OUR TEAM + BOARDS

Meet the people who drive our work

We're a fast-growing team at Space for Giants. In less than a decade we have expanded to 30 people located in at least 10 countries across three continents. We are made up of a mix of skills, backgrounds, and capabilities, all united with one goal: to secure a safe future for elephants and their landscapes forever. In Kenya, our core team is based at our Global HQ in Nanyuki. From here, we manage our longest-running conservation programmes, including training rangers, building fences, and supporting judicial processes. Now we're taking that know-how, and expanding it to new programmes in seven other African countries. In the UK and the US, our advocacy, communications, and media teams continue to grow, to spread the word about what we do, to accelerate our successes.

"The key to our success so far has been the incredibly dedicated team at Space for Giants. We continue to add more and more people to our growing gang, taking us even further" - Max Graham, CEO

Max Profile

Dr Max GRAHAM

Founder & CEO

Dr Max Graham has worked on environment and development projects in Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He founded Space for Giants in 2011 after more than a decade researching elephant behaviour and conservation with the University of Cambridge, where we was awarded his PhD. He has published numerous scientific papers on conservation, elephant behaviour and human-wildlife conflict.

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Ellen O'CONNELL

Executive Vice President

Ellen is passionate about conservation, climate change, human rights and the environment, and has spent over three decades in the non-profit arena pursuing her conviction that philanthropy plays a transformative role in the world. Prior to joining Space for Giants, she was the Executive Director of Tusk USA, an African conservation organisation focused on community conservation. Ms. O’Connell served as a Vice President at the humanitarian aid organisation, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) from 1999 to 2014. Ellen has a Bachelors Degree in English from Georgetown University, a Masters in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service, NYU, and a Masters in Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

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Shamini JAYANATHAN

Director of Wildlife Protection

Shamini Jayanathan is a criminal barrister specialising in building legislative, prosecutorial and judicial capacity in relation to wildlife crime. She drafted resolutions widening laws applied to the illegal wildlife trade, and designed the first baseline surveys monitoring wildlife crime trials in Africa. Her work includes developing charging standards for prosecutors, designing prosecution ‘toolkits’, streamlining inter-agency protocols, and building capacity for wildlife crime in Kenya, Uganda, Gabon, and Botswana.

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Dr Lauren EVANS

Director of Conservation Science

Lauren coordinates Space for Giants’ conservation research, including developing strategies to reduce human-elephant conflict, assessing the social and political impact of electrified fencing, and working out how to secure land for wildlife amid Africa’s surging economic growth. Her PhD and post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge focused on the use of fences in human-elephant conflict and the politics of elephant conservation in Kenya.

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Samuel GITHUI

Project Officer

A member of the team since early 2013, Sammy helps implement our Laikipia field programmes, collating all field data and keeping a close eye on the movements of our collared bull elephants. He works closely with Wahome and our scouts to mitigate human-elephant conflict, and helps to monitor the illegal killing of elephants.

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Charles KINYUA

MIKE Officer

Charles has been working with Space for Giants and Max for more than a decade. He helps collect data for the continentwide Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme. He also keeps a daily eye on elephant movements in poaching hotspots, gathers information on potential poaching risks, and is responsible for reporting any elephant deaths from either natural or illegal causes.

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Maurice SCHUTGENS

Conservation Programme Manager

Maurice is a Conservation Biologist from the Netherlands with his roots firmly in Africa. Before Space for Giants, he led a snow leopard research study in Nepal while expanding his portfolio of professional photographs. He is passionate about working to safeguard the future of the world’s last wild places, and the animals and communities that depend on them.

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Redempta NDUGUTA

Conservation Science Officer

Redempta is passionate about conservation and ecological monitoring, and using new technology to help drive decisions. Before joining us, she was a research assistant at the Kenya Wildlife Service. Now she manages conservation research and field data collection at Loisaba, including using the new mobile-based SMART tool to build a long-term elephant database.

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Lucy MURITHI

Development Officer

Lucy helps to manage our database of donors - large and small - and keeps in contact with all our supporters to help to help maintain our fund-raising momentum. She also helps run Journeys for Giants, and particularly enjoys arranging both bespoke high-end safaris for clients, and the fund-raising challenges.

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Lexi BOWES-LYON

Director of Philanthropy

Lexi uses her understanding and network in the art world to stage unique events to raise funds and create social awareness of the plight of Africa’s elephants. She works with donors to fund critical projects, seeking to find smart new innovations in philanthropy. Lexi grew up in Scotland and now lives and works in New York City.

