Our people

  • Dave Stewart - Managing Director

    Dave is the founder of the Fresh Air Learning Company. His passion for developing high-performing teams and leaders stems from experience gained as a member of a rock band, a mountain rescue team and elite units of the British Army. During his career he has held senior leadership and non-executive roles in various private, public and not-for-profit organisations.

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    Letters & Titles

    Chartered Director, MSc Organisation Change, MBA, BSc(Hons) Physics, and graduate of Common Purpose; Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management; memberships of the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development, the Institute for Outdoor Learning, and the Mountain Training Association.

    More About Dave

    Married with two grown-up children, Dave’s hill-walking buddy is Issy, his crazy Springer spaniel. Loves real conversations, laughter, and the wild outdoors. Fascinated by antique maps and the stories they tell. And fascinated by the stories people tell of lives fully lived. Diabetic and unbowed!

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

    Inside around a roaring bothy fire with friends and strangers when the weather outside is foul!

    And outside on the West Coast of Scotland with its white beaches, crystal water, rocky islands and mountains. Simply awesome! Not during the midgy season of course.

    Career Highlight

    All my parachutes having opened, and starting my own business. Similar in many respects!

    Favourite Film

    Jungle Book

    Favourite quote

    “Always look on the bright side of life.”
    As sung by Eric Idle in the Life of Brian and the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

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  • Steve Rawsthorn

    Steve is an experienced Chief Technology Officer having worked within large corporates such as Dell, Unisys and Nixdorf as well as numerous software start-ups. Has considerable international experience having run multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams across EMEA and North America. Passionate about helping companies develop and implement technology-enabled strategy. Extensive experience in commercial and government environments.

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    Letters & Titles

    BSc (Hons) Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

    More About Steve

    I live in Berkshire with my wife, two teenage children and three Labradors.

    Life Outside Work

    I love diving, photography and top-level sport. I am also a keen first aider and provide support to Under-17 rugby.

    Favourite Comedian

    Dave Allen

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

    Indoors – my home office where I can escape and it’s all mine. And outdoors – woodland especially in the Lake District.

    Favourite Aroma

    Freshly baked pasties in a bakery.

    Favourite Quote

    “Some are born great some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

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  • Rebecca Hughes

    Rebecca is passionate about building the connections between business and the outdoor world. She is the Co-Founder and leader of the Women’s Adventure Expo, the UK’s first dedicated adventure and travel event for women; and also the Managing Director of Solusvreba, a specialist company arranging bespoke marketing and PR partnerships between corporate businesses and adventure athletes.

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    MORE ABOUT REBECCA

    Rebecca lives in the depths of Cider country, Somerset with her partner Neil, two teenage boys and two dogs, Cura the Cane Corso and Berty the Beagle.

    HOBBIES

    Continual hound and mastiff training, taxi driving to remote mountain bike trails and hiking. When not accompanied by the menagerie she likes to explore Personality and Behavioural Psychology and work on her contemporary floral art creations. A keen photographer Rebecca also enjoys recording and sharing the family adventures with her camera.

    FAVOURITE BOOK

    Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Oxford Book of English Verse – 1250-1900 and currently enjoying Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

    FAVOURITE INDOOR & OUTDOOR SPACE

    Indoor – The family dinner table, when we are all eating together. Outdoor – I love following a beautiful river, the River Dart and Teign on Dartmoor have many stunning spots, especially meandering through wooded valleys. We also spend a lot of time on the North Devon/Cornish coast, enjoying the surf and lovely beaches.

    FAVOURITE QUOTE

    T.E. Lawrence “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

    FAVOURITE FILM

    All Kung Fu Panda films

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  • Dominic Rudd

    Dom’s experience as a leadership development facilitator is built on 4 fulfilling careers: the Royal Marines; running a business; managing significant national charities as Operations Director for the RSPCA and CEO with Samaritans; and latterly, working in the outdoors developing adults and young people and leading expeditions across the globe.

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    Letters & Titles

    PGDip in Development Training, International Mountain Leader (IML).

    Memberships of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders, Mountain Training Association and Institute for Outdoor Learning.

    More About Dom

    A volunteer mentor to a young adult male ex-offender, Dom is an active member of A Band of Brothers, a charity established by men committed to positive social change through personal development and community building.

    Dom’s loving being a grandfather (or “gumpa”) to Zara and John and enjoys jam making, foraging and spending time in nature.

