Meet the Bernard van Leer Foundation team

Michael Feigelson  Michael Feigelson, interim Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation
Executive Director
Michael Feigelson (@mfeigelson1) has spent the last 15 years focused on working with governments, civil society and business to improve opportunities for children and youth. He joined the Foundation as a Programme Officer in 2007. He then held the positions of Programme Manager, Programme Director and Interim Executive Director. 

Michael has degrees from Wesleyan and Princeton Universities where he spent much of his time focused on understanding the impact of social and economic policies on children and families; he serves on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Behaviour; and – most importantly – he is the proud new father of a beautiful baby girl who reminds him every day of the importance, the challenges, and the joy that comes with a child’s early years.

Read Michael Feigelson's complete biography

Yigit Aksakoglu
Turkey Representative
Yigit is responsible for the Foundation’s program in Turkey. Previously he worked as a consultant for various institutions including universities, NGOs, government and business on civil society related issues. He has a degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in NGO management as a Chevening fellow.
Daniella Ben-Attar
Israel Representative
Daniella has over 15 years of experience developing and managing socio-economic development programmes in Israel and internationally. Her areas of expertise include youth participation, urban governance, municipal capacity building, peacebuilding and ICT for development. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as an independent consultant for UN agencies, the World Bank, corporations and NGOs worldwide. Throughout her career, she has focused on the critical role that young people can play in developing their communities. Daniella holds MA and BA degrees in Political Science and International Relations from Tel-Aviv University, Israel and Clark University, USA.
Agnes Buis
Human Resources Officer
With the foundation since 1996, Agnes’s responsibilities at the HR department range from recruitment and training to budgets and administration.
Alicia Fernández
Programme Administrator
Alicia has a degree in psychology, specialising in learning difficulties, and started her career with ten years of experience as a school psychologist for disadvantaged children in Madrid. She joined the foundation in 2003 as a Programme Administrator for the portfolios of North and South America, Israel and Global.
Karisia Gichuke
Programme Officer
Karisia is responsible for the foundation’s East Africa programme. Previously, she worked in philanthropy in the UK, including six years at The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund on a programme for young refugees supporting policy and attitudinal change. Karisia has worked in Uganda for UNICEF and the Refugee Law Project, with a focus on child protection, transitional justice and forced migration. She has degrees from Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Jolanda de Haan
Programme Administrator
Jolanda worked in Mozambique before joining the foundation in 1997, since when she has worked on programmes in the US, Carribbean, Europe, Asia and most recently in India and The Netherlands.
Inge Hanny
Travel and Events Officer
Inge organises and prepares all travel activities and coordinates visitors' services for the Bernard van Leer Foundation's staff and network representatives. She also co-organises conferences and workshops.
Jane Hartman
Secretary to the Executive Director
Born in Madrid to Dutch parents, Jane studied at the Lycée Français to become a multi-lingual secretary and translator. After working in Madrid and The Hague, she joined the foundation in 1984 as departmental secretary of the Programme Development and Training department. Since 1989 she has been Secretary to the Executive Director and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. As of April 2013 she has also taken over administrative tasks of the Executive Office of the Van Leer Group Foundation and also become the Assistant Secretary to the Governing Council of the Van Leer Group Foundation.
Katelyn Hepworth
Research & Evaluation Officer
Katelyn joined the foundation in 2014. Previously, she worked as a Consultant at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. She holds a master’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a regional focus on Latin America. Within the foundation, Katelyn helps to manage internal and external research and provides technical support to the Latin America program portfolio.
Steffan Hoeke
ICT Officer
As an ICT Officer, Steffan has been responsible for keeping the foundation’s computing environment in optimal working condition since 2001 (after first having started at the foundation as a consultant in the year 2000).
Ardan Kockelkoren
Administration Officer
Ardan joined the Foundation in 2014 as Executive Assistant. In this position he assists the Executive Director in all aspects of the work of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and is active in the writing and editing of programme grants. Ardan has also assumed the additional responsibility of managing a number of internal operational projects. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Nijmegen in Political Geography where he focused on the use of (new) media in contemporary conflict.
Marc Mataheru
Programme Manager
Marc joined the foundation in 1986, and since April 2009 has been responsible for programme development and the activities of the foundation in Israel; in early 2010 he also assumed responsibility for the foundation's programme development in Turkey. Previously he managed the foundation’s projects in countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Suriname, Netherlands Antilles, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, Argentina, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. Marc has a Master’s Degree from the Free University (Amsterdam) in Social Geography (specialization on Developing Countries) and before joining the Foundation worked during a period of 5 years as a UN technical expert in socio-economic planning in Senegal, the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Palau (Micronesia).
Neil van der Meer 
Operations Director
Of Dutch and Scottish decent Neil was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in South Africa, the Netherlands and the UK. Neil is responsible for all support and operational functions that serve to enable the foundation to effectively fulfil its mission. He holds a BSc (honours) degree (South Africa) and an MBA (The Netherlands).
Irene Menheere
Junior Financial Officer
Irene joined the Foundation in 2014 as Financial Officer, after gaining several years of experience at a financial department of an international company. Before that she spent several years in London where she worked in the hospitality business next to studying Finance in the evening. Irene is part of the Finance team and in her role co-responsible for keeping the financial administration of the Foundation up-to-date.
Jane Moerland
Financial Officer
Jane joined the Foundation in 1992 and is responsible for carrying out, maintaining and controlling the financial administration, project administration, salary administration and the preparation of management information and the preparation of the financial annual report of the Foundation. She is currently studying for her HBO Bachelor in Economics.
Teresa Moreno
Communications and Publishing Officer
An economics graduate with a master's degree in publishing, Teresa joined the foundation as a Spanish language editor in 1999. Currently she is in charge of the foundation’s publications, in English ad Spanish, including the Annual Report and its outreach.
Barbara Mulder
Young Kids Campaign Strategist
Barbara joined the Foundation in 2014. She has over 25 years of international experience in reputation management, public affairs and corporate communications. She previously worked in communications management and consultancy positions in the international corporate sector. Barbara holds a master’s degree in Corporate Communications from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
Dharitri Patnaik 
India Representative
Dharitri has been associated with international development and the non-profit sector for more than sixteen years. Her areas of expertise are human rights, governance and non-profit management. She has a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, USA and a master's degree in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India.
Leontien Peeters
Communications Director
Leontien has a master's degree in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam and over 15 years of experience in network building, public–private partnerships, and strategic positioning. Before joining the foundation in April 2010 she worked for the Business in Development Network and founded the international project Youth Employment Spark. Leontien was the Dutch youth representative to the UN in 2002 and is a member of the worldconnectors, a Dutch roundtable on international issues. She has lived in Australia, Brunei, USA, Ecuador and Spain.
Teresa Pegge-Custodio
Administrative Assistant Communications
Employed by the foundation since 1996, Teresa provides administrative and logistic support to the communications department by coordinating the printing and distribution of publications, managing the photo database, and handling contracts and invoices.
Jackie Ratsma
Programme Administrator
Jackie joined the foundation in 1984, after fourteen years of experience with social services in Belfast, Northern Ireland (adoptions, childcare and deaf children). Within the foundation Jackie supports the Research & Evaluation Officer on global projects, and the Programme Officers for Tanzania, Uganda, Turkey and the Roma programme in EU countries.
Melissa van Well-Dijkshoorn
Communications Officer
Melissa joined the communications department of the foundation in 2012, after gaining several years of experience in PR, communications and online marketing within different companies. She has a bachelor's degree in International Business and Languages, after which she specialised in (cross-media) communications.
Margriet Wolters-Buisman
Human Resources Manager
Margriet is responsible for the planning, direction and coordination of HR activities to maximise the strategic use of human resources and the well-being of the staff. Margriet has a master’s degree in social and organisational psychology from Leiden University. She specialised in HR and has extensive experience within different organisations.
J. Leonardo Yánez
Senior Programme Officer
Leonardo worked for several universities, NGOs and the government in Venezuela on primary and preschool care and education before joining the foundation in 2000. He has a degree in psychology (Venezuela) and an MA in education (Canada). He develops and manages programmes in the Latin America region.

