Helena Riese Harstad

Chairman & Co-Founder

Helena Riese Harstad is the Co-Founder and working Chairman of Optimizer Foundation. She leads the overall strategic direction of the foundation, including assessment of investment opportunities, and manages donor engagement

Anne Stubert Partridge


Anne Partridge is the COO of Optimizer Foundation. She is responsible for developing and implementing the strategy of the foundation, identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, and managing the portfolio

Emily Durfee

Investment Manager

Emily Durfee is Optimizer Foundation’s Investment Manager, based out of Nairobi, Kenya. She is establishing Optimizer’s East African operations, and managing the local investment pipeline, due diligence processes, portfolio advisory, and ecosystem relationships

Marcus Watson


Marcus provides advisory support to Optimizer Foundation, specifically with regards to the East African markets. Marcus is an Associate Partner at Dalberg Advisors, a strategy consulting firm, based in Nairobi, Kenya

Abdourahmane Diop


Abdourahmane is an investment professional with more than 7 years’ experience in impact investing and innovative financing in agriculture, global health and education. He provides advisory support to Optimizer Foundation, specifically with regards to financial returns analysis and investment pricing strategy

Peter F. Hinton

Senior Advisor

Peter provides advisory support to Optimizer Foundation, especially as regards sector views and insights on education and health, but also with general advice on impact and strategy. Peter is an Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School

Carl-Johan Hedström

Tech Advisor

Carl-Johan Hedstrom is currently the Director of LiveOps at Soundtrack Your Brand, and has 13 years of experience in IT/Telecoms space

Catharina Belfrage Sahlstrand

Board Member

Catharina is a board member of Optimizer Foundation. She is a lawyer and heads the legal team at Debt Capital Markets at one of the major Nordic banks Handelsbanken

Alexandra Rosberg Hinxman

Board Member

Alexandra Rosberg Hinxman is a board member of Optimizer Foundation. She works as governmental advisor specialising in international relations and

Bianca J. Samuelsson

Project Coordinator

With a background in Business and Tourism, and many years of experience in business and office management, Bianca brings an unprecendented level of organisation and structure to our daily operations