    Married to Helena, they live in West Sussex.

    Career Highlight

    Guiding a 21-year old soldier, blinded in Afghanistan, safely to the summit of Kilimanjaro and back.

    Favourite Taste

    A large pot of (very) sweet Nepali Marsala tea, sipped slowly on return from a mountain trip.

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

    Indoors – Superking double bed with crisp, fresh cotton sheets after a month overseas sleeping on the ground. Outdoors – waking to fresh bread and apricot jam in a sunny alpine meadow in full flower.

    Favourite book

    “Jamrach’s Menagerie”

    Favourite film

    “Intouchables” a film of love, acceptance, humanity and a fierce love of life

    Favourite quote

    “There’s no way out of this, it’s stark: live or die. Every moment a bubble that bursts. Step on, from one to the next, ever onwards, a rainbow of stepping stones, each bursting softly as your foot touches and passes on. Till one step finds only empty air. Till that step, live.” Carol Birch in her book Jamrach’s Menagerie.

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  • Helena Clayton

    Helena is a highly sought after OD consultant and leadership coach working across private, public and not for profit sectors. The core of her work is building organisational leadership capacity and her passion is helping senior teams become more effective. A former director of Roffey Park Leadership Institute, she also established the leadership practice at Blue Sky Performance Improvement.

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    Letters & Titles

    MA in Management Learning and Leadership, BA (Hons) English, PGDip Career Counselling and Consultancy, Certificate in Coaching. Member Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Qualified to use MBTI and FIRO-B.

    More About Helena

    Helena lives in West Sussex with her husband, Dom, and loves beach walks, yoga and photography.

    Favourite Book

    A passionate reader equally happy diving into Jung or whatever her Book Group is into. A recent favourite is “Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal” by Jeanette Winterson.

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Space

    Lying in bed in clean sheets with a good book. Anywhere by the sea especially when it’s windy.

    Favourite Quote

    “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that is why it’s called the present”. With thanks to Kung Fu Panda, plus centuries of Buddhist wisdom!”

    Favourite Film

    Some Like It Hot

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  • Chris Grimes

    Chris is a trained actor, drama & voice teacher, and comedy improvisation performer with a passion for helping leaders project themselves with energy, clarity and authenticity. Highly sought after by corporate clients around the world as a communications skills consultant and personal impact coach, Chris is also the Artistic Director of the highly acclaimed comedy improvisation company "Instant Wit”.

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    More About Chris

    Chris is a graduate both of the Central School of Speech & Drama in London and of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He is passionate about story telling and comedic improvisation, and frequently runs comedy improvisation masterclasses to explore how the underlying techniques and mindset can transform communication, unlock creativity and galvanise fresh levels of collaboration.

    All Time Comic Hero?

    Stan Laurel! He was the first comic actor and ‘vaudevillian’ that really made me laugh. I was 7 years old and living in Uganda at the time – and I’ve been grateful to him for the positive influence that he brings ever since. He reminds me to keep it funny and engaging – to keep it clear and accessible – and above all else, to keep it kind, underpinned by generosity, humility and warmth.

    Two Ears and One Mouth?

    Yes, absolutely. Some people behave the other way around! Comedy improvisation has helped me to develop an acute listening ability, which translates directly into my work as a coach. In a comedy show context, for example with “Instant Wit“, I listen intently to the other performers around me, as we shape and build together a completely improvised show. We base this entirely on audience suggestions and work together using a ‘positive build’ technique based on “Yes, and…” rather than, “No, but…” So, lots of listening and positivity with encouraging ‘hand-offs’ to one another. Teamwork: happy, high energy, creative teamwork.

    Favourite Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

    INDOORS: You’ll always find me in 1 of 3 places: under a duvet, in front of the cooker making my own hand-made pizzas (with lots of chaos and extra chilli), or behind a ping pong table. Sleep, eat, ping pong, repeat!

    OUTDOORS: Daymar Bay, by the seascapes of the Camel Estuary in the big skies of Cornwall.

    Favourite Coffee Shop

    Hart’s Bakery, under the arches at Bristol Temple Meads station. Big long tables inside the bakery itself, and cakes and pastries to die for! The aroma! The communal atmosphere! The cinammon buns!

    What Is The Bish-Bash-Bosh Of What You Do?

