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The Future Skills Centre welcomes Desirée Lopes as the Director of Programs and Rajanthi Manivannan as the Director of Strategy and Operations

An engineer who started her career in the private sector, Desirée Lopes has an eye for new opportunities and experience in launching innovative initiatives, which she brings to her role as Future Skills Centre’s Director, Programs.

Prior to joining FSC, she was the associate director of a global capacity building initiative at Yale University, where she led operations, partnerships, and monitoring and evaluation for programs across six countries and an online training program. Desirée has also managed institutional and research partnerships, training activities, and outreach to reduce inequality for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

So many wins and challenges in life come from our work environment and the professional opportunities that we can reach. Having the skills to succeed in the labour market can mean a lot — the workplace is where we build communities, accomplish personal and career goals, and make a living to support ourselves and our families. I look forward to connecting with innovators across Canada and together prepare Canadians to be resilient and successful in an ever-changing workforce.

Desirée holds an MBA and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, where she was a Moore Foundation Fellow, and a B.Sc. in Forest Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo.

Rajanthi Manivannan brings more than a decade of strategic planning and organizational development experience with established and startup NGOs to her role as Future Skills Centre’s Director, Strategy and Operations. 

Rajanthi was most recently COO at The Rumie Initiative, a non-profit that makes access to free digital education possible for underserved communities worldwide. She was previously with 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, as head of HR and prior to that was the Acumen Global Fellow and acting head of finance and data with M-KOPA, which provides financing for mini solar home systems in rural areas of Kenya and Uganda. Rajanthi also worked in northern Ghana as a strategy consultant with NORSAAC, a local NGO focused on women’s rights and governance, where she built internal operational management systems as well as running grant management and fundraising strategies.

When we look at the world’s problems, it’s easy to be discouraged — but there is so much untapped talent and innovation that I am hopeful we can create a more inclusive and sustainable world. Having worked globally, I’m thrilled to take those lessons learned and apply them with the Future Skills Centre to drive prosperity and inclusion across Canada

Rajanthi holds a professional accounting designation (CMA, CPA) and a BA in Economics from University of Waterloo.