Meet the team

ITF is run by a small dedicated team of staff and trustees who work with partners to plant trees in Africa and the UK.

Ricardo Romero

Programmes Manager

Ricardo was born in Mexico. His love for nature was inherited from his grandmother, a gifted tree grafter. He still recalls the excitement of helping her in the orchard and planting his first tree. Ricardo’s been working in environmental conservation and international development for several years, advocating for local communities in development and conservation efforts. Before joining ITF, Ricardo worked for five years as Programme Manager for a non-profit in the USA with projects in Central America. Ricardo’s published numerous scientific materials, peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, technical manuals, blog posts and even a soil conservation comic. He’s been an active member of many international networks, and been a guest researcher/partner of EARTH University in the Renewable Energies and Circular Economy Laboratories.

My favourite tree – Kapok Tree, Ceiba pentandra

Ricardo cropped

James Kemp

Head of Fundraising and Communications

James joined ITF as Head of Fundraising and Communications in October 2019, bringing nearly twenty years experience in the not for profit sector. He started his career in security and climate change policy research, and fundraising for Oxford Research Group. Most recently he worked on product strategy for a responsible business consultancy in London, while studying for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling at Oxford University. Following two years leading Oxfam’s major fundraising appeals, James became Oxfam’s Head of Strategic Communications Planning. He is particularly interested in the role ITF can and does play in the promotion of a conservation or ecological ethic.

My favourite tree – Silver Birch, Betula pendula

720A7363

Fiona Cottrell

Finance and Facilities Manager

Fiona joined ITF in February 2020 as Finance and Facilities Manager, bringing 25 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. Fiona was previously Head of Finance at Forest Peoples Programme, an international human rights charity. As well as developing financial systems, Fiona has capacity building experience with local community partners including in Peru, Cameroon, Guyana, DRC and Rwanda. Fiona lived for 8 years in Mozambique, working with local organisations, managing finance and logistics support for returning refugee families displaced by civil war. Returning to the UK in 1998, Fiona studied part time, becoming a full member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in 2009. She is particularly attracted to ITF’s emphasis on the importance of trees for mental health.

My favourite tree – Boabab, Adansonia digitata

Fiona cropped2

Teresa Gitonga

Centenary Campaign Manager

Teresa joined ITF in 2018, previously she worked as a Senior Programme Manager at thee Green Belt Movement which was founded by the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. Teresa Studied Environmental Science at the undergraduate level and a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi. Teresa has over 10 years’ experience empowering community based organisations in environmental management, forest and water resource management, programme Coordination, Community mobilization, Resource Mobilization and gender integration in Natural resource management. In her free time, Teresa love walking and Exploring nature.

My favourite tree – African Cherry, Prunus africana

Teresa cropped

Sam Pearce

Programmes Development Officer

Sam joined ITF in September 2019. He read Music at Oxford before receiving an MSc in Marine Environmental Management at York. Since then, he’s worked as a freelancer in conservation and campaigning, living and working in London, Moscow, Azores, and across the Middle East. Most recently his work’s been in topics such as coral reef restoration, illegal fishing and cetacean conservation. He’s even worked on sailing boats looking for whales. As a teenager he read ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ by Jean Giono, and since then has been fascinated by the possibilities of large-scale landscape restoration. Sam is a qualified sailor, keen diver and daily narrowboater. In his free-time he enjoys being outdoors, be it walking, rock climbing, swimming or camping.

My favourite tree – Scot’s Pine, Pinus sylvestris

Sam Pearce sialing

Aïda-Floriane Dia

Communications & Marketing Officer

Aïda joined ITF in December 2019. She holds a Master’s degree in Communications & Management from IAE Lyon Business School and the University of Lyon III in France. She has worked in various organisations sizes and cultures, from multinational agencies to a Business School.  Her academic and professional experiences abroad in Pittsburgh, Rotterdam and Oxford have reinforced her will to work in a multicultural environment. Aïda is passionate about afro feminism – especially Audre Lorde and bell hooks’ works – and ecology’s intersectional stakes regarding climate change. She enjoys backpacking and travelling on her own. In her spare time she likes to play tennis with her sister, practice piano and sew her own clothes.

