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!

Trainers & associates

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Matthew Davis

    Since setting up as a consultant five years ago, Matthew Davis has worked with Comic Relief, the King’s Fund, IWM, Clore Social Leadership, Gingerbread, Leap Confronting Conflict and many others.
    Before becoming a consultant, Matthew worked for global environment NGO WWF-UK for eight years; his roles included Head of Press & Campaigns, Climate Change Campaign Director and Communications Director for WWF's global species programme.
    For three years Matthew was a guest lecturer in environmental communications at Birkbeck University and he is also a published songwriter (EMI).

  • 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.

  • 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.

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!