MicroLoan’s Trustees in the UK and Africa help to steer the charity to ensure that we achieve both social and financial goals and comply with the relevant legislation in each jurisdiction.
Alan Penson – Chairman
Alan Penson founded his own strategic business and financial consultancy, Penson Associates, in January 1996. This business has concentrated primarily on board-level financial management support for small to medium-sized businesses and especially owner-managed service companies coping with change. He has had some roles as non-executive director. Particular projects: corporate strategy; operational finance management; management information reviews and cashflow forecasting.
Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE
Lesley-Anne was appointed CEO at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in January 2004 and retired from this position in 2016. She has always worked in the Public and Voluntary sectors and before joining RNIB was Director of Operations for the Peabody Trust. Whilst at RNIB Lesley-Anne was instrumental in rationalising and modernising the sight loss sector with innovations such as developing the RNIB Group of charities and the UK Vision Strategy.
Lesley-Anne chairs Red Door Ventures Ltd and is a Non-Executive Director of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Circle Housing Association. Lesley-Anne was awarded a CBE in The Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours list and was recognised by her peers as Britain’s Most Admired Charity Chief Executive 2015.
Caroline Beck – Company Secretary
Caroline has more than twenty years’ experience in the financial services sector, both in industry and professional services and is a chartered accountant. She advises companies on the impact of UK financial services regulation and leads projects driven by regulatory change. She has previously worked at BDO, Barclays, Santander and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Caroline’s first visit to Malawi was in 2011 as a volunteer when she saw first-hand the difference that MicroLoan Foundation can make. She has been a trustee since 2012.
Sally Burton-Graham has over ten years fundraising experience – working with small development charities such as OneWorld, and national institutions such as Cancer Research UK. Sally’s expertise spans all aspects of fundraising. Sally has devised and launched large fundraising campaigns such as the Curiosity Project at Royal Holloway, University of London and has recruited many development boards to do good deeds. An expert partnership broker and team builder, Sally establishes lasting relationships.
Robert has 30 years private equity experience. He was a founding partner of Phildrew Ventures and involved with Bridgepoint Capital for ten years as a director of many of their portfolio companies. Robert has transitioned into a role in the development world, where he is currently the Investment Director for Gatsby’s work in East Africa. He has been responsible for the Gatsby relationship with two MFI businesses.
Jo Olney – Treasurer
Jo Olney is a chartered accountant, who trained with PwC. She has a broad base of experience gained with large corporates, such as Lloyd’s of London, as well as small enterprises, charities and foundations. Her experience working with small enterprises gave her an insight into the challenges faced by start up businesses and charities such as MicroLoan. Good strategic planning, fundraising and effective tight financial management is important and Jo aims to support this within MicroLoan. Jo is a working mum and naturally empathises with the entrepreneurial women MicroLoan support. She is an active supporter of voluntary work including establishing a youth group for young girls.
Caroline Ryan has a background in PR and publishing, and now works as a psychotherapist. Being from European heritage, having lived abroad and travelled, Caroline is passionate about world-wide cultural and socio-economic perspectives and issues.
Born in Plymouth, Peter was educated at Kelly College in Devon, taking a year off to travel prior to entering Greenwich University where he obtained a BA (Hons) in International Marketing. His initial career was focussed on marketing and setting up production for consumer goods products, toiletries – ‘Old Spice’, ‘Imperial Leather Soap’ and ‘Duracell Batteries’ to Africa, and parts of Europe. This experience triggered an interest in gaining a better understanding of the realities of Africa and in particular the lives of the poor who would never be able to afford the products that he was marketing.
He then started a number of UK businesses in the food, traceability and parking services area before founding the MicroLoan Foundation in his spare time – a microfinance charity that provides business training, mentoring and small business ‘start-up’ loan capital to poor women in rural sub Saharan Africa – a project to which he is now dedicated full time. Peter is a frequent speaker on microfinance, with a special interest in Africa and blending the need for financial professionalism and social change. He is married to a psychotherapist and has two children.
Dina Shiloh is a solicitor at Gallant Maxwell specialising in media law and commercial litigation. She advises companies and individuals on a wide range of disputes and on defamation, breach of privacy, harassment, and data protection. Before training as a lawyer, Dina worked as a print and radio journalist, and as a television news producer for various networks, including the BBC.
Following 24 straight years in Investment Banking in the City of London, the last 17 of which as a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank, in 2015 Danny changed course to focus more of his time on his family, and, professionally, to commit his energy in support of his portfolio of 3rd sector interests and roles. They include giving, advising, mentoring, angel investing and non-executive responsibility – the latter, most notably as trustee, treasurer and chair of the audit / risk committee at Shakespeare’s Globe.