My favourite tree – Weeping willow, Salix babylonica

Aïda Bio pic cropped2

Jenny Weld

Fundraising and Marketing Assistant

Jenny joined ITF in September 2019. She studied biology at Sheffield University and always wanted to work in the charity sector. After university she gained experience in the fundraising department of a large development charity before joining ITF. This role brings together her passion for the environment, social justice and communicating with a wide variety of people. She loves public speaking and encouraging others to be part of something big. Jenny is particularly interested in the role trees will play as we combat climate change and the way ITF’s projects empower women. In her spare time she likes to paint, dance, longboard, party and work with students at her local church.

My favourite tree – Bullhorn Acacia, Vachellia cornigera

Jenny Weld cropped

Michelle Mitchell

Finance Administration Assistant

Michelle joined ITF in 2018 in our Oxford offices. She grew up in Reading and trained and worked as a secretary until her first daughter was born. After this she moved to France and worked as a childminder and also in an English Tea Room. After moving back to the UK she worked as a TA in a primary school, and she has also worked at the Warnefield Hospital. A qualified massage therapist and Reiki practitioner, her hobbies include decorating/interior design, sewing, reading, walking with her dog Eddie.

My favourite tree – Cherry Blossom, Prunus serrulata

Michelle Mitchell 2

Timothy Hornsby

Chair of Trustees

After studying at Oxford University, Timothy spent three years in the USA researching, and subsequently joined the senior Civil Service, with posts in HM Treasury and the Department of Environment. Later on he took directing and chief executive roles at the Nature Conservancy, Royal Borough of Kingston and National Lottery Charities Board. His passion for trees was initially sparked by trips to the National Parks in the USA, furthered by time on the Board of IIED, and more recently as a Trustee of the RBG, Kew. Timothy has a particular soft spot for Sustainable Community Forestry. He also enjoys keeping his aged Yew Tree alive: opera: reading to his grandchildren and now having them read to him.

My favourite tree – Yew, Taxus baccata

Timothy Head shot cropped

Maria Grecna

Vice-Chair of Trustees

Maria Grecna is Vice-Chair /Treasurer of ITF. She studied accounting at Prague School of Economics, then got her M.A. in Finance from London Business School. In 2013, she co-founded Earlwoode Partners, an investment management firm focused on residential assets in Spain. Prior to Earlwoode, Maria spent eight years as Managing Director of Värde Partners, a leading alternative asset management firm. Previously, she’s held various positions at Citi and Credit Suisse First Boston. During 2015-2019, Maria served as independent director of NH Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel chains in Spain. In February 2020, Maria joined the board of Liberbank, also as independent director. She is based in Mallorca where she lives on an organic almond and carob farm.

My favourite tree – Carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua

Maria crop2

Kate Schreckenberg

Trustee

Dr Kate Schreckenberg is a Development Geography academic at King’s College London. Her main interests focus on community-based resource management and equity in the context of ecosystem services. Kate has 30 years research and policy experience, including fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has a BSc in Botany, MSc in Forestry (Oxford), and PhD in Geography (SOAS). Kate’s worked for the German Sahelian Programme, UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme, World Forestry Institute in Hamburg and Overseas Development Institute. She was Director of the UK’s £43m Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme and in the past 20 years has been principle or co-investigator on research projects worth over £9 million.

My favourite tree – Apple, Malus domestica

Kate-Schreckenberg-cropped2

Miriam Reru

Trustee

Miriam grew up in the Kenyan highlands, where her interest in trees begun. She has a long background in Risk & Compliance across Africa and Europe. Miriam specialises in financial crime management, compliance programmes and financial inclusion initiatives such as mobile money in emerging markets. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. In her free time, she plays an advisory role for a water conservation project in Central Kenya. Muringato Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) manages, conserves and protects water resources within its catchment area, restoring ecosystems and increasing water availability for social-economic development. Miriam plans to use her knowledge to promote fundraising via mobile money and ensure ITF has effective fraud management.

