Leadership:

Together we bring a diverse skill set from varied backgrounds including Economics, Education, and Nutrition to ensure Access. 

AARON FRIEDLAND | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR   Aaron developed his passion for economic development and education while working and researching abroad. He recognized that students in places such as Uganda, South Africa, and India who struggled academically would often fall into the poverty trap. His personal experiences opened his eyes to myriad barriers to education including distance to school and lack of nutrition. These experiences in conjunction with his work at UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-profit taught him a great deal about education in developing countries and gave him the foundation to create an organization called The Walking School Bus, which aims to help students worldwide access education. In addition to founding the organization, he serves as the Executive Director.  Aaron currently works as an Economics Lecturer. He brings enthusiasm and a research-based approach to his teaching. He is passionate about motivating his students through experiential learning, a model that he has applied in the classroom as well as at TWSB through a global reading program and various nutrition initiatives.

AARON FRIEDLAND | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Aaron developed his passion for economic development and education while working and researching abroad. He recognized that students in places such as Uganda, South Africa, and India who struggled academically would often fall into the poverty trap. His personal experiences opened his eyes to myriad barriers to education including distance to school and lack of nutrition. These experiences in conjunction with his work at UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-profit taught him a great deal about education in developing countries and gave him the foundation to create an organization called The Walking School Bus, which aims to help students worldwide access education. In addition to founding the organization, he serves as the Executive Director.

Aaron currently works as an Economics Lecturer. He brings enthusiasm and a research-based approach to his teaching. He is passionate about motivating his students through experiential learning, a model that he has applied in the classroom as well as at TWSB through a global reading program and various nutrition initiatives.

MUKASA MOSES | UGANDA PROJECT COORDINATOR   Mukasa is an experienced Humanitarian Programming Director with a demonstrated history of working with both international and local NGOs in the Non-profit Emergency Response and development settings funded by donor agencies (UNHCR, BPRM, UNICEF, IOM, ECO, CHURCH OF SWEDEN, ACT ALLIANCE and the Lutheran Church) in sub-Saharan Africa.  Mukasa’s experiences are linked to social protection (SGBV and child protection), mental health and psychosocial support in emergency and post-emergency. He is skilled in humanitarian emergency response and assistance. His education revolves around education in emergency programming, conflict resolution, team building, capacity development, program management, and systems strengthening.  Mukasa has a MSc in Public Health, and BA in Social Sciences.

MUKASA MOSES | UGANDA PROJECT COORDINATOR

Mukasa is an experienced Humanitarian Programming Director with a demonstrated history of working with both international and local NGOs in the Non-profit Emergency Response and development settings funded by donor agencies (UNHCR, BPRM, UNICEF, IOM, ECO, CHURCH OF SWEDEN, ACT ALLIANCE and the Lutheran Church) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mukasa’s experiences are linked to social protection (SGBV and child protection), mental health and psychosocial support in emergency and post-emergency. He is skilled in humanitarian emergency response and assistance. His education revolves around education in emergency programming, conflict resolution, team building, capacity development, program management, and systems strengthening.

Mukasa has a MSc in Public Health, and BA in Social Sciences.

EMMA THOMPSON | EXPEDITION COORDINATOR

EMMA THOMPSON | EXPEDITION COORDINATOR

KAMLESH PANDEY | INDIA TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR   Kamlesh is originally from Uttarakhand. After acquiring a degree in History at Kumaun University in Nainital, Kamlesh acquired expertise in digital technology through an apprenticeship with a Business-to-Rural Technology organization in New Delhi. After this, Kamlesh returned to HPS to pursue teaching in computer studies. He now works with TWSB to ensure our program is sustained with our partner schools in the Uttarakhand region after our expeditions.

KAMLESH PANDEY | INDIA TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR

Kamlesh is originally from Uttarakhand. After acquiring a degree in History at Kumaun University in Nainital, Kamlesh acquired expertise in digital technology through an apprenticeship with a Business-to-Rural Technology organization in New Delhi. After this, Kamlesh returned to HPS to pursue teaching in computer studies. He now works with TWSB to ensure our program is sustained with our partner schools in the Uttarakhand region after our expeditions.

