Meet our team
Our team is based in South Africa, the USA, Canada, Spain and Germany. Our consultants have first-hand knowledge of global development and lived experience in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The combination of our diverse skills, networks and perspectives helps us to find the right candidate for you.
Head: Talent Development & Principal Consultant
Anabella specialises in global executive searches. As Head of our Assessment Department, she also focuses on the overall behavioural evaluation of candidates.
She joined Mission Talent in June 2018, bringing with her a personal interest in increasing the diversity of leadership within the global nonprofit sector. She has a special interest in the topic of safeguarding and decreasing professional misconduct. With a background in psychology, she founded and leads the Assessment Department at Mission Talent, supporting our efforts to improve our behavioural evaluation of candidates.
Anabella has partnered with organisations such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace International, OPEN Network, Sphere, Acción Contra el Hambre and Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir. She has led searches for global, regional and national positions.
Anabella started her career as a national campaigner and activist in Venezuela where she specialised in community empowerment and collective action for human rights campaigns, supporting national strategies for social mobilisation from a diversity and gender approach.
She holds a Master’s in Intercultural Management at the Alice Salomon Hochschule in Germany, focusing on organizational development in cross-cultural contexts. Originally from Venezuela, she is fluent in Spanish and English and is currently based in Madrid and Berlin.
Bekiwe is a global citizen, but her heart lies firmly rooted in the African continent. She has over 15 years of experience supporting senior executives, and in consulting and programme management.
At Mission Talent, Bekiwe specializes in research for global and Africa-based searches. She has worked for clients such as CBM, the Hewlett Foundation and Amnesty International.
Bekiwe worked in marketing for private and nonprofit organisations to help them achieve their goals by improving their social media presence. She has also worked in public relations and managed a leadership development programme for universities. She previously volunteered in Zambia to help refugees who were coming from neighbouring DRC.
Bekiwe holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a focus on International Trade and Development from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
She is based in Johannesburg.
Dr Aleksandra Fernandes da Costa
RESEARCH LEAD & CONSULTANT
Aleksandra joined Mission Talent in 2020 and supports searches in the DACH region. She has worked on searches for clients including Climate Catalyst, the KfW, Greenpeace, NABU and UNAIDS.
She holds a PhD in International Political Economy from the University of Exeter, and a Master’s Degree in International Politics/ Conflict Analysis from the University of Tübingen. She has several years of international research and teaching experience at universities in Germany and the UK.
Following her academic career, she has gained work experience across different business sectors (maritime and wind, extractive, agricultural and automotive industries), collaborating with a variety of public and private stakeholders, such as NGOs, foundations and government agencies and investors.
After having worked and lived across various European countries, she currently lives in northern Portugal. She speaks English, German, Macedonian and Portuguese.
Fida joined Mission Talent in 2021 and supports executive searches focusing on the Middle East and North Africa and Francophone countries.
After living for five years in Paris, Fida is now based in Lebanon with frequent travel to France. She teaches specialized translation at the University level and is a professional translator and interpreter. She is also a researcher in humanities, with several published articles.
Fida holds a PhD in linguistics and translation studies from Université Denis Diderot (Paris VII). She is fluent in Arabic, French and English, and she also speaks conversational Spanish.
Janien du Plessis
Coach & Assessment Specialist
Janien is responsible for interview reports and the psychometric analyses of candidates. She is a certified Hogan Assessments practitioner and brings a deep insight to human behaviour which supports our robust interview and selection processes.
Janien joined Mission Talent in 2017 and quickly became an integral part of the team. She previously worked as Project Manager at Mission Talent, managing organisational tasks and daily operations, and ensuring the timely delivery of quality outputs.
Before joining Mission Talent, she lectured at Stellenbosch University, and coordinated study abroad programmes in South Africa for the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and International Studies Abroad (ISA).
Janien holds a BA in Value and Policy Study and an MA in International Studies from Stellenbosch University, as well as an MSc in Land Management and Land Tenure from the Technical University of Munich. Her research areas include food sovereignty, land reform, and spatial justice.
Originally from Cape Town, Janien has spent four years living in Germany. She is fluent in English and Afrikaans.
Coach & Assessment Specialist
Jose is a Positive Psychologist, Professional Coach, and Certified HOGAN Assessor with a deep passion for recruitment and helping individuals and organisations thrive and reach their full potential. With a background in Intercultural Conflict Management and a commitment to fostering positive change, Jose brings a unique blend of skills and expertise that boost team development.
