Meet the Team

Bette Adriaanse

Founding Partner

Bette is an artist and a writer. She studied Image & Language at the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam and received her Master in Creative Writing from Oxford University. Bette writes novels, short stories, makes drawings and videos and often blends different art forms together. Her debut novel, Rus Like Everyone Else, was published in the US and UK by Unnamed Press and in the Netherlands by Uitgeverij Cossee. Bette writes in both Dutch and English. Today, she lives and works in Amsterdam.

Rod De Weese

Founding Partner

Rod trained as a professional singer and musician at the University of Redlands School of Music. Following graduation, he was drawn to the San Francisco Bay area by the innovative technology industries at what came to be known as the dot com years. Here, in 1997, he co-founded green design agency Celery Design Collaborative, pioneers in sustainable design and corporate responsibility strategies for industry leaders in clean tech, renewable energy, culture, education, and community development. Today, Rod works from both Berkeley, California and the medieval town of Noyers, France.

Anne Vaxelaire

Founding Partner

Anne is a communications and PR expert with a background in polar science and environmental policy. She works at QTEM with leading global academic institutions and international businesses to select and train the most promising students worldwide. With experience that ranges from fact-checking presidential speeches to coordinating research in Antarctica, she applies her knowledge, conceptual abilities and human skills to help our projects reach the broadest audience with the most effective outcome.

Maya Arov Throsby

Project Developer & Researcher

Maya is an activist, student and feminist. She studies at Utrecht University at the MA Gender Studies programme and she specialises in untold narratives, knowledge production, and feminist art practices. She is an advocate for equality and queering society. The performativity of gender, roles of women in society, diversification of knowledge production and art practices, are her fields of interest.She is a project developer, social media content creator, and researcher for the Heroines! Movement. Through her background in interdisciplinary research practice, gender concepts and theory, she helps build and expand the ethical foundation and content of Heroines! Movement.

Manami Yonezawa

Research and Social Media

Manami is a Masters student at Utrecht University, studying the Gender Studies programme. She completed her Bachelors at Leiden University College The Hague, majoring in Human Diversity: Culture, History and Society. Her focus in studies are postcolonial feminism and representation of marginalised groups and cultures, especially in East and South-East Asia. She is active in advocating against Asian hate in Europe, and also is a social media researcher for Asian Voices Europe.She is a social media intern at Heroines! Movement, doing research and writing for social media content.

Nikita Leten

Research and Funding

Nikita is an intern at Heroines! Movement. She received her bachelor’s in European Studies from the University of Maastricht and is now in the process of finishing her masters in Gender Studies at Utrecht University. She was born and raised in Belgium and decided to move to The Netherlands for her studies. In her free time she likes to read, take film photos, cook and hang out with friends.

Johan Ory

Financial Advisor

He studies Business Economics at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in the field of Finance. Alongside his studies he has (co-)founded several businesses through which he acts as a financial manager and advisor, a real estate investor in the social sector, and a fund manager of an investment fun characterized by a long-term and sustainable vision. He lends his knowledge of financial matters to the Heroines! Movement.


Our first batch of heroic collaborators.

We’ve already assembled an amazing group of researchers and writers in eight countries who are ready to hit the ground running and develop inspiring stories about exceptional women.

Laura Ellemann-Jensen


Laura is an editor and writer at current affairs magazine Mandag Morgen, specialised in portrait interviews with prominent politicians and leaders. She is interested in how rolemodels can shape a better future for individuals and believes a Danish version of Heroines! would receive support from local leaders.

Babs Gons

The Netherlands

Babs is a spoken word writer and artist who has influenced a generation of young writers and artists in the Netherlands. Woordsalon, which she founded, and Poetry Circle, which she co-founded, have become platforms for more diverse and marginalized voices to be heard. Babs has won both the Black Achievement Award in arts and culture and the Global UNESCO Spoken Word competition. She performs regularly and is writing Heroines! in the Netherlands to inspire Dutch girls of all backgrounds.

