Kindling is a U.S. based nonprofit founded in 2020 to support and inspire fire safety improvements in emerging nations, low income communities, and humanitarian contexts. As our organization grows, we aim to become increasingly diverse in backgrounds, experiences, geographies, disciplines, and more. Our team has a strong track records working in the architecture and construction industry, international development, humanitarian sector, disaster risk reduction, and public safety. 

Our Board of Directors

Danielle Antonellis

Danielle is the Founder & Executive Director of Kindling. She has a proven track record of establishing and leading cross-discipline and cross-region teams to tackle intractable problems. Danielle has a BSc in Civil Engineering and a MSc in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester  Polytechnic Institute. Before founding Kindling, Danielle spent 6 years as a Senior Fire Safety Engineer with Arup based in US, UK, and Hong Kong. She led Arup’s global research program on fire safety in informal settlements and established a global multidisciplinary skills group called City Fire Resilience.  Danielle was also a Fire Suppression Systems Researcher and Technical Advisor at Johnson Controls (formerly Tyco). 

Reasat Faisal

Reasat is a passionate and seasoned development professional and Commonwealth Scholar with 9 years of work experience in international development at the national and international levels. He has a proven track record of successful program development, project design and management, research, fundraising, donor management, and strategic partnership development. Until September 2020, Reasat lead program development, resource mobilization, strategy, innovation and real-time data management teams of BRAC Urban Development Program in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently a Doctoral Researcher in Economics focusing on Climate Change & Urban Migration at The University of Westminster. Reasat also has a BSc in Electrical Engineering and a MA in Urban Planning with a focus on urban resilience.

Christine Pongratz

Christine is a fire engineering consultant at Arup, based in the Los Angeles office, with previous experience as a consultant for Arup’s London and Boston offices. Christine studied Fire Protection Engineering and has a significant understanding in subjects ranging from enclosure fire dynamics,  smoke management, human behavior in fire, suppression system design, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Wildland Urban Interface fires, risk mitigation and resilience strategy. Christine has worked on projects spanning a variety of sectors, including healthcare, residential, rail, education, sports, arts & culture, retail, office and informal settlements. Christine utilizes her global perspective to

consider a variety of design solutions.

Boris Couteaux

Boris is VP, Business and Product Development and Head of the Toronto office at impak, the first independent impact rating agency. In his prior role with Pollinate Energy, a social start-up working to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to affordable products, Boris worked as City Co-founder in Kolkata, India. Before that, he worked in various positions in Commercial Banking at ING Bank in Belgium. Boris holds a Masters in Business Engineering and Finance from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (Belgium). 

Kathleen Almand

Kathleen served the National Fire Protection Association as Vice President, Research, until her recent retirement in May of 2019. She has a MSc. civil engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Maryland and a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.  Prior to joining NFPA in 2004, Kathleen was the Executive Director of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and held research and management positions with the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Jim Kennedy

Jim has a PhD in refugee camp design, and more than 15 years field experience in disaster-preparedness, post-disaster shelter and settlements, and camp planning. Jim's experience in the field has included countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Jim has worked for the UN, the Red Cross movement, and a number of international NGOs. Jim has also conducted research into fire safety and shelter for the UK government, and is involved in ongoing projects to integrate fire-safety planning with other aspects of safety and protection in camps.

Our Advisors

Kaitlin Shilling

Kaitlin has spent her career creating impact. She builds on a broad skill set to develop innovative strategies that reach across industries and bridge diverse groups. Passionate about social entrepreneurship, rewarding partnerships; and innovative approaches to challenges in development. Experience in Indonesia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti & Kyrgyzstan. Kaitlin established an online platform, PLUS, that connects social entrepreneurs to opportunities and helps them grow by offering business consultations. PLUS is the go-to resource for information on social entrepreneurs in Indonesia, and is the first to develop a publicly available directory of social enterprises across the country.

George Faller

George has significant experience in the design and supervision of structural and fire safety engineering projects. He joined Ove Arup in 1981 and worked as a structural engineer on a wide variety of projects in Africa, Europe and Asia until 1996. In 1997 he joined Arup Fire in London to pursue fire engineering and in 2002 he moved to Spain to set up a fire safety team. Since March 2019 George has been working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Chief Technical Advisor on the "Improving Working Conditions in the Ready-Made Garment Industry" programme.

Laura Hirst

Laura Hirst is a PhD researcher at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, working in collaboration with Operation Florian. Her research investigates vulnerability to fire risk in low income settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, using qualitative methods to understand how everyday urban fire risk is created, experienced and responded to by different stakeholders. As well as her research in Kenya, Laura was a key member of the Operation Florian team which carried out a fire risk assessment of refugee settings for Save the Children Lebanon, and supports further research on gender and learning around fire risk response in resource poor urban settings. 

John Twigg

John Twigg is an Honorary Professor at University College London, an independent researcher and consultant on disaster risk reduction, and a co-editor of the journal Disasters. His research interests include community-based approaches, extensive risks, early warning systems, socio-economic vulnerability to disasters, policy and institutional aspects of disaster management, post-disaster transitions and urban resilience.

Darlene Rini

Darlene Rini, PE, is a Senior Engineer in the Greater Los Angeles area where she leads the Wildfire Risk Mitigation practice. She has 18 years of experience as a project manager, fire engineer and team leader on a broad range of projects in the built environment in the US and abroad. Darlene's diverse knowledge has allowed her to apply her fire engineering expertise in broader contexts, specifically disaster risk management and societal resilience in developing and developed-country contexts. She integrates qualitative and quantitative socio-technical approaches to comprehensively assess societal risk and develop practical hazard mitigation/ management strategies at the city/county scale.

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