    I help people communicate better. And I make people laugh 🙂

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  • Mike Noel-Smith

    A former Army officer, Mike is an experienced international management consultant and speaker with big name clients like KPMG, Royal Mail, Vickers Plc, British Telecom, Standard & Poors and BP. Passionate about high performing teams he has provided motivational training for the England Cricket team, Harlequins RFC, Royal Sun Alliance Ocean Racing Team and GB Men’s Hockey Team.

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    Letters & Titles

    Management and Training Certificate, Cranfield; and Training Development Certificate, Warwick Business School
    Fellow of the Institute of Leadership Management, Member of Institute of Personnel Development, Member of the British Institute of Leadership Development, Member of Professional Speakers Institute.
    Level A/B British Psychological Society, DISC Qualified Practitioner, MTQ48 and ILM72 Administrator, Master Practitioner Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

    More About Mike

    I have been married for nearly 30 years to Elizabeth. She is my life mentor and together we have three grown-up children – two boys and a girl – all who have become sport’s scientists. We also share our Wiltshire home with a Labrador and two cats.

    Career highlight

    CEO of a Government Leadership Assessment Centre in the United Arab Emirates which I helped develop from scratch. The centre ultimately delivered assessments of over 10,000 government and military leaders over a 5 year period

    Life highlight

    In 2003 I attempted to row across the Indian Ocean. I had to abandon the attempt after 2,000 nautical miles due to boat damage and injury, but was still able to raise significant funds for a charity supporting research into meningitis affecting babies and young children. I remain a keen ocean rower.

    Favourite Film

    Zulu

    Favourite Board Game

    Risk

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Space

    The British Museum and Maui, Hawaii

    Favourite quote

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt.

    Favourite memory from childhood

    Going to Twickenham with my father to watch England play rugby.

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  • Sarah Warner

    Building on a first career in various senior roles supporting international executive teams in the defence, aerospace & security industries, Sarah is now a business psychologist and coach. She has a particular interest in helping individuals and teams develop resilience and improve performance.

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    Letters & Titles

    BSc Psychology, MSc Organisational Psychology
    MBTI psychological preferences assessment (OPP), Level A/B Psychometric Test User; Executive Coach (Academy of Executive Coaching); Coaching Psychology & Skills (City University London).

    Member, British Psychological Society (BPS); Member, BPS Division of Occupational Psychology; Member, BPS Special Group in Coaching Psychology; Practitioner, Association for Business Psychology.

    More About Sarah

    I live in Essex with my partner Angus and our two border terriers.

    Life highlight

    Living and working in New Zealand for a year in my early 20s not long after my Dad died. I came home with new-found confidence and an enthusiasm for life and living it.

    Life Outside Work

    I love languages. I speak Italian, French, German and I’m learning Greek to help get by when holidaying on the islands.

    Favourite Book

    “Pooh & The Psychologists” by John Tyerman Williams. Winnie the Pooh in his nurturing role solves the problems of his friends and brings changes to their lives e.g. he helps Piglet to mature, and Rabbit to get over his inferiority complex.

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

    Edinburgh has a special draw. It’s a place I feel really comfortable. Also, anywhere there’s a stormy coastline – as long as I’m on dry land!

    Favourite quote

    “Be more dog!” – this theme from a certain digital comms company’s adverts resonates with me, encouraging me to “grab life by the scruff”, take and make opportunities, explore – experience – play!

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  • Jo Bradshaw

    Special Projects Outdoor Leader

    The female Indiana Jones, Jo is a freelance expedition leader and outdoor instructor who has also spent many years working with businesses to help them grow as part of the Government-funded Business Link team. In addition to other high altitude successes, Jo summited Mount Everest in May 2016.

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    More About Jo

    I live in Wiltshire with my amazing Springer Spaniel. When I am not away home is my sanctuary and Daisy is my training partner.

    Life Highlight

    On 25th September 2013 I became only the third British woman to reach the true summit of Manaslu, the world’s eight highest mountain at over 8,000m.

    Hobbies

    Gardening, rock climbing, renovating properties & learning Swahili. Triathlon newbie!

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Space

    My home and my garden

    Favourite Food

    Avocados (best in Tanzania and Peru!)

    Favourite quote

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” Mark Twain
    Which goes very nicely with ”If you really want to do something you’ll find a way, if you don’t you’ll find an excuse!”

