Our leadership group
Our leadership group is made up of our UK-based directors and our six regional representatives.
Toby Porter, Chief Executive Officer
Toby began his career as an emergency relief specialist working with first Merlin and then Oxfam, working in Eastern Europe, in and around Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, South Sudan, and in Central and South America. In 2002, Toby worked in Washington DC for two years on a major USAID project, FEWS NET.
In 2004, Toby joined Save the Children UK as Director of Emergencies. Under his leadership, Save the Children mounted some of the largest and most complex responses in the organisation's history, including the Asian Tsunami in late 2004, and the Pakistan earthquake a year later. In 2008, Toby left for three years in India, seconded to the Director of Programmes position in the then newly formed Save the Children India. Toby was a key member of the leadership team that turned Save the Children India into a strong, financially stable organisation.
In 2011, Toby returned to Save the Children UK to the Director of Programme Partnerships position, where he was responsible for institutional and foundation relationships and funding streams. In less than three years, Toby's department raised more than £0.5bn of new funding for Save the Children's programmes.
Silvia Stefanoni, Deputy CEO and Director of Policy and Programmes
Silvia joined HelpAge as Director of Programmes in January 2005, after holding a number of senior positions in Save the Children UK, including Regional Director, Asia, and Director of International Operations.
Before joining Save the Children UK in 1993, Silvia spent about eight years in Australia, first as a research consultant with the Ethnic Affairs Commission in Perth, and then as a lecturer in the Department of Italian and Multicultural Studies at the Victoria University of Technology in Melbourne.
Silvia is an anthropologist who has conducted research into cross-cultural communication and migration in Latin America, Australia and Southern Europe.
Alex Bush, Head of Operations
Alex takes responsibility for our six regional offices in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and for cross-organisational monitoring and evaluation. He joined HelpAge in 1998 and was responsible for our Africa programmes for ten years.
Alex previously spent 12 years in a variety of posts at ITDG (now Practical Action), following a stint in the oil and gas industry. He was a VSO teacher in Sierra Leone in the early 1980s.
Mark Gorman, Strategic Development Director
Mark is responsible for developing strategic approaches in both existing and new areas of HelpAge International's work. He joined HelpAge in 1988 as Development Officer with the task of developing the network. He became Director of Policy and Programmes in 1992 and Director of Policy Development in 1997.
Before joining HelpAge, Mark was Director of the primary healthcare agency, Health Unlimited. He has also worked for ActionAid as Desk Officer for Central Africa, and for VSO, first as Programme Coordinator in Nigeria and then in VSO's training department in the UK. Mark started his career as an education officer for the North-Eastern State Government of Nigeria. Mark received an MBE in the 2008 New Year's honours list.
Alison Gordon, Director of Resource Development
Alison joined HelpAge in 2007 to oversee the implementation of our organisation-wide resource development strategy and our fundraising relationship with our major donor, Age UK.
Previously, Alison was Head of Programme Funding for Practical Action (formerly ITDG). Earlier posts included Programme Funding Adviser for ITDG and Deputy Manager of IT Consultants, an international development consultancy.
Alison works with a team in London and fundraising staff in our country offices to secure funding from donors including multilaterals, bilaterals, trusts and foundations. More recently, the London-based team has led an exciting initiative to establish HelpAge International España, which will raise funds from the Spanish public for our work.
Valerie Stevens, Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Valerie trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte Haskins & Sells and then worked for 17 years as Finance Director of several international specialist manufacturing companies.
She spent a year working for the Disaster Management Team of Tearfund in Indonesia and Kenya/South Sudan before joining HelpAge International as Director of Finance and Corporate Services in January 2007.
Jane Scobie, Director of Communications and Advocacy
Jane has been instrumental in positioning HelpAge as a global player in development and humanitarian relief and the leading source of information and expertise relating to older people in developing countries since she joined the organisation in 1999.
Jane has led on communications initiatives including our Global AgeWatch Index, Ageing in the 21st Century report, Age Demands Action campaign, rebranding of the organisation, developing our online presence and overseeing our range of publications.
Before joining HelpAge, Jane developed and delivered strategic communication and advocacy strategies and training for a number of organisations, including ITDG (now Practical Action), BOND and Stop Disasters Campaign.
Yolanda Weldring, Regional Director, East, West and Central Africa
Yolanda first worked for HelpAge in 2005, firstly as Regional Manager of our Tsunami Programme in Asia (India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia), before returning in August 2012 as Interim Regional Director for South Asia.
In addition to working for HelpAge, Yolanda has previously worked for Save the Children UK, where she spent six years as Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, overseeing nine country and two regional offices, and for Oxfam Netherlands, Oxfam Australia and Oxfam International, undertaking various posts and consultancies.
Jeff James, Regional Director, Caribbean
Jeff joined HelpAge as Regional Representative for the Caribbean in 1997. Before this he worked for seven years as Country Director for Save the Children - Canada (SCC) in Jamaica where he focused on child rights, micro-credit and community development programmes in poor urban and rural communities. He was also actively involved in the Association of Development Agencies (ADA) and the Jamaica Coalition on the Rights of the Child.
Jeff started his career with SCC in his native St Vincent as Child Sponsorship Officer before heading up the SCC programme in St Vincent in 1983.
Eduardo Klien, Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific
Eduardo joined HelpAge as Asia/Pacific Regional Representative in September 2004. He has worked in Asia for the last 12 years. Previous posts included working for Oxfam GB as Regional Manager for the Horn of Africa and Regional Director for Mexico/Central America.
Eduardo has extensive experience of working in social and economic development with both governments and international organisations. He is an economist by profession and has been a lecturer in Economics in the Universities of Mexico and Nicaragua. He has also been a Visiting Research Fellow in the Queen Elizabeth House of the University of Oxford. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Ageing of the University of Oxford.
Marco Aviotti, Regional Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Marco joined HelpAge International in January 2013 as Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Director. Before this he worked as Country Director for Merlin in Pakistan. Earlier experiences include both emergency and development work in Asia (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Sri Lanka, Laos), and south-east Europe (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo) for a number of international NGOs.
Marco is a rural development and local governance expert with extensive experience of participatory methodologies, particularly in the fields of impact monitoring and rural appraisals and working directly with marginalised groups.
Necodimus Chipfupa, Regional Director, Southern Africa
Nec has been with HelpAge International since 1992. He has more than 20 years of development experience with 16 years of them as a senior development manager in various countries in Africa. Nec has extensive experience in emergency work, social and economic development with communities, civil society organisations and governments both at local and national levels. Nec started off as a field officer with the then refugee programme and rose to the Country Programme Manager in Zimbabwe, then Programme Advisor in Tanzania, Country Director in Mozambique and most recently Tanzania, all with HelpAge International.
Other previous experiences include Country Director for Oxfam GB in Angola and Zambia and Administrator with the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in Zimbabwe.