My favourite tree – Nandi flame, Spathodea campanulata

Miriam Reru_1

Josia Njore

Trustee

Josiah grew up in Kenya before moving to study Information Technology in the UK. He then joined the British Armed Forces for 7 years. He is an experienced IT professional, specializing in Data Management with consultancy experience in the Public and Private sectors. Voluntary contribution includes School Governor (6 years), Education capacity building program in Kenya and Communication Non-Executive Director at Ivybridge Link. His love for the environment started as a young child in rural and urban Kenya. Josiah hopes to bring his experience in capacity building and education programmes to inspire sustainable livelihoods through ITF both now and for generations to come.

My favourite tree – Mugumo fig, Ficus thonningii

josh_image_cropped3

Mardi McBrien

Trustee

Mardi is Managing Director at the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB). For over a decade she’s played a leading role here, integrating environmental information into corporate reporting. Mardi’s eclectic career includes leading flagship campaigns for WWF, and working on the UK’s carbon market policy for the Department of Eneregy & Climate Change. She’s a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, with multiple advisory roles for bodies including Global Reporting Initiative Stakeholder Council, Corporate Reporting Dialogue, Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative and the IIRC Council. She’s qualified as a forester and environmental scientist (Melbourne University), agricultural economist (SOAS) and holds the Financial Times NED Diploma. She’s a founding Board member of WOCAN, a woman led environmental NGO. Mardi enjoys collecting gin, open-water swimming and exploring new places with her young daughters.

My favourite tree – Woolemi pine, Wollemia nobilis and mountain ash, eucalyptus regnans

Mardi 2020 cropped

Rebecca Newman

Programmes Volunteer

Rebecca has been at ITF since April 2020 as a programmes volunteer. She is currently a Human Geography and Environment student at the University of York. She is particularly interested in sustainability and international development and loves this role as it combines her passion for environmentalism and solving issues such as deforestation. It also focuses on community based projects which she believes are of most importance for the future. Rebecca is an avid reader with an extreme love for all animal life (no matter how big or small), she can often be found feeding ducks around her university campus.
Rebecca programmes vol crop1
+ Staff Team

Ricardo Romero

Programmes Manager

Ricardo was born in Mexico. His love for nature was inherited from his grandmother, a gifted tree grafter. He still recalls the excitement of helping her in the orchard and planting his first tree. Ricardo’s been working in environmental conservation and international development for several years, advocating for local communities in development and conservation efforts. Before joining ITF, Ricardo worked for five years as Programme Manager for a non-profit in the USA with projects in Central America. Ricardo’s published numerous scientific materials, peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, technical manuals, blog posts and even a soil conservation comic. He’s been an active member of many international networks, and been a guest researcher/partner of EARTH University in the Renewable Energies and Circular Economy Laboratories.

My favourite tree – Kapok Tree, Ceiba pentandra

Ricardo cropped

James Kemp

Head of Fundraising and Communications

James joined ITF as Head of Fundraising and Communications in October 2019, bringing nearly twenty years experience in the not for profit sector. He started his career in security and climate change policy research, and fundraising for Oxford Research Group. Most recently he worked on product strategy for a responsible business consultancy in London, while studying for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling at Oxford University. Following two years leading Oxfam’s major fundraising appeals, James became Oxfam’s Head of Strategic Communications Planning. He is particularly interested in the role ITF can and does play in the promotion of a conservation or ecological ethic.

My favourite tree – Silver Birch, Betula pendula

720A7363

Fiona Cottrell

Finance and Facilities Manager

Fiona joined ITF in February 2020 as Finance and Facilities Manager, bringing 25 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. Fiona was previously Head of Finance at Forest Peoples Programme, an international human rights charity. As well as developing financial systems, Fiona has capacity building experience with local community partners including in Peru, Cameroon, Guyana, DRC and Rwanda. Fiona lived for 8 years in Mozambique, working with local organisations, managing finance and logistics support for returning refugee families displaced by civil war. Returning to the UK in 1998, Fiona studied part time, becoming a full member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in 2009. She is particularly attracted to ITF’s emphasis on the importance of trees for mental health.

