International Leadership Team
The Chief Executive and International Leadership Team, with support from our Board of Trustees, help guide and shape the direction of our organisation supported by a wider management team who are committed to the ethos of Raleigh.
Chief Executive Officer: Julian Olivier
Julian Olivier became Chief Executive of Raleigh International in 2020. Julian first joined Raleigh International in 2001. He took over as Director of Programmes in 2016, before becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2017. Julian led the team responsible for designing, developing, implementing and evaluating the organisation’s work, and ensuring Raleigh’s volunteers can make a significant impact on the lives of people around the world. Julian also previously worked as a Country Director for Raleigh’s operations in Central America.
Julian has extensive experience in building long-term partnerships with local civil society organisations, national NGOs and governments to support the effective engagement of young people in development work. He first became engaged in addressing the serious challenges facing our planet during the Earth Summit in 1992. Five years later, he was elected as one of the chairs of the youth caucus at the UN Rio+5 conference. His first role was with Peace Child International, where he worked on projects supporting young people in Africa and the Caribbean. These ranged from creating monitoring tools for community social accountability, to supporting youth groups in setting up social enterprises.
Why Raleigh? I’ve been fortunate to work with thousands of inspiring young people of many nationalities and from many walks of life who are all committed to social change. This has made me determined to ensure that young people everywhere have the right to be leaders and partners in sustainable development.
Director of Safety & International Operational Support: David Clamp
David joined Raleigh International as Director of Safety and International Operation Support in early 2014. He contributes his extensive experience in INGO safety and security.
David has worked in the international development sector in more than 40 countries since first volunteering with VSO in China in 1996. He later managed VSO’s education and disability programmes, before becoming their country director for West Africa, during which time he gained a master’s degree in international development with the Open University. David specialises in INGO security and safety management and in 2007 became VSO’s first global security advisor. He was first impressed with Raleigh when visiting the Costa Rica field base during a 2009 safety review for a Canadian volunteer organisation, Cuso International.
Why Raleigh? I have always been fascinated by the logistical side of international development and a highlight of my Raleigh career has been visiting projects in vastly different countries, especially when I joined Expeditions in Borneo and Costa Rica. Now I understand why our alumni all have a little gleam in their eye when they talk about their time with Raleigh – I’m developing it too!
Global Head of People and Culture: Simone Vale
Simone joined Raleigh International as Global Head of People and Culture in 2019. She has two Masters Degrees: International Development Studies (SOAS) and Human Resource Management (Glasgow) & she is an experienced, ICF Certified Coach, a Chartered Member of CIPD and Member of the British Psychological Society. Her 21 years’, multi-sectorial experience in the UK, Asia, Middle East, & Latin America – includes 2-years’ volunteer experience in Mexico, working in support of street children and youth. As in Mexico, during her subsequent posts at Citizens Advice, the British Refugee Council and DIFID, she learned first-hand about the factors that underpin poverty, marginalisation & discrimination.
Why Raleigh? Working with young people today is essential to building a better tomorrow. Being part of a young person’s journey to find their voice, reach their potential & become active citizens and leaders, helps me to play my part in laying foundations of that future.
International Strategy and Performance Adviser: Ross McKenzie
Ross joined Raleigh International in 2015 as Country Director for Tanzania. He is now Raleigh’s International Strategy and Performance Adviser.
Ross was originally a volunteer for Raleigh as a Logistics Manager in 2006. He has also worked as an Expedition Leader, Country Operations Manager, Programmes Manager and Country Director in Nicaragua & Costa Rica. Prior to his time with Raleigh Ross was employed in the education sector having worked as a teacher, in student support for a university and as an outdoor instructor both in the UK and overseas.
Why Raleigh? Raleigh has changed a great deal since I first joined and every year just gets better. I am passionate about my work and strive to ensure that our projects are the best they can possibly be. I am immensely proud of the impact our work has had and I feel truly lucky to be inspired everyday by the amazing people and partners I work with.
Country Director, Nepal: Dr Brent Downes
Dr. Brent Downes is a multiple award winning community development practitioner with extensive experience in community development, engagement, education and social change. He joined Raleigh International as Country Director for Nepal in 2019.
Brent has diverse and multidisciplinary experience in non-profit sector, human and community services, vocational and higher education, local government and international development. He has extensive networks and experience in Nepal particularly in youth mobilization, disability, entrepreneurship and innovation. He speaks conversational Nepali and has a PhD in community development.
