Team and Advisors

Our Team

Our headquarters are based in Berlin, Germany and we also have team members based in Cologne, Ireland, the UK and US. Key strategic decisions are taken by the Strategy Committee consisting of Philipp Hirche, Laureen van Breen, Theresa Heithaus, and Ethan McCutchen.

Laureen, coming from the Netherlands, joined the WikiRate team in Berlin in 2016. She leads the organization, overseeing its operations, developing and implementing its strategy, setting up organizational structures, advocating for open data practices, and securing funding that enables the organization to flourish.

After working with the organization on several European Commission projects, Vasso joined the WikiRate team in 2021. She is an expert in data mining, relational databases, SQL, and object-oriented programming, and developed the algorithm currently in use to extract semi-structured datasets for company relationship mappings. Vasso is from Greece and is based in our Berlin headquarters.

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Theresa Heithaus
Senior Program Manager

Theresa joined WikiRate in 2016 and manages program development focusing on topics including Climate research, the Sustainable Development Goals and corporate accountability to Legislative and guidance frameworks. In addition, she supports securing new partnerships and resources, and advocating for shared, open data on corporate sustainability performance. Theresa comes from Oregon and resides in Berlin.

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Philipp Hirche
Founder and Chairman

Originally from Berlin, WikiRate’s Founder and visionary Philipp Hirche currently resides and works in London. As well as working in the field of renewable energy advisory, he supports the team with the development of the organization's strategy, managing resources, and developing strategic partnerships.

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Tom Howie
Content and Communications Manager

Tom joined the WikiRate team in Berlin in 2021 as Content and Communications Manager. Working closely with all teams, he shapes and leads communications that show WikiRate’s unique position at the intersection of research, open data, innovation, and collective action. He comes from the United Kingdom.

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Lucía Ixtacuy
Community and Data Manager

Lucía joined WikiRate in 2018 as Project Manager. Currently, she is maintaining and growing our academic engagements and developing a community of WikiRate contributors. She is responsible for improving data quality in public data sets on WikiRate. Lucía comes from Mexico and lives in Berlin.

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Philipp Kühl
Lead Developer

Philipp is the lead developer for WikiRate and the Decko platform on which it is built. Philipp is based in Cologne. 

Ethan is the chief architect for WikiRate and the Decko platform. WikiRate is built using Decko, a free and open-source platform for building web systems from simple wiki-inspired building blocks. Ethan is based in Pennsylvania.

Richard spent almost five years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the University of Cambridge, initially in the Department of Psychology and then in the Department of Sociology. Richard's main research interest is in online peer production communities, and he has a PhD in Applied Social Statistics focusing on peer production sites with voting mechanisms. Through WikiRate, Richard discovered a strong interest in and enthusiasm for developing and participating in peer production endeavors.

Aileen joined WikiRate in early 2018 and leads the work of our Transparent Value Chains and Benchmarks programs. She leads our relationship mapping projects and the development of tools that open up data on working conditions in supply chains. Through the Benchmarks program, she works to translate benchmark scoring mechanisms and data into an open WikiRate format. Aileen is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Melanie, based in Berlin, joined WikiRate as a UX/UI Designer in 2021. In her role, she analyzes, conceptualizes and develops designs solutions to increase the usability and quality of WikiRate's websites and applications. Her purpose is to creatively solve problems that make the world a better place.

Manali is a Business Analyst at Sustainometric and has an experience of 2 years in ESG Research. She works intensively on projects based on Impact Research, Modern Slavery Statements, and Gender Equality from various industries including Technology, Fashion, FMCG, Oil, and Gas. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Banaras Hindu University.


Advisory Council

WikiRate is supported by experts who volunteer to serve on its multi-stakeholder Advisory Council. The Council is made up of representatives from civil society, academia and open data development, among other sectors.

