Our Team

Matt Friedman, CEO
Matt-Friedman870Matt Friedman is an international human trafficking expert with over 25 years of experience as an activist, program designer, evaluator, and manager.

From 2006 to 2012, Matt was the Regional Project Manager of the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) in Thailand, an inter-agency coordinating body that links the United Nations system with governments and civil society groups in China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

From 1991-2006, Matt worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal. For over a decade, he worked passionately to design and manage both domestic and regional human trafficking programs. He also helped establish a counter-trafficking regional training centre, participated in resource mobilization, and produced of two award-winning international films about sex trafficking in Nepal and India.

Matt is also a technical advisor to numerous governments working to stop slavery. He is frequently cited in the news media on issues related to human trafficking and slavery in Southeast Asia and has been invited to speak at major conferences around the world. He is the author of nine books, with subjects ranging from human trafficking to the ancient art of Bangladesh metal casting, which he developed a strong passion for during his time in Asia.

Email: matt.friedman@themekongclub.org
Silvia Mera, Program Director
silviameraWith studies in international affairs, trading and CSR, and previous working experience in manufacturing supply chain, Silvia currently manages the Mekong Club Association’s activities, coordinating several projects and shaping content for member companies by exploring new creative and impactful ways to engage with the private sector in the dialogue around solutions to modern slavery. Silvia also supervises communications, contractors and volunteers.

Prior to joining the team, Silvia spent five years working in business development and vendor management for fashion manufacturing. Relocated to Hong Kong in 2011, she was in charge of sourcing operations and supply chain coordination for accessories manufacturing in Asia. Before moving to Hong Kong Silvia worked in international event management and international affairs.

She holds an honours master’s degree in international relations and an honours bachelor’s degree in political science from LUISS Guido Carli university in Rome, a post-graduate master in international trading from the Italian Trade Agency, and an executive certificate in corporate social responsibility from University of Hong Kong.

Email: silvia.mera@themekongclub.org

Collaborators and Advisors

Mark Devadason – Financial Services Working Group Chair
mark devadasonMark Devadason joined the Board of The Mekong Club in October 2015. He has a diverse banking career spanning 30 years including 8 years as Country CEO for Standard Chartered Bank in Japan and Thailand. Mark’s last assignment with Standard Chartered was as Group Head of Sustainability. He is presently Senior Advisor Asia to BSR, a global sustainability consultancy and Director Asia for Northquest, an Australian-based financial services company. Mark chairs the Financial Services working group of The Mekong Club. Mark is based in Hong Kong.
Paul Ling – Tech Solutions Architect
paul lingPaul Ling has 20+ years experience in the technology arena as both a consultant and entrepreneur. His broad skill range has allowed him to build Enterprise-class systems for companies of all sizes – ranging from startups to Fortune 500 Companies.

Beyond his abilities to guide and benefit companies lies a passion to build innovative tools and platforms which address the needs of the underprivileged in our communities. He believes leveraging the latest technology shouldn’t only be reserved for the profiting of successful businesses but for the growth and empowerment of those trapped by circumstance and lack of fundamental human rights. Paul is currently utilising his skills to work along side the Mekong Club by helping address the lack of public awareness and disengagement in the modern slavery issue as well as help its corporate members build systems that enable them to better address these issues within their own organizations.
Phil Marshall – Senior Advisor
Phil MarshallPhil Marshall is a Board Member and Senior Advisor to the Mekong Club. Based in Italy, he has specific responsibility for managing relationships with Europe-based companies and partners.

Phil Marshall has been working on programmes to combat human trafficking and forced labour for the past 17 years. He was the first Regional Project Manager of the Bangkok-based UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and has subsequently worked as a consultant on all aspects of the response. He recently developed a programme design toolkit with the UN Inter-Agency Coordinating Group against Trafficking (ICAT) to help ensure programmes to respond to trafficking are better aligned with accumulated knowledge within and outside of the sector.

Phil is currently focusing on emerging approaches to modern forms of slavery through targeting supply chains, government procurement practices and proceeds of crime, including in his role as Head of the Slavery Free Recruitment Systems Working Group for Project Issara. He has a particular interest in the potential to “crowd out” exploitative business practice through development of cleaner migration pathways and the promotion of ethical buying behaviour.
Louisa Noble – Brand Consultant
(Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios)As Managing Director for integrated branding consultancy Sedgwick Richardson (HK), Louisa consults with international business leaders to shape brand purpose, build trust and instil integrated brand thinking.

In her role as a board member of The Mekong Club, Louisa leads her hybrid team of brand strategists, storytellers, creatives and digital architects, with the endeavour to use design thinking for social and business change.
Dr Zoë Fortune – Research and policy advisor
Zoë FortuneZoë Fortune is an experienced researcher and project consultant with 14 years experience across a range of academic, business and not-for-profit settings. She uses research to understand the problem of modern slavery and how it can best be tackled and works with the Mekong Club to ensure quality and effective utilisation of research resources.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Zoë was the Senior Research and Evaluation Officer leading research at the Freedom Fund in London, a philanthropic initiative designed to bring strategic focus and financial resources to the fight against modern slavery.

Zoë is a mixed-methods researcher by background and has led and worked on many research projects that involve experimental and quasi-experimental methods including Randomised Controlled Trials, nationally representative surveys, qualitative research and complex mixed-methods evaluations. Prior to moving to the not-for-profit sector, she spent several years carrying out research in mental health and criminology.
Helen Ford – Supply Chain Consultant
355724dHelen Ford has worked in the footwear and apparel industry for 20 years and has extensive experience in product licensing, sourcing, operations and sustainability.

Helen has held senior roles at Pentland Brands plc, (including Global Head of Corporate Responsibility), Li and Fung Ltd. and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. Since founding Ashton Ford Consulting Ltd in 2013, Helen has successfully assisted global brands, manufacturers and non-profit organisations to develop and implement responsible supply chain and sustainability strategies.

Helen has been advising The Mekong Club on branded goods supply chains since 2014.