Global Executive Team

Mehrdad Baghai
Co-Founder, Chairman, and Global CEO

As Global CEO of High Resolves, Mehrdad has focused on rapid growth of the program in Australia and expansion into the U.S., Canada, China, Brazil and Africa. Mehrdad is Chairman of Alchemy Growth, a boutique strategy advisory firm. Previously, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company and co-leader of the Firm’s worldwide Growth Practice, and an Executive Director at the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Mehrdad has degrees from Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton University. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have seen and felt the impact of social division and hatred first hand. We need to think of prejudice, racism and hatred as public health issues and engage in immunization programs in order to eradicate these diseases.

Roya Baghai
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Roya has a degree in architecture but has worked in many different design fields, from graphic and object design to typography. Throughout all her work, she has been passionate about creating transformative experiences through design. Her commitment to creating positive social change and empowering young people to do the same was the inspiration and driving force behind the co-creation of High Resolves in 2005 and her deep involvement since. Over the last three years, she has also been the Executive Director of Videos for Change: a powerful platform that is amplifying the voice of young people who have creatively engaged with social issues and are catalysing positive change in the world.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am passionate about contributing in some small way to the creation of a world with unity in diversity, and where justice and equality of opportunity is upheld and experienced by all. I am joyous and privileged to work towards this vision with the impressive and multi-talented team at High Resolves.

Josh Densen
CEO, North America

Josh Densen is the CEO for High Resolves North America. Josh began his career as a Teach for America Corps Member in Oakland, California in 2000. He relocated to New Orleans to open and lead the local office of The Achievement Network in 2009, a position he held for two years before starting to work on Bricolage, which opened in 2013. Bricolage Academy is a New Orleans charter school with the mission of advancing educational equity and creating innovators who change the world. Josh received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Anna Howarth
Director, Strategic Programs & Business Development

Anna is a community engagement professional, who worked for Microsoft for 14 years, most recently supporting youth and community outcomes, in the position of Microsoft Philanthropies Manager. Prior to this role, Anna was Microsoft Australia’s chief customer advocate in the position of Customer Experience Director. She also led Employee Communications functions across Microsoft, Optus and the Commonwealth Bank.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am a passionate advocate for supporting Australian youth and I am excited to personally be involved in an organisation that embraces diversity and works with young people to develop inclusive behaviours in our leaders of tomorrow.

Donna Hutchison
CEO, Australian Region

With over 15 years of experience in design, strategy, corporate finance and transformation, Donna is a business leader who loves helping people solve complex problems. As CEO of High Resolves Australia, Donna is focused on growing the program to reach more than 50% of Australian teenagers over the next five years. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We are changing the world, one young person at a time. By equipping a critical mass of young people with the skills required to solve complex problems and act in the long-term collective interest of humanity, I believe we can make a difference. 

Paul Kelsey
Global COO

Paul Kelsey was the inaugural CEO for High Resolves for ten years in Australia and is now the Global Chief Operating Officer. Prior to High Resolves, Paul was in various senior management positions in financial services for over 20 years.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am passionate about High Resolves more than ever now because I have three teenage children, and I see first-hand how difficult it is for young teenagers to develop a genuine sense of empathy for global issues and to feel empowered to make a difference.

Paul McWilliams
Chief Financial Officer

Paul is a senior executive leader with 20+ years’ experience at ASX listed companies.  He is a seasoned governance professional with extensive experience in various areas of risk management including compliance, internal audit, insurance, tax and treasury.  He is a chartered accountant and holds a Masters of Applied Finance and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.  He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Paul is Chair of Mandala Community Counselling Inc, a small not for profit organisation. He is married, to Siew Ling, and has two children and two grandsons.

Roxy Pirnia
National Program Director, USA

Roxy is extremely passionate about education reform and equity, particularly in the United States. Upon graduation from university, Roxy joined High Resolves as an intern, analyzing student work and reporting on program outcomes. After her internship, Roxy returned to the United States to continue pursuing her passion of working with youth. She worked as both a Corps Member and Team Leader with City Year in Boston, and subsequently as a Program Manager with Boston Scholar Athletes. Through her various roles, Roxy has continuously seen the importance of providing the space, resources, and skills for young people to build the social emotional capacities that are often not explicitly taught in school settings. Roxy is excited to again join the High Resolves team, and to build the bridge to the United States. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters’ Degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
My passion for this work stems from my own experiences in education. Prior to college, my education was mostly academic, lacking much application to life beyond the classroom. It was not until my time at the University of California, San Diego that I began to think critically about the world around me – about my own identity, about how I fit into the world, and what type of world I wanted to see. I am passionate about the work we are doing at High Resolves because it provides young people with the opportunity that I did not have, the opportunity to begin this journey earlier on and to better understand my role as a global citizen.

May Samali
COO, New Ventures

Based in San Francisco, May Samali is passionate about investing in people and ideas that can change the world. As COO, New Ventures at High Resolves, May is leading a new initiative to build a technology platform and ecosystem for citizenship education across the US. May has a decade of extensive experience advising technology start-ups and nonprofits across the US and Australia. She is currently a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, a network-driven venture capital firm. She was formerly an investor at the Urban Innovation Fund, a Director at Tumml, and a corporate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney. May holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and Bachelors of Laws and Economic & Social Sciences with First Class Honors and the University Medal from the University of Sydney. She is a John Monash Scholar and an Australian American Young Leadership Dialogue Fellow. She was a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow and a New World Social Enterprise Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
High Resolves is a game changer. The program engages students when they are most receptive to transformation. It has the powerful potential to change hearts and minds – both individually and collectively. Responding to the complexity of today’s challenges requires fundamental interventions like High Resolves.