About the Speakers

Lead Presenters

Benjamin Haas (Germany)
Research Associate & PhD Candidate
Institute for Sociology & Social Psychology,
University of Cologne, Germany

Benjamin Haas works as a Research Associate and PhD candidate at the Institute for Sociology and Social Psychology at the University of Cologne, Germany. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from the University of Leiden/NL. Benjamin has worked in development, global education and international volunteering programmes for more than ten years as a researcher, evaluator, program planner and volunteer. He is founding editor of “Voluntaris – Journal of Volunteer Services and Civic Engagement”. His regional focus is on Europe, the La Plata region (South America), Central America and West Africa. He has carried out research in Argentina, Ghana, Germany, Nicaragua and Trinidad & Tobago.

Tony Goodrow (Canada)
Founder & CEO
Better Impact

Tony Goodrow is the founder and CEO of Better Impact, a software company that has been helping the nonprofit and governmental  sector in over 20 countries since 2001. He has spoken at volunteer sector conferences on five continents, including IAVE conferences in Europe, Asia and Latin America, focusing on topics such as technology trends in the volunteer sector and new perspectives in data collection. He brings to this panel discussion his combined insights into present and future technology offerings and the operations of volunteer engaging organisations.


James O’Brien (Ireland)
Executive Coordinator
International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum)

James O’Brien is Executive Coordinator of the International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum). A global network of organisations involved in international volunteering. Together they promote the value of volunteering for development through policy engagement, mutual learning and by sharing innovative and good practices. Prior to joining Forum, James spent a decade in various roles with Voluntary Service Overseas, most recently as Volunteering for Development Leadership Advisor. He has served as Coordinator of the Volunteer Groups Alliance and Chair of the Post-2015 Volunteering Working Group; and worked with Better Care Network and Lumos on responsible volunteering.


Giselle Mendez (Trinidad & Tobago)
Volunteer Innovator, Founder & Managing Director
Volunteer Center of Trinidad & Tobago (VCTT)

Giselle Mendez is a Volunteer Innovator and Founder/ Managing Director of The Volunteer Center of Trinidad & Tobago (VCTT). VCTT hosts a unique Caribbean based platform (www.vctt.org) which connects people to high impact custom built interventions which support the Sustainable Development Goals. At VCTT we believe in the transformational power of people, and curate an all-inclusive space for citizens to be activated and meaningfully engaged in pioneering viable solutions, in support of our Vision of ‘A Volunteer In Every Home’. Our current interventions include the Me to We E-Mentorship programme supported by Prince’s Trust International, the Grown in East Port of Spain home & community garden initiative supported by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and the development of a regional network for Volunteerism supported by Ruach Tova – Good Deeds Day.

Deedar Guerra (Mozambique)
Vice President
National Volunteering Council of Mozambique (CNV)

Deedar Guerra has been a volunteer since 2009, the year he founded a CBO called ADDESSO. In 2015, he began an active collaboration in the revitalization of the National Volunteering Council of Mozambique (CNV). He is CNV Vice President since 2018. At CNV he has led the design of CNV plans and projects, as well as the coordination of their implementation at national level, ensuring the mobilization and management of volunteers. He is the mentor of the volunteer scheme in Mozambique. He has led the CNV’s cooperation with foreign entities, having led its affiliation to platforms of continental and worldwide dimension, including IAVE.

Padmasini Dayananda (United Kingdom)
CSR Outreach Lead, UK & Central Europe

Padmasini Dayananda is the CSR Outreach Lead for Cognizant UK and Continental Europe,  her primary focus is to bridge the opportunity gap through  social digital empowerment; delivering digital education to a spectrum ranging from primary schools, youth employability initiatives and pro bono services to charities, advising them on how they can use digital capabilities to service their beneficiary better. The Social Digital Empowerment Program won the employee engagement award for social responsibility in 2019. In January 2019, Padmasini  won the CSR Excellence Award UK for the impact delivered through Outreach. Recently she has been nominated for @WATC_WeAreTech #TechWomen100 award. She is also a certified Transformation Coach, passionate about supporting people to respond to changes in life with clarity and to achieve their ideal state of being.

Return to Main Page

WordPress PopUp Plugin