Meet Our New Board Members

Our 2018 Kick-Off Celebration & Annual General Meeting on 31st January saw the election of four new members to St. George’s Society’s Board of Directors


Kasia Bannon

Kasia is originally from London (Croydon to be exact and round the corner from Richard Sexton's parents). She studied languages at Southampton University and then started her career in brand design upon graduating. She joined brand design agency Design Bridge in 2009 and in 2013 moved to New York to open the US office. Design Bridge is now part of the WPP network. Kasia lives in Gramercy and works in Nomad. 

Why did you join St George's Society?  For many reasons. Initially it was partly to meet people when I moved here and didn't know anyone.  New York is famous for being fabulous and tough in equal measure .  If you can make it here you can make it anywhere after all. I believe we  have a responsibility to look after our fellow Brits when they fall on difficult times. I call my New York friends my 'urban family'. St George's is an extension of that—the urban family and community for British people living here.

What are you looking forward to as a Board member?  I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with these talented people in trying to reach more people who we can help and having an influence in what we do.

What are your favorite NYC eateries? This is a hard question! There are so many. I love Lafayette for dinner and brunch, Freeman's on snow days, Eataly's rooftop on summer evenings, Gaonnuri to take visitors—Korean bbq with a view!—and also Cafe Select.

What's you New Year's resolution? To eat more turmeric. 


JoAnne Davidson

JoAnne, originally from Pennsylvania, has been a member of St. George’s Society since 2007. After 20 years as an investment banker, JoAnne moved into the nonprofit sector specializing in major gifts. Her many connections to the UK including her work with the Imperial War Museum and Churchill War Rooms led her to the Society, where she served on the Board of Directors from 2010 to 2012. JoAnne has also chaired the English Ball Committee since 2012, raising over $3.8 million for the Society’s charitable programs and was most recently appointed to the Honorees Committee.

Why did you join St. George’s Society? I joined St. George’s Society at the urging of my long-time friend Peter Felix, CBE who was President of the Society at the time.

What are you looking forward to as a Board Member? Being on the Board gives you more leverage for approaching prospective members and donors. I’m looking forward to utilizing my position to galvanize even more support for the Society’s historic mission.

What brought you to New York City? Like many, I came to New York for school. I attended Columbia University.

What’s your favorite St. George’s Society event? The English Ball of course.


David Martinelli

David has lived in New York for the last 20 years and is a dual UK/US citizen. He has spent his whole career in Financial Services, first at Citigroup and now at Morgan Stanley where he is an Executive Director of their Global Agency Trading business. A graduate of both Birkbeck College and King's College London, he is currently President of King's College London New York Alumni chapter, Treasurer of Friends of King's College London Association in NY and co-runs the UK Universities Alumni Association. He was also a Founding Patron of England Day NYC. David lives in Manhattan and is an avid runner. 

Why did you join St. George’s Society? I joined St. George's Society a few years back to meet fellow Brits passionate about supporting the Society's mission and as a way of giving back to the community. I'm a big fan of the Society's events from Pub Quiz to the Bash and the Ball. In fact, I'm now a sponsor of the Pub Quiz via the UK Universities Alumni Group.

What are you looking forward to as a Board Member? I'm looking forward to further drive the Society's historic mission and help organize more diverse events that will enable St. George's Society to grow its audience and charitable giving. I really want to help the Society become an even more prominent charitable organization within the New York community.

What’s your favorite NYC pastime? Running. I'm a passionate lifelong runner. I'm a member of Urban Athletics, the #1 ranked masters running team in New York. I've also helped Morgan Stanley win the NYC JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge in the past. My ambition is to one day open up a running store in the city.

What’s one thing from home you wish you had here? Certainly not the weather. I wish there was more English football. I'm a die-hard Chelsea fan and have attempted to substitute it here by becoming an NYCFC season-pass holder. 


Neil Smith

Neil has for the last 20 years focused on helping large corporations dramatically improve performance and profitability by growing revenues and innovatively reducing costs. He has led initiatives across a number of industries with some of the strongest companies in the US. Neil has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Physics and Economics from the University of Keele in England, where he graduated with Honours. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of British American Business, the President of the North American Foundation for Keele University and head of the university’s alumni association in North America. Neil lives in Manhasset, New York with his wife, Gina, and four children (Brianna, Alex, Caroline and Charlotte). His interests include watching soccer, cricket and baseball and collecting ancient British coins. Neil has been a member of St. George’s Society since 2005.

Why did you join St George's Society?  I joined the St George's Society because of my heritage and because of its strong leadership and long history of support to fellow citizens of New York.  

What are you looking forward to as a Board member? It is a privilege to be elected a Board member by my fellow members. I stood for this position, because I admire the work of the Society, the integrity and hard work of its leaders and... because I want, in some small way, to give something back.

Where’s your favorite place in New York to take visitors? My favorite place to take visitors in New York is the Frick on Fifth Avenue.  It is still a relatively hidden asset with a magnificent collection in tranquil surroundings.

What are your favorite sports teams? My favorite sports team is back in the homeland... Manchester City.  Although it is very fashionable to support City at the moment, I was on the terraces back in 1968 when they first won the Premier League! The current success has been a long time coming.