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

CEO

Sophie is the Founder and CEO of Kite Insights, as well as the Editorial Partner of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society and Curator of the New York Times Climate Hub.

Sophie has two decades of professional services and consulting experience and is a globally recognised thought leader on gender and climate action. 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. At Kite Insights, Sophie and her team help organisations navigate, communicate and positively impact issue areas relevant to their business as well as our economies and societies at large - focusing on gender, climate and the ethical application of technology. Most recently, she has founded The Climate School - recognising the urgent need for companies to accelerate solutions to address climate change and its impact - through tools and resources to unlock climate-focused innovations at every level of the organisation.

Before founding Kite Insights, Sophie was the head of Global Thought Leadership and External Affairs for PwC. Before this, Sophie initiated, established, and led European Business Forum Ltd (EBF) as Executive Director, Member of the Board and Publisher.

Sophie is originally from Belgium and lives in London with her husband and two children.

Shuvo Saha

Chief product and growth officer

Shuvo conceived and built the 'Google Digital Academy' to support the digital transformation of Google's top customers, and has extensive experience in building education programmes, enabling executives to change the way they work and lead people-centric transformation of their organisations.

Rachel Riccardella

Head of thought leadership and communication

Rachel Riccardella is a client and operational lead at Kite Insights, bringing a “big picture” lens to every client interaction drawing on a range of experiences with corporate and nonprofit organisations, including corporate communications, thought leadership and content strategy, and corporate sustainability. Before joining Kite, she worked as the CR 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.

Additionally, Rachel managed all communications for the company’s charitable foundation and wrote executive speeches for community-facing engagements.

Justine Recordon

Head of finance and operations

Justine is acting COO. Justine joined Kite Insights in October 2020 and is responsible for the company’s Operations – this includes accounting, financial reporting, and cash management; overseeing Human Talent; and Legal and IT. Justine started her career in Audit for Coopers & Lybrand in 1991 moving to the operational consultancy side of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she met Sophie in 1993. In 2001 she left and successfully ran a Franchise concept for 4 years. She then took a career break in 2005 to spend time with her growing young family. In 2012 she started working with start-ups in financial and operational roles. In 2014 she became the Finance and HR director for a research and technology company, Macrosynergy, and continues to support them one day a week. She lives in Wandsworth with her Canadian husband and 3 teenage boys. She recently took up oil painting to foster her creative side and added a puppy to the family unit.

Ruth Dobson

Senior Advisor

Jennifer Milliken

Director of Kite Insights Switzerland

Jennifer is Director of Kite Insights Switzerland and 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.

Grace Chua

Content director

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.

Julian Lambin

Head of research and knowledge

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.

Ela Sackville

Head of networks and partnerships

Ela is a researcher, communicator and writer who is passionate about the role of business in driving sustainable change and inclusive growth. At Kite she works across project delivery, management and business development and in recent years has focused on the issues of gender and diversity, climate and sustainability specifically, and the intersection between the two.

She is obsessed with uncovering novel insights on these topics and exploring how to bring research and ideas to life through events and conventions that drive action.

Lara Soutekouw

Senior Manager

After graduating from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in Communication Sciences, Lara worked in the Netherlands and in London as a strategy consultant, for firms such as Publicis Consultants, The Foundation and as a freelancer. Lara has over 20 years international experience developing innovative solutions for global iconic consumer brands, charities and government organisations. Passionate about business solutions that also solve social or environmental problems, Lara founded an online retail social enterprise which she managed for 5 years. Lara now project manages Kite Insights’ more complex international assignments, including Kite’s client engagements in Davos for the World Economic Forum. For the Women’s Forum, Lara has multiple years’ experience coordinating the Discovery’s programme, the speakers’ invitation process and virtual sessions.
Originally from Italy, Lara has experience living all over Europe and speaks 5 languages. She now enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle living with her husband and children in Munich (Germany).

Yasmin Paul

Client Success Lead

Yasmin is a senior consultant and researcher at Kite. Her core strengths are in sustainability and systems change analysis and communications, along with research design and delivery. Yasmin continues to grow and deepen her expertise in land-use, supply chains, international development and food systems - inspired by her rural upbringing in Wales and over a decade working with Indigenous communities in the Amazon. Much of her work at Kite involves unearthing opportunities to improve ecological resilience, equity and inclusivity across value chains; she supports the creation and dissemination of emerging insights in the field through publications, participatory workshops, and events. Yasmin holds an MSc in Environment, Politics & Development and a BA Geography. She loves folk music, dance, discovering local cuisines, and hiking in the woods and mountains.

Jake Morris

Senior manager

Jake has led and worked extensively across Kite’s research, content, coalitions, and curation offerings. His work with us has so far spanned sexual violence in conflict, gender and climate investment, decarbonising shipping, and promoting equity in computer science and STEM education and careers.

In his spare time Jake can be found in your local independent bookstore, making loud and often sparkly music with his friends, or running along the side of an implausibly muddy looking hill. He holds a Master of Arts & Social Sciences in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow.

