GSGSSI Personnel

Our People

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is made up of a small band of passionate people from all over the world, all of whom are dedicated to the environmental recovery and resilience of this remote UK Overseas Territory.

If you wish to contact us please use the contact form here.

Stanley Team – Falkland Islands

Laura Sinclair Willis – Chief Executive

Laura began her overseas career as cabin crew for an international airline in 2001, and then worked across the public, private and charitable sectors around the world prior to joining GSGSSI in 2021. She is accountable to His Majesty’s Commissioner for the effective management, good governance and operation of this UK Overseas Territory.

Laura has overall responsibility for people and finance, and an annual operational budget of c.£8m. to deliver our strategic ambition: “Environmental recovery and resilience through world-leading evidence-based sustainable management”.

Laura’s responsibilities include:

  • Planning, managing and co-ordinating the delivery of Protect, Sustain, Inspire, our 5-year values-driven approach to stewardship.
  • Ensuring the development of appropriate relevant policies and legislation, undertaking business planning and annual reporting;
  • Overseeing and directing operations to ensure the proper management, good governance and appropriate use of resources;
  • Ensuring the Territory meets its international obligations.
  • Developing, managing and maintaining strategic relationships with Government’s partners and stakeholders to help maintain the sovereignty and security of the Territory;
  • Enhancing the profile and outreach of Government.

Laura lives in the Falkland Islands with her husband and 3 children. When not at work, you can usually find her sat at a sewing machine producing clothing for herself and her family.

Steve Winn  – Director of Operations

Steve joined GSGSSI from the Falkland Island Government, where he was involved in setting up the Falkland Islands Maritime Authority, including establishing accident investigation procedures and aligning processes with key stakeholders in local government, industry and international partners.

Previously, he spent six years as a commercial yachting captain, sailing many thousands of ocean miles across the Mediterranean and Atlantic. When not undertaking deliveries, he assisted students building sea miles for their conversions and volunteered with the not-for-profit “Sailability”.
Prior to his maritime career, Steve worked in government enforcement roles with the military and the police, specialising in analysis, counter terrorism, and close protection. He qualified as a Senior Investigating Officer and spent 8 years as a Police Dog Commander.

Steve’s main responsibilities include:

  • Operational Governance & Strategic Planning;
  • Incident & Emergency response;
  • Operation of the Government’s Fisheries Patrol Vessel for enforcement, passenger, cargo and science taskings;
  • Oversight of the infrastructure programmes on South Georgia including heritage, facilities, communications, power generation, waste disposal & maritime;
  • Delivery of a number of site-specific projects including: environmental remediation, renewable energy, biosecurity and heritage interpretation;
  • Oversight of the Government’s Biosecurity Detector Dog Programme;
  • Line Management of the Operations team.

Steve’s passions include a passion for all things art, photography and literature. He enjoys hill walking and makes a poor attempt at trail running. A very keen sailor and retired sky diver, Steve is a fan of the outdoors (and also coffee).

Vicki Foster – Head of Operations

With degrees in Marine Biology and Ecosystem-based Management, Vicki has had a varied career in fisheries management and marine conservation in the UK prior to moving to the South Atlantic.

In 2016 she joined the British Antarctic Survey as Fisheries Biologist at King Edward Point research station and fell in love with this unique and harshly beautiful island. Vicki spent most of the next 5 years at South Georgia, including as Station Leader at the small and remote Bird Island.

In 2021, she joined GSGSSI as a Government Officer at King Edward Point, overseeing Government operations in both winter and summer seasons, before being appointed as the Operations Manager in 2022.