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Mike PFLANZ

Director of Communications

Mike spent the decade between 2005 and 2015 as Africa Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, before moving into conservation communications. Alongside his work boosting Space for Giants' internal and external communications, Mike will begin work with a small group of African journalists in all four Giants Club countries to become Space for Giants African Conservation Journalism Fellows.

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Fiona SANDEMAN

Executive Manager, Office of the CEO

Fiona grew up in Zimbabwe and was educated in South Africa before moving to the UK for university. After working in the Africa travel industry in London, she decided it was time to move back to Africa, working first for four years at our partner, Loisaba Conservancy, before joining Space for Giants in 2018. Fiona helps to keep Space for Giants organised whilst running Journeys for Giants and creating bespoke safaris for our clients.

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Martha COCHRAN

Director of Land Conservation

Martha is the former executive director of Aspen Valley Land Trust and has worked in land conservation and land use for decades. She is a former newspaper publisher, business owner and local official, and has been involved with dozens of nonprofit organizations both as a board member and staff. Martha is deeply committed to issues impacting the long-term survival and prosperity of elephants and all species. She has been involved with Space for Giants since 2010 and works from her office in Colorado.

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Faith MAINA

Wildlife Crime Court Officer

Faith was a Litigation Associate before joining Space for Giants. Now her role includes monitoring wildlife crime cases in Kenya, especially those involving ivory or rhino horn, to help inform sentencing decisions and improve prosecution rates. She works closely with Kenya’s Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Police Service, and the Kenya Wildlife Service, offering informed advice and assisting with problematic wildlife cases.

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Katto WAMBUA

Senior Criminal Justice Advisor

Katto is a Kenyan advocate and a former prosecutor at the Kenyan Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. While there he helped establish its Wildlife Crimes Prosecution Division, contributed to wildlife law reform, developed wildlife crime rapid reference guides and delivered training in Kenya and beyond. His work includes implementing our wildlife protection programme activities, especially supporting criminal justice pathways in various African countries.

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Zippy KEMUNTO

Accountant

Zippy joined Space for Giants from another conservation organisation in Kenya and has since stamped her calm and efficient operational outlook on our finance and payments department. She keeps our suppliers paid, and monitors the money coming in from donors - thank you! - that keep our work wheels rolling.

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Henry VAN DER DOES

Operations Manager

Henry keeps the engine that drives Space for Giants running smoothly and efficiently. He worked in West Africa before moving to Kenya, and since starting with us in 2016, he has reformed operating procedures, overseen significant new administrative recruitment, and installed systems that make our work simpler and smarter.

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Chege AMOS

Loisaba Conservation Officer

Chege works jointly with Space for Giants and Loisaba Conservancy, joining us in 2017 after working in giraffe conservation and research. He is responsible for identifying elephants in the Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia, supervising implementing a new mobile wildlife monitoring tool called SMART, and helping with research on an invasive cactus taking over parts of northern Kenya.

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Joan NTHIGA

Media & Communications Manager

Joan helps manage our connections to media in Africa and internationally, and leads our social media strategy. She assists with running the Fellowships programme, and makes sure our communications with donors, partners, and stakeholders are timely, smart, and informative.

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Oliver POOLE

Executive Director, Giants Club

Oliver directs the growing stable of projects funded and accelerated with our Giants Club initiative, including Conservation and Tourism Investment Forums and the Giants Club Summits. As well as his conservation work, Oliver is a senior executive at ESI Media, which owns the London Evening Standard and The Independent newspapers, acting as an adviser to the media group's owner. He was previously a foreign correspondent, including working as the Daily Telegraph's Baghdad Bureau Chief during the Iraq war. He lives in London.

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Kevin VALLACK

Technical Advisor (KAZA)

Kevin Vallack is a former UK Police Officer who worked for 17 years in a variety of roles in serious and organised crime, specialising from 2006 in counter terrorism intelligence. He has been passionate about wildlife since a young age and believes that the principles of intelligence gathering and investigations used to counter extremism, terrorism and sophisticated organised crime can be applied to the illegal wildlife trade. Kevin is currently based in Botswana, working closely with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks but is also advising the governments of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola on areas of best practice and capacity building in the wildlife law enforcement arena.

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Marilen MUTHONI

Administrator & Executive Assistant to Management

Marilen offers support to Space for Giants' management team, arranging logistics, meetings, and travel. She helps lead our human resources work and assists with procurement. She also supports the Operations and Finance teams.

