Talitha van der Waerden | General Manager
Talitha has a hugely varied CV; she’s worked as a tour leader in the Middle East, as a communications consultant, and a project manager developing recruitment and change management campaigns for big multinationals. In 2012, Talitha came to Cape Town on a sabbatical and never left. She took a break from her career in the Netherlands to travel, explore new places and use her skills for a good cause during a work placement with Greenpop. Three months turned into six, and eventually into a job coordinating events and experiences. Talitha is now excited to manage Roots, and enable others to have fulfilling and inspiring volunteer work placements in Africa. Having been in your shoes, she knows how important it is to find the right match between individuals and organisations, and she goes out of her way to create the most rewarding experience for all involved.
Marleen Lammers | Co-founder & Director
Marleen (pronounced ‘Marlane’ – sensitive subject) started her career as a broadcasting journalist in the Netherlands, but was drawn to African adventure and moved to Zambia ten years ago. For several years, she developed and managed community and conservation volunteer projects in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, before moving into communications and marketing. Marleen joined Greenpop in 2011, and has been part of its journey since, contributing to the social enterprise in a variety of ways. She is also the co-founder and Managing Director of Penda Photo Tours, a photography travel company and aligned charity, the Penda Trust.
Kelsie Meaden | Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Kelsie is a Canadian who loves to move to different countries and get to know new cultures. Kelsie started her career in contract management at an engineering firm before changing her focus to tourism. She studied Travel and Tourism in Vancouver, Canada and after graduating got a job managing a zip line tour and adventure park in Saskatchewan, Canada. Kelsie loves hands on work and even helped build the zip line canopy tour from the ground up! After a particularly eye opening and inspiring trip around the world in 2017/18, Kelsie decided that she wanted to combine her volunteering experience and tourism expertise into nonprofit work. Roots Interns was the perfect match for her and she is excited to be able to help others find meaningful work experiences at do-good organisations. Kelsie’s passions outside of travelling are photography, hiking and camping.
Laura Penninga | Marketing and Communications Intern
Laura is our current communications intern and is spending five months at Roots, from July until December. She studies International Communication at the Hanze UAS in Groningen and is now in her third year. Her biggest dream is to work for a large non-profit eventually, so she can directly motivate people to start acting on climate change. That’s how she ended up at Roots: she wanted to find out more about sustainable communications and what it’s like working with NGOs, all while making a direct impact. Her hobbies include practicing yoga and catsitting. Laura just can’t stop traveling: when she has finished her internship with us in December, she’ll go to Reykjavik in Iceland to follow an exchange semester at the Icelandic university!
Lauren O'Donnell | Co-founder & Director
With a passion for people, Lauren spends her days inspiring individuals from all walks of life to be active citizens and contribute to a healthier planet. Lauren is not only a co-founder of Roots, but also the Managing Director of Greenpop, where she is continually looking for ways to run an organisation differently, more organically and yet also professionally. As she has a background in and passion for education, Lauren is excited about being able to provide both meaningful and educational work experiences to people from around the world.
Misha Teasdale | Co-founder & Director
Misha has a strong passion for driving change and a gung-ho attitude to match it. In 2010, he decided to take a break from documentary making to plant a thousand trees in underprivileged communities of Cape Town to compensate for his carbon footprint - and he hasn’t stopped since. That was the start of Greenpop, now an environmental organisation with an impressive list of accomplishments and a unique ability to get people from different levels of society active for climate change. When he is not planting trees, you can find him inspiring entrepreneurs as a YALI Africa Fellow or sprinting up Table Mountain. Through Roots, Misha sees an opportunity to drive further change while providing people with powerful learning experiences.