Meet the Team
The team in Australia
Brian Keen, Founder, MicroLoan Foundation Australia
MicroLoan Foundation Australia was founded by Brian Keen.
Brian is a business man who lived in Malawi for many years, running a number of construction, development and transport businesses. Brian moved to Australia in 1976 and continued his business career there.
When Brian retired, he dearly wanted to start a charity helping the people he worked with in Malawi. The organisation he founded was the Australian Branch of the MicroLoan Foundation established by Peter Ryan.
Brian really related to the concept of ‘giving a hand up, not a hand out’ and the idea of building an economic future for families through business. So, in 2009 Brian worked with Peter to set up the Australian organization.
Clive Hughes. CEO & Development Director
Clive is a Chartered Accountant who has been the Finance Director of a number of private and publicly listed companies over the last two decades, and, until recently, was the CFO of a property investment company based in Sydney. He is married with two young children and lives in Freshwater Sydney.
Before emigrating from Wales in 1984, Clive travelled extensively, and he particularly enjoyed his time in south east Africa where he felt that the people had a positive and balanced attitude to life. He has been drawn to the concept of micro finance as a way to give people the tools they need to create the life they want, rather than create the life we believe they should have.
Clive travelled to Malawi in June 2009, and was hugely impressed by what Microloan Foundation was achieving in the country, both with respect to benefits to our clients and the efficient manner in which the local operation was being run. Further details of his visit can be found on our Home page in the article “Our first office is open!”
Clive is our CEO and Development Director, and has been responsible for much of our initial set up, and a good deal of our fundraising in New South Wales.
Liz Keen. Director
“I am excited to be part of MLFA. It makes sense as a way of helping people in a long term, physical way.”
Liz was born in Malawi in 1974 but her family migrated to Western Australia soon after she was born. She travelled back to Malawi in 1994 and was amazed to find herself deeply connected to the country she left as a small baby.
After returning to Australia, Liz moved to Sydney. She worked in 2SER Community Radio and ABC Radio News before breaking out to work as a freelance radio and print journalist.
Liz currently lives on the mid north coast of New South Wales with her partner and their three young children. She is on the board of MLFA.
Chris McArdle. Director
Chris McArdle is the Principal of McArdle Legal, a Sydney law firm specialising in Employment, Contracting, and Anti Discrimination Law and is on the board of MLFA. He has been in practice for 20 years, and is accredited as a Specialist in Employment and Industrial Law by the Law Society of NSW.
Prior to entering practice, Chris served as a judicial officer as a Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.
Chris – like many in his profession, despite the reputation – has served on a number of volunteer and charitable bodies during his time in legal practice. He tells us that he has developed a passion for the work of MLF due to its aim of helping without patronising, and its emphasis on self sufficiency and dignity.
Chris lives in Sydney with his wife Mary Anne, and they are both keen minders of grandchildren. Chris provides the secretariat to MLFA and his firm provides the Sydney premises. This is in accordance with our philosophy of keeping overheads to a minimum, and ensuring that all Gift funds get to their intended recipients.
Carol is the proud owner of The Shoe Garden, a shoe shop specialising in longer sizes based in Brisbane. With a background in journalism, PR and fundraising, she knew as soon as she opened her own business in 2012 that it would be a not-just-for-profit, giving back to charity with every sale in-store and online. In April 2015, after much careful research, she close to donate monthly to MicroLoan Foundation Australia. Carol was fortunate to travel to Malawi to visit the Dodo group to witness herself just how powerful and life-changing it can be when women are given not just a small loan, but also valuable business training. She will never forget the leader of the group, Dorothy, telling her: “I used to have to beg my husband for money. Now he comes to me.” Carol was delighted to become a Board Member in December 2018.
The international team
Peter Ryan – CEO & Founder
Peter Ryan is a Chiswick businessman with a background in starting up businesses for other companies in Europe and Africa. During a trip to Malawi in 1997 which he described as “mind-blowing” he was profoundly influenced by what he saw, particularly the disparity between the rich and the poor. Recognising the need and opportunity for microfinance services in sub-Saharan Africa, Peter founded the MicroLoan Foundation in the late 1990’s.
Mateo Zanetic – Director of Operations
Mateo joined the Charity in July 2014 as a consultant. From January 2015 he took a permanent position as Regional Director for Africa. Mateo graduated with a degree in Management Accounting and Corporate Finance from Wits University. After that he spent a few years as a business consultant. In 2005, he joined The Small Enterprise Foundation, a leading micro-finance institution in South Africa as an Administration Manager. He went on to assume various senior management roles in the organization. In 2008, he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer, a role he did until he started with MLF as a consultant.