Our People

Passionate, Dedicated People

Launched by a small group of dedicated professionals from the architecture and design industry, rise‘s founders are passionate about creating sustainable small social businesses in sub-Saharan African communities. Learn more about the people that make rise possible.


Daniela Gusman – Founder & Executive Director

Daniela is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of professional experience in the private sector as well as the international development sector. She has worked extensively throughout Europe, Australia, Africa and the USA in International Sales & Marketing, PR, Business Development and Social Entrepreneurship.  She has provided strategic growth planning for companies, designed and launched social enterprises and led diverse teams in various sectors from educational services, manufacturing to corporate B2B events.

Quinn Lebohang Mohlokaqala

Quinn Lebohang Mohlokaqala – Design & Construction Manager

Quinn Lebohang Mohlokaqala, is a highly motivated student of Life and Architectural Technologist, He graduated as one of the top students at the University of Limkokwing and won a presidential award for excellence. He then went on to study at the University of Johannesburg. He also holds a certificate in Civil Engineering from Motheo FET college. Quinn has over 5 years experience in the built environment and has a vast interest in the design and art world with self taught skills in graphic design and apparel design, “Art at HeART”.

Ts’epo Sithole – Project Coordinator

Teddy is a noteworthy leader in the project coordination space with specific skills in data collection systems, digital marketing and  impeccable business acumen. Teddy believes in constant personal and professional improvement; to do better today than he did yesterday. He is an avid animal lover and a fan of morning jogs. In his free time, Teddy likes exploring nature

Mamonaheng Raliile – Finance & Admin Coordinator

Mamo is the glue that holds us together, ensuring smooth operations as the Admin and Finance officer of rise International.  Her patience and positive attitude keep our records up to date and our reports delivered on time.  This secret adventure enthusiast enjoys challenging herself and when chilling out loves nothing more than listening to good music or watching soccer on TV.

Maneo Seekane – Business Trainer

Maneo is the Business Coach and Entrepreneurship Trainer for the in loco fellows at rise International. She’s the chief coffee drinker and the woman on the ground, running coaching sessions or networking to bring in expertise and support the fellows so they can achieve their business goals even after the fellowship ends.  It is a passion for their success that gets her out of bed in the morning, and a love of nature and yoga that keeps her zen throughout the day.

Tumelo Sethunsa – Construction Coordinator

Stume  is a very hard worker who sees that everything goes according to plan on site. He loves his work as it gives him the opportunity to learn by doing, giving him the chance to acquire a vast array of skills. Outside of work, Tumelo likes keeping to a strict, healthy diet and playing soccer as this gives him the opportunity to be a role model to kids living in the streets.

Luca Astorri – in loco Program Director

Luca graduated in architecture from Politecnico di Milano in 2007, where he has been an assistant professor since 2009. After working with OMA / Rem Koolhaas from 2006-2008, he co-founded AOUMM – Argot ou la Maison Mobile, an architectural firm based in Milan focusing on architecture and urban projects. Since 2010, Luca has collaborated with several NGOs on architecture and research projects focusing on informal settlements in Cairo, Nairobi and San Paolo. He has lectured in Europe, and South America and has been invited to several international workshops in Macao, Lisbon, Cairo, Zagreb, Wroclaw, and Cochabamba.

Reiks profile pic

Maraka Lefera – Coach

Reiks is a motivational coach at rise International. A Masters graduate in Human Resources Management, she supports us with research, office work and running some business coaching sessions. She takes great pride in knowing that she is helping to empower youths and vulnerable communities with skills and knowledge to improve their quality of life. Aside from this, she is an active member of Enactus, which strives to bring together student, academic and business leaders to use the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standing of living for people in need. 

Pedro Clarke

Pedro Clarke – in loco Program Director

Pedro graduated in architecture from FAUP, Portugal in 2007, following a year-long experience building a safe house for a local NGO in Lesotho. He has recently completed an MA degree in Development and Emergency Practice at CENDEP/ Oxford Brookes University. In 2014 he established A+Architecture, as a not-for-profit architectural and development practice, believing that Architecture has the power to change people’s lives and should be accessible to all. In the same year, Pedro was selected to be part of the Official Portuguese Participation at the XIV International Architecture Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, “Homeland: News from Portugal.”

Mojabeng Senekal-Ndebele – Communications and Marketing manager

Mojabeng graduated in a Master in Public Health from the University of Johannesburg. She applies her bubbly and fun personality to her role as our Communications and Marketing Manager. She is passionate about Women Empowerment and is active and vocal in the fight against Gender Based Violence worldwide. Mojabeng is a model, pageant queen, entrepreneur and a philanthropist.

Kopano Nthebe – Assistant Construction Manager

KP studied Construction Management at Lerotholi Polytechnic and holds a certificate in Project Management from Wetsan Training and Development Centre. He is a pioneer from our very first in loco cohort. He then became the Site Manager throughout the second and third cohorts. KP loves learning new skills and despises folding his hands and watching people work. He is a bass guitar player and a Jazz and Pop musician.

Valentina Riverso – Architectural Assistant

Valentina studied Architecture in Milan and Lisbon, and recently graduated in International Cooperation and Sustainable Emergency Architecture at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona. Valentina strongly believes in the potential that architecture has to change people’s lives, and that architects can really make a difference in a world of increasing urbanisation and serious challenges like climate change. She was born in Italy, but she considers herself a citizen of the world, as she believes that people come before nationalities and cultures before borders.

