Meet the Team

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Colleen founded Ardea in 2010 (back then CLT-Envirolaw) with the vision to harness her niche legal expertise in order to help companies understand how to meet their legal obligations for sustainability and business and human rights and create progressive voluntary best practice standards. Tackling modern slavery in supply chains and communities is a key passion of hers.

Colleen is a tri-qualified solicitor with over 25 years’ legal and commercial experience of working with businesses and NGOs across sectors at both a strategic and operational level. She provides training to both directors and employees on human rights, modern slavery and sustainability issues. Colleen has a LLM (with distinction) in Environmental Law from the University of Aberdeen. She is recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading environmental law practitioner. Colleen is a fellow of IEMA and a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery, St Mary’s University. Twickenham. She is also an independent legal consultant and consults with Re:Links

Colleen’s indefatigable passion for combating human trafficking, led her to found the not-for-profit organisation Finance Against Trafficking. Colleen lectures on business and human rights and environmental issues at Birkbeck School of Law. Recently she taught on an MBA programme at the University of Pisa on responsible business practices and modern slavery transparency in supply chains and teaches on sustainable supply chains at the University of Westminster.  She has spoken widely on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, modern slavery and sustainable business.

She sits on the advisory board for LexisPSL Environment.   She has been appointed to development committee of the Social Responsibility Alliance       and is also appointed to APSCA’s disciplinary board. Colleen is currently on the BSI committee developing a standard guidance note on modern salvery.

She was previously a  member of the steering group of the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS) and was an executive member and trustee of the UK Environmental Law Association for seven years has recently been appointed by Positive Luxury to their Advisory Council. She is also an Acre accredited expert.

Colleen is a regular contributor to the legal and professional press and authored numerous chapters in published books. Her most recent book Strategic Sustainable Procurement: law and best practice‘  is published by Routledge. She has also published a chapter on ‘Modern Slavery and Transparency in Supply Chains’ in ‘The Modern Slavery Agenda:Policy, Politics and Practice in the UK published by Policy Press.

Colleen was part of the Modern Slavery Garden team which won Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016 and has been nominated for an award by the Anti Slavery Awards group. She has set up an anti trafficking hub at the Towers Convent school in West Sussex.

Recently nominated as on of the UK’s top 100 Influencer of business on modern slavery and ethical business issues.

modern slavery, influence, leader
Top 100 Influencer 2019

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Rory Oake

Consultant

As a consultant, Rory has contributed to a range of projects relating to modern slavery and sustainability, developing practical solutions to embed human rights due diligence across supply chains in line with the law and international standards. In his time at Ardea, Rory’s projects have involved clients in professional sports, finance, IT, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

Rory recently graduated with a Masters in Law (with distinction) from the University of Law, Surrey. Previously, he earned a History (First class honours) degree at the University of Reading. His decision to make the transition to law was driven by a keen interest in the role that responsible business practices play in eradicating modern slavery.


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Hannah Dale

Junior Consultant

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Hannah  graduated from the University of Sussex where she studied an undergraduate degree in Law and Masters in International Human Rights Law. She is passionate about spreading awareness of the consequences of fast fashion. In particular, the human cost of our clothes and prevalence of modern slavery in supply chains.

Hannah has  worked as a Legal Researcher at Ardea International and is now a Junior Consultant. Hannah has had an article published in a series of Research Briefings, sponsored by the Modern Slavery Research Consortium on the impact of fast fashion has on modern slavery.

What motivated Hannah is applying creative solutions to challenges, and a change she would like to see in the world is; a fairer future – a sustainable environment for the next generation filled with equal opportunities for people across the globe.