Pragya Karki


Pragya Karki has studied Global Public Health and isa program manager for various community health projects. Her expertise lies in project implementation, people-centred operational management, and monitoring and evaluation of programs. She is looking forward to using her relationship building and motivation skills to create a strong team for Heroines! in Nepal.

Caoilinn Hughes


Caoilinn is an Irish writer, and winner of the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award, the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, the Collyer Bristow Prize for Debut Fiction 2019, an O. Henry Award and The Moth Short Story Prize. Caoilinn is an advocate for complex female representation and her debut novel Orchid & the Wasp received rave reviews everywhere from The New Yorker to ELLE. She’s ready to help create the best possible Irish version of Heroines!

Jing-Jing Lee


Jing-Jing is an acclaimed poet and author eager to help unearth the stories of groundbreaking Singaporean women. Renowned author Xinran described Jing Jing’s novel How We Disappeared as an “unforgettable image of how women were silenced and disappeared by both war and culture” and The New York Times described it as “a story about memory, trauma, and ultimately love.”

Vanessa Peterson


Vanessa is a Magnum “30 photographers under 30” winner and is currently an editor and curator dedicated to supporting minority and marginalized voices in art and literature. As part of the Invisible Borders Trans-African collective, she has the contacts to find the right woman writer in Ghana and other countries in West Africa.

Anne Vaxelaire


Anne works with leading global academic institutions and international businesses to select and train the most promising students worldwide. She’s already used her network to conduct elaborate research on the stories of remarkable women in the history of Belgium.


Our Advisory Team

We've built a diverse team of advisors covering various fields and backgrounds. These members of our network provide us with a wide range of viewpoints, professional advice and perspective on our events, projects, decisions and collaborations.

Brian Eno

World renowned artist, musician, producer, as well as social activist, thinker and writer. He is known as the godfather of ambient music and for his groundbreaking collaborations with artists such as Talking Heads, David Bowie, Grace Jones and Coldplay. He works across all genres and fields, and was recently awarded the prestigious Stephen Hawking medal for Science Communication. Brian collaborates with and advises us on our social change projects, and inspires us through his interdisciplinary process and progressive thinking.

Bridget Arsenault

Writer, journalist and event producer. She is a multi-talent who has written for major publications, including Vanity Fair, Forbes and Vogue; she also runs a film-events company, producing and hosting film screenings and festivals working with top-tier partners such as Jimmy Choo, UN Women, Google and The Bulgari Hotel London. Bridget helps us with media strategy, planning, creative brainstorming and acts as a cultural advisor.

Feryad Al Hamawandi

Strategic advisor. He is an independent thinker, able to analyse patterns and opportunities in markets, systems and group dynamics. Feryad has a wide international network across cultural and social layers. We rely on his innovative strategy, creative solutions and helicopter view as we grow the network, as well as his advice on topics like diversity, law, future leadership and inclusion.

Kirk Wornum

Coach, communications consultant and lecturer. With a degree in Sociology, a background in Public Safety Communications, and formal training as an Ontological Coach, Kirk has a unique understanding of social communication structures, group dynamics and individual behaviour. Kirk advises top tier international corporations in different fields, using observation skills and self-awareness as the first step to creating change, and he coaches senior decision makers and managers to enhance their communication skills, interpersonal relationships and the projects they most care about. We rely on Kirk's advice and coaching in regards to inclusivity, communication and transparency.

Michaela Muller-Trutwin

Virologist, Professor at Institut Pasteur and member of committees and advisory boards that help shape policy of scientific, governmental and academic institutions. She has contributed to major advances in the field of HIV research and her work was honoured by a French Medical Research Award. Michaela advises us on our projects that involve scientific advances, human rights, empowerment of women and she serves as a sounding board for new ideas and collaborations that merge art and science.

Vanessa Peterson

Editor, researcher and writer. She has worked with institutions such as Tate, National Galleries of Scotland, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Film Institute and the Wellcome Collection. In 2017, she was highlighted as a young Black British female art historian & critic of note at Tate Modern. She is currently the Research Producer at Tate and the Arts Editorial Director of independent publisher at 3 of Cups Press. She has taught seminars on race, digital cultural heritage, research, art & politics and we ask her advice for those topics.

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