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.
Living from the Heart by Nirmala
Abdul-Kahad Alhassan – Education Specialist
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.
Samuel Alomenu – Partnership Development Specialist
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.
Begoña Barinagarrementeria – Digital Assets Specialist
Begoña works in the Production Team. She has worked as a graphic designer in Spain & Mexico, in small studios and as a freelance, mainly in the publishing industry. She collaborates with a literacy organization in Mexico and has worked with teenagers in visual culture projects.
Begoña holds a Masters Degree in Visual Arts and Education from the University of Barcelona, with a thesis on the interpretation of wordless picture books.
The best books she read in 2015:
Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, Después del invierno by Guadalupe Nettel and Light Years by James Salter. She is currently reading M Train by Patti Smith.
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.
Nancy Brown – Associate Director, Content
As a member of the content team, Nancy builds and manages strategic relationships with publishers and authors in North America and South Africa. Nancy contributes to maintaining the freshness, relevance and value of Worldreader’s digital library by sourcing new content in these markets. Prior to this current role, Nancy worked in our Barcelona office helping to drive forward efforts in India. Nancy spent 5 months in India, bringing on new publishing partners, growing the size of Worldreader’s Indian library considerably.
Nancy holds degrees in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Alabama.
Her favorite quote on the power of books:
“Books should be called major and become canonical when over time they provide existing individuals with live options that will help them change for the better.” Mark Edmundson
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.”
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 passionately 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.
Morgan Cordary – Development Coordinator
As part of the Development Team, Morgan is responsible for grant-writing and foundation proposals, while generally supporting the team on business development projects. She has worked and volunteered for nonprofits across the U.S. and has a passion for writing and researching with a positive social impact. Morgan holds a Master of Science in Globalization with an emphasis in qualitative & quantitative research analysis from University College London, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Louisville.
Two of Morgan’s all-time favorite books:
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut and Ubik by Philip K. Dick.
Annya Crane – Project Manager
Annya is in charge of coordinating all aspects of the Mobile Reading to Children pilot in India, including involving key stakeholders, managing timelines and ensuring overall project success.
Until recently, Annya worked at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, coordinating large culture for development projects. Annya completed her studies in Communication, Cultural Management and International Co-operation, fields in which she worked for 5 years in Spain, Africa and South America.
Books she’s currently reading:
The autobiographical series My struggle from Norvegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard.
Stephanie “Teddy” Gomes – Digital Collection Manager
Teddy has been working in the digital publishing and library related world since 2006 completing large scale digitization and distribution projects.
She holds a BA in Art History from Smith College with a minor in Urban Studies, and a Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.
Loads of books to her 3 year old son, especially Corduroy, The Purple Crayon, and the Little Critter series (over and over).
Selena Garrahan – Community Manager
Selena is a member of the 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.
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.
Wanjiku Gathoni – M&E Specialist
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:
Denise Gonzalez – Office Manager
Denise was born in San Francisco and raised in the city’s Mission district. She has led office and operations management in and around San Francisco since 2011 and loves making sure her colleagues have an amazing experience in their workplace. Denise brings the fun wherever she goes and revels in making people dance and hopefully laugh.
Comic books are the top of her reading list (Spider-Man is a favorite) along with memoirs by Michelle Tea (SF author who writes about her experiences on Valencia street).
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
Rachel Heavner – Global Insights Coordinator
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.
Penelope Labram – Product Manager
Penelope helps ensure the apps and webpages Worldreader uses to serve up books are created in a way that makes it easy and engaging for readers to read. She comes from a technical background, having worked for several years at Vistaprint and worked with a variety of startups in the Barcelona area.
Penelope studied Philosophy at the University of Leeds (UK) and the Université de Nantes (France).
“Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho. Not as morbid as it sounds!”
Masús Larrey Martirena – Publisher Relations Manager
Masús collaborates with the digital publishing team to increase our Spanish content. Masús was born and raised in Mexico City to parents who had emigrated from Spain. Twenty years ago she moved to Barcelona to study and has remained here ever since. She has a diverse career spanning various marketing consultancies and international companies such as Chupa Chups and Novartis.
Masús has a first degree in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and an MBA from ESADE, Barcelona.
Her beloved book:
“La sonrisa etrusca by Jose Luis Sampedro. I have read it ten times and always cry and laugh. It is amazing how the written word can transmit so many emotions.”
Omega Letana – Operations Assistant
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.
In the Country by Mia. Alvar, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
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 Berkeley, 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
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
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.
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
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
Valentina Morotti – Digital Assets Specialist
Valentina is helping the production team handle book conversion and optimization, upload books to our digital platforms, and solve upload and display problems across different platforms and clients. Prior to joining Worldreader, she worked with Spanish subscription platform 24symbols both in Europe and in the United States, where she set up the New York City office of the company and was charged with the responsibility of negotiating with US publishers for the acquisition of content in English.
She holds an M.A. in Digital Publishing from Universidad de Alcalá de Henares as well as additional courses, the most recent being the Yale Publishing Course “Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing”.
As far as stories and authors are concerned, her top 5 is:
The Great Gatsby, enduring favorite, Mrs Dalloway, Pennac and his awesome Malaussène tribe, El otoño del patriarca and Calvino’s Commento all’Orlando Furioso.
