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!

  • Haze Coxon

    Training Coordinator

    Haze has spent the last 2 decades working in the education sector, working with young people building their creative skills in Art & Engineering. Having recently joined the Talk Action team, she has purchased herself an electric tricycle and can be found touring South Devon looking like an extra from 'Mad Max'!

Trainers & associates

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

  • Alex Green

    Alex has over 20 years’ experience in the media industry, working in local newspaper journalism, magazine publishing, content marketing and social media for the tourism, heritage, and conservation sectors. She is based in the south-west providing social media consultancy, training and communications support for charities and social enterprise.

    With a degree in Journalism, Alex began her career at a local newspaper where she became the editor of a county lifestyle magazine. She then moved into PR and marketing, working with among others, the UK family of National Trails and the National Trust. Alongside consultancy work and training, Alex is a freelance features writer for regional and national magazine titles.

  • Chris Church

    Chris Church is a skilled and qualified facilitator, trainer and project development worker with over 25 years of experience. He has worked widely at international, national, local and community level.

    He has delivered consultancy and training  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!

  • Perry Walker

    Perry is an innovator of participatory methods that anyone can use. He led the development of Democs, a conversation game enabling small groups to explore complex policy issues like climate change or nanotechnology, to shape and share opinions, and to provide feedback for policymakers. Until 2011, he was head of the Democracy and Participation programme at NEF.

    More recently, he created Open Up!, an ‘argument map’ that provides a structured way of setting out arguments on an issue. He is currently evolving Policy Slam!, a workshop format incorporating the consensus voting method. He has also designed and facilitated numerous participatory projects including: future search conferences; Imagine, a workshop-based visioning process using appreciative story-telling; and the People’s Café project, discussion cafes for a range of people, including those with learning difficulties.

    Perry has MAs in economics from Cambridge and from Birkbeck. He is on the board of Involve.

  • Mel McCree

    Dr Mel McCree is an inspiring facilitator, highly skilled in creating an environment of participation, permission and creativity that supports people to develop their own solutions. Mel is passionate about building collective power and is known for her work creating skill share networks and peer-to-peer circles of support.

    Over the years Mel has delivered numerous training sessions for Bristol City Council, Bristol Old Vic, Bath Festivals Trust, ACTA, Confer, Forest School Association, Plymouth University, Embercombe, Devon Portage Services and Workers Aid and Warchild.

    As an academic, she is an active researcher specialising in participatory place-based community approaches and a Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa University. She has earned creative and clinical postgraduates from Bristol and Bath Spa and a PhD in environmental education. She is the co-director of Earthstars Education and Play CIC and leads both inner and outer adventures with her coaching consultancy.

  • Yannick Auckland

    Whether as a facilitator, trainer, team or project manager, Yannick is a long-time advocate for participation, asset and strengths-based approaches and outcomes focused joint working.

    Initially a fundraising and campaign manager for Age UK, she later moved into community development and infrastructure support with Southampton City Council and then Cambridge CVS.

    Her broad perspective comes from working with national voluntary, health and housing agencies including the Children's Workforce Development Council, GO East, and various Local Authorities. She has been an Outcomes Champion for the Charities Evaluation Service and managed an award-winning Community Currency Network with 150+ VCS, LA and business partners engaging over 2000 volunteers.

    She is currently privileged to work alongside Peer Mentors with lived experience of homelessness and substance use to co-produce services and support people into recovery.

  • Maria Franchi

    Maria has worked as a facilitator and trainer for over 20 years and has combined this with experience in community and organisational development, in the UK, Sierra Leone and in India.

    Maria has worked with campaigning and activist organisations, pioneers in housing and intentional communities, urban communities and with a range of small, medium and large organisations to enable facilitation, participation and collaborative leadership to support people in meeting their needs and goals. Maria uses a range of experiential tools and methods to bring clarity and consensus to live issues.

    She is a member of the the international Association of Facilitators, Rhizome Cooperative- a coop specialising in conflict resolution, consensus building and facilitation of contentious issues and ICA:UK.

    Maria has a Bed (Hons),  Masters in Sociology focused on ‘Political Activism and New Social Movements'. She is currently studying at UBI and participatory methods for her PhD.

  • 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. 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 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 has been Head of communications for a charity that supports seriously ill children, Camp Simcha as well as Jewish Care, a large social care charity. She is now Director of Production at a creative agency, where she oversees film and other content creation for a roster of charity clients.

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

Talk Action Ltd

  • 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 supporters including Hugh Grant, who Laura has chatted to over 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!