Meet the humans behind the AI

CEO & Co-Founder

Liesl Yearsley

Liesl is a world leading artificial intelligence expert with 5 patents in the field. Before a·kin, she was the CEO/founder of three successful companies, including Cognea Artificial Intelligence which was acquired by IBM Watson. Liesl has lived experience as a carer of people living with disability.

Chief Research Officer

Dr Alexander Hadjiivanov

Alex has a PhD in evolutionary AI and is an award-winning research scientist. He has a unique cross-disciplinary background spanning physics, linguistics and AI, with a focus on neuroevolution, adaptive learning and NLP.

Chief Information Officer

Dr Neesam Jeffers

Neesam has a PhD in Complex Systems and is the leading technical expert in the field. His expertise spans multiple business and technology domains, and he has more than 15 years of experience in delivering programs and projects across consulting, finance, telecommunications, education, energy, engineering, defence and other sectors.

Chief Product Officer

Erika Whillas

Erika is a PhD candidate in participatory design for urban transformation, & adjunct lecturer in human-centered design at Columbia University & General Assembly. In New York Erika was a Senior UX Designer for 10 years, where she brought many world-leading products to life.

Company Secretary

Craig Healey

Craig has three degrees, decades of experience in technology management, and has worked alongside Liesl for ten years. His career spans technology for innovation and social good, AI, research, & marketing. Craig also mentors people with mental health challenges.

Head of Operations

Katya Araneta

Katya has extensive experience, both educational and practical, in a variety of roles and industries, with demonstrated and exceptional experience in Business, Accounting, Sales, Education and Customer Service.

HCI research and Occupational therapy

Natasja de Kock

Natasja has 17 years field experience in OT, and is a research master candidate. She has worked across the entire lifespan, from early childhood to aged care, and across modalities from acute care to remote dementia management and assistive technology.

Chief of AI Design

Mariza O'Keeffe

Mariza is an industry leader in the creative design of AI characters. She has worked alongside Liesl for a decade at Cognea, IBM and a·kin.

Our senior executive team are veterans of AI. Our CEO was previously the founder of a global AI company that was acquired by IBM for Watson, and the team has deep academic and industry experience.