Who We Are

Iona Proebst- Founder/Executive Director

Iona has been actively managing The Branch Foundation ever since founding the organisation in 2007.  After completing her degree in Social Anthropology, Iona continued on to a postgraduate in International Development at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.  She began her career working with Green Peace New Zealand and Oxfam New Zealand.  After extensive travel, Iona solidified her passion for working in International Development.  Iona further developed her interest in grassroots organisations and indigenous communities by spending two years working in the remote town of Sangklaburi on the Thai-Burma border with Volunteer Services Overseas and their local partners.  While based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Iona looks to further build the capacity of the organisation, find more sustainable solutions, and continue working in partnership with local communities.


Tom Rosen- Co-Director/Project Manager

Since joining The Branch Foundation in April 2010, Tom has helped create, implement and monitor the organisation’s projects.  He studied Business Economics at the University of Liverpool, learning vital financial, managerial and marketing skills with the intent of implementing them in the non-profit sector. Given his awareness of global inequalities and desire to make a difference, Tom left London to pursue a career in International Development.  Since arriving in Thailand in February 2010, Tom has worked for various organisations along the Thai-Burma border.  He fulfilled many roles in the last three years, from fundraising in Mae Sot to organisational development in Sangkhlaburi.  Since July 2011, Tom has been managing The Branch Foundation office with an unwavering determination to ensure that the organisation continues to provide high value services to the communities with which they work.


Shonali Banerjee- Fundraising and Advocacy Coordinator

Shonali joined The Branch Foundation team in October 2012 to assist with their fundraising and international advocacy efforts. After finishing her International Affairs degree at the George Washington University, Shonali focused on honing her fundraising and strategic communications skills while working with notable Washington, DC- based non-profit organisations including Vital Voices Global Partnership and The American Democracy Institute.   After an exhilarating experience in Morocco, Spain and France as an In-The-Field Representative for the GlobalGiving Foundation, Shonali discovered her passion for working with international grassroots organisations.  After a year with the The Branch Foundation team in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Shonali continues to further the organisation’s fundraising and advocacy efforts from San Francisco, California.


Sai Oo- Project Coordinator/Education Director, Shan Refugee Camp

Sai Oo has been working with The Branch Foundation since 2010.  As Project Coordinator/Education Director, Sai Oo manages and facilitates the projects in the Koung Jor Refugee Camp. He has completed a Diploma in Community Development from the Wide Horizon School.  Sai Oo uses his Shan background and eight years of experience working with the community to effectively coordinate projects within the Camp.  Sai Oo looks to continue working with The Branch Foundation and the Koung Jor Camp to ensure more transparent project management and strengthened communication between the organisation and the Shan community.Note: Due to The Branch Foundation’s commitment to the confidentiality of individuals, we have not included a picture of Sai Oo.


Brigitte Lorenz- New Zealand Coordinator

Brigitte is a founding member of The Branch Foundation and holds the position as the organisation’s New Zealand Coordinator.  She works as a psychosynthesis counselor and imago relationship therapist in Auckland, New Zealand.  Brigitte offers The Branch Foundation organisational, logistical and general support while serving as the base contact for the organisation in New Zealand.  Having visited many of past and present Branch Foundation projects, Brigitte now has a full appreciation for the scope of the organisation and fully stands behind their vision and mission.


MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh- Communications Coordinator

MaiLynn began working with The Branch Foundation as Communications Coordinator in April 2012. As a Vietnamese American, MaiLynn has always been interested in South-East Asian affairs. After completing her degree in Theatre and Literature from Chapman University, she renewed her commitment to working in development in the region.  MaiLynn spent time as the fundraising coordinator at a children’s home and community development centre along the Thai-Burma border.  Currently based in Wellington, New Zealand, MaiLynn coordinates The Branch Foundation’s communication endeavors.  Passionate about The Branch Foundation’s unique, equitable approach to its partnerships, MaiLynn is thrilled to be involved in spreading the word about the organisation’s work.


Annabel Harrison- Trustee

Annabel has been a member and trustee of The Branch Foundation since its conception in 2007.  She has a degree in contemporary dance and works in the arts with communities in her home country of New Zealand.   She currently serves as a music teacher, dancer and stage manager.  Although her professional work is not directly connected with The Branch Foundation’s projects, Annabel has always been passionate about strengthening communities and making this world a better place for the less advantaged.  She helps advocate for The Branch Foundation throughout New Zealand.  She remains a constant supporter and huge admirer of The Branch Foundation team and the tireless work they do.



The Branch Foundation’s Board of Trustees 
Iona Proebst
Brigitte Lorenz
Annabel Harrison