Meet the Trees & Roots Team
As a group of business people with different skills and backgrounds, we have come together to create Trees and Roots. Through on-the-ground research in underserved areas of the world we determine how to best serve the residents of these areas. With a variety of existing businesses, our focus is figuring out which business fits best and how to provide gainful employment, community outreach, and sustainability to build for the future.
There are few commonalities between working in the insurance industry, running a mountain guiding company in 4 continents, and managing medium to large humanitarian response programmes in conflict zones… except perseverance and risk analysis! A natural fit to being part of the Trees & Roots team!
Des found himself in Mosul, Iraq after the defeat of ISIS exactly 100 years after his grandfather was in Damascus with Lawrence of Arabia at the end of WW1.
Des is passionate about seeing families reignited with hope after the pain of conflict. He believes that income generation through business and employment is one of the main drivers that allows such (post-conflict) communities to create a future for their children.
When not thinking about Trees & Roots, Des allows himself to think of still being young enough to climb another big mountain.
After working as an engineer for a few years controlling large items at a chemical plant with computers, Nick became increasingly fascinated by how teams work together. This coupled with a passion to start up a business and create some jobs resulted in the creation of a leadership development company called Red Rock International.
Initially, the company offered intense adventure-based leadership programmes. Red Rock now offers a wide portfolio of development programmes for teams and individuals. The company has offices in the UK, Qatar, Egypt and Morocco with Nick leading the Qatar office. Nick is married with 4 grown-up children and still likes to think he can run well.
BECKY DA MOTA
Since her first job working in a fast paced Liverpool pub, Becky has enjoyed customer-centred business. Following the completion of an English Degree at age 22, Becky took the opportunity to travel across Asia. She moved to India to work alongside a team to establish Heritage Institute of Languages in 2 cities.
Back in the UK with a young family she was faced with the reality of the struggles asylum seekers and refugees were experiencing in her city. 10 years on she has been part of establishing HIL Liverpool and Bridge2 Liverpool to empower and support refugee communities. She is committed to building community with entrepreneurs, creatives and leaders starting projects or businesses; which is where she comes alive. Becky is happiest in a room full of people.
From bartender to musician and many things in between, Justin eventually landed on a career selling residential real estate in the US. Never without side projects, he ran his own photography and videography business, and helped others with web design. With a background in marketing and communication, Justin executed the marketing strategies for all of his businesses, which sparked a true passion for the ever-changing landscape within the marketing industry.
In 2020, Justin moved to the UK to train and support social impact businesses and assist refugees arriving in Liverpool, England. Building JT Creative in 2022, he now helps small businesses create dynamic marketing strategies through web design, SEO, creative media, and copywriting. Justin loves playing board games with his wife and daughter, and occasionally swimming in the ocean.
After working with variety of companies across several countries since 2009, Kendra has developed a passion for building up and supporting the communities she finds herself in. And she’s learned some life skills along the way. Some of her favourite work environments over the years include: working in a bakery, as a ballroom dancing instructor, supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and working as a hairstylist.
In 2020 Kendra got licensed to train others to work within the beauty industry. She is now looking to launch her own company to pass those job skills on to others interested in working within the industry.
When she isn’t working, you can usually find her hosting friends for meals and games nights, or wandering around with her camera in the nearest nature reserve searching for whatever reptiles she can find.
Matt is a UK-qualified Mountain Instructor. He spent 20 years running an outdoor adventure business in Morocco. He started a charity called Across the Nations (Northern Ireland), which, among many other projects, built the first Special Needs School in Marrakech.
After a few years in France, he moved to the Kurdish Region of Iraq to work with an INGO involved in the humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee and Iraqi IDP crisis. Alongside this, he built an outdoor activity programme for young refugees and IDPs.
Matt is currently researching the impact of outdoor activities on the Mental Health and Well Being of displaced people. It will come as no surprise to learn that Matt is happiest in a vertical environment, but not as steep as when he was a bit younger.
We are a company providing leadership training and team development with teams in the UK, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar.
