Meet Our Mentors

Meet Our Mentors

Ceris Jones 

Ceris has been involved with the Alliance’s effectiveness and learning programme for more than five years, and has mentored several organisation in that time and experienced a variety of situations where mentoring has helped organisations to develop. Ceris has had ‘hands on’ experience in international development mainly in Nepal and India, and worked with a small Scottish and Nepali NGO both in Nepal and in the UK, initially on the ground level helping to co-ordinate community development projects, and years later in the UK as a fundraising and UK operations director. Her work in India involved running a youth exchange programme for a large NGO. Some of her other work has included working in France to set up partnership projects between a multinational company, French NGOs and public sector bodies. She has worked to support people with learning disabilities into employment. In summary her direct experience has had a particular emphasis on partnerships, volunteering & fundraising, and her mentoring experience has involved a significant amount of work on monitoring and evaluation. 

Ceris holds a MA in Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh.

“I am ready to do all I can in my role as a mentor to help organisations to develop and grow. I enjoy the role of supporting people to discover and experience things for the first time, and in particular being a neutral outsider who can spot things that are hard to see when you are working so hard to keep your organisation going from day to day.”


Emily Balls 

Emily Balls has around 10 years experience working across the public and charity sector. She has worked in both international development and humanitarian response for organisations such as the British Red Cross, Fairtrade International, the Scottish Government and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her speciality is in monitoring and evaluation and she also has expertise in accountability and learning, project management and stakeholder engagement . Her experience includes working on the West Africa Ebola outbreak as well as leading on MEL for a £16 million DFID funded sanitation and hygiene research programme in East and Southern Africa. Emily holds a MA in English and Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews and a MA in Education and International Development from University College London. She is currently based in Moray, Scotland and works as a freelance consultant supporting community and international development organisations with monitoring and evaluation, and more recently with fundraising. More information about Emily's background including publications can be found on LinkedIn.  

"I enjoy working with organisations to help improve systems and tools and to build upon the existing expertise and skills of staff. My passion is monitoring and evaluation and helping organisations manage and use data in order to better achieve their goals." 

Grace Ommer 

Grace has been working in international Development for the last 20 years. She initially worked with small NGOs in Bangladesh as an Organisational Development Adviser, helping them to develop and grow. Since 2004 she has worked for Oxfam International in various roles, mainly Country Director, in country programmes in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Country Director role is mainly about strategic leadership however involves working with many partners from small Community Based Organisations to large INGOs in consortiums so has plenty to share from her work in leading and managing teams, partnership management and strategy development. Now more than ever is localisation a high priority as is safe programming so she is experienced with these approaches. Her experience is broad based across humanitarian, development and influencing programmes and working on small funded innovative projects to large multimillion funded ones.  

Grace is also a trained workplace coach and has worked with many colleagues using these skills. She has experience as a change manager and has led various initiatives including merging two Asia regions and working with a team that focussed on transformational change with country leadership teams.  

Grace has an MBA from Strathclyde university and has attended numerous learning and development courses over the past 20 years.  

My passion is working with people and organisations focussing on transformational change and supporting others to grow and make a difference in theirs and others lives. 

Kay Farmer 

Kay has been successfully supporting organisational and network effectiveness and sustainability for many years. She has practical experience of establishing and managing environmental management projects and programmes in Africa for international NGO’s and the United Nations. Kay supported the development and management of membership based networks in Africa and Europe, and has seen first-hand the value of shared learning. Having worked with donors on designing application and review systems, and project evaluation, Kay understands donor requirements. Her work focuses on supporting organisations to make a lasting difference through a range of bespoke services including capacity building; partnership development and stakeholder engagement; desk based research for evidence based decision-making; and monitoring, evaluation and learning. 

Kay holds a PhD from the University of Stirling, and a MSc from the University of Edinburgh.

“I am passionate about helping people to explore ways of increasing their organisational effectiveness. I look forward to working with the Alliance's members, enabling them to continue to do great work both now and into the future.” 


Lindsay Graham

Lindsay has been working in international development for over 15 years. She is co-founder of a small charity, working to support women into higher education in Malawi. As Director of this charity, Lindsay has been involved with all aspects of organisational management, fundraising and grant applications, monitoring and evaluation, as well as project management. Lindsay was also the Project Director of an education programme for people with learning disabilities in the UK for over eight years.  She has worked in India and Malawi on educational projects for women and for those with learning disabilities. In all her work, she has taken on the development and management of different projects and has been involved in funding applications ranging from small trusts, corporate funding, Scottish Government, to the Big Lottery and DFID.  

Lindsay holds an MA in International Development and Education Management from Leeds University, and an undergraduate MA in Philosophy and Literature from University of Edinburgh.  Find out more about Lindsay's experience, qualifications and projects on her LinkedIn profile.