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  • Mark Eddy

    Special Projects Outdoor Leader

    Mark is a highly experienced outdoor leader who runs his own guiding business in the Lake District, and supports Fresh Air Learning around the UK. Mark trained as a police officer before realising he could live his dream of earning a living working in the great outdoors.

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    Letters & Titles

    BSc(Hons) Geogaphy, Mountain Leader (Summer), Single Pitch Award, Mountain Instructor Award (candidate); Winter Mountain Leader (candidate)

    More About Mark

    I live in the Lake District with my partner Kate and our crazy but adorable border collie, Don. In the winter we decamp to southern Spain to enjoy walking and climbing under blue skies and warm sun.

    Career Highlight

    The light bulb moment when I realised it was feasible to make a living working in the mountains. What an amazing discovery that was!

    Hobbies

    OK, I’ll admit it, fast cars!

    Favourite Book

    “Fiva” by Gordon Stainforth (a real adventure perfectly executed)

    Favourite Band

    Pink Floyd (is there another)!

    Who do you admire?

    Jonny Dawes – a thinker, intellectual and finest climber of his generation. He claimed the first ascent of the magnificent Indian Face which is still regarded as the most dangerous rock climb in the UK.

    Favourite Memory From Childhood

    Swimming in a Welsh mountain stream with a pretty girl (I was aged 7)!

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  • Em Linford

    Special Projects Outdoor Leader

    Em is motivated and passionate about the impact that operating in challenging environments can have on personal awareness, change and performance. An experienced expedition leader – who has operated in the extremes of the Canadian arctic through the plains and mountains of Central Africa to the UK’s open spaces – she has expertly mentored, coached, and facilitated the personal journeys of her clients.

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    Letters & Titles

    BA Design & Communication, Mountain Leader (Summer), Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner, Accredited Practitioner for the Institute of Outdoor Learning.

    More About Em

    A lover of freedom, exploration and travel, Em likes to run, bike and design her own adventures. When urban, she recuperates by being creative, sweating at Bikram yoga and trying to keep her bonsai alive.

    Life highlight

    Belonging to one of the top five adventure race teams in the UK and coming fourth in the British Adventure Race Championships

    Career highlight

    Those unexpected expressions of gratitude from a client or peer.

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Space

    The nourishing and intoxicating jungle and my recovery hometown of Cambridge

    Who Do You Admire?

    John Rae, the Scottish doctor who explored northern Canada and discovered the fate of the Franklin expedition which had sought to traverse the last un-navigated section of the North West Passage mid-19th Century. His endurance, strength and courage largely goes unrecognised due to his honest exposure of the expedition’s cannibalism for which Lady Franklin, in retribution, destroyed his credibility as an explorer.

    Most Random Meeting

    Canvas army tent, somewhere between Ngorogoro and Empakaai Crater, Rift Valley, Tanzania. Those present: two Maasai Warriors (‘6 fingers’ and Elias), two local ground operator representatives (Chagga tribe), the driver (Chagga), and myself. Issue: dissension over leadership, donkey supply and patriarchal beliefs leading to a reduction in service to the client. Languages: Swahili, English, Kichagga. Solution: objective mediation by myself (via an unbiased translator) to sensitively expose and provide understanding of each of the parties’ needs and ideologies.

    Favourite quote

    “If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be above with the Gods and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight with perfect laughter, it’s the only good fight there is.” Charles Bukowski

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  • Gemma Davis - Adventure Paramedic

    Gemma has packed a lifetime of experience into her career to date. Prior to her current role as a hazardous area response team paramedic with the NHS, she served in the Coastguard. Outside of her demanding day job she is also an expedition medic, supporting groups in the world’s remotest places as well as our outdoor experiences and journeys here in the UK.

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    Letters & Titles

    BSc (Hons) Acute Clinical Healthcare, FdSc Paramedic Science, BA (Hons) Outdoor Adventure Management.

    More About Gemma

    From sea to summit Gemma’s life is all about being outdoors. She loves having great adventures and spending fun-filled time with friends.

    Career highlight

    Having delivered numerous babies into this world.

    Favourite Film

    Enemy of the State

    Favourite Indoor & Outdoor Space

    In a tent on a mountain. And outside a tent on a mountain! I LOVE the mountains – any mountains :0)

    Favourite quote

    It’s not a quote but I love the question ‘What’s stopping you?’ People always say ‘I’d love to……’. Asking them ‘what’s stopping you?’ always makes them think and realise that most things are possible if you really want to do them.

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