people & places - meet the UK team

There are six of us – all volunteers. Between us we have decades of experience in volunteering, travel and tourism, education and business. Our skills and experience are complemented by those of our local partners – together we offer truly responsible and ethical volunteer opportunities.

Kate Stefanko

Kate is placement director, matching the skills and abilities of volunteers to project needs.

With over 25 years’ experience in the travel industry, including the development of cultural immersion tours for specialist UK travel companies, Kate has always placed particular emphasis on matching travellers' cultural experience to the need for rewarding and empowering experiences for their hosts.

Kate holds a firm belief in the inherent ability of individual people to achieve great things through working together. She is repeatedly humbled and inspired by what individual volunteers achieve in their work, and gains great rewards through past, present and future volunteers sharing their experiences and knowledge.

Kate is responsible for matching individual volunteer’s skills, experience and goals to specific project needs.

Her least favourite part of her job is taming errant technology!

Sallie Grayson

Sallie is programme director. She works on an ongoing basis with local people to build meaningful volunteer programmes.

Sallie‘s volunteer experience includes work in The Gambia, coincidentally at the same time as Harold was working there on national tourism guidelines (meet Harold below). Their fortunate meeting and subsequent discussions led them to pursue a better way to serve local communities and volunteers.

Sallie ran a niche marketing company for 20 years, and has served as a non-executive director and consultant in industries as varied as retail, finance, health and tourism. She has a proven record in direct marketing and business development. She has worked with communities all over the world to help them to build the future they want for themselves.

Sallie’s own experience in volunteer work, as well as the shared experiences of other volunteers and the communities in which they worked, left her frustrated and cynical - but also inspired by the potential benefits of skill share for volunteers and local communities … and determined to do something!

Sallie works with governments, charities (local and international), tour operators and other non-governmental organisations to campaign for and advise on best practice in volunteer travel.

Sallie is also responsible for the general management of people and places  including marketing  and liaison with TravelPhilanthropy.

 Her least favourite part of her job is doing the accounts!

Dianne Ashman

Dianne is programme advisor. She has many years of experience in education management, planning, training and monitoring.

Dianne’s first experience with people and places was in skill share volunteer work - in The Gambia and in India - where she worked with local teachers to help develop their own skills and abilities.

Then, in 2011, Dianne proposed a different volunteer role – that of working with local staff in education volunteer projects to build a picture of the projects’ needs. Needless to say, we were all delighted and accepted her proposal with alacrity!

She started travelling for us to specifically assess school needs - she now travels the world as an important member of the team, visiting all of the projects. Her work ensures that we fully understand the needs, strengths and weaknesses of the projects we work with and that we provide volunteers with the information they need to make meaningful contributions through their volunteer work abroad. Dianne works closely with Sallie in this work.  Dianne also works with Kate in briefing volunteers for any of the projects she has visited.

Her least favourite part of her job is waiting at airports.

Lucinda Rose 'Luci' Gardner-O'Brien

Luci is the latest member of the team - she is our young professional advisor.
Luci graduated in 2016 from The University of Nantes gaining a degree in French Law. She continued her education at The University of Cardiff undertaking a research Masters in European Law, choosing to specialise in children’s rights and social protection under the European Union. Luci is currently undertaking a second Masters in French Private Law focusing on International Private Law at The University of Rennes.
For some years, Luci has been devoted to different causes including English lessons for refugees and asylum seekers and domestic violence awareness. Luci co-founded and is the trustee of Cardiff-based project Periods in Poverty, which puts in place collection points for menstrual products throughout the city in order to relay them to local charities.
Luci is focused on the concept of dignity. Through various paths including her academic research and volunteer work, she has specialised in disability and children’s rights. She has found that the defence of human dignity has become her driving force. Her passion is towards the implementation, facilitation and promotion of ethical volunteering.
Her aim is to guide young people wisely in their search for volunteer placements.
At the time of writing she loves every aspect of her job…..time will tell!

Nigel Pegler

Nigel is known to many of you, by name at least, as editor of our newsletter.

Before Nigel took on this particular volunteer role, he travelled with people and places as a skill share volunteer in rural South Africa, where his practical skills were fundamental in setting up a bicycle project. Nigel has also volunteered in The Gambia – again putting his practical skills to use in working with local people – and in Peru.

Nigel readily admits that his overseas volunteer experiences have changed his life.

When he first volunteered in South Africa, Nigel was caretaker of a high school and is now site manager of both the high school and primary school. In his spare time, he gives talks and presentations about his volunteer experiences. To say that he achieved employment promotion and greater self-confidence solely through volunteering may be an exaggeration ... but it certainly helped!

As well as working on the newsletter, Nigel provides practical help and technical support for all our volunteer meetings and ‘road shows’.

The least favourite part of his job is when Sallie gives him last minute layout changes for the newsletter!

Harold Goodwin

Harold is Chair of our non-executive advisory committee, the committee that we report to and that keeps us on our toes in being responsible and accountable in all that we do.
He is an Emeritus Professor and Responsible Tourism Director at the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Harold is an acknowledged world leader in responsible and sustainable tourism. He works with communities, governments, international funding agencies, and within the tourism industry to advance responsible tourism.

Until his recent retirement Harold was Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University where he directed the Centre for Responsible Tourism and was founder, in 2002 of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism.

Harold is committed to enabling local communities and economically poor people to conserve their natural and cultural heritage through careful linking with responsible travellers. He firmly believes that economically poor communities and volunteers should be better served than is the case with the majority of existing volunteer recruitment organisations.

The least favourite part of his job is not being able to spend enough time with the community projects we work with!

Kerry Kenton-Clarke

Strictly speaking, Kerry is not a people and places volunteer - but he is very much one of the team. From our earliest days Kerry has helped us with our websites and blogs and our administration system - which he and Sallie designed together.

Kerry takes real pains to understand our organisation and what we are trying to achieve - and then he magics everything into a public site with a user-friendly back-end administration system. He has supported and advised us through various updates, and explained simply the mysteries of SEO to us - and patiently!

He addresses the inevitable problems that come with the internet world - promptly and professionally.

Quite simply we feel our "webbie" Kerry is in our corner and that is so reassuring for a small organisation with limited skills internally.

Kerry's least favourite part of working with us is the 6am on a Sunday call…..and he is still helpful - what a hero!

people & places ... what a team ... people skills, business experience, professional skills, practical experience ... and academic gravitas!

and we all share a passion for the importance of travelling to make a difference.

Expert Tours People and Places Ltd trading as people and places - Company Number 03805796 - Registered in England at: 1 Naboth's Nursery, Canterbury Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8AX