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

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.