We started in the UK in 2001 running intense adventure-based team development courses. This training used climbing, trekking, caving and so forth to stretch teams physically and mentally and develop close and open relationships across team members.
In 2006 we started to run corporate adventure races for BG (since bought by Shell) in Kazakhstan and we also started to run leadership and team development events for the telecom industry in Egypt which gave us the opportunity to establish a team in the country. In 2012 we started to deliver corporate adventure races in Qatar and established a full-time presence in 2014. The company now works on a franchise model and a new franchise was started in Morocco in 2022.
Central to our purpose is to deliver training that helps businesses thrive and to create opportunities for employment and work. We are excited to engage with Trees and Roots to contribute to developing sustainable business in places that have seen significant challenges.
At the heart of HIL, it is our belief that every story matters. In 2015, we were just a group of friends. We met a refugee from Iran and quickly realized that we were naïve to the realities of life as a refugee and the process for asylum seekers. As qualified English teachers, we were compelled to use our skills to help this community and we started unofficial classes in a friend’s home.
Soon, we outgrew the space due to the number of students and we had a decision to make. We moved to a local cafe in 2016 and outgrew that space also. We gained a deep understanding of the asylum seeking, so we added additional services. We began collecting donations of clothing and toiletries to distribute them. We made certain that culture was at the center of our English courses to help refugees transition into a purpose-filled life in the UK.
Now, we exist as a full time language school in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. In partnership with our charity, Bridge2, we are able to offer scholarships for refugees to learn English.
We believe in what Trees and Roots has set out to accomplish, and we’re happy to bring our skillset to people around the world who can benefit from language learning.
I led the operations of a Dutch NGO for 3 ½ years in Iraq during the time of the ISIS occupation of Mosul and the eventual re-taking of the city by a coalition of Iraqi and western armed forces. It was after the fighting had finished that I saw the
impact at community level, when small businesses were started and revitalised. Communities saw investment and business activity as signs of hope and positive change. In the Autumn of 2020, I decided to establish a consultancy business with the focus of supporting national and international NGO’s for specific needs, capacity building, interim positions etc. I named my business Five Ten Twenty and adopted the snowdrop as the logo.
The snowdrop when it flowers, shows change is on the way. Winter is coming to an end and new life is around the corner with the onset of Spring. This change can be remarkable and, like the figures 5-10-20, given the right circumstances, can lead to a radical multiplier of transformation. 5-10-20 also happened to be date of the business registration!
I’m delighted to see Trees and Roots engage with those communities where hope, transformation and new business creation can have such a positive impact at local level.
JT Creative is a digital marketing company using WordPress web design, SEO, and content strategy to help small businesses achieve growth without being locked in to large retainers and long-term contracts.
Marketing strategies are critical for small businesses developing a brand and establishing authority, however large marketing firms are often out of reach from smaller names.
Our goal is to make top quality marketing strategy and implementation accessible to small businesses on a project by project basis, eliminating the budget crushing retainers and long-term contracts.
We also believe in raising up a new generation of entrepreneurs and marketers through training and workshops. We look forward to bringing these things to the Trees & Roots vision for building sustainable businesses where opportunity is lacking.
Across the Nations was formed in the late ’90s in response to some of the needs we could see in Morocco. It started very simply; small community-based projects that slowly grew. By 2007, we decided to take a big step and raise money to build the first special needs school in Marrakech. It was a scary commitment,
but we had lots of help. The money was mostly raised locally and the health and education departments really stood behind us. The school continues to this day, but it has long since been handed over to a local charity that continues to run it.
Our goal is to meet the needs of the marginalised people within society through home-grown solutions and perspectives from across the nations. We want to capture and be led by these overlooked individuals so that we can focus on filling the gaps. We believe in working with existing local organisations who best represent our values, to act on behalf of the most vulnerable in their area and fuse the best of local and global perspectives to find creative solutions.
We feel that Trees and Roots fits quite nicely in with what we do, and we’re happy to be on board.