DANIEL MORTON | LEAD GRANT WRITER   Daniel is an international development professional specializing in fundraising for small and medium-sized NGOs working in areas as diverse as Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He recently moved to consulting where he advises organizations on their strategy of resource development as well as setting up funding proposals, and is proud to have helped raise more than 5 million dollars for his clients. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and a certificate in fundraising from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Born and raised in Vancouver, he currently divides his time between Canada and Brazil, where he lives with his wife and cat.

DANIEL MORTON | LEAD GRANT WRITER

Daniel is an international development professional specializing in fundraising for small and medium-sized NGOs working in areas as diverse as Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He recently moved to consulting where he advises organizations on their strategy of resource development as well as setting up funding proposals, and is proud to have helped raise more than 5 million dollars for his clients. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and a certificate in fundraising from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Born and raised in Vancouver, he currently divides his time between Canada and Brazil, where he lives with his wife and cat.

HANS ZHANG | SOLAR PROJECT COORDINATOR   As a professional member of the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Hans is passionate about using his background in Power Systems and Energy to create impactful change through The Walking School Bus. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia as well working as an engineer at BC Hydro. By tapping into resources from both his professional and academic backgrounds, Hans hopes to continue advancing TWSB’s mission by means of technologic innovation.  In collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and CRADLE, TWSB’s solar-powered classrooms will soon be deployed in two refugee camps in Uganda and will play an integral part in improving the quality of medical care in these camps. Hans will be spearheading the design and procurement of the solar-technologies that will be deployed in the classrooms.

HANS ZHANG | SOLAR PROJECT COORDINATOR

As a professional member of the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Hans is passionate about using his background in Power Systems and Energy to create impactful change through The Walking School Bus. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia as well working as an engineer at BC Hydro. By tapping into resources from both his professional and academic backgrounds, Hans hopes to continue advancing TWSB’s mission by means of technologic innovation.

In collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and CRADLE, TWSB’s solar-powered classrooms will soon be deployed in two refugee camps in Uganda and will play an integral part in improving the quality of medical care in these camps. Hans will be spearheading the design and procurement of the solar-technologies that will be deployed in the classrooms.

RAN SOMMER | DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS   After completing his Master's in Communication, Ran initially joined TWSB to lead the team as the Director of Communications. Ran’s role at TWSB grew in ways we never expected. His unique ability to work with the strengths of our organization to propel its operations forward, and his attention to detail has enabled TWSB to flourish and has made him a core member of our team.   Ran has already helped TWSB flourish in its operations and communication, and we are lucky to bring him on board as the Director of Operations. Under Ran's leadership, TWSB will realize its 5-year vision as it relates to: our UNHCR collaboration, building capacity from a project and financial standpoint, working with our partner communities in Uganda and India, and scaling our impact!

RAN SOMMER | DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

After completing his Master's in Communication, Ran initially joined TWSB to lead the team as the Director of Communications. Ran’s role at TWSB grew in ways we never expected. His unique ability to work with the strengths of our organization to propel its operations forward, and his attention to detail has enabled TWSB to flourish and has made him a core member of our team.


Ran has already helped TWSB flourish in its operations and communication, and we are lucky to bring him on board as the Director of Operations. Under Ran's leadership, TWSB will realize its 5-year vision as it relates to: our UNHCR collaboration, building capacity from a project and financial standpoint, working with our partner communities in Uganda and India, and scaling our impact!

ALEX GILLIS | CORPORATE RELATIONS   Alex Gillis is a Loran Scholar at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business. Holding the title of Startup Canada’s 2015 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, Alex is heavily involved in the Canadian startup ecosystem and has advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the future of entrepreneurship and education for youth in Canada. Alex is involved in numerous entrepreneurial initiatives on campus at the University of British Columbia and works with a passionate community of volunteers, local initiatives, and corporate partners who are shaping the future of Canada, today. Alex believes that The Walking School Bus's holistic community-centric approach is the best way to develop communities world-wide.

