Charles Vernon
Chairman of the Board

"Having benefitted from the influence on my life of good leaders and role models, I want to do all I can to give the opportunities for the young men and women who come through Right to Dream to excel in what they do and lead others to a better future."

Born in 1953 in London, Charles was educated at Kingham Hill School in Oxfordshire and at London University. In 1972 he became a computer programmer and then a computer systems analyst designing computer systems. In 1977 Charles went on to have a career in the furniture industry and became Managing Director of Nathan Furniture in 1985 and from 1993 he ran Gloster Furniture and transformed the small UK manufacturer of teak benches into a leading global brand of high quality outdoor furniture. Gloster manufactured in Asia and marketed its products in over 50 countries with its own companies on 3 continents. Now retired, Charles is still very involved in the Furniture Industry and various other charitable projects outside of Right to Dream.

 

Tom Vernon
Founder

"Right to Dream hasn’t even hit 5 percent of its potential. Our vision for giving people a chance to pursue their dreams can be replicated across the world."

Tom was just 19 years-old when he decided to set up a youth football team on a dust pitch in Accra, Ghana. Seeing the immense raw talent in just two communities in the capital, it wasn’t long before he took several players into his home, providing education as well as coaching. As Tom steadily grew the academy out of his house into a residential school and coaching facility, he also worked as Manchester United’s scout in Africa, covering 27 countries on the continent. Over the last 18 years, Tom has transformed Right to Dream from a dust pitch to a multi-million dollar purpose-built facility, producing Champions League and World Cup footballers along with student-athletes attending prestigious US schools and universities like Taft and Georgetown. In January 2016, Tom expanded the Right to Dream development model when he led a consortium of investors to acquire Danish Superliga side FC Nordsjælland, forming part of The Right to Dream Group. In recognition of his phenomenal achievements, Tom was voted the world’s leading entrepreneur in sport under the age of 40 by Leaders in Sport in 2016.

 

Bob Finch

"I have always had a passion for football and the power of sport to help kids realise their ambitions. Right to Dream is the world leader in empowering the next generation of talent to reach the highest level, both on and off the pitch. To me, there is no comparable in football and I am proud to support this inspiring project."

Bob Finch is the Co-Founder of private venture firm Talis Capital and is an oil industry veteran, having worked for Rotterdam-based trader, The Vitol Group, for over 30 years. Bob served on the Vitol Board for 15 years, and has been instrumental in Vitol’s growth to one of the largest independent energy trading houses in the world, as well as successfully establishing Vitol’s entry into the coal markets in 2007. A renowned philanthropist, Bob is a supporter of multiple charities, most notably The Generations foundation and the Vitol Foundation which supports charities involved in health improvement and disability as well as the promotion of clean water and sanitation. He and his wife Rohini also run the Generations Charity whose aim is to provide a better quality of life for disabled, ill or disadvantaged children in the UK and abroad. Bob also sits on the board of Right to Dream’s partner club FC Nordsjælland.

 

Thomas Williams 

"Right to Dream is a truly innovative project, which has a profound impact on a global scale. I feel privileged to be part of an exceptional team, with a unique approach to enabling youth development."

Tom Williams has eight years of investment experience with an excellent investment track record. He has supported investments at Talis Capital including iwoca, Utelly, C3, Reevoo, bd4travel, Senrio, Second Home, Pirate Studios and Onfido. Prior to joining Talis, Tom was an asset manager at Dart Capital and worked as an execution-only broker. He has a degree from the University of Leeds, a Masters in Wealth Management and is a CFA charterholder.

 

 

Dan Dickenson 

"C. Nortey and Right to Dream have become an integral part of our family. C. Nortey embodies the dedication, spirit, character and perseverance that Right to Dream teaches, and has inspired my family and the many people he has befriended in the U.S. We are indebted to Right to Dream as it has given our family far more than we can give back."

Dan Dickenson is the Managing Partner of HCI Equity Partners, a private equity firm with over $2 Billion in assets under management. Dan also sits on the Caterpilar Inc. board and the US Olympic Committee Foundation as well as chairing the board of Duke University School of Engineering and the Cove School. With a vast array of experience in high finance, Dan brings a huge amount of commercial expertise and was previously Head of Global Mergers and Acquisitions at Merrill Lynch. Dan’s personal connection with Right to Dream stretches back several years, since he became the host father of one of our student athletes and now FC Nordsjælland character coach, James C Nortey. Dan holds a Law degree and MBA from the University of Chicago and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. He has four children, two of which have visited Right to Dream Ghana as volunteers.

 

Helen Vernon

"The most powerful change at Right to Dream was the addition of the Girls’ Programme in 2013. It will not only produce powerful female role models, but will also create a generation of men who will join together to fight to end the inequities against women."

Helen Vernon has been heavily involved with Right to Dream from its early inception having originally visited Ghana after completing her University degree in Medical Research. Helen taught in a school in the Labadi neighbourhood of Ghana’s capital, Accra at the same time that the academy was founded. After completing a year long research project in Tuberculosis in the UK, she returned to Ghana to teach in an International school in order to raise money to help fund Right to Dream’s running costs. Since then, Helen has been an integral part of the Foundation with direct involvement in pastoral care, teaching and the overall growth and development of the academy.

 

John Powers

 

John Powers is the Chairman of Right to Dream USA and is currently the Executive Vice President at Boston Properties, New York. John’s initial involvement with Right to Dream started when he became a host father to one of the first generation graduates, Albert ‘CK’ Kumah. John and his family have been instrumental in the development of the Right to Dream USA Foundation, with his children Courtney and Kerry also sitting on the board. John initiated the Right to Dream Girls’ Programme in 2013 and leads an annual fundraiser held in New York City to fund Right to Dream scholarships for girls in West Africa. Overseeing a network of host families, John ensures the safety and wellbeing of every graduate studying in the United States. John has a BA in Mathematics from St. Anselm College, an MA in Economics and MBA from the University of Massachusetts having also studied international economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva. He has also worked for Swiss Bank Corp (now UBS) and CBRE Inc.

 

Media Advisory Board

Luis Vicente

Luis brings over 20 years of industry knowledge and expertise to the media advisory board, having worked with huge global sporting brands including AC Milan, Ferrari, Lotus, Real Madrid and Red Bull. Luis has also worked with sports personalities such as Luis Figo, Andriy Shevchenko and Ronaldo. As Manchester City’s Head of Partnerships from 2009 to 2012, he was responsible for all commercial activities and new business development of the club, handling partnerships sales, client services, Intellectual Property, media & digital integration. After leaving City, Luis became Chief Commercial & Marketing Officer at Valencia CF, leading strategy on international growth, brand development, content, digital channels and innovation. Luis is most Interested and focused on innovation & technology integration in sports, and is a firm believer that sports are on the verge of a global disruptive cycle leaded by technology, consumer change, data analytics and content convergence.

 

Paul Button

Paul is an experienced publishing professional with a proven track-record of publishing some of the biggest brands in technology and lifestyle media. With a deepened understanding of how to commercialise brands through content, Paul has successfully launched profitable magazines, websites, events and mobile apps in challenging markets. As co-founder of content marketing agency, Mediablaze, Paul has overseen integrated digital experiences and campaigns for leading sporting organisations such as England Athletics, the Lawn Tennis Association and the This Girl Can campaign.