Meet the team
CEO & Director responsible for Youth, Volunteer & Central Services
Caroline, the busiest lady we know – often mistaken for the dancing girl from the John Lewis Insurance advert – has been CEO of the Baytree Centre since 2010. As CEO her main responsibility is to provide leadership to deliver the vision, strategy and specific objectives of the centre. She describes her role at Baytree as ‘her most satisfying yet most challenging work to date.’ Prior to getting involved in the third sector, Caroline worked at UBM, a global events-led marketing and communications services business.
Caroline is a lover of all things Italian, which includes her husband! They have three children (now young adults), all of whom have volunteered at Baytree in some form or another. To relax, Caroline enjoys spending time with her family and her beautiful mongrel dog, Alfie. Animals are another of her passions (particularly dogs, horses and pigs), and her dream is to one day move out of London and set up a small animal sanctuary.
Centre Director responsible for Family Service, including PEACH Parents & Family Activities
As the Centre Director, Mae is in charge of the vision and direction of the family services at Baytree. Always up for an adventure, Mae and her husband left their home in the Philippines and moved to London in 1989. She worked at the Kenya High Commission until 1995 when she came to Baytree. Our most senior member, Mae was here when the centre was just finishing construction and has witnessed Brixton’s transformation over the last two decades. She’s seen everything that Baytree has to offer and the impact it has had on women’s and girls’ lives over the years. Mae believes that Baytree is a space where one can be oneself and ‘laugh a little bit’. Although you can find a huge variety of cultures and languages here, a smile is universal – and Mae is always making our guests feel more comfortable through the simple act of smiling. When she is not brightening our day, Mae enjoys going cycling with her husband.
Development Director responsible for fundraising and development
Carmen Gonzalez has only recently returned to Baytree as our Director of Development, but has actually been involved with the centre as a volunteer and employee at various times right from the very start. Part of the initial team which helped turn Baytree from a derelict warehouse into a women’s centre, Carmen also started Baytree’s first homework club over twenty years ago. She is very experienced working with and for a variety of different charities. Prior to her role here, she worked at HAVCO as their Development Manager and acted as a consultant to over 400 local charities. Carmen has run numerous youth and female empowerment programmes in the UK and overseas and brings enormous insight into inter-cultural partnership working, participatory development and project management. Carmen is also a trustee at the Wonder Foundation, an organization that partners with health and education projects worldwide. She loves fake tan & coca cola and has recently discovered the wonders of coconut oil!
Maria Van Zeller
Co-ordinator responsible for PEACH Parents & Family activities (on maternity leave)
As the mother of four boys, Maria puts her practical parenting knowledge to good use by supporting mothers at Baytree in both group and individual sessions. She gained experience as a life coach helping mothers,and then began here as a volunteer in July 2012. By December of the same year, she was a full-time member of staff. Maria is a family woman, and loves having a second family in Baytree and the feeling she gets from helping our members achieve their full potential. Maria is very social in and outside of work: when she is not bonding with the Baytree family she is with her husband and kids at the park, or hosting friends at her home.
Mayret Castillo de Chacon
Parent Co-ordinator responsible for PEACH Parents & Family activities
Mayret is the newest member of the Parents Team at Baytree, but it feels like she has been with us forever. Mayret came to Scotland from Venezuela in 2004 with her husband of 25 years and her son, before relocating to London in 2013. Her vocation to help families is visible and her listening skills are inspiring. In particular, the Spanish speakers come to see her and feel absolutely understood. Mayret’s impressive professional life has prepared her to deal with all kinds of situations. She is an experienced Medical Doctor, specialized in ophthalmology, and a researcher, having achieved an MSc in Health Services and Public Health at the University of Aberdeen. Since 2014, she has been a committed volunteer coordinator and board member at the Family Development Foundation.
Adult Service Coordinator & Tutor
Margaret is a triple threat: she’s Baytree’s Adult Services tutor in ESOL, literacy and numeracy. When she’s not tutoring or helping with administration for the Adult Service, Margaret likes to fix various broken objects around the centre and jokes that she should have been a maintenance person. A long-standing employee, she has been at Baytree since 1998. Before Baytree, Margaret worked as a secondary and primary school teacher in northern England. She taught a variety of subjects including general studies, French, English and Maths. She loves everything about Baytree, especially the teamwork and, of course, the people who come here.
