By Rosemary Leith, Web Foundation co-founder and Chair of the Nominations Committee.
The Covid-19 crisis has underscored like never before why web access must be a public good and a basic right for everyone.
The mission for which the Web Foundation has been fighting for over ten years, has been elevated as one of the most urgent political, social and economic priorities of our time. In today’s world, access to an affordable, safe and empowering web is not a luxury, but a lifeline.
To help ensure we can give everything we’ve got to this mission, we’re expanding and strengthening our Board of Directors, adding to the rich expertise of our existing members.
I’m delighted to introduce two outstanding individuals who have joined our board: Barbara Iyayi and Chris Mathias. They follow the appointment of Sam Tidswell-Norrish who joined our board in April.
These leaders have an incredible wealth of experience: founding start-ups, creating nonprofits, and leading businesses in multiple sectors and across four continents.
Their energy, expertise and deep understanding of technology and business are a tremendous asset to the Web Foundation and I look forward to working closely with them as we take our work building a safe, empowering web to the next level.
Meet our new board members:
Barbara Iyayi is an entrepreneur and investor with experience in digital technology in addition to venture capital, private equity and investment banking. In her 16+ years career, she has invested in, led, scaled and advised FinTech and financial services companies in Africa and globally.
She is currently the CEO & Founding Partner of Unicorn Growth Capital, a financial technology VC firm that invests in leading early-stage companies transforming the financial services infrastructure of the digital economy. Previously Ms Iyayi served as the chair of the board of AppZone, a leading African FinTech platform; was the Chief Growth Officer of Element Inc, an AI-powered digital identity platform co-founded by Turing Award Laureate Yann LeCun; and was part of the inaugural team of Atlas Mara, a financial services investment platform, in addition to posts at JPMorgan and UBS.
She actively supports initiatives and is a member of leadership networks to promote a more diverse VC ecosystem and empower women and girls.
“We are at a pivotal moment whereby access to the web has become imperative to the social-economic dynamics of society. As a VC investor shaping the digital economy, it is my duty to ensure we deliver safe, empowering and inclusive technologies that power our daily lives. I’m honoured to work with the founders, board members and the rest of the team at the Web Foundation to mobilize stakeholders to achieve its vision.” – Barbara Iyayi
Chris Mathias is a business leader and investor who has led multiple companies and advises a number of philanthropic initiatives. He co-founded and currently chairs CMG Partners and Arbor Ventures, which have a strong focus on very early stage companies and turnaround situations. In this context Mr Mathias has worked with and advised a number of startups and early stage businesses.
He actively supports charities and not-for-profit organisations, with a focus on financially sustainable projects that develop local skills and tackle extreme poverty. He was previously trustee or board member at Digital Links International, Common Purpose, World Links, Impetus Trust, Charity Technology Trust and Homestart, and currently serves on the board of British Asian Trust and the Hummingbird Trust.
“A life without access to the web is a smaller life with less scope for growth. The half of the world who are in this position are the weakest and the most disadvantaged amongst us. I am honoured to join the board of the World Wide Web Foundation and help to achieve safe and reliable access for all.” – Chris Mathias
As we welcome these new members, I would also like to thank Omobola Johnson for her years’ of service to the Web Foundation, first as the Honorary Chair of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, and more recently as a Web Foundation board member. She attended her final board meeting in April.
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