Our Team

Our team consists of people who are passionate about the development of potential of young people and equal opportunities and who want to contribute to the realisation of the UN Children’s Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Vanessa Masing
National Director & Chair of the Board
Vanessa Masing, born in Düsseldorf in 1970, studied business administration at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, Paris and San Diego and obtained her Master's degree in European Children's Rights and Childhood Studies at the FU Berlin. She worked for KPMG, Deloitte WEDIT and as Managing Director for a venture capital fund before moving to an integrated secondary school in Berlin-Wedding as a Fellow for Teach First Germany in 2016. There, together with students, she developed the idea of bringing the Duke Award to more public schools in Germany. Vanessa Masing has headed the organisation as Managing Director since 2020 and is the mother of three children.
Anja Dehghan
Regional Coordinator NRW and North of Germany, PR and strategic partnerships
Anja Dehghan studied journalism and communication sciences at the Free University of Berlin. She worked freelance for broadcasting and film before founding a management consultancy specialising in HR. In 2019, she moved to betterHR, where she was primarily responsible for digitalisation, employer branding and recruiting. Since 2022, Anja Dehghan has been building up Duke nationwide together with Vanessa Masing and, in addition to supporting schools in NRW, is particularly responsible for communication topics.
Valerie Zu Rhein
Regional Manager South of Germany, Strategy, PR & Education Policy Advocacy
Valerie Zu Rhein studied Political Science and Philosophy at the LMU in Munich and the University of Birmingham and completed a Master's degree in Public Health (LMU). She was a scholarship holder of the Bavarian Elite Academy and Hanns-Seidel Foundation and is engaged in the Malteser Jugend. Valerie Zu Rhein was a world champion in Kung Fu and a UNICEF Junior Ambassador. In our team, Valerie coordinates South of Germany and is responsible for strategy, communication and education policy advocacy.
Laura Berndt_Profilfoto
Laura Berndt
Regional Manager for Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia
Laura Berndt studied Physical Education (University of Leipzig) and Outdoor Studies (Norges idrettshøgskole). She always focused on adventure education and dance and completed additional training in these areas. She has been involved in non-formal education since her youth. Today she leads political workshops and outdoor education programs. Her growing desire to initiate long-lasting and deep educational processes and to initiate social change on a structural level brought her to the Duke Award.
Arvid Radsey-Nickel
School Partners in Berlin - Brandenburg
Arvid Radsey-Nickel holds an M.A. in International Development from the University of Vienna and a B.A. in Business Administration from the HWR Berlin. Before, during and after his Master's degree, he worked in humanitarian aid (including in Haiti) and has extensive knowledge of the NGO world. Arvid is responsible for schools and other Award partners in Berlin and Brandenburg.
Iris Dikel
Shop, Invoices and Expedition Base
Iris has been with the Award since 2008. She manages the accounting, is responsible for orders and coordinates the use of the Bahnmeisterei in Osterburken as an expedition base.