Our team

We are a team of creative thinkers, driven by a profound sense of service and desire for positive impact. We are courageous in our questioning and we inspire boldness in others.

Sophie Lambin

Chief Executive

Sophie is the Founder and CEO of Kite Insights, as well as the Editorial Partner of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society. Sophie has two decades of professional services and consulting experience. Over the years, she has developed global content strategies, produced high profile strategic content, and led the development of research-based insights for leaders across different industry sectors and geographies. Before founding Kite Insights, Sophie was the head of Global Thought Leadership and External Affairs for PwC, where she spearheaded the firm’s Global CEO Survey. At PwC, Sophie was responsible for setting and managing the firm’s thought leadership agenda across multiple platforms and convenings, working with senior leadership across practice areas and geographies to draw out insights and execute research strategies. Before this, Sophie initiated, established, and led European Business Forum Ltd (EBF) as Executive Director, Member of the Board and Publisher. EBF was a joint venture between the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) and PwC. It produced a quarterly management publication with a European perspective providing a dialogue between decision-makers and opinion formers in the business and academic worlds.
Sophie is originally from Belgium and lives in London with her husband and two children.

Ebru Ilhan


Ebru (Ab- rou) is a global business strategist, sustainability leader and change driver with fifteen years of experience elevating the operational quality, impact, and profitability of diverse organisations on a European stage. She enjoys listening to stakeholders at all levels of an organisation, teasing out what excites or puzzles them, and building meaningful connections between what she hears and the global debate. Previously, she was leading on corporate sustainability strategy, reporting and communications for a Turkey-based international group of companies. Before that, she spent a decade working for NGOs and think tanks to design and deliver research and policy papers, establish and manage grassroots campaigns and community programmes, and broker multisector partnerships. She holds a PhD in political economy from King’s College London and an MSc in global politics from LSE.

Nicknamed ‘the laughing girl’, Ebru enjoys a good joke, even when it may be on her. She binges on political theatre and TV shows, and likes to tune into the latest on data, tech and design. She dreams of one day living on the Mediterranean coast, growing her own food and cooking a big Sunday lunch to enjoy with her family and neighbours.

James Morris


James "Jake" Morris performs research and content development at Kite. He holds a Master of Arts & Social Sciences in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, where he focused on public and private sector engagement in Global Environmental Politics. During that time, he conducted quantitative research on the design characteristics of voluntary environmental initiatives. Jake has a keen interest in contemporary political philosophy and international security, and has been engaged on a professional basis in a number of qualitative research projects involving multinational corporations and NGOs.

Avery Johnstone


Avery is a researcher, content creator and digital strategist. Having graduated from Queen’s University, Kingston with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Health and Gender Studies, Avery joins the Kite team to research and create content with partners, as well as elevate Kite’s branding and growth. Previously, Avery has served as a Youth Ambassador to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on topics of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and has sat on the Board of Directors for a regional branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Avery currently sits on the Canadian Council of Young Feminists / Conseil canadien de jeunes féministes, an initiative by Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran. Since her recent move from Toronto to London, Avery has been enjoying exploring the city and it’s many cultural coves, taking a French course at King's College London and attending live music gigs.

Rachel Riccardella


Rachel is a writer and editor who helps clients engage with audiences through content. She likes to bring a “big picture” lens to every client interaction, drawing on a range of experiences with corporate and non-profit organisations. Previously, she worked as corporate responsibility reporting manager for State Street Corporation, a Fortune 500 financial services firm, where she published the company’s verified sustainability report and spearheaded its first successful ranking on several international sustainability indices.
Rachel enjoys trips to museums with her kids, visiting with family and the occasional ballet class.

Grace Chua

Senior Consultant

Grace’s responsibilities include content development, research, report-writing and event support. Previously, she was a science and environment correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore’s largest daily newspaper, and a freelance journalist and editor focusing on the intersection of science, policy and business in Asia. Her interests include environmental sustainability, behavioural economics and the role of technology in society.
In her spare time Grace reads catholically, enjoys hiking and taking part in road races.

Sophie de Beistegui


Sophie is a writer and editor. Her expertise lies in crafting narratives and other forms of copywriting. She works in both English and French, having recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a literature degree in both languages. Outside of Kite Sophie is a poet, and has just finished her first poetry pamphlet.

