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Staff and key contributors

rob hopkins photoRob Hopkins is the originator of the Transition concepts and co-founder of the Transition Network. He spent many years teaching permaculture and cob building, mostly when living in Ireland.

Now based in Totnes, he is a member of Transition Town Totnes, works for Transition Network, publishes, is author of the just published ‘Transition Handbook’ and generally spends far too much time thinking about Transition stuff.

Rob is a family man with 4 sons, Rowan, Finn, Cian and Arlo, and is deeply in love with the raised beds he just finished building. 


ben brangwyn photoBen Brangwyn: Transition Network co-founder

Ben’s background is in marketing, customer support and organisational change in international hi-tech businesses. However, a growing awareness of climate change, economic injustice and society’s addiction to fossil fuels compelled him away from being part of the problem towards being part of the solution. As a result, he co-founded Transition Network and decided to devote his time to helping catalyse and support community-level responses to the biggest challenges of our times.

Within Transition Network, Ben coordinates International Development. In his local initiative, Transition Town Totnes, Ben is DoctorBike and part of the local currency team.

Ben has two sons, Josh 24, Ollie 21, and hopes they'll inherit a human-scale world with a human-friendly climate.


Jo Coish: Office manager and finance guru

jo coish photo

Jo blew into Totnes (well Dartington really) in Sept 1992 to attend Dartington College of Arts where she passed out in July 1995 with a ‘Desmond’ in Theatre and Arts Management! She met and married her hubby in 1999 and has been in Totnes ever since. In 2012 she will have lived in Totnes as long as she lived in Cheshire. Will she be a 'local' by then?

She has worked in a pub/restaurant, a call centre (which she hated and left after 2 weeks!), a shop, a solicitors, research in practice from 1998 – 2007 (which grew from 4 to 30 members of staff), and a prison. Employed as the Office Manager at Transition Network in 2008 with 3 members of staff, it is looking like Transition Network will be growing faster than Research in Practice at this rate! I am looking forward to the challenge and working with such a great team of people. 


naresh giangrande photoNaresh Giangrande: Transition Training and Consulting

Pioneering co-founder of Transition Town Totnes (TTT) and Transition Training, Naresh has been involved in designing, running and evolving many of the events, groups, and trainings that have been at the heart of the enormously successful Transition Towns project.

He has delivered  the Training for Transition, Transition Talk Training, Train the Trainers, and Transition training for Local Authorities and organisations to hundreds of participants in 11 countries. As one of the Transition Town founders he has given dozens of lectures and interviews, and spoken at many conferences and other public events.  He set up and coordinated the energy group of TTT, and is currently a director of TTT ltd.

Prior to Transition Towns he has lived and worked in an eco community, was Managing Director of a small to medium sized enterprise, and a gaffer in the film industry. He has also taught meditation, has a chemistry degree from the University of Pennsylvania, was an Eagle Scout, and is father to two lovely daughters.


Nicola Hillary: Funding Manager

nicola hillary photo

Nicola previously worked at BioRegional Development Group, which she joined as a local food researcher.  When the grant ran out, she stayed on as their first fundraiser. She quickly discovered the huge satisfaction of finding the financial resources to ensure that people can turn brilliant project ideas into reality.

Nicola was the Resources Manager (fundraiser and senior manager of central functions) at BioRegional Development Group from 1999 – 2005, helping them grow. Since then she worked as a freelance fundraiser for environmental charities, looked after her two young children and stood as a Green Party district council candidate, throwing herself into the deep end of canvassing her local community about environmental issues.


Sarah McAdam: Delivery Director

Sarah McAdam pictureSarah has had a varied public sector career working in housing, criminal justice and - most recently - rural development (she was leading DEFRA's Rural Communities Policy Unit when she caught the transition bug).

She has run a housing aid centre, helped set up a new Ombudsman Service, managed criminal courts and cleverly became Chief Executive of a small Quango shortly before the Government decided it should be abolished.

Sarah became a Transition Network trustee in 2011 when we were looking to widen the range of skills and perspectives on our board. Finding Whitehall exhausting and increasingly frustrating, she left the civil service to sit under a tree for a while and then search for a more satisfying way to live and work. She believes she may have found that in TN.

