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Everyone working for the charity, including the trustees, gives their time on a voluntary basis.
Find more about our trustees and volunteers.


Katy Vatis

Katy Vatis

Co-Founder and Chairperson

Katy co-founded La Vida with Helen Ilsley after a business trip to Brazil in early 2006. She has a degree in Economics with Spanish from the University of Birmingham. Katy most recently worked at Fullerton Fund Management as a Senior Analyst in the Emerging Markets team and has spent most of her career as a Fund Manager covering Latin American equity markets at Pictet Asset Management and Threadneedle Investments. Her work has involved a lot of travel to the region where she has experienced first hand the extreme levels poverty and the need for improvements in health and education. Katy speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Helen Ilsley

Helen Ilsley

Co-Founder and Treasurer

Helen co-founded La Vida together with Katy Vatis following a business trip to Latin America in 2006. She spent 15 years as a stockbroker in the Latin American investment community, working first for Credit Suisse and then Deutsche Bank as a Director of Equity Sales, and set up La Vida in order to give something back to the region that had had such an impact on her. Having left the City in 2012 and set up her own property asset business, Helen is now an accredited executive coach, and works in Business Development for the Executive Coaching Consultancy, who specialise in supporting the female career. Helen has a Business Economics degree and is an accredited member of the Association of Coaching.

Rosie Bichard

Rosie Bichard


Rosie has a degree in French and Spanish from St John’s College, Cambridge and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She has worked in finance since 1990, and was involved with Latin America for twelve years as both an investment banker and a portfolio manager for Deutsche Bank.  She currently works as a Senior Analyst at Lofoten Asset Management in London, focused on global equities, after twelve years at Newton Investment Management. Rosie has travelled extensively in Latin America for both personal and professional reasons and speaks both Spanish and Portuguese. Rosie became a La Vida trustee in early 2008 and is also a board member of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme.

Zarela Feeney

Zarela Feeney

Co-Head of Projects and Trustee

Zary joined La Vida in December 2012. She began her career with Ernst & Young’s Financial Advisory Team in Washington DC where she focused in Latin America. She moved to London to join Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein’s M&A team. She subsequently became involved in the non-profit sector and have served on boards of foundations which are having a significant social impact in in the arts, health, education and the environment. She has a MBA from George Washington University. She is fluent in English and Spanish, with conversational Portuguese.

Ana Beatriz Alencar

Ana Beatriz Alencar

Website and social media, project Coordinator for Viva a Vida

Ana Beatriz is Brazilian and has been living in London since 1997. Ana Beatriz has a background in digital development and project management. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering from PUC-Rio, an MBA from Cass Business School and MSc in Management of Innovation. She works at the Ministry of Justice Digital & Technology. She has previously volunteered for Cancer Research UK, Task Brazil, CAFOD and London 2012. She joined La Vida in 2013 as she strongly believes in fundraising for good projects in Latin America.

Ivonne Cantu

Ivonne joined La Vida in 2018. Ivonne is head of Investor Relations and Corporate Development at Benchmark plc and is a member of the company’s sustainability committee. Prior to joining Benchmark Ivonne was a corporate finance adviser for 20 years at Merrill Lynch and Cenkos Securities. She has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an BSc Engineering from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico where she grew up. Since 2016 she has been advising small UK charities as a member of Pilotlight, a charity that connects professionals with charitable organisations to provide strategic support.

Executive Committee

India Donnelly

Events manager

India joined La Vida as a volunteer in 2015. She has a degree in Comparative American Studies from the University of Warwick and is currently studying an MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development at University College London. She has worked in advertising as an Account Manager since 2010. She lived in Argentina for a year in 2008 and travels to Latin America as often as possible

Marta Rodriguez


Marta joined La Vida in January 2009. She has a degree in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Zaragoza in Spain. Marta started her career in investment banking with Deutsche Bank in Edinburgh in 2000 and has since worked for other banks also involved with managing the relationship of their Latin American business. From 2011 she worked as a Senior Product Manager. Her trips to Latin America over the last few years have encouraged her to get involved with La Vida. Marta is a CFA Charterholder and speaks Spanish and English.

Della Deme

Head of Events, Designer

Della joined La Vida’s Executive Committee in early 2009; her heritage is Mexican-American and she is thrilled to be able to support the Latin American community. Della is the Founder of Mrs JetSet Ltd, an online retail and publishing company focused on the wedding sector. Previously, she was a Vice President at Gerson Lehrman Group, where she held event, research and sales positions in the firm’s New York, Hong Kong and London offices. Della received her BA from Yale University, where she double majored in Political Science and Studio Art.

Ana Veronica Pastor

Projects and Events assistant

Ana is Brazilian and has a degree in Law from the University of FMU and worked for law firms, specialising in the areas of culture and entertainment for more than 5 years until she decided to change her career to education. She has since had the opportunity to work in primary and secondary international schools. Living in London since 2010, she is now studying for a Masters degree in Cultural Studies. Being passionate about education and culture, Ana has decided to join La Vida in 2013 to help with projects in her country and Latin America.

Juliana Engel Chies

Events Assistant

Juliana is from Brazil and has a degree in Gastronomy from the University of Sao Paulo. After working for a large promotion and production company in Brazil, she plans to study for a degree in Events Management in London and has joined the La Vida events team to gain some experience and to help those less fortunate in her home country.

Rubia Wolff

Project assistant

Rubia joined the La Vida Executive Committee in July 2012. She works for Bradesco Securities UK and has a Masters degree in Marketing and Communications from the University of Westminster in London. After graduating, she travelled extensively around America, Europe and Asia. Being from Brazil, she has witnessed firsthand, through volunteering, the serious problems of inequality around her home in Southern Brazil, which has inspired her to become involved with La Vida.

At least 98% of donations go directly to the projects we support

A £20 monthly donation pays for quality education for a child

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