With the blessing and encouragement of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, QCT launched in 2018 to support young people across the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth dedicated her life to service and remains an inspiration to many young people around the world.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as President and Vice-President respectively, actively supported the organisation as it got underway and remained with us until 2021.
TeamQCT’s mission is to help young people provide practical, positive change around the world.
The Board of Trustees leads and is accountable for the work of QCT. It sets the strategy, approves the brand identity, values and the annual business plan and budget. Trustees provide their expertise and time without charge.
Stephen Ball, Chairman
Stephen has served as CEO, Vice Chairman and Member of the Boards of Directors of Global Financial Institutions, Multinational Companies and leading Professional Services Firms. He practised law in the UK and USA with Slaughter and May and Linklaters before moving into Investment Banking in Asia-Pacific, the GCC and Europe.
He has been awarded The Freedom of the City of London; Euromoney rated him as one of ‘The World’s Leading Banking Lawyers’; The Lawyer ranked him as one of The Hot 100 Lawyers in the UK, describing his strategy as ‘making legal history’.
Stephen attends The United Nations, advises on The UN Sustainable Development Goals, The World Economic Forum in Davos and The Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. He is the General Editor of the book Hedge Funds published by the European Lawyer, winner of the Queen’s Award to Industry. He writes on Hong Kong, ASEAN, High Frequency Trading, Dark Pools, HLT’s and derivatives.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of Asia House, the think tank and is Chair of the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. He has served on the Board of Governors of The English National Ballet and Advisory Boards of The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Royal Albert Hall.
Abdullahi leads the World Economic Forum’s network of emerging young leaders, formally known as the Global Shapers across Africa and the Middle East. He works with thousands of young changemakers at the frontlines of tackling systemic injustices and reimagining a truly equitable post-Covid world order.
He is widely cited as a thought leader on the role of young people in systemic reform and his essays have been published by the likes of Foreign Policy, Forbes, CNBC and The Huffington Post.
To his credit, Abdullahi was conferred the Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. He was also the WA Young Australian of the Year.
Samantha Cohen CVO
Samantha is Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and Co-Chair of Cool Earth. Prior to this, Sam was Private Secretary to TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For 8 years, Sam was Assistant Private Secretary to HM The Queen and also served as Her Majesty’s Press Secretary.
She has been involved with QCT from its inception in 2016.
Deepak is Senior Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group and Leads Digital BCG in the UK, Belgium and Netherlands. He brings substantial experience in growing and scaling businesses as an entrepreneur (Virinchi), corporate executive (ICICIdirect.com) and as an advisor to corporate boards.
He has unique blend of perspectives spanning developed and emerging economies, living and working in the US, the UK, India, South East Asia and Middle East Africa. Having advised regional to global corporates across every continent, he brings a rich cross industry experience. He is especially passionate about diversity. He sponsors Women-In-Tech initiatives, starting with personally sponsoring multiple women across consulting and business services.
An active industry voice, Deepak regularly engages with business-relevant content online. Deepak is passionate about giving back to society and actively patronages the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) across the globe and mobilises the talent at BCG to social impact initiatives.
Janette is a partner at KPMG where she has worked for over 30 years, firstly in the audit practice and then in tax. She has a broad base of experience, having advised charities and family-owned businesses as well as listed international companies.
Janette has worked with the Royal household for a number of years and was involved in the organisation of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Throughout her career, she has been passionate about mentoring young people and empowering them with the confidence and tools to excel. She is also actively involved with raising awareness of mental health issues in young people and supporting charities that help young people and their families campaign for change.
Janette joined QCT in May 2019 and in her Trustee role provides support with Treasury and financial matters.
Aneeta is an international development and humanitarian advocate with a passion to prevent abuse, violence and exploitation and bring about justice for vulnerable victims and witnesses. Called to the Bar at the Middle Temple, Aneeta practised law for a decade while she completed her Master’s in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law followed by a Master’s in Child Studies at King’s College London.
She is a former Trustee of Keeping Children Safe, an international coalition of INGOs focussed on strengthening child safeguarding. She is fully committed to her work as a certified SEAH Investigator and Trainer with the CHS Alliance, a Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative Expert with the FCO working on conflict-related sexual violence and as an active member to the Independent Reference Group with DFID’s Safeguarding Unit.
She is currently Executive Director of Bridging Worlds Consulting Ltd, providing international aid agencies strategic consultancy services on safeguarding, gender, improving organisational culture and programme quality.
Ameer is His Majesty’s Consul General in Ekaterinburg, heading up one of Britain’s two diplomatic missions in Russia. He represents the UK and its interests in the Urals and Siberia. He started his career at an African social impact investor, AgDevCo, before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2015. As a diplomat, he has served to date in London, New York, West Africa and Hong Kong.