ALEX GILLIS | CORPORATE RELATIONS

Alex Gillis is a Loran Scholar at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business. Holding the title of Startup Canada’s 2015 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, Alex is heavily involved in the Canadian startup ecosystem and has advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the future of entrepreneurship and education for youth in Canada. Alex is involved in numerous entrepreneurial initiatives on campus at the University of British Columbia and works with a passionate community of volunteers, local initiatives, and corporate partners who are shaping the future of Canada, today. Alex believes that The Walking School Bus's holistic community-centric approach is the best way to develop communities world-wide.

KELLY PICKERELL | RESEARCH COORDINATOR   Kelly comes from a background in International Development Studies and is passionatem about all things research, education, and women’s health. She has a Master’s in International Development Studies, and wrote her thesis on the intersectionality of women’s work, rights, and health in Uganda’s rural fisheries. After being based in Uganda and travelling extensively throughout East Africa over the past several years, she was excited to connect with TWSB and to support their work in Uganda. A more recent interest of Kelly’s is the application and implementation of technology and digital learning platforms in low-resource settings, and she looks forward to coordinating and assisting with TWSB research and future projects wherever possible. Kelly is currently working in global and maternal health research.

KELLY PICKERELL | RESEARCH COORDINATOR

Kelly comes from a background in International Development Studies and is passionatem about all things research, education, and women’s health. She has a Master’s in International Development Studies, and wrote her thesis on the intersectionality of women’s work, rights, and health in Uganda’s rural fisheries. After being based in Uganda and travelling extensively throughout East Africa over the past several years, she was excited to connect with TWSB and to support their work in Uganda. A more recent interest of Kelly’s is the application and implementation of technology and digital learning platforms in low-resource settings, and she looks forward to coordinating and assisting with TWSB research and future projects wherever possible. Kelly is currently working in global and maternal health research.

ELI WYATT | GRANT WRITER   Eli moved to Vancouver in September 2018 after graduating with an English and French degree in the UK. He is passionate about the power of language, words, and writing to make social impact where it is needed the most.  Soon after arriving in Vancouver, he joined TWSB as a member of the Grants team and has since been writing proposals to help TWSB fund its outreach projects in Uganda and India.

ELI WYATT | GRANT WRITER

Eli moved to Vancouver in September 2018 after graduating with an English and French degree in the UK. He is passionate about the power of language, words, and writing to make social impact where it is needed the most.

Soon after arriving in Vancouver, he joined TWSB as a member of the Grants team and has since been writing proposals to help TWSB fund its outreach projects in Uganda and India.

RUCHI SHAH | STORYTELLER AND ART DIRECTOR   Ruchi Shah is an award-winning illustrator and muralist from India, who has published titles in 10 languages. Over a decade, she has been a travelling artist and illustrator, working with tribal schools in different parts of India spanning from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. She facilitates art workshops for children, encouraging them to create indigenous literature. In 2016, she was invited by TEDx to speak about her work and the power of art to create social impact.  As a Storyteller and Art Director for TWSB, Ruchi works with children from inter-faith schools and communities, enabling them to take their stories to global publishers. She is passionate about taking the vision of TWSB ahead through art and crafted story-telling.

RUCHI SHAH | STORYTELLER AND ART DIRECTOR

Ruchi Shah is an award-winning illustrator and muralist from India, who has published titles in 10 languages. Over a decade, she has been a travelling artist and illustrator, working with tribal schools in different parts of India spanning from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. She facilitates art workshops for children, encouraging them to create indigenous literature. In 2016, she was invited by TEDx to speak about her work and the power of art to create social impact.

As a Storyteller and Art Director for TWSB, Ruchi works with children from inter-faith schools and communities, enabling them to take their stories to global publishers. She is passionate about taking the vision of TWSB ahead through art and crafted story-telling.

ANDY CHEN | VIDEOGRAPHER   As a film scholar from St. George’s School, Andy joined TWSB and implemented his skills in the production of many videos for TWSB. With a desire to help students in Uganda attain an education and live a better life, Andy went on the March 2017 Uganda expedition as a Videographer. Aside from informing people of TWSB’s mission, he loves spending time with kids and showing them his photos, gadgets, and gizmos.