Vicki’s main responsibilities include:

  • Coordination of day-to-day operations on South Georgia between the Government, science, building, museum and contractor teams;
  • Port operations in Stanley and King Edward Point, as well as patrol planning for the government Fisheries Patrol Vessel;
  • Assisting the Director of Operations with project management and delivery of on-island milestone from the PSI Implementation Plan;
  • Planning and delivery of induction, training and decompression activities for staff deployed onto South Georgia;
  • Line Management of the Government Officers;

Allison Kean – Head of Tourism

Born and raised in Northern Ontario (Canada), Allison has always loved the outdoors. Her career has taken her around the world as a tour guide, managing programming for non-profits in South and Central America and, most recently, overseeing logistics and sustainability for a Polar Expedition operator.

Allison’s responsibilities include:

  • Delivery of the Government’s visitor management and permitting processes;
  • Integrating visitor management requirements into the full range of Government operations;
  • Integrating Government policies on immigration, permitting and protection into the visitor journey;
  • Ensuring visitors are informed about, and adhere to, SGSSI’s strict biosecurity requirements;

Allison is an avid outdoorswoman who gets outside whenever she can to camp, hike or canoe. If she’s not adventuring outside or travelling, you’ll probably find her cross-stitching.

Jo Campbell – Business Support Officer

Jo joined the Government in February 2022 as the Business Support Officer having previously worked in administration in the third sector and private sector in Scotland and Australia.

Jo’s key responsibilities include:

  • Processing and raising invoices
  • Dealing with applications and issuing permits for tourism
  • Ordering office and other supplies for both Falklands and South Georgia-based staff
  • Purchase stock for the SG Post Office, and co-ordinating delivery to FI and SG
  • Booking travel and accommodation for government staff and contractors

She is also the first point of contact for customers and stakeholders.

Jo is enjoying being back in the Southern Hemisphere after a number of years in Scotland and is looking forward to exploring as much of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia as possible. As an artist and crafter in her spare time, Jo is excited by the inspiration she finds in these incredible islands.

UK Team

Dr Mark Belchier – Director of Fisheries and Environment

Mark joined GSGSSI in July 2018 on secondment from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) where he has worked on South Georgia marine and fisheries science projects since 2000.

Mark establish the Government’s applied fisheries research laboratory at King Edward Point (KEP), as well as developing and managing the KEP research programme.

Mark holds a PhD in marine fisheries ecology and has extensive fisheries research experience. He has been the lead scientist on nine research surveys of fish resources at South Georgia.

Mark has represented the UK as part of the UK Delegation to CCAMLR and has chaired many international conservation and fisheries treaty meetings.

Mark’s key responsibilities include:

  • Sustainable management of the terrestrial and marine environments of SGSSI including one of the world’s largest Marine Protected Areas.
  • Development and management (including licencing) of its associated fisheries to the highest international standards of sustainability.
  • Development and delivery of the Government’s science and research strategies.

Mark divides his time between Cambridgeshire and Stanley and loves rugby, cycling, walking Keats the dog and playing guitar badly.

John Clorley – Director of Strategy and Policy

John joined the Government in March 2021 on secondment from the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs in the UK. Whilst with DEFRA he was responsible for the environmental aspects of negotiations for the new UN Treaty for Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, environmental regulations for Deep Sea Mining and the marine targets for the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. He was vice-chair of the OSPAR Commission for the protection of the Northeast Atlantic, having previously been chair of the Biodiversity Committee.

John’s key responsibilities include:

  • Developing implementation plans for the Government’s 5-year values framework “Protect, Sustain, Inspire”;
  • Planning and target-setting for Government activity;
  • Generation, management and review of the Government’s internal and external policies;
  • Researching, drafting, and implementing new legislation and the modification and repeal of historic legislation;
  • Developing and overseeing external and internal consultation exercises;

John has previously worked on reforming fisheries management in MPAs, Parliamentary legislation and de-regulation, non-native species and Government statistics. His first “real” job was as a supermarket manager, a very long time ago.

Sue Gregory – Marine Environment and Fisheries Manager

Sue first visited South Georgia in 2009 as a fisheries ecologist with the British Antarctic Survey at King Edward Point, and she remained with BAS for the next 8 years including overwintering at King Edward Point and  spending considerable time on commercial fishing vessels as a scientific observer and conducting research surveys. She joined GSGSSI in 2017.