Outside of his day job, Ameer has a strong interest in food and drink. As well as cooking, he writes regularly, with a column in The Spectator. He is the author of the official Platinum Jubilee Cookbook, published in 2022 by Jon Croft Editions and with all proceeds going to charity. In 2021, having come up with an idea to create a new dessert as a lasting tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, he co-founded the nationwide Platinum Pudding Competition.
Ameer is a Liveryman of the Merchant Taylors’ Company and a Freeman of the City of London.
Meet the staff working at The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Petya FarnhillSenior Manager of Philanthropy & Partnerships
Petya grew up in Bulgaria and moved to the UK in 2000. She started her career at an investment bank and then became a lawyer at a City law firm where she also volunteered as a mentor at a small charity. The volunteering experience inspired Petya to look for a career in the charity sector.
She joined The Prince’s Trust where she focused on strengthening relationships with donors through bespoke and creative interactions. She also used every opportunity to volunteer and participate in sessions with young people.
“I love the fact that QCT believes in young people, trusts them to decide what their communities need most and then equips them to be leaders and change-makers.”
Mukami KimaniGrants & Organisational Development Manager
Mukami is a finance professional who brings over 10 years of consulting experience to QCT. Prior to joining QCT, she worked with local and international consulting firms and non-governmental entities where is offered financial and organisational development advisory and fund management services.
She has notable experience in analysing business models and managing grants across varied sectors and value chains with a view to maximise stakeholder returns.
“Being part of #TeamQCT excites me as it offers me an opportunity to give back to society by contributing my skills towards supporting the youth, who often than not have great ideas but lack the requisite support, in transforming the communities in which they live.”
Joyce KabeneGrants & Financial Development Manager
Joyce is a Finance and Grants managements specialist and Certified Public Accountant with 10 years’ experience working with various non-profit organisations and an international development consultancy firm championing for diverse causes including the sustainable development goals.
She has expertise in steering fund management, partner capacity building, instituting robust risk management, internal controls structures and financial management systems.
“I am passionate and enthusiastic about capacity building the organisations led by the youth as they are the leaders of tomorrow, What really excites me about #TeamQCT is our unwavering commitment to support the young people who are challenging the status quo and bringing positive change to the communities around them”.
Caroline MachariaMarketing & Communications Officer
Caroline brings to QCT close to 10 years of marketing and communications experience in an international development setting. Prior to joining QCT, she held various roles in marketing and communications in public and non-governmental grassroots community support organisations.
She is well versed in brand management and in strategic impact communication which has been aimed at forging strategic partnerships for grassroots community support. She holds an MSc in Communication for Development from the University of Reading.
Being part of #TeamQCT is an exciting opportunity for her because the young leaders QCT supports are an inspiring example of the collective action the world needs to be a better place.
Mujtaba ZaidiNetwork Strategy and Engagement Specialist (Consultant)
Mujtaba is an education and organisational development professional with over 10 years of experience in developing and implementing strategic plans and building and managing partnerships.
He brings to QCT consulting experience in the field of project management, strategic planning, and network engagement. He is a member and a founding chair of various national and international social entrepreneurial networks that engage with thousands of young social entrepreneurs from around the world.
He holds an MPhil in Educational Leadership and Management from Beaconhouse National University Pakistan. His social and entrepreneurial work has been recognised with numerous grants and awards such as The Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2018 by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.
He is excited about the opportunity to work at QCT because it is a renowned organization that shares his passion for empowering youth to become effective agents of change.
Development & Advisory Board
The Development & Advisory Board provides strategic support to the work of QCT reaching its charitable objectives and building transformational and long-lasting partnerships.
The Hon. Alex Catto
After a career in investment banking with JP Morgan, Morgan Grenfell and Lazard, Alex has been involved in a number of early stage businesses particularly in fund management.
He is lead trustee of a family grant giving charity which focuses on education, health and entrepreneurialism. He has a Masters in International Development from Edinburgh University. Alex is a long standing non-executive director of Synthomer plc a FTSE 250 international chemical company.
Alex and his family have been supporters of QCT from an early stage. The family recognised QCT’s unique ambition to provide funding and crucially a global network to support young Commonwealth entrepreneurs focused on improving lives within their communities.
Jennifer is the Co-Founder of Grandmother Collective, an international non-profit that harnesses the power of grandmothers as agents for social change. As a globally-focused social entrepreneur and gender advocate, her work focuses on community-led development and the power of intergenerational relationships to transform cultural and social institutions.