A quote Hannah lives by “Do you little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” Desmond Tutu


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Laura K. Croft

Consultant

T: 07503 232247
laura.croft@ardeainternational.com

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Laura is a qualified US lawyer and previously was a director at Talking Oak International, a specialist legal consultancy providing human rights advice, compliance support and training design and delivery to private security companies and other companies and NGOs operating in challenging and complex environments. She assisted the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG)—the trade association for the UK’s private security industry—with numerous projects preparatory work with the British Standards Institute to develop ISO 28007—2015; and the transition of the international standard for land based Private Security Companies (PSC 1) to a full International Standard (ISO 18788—2015).

Laura retired from the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps after 23 years of active duty service. Her last military posting was in the UK Ministry of Defence as a member of the strategy team for the British Army Chief of the General Staff. Prior to this, she served in the British Army’s Operational Law Branch.

Prior to her secondment with the British Army, Laura was the Chief of Operational Law in the US Army’s International and Operational Law Department, US Army Pentagon, where she also served as Rule of Law coordinator for the Army’s Stability Operations division. Laura’s deployed operational assignments with the US Army include tours in the Republic of South Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq serving in various legal and leadership roles.

Laura earned her J.D. at Louisiana State University Law School (civil and common law), her LLM in Military law (International and Operational law specialty) from The Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and her BA from Brown University.
Among her publications is, “Fog of Law: an introduction to the legal erosion of British fighting power” a report she co-authored for the Policy Exchange, a London based think tank. She also contributed to the US Army’s Rule of Law Handbook, Operational Law Handbook, and Interagency (U.S. Government) Complex Contingency Operations Legal Handbook.


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Mackenzie Kern

Consultant

Mackenzie Kern is a dedicated Junior Consultant at Ardea International, where she brings her passion for business and human rights to the forefront. With a particular interest in the intersection of human rights and the sports industry, Mackenzie strives to create positive and sustainable change in these areas.

Before joining Ardea International, Mackenzie actively pursued her passion for human rights through a series of impactful internships. At the International Bar Association, she gained valuable insights into the legal complexities surrounding human rights issues. Working at the U.S. Trade Representative – Office of the General Counsel allowed her to explore the practical application of human rights principles in the context of international trade. Furthermore, her time at the International Law Institute – African Centre for Legal Excellence provided her with a unique perspective on human rights challenges specific to the African region.

Mackenzie is a qualified lawyer in the United States, having earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the prestigious Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Additionally, she recently completed her Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Middlesex University, further deepening her expertise in international law and human rights. Her educational journey began with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and History from Centre College.

Mackenzie’s commitment to advancing business and human rights is evident in her academic achievements, internships, and professional experience. She is determined to make a lasting impact in the field, leveraging her legal expertise and international background to promote ethical practices in the sports industry and beyond.


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Dimitra Serafeimidi

Dimitra is a qualified Greek lawyer and experienced legal researcher with a specialization in international human rights law. She holds a law degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and an LLM in International Human Rights Law (with distinction) from the University of Essex. During her master studies, Dimitra was a Project Researcher at the Human Rights Centre Clinic of the University of Essex, where she and her team partnered with the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court on a project regarding delivering reparations to victims of Rome Statute crimes, living in refugee camps. She and her team have authored an article based on this project, accepted for publication in the Israel Law Review.

Before joining Ardea International, Dimitra was a Research Intern at Verité, a US-based civil society organization, supporting the Evidence to Action Project: Efforts against Forced Labor in Argentina and Madagascar Garment Sectors. She has also worked as a Research Assistant for SupplyESChange, a UK-based ESG consultancy, where she conducted research on countries and sectors with heightened risk of forced labor for migrant workers.

She also has experience in asylum law and is familiar with the case-law and procedures of the European Court of Human Rights, having worked as a jurist at the NGO Avocats sans Frontières France, where she provided legal support to asylum seekers residing in the refugee camp of Samos Island.

Dimitra is passionate about business and human rights, with a specific interest in workers’ rights, including effective access to remedy in global supply chains and gender equality. She is motivated by a determination to make a positive impact on vulnerable people’s lives.


