Carsten Jorgensen

As an international investor with 25 years’ experience, Mr Jorgensen has a proven track record of judicious investment across asset classes, acting as a trusted advisor to high net worth individuals including Forbes list top 10 families. His commercial experience includes managing assets and risks for blue-chip companies, family offices and diversified conglomerates.

Stephanie Whittier

Stephanie Whittier co-heads the Foundation and Endowment Services team at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, offering specialised investment management solutions. She joined Morgan Stanley in 1975 after graduating from Boston College Carroll School of Management. Stephanie serves on the boards of Grace Outreach and National Executive Services Corps, and is involved with Student Sponsor Partners and Christo Rey Schools, which provide quality high school educations to at-risk students.

Dr John Barrett

Before leaving the UK Senior Civil Service in 2014, Dr Barrett was the chief adviser on climate, environment, infrastructure and livelihoods at the Department for International Development (DFID). In addition to other senior roles in DFID’s Policy and Research Division, he spent some 16 years working on country programmes in southern Africa and Pakistan. Dr Barrett previously spent 18 years at the Natural Resources Institute, eventually holding the post of Assistant Director. He was awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to development and currently works as an independent consultant on international development.

Dr Madhvi Chanrai

Brought up in a family of entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Dr Chanrai is passionate about women’s empowerment and knows from personal experience that entrepreneurship can transform lives. She was born in India and raised in the UK where, after graduating in Medicine from the University of Cambridge, she practised as a GP in London for 20 years. Today, she operates a regenerative farm.

Paola Uggla

As a lawyer whose areas of expertise include corporate social responsibility, and a former legal counsel of the Volvo group in Sweden, Ms Uggla was admitted to practise at the New York Bar. Her long-standing professional interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) led her to guest-lecture on CSR at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

Lars G Josefsson

As a chairman and board member of five companies in the energy sector in Europe and North America, and the former CEO of Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest electricity producers, Mr Josefsson’s long-standing interest in sustainable energy led him to advise German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate issues. He is an honorary professor of physics at the Brandenburg University of Technology in Germany.

Bruce Grant

A serial entrepreneur, Mr Grant started his career at Arthur D Little where he rose to become the firm’s President of North America. He founded and chairs management consulting firm Applied Value LLC, which advises Global Fortune 500 corporations on turnarounds in North America, Europe and China. His investment company Garden Growth Capital acquires stakes in a growing portfolio of small firms to nurture their long-term potential.

Percy Barnevik

“Even when they’re undernourished, downtrodden and illiterate, [our entrepreneurs] have an enormous will. When they get a chance, they’re not letting it go by,” says Percy Barnevik. “These women can move mountains.”

At 79, the Hand in Hand International Honorary Chairman knows a thing or two about seizing chances. Before co-founding Hand in Hand with Dr Kalpana Sankar in 2003, a move that would catalyse the creation of millions of small businesses, Barnevik ran some of the biggest companies in the world. In Europe, he was Chairman of Swedish construction giant Skanska, Swiss engineering firm ABB Ltd and UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca plc. In the US, he sat on the boards of DuPont and General Motors.

As early as the 1970s, Barnevik’s work brought him to India, Kenya and South Africa. Later, he managed the construction of power plants and refineries in other developing countries. It was during these visits, he says, that he started to think about tackling poverty.

“I learned that the reason for almost all the trouble in the developing world is extreme poverty. Children not attending school, poor health, carelessness about the environment – it all went back to poverty.

“Then while travelling in southern India I saw this terrible abuse of child labour. I started to buy them out for about US $150 a child. I was in mind to buy out 200,000 children, which becomes quite a lot of money. I realized that I had to attack the root cause of the problem: poverty.”

Barnevik recruited Indian development specialist Dr Kalpana Sankar, a nuclear physicist by training, and together they set about building a programme that would help create jobs in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Hand in Hand was born.

“Our model, help to self-help, puts people’s destinies into their own hands,” says Barnevik, explaining his early motivation. “You train them, you coach them, but they decide themselves about the future.”

That belief, since borne out by millions of grassroots entrepreneurs, continues to underpin our work. So too does Barnevik’s firm preference for decentralisation, one of his hallmarks as a Chairman and CEO.

In his 2013 book ‘Percy Barnevik On Leadership’, he describes his dream company as “highly decentralised – with many separate units, many responsible managers and potential for initiatives.” Our network – with operating headquarters in India, Afghanistan and Kenya, and support offices in Sweden, the UK and the US – is exactly that.

Without “superfluous levels”, says Barnevik, “we run at a very high speed, at a very low cost – and the speed is accelerating all the time. We’re now up to almost 1,000 new or expanded businesses every working day.”

Barnevik stepped down as Chairman of Hand in Hand International in February 2014. But he continues to provide incalculable support – and near-daily working hours – as Honorary Chairman.

“This work with Kalpana and the team we have at Hand in Hand is my biggest project ever,” he says. “It’s my last, my biggest and my most important project.”