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 Bestegui

Senior Writer

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.

Alex St John

Strategic Partnerships Lead

Gabi Champagne

Client Success Lead

Gabi has 7 years' experience working in the UK government as an Economic Adviser on a range of projects, most recently in the COVID Vaccines Taskforce and previously in the Brexit negotiations team. She is founder and CEO of a sustainable fashion platform, EDIS Fashion, which connects users to fashion designers to co-create unique pieces of clothing . Having also worked as Operations Lead at a direct to consumer startup, she loves the challenge of working in high growth, impactful startups and driving positive change across sectors. Gabi's main focus at Kite is The Climate School, predominantly on growth and management of our large corporate clients.
Gabi lives between London and Lisbon and outside of work loves exploring Portugal's national parks, local cuisine and music.

Anushay Afnan

Manager

Anushay is a consultant at Kite who is experienced in project development and management and communicating project details to a variety of stakeholders. She works across Kite’s diverse workstreams- specifically focused on climate, gender and their intersectionalities. She has previously worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on resource mobilisation for COVID-19 vaccines and on project support for various healthcare initiatives in the Middle East and Pakistan. Prior to this, she worked in sustainable finance in Indonesia and Mongolia- first at the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility on sustainable waste management projects and then at XacBank to implement projects that encouraged the use of renewable energy through accessible financing. Anushay graduated with an MPA from LSE and a BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.

Tess Corten

Manager

Tess is a consultant focused on communicating research that marries the human experience to action on environmental, social and governance challenges. Tess has experience leveraging live journalism to create a more informed public around sustainability challenges and solutions; and on a corporate level, Tess has contributed to research and writing on corporate action on the Sustainable Development Goals. Tess also has a background in U.S. politics and governance, and an international studies and entrepreneurship degree from The University of Michigan.

Anusha Raghav

Manager

Anusha is an analyst and researcher. Having recently graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master’s in Development Studies, Anusha works on multiple projects that deal with Development, Sustainability, Climate Change and Diversity & Inclusion.
Anusha’s primary responsibilities in projects include qualitative and quantitative research, writing, planning, management, curation, and ideation. Anusha applies a unique perspective to projects at Kite. Anusha’s perspective and skills have been accumulated from her Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Mathematics and Statistics as well as 3 years of work experience in research and grassroots development organisations in India. As part of her experience, Anusha has worked extensively with educating women and children from low income communities in slums and villages across Southern India.

Maggie Madigan

Operations Manager

Maggie is our HR & Operations Manager and has a hand in all things related to both. She is an Associate of the CIPD, and previously worked in HR with PwC and Deloittes. Originally from Ireland, Maggie has embraced London life, and in her spare time can be found enjoying the parks of North London with her dog Roobarb.

Grace Dixon

Chief of Staff

As well as conducting research-based analysis for client projects, Grace is responsible for coordinating the partnerships at the core of the Climate School offering. With a degree in French and Italian from the University of Edinburgh, where she focused in her final year on postcolonial and recognition studies, Grace brings experience in the legal and non-profit sectors to her work at Kite.
Passionate about social justice, Grace volunteers in her spare time in the Research & Campaigns team at Citizens Advice, a nationwide charity that gives free legal advice to those in need, and campaigns to improve the policies and principles that affect their clients.

Harriet Jennings

Manager

Harriet is a project manager, writer, and researcher at Kite with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. Passionate about the role of education in accelerating action on climate change and other global issues, Harriet’s primary responsibility is to support the design and ensure the successful delivery of Kite's Climate School programmes to our large corporate clients, with the aim of equipping employees and transforming business for the green economy. Harriet also brings previous experience in qualitative research to her role on the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society’s gender and climate working group, of which Kite is the editorial partner. This position recently involved conducting research for and gathering insights from a diverse range of experts for the group’s latest report on how businesses can support ‘climate justice’ through investments and other actions. In her spare time, Harriet loves a (competitive!) netball match, cooking an Ottolenghi feast, and a good, non-fiction book that challenges the way we see society and the world.

Sophie Steyn

Manager

Sophie is an analyst and researcher with Kite. Having graduated with an English degree from the University of Oxford, Sophie pursued a Graduate Diploma in Law. Alongside her studies, she ran campaigns, research and communications for Student Action for Refugees and domestic violence charity Chayn. Sophie’s areas of focus at Kite include research and communications, particularly in relation to the environmental challenges facing companies and the sustainable innovation and corporate action needed to solve them. She also manages Kite’s green technology platform, The Climate Innovators Network, and communications around Kite’s corporate climate training programme, The Climate School. Recently, Sophie project managed a Kite programme with a leading global law firm, identifying and shaping their strategy on ESG and DEI across multiple offices.

