Elisabeth (Lizzie) Crudgington  – Organizer and Host
A creative process designer for learning & innovation, Lizzie both works for Bright Green Learning, Atadore SARL and as part of a team putting lots of energy into founding The Hub Geneva ( – fostering social entrepreneurship in the Geneva region. This follows and builds on experience gained during six years working for IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the Learning and Leadership Officer where she focused on building leadership capacities, designing effective learning processes and facilitating powerful multi-sector conversations on innovative sustainability solutions.

Gillian Martin Mehers – Organizer and Host
Gillian Martin Mehers has been a learning and capacity development practitioner working within the global sustainability community for over 20 years. She is Managing Director of her own social enterprise Bright Green Learning (Atadore SARL), and is the Director of Learning at LEAD International. Gillian’s expertise is in creating dynamic experiential learning environments, interactive learning design, social media applications for communication and learning, and innovative curriculum and training materials development. She was formerly the Head of Learning and Leadership at IUCN. Gillian was also the lead Process Facilitator in IUCN’s organizational development and change process.

Laura Penn PhD – Speaker Coach
Laura Penn is a conservation biologist, specializing in the communication of conservation messages to varied audiences.  She has worked for a number of international wildlife conservation organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society and the International Primate Protection League.  In addition to her scientific roots, Laura is an award-winning public speaker and a trained performer in theatre and dance.  Fuelled by the desire to help the conservation community communicate their messages more effectively, Laura founded “Communicating Environment” in 2011.  Using her unique blend of skills, she helps her clients promote conservation through effective public speaking.  Based in Switzerland, she currently trains staff from IUCN, WWF International, and the MAVA Foundation.

Christine Carey – Speaker Liaison & Stage Manager
Christine’s work links conservation and development with corporate responsibility. She specializes in voluntary environmental and social standards systems that support sustainable resource management that delivers social justice as well as economic benefits. Over the past few years she led an international project with the ISEAL Alliance (London), and worked as an Advisor with WWF International, International Trade Centre (ITC), and IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature. She is currently conducting an evaluation of the Trade Standards Practitioners Network on behalf of Germany International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the World Bank. Christine also teaches on two graduate courses at the University of Geneva.

Sharon Bylenga – Speaker Liaison
Sharon is an Agricultural Economist and former U.S. Diplomat (Geneva and Rome). She has extensive experience combining economic analysis and project development for the World Bank, United Nations, and USAID.  Most recently she served as Project Manager for West Africa for the Hirondelle Foundation, Media for Peace and Human Dignity, which builds and operates public service radio in post-conflict and crisis zones.  She is presently building Media Matters for Women (, a nonprofit organization which creates innovative digital communication networks for women in West Africa. These networks enable female journalists to earn a living using a cell phone and at the same time significantly expand news and information services for the world’s poorest women.

David Cooke – Sponsorship
Before moving to Geneva, David was Regional Director for Business in the Community, one of The Prince of Wales’s charities in the UK. He led a regional team, advising and supporting businesses in their approach to Corporate Social Responsibility. His specialism is in helping companies develop employee volunteering programmes and engage with their local community. He was also expert in drawing together business leaders and other stakeholders to work together on pressing social issues. Formerly, David lived in Nigeria, working closely with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health to eradicate leprosy.
  Sophie Barton-Knott – Venue Manager
Sophie has specialised in media and communications for the past 15 years. As Global Communications Manager at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Sophie develops and disseminates key information about the AIDS response and on the invaluable work the organisation undertakes in supporting countries to end the AIDS epidemic. Prior to UNAIDS she worked for the International Red Cross in Geneva, for the Independent Newspaper in London and in the international press distribution sector in the UK.

Matthew Crudgington – Food and Beverage
Matthew Crudgington is the Chief Partnerships Officer at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne – the world leading hospitality management school where he studied some years back and formerly held the position of Director of Alumni Relations and Career Services.  In his years away from EHL, he enjoyed roles including Club Manager of Holmes Place Geneva, and Human Resources Manager at Temenos.  Throughout his career, Matthew has focused on understanding and servicing people’s needs – customers, employees, students – valuing talent and the sharing of ideas, and investing in learning and development opportunities.  As such, he was the lead organizer of TEDxEcoleHôtelièreLausanne in January 2012.
  Claire Hugo – On site support
A Social Worker by profession, Claire has extensive experience in public health projects, particularly for corporate social responsibility programmes, corporate philanthropy and public private partnerships. She is a skilled grant-maker, managing a number of CSR programmes in the education and health sectors. She is passionate about developing social capital and balancing power-dynamics. Her career has seen development through a variety of lenses – from individual shifts to societal change. She serves as a special advisor to Hlumelelisa, an NGO focusing on prisoner rehabilitation. Claire has recently relocated from Johannesburg to Geneva.


This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.