Laurence Lien (Chairman)

Laurence Lien is Co-Founder and founding CEO of the Asia Philanthropy Circle.

Laurence is also the Chairman of Lien Foundation, a family foundation established in 1980, that has become well-regarded for its forward-thinking and radical approach in the fields of education, eldercare and the environment, as well as the Chairman of Lien AID, the foundation’s humanitarian arm.

Laurence was the CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre in Singapore from 2008-2014. In 2008, he founded the Community Foundation of Singapore and was its Chairman from 2013-2019. He is also Board Member of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at the Singapore Management University.

Prior to his work in the non-profit sector, Laurence served in the Singapore Administrative Service, which forms the top echelon of public service leaders in Singapore. Laurence holds degrees from Oxford University, the National University of Singapore, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2010, Laurence was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship. He was also a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore from 2012-2014.

Fifi Pangestu

Fifi Pangestu

Fifi Pangestu is a Jakarta-born businesswoman with a passion for sustainability and education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College in the United States, and started her career as an auditor at Arthur Andersen LLP in New York. She eventually joined Barito Pacific Group, one of Indonesia’s largest diversified conglomerates.

As a senior executive at Barito Pacific, Fifi Pangestu has played an important role in the company’s success, particularly in the areas of human resources and business development. She is known for her ability to develop and implement innovative strategies that drive growth and increase profitability.

Fifi is also a devoted mother of three, and a strong advocate for high-quality education and sustainable environmental practices. She has taken a lead role in the corporate foundation, Bakti Barito, which was established to serve as a platform for all sustainability initiatives as well as to enhance Indonesia’s education quality to serve all.

In addition to her work at Barito Pacific, Fifi serves on the Board of Governors of the British School Jakarta, a leading international school in Indonesia. She also serves on the Board of Regents of Boston College in the United States, her alma mater.

Francesco Caruso

Francesco Caruso

Francesco has been involved in philanthropy in Asia for the last 20 years. As the Head of the Firetree Group oversees its philanthropic giving and programmes.

Since beginning his philanthropic journey over 20 years ago, Francesco has overseen the disbursement of over US$130 million in grants. He spends his time between Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, working with the management and Boards of local organisations as a director and/or an advisor and thought partner as well as funder. 

During his philanthropic career, Francesco has co-built and managed non-profits such as M’Lop Tapang, a Cambodian organisation working with thousands of vulnerable children, youth and families and led the restructuring of AHC, a leading children’s healthcare organisation based in Siem Reap. In the Philippines he co-founded and still manages the Tondo Community Initiative, a social work and child-protection organisation working in Tondo, Manila. 

After relocating to Singapore in 2020, he co-founded the Asia Community Foundation and serves as a director of South Central Community Family Service Centre and =Dreams (Singapore) Limited and Yayasan Chow Kit in Malaysia.

The direct experience gained in working with nonprofits greatly informs his philanthropic giving approach.

Previous to his work with non-profit institutions, Francesco worked in finance and business development in North America and Europe. He holds a LLM degree (International Law) and a Master Degree in Management.

Kathleen Chew

Dato’ Kathleen Chew is the Group Legal Counsel of YTL Corporation Berhad. She holds a LL.B (Hons) Degree from the University of Birmingham and is a member of the English Bar and the Malaysia Bar. She is also Programme Director of the YTL Foundation. The YTL Foundation’s vision is to build better societies, through better education by redefining the teaching and learning process through programmes, funding, thought leadership and by championing the use of technology.

She is Chairman of Hospis Malaysia and a trustee of the Dignity for Children Foundation and Montfort Boys Town. She is Chairperson of Alpha Malaysia, a non-denominational Christian organisation and Chair of the Alpha Asia Pacific Advisory Board. She is also a board member of the Asia Philanthropy Circle and Acumen Fund Inc, New York. Additionally, she is Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Assunta Secondary School, a mission school founded by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

She is founder of Mad Squared, a media services agency serving the non-profit sector and founder of Mangosteen Organics, a socially-conscious luxury bath and body brand that aims to improve the quality of life of women and children in Southeast Asia by committing 100% of its profits to help sustain organisations that empower and support women and children in need.

