I am a communications specialist with 25 years of experience of working in the non-profit international development and environmental sustainability sector. My passion is to empower people, particularly those with less of a voice on the world stage, to communicate and work towards social and ecological transformation.
I have had the privilege of working with some of the most inspiring community leaders involved in frontline struggles in the the Global South as well exciting international campaigns that have changed global policies. My clients have included community leaders, indigenous organisations, government officials, scientists, students, professors, media companies, rock stars and even presidents of developing nations!
For a full list of my skills, experience and a curriculum vitae, please visit my linkedin profile
Passion and values
I love the creative process of communications, thinking of new and better ways to communicate core messages – and it is this drive to constantly improve communications that motivates me to work and also has led to deep respect for the work I do.
Through my work, I have realised that the best way to improve communications in an organisation is to turn everyone into a good communicator. I am also conscious as a white male that we dominate far too much of global communications in today’s world, so I am happiest when I can use my skills to empower those with less of a voice on the global stage. As a result of these beliefs, I have consistently embedded training, skill-sharing and building the capacity of staff and others, into all my work.
“Nick was part of the Fundacion Solon team working on communications as our web editor and writer from 2005 to 2008. During this time Nick contributed enormously to developing institutional and creative media strategies and messages for political advocacy and influencing decision makers on policies concerning trade, human rights, climate and water rights and culture and historical memory. His work was not only very professional and efficient, but he also developed a sensitive and committed approach with the themes we were working on as well as with the different social groups and individuals we were working with. A characteristic we appreciated so much in our institution whose work was based on local demands but related to global complex processes.” (Elizabeth Peredo Beltran, Director of Fundación Solón)
A personal work history
As a young child with parents active in the peace movement, I quickly became aware of the wider world around me. I got an incredible opportunity at the age of 18 to teach English in Pakistan for a year that raised my awareness of the profound global inequalities of wealth and power. As a result at university, I became very involved in campaigning on social and ecological issues through People and Planet.
After university, I ended up volunteering doing research work on international debt for the Debt Crisis Network before securing my first job at Jubilee 2000 as Communications Manager. It was a baptism of fire and an incredible learning experience. When I started in 1996, we had 200 people on our database. By the time I left we had 70 national campaigns worldwide, 21 million signatories to our petition, protests attended by tens of thousands of people, the support of many of the global media and entertainment industry and an open-door to many government offices worldwide.
My role had primarily been to set up the infrastructure using digital tools that had only just been invented – website, email lists, news, stories, outreach, training of local organisers – that enabled this movement to function and have ever more impact. I also ended up on the road a great deal, speaking at many events around the UK as well as organising international conferences in Rome, Accra and Okinawa.
In 2001, as Jubilee 2000 went through a transition process, I was appointed the first online communications manager at the UK development agency, CAFOD. I built, hired and managed a team of five, developed a strategy for the organisation, and learnt to work within an international network, at times bureaucratic but also deeply rooted in church communities worldwide. I very much enjoyed the process of building peoples’ awareness and capacity in communications, helping to create a cultural shift within a large organisation that helped it to embrace and maximise its online communication efforts.
In 2005, I decided to travel to Bolivia to learn Spanish, see the world from a different perspective, and to work with social movements at the forefront of struggles for social justice. I arrived at an auspicious time as a wave of protests and a subsequent election led to the first indigenous President in the Andean nation’s history and a series of historic policy transformations including a new constituent assembly, land reform, nationalisation of gas and water and new regional solidarity-based integration efforts.
Based at a small artistic foundation, Fundación Solón, with a long history of accompaniment of social movements, I was involved in research, writing/editing, training of social movement leaders. I also became a prolific blogger, carrying out interviews, taking photos and doing my best to capture the rich complexity of Bolivian politics, culture and society.
In 2006, I was contacted by officials in the Bolivian government and was contracted as an international media liaison for the Minister of Water during his participation in the World Water Forum in Mexico. My efforts led to favourable media coverage including in the New York Times. Three years later, I was hired to organise media relations by Bolivia’s climate negotiation team for the UNFCCC conference in Copenhagen. This also involved setting up a whole day of interviews with the Bolivian president, Evo Morales. My efforts led to widespread media coverage, including many TV and radio interviews with CNN, BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, The Guardian, AFP, Deutsche Welle.
As talks collapsed at Copenhagen, Bolivia invited civil society organisations around the world to a World People’s Climate Summit in April 2010. I was hired to manage international outreach and communications for the summit. My efforts helped secure the attendance of 30,000 people from 150 countries, and supported the production and promotion of a Cochabamba declaration that laid out popular demands and proposals for a just climate accord.
Since 2008, I have been based in California with my wife and children and have worked as a full-time communications consultant. I have worked mainly for the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute as an editor, consultant and advisor. Between 2012 and 2015, I was asked to manage the organisation’s communications. During that time, I helped transform the organisation’s communications, developing a five-year strategic plan, training staff, leading a rebranding effort including a new website, logo and tag-line, improving the quality of its productions, redeveloping its website, increased traffic by 35%, greatly expanding its social media presence and introducing innovative products including educational primers, infographics and a flagship State of Power report.
At the same time, I co-edited a ground-breaking book, The Secure and the Dispossessed – How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-changed World (Pluto Press, November 2015) examining the securitisation of climate policy which was received with wide international acclaim and continues to lead to invitations to international seminars and workshops.
I am currently developing TNI’s new Futures Lab to encourage innovative critical thinking within the international activist-scholar community.
In addition, I have also worked on a several projects for the Water Group of the Stockholm Environment Institute, including editing reports in English and Spanish, developing fact-sheets for Colombian decision-makers and successfully pitching opeds to the Sacramento Bee.
I also have provided ongoing strategic communications support for award-winning, Davis climate campaign Cool Davis including communications planning, managing development of new website, use of social media, coordination of a volunteer-led communications team, web training and organization of public education events.
I have worked with Nick for close on a decade. Remarkably, he was able to serve as our communications coordinator while living across the Atlantic operating in another time zone. Nick is a good strategic thinker, has a patience and grace that makes him an excellent process manager, and is able to juggle many tasks simultaneously. He stays on top of both the content as well as new media developments, successfully maximising opportunities for outreach. He is an excellent editor, able to skillfuly craft the essence of messaging and tailor this well for the targetted audience. (Fiona Dove, Director of TNI)