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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

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 works at Fullerton Fund Management as a Senior Analyst in the Emerging Markets team. 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

Co-Founder and Treasurer

Helen co-founded La Vida in 2006 together with Katy Vatis.  Helen worked in the Latin American stock markets for 15 years, frequently visiting the region, and co-founded La Vida in order to give something back. Helen now runs some UK property assets.  She has a Business Economics degree from Nottingham Trent University.

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 the Global Consumer Analyst for 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.

Zarela Feeney

Co-Head of Projects and Trustee

Zary joined La Vida in December 2012. She has a MBA from George Washington University, and a BA in Finance from Marymount University. 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 retired from banking in 2001 to raise her family; and has since been involved in several charitable and philanthropic activities in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia, her native country. She is fluent in English and Spanish, with conversational Portuguese.

Lisa Smart


Lisa has been a Trustee of La Vida since it was founded in 2006. She worked in the investment industry for twelve years and was Chief Executive of a charitable foundation for three years before standing for parliament in her local area. Lisa received her MBA from London Business School and has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Durham. Lisa is a Director of Stockport Credit Union, a Trustee of the Stockport Canal Boat Trust for Disabled People and a Local Authority Governor of a local primary school.

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 currently works as a social media tutor and consultant. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Cass Business School. She has worked for seven years in the relocation industry. She has previously volunteered for Task Brazil, CAFOD and London 2012. She joined La Vida in 2013 as she strongly believes in fundraising for good projects in Latin America.

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 £17 monthly donation pays for quality education for a child

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