Eleanor Ripoll

Manager

Eleanor is a researcher, writer and content curator, most recently having closely worked on The New York Times Climate Hub. She joins the Kite team with a background in Psychology and Business Management from the University of St. Andrews. Eleanor’s passion lies primarily in the intersection of climate and gender, with a special focus on communications and culture. She is eager to keep exploring these topics at an organisational level, inciting dialogue and adopting new ways of thinking. Having grown up in a multilingual household and around the world, Eleanor brings a unique perspective to her work and the Kite team.
Eleanor’s interests in climate and sustainability stem from her previous work at Inside Revolution, a climate and policy communications firm. There, she led research and writing of op-eds, articles, and blog posts and engaged in thought leadership, content creation, and project management for clients including the G20, the United Nations, and leading nonprofits.

Vimal Somani

Financial Controller

Vimal is Kite’s Financial Controller, and is responsible for delivering Kite's financial services including accounting, budgeting, reporting and treasury, in accordance with legislative requirements, organisation policies and strategies. Vimal has over 35 years management and finance experience working in providing a professional service across a broad range in finance.Vimal is also a qualified cricket coach with the England and Wales cricket boards and works with Middlesex County Cricket Club in the development of junior crickets in Middlesex County. He is also a keen horologist. Vimal is from London and lives with his wife and 2 children.

Anna Gherman

Event Producer

Anna Gherman joined Kite as an events producer with years of experience in a large variety of environments, a BA in Spanish Linguistics & Photography as well as a postgraduate in Events Management, Marketing and PR.
After starting out in one of London’s leading experiential live event agencies she has been involved in curating and producing art festivals, mass participation and live music events. Her past projects range from a Mayfair member’s Club where she created, developed, and delivered the club’s eclectic events calendar, to the publishing industry, within the luxury sector where she managed brand activations and award ceremonies in an end-to-end capacity.
She possesses a combination of being both hugely creative and at the same time is a hyper-organised logistics junkie.
Based in South London, she loves spending time exploring London’s green spaces with her dog Bo. In her spare time, she is never without a crafty project and a fantasy novel.

Clara Buckens

Manager

Clara is a researcher and content developer at Kite, supporting live events and thought leadership projects. She holds a Natural Sciences BSc from University College London, where she majored in Organic Chemistry and minored in Politics, Ethics and Communication of Science. Before joining Kite, Clara was a campaigner, writer and researcher for more equitable and sustainable use of labour and resources in clothing supply chains. Passionate about environmental and social justice at the systemic level, Clara also enjoys climate action at the community level in her spare time, where she reworks friends and local businesses' waste fabrics to give them a second life.

Upasana Iyer

Analyst

Upasana works in strategic research and event support, including as one of the project leads for the first TEDxKiteInsights Countdown event. Extremely keen to contribute to scaling positive impact, she leverages her analytical skills to help projects attain their sustainable goals.
Previously, Upasana has gained experience in the chemical and quality assurance industry and as a third-sector consultant for two non-profit organisations where she increased employee engagement in social enterprises and devised a strategy to increase volunteer collaboration during the pandemic. She holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Fibre and Textile Processing from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai and a Master's degree in Management from Imperial College London.
If not watching a movie, Upasana likes to explore the UK and enjoys playing football when it is sunny at Hyde Park.

Mae Faugere

Analyst

Maë is a climate consultant working within Kite Insights’s Climate School. Having graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master in Global Environmental Politics, she joins Kite Insights with an expertise in climate change and its impact on gender equality and peace-building. Previously, Maë served as the Sustainability Officer of University College London, where she was studying Philosophy and History of Art. She won UCL’s Sustainability Award for her outstanding commitment to sustainability. In other projects, Maë co-founded the UK branch of the Climate Fresk, a reference climate education tool empowering people to make change possible, at scale.

Milo Warshaw

Analyst

Jeffery Ehis-Usman

Operations Assistant

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

UK

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.

Asher Dresner

UK

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.

Anne Grafé-Buckens

UK

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.

Herman Cheng

Canada

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.

Mil Niepold

USA

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.

Pío Cabanillas

Spain

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.

Laya Medawar

UAE

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

UK

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.

Fokko Wientjes

Switzerland

Fokko Wientjes is a consultant with broad experience and expertise across sustainability, strategy, ESG impact and Public Private Partnerships. Presently working on mandates including Africa strategy, ESG framework, climate adaptation, nutrition innovation and development finance equity raising.

Fokko worked as executive at DSM as the architect of its Sustainability and PPP strategy, accelerating DSM’s Good Growth to prepare for the future, create Purpose while delivering business results and making DSM a sustainability leader in its field. Prior to that, he led businesses in South America and Egypt.

He is the co-founder of SDG Netherlands, an NGO stimulating Dutch organizations to work towards the 2030 goals. He has been a board member of and advisor to various companies in emerging markets. Fokko also set up WBCSD’s large-scale food reform program FReSH, bringing food companies together to actively take their role in food systems change.

He is an activist for equitable 1-planet strategies, requiring a systems approach, accelerating the move away from retrofitting 3-planet strategies.

Proud father of two children, living in Geneva.