More Power to Community

ChangeX connects people with proven ideas for strengthening communities with the resources needed to start them.

Our Team

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis, we are a growing team of entrepreneurs committed to scaling proven social innovations across the world.

  • Paul O'Hara Co-Founder/CEO

    While investing in social entrepreneurs across Europe at Ashoka, Paul grew frustrated at how slowly proven ideas were spreading. He realized technology held the key to scaling what works and founded ChangeX in 2015. A business graduate, Paul previously marketed chocolate and ice-cream at Unilever and Cadbury. He loves to spend his weekends starting ChangeX ideas with his family, as part of his neighborhood group.

  • Niamh McKenna Co-Founder/Head of Impact

    Niamh works with our social innovators to spread their ideas, with our corporate partners to grow their impact, and on measuring the impact of our work in local communities. Previously, Niamh worked with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and as a consultant with PwC having studied law at NUI Galway and International Management at TCD. Outside work, you'll find Niamh at a gig, practising yoga or sea swimming.

  • Niall O’Hara Co-Founder/Product Lead

    Niall works with our team of developers to plan, design & build the ChangeX platform while also developing our strategy for rolling out Machine Learning solutions across our product. Previously, Niall worked as an Engineer, Computational Physicist and Growth Marketeer. Outside of work you’ll find him running, reading or nerding out on some new online courses he’s working on.

  • Sean Hanly CTO

    Sean is CEO of Ticketsolve and co-founder of Exoftware and Ticketsolve Ltd. He is an industry-leading expert in maximising Agile processes for profit with over a decade of senior management experience in software companies. He leads the product team at Ticketsolve as well as managing key client relationships. With his direction, Ticketsolve is continuously breaking new ground in ticketing.

  • Robson Mafra Developer

    Robson is a software engineer and technology enthusiast. He has ten years of experience helping companies and startups to build their dreams, most recently with Accenture and ContaAzul. He believes that education has the power to change the world and supports Deaf education in Sign Language at Surdo para Surdo.

  • Katie Smith Head of Operations

    Katie runs the day to day operations of the ChangeX machine, as well as supporting starters get the platform ideas up and running in their community. Previously Katie worked with the Mary Robinson Foundation on securing justice for people impacted by climate change. She holds a Masters in Sustainable Development. Outside work, you’ll find Katie shouting either on a hockey pitch or at a climate change rally.

  • Michael Black CFO

    Michael is focused on building a solid financial footing for ChangeX so we can scale and reach our ambitious impact goals. He’s an experienced CFO who has worked exclusively with high growth tech businesses over the last 20 years, leading on capital raising and financial systems development. Before joining Change Michael was CFO at Clavis Insight and is also currently a non-executive at Danske Bank UK.

  • Daniel Paul Developer

    Daniel works to make the ChangeX site as user friendly as possible through beautiful design. He is an entrepreneur passionate about all things web & tech. He has over 10 years’ experience building products and services as a CTO, head of product & full-stack developer. When not programming he will most likely be found hanging out with his lovely Labrador, Leo.

  • Julia Hildebrand Head of Community

    Julia has been with ChangeX from the start and, since 2016, is supporting us from the Netherlands. Her curiosity about grassroots change and the people behind it feed our blog, newsletters and social media accounts. Before joining ChangeX Julia worked at Germany’s international broadcaster DW to shape their first social media strategies. Julia has just founded her own community organization in her hometown Duisburg, Germany.

  • Jen Aspengren Minnesota Director

    Jen leads all things Minnesota for ChangeX, including starter support, idea selection, ambassador and partner recruitment and deal impact delivery. Before ChangeX she worked with Ashoka's U.S. team where she did search and selection for Ashoka Fellows and staff. She is passionate about empowering people to be changemakers throughout their lives. Jen holds a Masters of Public Policy and serves on the board of Alia.

  • Erin Boyd Head of Partnerships

    Erin designs collaborative partnerships with companies and foundations. Prior to ChangeX, Erin was the co-founder of Ashoka U, a global network for social innovation in higher education. She serves on the boards of the Amani Institute, Watson Institute, and ASSET education, and she’s passionate about new pathways to connect and inspire people as changemakers. Erin gets her energy from weightlifting and cooking nourishing meals.