Academic Manager & ESOL tutor responsible for PEARL and Children’s Centre Outreach
Christina is the Academic Manager and the Adult ESOL and Literacy Tutor. She is a true veteran here at Baytree and has served nearly 20 years. When she first arrived at Baytree, Christina worked part-time teaching English, and then went on to become the ESOL coordinator. Now she is in charge of overseeing the smooth running of the Adult Services, whilst still teaching ESOL tutor Entry Level 1 to Level 1 as well as Literacy to parents through PEACH. Christina is UK native but lived in Greece for 13 years, where she met her husband. In 1996 she came back to the UK with her husband and two boys. Christina is a keen theatre-goer. She belongs to a theatre club and last summer starred in the play ‘The Trial’ at the Young Vic. Christina also loves to travel and has been to Mexico, Brazil, Belize, Cyprus, France and all acrossthe United States.
ESOL Tutor for PEARL
Lorentana is a volunteer ESOL Tutor for beginners in entry 1. She became part of the Baytree family in 2010. Initially, Loretana mentored women on a one-to-one basis but soon became involved with programmes for girls here. Her favourite part about Baytree is its supportive, nurturing, and safe environment. “It doesn’t feel like going to work; it feels like going home to my family.” Loretana grew up in a small town near Rome, Italy and she loves to go back and visit every year. She moved to London when she was 21 when she got married. When she is not volunteering at Baytree, she loves gardening and cooking. She also enjoys reading about women and children living in different conditions around the world.
ESOL Tutor responsible for outreach delivery in Children’s Centres
Debbie is our Outreach ESOL Teacher and works elsewhere in the community at Children’s Centres all over Lambeth. She teaches free ESOL classes with a free crèche to parents with children under 5. She has worked at Baytree since February 2009. Debbie loves teaching the parents and likes to create a warm, welcoming and enjoyable learning environment. Students are able to progress with speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, take exams and then go on to college or work. ‘It is so rewarding to see students transformed from being isolated and lonely to women with the confidence and skills to make friends and feel empowered to improve their own and their family’s lives.’ Her passion for helping others overflows her work life: Debbie loves to keep up with politics and human rights issues within London and around the world.
Adult Service Administrator
Valentina is a young and enthusiastic volunteer who supports the Adult Service as an administrator whilst also mentoring. She joined Baytree in January 2017 after earning a BA in Psychology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, US. Valentina is originally from Rome, Italy, where she lived with her family before moving to the US for her college studies. When she is not working at Baytree, Valentina spends her time volunteering for other organisations which offer assistance and support to marginalized populations. Her commitment towards helping others is grounded in her long-term goal of becoming a practicing psychologist.
Youth Manager responsible for GEMS; Spark & PEACH Girls
Olive has been at Baytree since early 2015 and is the Youth Manager. She’s in charge of organising activities for the girls that attend Baytree and managing the club volunteers. Her philosophy on youth work come from her favourite singer, Whitney Houston: “children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” Before working at Baytree, she worked in TV on such illustrious shows as Hollyoaks and The Only Way is Essex, after graduating from UCL with a degree in Ancient World Studies. Outside of Baytree she works at another women’s charity. She also loves to read and (attempts) to write.
Volunteer & Youth Development Manager responsible for Volunteer Service, Into School, PEACH Girls & school liaison
Rosanna is the Volunteer and Youth Development Manager at Baytree. Her responsibilities include providing support for our volunteers as their first point of contact, and managing the Into School programme. Rosanna joined us in June 2015, after graduating from Roehampton University with a degree in Education. Rosanna has lived locally in the Brixton area since moving from Germany five years ago, and takes great satisfaction in contributing to her local community through her work at Baytree. Besides Germany and England, she has lived in Spain and spent a few years of her childhood in Botswana.
Youth Worker responsible for Spark, PEACH Girls (Saturdays) & Character Education Programme
Our Youth Worker, Amy, is in charge of Saturdays at Baytree and Spark, our main provision for girls aged 13+. Amy graduated from Oxford in June 2015 with a degree in History and Spanish Literature, and combines her front-line work at Baytree with a role in policy at the Department for Education. The best thing about working at Baytree for Amy is the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with the teens who come through the door and see them learn to feel comfortable and confident in themselves here. Outside of the office she loves being outside, climbing, and reading – especially poetry.
