Elizabeth is a writer, coach, facilitator and elected District Councillor. She has experience in international and community development, organisational leadership, climate strategy, writing and coaching. She has lived, worked and researched around the world.
My longer journey
(...because a short bio, and the question "what do you do?", don't leave much room for story, messiness or nuance).
I'm Elizabeth. I like books and writing and being outdoors. I'm curious, creative and thoughtful, and I like to make connections between ideas, possibilities and people. I can spot patterns and hear what's not being said, and I bring this to my coaching and facilitation. I value integrity, kindness and curiosity.
At school I was good at science, and I liked people. I was also creative. Becoming a doctor seemed like a clear and secure career path. But one trip to Zambia and half a medical degree later, I realised there were other ways to help, heal and restore not just people, but communities and the natural world too.
I switched paths and got a degree in Biology, which has supported my love of the natural world. I then worked with charities and travelled, and did an MSc in International Development. My research thesis was on the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Northern Uganda. I continued working with organisations internationally, which involved travel and included living in Zambia for a time, too. (Whilst in Zambia, I learned all sorts of things outside of my work like how to drive a tractor, and how to deter elephants from crops - which has been less useful in Devon, where I live now...).
I worked with Resurgence Magazine (now Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine), and became Deputy Editor. I'm still an occasional Contributing Editor at the Ecologist, and I also write freelance essays and book reviews for Caught by the River, Spelt Magazine, Geographical Magazine, Dartmoor Magazine and others. (As of 2022 I've also launched a newsletter, which you can sign up for by clicking here).
I then worked with a small organisation that wanted to establish itself. I developed it to become a registered charity, Arukah Network, and led it for a time after that. Work included travel to India, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. I still coach members of Arukah today.
I did some basic coach training and loved it; it's a skill which I deeply value and feel the world needs more of. I've coached school pupils, managers, and organisations working for social impact. I've done more advanced training with the Animas Centre for Coaching, and am working towards International Coach Federation (ICF) Accreditation.
I've spoken at events, hosted panel discussions, and facilitated organisation 'away days'. With a coaching friend, I've created and facilitated nature-based coaching workshops, and we created a podcast that explores the power of the natural world to inform and inspire.
In 2019 I was asked if I'd stand in the local elections, and was subsequently (and unexpectedly) elected onto my District Council. I jumped in to the role - what a great opportunity to support and shape my local community. Soon after, I was asked to take on the new role of 'Cabinet Member for Climate Change', during which time I led the creation of a climate action plan, and worked to increase community engagement at the Council. I've become increasingly interested and involved in regenerative farming locally and nationally.
I like to travel, meet people and hear their stories. I've travelled to Japan to document the impact of the 2011 tsunami one year on; Ghana to explore the impact of unfair trade; and South Africa to document the impact of tourism on the Venda tribe.
I've always enjoyed walking and being outdoors. I wanted to support others, especially women, to feel confident outdoors, so in 2021 I trained to become a 'Hill and Moorland Leader', accredited by Mountain Training. I'm looking forward to using this in a variety of ways, including with coaching.
Some of my paths have been planned, some unplanned, some have opened up as I've pushed doors, and some I make up as I go! But I think the threads that tie my journey together are curiosity, community, creativity, a love of people and nature, and a desire to do authentic and meaningful work. I've found writing and coaching to be two ways through which I can live out my values and skills.
Qualifications & training
BSc in Biological Sciences (2:1)
MSc in International Development (distinction)
MOE-certified coach (training accredited by the Institute of Leadership Management and Association for Coaching)
Climate Change Coaches training circle (2020)
ICF-accredited training for a Diploma in Transformational Coaching (2021)
ICF-recognised Certificate in Group Coaching & Facilitation
I'm a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
NCTJ Photojournalism accreditation
I'm an alumna of the Rural Writing Institute, taught by authors James Rebanks and Kathryn Aalto