In 2001, I found my passion for events (and fundraising) when I registered for the Alaska AIDSVaccine Ride…a 6-day cycle tour through Alaska that raised money for AIDS Vaccine research. To participate, I needed to fundraise $3200 and train to ride 500 miles in 6 days in the mountains. But, I lived in (flat) Chicago, didn’t have any fundraising experience and didn’t even own a bike. Despite that, I still registered. Not because I was personally involved in the struggle of people facing HIV/AIDS, but because I cared and wanted to do something that would really make a difference.

The experience of participating in the ride and crossing the finish line in Anchorage really moved me. So much so, that I decided to make fundraising events my career and started working at Pallotta TeamWorks, the creator and producer of the AIDSRides. Seen by many as the pioneer of event fundraising in the USA, Pallotta provided me with an opportunity to learn from and work alongside the people who started it all. In the two years I was with them, we raised a record-breaking $115 million for charity.

When some of my former colleagues asked me to join them with the start up of a new event fundraising company in 2003, I jumped at the opportunity. At Event 360, I found myself surrounded by the best and brightest in the business, challenging each other to investigate, innovate and inspire. The Event 360 team became my second family over the 9 years I spent with them. A time during which I worked on some incredibly important causes for the top charities in the USA, being inspired and motivated by the people I met along the way whose lives were being changed (and saved!).

In 2005 my professional work got personal when my dad was diagnosed with a rare lung disease – Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis(IPF). A disease with no known cause and no cure. No drugs. No treatment plan. No hope. My dad fought as best as he could for 9 months, but on May 2, 2006 we lost him. Ever since, I have become an advocate for lung charities and have personally raised $17,000 by running, cycling and mountain climbing. I will not stop until a cure for IPF is found and I strongly feel that no family should ever be told there’s no hope. My firm belief is that by helping charities, diseases like IPF can become a thing of the past.

In 2012, I found it was time to leave Event 360 and spread my wings in Europe to help non-profits achieve the benefits and revenue that events have brought in the USA. I was hired by Emolife Events & Consultancy to train their staff working in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy and help them optimise the revenue and impact of their events.

In 2014, I decided to start PeerWorks Consulting in order to attract and collaborate with other peer-to-peer professionals…and work together to spread our love for peer-to-peer all over the world.

After studying European Law in the Netherlands, I decided it was time to stir things up and do something completely different. In 2009 I moved to Amman, Jordan, to work for the international student organisation AIESEC. My job was to get to know local charities and convince them to create internship opportunities for AIESEC university students from all over the world. Getting to know these charities and organisations and learning about their mission left a deep impression on me.

So, in 2011, when I got the opportunity to join Alvarum–a peer-to-peer fundraising platform–I decided it was time to re-pack my things and move to their headquarters in Paris, France. First I served as the Business Development Manager for the Netherlands, which allowed me to learn a great deal about the peer-to-peer fundraising concept. A few years later, I became an Event Manager for French events. Together with my team we developed several fundraising events and programs such as the Course des Héros, a multi-charity walk that raised more than €2 million in 2013. That year we also launched the new event Marche des Lumières, a 4km night walk in Paris and Lyon, partnering with two of the most important cancer research institutions in the country to raise funds in order to beat cancer.

I stood at the finish line for all these events and the joy I felt there was palpable. It moved me to see the positive impact that fundraising had on the lives of participants…how they would all go above and beyond to do something to support the mission they felt strongly about. It was clear that a community could actually make a change by joining forces. I soon realised that what had first been an interest had, in fact, become a passion.

In the spring of 2015, I met Jillian in the Netherlands and recognised in them the same passion I had for peer-to-peer fundraising. So, joining PeerWorks Consulting as an Associate was simply the next logical step. I strongly believe all charities deserve the opportunity to discover the power of peer-to-peer fundraising. At PeerWorks we make this happen.

Keiron is a South African citizen that had a business orientated education and has performed many project and strategy related roles. During his studies Keiron was actively involved in his community through active roles in the Volunteer Firefighting Unit and the South African Police Service.

After finishing his Finance degree he joined the Shell Graduate Recruitment Program and has performed many functions within Shell South Africa as well as Europe. These roles have spanned Pricing Strategy, SAP Rollouts, Change Management and many process optimisation roles.One of the highlights of his career was being seconded to the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering based at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, where he was part of the team that launched the inaugural prize.

Throughout his work career he has been involved in many upliftment projects such as teaching 10 to 11 year olds Mathematics, Economics and Science in Dobsonville, an area in Soweto. Disaster Relief, Social upliftment and Environmental activities remains a passion of mine.

During my university studies, I struggled with the question: ‘How can I contribute something meaningful to the world?’ I wanted to be part of change, I wanted to give people food for thought and I wanted to create memorable moments.

During my first internship, I met Jillian…who, at the time, was serving the Director of Marketing & Fundraising at Emolife. She hired me to assist with the marketing and communications for a national run/walk series benefitting the Dutch Children’s Cancer Foundation. I spoke to enthusiastic students, motivated companies but also to parents who lost their child to cancer.  Despite their different backgrounds and stories, I found they all had something in common: they all shared a passion for the cause. They all wanted to make a difference.  It was during this internship that I learned the value of peer-to-peer fundraising events: they inspire people to come together to change the world.

After my graduation, I had the privilege to work for Four Paws -an international animal welfare organization – where I was responsible for organising and launching their brand-new signature fundraising event called the Doggy Marathon (a concept created by PeerWorks.) This unique “doggy distance” run/walk event  inspired dogs (and their owners) to fundraise to help the millions of stray dogs living in poor and inhumane conditions worldwide. I worked on the event for three years…helping it grow in size, in fundraising performance and, most importantly, in attracting and engaging a large community in support of Four Paws and the work they do.

While working with Jillian (at Emolife and later as a client of PeerWorks) I was inspired by her passion for  for peer-to-peer fundraising. So when she asked me to join PeerWorks as an Associate, I immediately knew my answer. The experience I’ve had so far in my career has already led to a lot of unforgettable moments. And, now that I’m at PeerWorks, I get to help non-profits create even more.