Anthony Smith WFD CEO

Anthony Smith


Anthony joined WFD in August 2014.  He is responsible for the overall direction and performance of the Foundation.  

He has delegated authority from the Board for approval of programme proposals and helps to establish and manage relations with key stakeholders – funders, partner organisations and experts that implement WFD’s work.

He is a member of the Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Board on Human Rights and of the Board of the European Partnership for Democracy.

Anthony’s role in WFD builds on his international experience.  He was previously a member of the Diplomatic Service and a Civil Servant. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986, served in the Embassy in Madrid and worked on a range of European policy issues including the Balkans, trade policy and Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In 1996 he moved to the Department for International Development (DFID) where he worked on Environment Policy, Europe and Southern Africa, as well as being Private Secretary to Clare Short when she was Secretary of State for International Development.

Anthony returned to the FCO as Director for European Political Affairs from 2006-2008 before becoming International Relations Director at DFID from 2008-2014, responsible for DFID’s policy on EU development issues, DFID’s funding to the UN system and the Commonwealth, engagement with the G20 and G8, and relations with development partners.

Chris Lane
Chris LaneDirector of Operations
Chris is responsible for supporting the CEO to coordinate day-to-day corporate business; promoting internal policy and good practice across the organization; developing our systems; driving change and innovation; leading on business development, planning, and delivery; and overseeing risk, compliance, and facilities. He is also WFD’s Company Secretary.

Prior to joining WFD in November 2018, Chris was the Chief Operating Officer at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a new charity started in 2015 as part of the Save the Children group, where he worked for nearly seven years in a variety of roles. Chris was a lawyer for over 8 years, both in private practice and for in the charity sector, and he remains a practicing solicitor.

Louise Collings
Louise Collings Head of Finance
Louise leads the UK based finance team, responsible for operational finance, finance business partnering, and ensuring a strong control environment and compliance with statutory reporting requirements.

Louise is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and qualified auditor. Louise trained in practice and gained commercial experience before moving to the not for profit sector, working for a large international development charity for a number of years before joining WFD in September 2017.

Michael Martin
Michael MartinHead of Finance
Michael joined WFD in November 2018 as Head of Finance/Operations. He is responsible for managing the operations team helping them to support WFD from a financial perspective. He is also responsible for implementing & developing systems surrounding the WFD’s Finance Function.

He is a Certified Chartered Accountant (ACCA), qualifying in 2001, and became a fellow member of the Association in 2005.  Before joining WFD, Michael gained his experience in both the Commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors.  He spent a number of years with two very large UK membership bodies holding various senior financial positions. He has managed the implementation and development a number large finance-based projects, for example, reporting, budgeting and forecasting systems. He has also has experience in publishing and most recently in Education.

Devin O’Shaughnessy
Devin O’ShaughnessyDirector of Programmes
Devin O’Shaughnessy is responsible for the strategic, technical, and operational management and overall leadership of WFD programmes.

Including management of WFD’s Technical Advisory Unit and five regional teams (Africa, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean). Devin also oversees WFD’s Business Development department, including seeking funding opportunities for new programmes, preparation of external bids, and creation of new partnerships.  His principal field of expertise is in democracy and governance, including:  supporting representative, executive, and political institutions; civil society strengthening; electoral processes and observation; citizen participation; state building in fragile contexts; women’s political empowerment; and qualitative research.

Devin has nearly 20 years’ experience in the field of international development, with a specific focus on democracy assistance.  Before joining WFD, Devin worked for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for nearly six years, both abroad and in their headquarters.  His last position with NDI was as Country Director in Indonesia, and previously acted as their Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan and Senior Programme Manager for the Horn of Africa.  In addition to NDI and WFD, Devin has worked for a number of leading development organisations, including Action on Armed Violence, Global Communities, and the US Peace Corps, among others. He has also worked in US politics, serving as a Co-Campaign Manager and Constituent Advocate for US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

Dina Melhem
Dina MelhemRegional Director Asia & MENA
She is responsible for providing strategic direction for WFD programming development and design, and relationship management in MENA and Asia and supporting WFD programmes in Latin America.

Dina also advises on new policy issues and programme opportunities in the region she covers and contributes to developing fundraising strategies and bids as well as oversee the programme management and assure quality assurance for programme delivery. Dina’s principle field of expertise is supporting parliaments, including expertise in legislative drafting and analysis, financial oversight, public policy evaluation, as well as her extensive expertise in Rule of Law and Human Rights and gender-based violence.
Dina’s has specific focus of expertise on MENA region and she previously led the establishment of WFD’s portfolio in MENA region since 2006. She studied law and has a PhD in Public Law from the University Paul Cezanne in France. Before joining WFD, Dina was Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies (IREMAM-CNRS) in Aix-en-Provence and was involved heavily with research on the League of Arab States, International Human Rights Law, Islam and Human rights. Dina has also worked at the European Parliament office in Marseille on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Dina speaks fluently Arabic, English and French.

Donna Bugby-Smith
Donna Bugby-SmithRegional Director, Africa
Donna joined WFD in June 2018 as the Regional Director, Africa and has overall responsibility for the region and is part of the WFD senior leadership team.

Donna is responsible for overall delivery of the regional portfolio including building strong and effective regional teams. She brings over 20 years senior leadership experience of working with Federal and Provincial legislative bodies in eight countries. Assignments include those with USAID, SUNY/CID, the British Council, DFID, the European Union, and UNDP and has successfully led teams working in East & West Africa, South, and South-East Asia.

