« Back to Our People

Helena Riese Harstad

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. In addition, she provides legal, commercial and strategic support to portfolio companies.

Helena is a trained lawyer and has a background in Banking and Financing at one of the leading law firms in the Nordic region Mannheimer Swartling. Her work included project management within the field of business law, specializing in acquisitions, structured finance, asset finance, securitization, bond issues and financial regulation. She was then leading legal and negotiations for commercial investments at Swedish bank SBAB.

She has previously been living and working in Stockholm, Spain and New York and now lives in London with her husband, three children and a rather big dog called Otto. She is also a board member of Change Attitude, a Foundation who uses culture as a tool to raise awareness and increase people’s commitment to end sexualized violence against children.