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Inge Wessels

Office Manager

Inge Wessels is a dedicated and versatile professional, serving as an Office Administrator at Ardea. With a rich background in marketing and content specialization, Inge brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role. Throughout her career, she has honed her skills while working with various companies for nearly a decade.

Inge’s educational journey led her to earn an Honours degree in Fine Arts from the Nelson Mandela Municipality University in South Africa. Her creative background has nurtured a keen eye for detail and a unique approach to problem-solving.
Although Inge’s work primarily focuses on administrative tasks and maintaining the smooth functioning of the office, her true passion lies in advocating for human and environmental rights. Over the years, she has actively sought opportunities to make a positive impact and contribute to causes close to her heart. Working at Ardea aligns perfectly with her passion, as she firmly believes in the transformative work the organization is doing.

Inge’s dedication to making a difference, combined with her diverse skill set, has positioned her as a valuable member of the Ardea team. Her commitment to upholding human rights and preserving the environment drives her to support the organization’s mission wholeheartedly. Inge sees Ardea as a catalyst for positive change, and she is proud to contribute her skills and experience to such an impactful endeavor.


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Christabel Simamba

Legal Research Intern

Christabel Simamba, our Legal Research Intern at Ardea, is a dynamic force with a fresh perspective on justice and social impact. A recent LLB graduate from the North-West University in South Africa, she is currently pursuing her LLM in International Child and Human Rights Law.
Christabel brings a keen interest in supply chain transparency, with a focus on combating modern slavery and child labor in the African context. Her belief in fostering exploitation-free business spaces fuels her commitment to learning and contributing positively. She aspires to equip herself with the knowledge needed to advance transparency in African business practices and champion the end of child labor, one business sector at a time. Christabel’s passion for justice and dedication to ethical business practices make her a valuable asset to our team at Ardea.

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Francesca Fitzgerald

Sustainability Communications Coordinator

Francesca is a MSc graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lund University. Having written her thesis on reporting requirements for digital business, she strongly believes in the importance of transparency and good governance to build a better future. 

Francesca has also worked in the third sector, in areas covering both social and environmental sustainability. She currently volunteers on the board of ABC Sweden, acting on issues including urban sustainability and environmental education, through communications and community-building projects. She is motivated by work that aims to make positive difference.


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Gabby Heyns

Intern

Gabby Heyns is a dedicated legal research intern at Ardea, specializing in promoting accountability and social justice. With a strong passion for the legal field and a commitment to making a positive impact, Gabby provides valuable support to the team by writing blogs, offering legal insights, conducting legislative research, and occasionally assisting with client work.

Having recently completed her LLB in Law with American Studies at the University of Sussex, Gabby brings a fresh perspective to her role. Her academic background has equipped her with a solid understanding of legal principles, as well as a deep awareness of the socio-economic issues surrounding environmental sustainability and human rights.

During her four weeks at Ardea, Gabby has already made notable contributions to major projects, including her involvement in the Speedy human rights policy. Her ability to analyze complex legal frameworks and develop innovative solutions has been highly valuable to the team.

Gabby considers the completion of her law degree, pending results, and securing an internship at Ardea as significant achievements in her budding legal career. She is excited to apply her knowledge and skills to further professional growth within the field.

Passionate about justice for all, Gabby’s experience at Ardea has intensified her drive to address the lack of accountability exhibited by large organizations that harm the environment and perpetuate forced labor practices. Her work in the legislative research area at Ardea has opened her eyes to these issues, inspiring her to develop checklists and frameworks that hold organizations accountable for their actions. Gabby’s future aspirations revolve around creating sustainable and ethical supply chains that eradicate forced labor and child labor, while promoting a healthier working environment for all stakeholders involved.




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Richard Ellis

Richard is an e-learning content specialist. A highly experienced creative professional with skills in video editing, animation, design and illustration, he has previously worked in house designing training and elearning content for Sussex Police and on a freelance basis for a variety of businesses and individuals. Richard has a Masters degree in animation and currently lectures in Visual Effects and Animation at the University of Sussex.