The Team

Anna Laycock

Anna Laycock is CEO at the Finance Innovation Lab, where she leads our work to build a financial system that serves people and planet.

Anna is a collaborative leader, systemic thinker and expert facilitator, with extensive experience of coaching and mentoring. She regularly speaks at public events in the UK and globally, has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford, and has been published in academic journals, book chapters and a range of media titles, including the Guardian, New Statesman and Pioneers Post. She holds an MSc in Global Ethics with distinction.

Anna is a trustee of the New Economics Foundation, which aims to transform the economy so it works for people and planet, and an advisor to the Economic Change Unit, LSE Grantham Research Institute, Climate Safe Lending, Moneyline, and Future of Good. She is a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), an Associate of the Institute for Social Banking and an Associate of the St Paul’s Institute.

Prior to joining The Lab, Anna was Ethics and External Affairs Manager at Ecology Building Society, where she led the Society’s communications, public affairs and impact measurement.  She was instrumental in the development of new regulation to enable building societies to issue a new type of shares to their members, and represented the Society on the Global Alliance for Banking on Values Communications and Impact Metrics expert groups. Anna has previously worked in international development, campaigning, academic research, social enterprise, and community development.

Anna has recently served on the boards of the  Just Finance Foundation, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s initiative to create a fairer financial system, and NEON, the New Economy Organisers Network. Previous voluntary experience includes three years as Trustee and then Chair of HALE, a community health project in Bradford, and three years serving on the grants committee of Leeds Community Foundation.

She has been a judge for the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, RSA Student Design Awards and Chartered Banker Institute Young Banker of the Year. Anna has also been recognised as one of the leading Women in Social Enterprise, on the Women in Fintech Powerlist, and as one of Brummel Magazine’s  30 Ones to Watch in 2018.


Rebecca Sumner Smith

Rebecca is COO at the Finance Innovation Lab, looking after the people, processes and resources which enable our work.

Rebecca has a diverse background with 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), successfully designing and implementing a grants transformation plan across the department. 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.

Rebecca started her career at Deloitte, where she qualified as a chartered accountant and international tax advisor. After a move into industry she relocated to Germany, working as Senior International Tax Specialist at the Deutsche Bahn (DB) Group in Berlin. At DB she led the tax input on various group-wide projects, including a review of tax processes across the c. 130 jurisdictions the group is active in.

Alongside her work at the Lab, Rebecca is Vice Chair of trustees for Herts Young Homeless Group, a youth homelessness prevention charity which provides a variety of free services to young people across Hertfordshire.

Rebecca has a BA in Theology from the University of Oxford and an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter. She is currently completing a part-time MSc in Voluntary Sector Management at the Cass Business School’s ‘Centre for Charity Effectiveness’.


Marloes Nicholls

Marloes is Head of Programmes at the Finance Innovation Lab, where she runs Lab Fellowship and leads research on financial innovation.

Before working at the Lab, Marloes worked at the think tank Meteos as Programme Manager and Researcher working on finance and climate change related projects. There, she led the research for BankingFutures, a unique, multi-stakeholder dialogue that asks: how can we rebuild a healthy banking sector in the UK? She also directed Money Comms Lab, a collaborative research project to understand the most effective ways to engage and communicate with the public on issues relating to money and the financial system.

Marloes has a wealth of experience working in social change, including co-founding the campaign Move Your Money UK and working at Oxfam on global campaigns and policy. At Oxfam, she was a Divisional Project Manager and supported the development and evaluation of major high profile campaigns, including work on Oxfam’s climate change policy and campaigning.

Marloes continues to participate in grassroots, creative activism in the UK, and is particularly interested in drawing on the arts and community organising to create accessible ways for the public to engage with money and the financial system. As Vice-Chair of the Tenants and Residents Association of a large estate in East London, she has helped to establish a community garden and cooking scheme to support connections across people of different ethnicity, age and class. Since 2017, she has been a member of the Friends Provident Foundation Programme Advisory Group, advising on systems change grant applications.

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. In 2019, Marloes taught the data ethics module of Cranfield University’s new MSc in Retail and Digital Banking.


Lydia Hascott

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. Lydia continues to support the innovation ecosystem through mentoring those running accelerator programmes and their participating enterprises.

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 private wealth, institutional and government investors directing capital toward social and environmental transformation. 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 is particularly interested in how private sector organisations can create both financial and social value through co-designing innovations with underserved market segments. She gained direct experience in this through working with one of the first disability-focused tech accelerators in the world, supporting corporates and startups to design tech products with and for the £250bn p.a. disability market.

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. She is currently seeking to contribute to social innovation through directorship roles after completing governance training with the Future Directors Institute (Australia).


Naomi Alexander Naidoo

Naomi Alexander Naidoo is Community Manager at the Finance Innovation Lab, building and supporting the Lab’s community of innovators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.

Before working at the Lab, Naomi worked at ISEAL Alliance, the global membership organisation for sustainability standards. Working predominantly on membership management and growth, Naomi developed relationships with standards initiatives and peer organisations spanning a range of sectors including agriculture, textiles and carbon. She also delivered ISEAL’s training programme, which involved coordinating public training workshops and tailored services.

Naomi has extensive experience in community management, including engagement and community roles at the sustainability offices of London School of Economics and Utrecht University, as well as for sustainability communications consultancy Sustainability Consult.

Naomi has an academic background in philosophy, with a particular focus on ethics in the context of climate change. She graduated from King’s College London with 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 and motivating action on climate change. 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.


Rose O’Donnell

Rose is Team Coordinator at the Lab, providing support across the team and the Lab’s programmes. Rose graduated from the University of York with first class honours in English, with her work taking a particular focus on Petroculture Studies, interrogating petrocapitalism through the lens of literature.

Rose is a passionate environmentalist and advocate for social change, with five years’ experience in the voluntary sector working with vulnerable people. Alongside her work at the Lab, Rose supports a number of community organisations in North London, in the hope of aiding people to overcome societal blocks. She is also a participant of her local environmental advocacy groups.

Prior to joining the Lab, Rose spent a number of years developing her understanding of the system and how to change it from the sunny shores of Spain, where she worked as an English teacher, and Australia, where she spent time working with alternative growing systems. This thinking time was vital in the shaping of her ethics and her direction. She now speaks Spanish fluently.


You can contact the team by emailing hello@financeinnovationlab.org or tweeting us at @TheFinanceLab.