Meet Our Trustees
Like every Wildlife Trust, Kent Wildlife Trust has a Board of Trustees, elected by its members, that is responsible for the governance of the Charity.
All our Trustees are volunteers, representing a wide range of skills, experience and expertise, vital to holding the financial and legal responsibility for everything the Trust does.
From a range of backgrounds, they come together with a shared commitment to Kent Wildlife Trust's work and a passion for the natural environment and the part people must play in sustaining it is what unites us.
Dr Chris West (Chairman)
Chris has a DPhil in Ecology from Oxford, was a founder director of Bioscan UK Limited, a respected environmental consultancy. He was senior environment adviser at DFID (Department for International Development) before becoming director of Shell Foundation, where he supported social enterprises deliver clean energy and sustainable transport solutions in Africa and Asia. He is currently a member of DEFRA’s “Darwin Expert Committee” which funds biodiversity projects overseas, and a Partner at Sumerian Partners.
He brings to the Trust wide-ranging management experience, knowledge of the philanthropic sector, and significant links with businesses, investors and governmental agencies seeking to protect and manage the environment. He owns a woodland Local Wildlife Site and has restored a former hay meadow.
Charles Tassell (Vice-Chairman)
Charles comes from a background of running a mixed fruit and arable family farm on the greensand ridge, overlooking Headcorn and the Weald of Kent. He came to know the Trust when we were helping him take his land into environmental stewardship. His time is now spent overseeing the farm business units and promoting the importance of the rural sector.
Charles is a director of the Kent County Agricultural Society, Vice Chairman of the Kent CLA committee and Chairman of the Kent committee of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
Charles brings to the Council a farming perspective and his very wide set of connections with the farming community in Kent.
Nigel Steele (Treasurer)
Before retiring he was director at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), a tax specialist including amongst his many clients a number of significant local charities. He brings substantial financial and scrutiny experience and the capacity to advise on significant financial issues.
Tom has extensive finance and capital markets experience from his time working in the city, where most recently he was head of corporate banking for a Canadian bank in London. He also has knowledge of environmental risk management in banking and sustainable finance.
He is currently studying environmental conservation and countryside management and also holds a MBA from the University of Durham.
Whilst currently a resident of Hertfordshire, where he is a volunteer warden at Panshanger Park in Hertford, he was born and grew up in Kent and regularly spends time in the county and its countryside.
Dr Caroline Jessel
Dr Caroline Jessel was the NHS England Lead for the South Regional Sustainability and Health Network. She has been a GP for 30 years in Kent and has always had a strong interest in the relationship between the environment and health. She is the chair of the Kent Nature Partnership and a Trustee of Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wealden Literary Festival. She is very interested in the challenges of creatively addressing root causes of both physical and mental health difficulties while reconnecting with nature.
She is the chair and founder of Dandelion Time, which has an innovative approach to helping children affected by trauma, abuse and neglect. This unique therapeutic model is a successful example of ecotherapy.
Liz is a sustainability and communications professional with 30 years’ experience in roles spanning corporate responsibility and sustainability, brand PR, corporate communications and philanthropy. She most recently spent 22 years at Coca-Cola Great Britain in various roles, latterly as the lead on sustainability responsible for planning, leading and delivering ESG frameworks, ambitions and partnerships to deliver business results.
Many of the complex projects she has led have been mutually valuable, collaborative partnerships with environmental charities focusing on water stewardship and nature-based solutions to help restore and conserve landscapes and address business climate, water and supply chain risk and resilience. She originally met and worked with the team at Kent Wildlife Trust as part of a partnership with The Rivers Trust when The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded a grant to help fund Ham Fen’s restoration. She brings to the Board of Trustees her skills in communications and stakeholder engagement along with a perspective from the corporate world.
Liz has a passion for nature and loves being outdoors – especially walking and cycling. She’s currently conducting her own mini rewilding project in her suburban back garden and loving the increase in wild flowers, butterflies and buzzing!
Colin was investment director of CCLA (Churches Charities and Local Authorities) Investment Management until he retired in 2016. He brings a detailed technical knowledge of investment matters which helps the trustees when considering management of the Trust’s cash reserves and when talking to professional advisers such as the Trust’s investment managers. He has been an active local naturalist in the Sevenoaks area and is particularly active in the Kemsing Wildlife Group adjacent to the Trust’s suite of reserves and land under management in the Kemsing and Otford area.
Jane is a risk manager with over 30 years experience in the financial services sector in Compliance risk leadership roles. After an early career as a banking and markets regulator at the Bank of England, Jane has held a number of senior compliance roles in major UK and International banks.
Jane is a keen nature lover and gardener who loves spending time looking after her garden and encouraging the wildlife in. As a Sevenoaks resident, living close to the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, she is passionate about the benefits the reserve provides to wildlife and the local community.
Jane brings substantial risk management oversight and governance experience to the Trust.
Rachael’s diverse career has encompassed a range of sectors including financial services, data services, travel, and food manufacturing. Her experience at Executive Committee level has focused on developing and implementing strategies and business initiatives to deliver business growth across complex customer organisations and cultures.
As well as being a Trustee for the Kent Wildlife Trust, Rachael is a Board member of Multigate, an African payments business based in Dubai and has previously held non-Executive roles at an NHS hospital in the UK, a trustee of a corporate pension plan and Executive Board Director of a risk-mitigation foreign exchange business. Rachael is also a mentor for the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund supporting start-ups.
Rachael is passionate about building collaborative relationships across cultures and helping drive business growth and impactful development to solve the big issues in life today.
How to become a Trustee of Kent Wildlife Trust
We welcome and invite any member of Kent Wildlife Trust to enquire about becoming a Trustee. Though there are no specific qualification requirements, you must be eligible to stand for election under both company law and charity law and will need a range of skills and experience to contribute to an effective Board of Trustees.
All our Trustees are volunteers, elected at our Annual General Meeting and all have to step down or stand for re-election after a three-year term. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, then please get in touch.