  • Brendan Dunford Offline Communities

    Brendan founded the Burren Life Project, an initiative that places farmers at the creative center of developing and delivering key conservation actions. In 2001, he completed a doctorate on the impact of farming on the heritage of the Burren and is co-founder of landscape charity, Burren Beo Trust. He is an Ashoka Fellow and has extensive experience, knowledge and networks in the Burren region.



  • Board of Directors

    • Sorcha McKenna (Board Chair) Partner, McKinsey

      Sorcha is a Partner at McKinsey and leader of the McKinsey Dublin office. She joined in 2003 and her work focuses on organizational change in health care. Sorcha led work on an approach to improve access to primary care in the UK that led to significant improvements in patient access and satisfaction and underpins the national approach to addressing GP access. In addition to publishing and presenting on these topics, Sorcha also convenes a global group of leading practitioners to share perspectives on successes and the future of integrated care. Before joining McKinsey, Sorcha obtained a degree in microbiology and a PhD in molecular microbiology from Trinity College Dublin.

    • Caroline Casey Founder of Binc

      Caroline Casey is an award-winning social entrepreneur, Ashoka Fellow and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. A former strategy consultant with Accenture, Caroline is founder of Binc, a business inclusion company which launched #valuable – a worldwide ‘call to action’ for businesses to recognise the value and potential of the 1 billion people living with a disability and position disability equally on the global business agenda. Casey also founded the Ability Awards, to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, and Kanchi, where she developed a set of best practices for businesses, to help them see "disabled" workers as an asset.

    • Michael Kelly Founder of GIY (Grow it Yourself)

      In 2008 Michael founded the organisation "GIY (Grow it Yourself)". GIY is a social enterprise creating a healthier, happier and more sustainable world where people grow some of their own food. In 2018 GIY supported over 800,000 people to grow food for the first time. Michael produced and presented the RTE TV Series GROW COOK EAT with Karen O'Donohoe, has written 3 books on food and self-sufficiency and has won awards for his work with GIY from Ashoka, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the Arthur Guinness Fund.

    • Faye Drouillard Consultant for Social Change

      Faye is passionate for social change through entrepreneurship and applying business practice to socially driven organizations. She spent over five years as Executive Director of the education-based Freedom Writers Foundation, where she spearheaded the organization’s growth through major film and book releases. Previous to this she worked as a corporate paralegal focused on Fortune 500 corporate mergers and acquisitions and litigation for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Faye co-founded The Giving Circle in Amsterdam and Dublin to educate and inspire a new generation of philanthropists and support innovative social purpose organizations.

    • Jill Vialet Founder of Playworks

      Jill launched Playworks in 1996 in California. Currently the organization brings play and physical activities to children across the United States, serving over 800,000 students a year through direct and training services, reaching more than 1800 schools and youth-serving organizations. Prior to Playworks, Vialet founded the Museum of Children’s Art (mocha) in Oakland, California and expanded its programs to reach 20,000 young people each year. In 2009, Vialet and Playworks were selected as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and in 2011 Jill was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top 30 leading social entrepreneurs.

    • Brian Caulfield (Observer) Partner, Draper Esprit

      Brian Caulfield is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He was a Managing Partner at Draper Esprit for 7 years, and continues as a Venture Partner with the firm. Prior to joining Draper Esprit, Brian was a partner at Trinity Venture Capital. Previously, Brian co-founded both Exceptis Technologies and Similarity Systems. He sits on the boards of Clavis Technology and the Irish Times, Ireland’s leading daily newspaper. He is a private investor/advisor to a number of early stage technology companies and is VC-in-residence at co-working hub Talent Garden.

    Funders/Advisors

    • Albert Wenger Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures (USV)

      Albert is an investor and advisor at ChangeX. USV is a New York-based early stage VC firm focused on investing in disruptive networks. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert graduated from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.

    • Mike Lee Co-Founder MyFitnessPal

      Mike is an investor and advisor at ChangeX. Mike Lee is Co-Founder of MyFitnessPal, the leading free resource helping people improve their health. Prior to founding MyFitnessPal, Mike co-founded NextC, a venture-funded startup focused on building online communities. During his 20 year tenure in the technology industry, Mike has held leadership positions at several other top start-ups in Silicon Valley, including Palm, Handspring, Beyond.com and Regis McKenna.