She is married to Dato’ Yeoh Seok Hong and has seven lovely children.

Michael Rudolf Paul Maria Brenninkmeijer

Michiel Brenninkmeijer

Michael Brenninkmeijer has spent 35 years in a global career expanding the family business, specifically in the C&A stores, one of the largest retailers in Europe and South America, and the COFRA Holding AG group of businesses. Michael himself has worked and lived across four continents – and most recently 11 years in China in retailing, supply chain, sustainability, planning & financial reporting, and IT.

As Chair of Porticus Asia Investment Committee since 2018, Michael has shifted his main focus to enable more sustainable and dignified lives for direct beneficiaries and stakeholders through programmatic investments in Education through Whole Child Development, in Migration and in Climate Change.

Previously, Michael was Chair of C&A Foundation Investment Committee, which worked with many stakeholders to create a thriving and more equitable apparel industry, especially in Asian supply markets.

Michael is a Dutch National who graduated from Georgetown University in 1985. He is married with 4 children and in his free time, enjoys reading, playing the saxophone, horseback riding, tennis, swimming, skiing and travel. He has recently settled back in Singapore.

Rina Lopez

Rina Lopez

Rina Lopez is the co-founder, President and Executive Director of the Knowledge Channel Foundation (KCFI), a non-profit organization which operates the first and only TV, online and offline media tandem with produced and acquired content focused on the Philippines’ PK-12 curriculum. Its teaching and learning ecosystem also includes building capacities of day care center workers, teachers, parents and other stakeholders of education and awarding schools and education leaders on excellence in innovation.

Aside from the Knowledge Channel Foundation, she sits on the boards of First Gen Corporation, Lopez Inc., Philippine Business for Education, Southeast Asian Foundation for Children and Television, the Lopez Group Foundation, and just very recently invited to the Board of Asia Philanthropy Circle. She is a Charter member and the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Makati Premier District 2021-22. She is a co-founder of the Building Bridges Leadership Journey.

Together with her father, Oscar M. Lopez, Rina’s work with the Knowledge Channel was recognized and personally cited by President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative Asia 2008. She was recently named one of “Asia’s 2021 Heroes of Philanthropy” by Forbes Asia. She was also awarded Ulirang Mandaleño by the Municipality of Mandaluyong in 2017, received the Lasallian Achievement Award for Distance Learning from De La Salle Alumni Association in 2008, awarded Woman of Style and Substance by People Asia in 2008, Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2006, Award for Advocacy in Child’s Education by Rustan’s Essences in 2006, Peace Builder International Hall of Fame Award by the Chicago Filipino-American Via Times in 2006, Manuel L. Quezon Award in Communications and Distance Learning by the Federation of Catholic Schools Alumni/ae Associations in 2006, Peace Award for Literacy Rotary International District 3780 in 2006, 2005 CEO Excel Award of Excellence by IABC Philippines.

Rina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from De La Salle University (1981) and a Master of Arts degree in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University (2016). She is mother to Daniel Layug and his wife Anacelle, and to Margarita Bautista. She is also grandmother to Aldo Layug.

Watanan Petersik

Watanan Petersik started her career in the financial industry over 35 years ago. Her last positions in a full-time banking career were Managing Director, Investment Banking, and Chief of Staff, Goldman Asia ex-Japan.

Since retiring, Watanan has been a Senior Advisor for private equity and an independent board member of CIMB Thai Bank and CIMB Group Holdings Berhad Malaysia.  She is currently an independent director at PTTGC Public Company Limited, part of the PTT Group in Thailand, and serves on its Corporate Governance and Audit Committees. Watanan is a moderator for the Aspen Institute, and a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, South Africa, part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is a member of the Management Committee at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, Singapore Management University, the Advisory Board at the Nanyang Technological University Business School, and the B Corps Multinational Standards Advisory Council. She is based in Singapore.