Muthoni Muhunyo – Sr Manager, Publisher & Author Relations
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.
Salifu Mutaru – Technology and Operations Assistant
After high school, Salifu volunteered for Worldreader Ghana to encourage students to read as part of the eselfone team. As a college student, he had the opportunity to intern with companies like JP Morgan UK, Vodafone and ArchiAfrika. In his short stay in these organizations, he prides himself on working with teams to build from scratch systems that solved real problems.
Salifu holds a BSc in Computer Science from Ashesi University College in Ghana.
His favorite books:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, for being a subtle teacher
The Great Gatsby, for being a rich Literature.
The Master Algorithm, for making Machine Learning easy to understand
Valerie Noisette – E-reader Program Manager
Valerie has over 10 years of experience working in the education sector. In 2010, she began to work in Haiti as an Education Technical Advisor for World Vision International just a couple of months after the earthquake. In addition, Valerie has overseen a variety of small to large scale projects including: Basic Education, Literacy, ICT, Vocational Training, and Teacher Training. Valerie speaks four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Kreyol.
Valerie holds a BA in International Relations from Florida International University and an AMS Early Childhood Montessori certification from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center.
Her favorite books is:
“A New Earth,” by Eckhart Tolle
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.
Martine James Omondi – Operations Manager
Martine plays a key role in implementing and tracking Worldreader’s e-reading programs throughout Kenya. His background and experience is in Information Technology. He has worked with the United States International University, USIU Africa and Bridge International Academies. He was actively involved in IT support and management, configuration, testing, training and implementing of smartphone applications and e-readers in Kenyan low cost primary schools.
He studied Information Technology at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya.
His favorite book is ‘Become a Better You’ by Joel Osteen.
Heather O’Neil – Manager, School and Library Reading Programs
As a member of the School and Library team, Heather manages Worldreader’s digital reading programs based in schools and libraries across sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Worldreader, Heather oversaw resource mobilization activities at EcoAgriculture Partners in Washington, D.C. She has also worked on cholera prevention in Sierra Leone, as an HIV counselor in Detroit, a housing advocate in the Bronx, and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa.
Heather holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan and a M.A. in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University.
Some of her favorite books:
Love in the Time of Cholera; Long Walk to Freedom; On the Road; Americanah; Under the Banner of Heaven.
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.
Ana Prior Martín – E-book and Quality Assurance 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
Laura Ross-Perry – Assistant Manager, Reading Programs & Partnerships
Laura has a background in global program management and volunteer coordination, and most recently spent a year living and working in Ghana as the Director of Operations for a small education NGO. There she managed and expanded peer-tutoring programs directed at furthering education for needy students in Kumasi, Ghana, and exponentially grew her love for West Africa and education and poverty-alleviation work.
She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with an emphasis on Ethnomusicology and Religious Studies.
Her favorite books are:
Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev, Emma Donoghue’s Room, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and Bob Dylan’s The Lyrics
Ethel Sakitey – Regional Programs Manager
Ethel oversees the implementation and management of Worldreader programs in West Africa. She has over thirteen years of program management experience within the development, public health, and education sectors. She was previously a Country Director and a Program Officer for Right to Play’s West and Francophone Africa (WAFA) Regional Office in Ghana.
Ethel holds a Master of Philosophy Degree in Public Health from the University of Ghana, Legon and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work and Sociology from the same University.
Her favorite book is “Attitude is Everything” by Keith Harrell.
Fernando Saltos – Graphic 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.
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.
Ruth Sorby – UK Development Manager
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.
Greg Surh – Development Coordinator
Greg manages the Development team’s Salesforce data and is working closely on the BLUE Box program. Prior to Worldreader, Greg held stints at the Chicago History Museum, a small documentary film production organization, and the Internet Archive before landing his first fundraising position at San Francisco AIDS Foundation, where he spent the previous two years supporting their donor services, development operations, and direct response fundraising program needs.
Greg holds a BA in General Humanities / English Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an MA in Cultural Policy from the University of Chicago.
Book that got him hooked onto reading as a child:
The Witches by Roald Dahl
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.
Julia Valencoso de Celis – Marketing Manager
Julia manages a range of activities within the marketing department and is responsible for brand and event management as well as PR efforts in Africa. She has experience in the consulting sector advising organizations interested in activating their CSR programs by designing and implementing their activities. She is experienced in PR, social media and event management.
She holds degrees in Tourism Management and Public Relations from the University of Barcelona, and holds a Master in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Favorite International writer: Haruki Murakami
Favorite Spanish writer: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Nina got her undergraduate degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and completed a Masters in Global Health from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. Her professional background is primarily in business having worked for many years in the online payment industry as well as co-founding two small bar’s in Barcelona, however she has always had a desire to work with organizations making a positive change in the world, especially in the areas of education and technology.
During the last year and a half Nina volunteered at Worldreader in various capacities; starting off in Partnerships then assisting with the EiE Working Group and finally jumping in to help launch Read to Kids in Jordan.
She is an amateur triathlete, avid reader and travel fanatic.