Meet the Team
The UK COCO team is below. Click 'Meet Our Partners' to learn about our team in East Africa.
Board of Trustees
Steve is the Chairman and Co-Founder of COCO and one of the UK’s most well-known Olympians. Since appearing aged 17 at the Commonwealth Games in 1978, Steve’s many achievements include six Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the European and World Championships. At the 1984 Olympic Games he earned a Silver medal in the 1500m, and the following year he broke world records in the 1500m, 2000m and Mile. Since retiring from competitive athletics Steve has become a very successful television commentator.
Steve Cram CBE
Christine is a Trustee of COCO. Christine is a qualified Chartered Accountant at KPMG and spent 13 years working with KPMG before moving into the industry. She currently works for Wilton Universal Group as Finance Director. Outside of work Christine enjoys running, regularly seen sporting Team COCO colours around the North East and beyond. She has also recently developed a love of golf, following the Steve Cram Celebrity Golf Day. She lives with her husband Dave in Newcastle, and is looking forward to trekking Wadi Rum for COCO in November.
Matt Baillie Smith is Professor of International Development at Northumbria University, where he co-directs the Northumbria Centre for International Development. Matt works in partnership with a range of development organisations in the UK and internationally, and his academic research has focused on issues including NGO strategies for engaging the public in development, development education, and volunteering in humanitarian and development settings.
Chris Dixon is the Public Benefit lead for Vodafone Foundation, a UK-registered charity that uses technology to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, and co-ordinates Vodafone Foundation’s digital education programmes in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has more than a decade’s experience managing governance, risk and compliance matters in both the private and charitable sectors. He is a strong believer that access to quality education is fundamental to building an inclusive and prosperous society.
Since graduating from Strathclyde University with a BA in Psychology, Rebecca has worked in the Financial Services Business Development sector for over 30 years, primarily as a Business Development Director. Since joining Curtis Banks in 2015 as a Key Account Director, Rebecca has been responsible for the relationship and business development of one of their largest client bases. Rebecca brings enthusiasm, networking and event management to the COCO Board. As a keen hiker and occasional runner Rebecca has climbed Machu Picchu and taken part in the GNR for COCO.
Carsten has enjoyed an award-winning career of over 25 years in the payroll industry. No stranger to fundraising, Carsten has also donned the orange Team COCO jersey on many occasions, running the Barcelona, Amsterdam and Kielder marathons (to name but a few), cycling across Kenya and leading a winning Coast to Coast team. A native of Denmark, Carsten is an adopted Geordie with a legendary zest for life. Firmly believing ‘we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give’, his generosity and enthusiasm endear him to everyone he meets.
Ida is a seasoned development professional with over 15 years’ experience managing diverse
Community programmes in Kenya.
She currently works as a Markets Engagement and Strategic partnerships Manager in the GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation (M4H) programme. She has been instrumental in shaping and driving adoption of mobile and digital technology in the delivery of Humanitarian assistance.
Ida is passionate about communities transforming into self-sufficiency leading to reduced inequalities.
Debra has over 25 years’ finance, operations and IT experience. She started her career at P&G, the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods company, where she had several roles across the corporation, including Global IT Security Manager. She has brought this vast knowledge of enterprise IT with her to Net-Defence, where she is currently Managing Director.
Debra has supported COCO at many events and brings a wealth of knowledge to the board, advising on technology, marketing and more!
Rosie joined the COCO team as Administration Assistant in October 2018, becoming the Administrator in 2020 and Operations Manager in 2022. A passionate advocate of the importance of education, Rosie spent five years teaching Modern Foreign Languages in various schools across the North East. As well as loving languages and literature, Rosie also enjoys the outdoors and is a keen gardener. She can often be found in her allotment plot, growing fruit and vegetables with varying degrees of success.
Lucy joined the team in July 2022 as the Fundraising and Marketing Assistant alongside finishing her Masters degree. Now full-time, with two promotions under her belt, she leads all of COCO's fundraising initiatives and marketing needs. She has previously taught English in Nepal and Thailand, and is passionate about women's education. Lucy is a dressage rider and usually spotted outside of work with her horse, in wellies and a muddy coat!
Fundraising and Marketing Manager
Pip is COCO’s Impact and Partnerships Officer. Starting in July 2023, Pip is the newest member of our team and has experience working overseas and within other non-profit organisations. She is currently working towards her PhD focusing on Female Empowerment in India at Newcastle University. She has previously worked in Uganda, Tanzania and India and is passionate about tackling gender disparities. Pip is also a huge animal lover!