ANDY CHEN | VIDEOGRAPHER

As a film scholar from St. George’s School, Andy
joined TWSB and implemented his skills in the production of many videos for TWSB. With a desire to help students in Uganda attain an education and live a better life, Andy went on the March 2017 Uganda expedition as a Videographer. Aside from informing people of TWSB’s mission, he loves spending time with kids and showing them his photos, gadgets, and gizmos.

MIDO DESANTI | EXECUTIVE ADVISOR   Mido is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the social change app,  Pixhug . He is also the principal of the early stage technology investment fund Rubiq Ventures. Prior to his current roles he launched several companies in the luxury goods and services sector. He has studied at the American University of Rome and the International University of Monaco. Mido has spoken on the importance of social entrepreneurship at McGill University and Columbia Business School alongside Deepak Chopra. He sits on the board of Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation and is fluent in English, French, Italian and Croatian.

MIDO DESANTI | EXECUTIVE ADVISOR

Mido is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the social change app, Pixhug. He is also the principal of the early stage technology investment fund Rubiq Ventures. Prior to his current roles he launched several companies in the luxury goods and services sector. He has studied at the American University of Rome and the International University of Monaco. Mido has spoken on the importance of social entrepreneurship at McGill University and Columbia Business School alongside Deepak Chopra. He sits on the board of Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation and is fluent in English, French, Italian and Croatian.

SUKRITI SACHAR | DIRECTOR OF INDIA OPERATIONS   Sukriti is a founder, entrepreneur, and is passionate about social impact. After working in corporate events for 7 years, Sukriti founded Powerlabs, a content design studio.  Her journey with The Walking School Bus (TWSB) began in 2016 which started with a Ugandan Expedition and resulted in Sukriti founding the India Chapter of TWSB. Working with communities content with the limited resources available to them and appreciative of TWSB's impact moved Sukriti. She became more interested in adapting the model that worked in the Ugandan context to fit similar issues pervasive across India.  As director of India Operations, Sukriti works to further her remarkable team of believers and achievers to bring the life and vision of The Walking School Bus to India.

SUKRITI SACHAR | DIRECTOR OF INDIA OPERATIONS

Sukriti is a founder, entrepreneur, and is passionate about social impact. After working in corporate events for 7 years, Sukriti founded Powerlabs, a content design studio.

Her journey with The Walking School Bus (TWSB) began in 2016 which started with a Ugandan Expedition and resulted in Sukriti founding the India Chapter of TWSB. Working with communities content with the limited resources available to them and appreciative of TWSB's impact moved Sukriti. She became more interested in adapting the model that worked in the Ugandan context to fit similar issues pervasive across India.

As director of India Operations, Sukriti works to further her remarkable team of believers and achievers to bring the life and vision of The Walking School Bus to India.

RANI MACINNES | COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR   Rani joins TWSB after coming full circle in her career with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology, 10+ years in the non-profit, a Masters in Digital Publishing and 15 years working with notable clients like Nike, Nintendo, CBC, Telus, universities and government.  A seasoned project manager in communications, marketing and advertising, Rani has worked on a broad range of digital projects including roles as a content strategist, writer, communications lead, social media maven and more. With a passion for life-long learning and community engagement, Rani is ready to let the world know about TWSB and help scale their impact through communications and event management. She is thrilled to be part of the team!

RANI MACINNES | COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Rani joins TWSB after coming full circle in her career with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology, 10+ years in the non-profit, a Masters in Digital Publishing and 15 years working with notable clients like Nike, Nintendo, CBC, Telus, universities and government.

A seasoned project manager in communications, marketing and advertising, Rani has worked on a broad range of digital projects including roles as a content strategist, writer, communications lead, social media maven and more. With a passion for life-long learning and community engagement, Rani is ready to let the world know about TWSB and help scale their impact through communications and event management. She is thrilled to be part of the team!

SADATI MULILO | UGANDA TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR   Sadati studied at the Islamic University in Uganda, graduatuing in 2012, and continued his education at Livingstone College. Sadati has worked in the digital technology sector for a decade, with expertise in the field of computer literacy and engagement, and manages his own company that focuses on education-technology for young and mature students.  Sadati is based in Mbale, Uganda with his wife and children. He works closely with TWSB’s partner communities in Mbale and throughout Uganda to ensure the maintenace and sustainment of our education-technology curriculum program after our Expeditions.

