The Team

Jesse Griffiths

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 is a trustee of Earthworks St Albans, a social and therapeutic horticulture charity supporting people with learning disabilities. She 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

Marloes Nicholls is the Lab’s Head of Policy and Advocacy, leading our work to build the power of civil society organisations to influence finance-related regulation, law and policy, to ensure that the rules of the game are reoriented around social and environmental purpose. She ran Lab Fellowship – a unique incubator for financial innovations that put social and environmental purpose at their heart – from 2016-2019.

In recognition of her contribution to policymaking and regulation, she was included on the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020. She regularly speaks about rapid technological change underway in finance, and what that means for people and planet. Recent examples include the ABCUL annual conference, The ODI Summit, The Alan Turing Institute’s AI Ethics in Finance conference, and teaching the data ethics module of Cranfield University’s new MSc in Retail and Digital Banking. Marloes is also a member of the Friends Provident Foundation Programme Advisory Group.

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. 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.

Sam Rex-Edwards

Sam is Movement Building and Campaigns Lead with Kay, developing our campaign to rapidly scale up the ecosystem of organisations that put social and environmental purpose at the centre of their mission.

Sam has most recently been the Lead Organiser, with Kay, at TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities).  They collectively secured funding which enabled the expansion of the staff team, grew the membership, led the campaign that committed the Welsh Government to pilot adding an extra £1 to the free school meal allowance for secondary school pupils so they could also buy breakfast, and trained people from diverse backgrounds in community organising. For six years prior to that Sam coordinated projects with North Wales Women’s Centre, particularly focused on supporting women into education and employment, and the centre’s counselling service.  She spent two and a half years supporting policy development for the Liverpool City Region, with a focus on housing.  This followed almost three years as a Community Organiser with TCC, where she led co-led campaigns on the living wage, Fairtrade and waste.

An active member of her local Friends of the Earth group, Sam has most recently been involved in saving a community garden from development and organising people to respond to the Local Development Plan.

Sam holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Glasgow, a PGDip in Environmental Policy from The Open University and an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management, with PGDip in Marketing and Fundraising from The Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Bayes Business School.

Kay Polley

Kay is Movement Building and Campaigns lead with Sam. Prior to joining the Lab, Kay was leading the work of TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities) in North Wales, the UK’s oldest community organising charity. Kay was at TCC for ten years, and after returning from maternity leave, started a job-share of co-leadership with Sam. At TCC Kay supported a range of diverse communities in running successful campaigns, ranging from the local to the national.

As well as working at the Lab, Kay also works as a freelance community organising consultant for Mothers CAN (Mothers’ Climate Action Network), a national network of mums taking action on climate. For the last four years, Kay has been a non-executive director at Friends of the Earth.

Kay graduated from the University of Warwick with a BA (Hons) in Theatre and Performance Studies, also studying Politics and British Sign Language. After graduating, Kay worked with Oxfam and then the British Red Cross. More recently, Kay completed ILM (leadership and management) level 5. Kay is an active member of her local Friends of the Earth group, and is a Welsh learner, currently studying on the Uwch / Higher course.

Ally Spencer

Ally is Intrapreneurship Programme Manager at the Lab, working with the Head of Intrapreneurship to deliver the Lab’s programme for shifting mainstream finance.

Ally holds a BSc (Hons) in Human Science from University College London, and has spent the past decade working with professionals across the sciences – as well as volunteering with various charitable organisations. For the past five years Ally worked for the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) representing them at workplaces and events across the country, and delivering new initiatives to better engage with their community.

Ally’s career highlights include designing and delivering a public engagement event with 48 members of the RSB, recruiting the Medical Director of the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury, creating and running debate training programmes for several government-funded cohorts of PhD students, facilitating scientists to network as people behind the professions at conferences, and establishing the RSB’s first ambassador network.

Tom Shields

Tom is Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Lab. He works with the Head of Policy and Advocacy to build the power of civil society organisations to influence finance-related regulation, law and policy.