Retsepile Rammoko – Design Assistant

Retsepile is a University of Pretoria graduate who holds both a Bsc Architecture Degree and Hons in Architecture. Prior to his studies, he job shadowed at K.T.M architects and received a basic background of Architecture as a career. He is also an In Loco 2019 alumnus and a freelance digital media content creator. This multidisciplinary creative hopes to open a creatively diverse architectural studio. Amongst his interests is skating and rugby.

Board of Directors

Oliver Needs

Oliver Needs founded BOND Events in 2004 and provides global leadership to the company. Oliver left the world’s largest trade show organizer, Blenheim Group Plc, to set up McLean Publishing and launch the first business forum in Asia; ASPEC. He went on to found Cornhill Events, a subsidiary of SPG Media PLC. There, he conceived and launched many successful forum events including LEAF and The European Banking Forum, EMBF. Inventor of an online matching application for event attendees, Oliver continues to oversee its use at BOND Events and Atticus, the operator of HI-Design events.

Rashmi Nakhooda

Rashmi Nakhooda is a senior manager with thirty years of diverse work experience in East Africa and India. A strategic thinker and natural leader, her most recent position was Country Head of BeadforLife, a not-for-profit in Uganda. Rashmi’s career has spanned two continents where she held varied roles in different business areas. She has successfully led multidisciplinary teams through developing systems of collaboration and communication that encourage a culture of creative problem-solving. Rashmi has an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Management as well as Bachelor of Science from University of Calcutta, India.

RK Stewart FAIA, Hon. FRAIC, Hon. JIA, Hon. AIA, LEED® AP BD+C

RK has extensive experience leading and managing organizations and multi-disciplinary teams in the public and private sectors. RK applies his expertise in design, development, and communications processes to drive change and inspire others to achieve challenging goals. RK’s contributions to the architectural profession were recognized with his investiture in the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 2001. In 2007, Mr. Stewart served as the American Institute of Architect’s 83rd National President as AIA celebrated its 150th Anniversary.

Sam Óghale Oboh

Sam Óghale Oboh is a Principal Architect and Vice President of AECOM Canada Architect Limited and the 2015 President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada / Architecture Canada (the first Canadian of African descent to lead this 110 year old organization). Respected for his expertise, scholarship and commitment to excellence, Sam’s varied background has enabled him to bring valuable perspective to his role. Sam has successfully designed, managed and led projects and initiatives in both the private and public sectors in North America and different parts of Africa. He is a Presidential Medal recipient and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and currently leading the design of the exciting and highly anticipated multimillion dollar African Cultural Centre in Edmonton – Canada (in collaboration with Berlin-based architect Francis Kéré). Sam has held an adjunct lecturer / visiting studio critic role with various universities including Canada’s University of Calgary, Carleton University, University of Toronto and South Africa’s Durban University of Technology. He is also the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Botswana in Canada.

Stephen Monyamane

Energetic Stephen is a visionary leader, a serial entrepreneur and a strategic thinker. With over 10 years’ experience in leading large teams in the corporate sector in the UK, from starting companies, to building value and selling them, growing organizations from scratch, connecting the right products with the marketplace and turning them into employers of choice. Stephen has contributed immensely to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Lesotho by founding TEN (The Entrepreneurs Network) and also serves on the board of LNDC (Lesotho National Development Corporation) Stephen is a firm believer of Impact Led Profit and Integrated Reporting. For leisure there is nothing Stephen enjoys more than a good round of golf.

Mokhethi Rampeta

The technically gifted Mokhethi likes to picture himself as a professional dreamer and an avid believer in good design and the power it has in transforming people’s lives. He has dedicated a huge portion of his professional life in training young creative people. This has led him to being instrumental in establishing and building a number of successful urban brands from illustration, graphic design, fashion and entertainment. Mokhethi is also the Head of Programs of Architectural Technology at Lerotholi Polytechnic.

Lephethasang Lesaoana

Lephethasang studied Architectural studies at Lerotholi Polytechnic from 1994-1996. He completed his B-Tech Degree in Architectural Technology at Durban University of Technology in 2001. He has worked as a Lecturer at Lerotholi Polytechnic and Limkokwing University of Technology. He was the Executive Director of Lesotho Opportunities Industrialisation Centre between January 2019 and May 2020 . Lephethasang has successfully led projects in both Lesotho and South Africa. He was the Design Architect at Setsoto Stadium’s upgrade, as well as at Lehakoe Recreational and Cultural Centre. He was also a Technologist at the Hilton Hotel in Durban. He is currently the Project Architect at TM2 Consultancy, where he is working on a M1 billion complex development. Lephethasang is a registered professional with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession, and also a board member at rise International.

Palesa Rapolo

Palesa Rapolo is an in loco alumni who has a passion for entrepreneurship and loves the opportunity of representing the fellows on the board. Her worst fear is being financially dependent on other people. The eternal optimist, Palesa looks forward to what each day may bring. An adventure fanatic, you can find her taking long walks and going hiking when she is not working designing and creating new interiors and concepts.

The BOND Events Sales, Marketing, and Operations Team also support rise.

Learn more about the BOND team by visiting the BOND Events website.

If you or your organization would like to participate in rise and our programming through volunteerism or financial donations, please contact Daniela at [email protected]. We are always interested in speaking with individuals who share our passion for social enterprise.