Our people

A brief introduction to the Talk Action team: management, trainers, associates and directors.

The team

Founded by Jonathan Elliott in 2006, Talk Action has become a collective of expert facilitators, researchers, community event artists and programme specialists.

  • Jonathan Elliott


    Jonathan has been organising community events and training for over 20 years. During the nineties he organised music festivals, raves and art projects across the UK. After studying politics at Queen Mary University of London, he decided to put his experience in to setting up this social enterprise. Jonathan has also spent time at the War on Want campaign office, the Alternatives to Violence Project and worked securing funding for an AIDS/HIV charity in Northern Thailand. His 'not-so-secret' ambition is for his rock band to go global!

  • Katie Rowe

    Marketing and Training Coordinator

    Katie joined the company after spending most of her career at BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC where she worked on high profile global brands such as BBC Earth and even organising events with 'SOPHIA', the most advanced A.I. humanoid in the world. Katie’s a keen cyclist and currently frantically training towards her first triathlon.

Trainers & associates

Our course trainers bring a wealth of experience from varied sectors to deliver the best training courses for you.

  • Chris Church

    Chris has been working professionally in the environmental & climate sector for over twenty years. He has delivered consultancy and training on climate communication for Talk Action to among others - Defra, The Environment Agency, Westminster Council, The European Commission, Friends of the Earth, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Groundwork, The Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the National Housing Federation. In fact there are very few organisations, community groups and national bodies that Chris hasn’t worked with in one capacity or another.

    One of Chris’s main focuses in recent years has been enthusing those so called ‘hard-to-reach’ groups and disengaged – with great success across the UK!

  • Karen Ackerman

    Karen trained as a journalist, starting her career at BBC Five Live. Having moved to television, she then built up a career in children’s production at the BBC including making short films for Record Breakers and producing Blue Peter.

    Karen offers training, consultancy and production to help charities, voluntary organisations and community groups to gain the digital media skills they need to tell their stories with the most impact. She is also Head of communications for a charity that supports seriously ill children, Camp Simcha. She then spent three years working for the BBC Academy, the largest and most prestigious training department in the UK media sector, running an innovative project to help BBC staff learn new skills by working with charities and other non profits and helping them with their media.

    Karen has a Masters in Digital Media with distinction with a specialty in digital media for non-profits.

  • Matthew Davis

    As Co-Director of m2 Real Change Consultants, Matthew Davis has worked with Comic Relief, 10:10, King’s Fund, Growing Communities, Reprieve, Overeseas Development Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, Health Poverty Action and others.
    Before becoming a consultant, Matthew worked for global environment NGO WWF for eight years, as Climate Change and Marine Campaigns Director, Communications Director for WWF's global species programme, and Head of Press & Campaigns.
    For three years Matthew was a guest lecturer in environmental communications at Birkbeck University and he is also a published songwriter and young person's writer.

  • Helen Garforth

    Helen has twenty years’ experience in the voluntary sector in the UK. She has worked for and with a range of organisations involving volunteers including the Fairtrade Foundation, National Trust, Plan International, Natural England, Medical Justice, Freedom from Torture and Reading Voluntary Action.

    In 2006 she founded an independent consultancy which works with charities and public sector organisations to support them in many ways including community engagement & development.

    As well as being a Training Associate of Talk Action, Helen is a Senior Research Associate with IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research), an advisor with Caplor Horizons; and a rep for Big Local.

  • Matthew Herbert

    Matthew has been facilitating group work for 20 years. In that time he's worked with groups of many kinds- from co-operatives and co-housing projects to campaigning NGOs and community activist networks. Inevitably conflict has arisen and he has supported groups to deal with it. He specialises in facilitating groups, small and large, to consensus and he has co-authored several guides on the subject.

    Matthew has worked with Amnesty International, Fairtrade Foundation, University of Liverpool, Greenpeace, 38 Degrees, The Scarman Trust, Campaign against the Arms Trade, Centre for Alternative Technology, Co-operatives UK and Friends of the Earth. He is a member of the Rhizome Cooperative- a coop specialising in conflict resolution, consensus building and facilitation of contentious issues.

Talk Action Ltd

  • Owen Espley

    Owen Espley has been involved with Talk Action since the beginning of 2007. As well as leading the board of Talk Action he is the Senior Economic Justice Campaigner at War on Want. He brings over a decade's experience of working on a wide range of issues including sustainable business, international development and the environment at local, national and international levels. He is enthusiastic about building diverse coalitions and participative organisational development processes. His organisational development experience spans small activist groups to large national coalitions as well as mentoring civil society leaders in the Congo basin. For many years, he served on the board of the CORE, the Corporate Responsibility Coalition and is currently on the board of the Jubilee Debt Campaign.In his spare time, he is an activist with DIGS – a group organising private renters in Hackney, as well as enjoying cycling and watching contemporary circus.

  • Laura Griffiths

    Laura has been working in the charity sector and NGOs for over 10 years. She is a highly experienced facilitator and project manager having worked at Law Works, Action Planning and The Alternative to Violence Project. Laura has also been a journalist in Istanbul and after working with refugees in Calais returned to the UK to co-found Safe Passage. Safe Passage exists to help unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults find safe, legal routes to sanctuary. The NGO now has offices in the UK, Sweden and Turkey and some high profile supporter including Hugh Grant who Laura has now chatted to at lunch!

  • David Fideo

    David has been working as a debt, finance and pensions advisor for Citizens Advice Bureau for the past 6 years. He is also a qualified accountant and was lucky enough to work for Aveimore outdoor pursuits centre in Scotland - where some days he skied from the office back to his home!