Jennifer serves on the board of The Grandmother Project in Senegal and previously served on the board of Sophia Oxford, a non-profit focused on engaging corporations in measuring and reducing multi-dimensional poverty. Her career spans more than two decades leading strategy and operations for premier media companies such as The New York Times. She holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia University’s Barnard College.
Jennifer deeply appreciates QCT’s commitment to listening to young leaders and helping ensure that their voices are heard. She shares: ‘I love hearing the insights and perspectives from the amazing QCT young leaders based on the broad range of work they undertake around the world. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to introduce these young leaders in the US and continue to see the incredible impact and inspiration they foster’
Naila is a philanthropist, transformational leader in social impact and human rights, global consultant and consummate networker. She builds strategic partnerships by identifying new sources of funding. Naila is a Global Advisor for Cure Violence Global and Chairperson for Womem4Empowerment. Naila’s work focuses on inspiring partners to work towards a world without violence and on engaging communities, youth, women and girls for optimum results in an inclusive world.
Her 28 years of senior management experience in 10 countries enables her to support the Annual First Ladies Luncheon in New York during the UN General Assembly. Naila sits on the Boards of international organisations. She is also a UNESCO Steering Committee Member and International Advisor for G20 C20 India.
Naila is inspired by QCT and its mission aligns with her current work – engaging youth changemakers to be catalysts for change. “Young people are the custodians of our future. My goal is to leave behind a better world for the next generation, and be the source of change.”
Adam von Gootkin
A lifelong entrepreneur, Adam von Gootkin’s pedigree in the spirits industry has spearheaded him as a global innovator. He formed Highclere Castle Spirits in partnership with the 8th Earl & Countess of Carnarvon, the owners of Highclere Castle, known as the “Real Downton Abbey”. Together they launched the award-winning Highclere Castle Gin and Highclere Castle Cigar.
Adam has successfully launched and advises numerous companies. He is committed to building ultra-luxury global products born of distinctly authentic brands rooted in the uniqueness of their terroir and provenance, a celebration of history, authenticity, and irreplaceable pedigree. He is committed to sustainable agriculture and manufacturing processes.
Adam has been featured on Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, NBC, ABC, and many other leading media platforms. He is exclusively represented by the Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau and he is an advisor to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust where he works to guide strategic financing initiatives and direction to best serve and foster young entrepreneurs of the Commonwealth countries.
Dr Kamel Hothi OBE
Kamel is a NED for TLC Lions supporting over 300 global companies on their inclusion, wellbeing, leadership development and executive coaching. She is on the Lloyds of London ESG Committee across the Insurance market, an Ambassador to Alzheimer’s Society and a Managing Director of her family property business. Kamel is also an international motivational speaker.
In the past Kamel was a banker with 40 years’ experience and an architect of numerous initiatives that have shaped the banking industry such as leading Lloyds Banking Groups 250th anniversary and developing local programmes with Business in the Community which is part of the Prince’s Charities group formed by HM The King while he was The Prince of Wales. In recognition of her commitment and purpose around inclusion, Kamel was awarded an OBE for diversity across banking in 2017.
Regarding QCT, Kamel says: ‘I feel so humbled when hearing inspiring stories of these incredible young leaders trying to do good in their local communities with so little. It is their spirit and drive that continuously pushes me forward to be a better version of myself each day’
Senda leads the ESG Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) client proposition at KPMG. She was formerly interim Head of IDE and led the Black Lives Action Plan. Senda is credited for the successful promotion of KPMG’s internal and external Allyship Programmes to foster enhanced inclusive practices in the workplace. Her impactful work has led to her recent appointment as KPMG Gatwick Office Senior Partner where she oversees People, Risk, Clients and Communities. Outside of work, she serves on the EDI Working Group at a local school in Surrey, supporting them to embed an EDI conscious culture at all levels.
In her previous roles, Senda led the East Africa desk in the UK supporting strategic investments decisions of UK outbound clients. She organised a highly successful landmark event at KPMG hosting Kenya’s foreign minister, the Kenyan Ambassador to the UK and leading UK-owned business figures. She was also responsible for project managing the successful execution of the African Philanthropy Forum’s first gathering in the UK in 2017.
Senda is lauded for running transformational change agendas. Driving social value impact with purpose is core to Senda’s passion. She has spent much of her work delivering cultural change giving back to under-served and under-represented communities. This opportunity will provide a platform to amplify her role outside of the workplace.