Maggie Madigan

HR & Operations Associate

Maggie joins Kite to oversee office and facilities management. Prior to this she had been working for several charities while she brought up her three boys and before that had worked in HR for PwC and Deloitte. She is originally from Ireland and has now embraced living in London where she loves to make the most of all the city has to offer including going to gigs, theatre, seeing friends and stomping around the parks of North London with the family dog.

Jennifer Milliken


Jennifer is Managing Director of Kite Insights Switzerland and is one of the firm's leads for live engagements. She brings to Kite a commitment to social change and more than two decades of experience in qualitative research and the curation of thought leadership conferences and events. Jennifer has worked with private and public sector clients around the world, including helping to lead the launch of nine new forums. She was previously Program Director of Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society (2009-2016), and CEO, Milliken Strategy & Communications (2007-2018). Jennifer holds a PhD in Political Science, a MA in International Relations and a BA in Communication Studies. Jennifer's favourite pastimes are horseback riding, gardening, and swimming in Lake Léman. She is an accomplished chef, now experimenting with vegan cuisine, and an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy.

Julian Lambin

Senior Consultant

Julian’s responsibilities include the synthesis and execution of research at Kite, contributing to report-writing and content development. He holds a Master of Science in Business Management and Politics and a Master of Research from the University of Glasgow. He specialises in uncovering novel methods of research enquiry. Previously, Julian has worked in research and support roles at companies such as CNBC and Google, and as a research associate at the University of Glasgow. Julian has published on issues regarding NGO strategy, and business and human rights governance. Julian is from Scotland and currently lives in London. In his free time, Julian is a passionate drummer and music fan who can be found at gigs across London.

Yasmin Paul


Yasmin is a researcher, analyst and writer at Kite Insights. Holding an MSc in Environment, Politics and Development, and a BA in Geography, her expertise ranges from environmental and economic policy to social anthropology and cultural studies. With over ten years’ experience in communications, previous roles have included public relations, marketing, retail management, journalism, and sustainable development consulting for SMEs. Yasmin is passionate about exploring and identifying pathways towards more synergetic and inclusive human-nature relations, informed and inspired by her rural upbringing on the border of Wales. Following extensive voluntary work and ethnographic research on sustainable livelihoods with indigenous communities in the Amazon, she has a keen interest, and in-depth knowledge, surrounding the social and ecological outcomes of development and contemporary climate change solutions. Yasmin loves folk music, dance, discovering authentic local cuisines, and escaping the city to walk in the woods or mountains.

Ruth Dobson

Senior Advisor

Ruth works closely with the CEO on Kite's moonshots. She also works on selected key client accounts, with a focus on social impact and partnerships. Formerly a Partner with PwC, Ruth established and led the firm’s Sustainability and Climate Change practice in Greater China, alongside delivering complex cross border mergers & acquisitions projects for clients. She has held executive leadership roles in a number of mission-led organisations and continues to hold a number of Trusteeships. Ruth is a practised facilitator with experience leading major cross-sector collaborations. She is a Chartered Accountant, a Clore Social Fellow, and holds a Masters in Poverty Reduction: Policy & Practice from SOAS, University of London. Ruth’s adventurous spirit has led her to cycle the length of Africa, run across the Sahara desert and take a train to China to stay for nearly a decade. In quieter moments she can be found in the kitchen, creating something a bit experimental for family and friends, trying to tie herself in knots on her yoga mat, or with her nose in a book.

Ela Sackville

Senior Consultant

Ela is a researcher, writer and communicator. Having recently graduated from Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, she is now applying her skills to a business environment with a range of entry points, from research and content development, to event support and project management. Ela is passionate about bringing content to life through novel insights and media, from her academic investigations into the literature of modern Cuba, to analyses of business reactions to a world in disruption. Having tried her hat in advertising and research roles, Ela is excited to a apply her editorial mindset to business communications and strategy more specifically. Born and bred in London, Ela is a hispanophile at heart and can be found cooking up a Catalan feast, theatre hopping or generally making the most of what the city has to offer.

Tess Korten


Tess is passionate about the role business plays in propelling societal goals. She works alongside researchers and communicators to develop strategies that leverage cross-sector partnerships to accelerate progress on the SDGs. She draws on her studies at The University of Michigan, where she focused on International Studies and Entrepreneurship, and from her experience working at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky and with a New York City based political consulting firm doing democratic campaign fundraising. Her other passion is food and cooking, because of the power different cuisines have in transcending borders and bringing people together.