Into School Coordinator & ESOL Tutor
Rebeckah is the Into School Coordinator and ESOL Tutor, who has volunteered at Baytree for 8 years on and off as a PEACH Mentor. She has a degree in Fashion Textiles from the London College of Fashion and used to her skills to teach embroidery classes in Baytree. She obtained her qualification in teaching English as a foreign language from Trinity College in 2013, and has worked with students of all ages in Paris and London. She really enjoys working with young people, helping them to set personal and educational goals for themselves. Outside of Baytree she enjoys working on textiles, and has recently set up an online platform called Embellished Talk, where she interviews different textiles designers about their work.
Carol, our Morning Receptionist, never fails to give us all a warm welcome when we arrive each morning – and always knows where the good stationery is hidden. Carol was a Care Assistant before she came to us in 2002. She loves Baytree because of the rich community made up of staff, children and parents. “I look forward to coming in every morning” she said with a smile as she spoke about the Baytree family. In her spare time Carol enjoys spending time with her friends, keeping fit and laughing.
Sonia is our Afternoon Receptionist and has been working at Baytree since 2007. Prior to Baytree, she spent 13 years working in fostering and adoption at Lambeth Council. A domestic goddess, Sonia’s love of sewing means she is often found in the fashion club teaching the girls her tricks. Much to the delight of the entire team, she loves to bake and often brings in her homemade treats to share with the rest of us. A firm favourite with the girls, Sonia always has time to listen and share her words of wisdom.
Josep is the IT support at Baytree Centre and the only man in the team. The best part about working here for Josep is being able to help out at an organization aimed at helping others. He greatly appreciates the moral values behind Baytree. Josep, a native Spaniard, moved to London in 2002 and now has dual citizenship. He loves to travel and is a keen scuba diver.
Adriana, joined us in 2011 and is indispensible to the day-to-day running of our Centre. Originally from Ecuador, Adriana has been living in London for 18 years. She enjoys coming into Baytree every day and especially loves the warm and friendly atmosphere among all staff and beneficiaries. In her free time Adriana loves going for long walks with her son and her Jack Russell, Monchito.
Ann Bennett LLB
Ann qualified as a solicitor in 1974 and set up her own practice specialising in Charity law, Conveyancing and Employment Law. In 1979 she helped set up DHEF and has been a Trustee since then. She also serves as a Trustee on Northwest Network and the Thames Foundation.
Gillian has worked both professionally and as a volunteer in many community activities. She has opened and run pregnancy care centres and houses for mothers and babies, and is currently a trainer in listening skills for counsellors. Gillian’s history also includes running children’s summer play schemes and teaching English to Asian women. She stood for parliament in two general elections and is a popular speaker on family issues in schools, colleges and to other groups. Her interest in education is focused on helping build social inclusion for the isolated.
Ana has worked for the Audit Commission on a number of value-for-money projects and audited large public institutions while training to become an accountant. She has a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and has an MBA from Henley Management College. As an auditor she has worked in the public and private sector and now works as Financial Controller for Global Operations at an investment bank.
Sophia is the DHEF trustee who is most closely involved with Baytree. Her career has been particularly varied: following gaining her MA from Oxford in Chemistry she went on to work for Courtaulds, KPMG Roche Pharmaceuticals & Deloitte Consulting. She is a qualified chartered accountant, ACMA with experience in various industry sectors. Over the past few years she has juggled her time working as an independent consultant for Oxford University Press, being Chair of Governors of Newman University and contributing to third sector organisations. Sophia joined the DHEF Baytree Committee in 2004 and since then has kept close track of the financial affairs and strategic direction of Baytree. She has raised considerable funds for Baytree – including through a sponsored cycle from London to Oxford on more than one occasion.
Caroline has an MA in Biochemistry from Oxford, a post-graduate degree in education from Navarre University, and is currently working towards a Masters degree in Theology. Caroline has been a DHEF trustee for over 20 years. Most of her professional life has been spent in the third sector, after a couple of years in the toxicology section of the Civil Service following graduation. Her charity work has included leading student volunteer projects to Peru, Kenya and Uganda. In her free time Caroline enjoys mountain climbing and has recently climbed Ben Nevis. She is also a dedicated follower of Liverpool FC.
Dominic Schofield is an expert in Russian & International Relations. A fluent linguist, he has lived and worked in Russia, Kazakhstan and Israel. He has served on Westminster City Council, was a political advisor to Home Secretary Lord Howard of Lympne and has twice stood for parliament. Dominic is a partner with the global senior executive search and leadership consulting firm Korn/Ferry International.