Jesse is CEO at the Finance Innovation Lab, leading the Lab’s work to build a financial system that serves people and planet.
Prior to joining the Lab, Jesse was Director of the Development Strategy and Finance Programme at ODI, an international think tank, where he led a research and policy team working on how to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For the six and a half years prior to that, Jesse was Director of the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), a network of 50 European civil society organisations (CSOs) working for transformative changes to global and European policies, institutions and structures to ensure an environmentally sustainable financial and economic system that works to eradicate poverty and ensure human rights for all. Before that he was Coordinator of the Bretton Woods Project, a watchdog of the World Bank and IMF, and worked for ActionAid UK on development finance policy. He has also worked for the Department for International Development (DFID) and various other non–governmental organisations, on both development finance and international environmental policy.
Jesse is a trustee of Jubilee Debt Campaign, which is focused on the connections between poverty and debt, part of a global movement working to break the chains of debt both globally and in the UK, and build a finance system that works for everyone. He is also a trustee of Tax Justice UK, a campaigning and advocacy organisation that works to ensure that everyone in the UK benefits from a fair and effective tax system.
Jesse has a Masters in Finance from SOAS, a Masters in International Politics from Aberystwyth University, and a Bachelors degree in Politics and Parliamentary Studies from Leeds University. He has published a wide range of reports and articles on international finance issues, in particular on how to reform the international financial system to help end poverty and support sustainable development.
Rebecca Sumner Smith
Rebecca is COO at the Finance Innovation Lab, looking after the people, processes and resources which enable our work.
Rebecca has experience across private, public and social sector organisations. Prior to joining the Lab, Rebecca was Grants Lead at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), where she also founded and co-chaired the DCMS Green Network, championing green issues and supporting colleagues to make more sustainable choices in work and at home. She spent several years living and working in Germany, latterly as Senior International Tax Specialist at the Deutsche Bahn Group in Berlin.
Rebecca recently completed an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management from the Cass Business School’s ‘Centre for Charity Effectiveness’, with a research focus on culture and leadership in UK social sector organisations working for systems change. She is a chartered accountant (FCA), and also holds an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter, and a BA in Theology from the University of Oxford.
Marloes Nicholls is the Lab’s Head of Programmes, leading our financial innovation research, advocacy, and incubation – including Lab Fellowship.
Before joining the Lab, Marloes was Programme Manager and Researcher at the think tank Meteos, and co-founder and director of the campaign Move Your Money UK. She also worked at Oxfam on global campaigns and policy.
In 2020 Marloes became a member of the Customer Insight and Impact Group at the responsible finance provider Moneyline. She is also a member of Nation of Savers, a cross-industry group advising on the delivery of the Money and Pensions Service’s new, government-backed UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing. Since 2017, she has been a member of the Friends Provident Foundation Programme Advisory Group. As Vice-Chair of the Tenants and Residents Association of a large estate in East London, she helped to establish a community garden, cooking scheme, and regular street parties.
An economist by training, Marloes graduated from Nuffield College, University of Oxford, with a Masters of Philosophy in 2011 and received a first class bachelors in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Bristol in 2008. She has spoken about the responsible use of data in finance at events including The ODI Summit and The Alan Turing Institute’s AI Ethics in Finance conference, and she taught the data ethics module of Cranfield University’s new MSc in Retail and Digital Banking.
Lydia is Head of Intrapreneurship at the Lab, leading our work with mainstream finance professionals to embed purposeful innovation within their organisations.
Lydia has a cross-sector background focused on systems change and social innovation. Prior to joining the Lab, Lydia worked across a portfolio of organisations in strategy design, innovation programmes and leadership development within the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Lydia brings to the Lab half a decade in the startup incubation space having designed, delivered and mentored on five accelerator programmes worldwide. She has also focused on supporting organisations with social innovation projects including UK internet company, Nominet and publicly listed companies in New Zealand through the University of Auckland’s corporate innovation programme.
Alongside her work at the Lab, Lydia is a member of the Advisory Panel for the Impact Investment Summit which convenes the Asia Pacific community of impact investors. She is also an Associate of leadership development consultancy, Koreo, where she contributes to organisational development and culture change projects within large UK charities.
Lydia graduated from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology). She then obtained a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact through the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales (Australia). Lydia is a qualified workplace coach and a trained action learning facilitator.
Naomi Alexander Naidoo
Naomi Alexander Naidoo is Community Manager at the Finance Innovation Lab, building and supporting the Lab’s community of innovators, influencers and changemakers.
Before working at the Lab, Naomi was Membership and Services Coordinator at ISEAL Alliance, the global membership organisation for sustainability standards. She was responsible for relationship management, membership growth, and delivering ISEAL’s training programme. Prior to that, Naomi held multiple engagement and community positions, including at the sustainability offices of London School of Economics and Utrecht University, and sustainability communications consultancy Sustainability Consult.
Alongside her role at the Lab, Naomi is an organiser with POCIMPACT – a community connecting, recognising and supporting people of colour working in social impact.
Naomi has an academic background in philosophy, with a particular focus on the ethics of climate change. She graduated from King’s College London with a first class degree in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in 2013, followed by an MA in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University in 2015. Her master thesis explored the role of hope in enabling climate action. In addition, she completed an honours programme in innovation for sustainability at Utrecht University, and a course on climate innovation from the EU’s knowledge and innovation initiative Climate KIC.
Yvonne is Operations Officer at the Finance Innovation Lab, providing administrative, operational and organisational support to the Lab’s team, events and programmes.
Yvonne started her career in education, teaching English, Drama and Classics, with a particular interest in pastoral care. Primarily working in schools undergoing significant change, she focused on how school systems and structures could be developed to give the best outcomes for all students. After five years as Deputy Head with responsibility for operations and compliance, Yvonne decided to explore a more creative career. She worked in floristry for seven years, and was responsible for planning and delivering events alongside flower design and arrangement.
Yvonne graduated from the University of Durham with a degree in Combined Arts (Classics and English) and holds a PGCE in secondary education. She is passionate about sport and has been a referee, captain and coach for her local rugby club, where she is now Honorary Secretary. In addition, Yvonne regularly volunteers at running and cycling events.
Callum is the Fundraising Volunteer at the Lab, providing research into prospective funders. Callum has an academic background in Politics and International Studies, and currently works as a Social Researcher for Government. He is passionate about building financial systems that serve social and ecological ends. His interests include music, running, travel, and reading.
Robin is the Impact Research Volunteer at the Lab, and is working on an evaluation of the Lab’s flagship Fellowship programme. Robin graduated with a history degree from the University of Cambridge in 2019 and is currently pursuing graduate studies in economics at Birkbeck University. He is interested in the evolution of the global economy and financial sector, and how climate change, transparency and organisational culture policies and activism might influence its future.
Dilan is the Research and Strategy Volunteer at the Lab, undertaking research about the financial system to inform the Lab’s 2021+ strategy development process. Dilan graduated with a degree in Economics from the LSE, and is currently working as an Economist in the Cabinet Office. He is inspired by the Lab’s mission of challenging the status quo to build a more sustainable, equitable and responsible financial system.