"I enjoy working with people and organisations in developing their ideas and seeing these flourish. So many organisations are doing important and interesting things, it is great to be involved in helping them to demonstrate, and increase, the impact of their work" 

Jane Petty 

Jane has 20 years of international development experience across the public, private, and NGO sectors. Jane is currently based in Edinburgh and works for LTS International a private sector project management consultancy company working in natural resource management and evaluations in East and Southern Africa and South East Asia.   Prior to this, for four years she was a Humanitarian and Livelihoods Adviser with DFID working on climate resilience and humanitarian response in West and Southern Africa. Most of Jane's experience though is working with faith based organisations and NGOs in Africa.  Jane has worked across eight countries in Africa over 15 years and was Fragile States Project Team Leader for Save the Children from 2011-2013, where she spent time supporting country programmes in various Director level roles for the Fragile States project; this also involved mentoring, coaching and training work with field managers. Jane also worked between 2005-2010 for Tearfund, in DRC, Burundi, Darfur and Indonesia and latterly, as Country Director in South Sudan and previously worked in  Agricultural Development in Malawi and Zambia between 1997 -2005 with the Church of Scotland. 

Jane holds an MBA in Third Sector management from the Open University and an MSc in African Studies (sustainable rural development) from Edinburgh University. Find out more about Jane's experience, qualifications and projects on her LinkedIn profile.

"I enjoy working with others to find solutions to both organisational and strategic problems as well as practical and logistical ones.  Practically, I can also use my experience to support small organisations to navigate the minefield of donor compliance to access the financing they need"

Helen Harvey

Helen has over ten years of experience working (and 20+ years volunteering) in the third sector in Scotland and internationally. Helen's expertise includes fundraising, business development, communications and evaluation and she has supported the development of charities and social enterprises in around 40 countries. Helen's experience in international development includes securing and project managing a six-figure multi-year grant from the United Nations Democracy Fund for a project involving seven partners in six countries in Africa; supporting a feasibility study and business case development of a Comic Relief funded project in Nigeria; and more. 

"I am passionate about supporting organisations to create positive sustainable social change. I particularly enjoy supporting small and medium charities and social enterprises to develop strategies and processes to become more effective, efficient and sustainable and look forward to supporting members of The Alliance."

Marie McQuade 

Marie is an Associate Senior Consultant with THINK Consulting Solutions who work with 500 charities across 80 countries.  She specialises in fundraising and communications with an emphasis on sustainable strategic growth and having the beneficiaries of the cause at the heart of the charity.  

Marie has been dedicated to the charity sector since she was at university when she spent three months in India volunteering at Raphael a Ryder-Cheshire Home in Dehra Dun.   Upon graduation she landed her first job with Mencap. Subsequent roles over the last 25 years have included Senior Fundraising Lead at Dublin Simon Community and Fundraising, Communications and Innovation Director at Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and diverse array of national and international charities as a consultant.  More information is on Marie's LinkedIn profile.

Marie holds an MA Arts degree and two PG Diplomas in Charity Marketing & Management & Organisational Development 

 “I love the opportunity to support different charities to more powerfully articulate their passion and impact so as to grow their engagement of hearts and minds and increase the quality and quantity of their supporter relationships”. 

Michael Daly 

Having originally started his professional career as a Senior Auditor with a leading global firm, Michael is now immersed in the international development arena with a variety of skills suited to enhancing financial performance, reporting and management. His years of experience operating within the Third Sector for organisations such as the British Red Cross and SCIAF, has provided him with a grounded knowledge of the keys issues surrounding charities in what continues to be a challenging economic environment.  

Co-Founder and Treasurer of the small Scottish charity, Classrooms for Malawi, Michael has been involved in all aspects of organisational management, strategic development and financial management, enabling structured growth and organisational insight. Michael also has over 14 years of voluntary experience in assisting children and young people with additional needs through the global organisation, HCPT. 

Michael holds a BAcc in Accountancy with International Accounting from the University of Glasgow. You can find out more about Michael’s experience and qualification on his LinkedIn profile

“Having been the recipient of the Mentoring programme, I have witnessed first-hand how an external, objective voice can enable an organisation to flourish to create positive, sustainable social change. As a Mentor, I will do all that I can to offer organisations within the Third Sector my insight and many years of experience in varying roles to help them get to where they want to be” 

David Given-Sjolander

With over 10 years experience in the development sector spanning local non-profit organisations to the United Nations, David has experience working in various roles across a wide range of diverse projects including gender equality, youth development, education and health. As a project manager for a large foundation David provides ongoing support and guidance to a portfolio of organisations on a daily basis in relation to project design and planning, budgeting, fundraising and long term sustainability and is able to draw from his time working in the private and social enterprise sectors to best support organisations take the next step in their growth and development. Currently based in Sweden, David has gained experience from his time working on projects in the UK, Senegal, Ethiopia, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa and currently supports projects in multiple countries around the world. 

“Supporting an organisation or individual to grow and develop is the most rewarding work I can think of. For me my role as a mentor is to give you the support and guidance you need so you can solve your own challenges and thus feel empowered and take ownership of the learning.” 

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