Our fellows

We are supported by an international network of subject-matter experts from the fields of geopolitics, corporate finance, technology & innovation, journalism, social media and beyond.

Sumathi Menon


Sumathi Menon spent many years managing technology for the financial services industry with Deutsche Bank and Bear Stearns in New York and London before taking a break and dabbling in NGO activities. She then retrained in Social Media and paid campaigns where she has found the perfect convergence for her technical and marketing skills. Sumathi works on social media strategies and paid campaigns for corporates in financial services, media, consulting and telecom industries.

Liz Bolshaw


Liz is an experienced business editor, writer, analyst and journalist. She runs a communications consultancy, Headword Consulting, working with professional services firms, companies and think tanks to frame complex subjects and help leaders navigate successfully through them.

Previously a lead analyst within EY's Knowledge team, she led complex research projects, bringing together cross-functional teams across geographies to deliver insights at pace. At the Financial Times, she wrote longform pieces on a wide range of subjects, interviewed many of our generation’s most-admired corporate leaders and supported the FT’s digitalisation.

She has led debates at the Cambridge Union, moderated conferences for the EU and Chicago Booth, spoken on BBC Radio 4 on Thinking Allowed and PM. She has a degree and Masters in English from Cambridge University and an advanced strategy leadership diploma from Ashridge/Hult.

Nina Pustilnik


Nina Pustilnik is a senior executive and recognized expert across social impact, technology and media. Most recently, Nina was a Senior Adviser to philanthropic venture capital and investment funds Luminate (an Omidyar Network company), and Omidyar, both founded by Pierre Omidyar, the Founder of eBay. Nina advised on strategies and investments across independent media, narrative storytelling, and responsible technology. Previously, Nina was a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University, writing, researching and studying in the area of social impact investments and strategy, particularly at the intersection of technology, whilst also making social impact investments for a high net-worth family office. Nina has a long history as a tech and media expert, having been McKinsey’s first-ever Internet specialist and then JP Morgan’s first Internet and digital media equity research analyst, followed by a senior role in digital innovation and strategy for Warner Bros. Nina is now leveraging her macro knowledge of these sectors, and her network of relationships, to invest and advise in the social impact sector. Nina is also on the European Leadership Council of Vital Voices, an NGO, founded by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeleine Albright that amplifies and supports the work of courageous women leaders around the globe.

Mil Niepold


Mil Niepold is the Founder and President of The Mara Partners (TMP), a global facilitation, research and training organization that works at the intersection of gender, racial equity and the environment to solve complex social issues both in the US and globally. Mil works with Fortune 500 companies, governments, the United Nations and civil society organizations to structure equitable long-term solutions that balance the needs of all stakeholders.
Mil is currently leading TMP’s research and thought leadership on the critical, and oft ignored, role that applying a gender lens to climate initiatives plays in accelerating impact from the grassroots through to the top levels of government. Mil pioneered the Integrated Gender and Climate Framework (IGC) currently being used by a group of Fortune 500 companies. She has trained women climate leaders on negotiation, through the UN and NGOs such as the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, as well as on strategies to ensure that they are routinely included in decision- making processes. Previously, Mil was the Director of Policy at Verité – a leading human rights organization -- for 14 years, where she led several initiatives including Verité’s work on women in the workplace and other multi-stakeholder initiatives for clients that included Mondelez, Reebok and Levi Strauss, among others.
Mil is Co-President of the International Cocoa Initiative, a climate and women’s rights advisor to the International Center for Research on Women and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and was founding Co-Chair of Amnesty International USA’s first business and human rights group. Mil is also a frequent public speaker including for the World Bank, IFC, Climate Investment Fund, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and various universities. She is a bi-lingual French – English speaker.

Asher Dresner


Asher Dresner is a speechwriter and researcher who has written for a former UK Leader of the Opposition, a national regulator, senior business leaders, and blue chip companies. His work has been published in the Financial Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, and The Scotsman, amongst others.

Pío Cabanillas


Pío Cabanillas is a communication, marketing and brand strategist. He is currently President of PROTV, a communication and branding consultancy company. He was formerly chief global brand and marketing officer at ACCIONA; chief communications officer at ENDESA and cabinet minister and spokesman for the Spanish Government; CEO of the RTVE public broadcasting group; Head of Development and International Relations at Grupo PRISA and General Manager of Canal+/SOGECABLE. He also acted as Deputy General Counsel at News Corporation and worked as a lawyer at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition.