    • John O’Farrell General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz

      John is an investor and advisor at ChangeX. A partner at Andreessen Horowitz, he has played a key role in many high-growth startups. John sits on several boards and specialties include global expansion, partnerships and M&A. He has worked in global leaderships roles at Silver Springs Network, Opsware and Excite @Home. John holds an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

    • Vic Parker Managing Director Spectrum Equity

      Vic is an investor at ChangeX. He has been with Spectrum Equity since 1998. His areas of investment focus include Internet, software and information services. Prior to joining Spectrum, Vic worked at Summit Partners. He is a member of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and serves on the Board of the Natural Capital Project, a joint venture between WWF, the Nature Conservancy, and Stanford University.

    • Jerry Greenfield Co-founder Ben & Jerry’s

      Jerry is an investor at ChangeX. He is the co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's and a philanthropic investor. In 1995 he founded the Ben & Jerry's Foundation together with his partner Ben Cohen, mainly for the purpose of giving back to the Vermont community and to support grassroots activism and community organising for social and environmental justice.

    • Xochi Birch Co-Founder of The Battery

      Xochi is a programmer and entrepreneur based in San Francisco. She is the co-founder of the online social networking website Bebo, which sold to AOL in March 2008 for $850 million. Her current project, with her husband Michael Birch, is The Battery, a members club with a vision to “to create a culture where inspiration is embraced, diverse communities come together and egos are checked at the door” and the recently formed member-led philanthropic nonprofit Battery Powered.

    • Garry Moroney Founder and CEO Clavis Insight

      Garry is an investor and advisor at ChangeX. A serial tech entrepreneur and most recently CEO of Clavis Insight, which provides eCommerce Insights and Online Store Audits and recently sold to Ascential. On the back of this sale he was the recipient of The Irish Times Business Person of the Month Award in December 2018. Prior to Clavis, Garry co-founded Similarity Systems with Brian Caulfield, which was sold to Informatica for $55 million in 2006.

    • Jeff Lieberman Managing Director Insight Venture Partners

      Jeff is an investor and advisor at ChangeX. He has been at Insight since its earliest days and has been an active investor in both SaaS software and consumer internet companies. Jeff is focused on partnering with great entrepreneurs across the globe and helping them scale their businesses. He has led or co-led nearly fifty deals across four continents since joining Insight in 1998.

    • Tom Popple Sr Manager, Climate Change and Sustainability, Natural Capital Partners

      Tom is responsible for creating solutions to clients’ carbon, water, biodiversity, and renewable energy challenges, using market-based mechanisms such as carbon finance, green power instruments, and water benefit certificates. Tom is an associate of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), and has 10 years’ experience in business development across multiple sectors including infrastructure, energy, events and media.

    All Funders

    Mike Lee · Brian Caulfield · Albert Wenger · Vic Parker · Jeff Lieberman · Garry Moroney · Cavendish Capital Limited · Colm Lyon · Ray Nolan · John O'Farrell · Jerry Greenfield · Val and Ed Spencer · Soran Foundation · Conor Stanley · Shay Garvey · Mark Little · Yallingup Enterprises · Lochlann Quinn · Denis Tinsley · Minneapolis Foundation · Bill McKiernan · Knight Foundation · Ian McDonald

    Our Mission: Every Community Thriving

    In order to address the world’s biggest challenges such as climate change, isolation, loneliness, obesity or polarization we believe we need to unlock more power in local communities.

    We need to use technology more creatively and accelerate the spread of the best ideas along with the knowledge and the financial resources to empower community leaders to tackle issues at the local level.

    Let’s bring the best ideas to 1 billion people by 2030

    In 2018, backed by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, we committed to the goal of mobilizing 20 million new projects around the UN’s Global Goals by 2030 in order to benefit 1 billion people. We can’t achieve that on our own.

    We’d love you to join us on our mission

    Some of our customers

    • Microsoft
    • Blue Cross
    • AIB
    • RWJF
    • Community Foundation

    Some of our partners

    • Morrison & Foerster
    • A&L Goodbody
    • Andersen Tax
    • McKinsey
    • OMD
    • Publicis
    • BigO Media

    Company Details

    ChangeX International

    Company Registration Number: 555232
    Charitable Tax Exemption Number: 21264
    Registered Charity Number: 20153618

    2015 Audited Accounts
    2016 Audited Accounts
    2017 Audited Accounts
    2018 Management Accounts

    ChangeX United States

    EIN: 83-4060943
    501c3 Exempt Status: Application Pending

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