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
Katherine is a corporate partner at Ward Hadaway. She has more than 20 years’ experience in business sales and acquisitions, advising companies and investors on private equity transactions, particularly in the energy, healthcare and tech sectors. Katherine is a member of Team COCO and loves ultra-running, completing marathons and races all over the world including the Sahara, the Arctic, Yellowstone, the Himalayas and the Jordanian desert. She is always on the lookout for the next challenge, whether running the desert or climbing Kilimanjaro!
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.
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.
Lisa’s career in the marketing industry began at Harrods. She has played a key role in promoting the North East's assets and business in her career, including managing award-winning campaigns such as "Passionate People Passionate Places". Lisa has worked with local authorities and the regional development agency One North-East on economic development. Lisa’s role as Head of Marketing and Communications at the Port of Tyne included supporting development of new opportunities presented by renewable energy as well as growth across the Port's bulk cargoes, logistics, and cruise businesses.
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.
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 events management to the COCO Board. Additionally, as a keen hiker and occasional runner Rebecca will be involved with COCO challenges and fundraising events!
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. COCO’s newest Trustee, he is a strong believer that access to quality education is fundamental to building an inclusive and prosperous society.
COCO is currently looking for Trustees with lived experience of international development in Kenya and Tanzania.
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Lucy is our CEO and has worked at COCO since 2004. She is passionate about international relations, development, poverty alleviation and commitment to accountability. Lucy is a board member for Children North East and is an advocate for networking, skill sharing, encouraging leadership and increasing aid effectiveness. Lucy regularly takes part in activities for COCO like trekking Kilimanjaro, running the Great North Run, and cycling in Maasai Land in Kenya!
Jess is COCO’s Partnerships Manager. Jess started volunteering for COCO in 2013 and was excited to be offered the chance of becoming a member of staff in June 2016. She works closely with our partners in East Africa to monitor and evaluate programmes. She has also taken part in a number of fundraising events for COCO, including climbing Kilimanjaro, cycling across Kenya, and a bit closer to home taking on Walk the Wall and the Great North Run.
Rosie joined the COCO team as Administration Assistant in October 2018, becoming the Administrator in 2020. 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.
Freya is the Fundraising Officer for COCO, joining the team in October 2021. She leapt straight into the deep end and organised a tremendously successful COCO Ball in November 2021, and is now looking forward to the exciting events on the COCO Calendar in the future!
Rebecca is COCO’s Meal Officer. Rebecca started volunteering for COCO in May 2019 in the build up to our Golf Day, and was incredibly excited to be offered the chance to become a member of the COCO team in December 2021. She has volunteered within both overseas and UK initiatives; supporting educational, female empowerment, and orphanage projects in India and Ghana, as well as helping to organise the UK’s first Local Conference of Youth (LCOYuk) in November 2019.