Sue is responsible for the day-to-day operation of South Georgia’s fisheries and Marine Protected Area, working with the Director of Fisheries and Environment to manage the fisheries sustainably and to the highest international standards in compliance with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Sue’s key responsibilities include:

  • Day-to-day management of South Georgia’s fisheries, including the fishery observer programme and catch verification
  • Marine Stewardship Council certification and surveillance audits
  • Support of scientific research and monitoring to deliver fisheries and MPA objectives
  • Marine and fisheries outreach
  • Baking cakes for the entire team, although she struggles to keep up with demand.

Jennifer Black – Head of Environment

Jen joined the Government in 2012 as the Environment Officer.

Jen has been involved in a huge range of projects about or actually on South Georgia including non-native species management, wildlife surveys and policy development. Jen was instrumental to the success of the reindeer eradication programme and supporting the subsequent rodent eradication.

In her current as Environment Manager, Jen has responsibility for:

  • Managing compliance with environmental legislation and co-ordinating the Regulated Activity Permit System
  • Delivery of the newly designated “Terrestrial Protected Area” including development of the management plan and legislation
  • Supporting the science programmes that secure external funding
  • the much-envied role of co-ordinating the design and approval of all the Territory’s stamps and coins.

Jen is now mainly based in the UK where she enjoys all things outdoors. She travels south as often as she can.

Jen Lee

King Edward Point Team – South Georgia

All the Government Officers have similar responsibilities and they include:

  • Leading the administration of many Government functions on South Georgia including: Customs, Immigration, Harbour Control, Registrar and Police duties;
  • Acting as the single point of contact for on-Island interaction with the Government for all visitors, operators and personnel;
  • Providing the initial response to emergency or critical incidents within the Territory;
  • Ensuring all persons on the Territory adhere to prescribed laws, policies, regulations and management plans;
  • Delivering the Government’s values as outlined in Protect, Sustain, Inspire.

Nestor Santana Hernandez – Government Officer

Educated as a marine biologist with special interest in marine ecosystem conservation, Nestor has enjoyed a varied work and life experience gained in different parts of the world.

Nestor joined GSGSSI in April 2022 from the Falkland Islands Department of Fisheries. He has always been genuinely attracted to remote locations, where human influences are humbled by thriving ecosystems and majestic landscapes of outstanding natural beauty.

Nestor joins the team with strong moral, environmental and ethical motivations. The opportunity to actively engage in the preservation of this unique environment is not only a privilege but a huge responsibility he is very conscious of.

David Burton – Government Officer

David graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute in 2013. He first experienced the Polar Regions as a student at the University Centre in Svalbard in 2010.

He returned to both Polar Regions to work in numerous roles, first as a Field Assistant for scientists across the Svalbard archipelago, then as a crew member aboard a scientific research vessel in West Greenland, and thereafter as a member of expedition teams aboard ships. This led to numerous tours to South Georgia and a deep familiarity with the visitor sites, which left a strong desire to spend more time on this magnificent island. Most recently he spent time during the COVID-19 pandemic as a radio operator for HM Coastguard in (North) Shetland.

David has a keen interest in polar history, and is trained in glaciology and glacial marine geomorphology. When not kayaking the waters off his home on (North) Shetland he can be found aboard vessels within both the Arctic and Antarctic, endeavouring to deliver a comprehensive understanding of these regions and their future challenges to guests. He is now excited to be safeguarding South Georgia in a more direct manner whilst representing GSGSSI.

Dee Baum – Government Officer

Dee Baum joined GSGSSI in 2023 following five years leading the Conservation Team on Ascension Island. Her background is in ecology and conservation management. She holds a PhD in salmon life history strategies and spent over ten years working for government and NGOs in the Scottish Highlands before moving to the South Atlantic.

Outside of work, Dee is never happier than when running up a hill.