Meet the Van Leer Group Foundation team

The Van Leer Group Foundation is a privately endowed charitable organization established in 1979 by Oscar Van Leer. It performs the holding function for all the Van Leer charitable activities and as such supervises its investment portfolio and the governance of its charitable activities. The Bernard van Leer Foundation receives the bulk of its income from the Van Leer Group Foundation.

Andre Betting
Executive Director
Andre has been Executive Director of the Van Leer Group Foundation since October 2007. Before he worked as Director of the Financing Directorate in the Dutch Ministry of Finance where he was responsible for all Dutch state-owned enterprises, privatisations and the development and structuring of public-private partnerships within the central government. He studied Law and Public Administration at Groningen University and was a policy advisor on municipal finances at an independent advisory council to the government.
Bob Galesloot
Investment Manager
Bob joined the Van Leer Group Foundation in 2014. Earlier he was chief investment officer and head of the hedge fund department of Robeco Alternative Investments. Before that, Bob was a senior portfolio manager with the fixed-income department of Robeco Asset Management. He began his career at an insurance group as a member of its actuarial staff. Bob received his master's degree in econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1994.
Tim Otto
Tim has been the Assistant Investment Manager of the Van Leer Group Foundation since May 2009. He most recently managed the European start-up for a U.S. pharmaceuticals manufacturing company. Previously, he held other management positions in the printing and packaging industry focusing on project finance, operations, new business investments, sales development, and process improvement. He received his BS in Statistics from the University of Minnesota in 1991 and his MBA cum laude, specializing in finance, from the University of Amsterdam in 2008.
Rick Venster
Financial Officer
Rick joined the financial department of the foundation in 2013, after gaining several years of experience in finance at the accounting department of an investment company in Rotterdam – for which he was also chairman of the works council. Besides working for the foundation Rick started studying law at the Open University in The Hague, with the aim for a master’s degree in Financial Law.

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