My favourite tree – Boabab, Adansonia digitata

Fiona cropped2

Teresa Gitonga

Centenary Campaign Manager

Teresa joined ITF in 2018, previously she worked as a Senior Programme Manager at thee Green Belt Movement which was founded by the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. Teresa Studied Environmental Science at the undergraduate level and a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi. Teresa has over 10 years’ experience empowering community based organisations in environmental management, forest and water resource management, programme Coordination, Community mobilization, Resource Mobilization and gender integration in Natural resource management. In her free time, Teresa love walking and Exploring nature.

My favourite tree – African Cherry, Prunus africana

Teresa cropped

Sam Pearce

Programmes Development Officer

Sam joined ITF in September 2019. He read Music at Oxford before receiving an MSc in Marine Environmental Management at York. Since then, he’s worked as a freelancer in conservation and campaigning, living and working in London, Moscow, Azores, and across the Middle East. Most recently his work’s been in topics such as coral reef restoration, illegal fishing and cetacean conservation. He’s even worked on sailing boats looking for whales. As a teenager he read ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ by Jean Giono, and since then has been fascinated by the possibilities of large-scale landscape restoration. Sam is a qualified sailor, keen diver and daily narrowboater. In his free-time he enjoys being outdoors, be it walking, rock climbing, swimming or camping.

My favourite tree – Scot’s Pine, Pinus sylvestris

Sam Pearce sialing

Aïda-Floriane Dia

Communications & Marketing Officer

Aïda joined ITF in December 2019. She holds a Master’s degree in Communications & Management from IAE Lyon Business School and the University of Lyon III in France. She has worked in various organisations sizes and cultures, from multinational agencies to a Business School.  Her academic and professional experiences abroad in Pittsburgh, Rotterdam and Oxford have reinforced her will to work in a multicultural environment. Aïda is passionate about afro feminism – especially Audre Lorde and bell hooks’ works – and ecology’s intersectional stakes regarding climate change. She enjoys backpacking and travelling on her own. In her spare time she likes to play tennis with her sister, practice piano and sew her own clothes.

My favourite tree – Weeping willow, Salix babylonica

Aïda Bio pic cropped2

Jenny Weld

Fundraising and Marketing Assistant

Jenny joined ITF in September 2019. She studied biology at Sheffield University and always wanted to work in the charity sector. After university she gained experience in the fundraising department of a large development charity before joining ITF. This role brings together her passion for the environment, social justice and communicating with a wide variety of people. She loves public speaking and encouraging others to be part of something big. Jenny is particularly interested in the role trees will play as we combat climate change and the way ITF’s projects empower women. In her spare time she likes to paint, dance, longboard, party and work with students at her local church.

My favourite tree – Bullhorn Acacia, Vachellia cornigera

Jenny Weld cropped

Michelle Mitchell

Finance Administration Assistant

Michelle joined ITF in 2018 in our Oxford offices. She grew up in Reading and trained and worked as a secretary until her first daughter was born. After this she moved to France and worked as a childminder and also in an English Tea Room. After moving back to the UK she worked as a TA in a primary school, and she has also worked at the Warnefield Hospital. A qualified massage therapist and Reiki practitioner, her hobbies include decorating/interior design, sewing, reading, walking with her dog Eddie.

My favourite tree – Cherry Blossom, Prunus serrulata

Michelle Mitchell 2
+ Trustee Team

Timothy Hornsby

Chair of Trustees

After studying at Oxford University, Timothy spent three years in the USA researching, and subsequently joined the senior Civil Service, with posts in HM Treasury and the Department of Environment. Later on he took directing and chief executive roles at the Nature Conservancy, Royal Borough of Kingston and National Lottery Charities Board. His passion for trees was initially sparked by trips to the National Parks in the USA, furthered by time on the Board of IIED, and more recently as a Trustee of the RBG, Kew. Timothy has a particular soft spot for Sustainable Community Forestry. He also enjoys keeping his aged Yew Tree alive: opera: reading to his grandchildren and now having them read to him.