SADATI MULILO | UGANDA TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR

Sadati studied at the Islamic University in Uganda, graduatuing in 2012, and continued his education at Livingstone College. Sadati has worked in the digital technology sector for a decade, with expertise in the field of computer literacy and engagement, and manages his own company that focuses on education-technology for young and mature students.

Sadati is based in Mbale, Uganda with his wife and children. He works closely with TWSB’s partner communities in Mbale and throughout Uganda to ensure the maintenace and sustainment of our education-technology curriculum program after our Expeditions.

STEPHANIE MRAKOVICH | SIMBI OPERATIONS   Stephanie has a passion for people and a knack for problem solving. You'll find her deeply questioning every step, whether it is to create a more efficient process or to strategize ways to improve it. While completing her Bachelor of Science and Minor in Psychology at UBC, she sat as the two term president of the Jewish Students Association, restructuring the board members and inspiring a synergy of skills and backgrounds. Today, Stephanie leverages her understanding of people in a product role where she works with customers to create a positive experience and improve the softwares they use.  As the Director of SiMBi Operations, Stephanie helps improve the functionality and flexibility of the platform. With the goal of eliminating barriers to accessing education, she works with various users to understand how SiMBi can benefit different types of learners from all around the world!

STEPHANIE MRAKOVICH | SIMBI OPERATIONS

Stephanie has a passion for people and a knack for problem solving. You'll find her deeply questioning every step, whether it is to create a more efficient process or to strategize ways to improve it. While completing her Bachelor of Science and Minor in Psychology at UBC, she sat as the two term president of the Jewish Students Association, restructuring the board members and inspiring a synergy of skills and backgrounds. Today, Stephanie leverages her understanding of people in a product role where she works with customers to create a positive experience and improve the softwares they use.

As the Director of SiMBi Operations, Stephanie helps improve the functionality and flexibility of the platform. With the goal of eliminating barriers to accessing education, she works with various users to understand how SiMBi can benefit different types of learners from all around the world!

JOE HITCHCOCK | CURRICULUM COORDINATOR   Joe is a content writer and high school tutor, originally from the UK. Joe holds Degrees in Philosophy and Creative Writing, and a Diploma in Fine Art. He enjoys contributing to the design of meaningful and useful curriculum for TWSB students and communities. @heyjoehitchcock.

JOE HITCHCOCK | CURRICULUM COORDINATOR

Joe is a content writer and high school tutor, originally from the UK. Joe holds Degrees in Philosophy and Creative Writing, and a Diploma in Fine Art. He enjoys contributing to the design of meaningful and useful curriculum for TWSB students and communities. @heyjoehitchcock.

RODRIGO MARTINEZ | GRAPHIC DESIGNER   Rodrigo is an industrial designer born in Guanajuato, Mexico. Inspired by his artistic family, Rodrigo developed a deep passion for the arts, such as drawing, painting, and music. Over time, he noticed that in using these skills, he was able to create new ideas, which inspired his decision to major in Industrial Design.  Having had the opportunity of travelling within Mexico and abroad during his studies, he became aware of alternative scenarios where design can be applied to mobilize ideas and empower users through artistic infrastructure.  With continuous commitment to himself and those who have supported him in his commitment to design, Rodrigo enjoys contributing to society through his passion.  Currently, he is developing his own design studio in partnership with his colleagues in Mexico, dedicated to the design and progression of socially-aware product branding.

RODRIGO MARTINEZ | GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Rodrigo is an industrial designer born in Guanajuato, Mexico. Inspired by his artistic family, Rodrigo developed a deep passion for the arts, such as drawing, painting, and music. Over time, he noticed that in using these skills, he was able to create new ideas, which inspired his decision to major in Industrial Design.

Having had the opportunity of travelling within Mexico and abroad during his studies, he became aware of alternative scenarios where design can be applied to mobilize ideas and empower users through artistic infrastructure.

With continuous commitment to himself and those who have supported him in his commitment to design, Rodrigo enjoys contributing to society through his passion.

Currently, he is developing his own design studio in partnership with his colleagues in Mexico, dedicated to the design and progression of socially-aware product branding.