Prior to joining the Lab, Tom was at HM Treasury where he spent most of his time working in financial services policy, with a short stint working in international taxation policy. Tom holds a master’s degree in Comparative Political Economy from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Modern History and Politics from the University of Liverpool. 

An advocate for human-powered transportation, outside of the Lab Tom is a keen cyclist, an enthusiastic walker, and a reluctant runner.

Yvonne Morris

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.

Gurjinder Khambay

Gurjinder is Programme and Communications Officer at the Lab. 

Gurjinder holds a BA in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East from Leiden University. After graduating in 2021, Gurjinder spent six months working as a Content Executive for My Study Life. She has a passion for languages and is currently working to improve her proficiency in both Arabic and Spanish. 

David Fagleman

David Fagleman is Advocacy Associate at the Lab, currently working on our Transforming Data programme, with a specific focus on Lifting the Lid on Fintech.

David has worked in financial services since 2015 when he joined Cash Services UK. He became Head of Policy and Research and was part of the transfer to UK Finance in 2019. Prior to this, he worked at the innovation foundation Nesta, the Westminster-based think tank ResPublica and for Rachel Reeves MP. He co-founded Enryo in 2020, an independent consultancy designed to support the financial services industry as it navigates times of change.

Sarah King

Sarah is an Associate at the Lab, supporting our work to shift mainstream finance to align with social and environmental goals. She is the founder of consultancy Loafspark, and is a speaker, leadership guide, coach and mentor. Her work focuses on inspiring meaningful and compassionate ways to grow an organisation through connection with self and purpose, in pursuit of a better world.

Sarah has over 25 years of experience in leadership and organisation development in many different industries and sectors, including small charities, SME’s, education, local government, retail, private equity and purpose-driven and mainstream multinational financial services. She is a Fellow of the RSA, member of the CIPD and actively involved in Future of Work networks and debates.

Jacqueline Lim

Jacqueline Lim is Fellowship Associate at the Lab working in conjunction with the Climate Safe Lending Lab on a new Fellowship programme for intrapreneurs in banking. She is an advisor, facilitator and coach working with individuals, groups and organisations to inspire and navigate the path to leading equitable and transformative change. She brings a range of systems approaches and tools, combined with a deep equity lens, to her work.

She has worked in government, business and civil society over two decades, and spent eight years at sustainability/systems change agency Volans. More recently, she has worked with She Leads Change, Liminal and Systems Innovation. Jacqueline is from Singapore where she began her career as a social worker and Government scholar. She is currently a member of the Expert Group on SDG Investments in Cities convened by the OECD.

Natalie Tucker

Natalie is an Associate of the Lab, managing the 2021/22 Climate Safe Lending Fellowship – an initiative which brings together intrapreneurs in finance and equips them to drive climate positive action. Alongside her work with the Lab, Natalie runs Fledge Consultancy, helping purpose-driven founders to embed social and environmental impact at the heart of their start-ups, so that as they grow, so too does the difference they make to society.

Natalie brings expertise in impact management, in particular from her work with the Social Tech Trust, for whom she develops and delivers support to tech-for-good initiatives as part of programmes such as Microsoft AI for Social Impact. Previously, Natalie co-designed and led programmes aimed at enabling people working within corporates to create social impact whilst developing their leadership, and at building philanthropists’ understanding of social change and strategic giving.

Natalie is a MOE certified coach who mentors and coaches diverse purpose-driven professionals through partners including the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and the University of Westminster.

Mark Hemingway

Mark Hemingway is Media Associate at the Lab, working to amplify the voice for social and environmental justice in financial reform debates.

Mark has over 35 years’ PR experience, including as Head of Communications for multi-national banks such as HSBC and HBOS. He has advised extensively on reputation and crisis management, media relations and corporate campaigning throughout his career.

He has also been heavily involved in third sector work, including a period as chair of the campaigning charity, Empty Homes.

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