Tulsi serves in an honorary capacity, as the Director of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, for Southeast Asia, covering the ASEAN region. CWEIC is a commercial, not-for-profit membership organization with an official mandate from the Commonwealth Heads of Government to facilitate trade and investment throughout the 56 Commonwealth nations. The role of CWEIC is to use the convening power and trusted network of the Commonwealth, which is led by His Majesty The King, to drive trade and investment.
Tulsi is a Founder/Managing Director of Hypower Engineering which has been delivering large infrastructure projects for the last twenty years in the Renewable Energy, Wastewater and Water sectors. Currently, Tulsi works with Institutional Financiers and international companies worldwide in structuring infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia.
“The late Queen was an inspiration to me for her devotion to duty. She has been a reassuringly constant presence in my life, for her pivotal role in the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka & Singapore.”
Our Advisors bring experience and expertise to our strategy, programmatic offer and network facilitation – helping QCT to support the diverse and evolving needs of the Commonwealth’s young people.
Millicent is a passionate social entrepreneur specialising in communications design through her business ‘Millicent Designs’ – a service tackling adult illiteracy using structures of traditional oral storytelling to effectively translate and alleviate impediments to development projects, and empowering rural communities in Solomon Islands. This service is the called “Kastom Stori Taem Tool” and has been effectively used for 2 consecutive National General Elections and 2 large infrastructural projects. Millicent’s work led to her receiving the prestigious Queens Young Leaders Award in 2018.
Millicent is also the Chairperson for the Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands and sits as a Trustee on the Solomon Islands Tourism Development Fund Board (SITDF Inc.).
Benedict Bryan is an avid advocate for social justice and sustainable development, and has over ten years of experience in community development and volunteering within the Caribbean region. He is the founder of the youth-led Humanitarian Association of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (HARTT), and has worked with his university and other NGOs to implement initiatives geared towards empowering others.
Recently, Benedict joined the Youth Advisory Group for the T&T United Nations Populations Fund. Benedict holds a BSc in Political Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations. He continues to collaborate with several NGOs in Trinidad and Tobago addressing key thematic issues: youth peace and security, refugee rights, women’s rights, and sexual and reproductive rights for all.
Lord Christopher Geidt, Senior Advisor
Christopher Geidt served as Chairman of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust from its inception until January 2023. A member of the House of Lords, he is also Chairman of King’s College London and Chairman (International) at Schroders plc. He was formerly Private Secretary to The Queen after an earlier career in military and diplomatic service.
Nondumiso (Noni) Hlophe is Founding Curator and Director of Global Shapers Community Mbabane Hub, a registered youth-led Non Profit Organisation in the Kingdom of eSwatini. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree with Honours in Political and International Studies from Rhodes University.
Impassioned by quality education and gender equality, her work in policy is driven by the desire to see both achieved in the world. Noni was named an inaugural Queen’s Young Leader by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a Commonwealth Young Achiever in 2015. She was named a policy influencer on SADC’s Top 100 Youth list in 2018 and is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Hunter Johnson is CEO of The Man Cave, a charity that teaches emotional intelligence to young men. Hunter has worked with tens of thousands of young people across Australia and is constantly inspired by their audacity and brilliance.
His work has led him to speak around the world including presenting at the United Nations, Government House, the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Town Hall, Graduation Ceremonies and various universities. He has been recognised as a finalist for the 2020 Young Australian of the Year Awards (VIC), listed as one of Harper’s Bazaar’s “Visionary Men of 2019”, named a 2018 Queen’s Young Leader by Her Majesty The Queen, and was the 2018 Winner of the EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Southern Region).
Yi Jun is Co-Founder & President of Advisory Singapore, a fully youth-led non-profit established in 2016 that has supported over 96,000 young Singaporeans from all walks of life to make informed career choices. He was also Founding Project Leader of the SDG Students Program at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative, which has been endorsed by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
For his work, Yi Jun was presented a Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Queen Elizabeth II in 2018. Yi Jun is a Schwarzman Scholar, Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Climate Reality Leader, and was an Asia-Pacific Youth Representative to the Jury of UN Environment Programme’s Young Champions of the Earth.
Nicholas Kee is a Tech-Philosophist. He is the Co-Founder of Osoobe – a Startup Venture Studio aimed at creating frictionless products and services for the virtual economy. Prior to this, he was the Co-founder and Executive Director of Next Gen Creators, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting software development and tech-entrepreneurship for youths in the Caribbean.
Nicholas is an active technology community leader focused on AI Ethics & Regulations, and Digital Awareness & Literacy. Since the beginning of his career, he has launched companies in the sectors of education, marketing, insurance, and 3D printing. He has worked with NASA, CERN, Red Cross International, and the United Nations on renewable energy-related projects and policy reform for developing countries and refugee camps.
