The Trustbuilding Program - Program Team

The management of the Program is carried out by:

Talia Smith

Talia Smith – Program Manager 

Talia has over 12 years’ experience working in the NGO sector, including a long-term commitment to development work abroad, which involved managing projects and budgets in South East Asia. Talia has spent considerable time in Africa and more recently in Peru. She has a master's degree in Development Studies from London South Bank University and has an Agile Project Manager Practitioner qualification. Talia is committed to the core values of Initiatives of Change and has nurtured a personal calling to address the root causes of suffering in the world and enabling people to reach their full potential. She believes that trust is part of the foundation to make this happen.

Alena Vasilyeva

Alena Vasilyeva – Program Assistant

Working closely with Program Manager, Executive Director and the Program Steering Group, Alena provides administrative support to all aspects of program management. Born in Belarus, Alena has lived in several countries before settling down in the UK in 2008. Alena has an MA degree in Documentary Photography and worked previously for a non-profit art gallery as Gallery Manager. She is passionate about social change and justice. She believes trustbuilding is key to driving change, because 'in any kind of conflict or disagreement the other party is unlikely to be receptive unless we approach them in a spirit of openness and willingness to listen and learn. No long-lasting mutual engagement is possible without trust,' she says. 

Manon Michelle Monhemius

Manon Monhemius - Communications Officer  

Manon has been consulting for social impact businesses and NGO’s for almost 8 years with a focus mainly on marketing, communications, and crowdfunding. She has extensive experience in organizing events and hosting co-creation sessions for creative problem solving. She holds a degree in business and is determined to use her knowledge to support businesses and projects that add positive value to society and the environment. Manon believes that everything stands or falls with human connection and deeper connection to ourselves. 'When you are truly connected, which can only consist with a base of real trust, you will feel the effects of all your actions,' 

Jessie Sutherland

Jessie Sutherland - Evaluations Manager

An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, foster intercultural collaboration, and develop participant-led community change approaches that effectively address a wide range of complex social problems. Jessie holds an M.A. in Dispute Resolution, is the founder of Intercultural Strategies, and is the innovator of the award-winning Belonging Matters dialogue and capacity-building program. Recently, Jessie has worked with UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development on an intercultural education project to foster global citizenship and meaningful action to address our most pressing social problems. At the heart of Jessie’s work is the imperative to transform systems of exclusion into cultures of belonging. 

Rob Corcoran

Rob Corcoran - Program Design & Training consultant

Rob is a trainer, facilitator, writer, and racial healing practitioner. He has led trustbuilding workshops among diverse and polarized groups across North America and internationally. He served as national director of Initiatives of Change USA and founded its flagship domestic program Hope in the Cities in Richmond, VA. His book, Trustbuilding: An Honest Conversation on Race, Reconciliation, and Responsibility, has been described as a visionary and compelling account of healing and change. He says, “As a community builder, I have learned that trust depends on the authenticity of our lives, our openness, and our willingness to start with change in ourselves.” He now lives in Austin, Texas. Website

The Trustbuilding Program is governed by a Program Steering Group consisting of:

Ron Lawler, Australia (Chair); Alex Wise, US; Roweida Saleh, Lebanon; Barry Hart; Firyal Mohamed, Canada; Mediatrix Masava, Kenya; Imad Karam (ex officio Operations); and Shakiyla Smith (Fetzer).

Talia Smith - Planning Committee Chair
Alex Wise - Fundraising Committee Chair


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