The role of the Advisory Council Members is to provide expert advice in support of WikiRate’s strategic development and mission fulfillment in areas including:

  • Program development
  • Data management, platform growth and stakeholder trust and engagement
  • Open source technology, ethics and neutrality
  • Business model

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Hapee de Groot
Advisory Council Member

Hapee is an international development expert and worked 15 years at Hivos as part of the ICT&Media team. He always worked with OpenSource Software in the field of ICT for development, ranging from projects around open data, accountability&transparency, citizen engagement, websecurity and osint. He currently works as Rapid Response Manager for Greenhost where he facilitates the digital emergency response community to resolve threats. Through his work he has thorough understanding of which OpenSource tools are out there and which problem requires which solution and he is also able to implement such a project securely. His experience connects him to a world-wide network of developers and security trainers.

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Anuradha Nagaraj
Advisory Council Member

Anuradha Nagaraj is a Chennai-based journalist with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and reports on labour rights, climate change and just transition. She has spent over two decades reporting on a range of issues across India. Anuradha started her career at The Indian Express newspaper as a reporter and rose to be the city editor of its Delhi edition. She also covered the Indian sub-continent for German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur and is the winner of the 2018 Ulrich Wickert International Award for reporting on child rights. A certified media trainer, she does training workshops for journalists and civil society groups.

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Farzana Nawaz
Advisory Council Member

Farzana is an independent consultant and international development expert with over 15 years of experience across a range of areas that include labour rights in supply chains, gender equity, future of work and corruption and good governance. Farzana has extensive on-the ground work experience in South and South-East Asia, where she has worked closely with grassroots labour rights organizations aiming to strengthen workers’ voice and working conditions in the apparel supply chain. Since 2019, she has been leading a multi-country learning initiative in Asia looking at how publicly available data is being used by trade unions to strengthen negotiations and advocacy. Farzana has also written about women and the Future of Work and is currently a member of the Working Group on Feminist Principles for Digital Justice, a cross-regional network of feminists in Asia and Latin America.

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Ingo Rollwagen
Advisory Council Member

Dr. Ingo Rollwagen is an expert in innovation management, foresight and digital, sustainable, design-based transformation. For the last twenty years he has been supporting and advising corporations in different industries, industry associations, research organizations, governments, the OECD, the European Commission and non-governmental organizations effecting change via anticipating dynamics and designing metrics for a more future-oriented and sustainable management of technologies and dynamics of the knowledge economy. Since 2015, he is a professor for management at Hochschule Fresenius, Department of Design (Akademie Mode und Design) and teaches on strategic, innovation and international, CSR and supply chain management.

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Liz Umlas
Advisory Council Member

Liz is an independent researcher and consultant with 20 years of experience in the field of business and human rights. Based in Switzerland, she divides her time between teaching (University of Fribourg, Oxford University) and undertaking consulting and research projects primarily for international organizations and academic and not-for-profit entities. She has worked for many years in socially responsible investment (SRI), most recently advising global union federations on engaging institutional investors on workers’ fundamental rights. Liz is a senior fellow at the Croatan Institute, an independent research institute that works at the intersection of sustainability, finance and economic development. She is also a co-founder of Sustainable Finance Geneva.

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Margaret G. Wachenfield
Advisory Council Member

Margaret is an international lawyer and policy adviser with more than 25 years’ experience in human rights, responsible business conduct, and the environment. She currently holds several positions: Managing Director of Themis Research, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Senior Adviser to the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, and Senior Adviser to the Centre for Responsible Business (Colombia). In addition, she serves on a number of advisory groups. Margaret previously was a senior adviser at UNICEF, human rights adviser and counsel at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (World Bank Group), practiced corporate and environmental law and was legal adviser at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

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Derek Young
Advisory Council Member
Derek is a veteran ESG, sustainability and communications professional with more than 25 years of experience. He is recognized as a thought leader who has worked in the public policy, non-profit, for profit and consulting sectors, where he has developed a deep experience in the areas of strategic analysis, corporate responsibility and community engagement platforms, non-profit partnerships, charitable giving, stakeholder engagement, branding, and resource efficiency. Derek has helped to start and lead CSR and Sustainability programs at several corporations including Invista, TGI Fridays and FedEx and has provided consulting support to numerous other brands across a wide range of sectors and industries.