As an accomplished professional with a diverse background in different market sectors such as retail, automobile, pharma, HR consulting and construction, Jose brings a passion for HR, business and life coaching, optimising trouble-solving and business experiences.
Jose has also dedicated his free time to improving Latin people integration in Germany by working and founding a group of German/Latino social specialists, the association Migrantes en acción, providing together with the German government, assistance, coaching, training and network building for Latino people with refugee status in Germany.
Director & Owner
Under Katja’s leadership Mission Talent has filled key leadership positions in international development for organisations in more than 70 countries across Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.
Katja’s passion is to search for the best talent according to the needs and the culture of the respective organisation. She is strongly committed to identifying candidates from the Global South and East.
Katja has more than fifteen years’ experience in the field of international development and holds a Master’s Degree in development politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has previously worked in the areas of governance, public participation and natural resource management for a number of civil society organisations in South Africa.
Fluent in English and German, Katja is based in Johannesburg, Berlin or Cape Town and in her free time enjoys exploring local architecture and sustainable design culture.
Laura joined Mission Talent in 2019 and supports executive searches across a range of clients, with a special focus on Latin America.
She has worked with executive search clients such as Amnesty International, AIDA, Greenpeace Spain, Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Oxfam México, WWF and Transport & Environment.
Laura previously worked in change management and corporate communications for consumer goods enterprises. She has an interest in social innovation and recently participated in a mentoring program to promote social inclusion for refugees in Spain and has supported communities during humanitarian crises due to natural disasters.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Corporate Communications, focusing on business development and entrepreneurship and a specialisation in Strategic Change Management. Originally from Venezuela, she is based in Madrid, Spain and is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Layth joined Mission Talent in 2022 and specialises in executive searches in the MENA region. His most recent work includes finding a new CEO and CFO for Asylum Access. Layth also actively contributes to Mission Talent’s social media presence through content creation.
Born in Iraq and raised in Jordan, Layth believes that we all have a responsibility to affect positive social change in the world. This philosophy has led him to collaborate with several organisations that assist refugees and displaced people, as well as engage with renowned organisations, entrepreneurs, activists, and leaders that are positively impacting their communities.
He brings a strong network from collaborating with international NGOs and global cultural institutions. As an award-winning musician, Layth also has well-honed communication skills from years of experience touring, leading panels and giving music workshops all around the world.
He is fluent in Arabic, English and Spanish, and is currently based in Madrid.
Lin specialises in senior-level searches in Southeast Asia, where she has worked in international development for almost 20 years. Lin joined Mission Talent in 2012 and is proud to be one of Mission Talent’s longest-serving consultants.
She personally brings attention to detail, rigorous research and an interest in inclusion, the environment and animal welfare. She previously held support roles in human resources, finance and operations for organizations such as WWF, UNDP, CUSO and CARE in Southeast Asia.
She has led the research and outreach processes for clients like CBM, Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids (Indonesia); Right To Play (Thailand) and multiple searches for World Animal Protection and Greenpeace worldwide.
A national of Indonesia, Lin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, certifications in Human Resource Management, Development, and Strategy. She recently relocated to Ottawa, after living in Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Indonesia.
Luciano joined Mission Talent in 2023 and has been supporting executive searches for organisations such as Witness, Kindernothilfe and the National Audubon Society.
He holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo, focusing on happiness policies and Indigenous peoples and how to include marginalized people in the public debate. He also works as a university professor and researcher, publishing several articles.
With more than 15 years working in human resources as a consultant and manager, Luciano brings a broader understanding of the area and the organisational needs. Based in Brazil, he is fluent in Portuguese and English.
Mwende joined Mission Talent in 2016 and has more than ten years’ experience working in international development. She is passionate about placing local leaders in global roles, and brings a strong network of contacts in East and Southern Africa.
Mwende leads on executive searches in Africa to find national, regional and global leaders to be based in different regions of Africa. She has partnered with Greenpeace Africa, World Resources Institute, UNAIDS, Plan International, WaterAid, ActionAid International, WWF, Amnesty International and Southern Africa Trust.
Mwende lends an African perspective and understanding of African culture and norms that influence the workplace, ensuring top ‘home-grown’ leadership is placed in the global organisations we serve. She is motivated by developing and maintaining positive relations with our clients and candidates, through personalized and open communication.
She has experience working for the United Nations in Nairobi and the African Union Foundation, in various capacities including human resource and operations management, budgeting and finance, project management and development communication. She holds a Master’s Degree in New Media, Governance and Democracy from the University of Leicester in the UK.
Originally from Kenya, Mwende lives in Johannesburg.