Chris Levick
Chris LevickRegional Director, Europe and Central Asia
Chris is our Regional Director for Europe & Central Asia and joined WFD in September 2015. He has overall responsibility for the region and is part of WFD’s senior leadership team.

Chris has overall responsibility for delivery of our regional portfolio, strategic approach and ensuring effective leadership of the regional teams. Prior to his current role, Chris served as our Senior Programme Manager for Europe & Central Asia (2015-18) and headed our Muti-Party Office. He brings experience of working with various parliaments and parliamentary groups in the UK, having spent 7 years working in various roles in the Westminster Parliament and devolved institutions. He has contributed to and led governance programming across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and MENA.

Sophia Fernandes
Sophia Fernandes Commonwealth Programme Director
Sophia joined WFD in November 2017. She is responsible for leading WFD’s Commonwealth wide programme, an initiative stemming from the UK’s Chair-in-Office period of the Commonwealth from 2018-20.

Sophia’s role in WFD builds on her international experience. She was the Programme Manager for International IDEA’s Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy programme based in Myanmar. During this period she also designed and secured funding for a parliamentary support programme working with the Joint Public Accounts Committee. Sophia spent three and a half years working in Myanmar before moving to the UK.

Prior to this, Sophia worked for the Federal Parliament of Australia for five years, with the Senate Committee Office serving on the Finance and Public Administration Committee and subsequently as a Researcher with the Parliamentary Library of Australia.

Sophia is a published researcher on election systems and processes, and on parliamentary procedure and has particular interest in inclusive politics. Sophia holds a Master of Public Policy (Policy Analysis) from the Australian National University, awarded with Merit and a Bachelor of Arts (Gender Studies) from the University of Melbourne.

Graeme Ramshaw
Graeme RamshawDirector of Research and Evaluation
Graeme joined WFD in 2014 as Director of Research and Evaluation. He is responsible for the development and management of WFD’s monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as advising on the strengthening of programme quality and cross-organisational learning.

Graeme also heads WFD’s research programme, overseeing a portfolio of partnerships and activities linked to democracy and governance research. He presents regularly at international conferences and workshops, sharing WFD’s lessons and findings.

Graeme has over 12 years of experience in international development, with a specific focus on governance and democracy support. Prior to joining WFD, he was a Learning Advisor for the UK Department for International Development’s Governance and Transparency Fund. Previous assignments include work with the World Bank, International IDEA, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and others. Graeme holds a BA from Princeton University; a MA from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; and a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

Fulvio Menghini
Fulvio MenghiniHead of Communications
Fulvio leads WFD’s Communications Department, providing external and international communications as well as managing stakeholder engagement globally.

Fulvio’s background includes managing UK Government communication campaigns and advising Ministers on media relations. Prior to joining the Civil Service he headed communications and engagement for at the Global Legislators Organization and served as Chief of Staff and Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Barry Gardiner MP in the UK House of Commons. Fulvio holds an MSc in Politics and Communications from the London School of Economics and a BSc in Political Science from LUISS (Rome).

Jon Spence
Jon SpenceHead of HR
Responsible for WFD’s HR function, ensuring effective systems, frameworks and practises to support strategic and operational plans.

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Technical and Advisory Unit

Shannon O’Connell
Shannon O’ConnellSenior Gender & Politics Adviser
Shannon is WFD’s leading in-house expert on issues of gender equality, women’s political empowerment, political processes and institutional development.

She is responsible for developing tools and resources to advance women’s political participation and influence, working with programme teams to design various forms of technical assistance that support better outcomes for women, girls and other under-represented groups, as well as initiating research and policy efforts that support the same results. (ENTER) Shannon has extensive experience in politics, policy advocacy and elections.

She has worked on more than two dozen electoral campaigns, largely for women candidates. She served as Senior Advisor to Dawn Purvis MLA, former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party.

She was also an advisor and campaign manager for the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition in their first elections after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Globally, Shannon has served as a policy and strategy advisor to elected officials and political party leaders, both in government and opposition, as well as a coach for candidates and strategist for political parties. She has worked in more than 20 countries worldwide, including as Country Director for National Democratic Institute in the West Bank and Gaza.

Franklin De Vrieze
Franklin De VriezeSenior Governance Adviser
Franklin De Vrieze is Senior Governance Adviser at the Technical Advisory Unit of WFD.

He offers context analysis assessment, programme quality assurance and parliamentary advice to WFD country teams in Europe and Central Asia,  MENA, and South Asia. He conducts research on new and innovative themes for parliamentary programming.

Franklin De Vrieze has worked on governance issues for 20 years. Before joining WFD, he has worked for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union Delegations, Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and other governance and parliamentary strengthening institutions. He has been leading parliamentary identification, formulation and evaluation missions. He has worked on parliament’s role in anti-corruption, constituency offices feasibility and regional parliamentary cooperation. He is the author of several academic and policy publications.

Victoria Hasson
Victoria HassonSenior Parliamentary Adviser
Victoria is the Senior Parliamentary Adviser for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

Victoria provides technical expertise in the design and development of our programmes. Victoria heads our Political Economy Analysis process and leads an initiative to innovate the learning experiences we deliver in-country to make them more adaptive and impactful. Victoria conducts technical assessments, delivers learning experiences related to core areas of parliamentary strengthening, produces research papers and develops new products for WFD. Victoria provides advisory support to the Africa, Latin America and Asia programme teams.

Victoria has ten years of parliamentary experience. Victoria holds a doctorate on parliamentary procedure and democracy from the University of Sheffield, and worked in the National Assembly of South Africa for four years before joining WFD. Further details relating to Victoria’s work and experience can be found on her LinkedIn page: Victoria.Hasson.

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