Our team

Colin Crooks

Colin Crooks, Chief Executive

Colin Crooks is the Chief Executive and founder of Tree Shepherd, a social enterprise focused on promoting and supporting employment and business growth in the UK’s most marginalised communities. He is also the author of How to Make a Million Jobs – A Charter for Social Enterprise, published September 2012.

Colin has a successful track record in establishing and running social enterprises spanning over 27 years, working with large corporate and governmental clients to deliver environmental and social objectives.

In 2000 he founded GreenWorks, which was the first business to recycle office furniture on an industrial scale. In 12 years GreenWorks recycled and reused more than 48,000 tonnes of office furniture and equipment. In those years GreenWorks employed hundreds of people from marginalised groups, including homeless people and ex-offenders. Before GreenWorks, Colin ran several waste and recycling businesses, all of which specialised in training and employing unemployed people, recycling everything from computers to white goods, and paper to plastics and metals. In addition, he provided waste consulting to businesses through his consultancy 3Re (Rethink, Revise, Recycle).

Colin was also a local councillor with responsibility for the environment and sat on the Western Riverside Waste Authority, a statutory waste disposal authority. He has a t various times been executive Chair and trustee of the London Community Resource Network, a trustee of Think Global, a council member at SEUK and has regularly delivered witness sessions for both the School for Social Entrepreneurs and for Common Purpose.

Lydia Gardner

Lydia Gardner, Regional Enterprise Manager

Lydia joined Tree Shepherd in 2013, after 10 years in developing community-based social enterprises at the world-renowned Bromley by Bow Centre.

Since joining Lydia has managed the complete start-up training programme, the BIS-backed mentoring scheme, monthly network events, Lambeth Country Shows and Small Business Saturdays. 2015-2017 she managed a two-year NHB funded business incubation programme with business clinics and a new focus on setting up trade co-operatives. She has forged and cultivated an array of key partnerships and has been instrumental in establishing and bringing to independence the borough-wide Lambeth Forest Network.

In 2016 Lydia managed a new street market in Tulse Hill: Twist on Station Rise (GLA crowdfunding award-winner). She also managed Back2Business supporting lone parents and older-aged entrepreneurs. Additionally she designed a bespoke programme for young people: Start Out Start Up, supporting 18-30 year-olds, backed by Walcot Foundation. In 2017 her role expanded to London-wide. She joined the CEO as Senior Manager with responsibility including strategic direction, marketing, fundraising, partnerships plus project management.

She previously managed a BA degree in social enterprise programme with the University of East London. Prior to her work in the third sector, Lydia spent 10 years in the production and marketing of cultural television to broadcasters worldwide.

Joanne Hunt, Learning Manager

As Tree Shepherd’s Learning Manager, Jo’s main responsibility is to ensure that learners receive a consistently high-quality learning experience which is interesting, fun, informative and accessible to all.

Alongside experienced enterprise tutors, Jo provides appropriate information, advice and guidance to support entrepreneurs when planning and working towards achieving their goals and aspirations.

Jo has extensive experience in both delivery and management of a variety of training programmes within third sector organisations, including community mentoring, volunteering and personal development/employability. Jo has supported learners from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to achieve their goals often against the tide of a number of obstacles and barriers. Training programmes are carefully managed with the ultimate aim of breaking down some of these barriers and enabling both learning groups and individuals within them to recognise and achieve their full potential.

Jo has a PTLLS teaching qualification and post-graduate level qualifications in Psychology and Community Learning.

Sherman Dormer

Sherman Dormer, Training Administrator

Sherman joined Tree Shepherd in spring of 2017. This followed a career as a drummer with touring bands, so it proved to be quite a departure, but a challenge he was keen to embrace.

Sherman is an administrator within the training team. He is very passionate about the work he does and particularly enjoys meeting and developing relationships with the students as they progress through the course.

In his spare time, Sherman enjoys live music and watching films (particularly contemporary American cinema late 60s through to late 70s) and French new wave.

Sherman also works for a charity communications department to help raise money.

Shakuntla Joshi

Shakuntla Joshi, Business Connector

Shakuntla joined Tree Shepherd in November 2017. She is immensely enthusiastic, and with a qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing our new Business Connector relishes the opportunity to bring ideas and experience from both private and public-sector organisations to benefit our traders and entrepreneurs.

Shakuntla has considerable experience of working for micro-enterprises and SMEs as well as large public bodies such as the NHS Confederation and blue-chip businesses, including British Airways.

magali ferron

Magali Ferron, Enterprise Administrator

Magali joined Tree Shepherd in November 2017 to support the business incubation department in organising events, mentoring clinics, trading opportunities for existing and future entrepreneurs. She has been working in the third sector since 2012, after a career in the tourism and hospitality Industry.

Since turning her focus on the not-for-profit sector, she has held many distinct roles, from fundraising, programme and event management, volunteer management, office management and more recently she has had front-line experience with vulnerable women with complex and multiple needs.

She loves the positive mindset, the moving spirit that social enterprise gives, she is so inspired by the social entrepreneurs who have the willingness and ability to see and respond to real social needs, to adopt business strategies, take risks and pursue opportunities, to change whenever change is needed.