Why Raleigh? The opportunity to work with young people, particularly Nepali young people for a shared agenda in global change was irresistible to me. I conduct my community development practice around wicked answers to the question “What’s possible when we connect and engage with people around what matters?” I believed that through its work with young people in Nepal and elsewhere, Raleigh presents some of the most exciting and viable answers to that question!
Country Director, Costa Rica & Nicaragua: Carlos Sibaja
Carlos joined Raleigh International as Country Director for Costa Rica & Nicaragua in 2019. He has experience advising and managing NGOs, especially in the child care sector. He has worked in several countries in Latin America and also has experience leading emergency relief programmes in complex situations. His background is in Business Administration with a focus on Statistics, and additional studies in Social Development.
Why Raleigh? Raleigh programmes are fascinating and I enjoy working on innovating and improving the quality of our services even more. As a platform for the young people to engage, learn and act, Raleigh is something I would have loved to experience earlier in my life. Now as part of Raleigh I have the opportunity to bring this amazing life-changing experience to the young people who are seeking challenges and ways to make a better world. This feeling of opening doors and offering opportunities to someone is something that fulfils me and I believe that this is a way to leave a legacy for the future generations.
Head of Volunteering: Brandon Charleston
Brandon Charleston has been involved with Raleigh since 1992. In his role as Head of Volunteering he has overall responsibility for the Raleigh Expedition Programme.
Brandon has taken part in four Raleigh Expeditions as a volunteer, volunteer leader and researcher, and also led bespoke Expeditions and short youth development programmes. From 2008-2014 he worked at Raleigh’s London head office as research associate; training and development manager, and monitoring and evaluation manager. During this time he contributed to the development and understanding of the Raleigh pedagogy or the ‘Raleigh Way’; oversaw improvement and growth in selection and training delivery; and, developed the strategy, processes and methods which Raleigh use to measure the outcomes of its work. He has also worked overseas as the Country Director of Raleigh Borneo, leading the team in developing and delivering programmes in Sabah (2014-2016). From 2017-2018 he was Head of Countries supporting our Country Directors to deliver of the organisation’s strategic aims within the countries Raleigh work in.
Why Raleigh? Young people bring a passion, energy and creativity to development that is crucial for its success. I am passionate about helping to enable volunteers, all our local partners and the wider Raleigh team to do this. It has been exceptionally rewarding to be part of Raleigh’s change and growth to date. I feel very fortunate to continue to work with great people, doing great work that we all care about.
Head of Corporate Partnerships: James Sutton
James joined Raleigh International in January 2015, and is also a Raleigh alumnus having previously volunteered in Costa Rica & Nicaragua in 2002. James leads on Raleigh’s Corporate Partnerships – both from the perspective of new business and service delivery.
Goal 17 of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development is focused on creating partnerships to deliver the goals and this is where his focus lies: in forging partnerships that not only deliver against Raleigh’s strategic mission, but that also create shared value for the corporate partner.
Before joining Raleigh, James worked in the advertising and marketing industries for just over a decade, where he led on accounts which won various awards which amongst others included a Euro Effie Award and a D&AD Impact White Pencil.
James is also a Teaching Fellow in Marketing at the University of Sussex. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Why Raleigh? There is something special about Raleigh people – people with a shared mindset that together we really can make change happen. The special experience of a Raleigh programme stays with these people for a lifetime, and their burning passion for sustainable development is infectious and inspirational.
Head of Programmes and Partnerships: Matt Whitehead
Matt joined Raleigh International in 2015. The Programmes and Partnerships team collaborates with colleagues and partners to help design and deliver Raleigh’s programmes, develop funding proposals, and tell the story of our impact. It helps set Raleigh’s thematic focus and develops our strategic partnerships.
Matt brings over a decade’s experience of developing and delivering programmes, and securing project funding, in the International Development and Arts sectors. At Save the Children UK (SCUK) he honed his skills in programme development across multiple themes and contexts for a wide range of stakeholders. Matt also worked to build consensus and partnerships between SCUK and organisations such as the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education. Matt has held fundraising posts in Arts and Environment focused organisations including the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Natural History Museum. From 2014 to 2016, Matt was a Trustee with the Bonny Downs Community Association in the London Borough of Newham.
Why Raleigh? I’m proud to work for an organisation which places youth at its core, and motivated by making sure that Raleigh’s programming maximises the possibilities for youth from different backgrounds to collaborate and achieve together. Its hugely inspiring to watch as youth help make positive and far-reaching changes in the lives of others.