UK BOARD

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Peter BACCHUS

Chair

Peter Bacchus is a senior adviser to the global mining industry, having run Natural Resource Sector investment banking teams at Jefferies, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup. He pioneered China’s engagements with the global mining community, advising the state-owned China MinMetals on its takeover offer for Noranda in Canada, and listed China Steel, CITIC Resources, and China National Coal on global stock exchanges. Peter has a 20-year track record of advising and raising capital for companies in Africa, having executed deals in a dozen different countries on the continent, including South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Angola.

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Emilia KELADITIS

Emilia Keladitis worked as a finance and investment professional in London for 20 years before starting her own business, managing family office investments. Emilia grew up in Botswana and maintains close ties to Africa. She is now a mother of twins and determined that her boys will grow up knowing and loving elephants, as she did. Emilia is working with Space for Giants UK to build awareness among family offices and potential partners to support our work on the ground.

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Lord CLEMENT-JONES

Tim Clement-Jones was made a life peer in 1998. A former Chairman of the Liberal Party, he has held a series of senior positions within the Liberal Democrats including as Party Treasurer. He has been the party’s spokesman in the House of Lords for Health, then Culture, Media and Sport, and most recently for the Creative Industries and the Digital Economy. He is Chair of the Artificial Intelligence Select Committee. He is a solicitor and former London Managing Partner of DLA Piper. He is Chairman of the Council of Queen Mary University London and Chair of the Board of Ombudsman Services.

Janice Hughes Profile

Janice HUGHES CBE

Janice Hughes is the Founding Director of Redshift Strategy. She created the European TMT Practice for Booz Allen Hamilton, and was MD of the Economists Advisory Group. An economist specialising in telecoms and media, she has advised small and mid-sized companies in countries including Kenya, Mali, Botswana and the Pacific Islands, and has advised Government Ministers in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. Janice was part of the Creative Industries Committee with Richard Branson and Lord Puttnam and has written several books. She is currently President of Médecins du Monde UK and on the Corporate Advisory Board for Tate Modern and Tate Britain. She has a strong interest in wildlife and conservation.

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Tom BRUNNER

Tom Brunner is a Director at AOL in London, and was for a decade before that a senior marketing executive for Microsoft. He has played key roles in strategic development for major international corporations. Tom has spent many years travelling to Kenya where he has built up direct experience of the conservation challenges that Space for Giants is now planning to tackle. Tom is a founding trustee of Space for Giants.

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Michael COUNT

Treasurer

Michael Count is a fund manager for Canada Life Investments and is based in London. Mike captained Cambridge University’s rugby team, and went on to play professional rugby in Italy and Britain. He has since built up major experience in international finance that he is drawing on to help with developing and managing Space for Giants’ UK fund and accounts. Mike’s family has a long history of work and adventure in Africa, mainly in and around Malawi. He is currently the treasurer for Space for Giants.

USA BOARD

Max Profile

Dr Max GRAHAM

Chair

Dr Max Graham has worked on environment and development projects in Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He founded Space for Giants in 2011 after more than a decade researching elephant behaviour and conservation with the University of Cambridge, where we was awarded his PhD. He has published numerous scientific papers on conservation, elephant behaviour and human-wildlife conflict.

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Bill RICHARDSON

Gov. Bill Richardson has held leadership positions in the private, government and nonprofit sectors throughout his career. From 2010 to present, he has operated the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, focusing on conflict resolution, prisoner release and environmental protection. He has 30+ years of government experience, including as New Mexico Governor, US Ambassador to the UN, and Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. He currently is a board member for Refugees International and World Resources Institute, and is the only American board member of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty.

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Chelsea CONGDON BRUNDIGE

Chelsea Congdon Brundige is a producer and outreach coordinator with First Light Films and Nature Needs Half Media, both based in Colorado. She has worked professionally on river restoration and strategic leadership with environmental non-profits for decades. She currently serves on the boards of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, and Western Resource Advocates, as well as Space for Giants USA. Chelseagraduated from Yale University in 1982, magna cum laude and earned a M.A. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California Berkeley in 1989.
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Prof. Phyllis LEE

Phyllis Lee is a professor at the University of Stirling (Scotland). She researches the behaviour and conservation of a range of mammal species, including apes and monkeys, along with elephants. She is the Director of Science of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, which she has been involved with since 1982.
She has been associated with Space for Giants since its inception: in her view the most important conservation issue is ensuring that elephants have space and that we can enable co-existence between people and elephants.
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David GULDEN

David Gulden is a wildlife photographer who has lived in Kenya for many years.