Herman Cheng


Known as one of the premier writers of the technology and financial services industries, Herman was previously named to Campaign Asia's China Digital A List three years in a row while serving in various communications roles for Lenovo, Havas Media and PwC. Having returned to Canada, he currently runs communications consultancy Myna Communications, and serves global clients such as Lenovo, AppsFlyer, JD.com, Escapex and LiftOff.

A passionate advocate of collaboration and digital storytelling, Herman has written and co-authored thought leadership content around digital marketing and social strategy, which has elevated the global debate on a number of issues, including digital marketing, consumer electronics, and augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Lara Soutekow


Passionate about business solutions that also solve social or environmental problems, Lara Soutekow has 20 years of international experience as a strategy consultant developing innovative solutions for global consumer brand organisations and not-for-profits alike. Lara now project manages Kite Insights’ international assignments, including client engagements in Davos for the World Economic Forum. Originally from Italy, Lara has experience living all over Europe and is fluent in four languages. She now enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle living with her husband and children in Munich.

Laya Medawar


Laya Medawar is a highly experienced strategy consultant and advisor to businesses in the Middle East and Europe spanning over 20 years. She leads the consulting practice of Full Circle Investments delivering advisory projects to leading regional and international clients on mandates including strategy development, business restructuring, operational optimisation and growth and enhancement. Previously, Laya worked in London with Bain & Company where she was part of the private equity team responsible for pre-acquisition due diligence and post-acquisition restructuring, growth and implementation. While at Bain, Laya worked on transactions with an aggregate value of US$5B. Following Bain, Laya was the Chief Operating Officer at Aureos Capital (now part of Abraaj Group) and Head of European Strategic Marketing at Marsh & McLennan. Laya has a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Daniella Reichenstein


After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Classics, Daniella took on a business management and strategy role for a Telco entrepreneur, running projects and managing assets across a variety of industries. In pursuit of her passion for languages, Daniella spent time in Jordan, where she studied Arabic and worked as an analyst at an international NGO focused on anti-corruption. It is through these different experiences that she became passionate about harnessing the power of business to drive positive impact and social change. Daniella is from London and in her spare time loves watching documentaries and playing with her new kitten.

Anne Grafé-Buckens


Anne Grafé-Buckens is a consultant with broad experience across climate change, environment, gender issues, sustainable consumption and supply-chain. She also works as a grant assessor for The Fore, a venture philanthropy fund. Anne has taught Business and the Environment at Imperial College for 10 years, pioneering research into measurement, management and reporting of environmental, sustainability, and ethical performance. Prior to that, she worked in a Public Affairs consultancy in Brussels, with a variety of clients adjusting to new EU environmental standards and legislation. Throughout her career, she has worked on engagement and empowerment to shift organisations towards sustainability: business leaders, employers, NGOs, charities, supra-national organisations and governments. She is a mother of four girls, lives in London with close links in Brussels, and speaks 4 languages -French, English, Spanish and Dutch.

Mike Barry


Mike is a change agent, committed to helping business big and small, new and established to prepare for and succeed in the great sustainability disruption that will wash through the economy in the 2020s. He’s worked with organizations such as Unilever, SAP, Grosvenor, GSK, Nestle, Reiss, Nomad Foods, the Climate Pledge, the Environment Agency, Which, Royal Society of Chemistry, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, Rentokil, Skipton Building Society, CoGo, Clim8Invest, Bord Bia and Climate Action.

Mike was until 2019 Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, spearheading its ground-breaking Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one planet we have) sustainability programme. He co-chaired the Consumer Goods Forum’s sustainability work bringing the world’s largest retailers and fast moving consumer goods brands together to work on issues such as deforestation, plastics and forced labour. He is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and a Trustee at Blueprint for Better Business.

Thomas Jelley


Thomas started working life as a lawyer in the City of London before postgraduate studies in sustainable development. For over a decade, he has influenced and advised in business contexts across a wide range of corporate responsibility challenges. Thomas’ experience also includes reporting, benchmarking and communications. Today, in his role as VP of the Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life, Thomas straddles responsible business, stakeholder engagement, research and thought leadership. A French-British dual national who benefited from five years in Latin America as a child, Thomas also co-founded and chaired an educational charity in Nepal. He enjoys living with his family surrounded by Nordic nature near Helsinki.