Nicholas is also the Jamaica Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth and spends his time consulting with various government agencies and private organisations throughout the diaspora to help implement technological solutions into their societies.
Michael, from Kenya and a 2018 Queen’s Young Leader, is a development/agricultural economist by training. He is currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and is writing on agricultural technology adoption, contract farming for small-scale farmers and food security in East Africa. He has also completed post-graduate studies in monitoring and impact evaluation at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Université Laval, Canada.
Currently, Michael is a monitoring and evaluation consultant at the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), an organisation that promotes research and policy impact across the developing world. He is the founder and the team leader of Focuswise SHG, a community-based organization that promotes sustainable, climate-smart food production in drought-vulnerable communities in East Africa. He has previously managed agricultural-value chain projects for different donors in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) and Andhra Pradesh, India.
Rohit K. Pothukuchi
Rohit leads Verdentum.org, a technology platform that helps governments, international organisations, and non-profits launch, coordinate, and track impact on development-sector and volunteer initiatives in 45+ nations.
Rohit has a passion for empowering grassroots organisations with the technology needed to collaborate and take an evidence-driven approach to addressing global problems.
Rohit is an Affiliate Fellow at the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession and has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School. Prior to establishing Verdentum, Rohit worked with White & Case LLP, a leading international law firm, in New York City and served as research assistant to Justice Chelameswar at the Supreme Court of India.
He was named in the Forbes 30 UNDER 30 list in 2017.
Joshua Powell CF
Josh is a conservation biologist, who is interested in designing and using social conservation solutions to help protect biodiversity and endangered species.
Formerly a Churchill Fellow on island conservation policy and practice, Josh is currently working on opportunities for the transboundary conservation of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in north-east Asia, as part of a PhD at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and UCL.
In 2017, he founded Rangers Without Borders, a conservation research programme focused on the work of wildlife rangers in understudied environments, with Peter Coals from the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Josh is a presenter for WWF International’s #WWFVoices campaign on global biodiversity and is a National Geographic Explorer.
Emily Milton Smith
Emily is a globally recognised gender advocate and non-formal education specialist with strong experience in programme, project, and people leadership. She is passionate about social impact, sustainability, gender policy, and youth and community services.
Emily serves on several Boards and Committees operating in the youth and gender space where she is focused on good governance and purpose-led business strategy. She brings a unique perspective, with a research background in public policy, digital media, communication technology and visual culture. Currently, Emily is the national governance and programs manager for a leading youth education charity.
With over 15 years experience, her advocacy record includes the Sustainable Development Goals, where she led global consultation efforts, worked with governments and civil society organisations, and achieved critical policy wins for girls’ rights in domestic and international settings. In 2020, Emily was named a Women Deliver Young Leader. This follows her Queen’s Young Leader Award in 2015.
Sahi is a Partner at the Boston Consulting Group and a core member of DigitalBCG’s financial services practices in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. Over the last 10 years, she has brought deep experience of driving large scale digital transformation programs focusing on Operations/IT and Agile ways of working across regional and global financial institutions.
Sahi is passionate about the impact digitisation and technology can bring to businesses and has supported banks and asset management companies across the UK, Western Europe, Nordics, India, and Africa on this journey.
A proponent of next generation ways of working, Sahi truly believes in the apprenticeship model and bringing out the best in young leaders through openness and teaming. She actively supports the women-in-tech community through recruitment, career development and mentorship programs within BCG.
With a passion for giving back to society, Sahi is keen to play a critical role in advising organisations that help build a sustainable planet and provide employment for women. Sahi is interested in the issues of diversity and inclusion, and co-creating a community of women leaders.
Abbey Wemimo is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Esusu, a financial technology platform that reports rental data to build tenant’s credit scores while helping property owners increase revenue and lower evictions powered by differentiated data and insights. Prior to Esusu, Abbey founded Clean Water for Everyone, a global social venture providing affordable access to clean water for 250,000+ people in six countries. He also founded a data analytics company designed to gather machine-readable data on NGOs operating in Africa which was acquired in 2014. Previously, Abbey was a mergers and acquisitions consultant at PwC, where he worked on more than 20 buy and sell-side deals valued at over $50 billion.
Abbey also gained valuable experience working with Accenture, European Commission, and Goldman Sachs. Abbey and his work have been recognised in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Quartz, Fortune, Teen Vogue, Vice, Black Enterprise, and Cheddar. He was inducted into The Royal Commonwealth Society in 2017 and named in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He speaks at global conferences and has presented at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Food Prize, and Clinton Global Initiative among others. Abbey graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Abbey also holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School School of Public Service.