Mar is an integral part of the Finance team and is the owner of all accounting, tax and financial analysis for our Spain and UK entities. She manages our audits for those entities as well as completes bookkeeping, monthly revenue and expense analysis and generally keeps the team moving by eliminating any administrative roadblocks. As a former tax consultant, Mar is experienced in accountancy and financial procedures and assists Worldreader navigate through issues on a daily basis. She has also previous experience working with children in the education sector as a volunteer.

She holds degrees in Economics and Business Administration from Pompeu Fabra University, a Masters in Tax Consultancy and an Advanced Course on Accountancy from Barcelona School of Management.

A book she always keeps at hand:

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.

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Bernard Osei-Aning – Data Engineer

Bernard is a Data Specialist with exceptional multi-disciplinary background in information technology, Econometric Research and Statistical Modeling with software engineering and data management skills. His previous experience includes working with Databank, Hollard Insurance Ghana and Procredit (Fidelity Bank) where he played key roles in  database management, reporting and analytics as well as software engineering.

Bernard is Oracle-Certified in SQL, Advanced PLSQL and Java Development, and holds a masters in Quantitative Finance with a thesis on Time Series Data Mining from the University of London, a postgraduate diploma in Management Information Systems, GIMPA and a double major in Mathematics and Economics from the University Of Ghana.

His favorite books include:

Kane and Abel by Jeffery Archer and The Godfather by Mario Puzo

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Ana Prior Martín – EBook & QA Specialist

As the Worldreader’s E-book and Quality Assurance Specialist, Ana focuses on troubleshooting the books in our collection and streamlining production processes. Ana previously worked in Germany and Switzerland as a Technical Writer and in the UK as a Production Coordinator.

She holds a masters degree in Digital Publishing from Oxford Brookes University, and her major project as part of her studies looked to improve the readability of academic e-books via the design and development of an MVP for an academic e-reading application.

The first book that hooked her into reading as a child:

The Little Vampire by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg

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Fernando Saltos – Graphic and UX Designer

Fernando is a design lover, passionate about motion graphics and animation. He believes that his work should not only be an inspiring creative design, but that working holistically as a group is equally as valuable to deliver real value.

Fernando holds a Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Postproduction and a Degree in Graphic Design and Audiovisual Production.

He is currently reading:
The VES Handbook of Visual Effects: Industry Standard VFX Practices and Procedures.

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Guillem Santapau – Front End Developer

Guillem is a senior Web Developer and certified Agile Project Manager with a wide range of experience in web projects. With more than 8 years of experience in WordPress Front-End and Back-End implementation, he has started projects of his own as well as delivered great websites for multiple companies and institutions.

Guillem has also worked in the Media Industry in London and Barcelona as a Video Editor and Motion Graphics Specialist. He is passionate about technology & design and enjoys working in all kind of multimedia projects mixing his web and media expertise.

His most recent read:
Deep Work by Cal Newport.

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Ruth Sorby – Manager, UK Development

As a member of the Development Team, Ruth has an important role in a fast-growing part of the organization. Ruth identifies and develops new donor engagement and fundraising opportunities across the UK to benefit e-reading programs in Africa, India and beyond. Ruth’s eclectic mix of experience includes roles at Lucas Industries, McLaren – the Formula One team and The University of Surrey before progressing through fundraising roles at UK charity, Action for Children.

Ruth holds a BSc in Management and Strategy from Aston University, the Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma and more recently gained the Institute of Fundraising Diploma.

Ruth’s first memories of reading were:
Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, a tale that was lovingly passed on within her family across the generations.

Photo of Mawuli Tekpor

Mawuli Tekpor – Accountant

Mawuli is a key member of the Finance team and owns our accounting and financial planning for West Africa. He is located in our Ghana office and works very closely with all teams as well as our Country Manager. He is experienced in accountancy, auditing, internal controls and financial procedures in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He previously worked with an NGO specializing in child development with programs in education, sponsorship and health in Ghana. In addition to finance, Mawuli serves as our office manager in Ghana, ensuring the team operates effectively and the office runs smoothly.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance & Banking and a Diploma in accounting from University of Professional Studies, Ghana. He is currently a student member of a professional accountancy body ACCA-UK.

His favorite books are:
Lessons I’ve learnt along the way’ & ‘Pathway to success’ by Mensah Otabil, ‘Love by God’ & ‘The Harvest’ by T.D Jakes and ‘The principles & power of vision’ by Myles Munroe.

Photo of Irina Timoshenko

Irina Timoshenko – Data Scientist

Irina brings diverse background combining both humanities and natural sciences. Her professional career is focused on applying quantitative methods on the analysis of human behavior and social processes. She previously worked in hospitality, market research, water utilities and energy efficiency sectors.

Irina holds degrees in both Mathematics and Sociology.

Currently reading:
Mycellium running

Photo of Julia Valencoso de Celis

Julia Valencoso de Celis – Senior Manager, Marketing

Julia manages a wide range of activities within the marketing department and is responsible for our website, e-mail automation efforts, performance analysis, branding, and supports product marketing and all digital activities. She has experience in PR, social media and event management, and previously worked in the consulting sector advising organizations activate their CSR programs.

She holds degrees in both Tourism Management and Advertisement and Public Relations from the University of Barcelona, a Master in Corporate Social Responsibility and a recently-achieved Master in Internet Business from ISDI.

Favorite International writer: Haruki Murakami

Favorite Spanish writer: Carlos Ruiz Zafón