My favourite tree – Yew, Taxus baccata

Timothy Head shot cropped

Maria Grecna

Vice-Chair of Trustees

Maria Grecna is Vice-Chair /Treasurer of ITF. She studied accounting at Prague School of Economics, then got her M.A. in Finance from London Business School. In 2013, she co-founded Earlwoode Partners, an investment management firm focused on residential assets in Spain. Prior to Earlwoode, Maria spent eight years as Managing Director of Värde Partners, a leading alternative asset management firm. Previously, she’s held various positions at Citi and Credit Suisse First Boston. During 2015-2019, Maria served as independent director of NH Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel chains in Spain. In February 2020, Maria joined the board of Liberbank, also as independent director. She is based in Mallorca where she lives on an organic almond and carob farm.

My favourite tree – Carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua

Maria crop2

Kate Schreckenberg

Trustee

Dr Kate Schreckenberg is a Development Geography academic at King’s College London. Her main interests focus on community-based resource management and equity in the context of ecosystem services. Kate has 30 years research and policy experience, including fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She has a BSc in Botany, MSc in Forestry (Oxford), and PhD in Geography (SOAS). Kate’s worked for the German Sahelian Programme, UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme, World Forestry Institute in Hamburg and Overseas Development Institute. She was Director of the UK’s £43m Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme and in the past 20 years has been principle or co-investigator on research projects worth over £9 million.

My favourite tree – Apple, Malus domestica

Kate-Schreckenberg-cropped2

Miriam Reru

Trustee

Miriam grew up in the Kenyan highlands, where her interest in trees begun. She has a long background in Risk & Compliance across Africa and Europe. Miriam specialises in financial crime management, compliance programmes and financial inclusion initiatives such as mobile money in emerging markets. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. In her free time, she plays an advisory role for a water conservation project in Central Kenya. Muringato Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) manages, conserves and protects water resources within its catchment area, restoring ecosystems and increasing water availability for social-economic development. Miriam plans to use her knowledge to promote fundraising via mobile money and ensure ITF has effective fraud management.

My favourite tree – Nandi flame, Spathodea campanulata

Miriam Reru_1

Josia Njore

Trustee

Josiah grew up in Kenya before moving to study Information Technology in the UK. He then joined the British Armed Forces for 7 years. He is an experienced IT professional, specializing in Data Management with consultancy experience in the Public and Private sectors. Voluntary contribution includes School Governor (6 years), Education capacity building program in Kenya and Communication Non-Executive Director at Ivybridge Link. His love for the environment started as a young child in rural and urban Kenya. Josiah hopes to bring his experience in capacity building and education programmes to inspire sustainable livelihoods through ITF both now and for generations to come.

My favourite tree – Mugumo fig, Ficus thonningii

josh_image_cropped3

Mardi McBrien

Trustee

Mardi is Managing Director at the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB). For over a decade she’s played a leading role here, integrating environmental information into corporate reporting. Mardi’s eclectic career includes leading flagship campaigns for WWF, and working on the UK’s carbon market policy for the Department of Eneregy & Climate Change. She’s a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, with multiple advisory roles for bodies including Global Reporting Initiative Stakeholder Council, Corporate Reporting Dialogue, Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative and the IIRC Council. She’s qualified as a forester and environmental scientist (Melbourne University), agricultural economist (SOAS) and holds the Financial Times NED Diploma. She’s a founding Board member of WOCAN, a woman led environmental NGO. Mardi enjoys collecting gin, open-water swimming and exploring new places with her young daughters.

My favourite tree – Woolemi pine, Wollemia nobilis and mountain ash, eucalyptus regnans

Mardi 2020 cropped
+ Volunteer Team

Rebecca Newman

Programmes Volunteer

Rebecca has been at ITF since April 2020 as a programmes volunteer. She is currently a Human Geography and Environment student at the University of York. She is particularly interested in sustainability and international development and loves this role as it combines her passion for environmentalism and solving issues such as deforestation. It also focuses on community based projects which she believes are of most importance for the future. Rebecca is an avid reader with an extreme love for all animal life (no matter how big or small), she can often be found feeding ducks around her university campus.
Rebecca programmes vol crop1
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