Sarah lives in Woolwich in South East London with her partner Lynne and loves being able to travel into town by boat.

Ed Mitchell: Web and Communications Manager

ed mitchell photo

Ed studied Development Studies way back in the early 90s and found it very stimulating but upsetting; what can we do in the face of such enormous crisis? Following that he tried all sorts of jobs ranging from the serious to the ridiculous to the extraordinary, but none quite hit the spot until he met the web. He has been working on the web since 1997 when he met a North London pirate radio station crew and agreed to be the studio manager for their early UK community webcasting startup, GaiaLive.

Since then he has worked as a web producer and online community facilitator for membership bodies, charities and government organisations. He also likes growing vegetables, bicycling, climbing, camping and generally being outdoors.

Amber Ponton: PA to Rob Hopkins

Amber joined Transition Network in April 2011 as PA to Rob Hopkins. In a previous life, Amber worked in London for a media agency and then an oil company, the latter of which took her to Calgary for four years.

amber ponton picture

Upon her return to the UK in 2009 with her large adopted Canadian hound in tow, she decided to relocate to Totnes to be close to her family. 

Whilst working for Dartington Hall Trust and also being involved in her local Transition Streets initiative, her goal was to find fulfilling local employment with a zero carbon commute. She hit the jackpot with this role and is very much enjoying being part of the Transition Network team! 

Amber loves exploring the moors and green lanes of South Hams both on foot and on horseback, tending to her tiny garden and rummaging in tips, skips, car boots and salvage yards for innovative ways to update her home.

Fiona Ward: REconomy Projectfiona ward photo

Fiona has been involved with Transition since 2006, firstly with Transition Town Totnes (TTT) and then also with the Transition Network. She set up and ran the Transition Streets project for TTT, and initiated and runs the REconomy Project for the TN. Fiona is also doing some REconomy work on the ground in Totnes around strategic planning. She has also contribted to organisational processes and strategy for both organisation.

Fiona's background is in business consulting, working with companies of all shapes and sizes over the last 20 years or so to define and deliver business transformation strategies. After realising that these kinds of transformations weren't generally what served the greater good (or her own good!) Fiona moved from London to South Devon in 2006 just as TTT was getting going, a fantastic piece of good fortune. She can usually be found in the garden, and always in the company of Rosie the chocolate labrador.

sophy banks photoSophy Banks: Inner Transition and Transition Training

In 2006 as Transition Town Totnes was coming into being Sophy co-founded the “Heart and Soul” group, addressing the psychological, spiritual and consciousness aspects of Transition. As the Totnes project grew she was involved in many areas of developing and running the organisation. In 2007 she and Naresh set up Transition Training and started to offer the two day “Introduction to Transition”. A year later they took this workshop around the world travelling in 6 countries across 3 continents and visiting many Transition and other community projects along the way. Sophy’s current interest is in supporting, networking and resourcing Inner Transition groups around the movement.

Originally trained in science and engineering, Sophy worked in London for over 20 years as a computer trainer and systems consultant mainly in the voluntary sector. She retrained in inner work – psychotherapy, healing and family constellations – and set up a private practice as a therapist. In 2005 she realised she was too old to carry on slide tackling on the muddy football pitches of Hackney Marshes and moved to Devon, where she now roams the lanes, beaches and moors on foot or bike as often as Transition and the vegetable patch allow. 

Filipa Pimental photoFilipa Pimentel: Transition Network National Hubs Coordinator and EU Policy Coordinator

Filipa is Portuguese and mother of two girls.

In 2000, she went to Brussels to join an internship at the European Commission and, since then has been working at EU level in several EU Institutions and organisations related to sustainable development.

In 2009 Filipa heard about the Transition Movement and, half a year later, she catalysed a group of friends to found the third Transition Initiative in Portugal – Portalegre em Transição. Six months later, she quit her job to dedicate herself fully to the Transition Movement and started working very closely with Transition Network.

Filipa is now a fully integrated member of the staff team, acting as the International Coordinator of the Transition National Hubs and making the bridge between Transition Network and the EU Institutions (and other organisations based in Brussels).

She is inspired by the concept of Gift Economy and she is particularly interested in exploring alternative responses to the austerity programmes so popular with many governments of today.