GSGSSI Personnel

Our People

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is made up of a small band of passionate people dedicated to the environmental recovery and resilience of this remote UK Overseas Territory, through world-leading evidence-based sustainable management. If you wish to contact us please use the contact form here.

Laura Sinclair Willis – Chief Executive

Laura joined the Government in June 2021 with a background in the public, private and charitable sectors.

Laura is accountable to Her Majesty’s Commissioner for the effective management, good governance and operation of this UK Overseas Territory. She has overall responsibility for people and finance with a 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 our 5-year values-driven approach to stewardship.
  • Developing 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, whilst meeting 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.

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. He helped establish the Government’s applied fisheries research laboratory at King Edward Point (KEP) developing and managing the KEP research programme. Mark obtained 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. He 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 MPAs.
  • Development and management (including licencing) of its associated fisheries to the highest international standards of sustainability.
  • Mark divides his time between Cambridgeshire and Stanley and loves rugby, cycling, walking Keats the dog and playing guitar badly.

Steve Winn  – Director of Operations

Steve joins GSGSSI from the Falkland Island Maritime Authority, where he implemented policy and procedures for accident investigations and developed aligned 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. He was also a senior member of his local Police Federation and benevolent fund charity, responsible for a membership of over 3500 and a £1 million investment portfolio.

Steve hopes to bring his wide ranging critical incident management and command experience to assist GSGSSI fulfil its key strategic goals outlined in Protect Sustain Inspire. His interests 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).

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 NE Atlantic, having previously been chair of the Biodiversity Committee. He 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.

John has responsibility for ensuring the strategic landscape, which he is helping shape, is underpinned by effective policy and legislation. With the recent publication of ‘Protect Sustain Inspire’ there is also detailed planning and target setting work currently underway.

John is based in Bristol, UK.

Sue Gregory – Marine Environment and Fisheries Manager

Sue joined GSGSSI in April 2017. Prior to this she worked as a fisheries ecologist on the South Georgia Project at the British Antarctic Survey for eight years, which included overwintering at KEP and spending considerable time on commercial fishing vessels as a scientific observer and conducting research surveys.

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
  • MSC certification and surveillance audits
  • Support of scientific research and monitoring to deliver fisheries and MPA objectives
  • Marine and fisheries outreach
  • Baking cakes!

Allison Kean – Visitor Management Officer

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 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.

Jennifer Black – Environment Manager

Jen joined the Government in 2012 is 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 part time role, Jen has responsibility for:

  • managing compliance with environmental legislation and co-ordinating the Regulated Activity Permit System
  • 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

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 for the inspiration potential in these incredible islands.

Vicki Foster – Operations Manager

With degrees in Marine Biology and Ecosystem-based Management, Vicki had a varied career in fisheries management and marine conservation in the UK.

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

In 2021, Vicki joined GSGSSI as a Government Officer at King Edward Point, overseeing government operations in both winter and summer seasons. In 2022 moved to become the Operations Manager based in Stanley, Falkland Islands.

Our Government Officers:

Nestor Santana Hernandez

Educated as a marine biologist with special interest in marine ecosystem conservation, and has varied work and life experience gained in different parts of the world. Nestor has always been genuinely attracted to remote locations, where human influences are humbled by thriving ecosystems and majestic landscapes of outstanding natural beauty. He joined GSGSSI in April 2022 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, and fully motivated to dedicate the best of his knowledge, experience and values to.

David Burton

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. Having 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 since 2014 working as a member of the expedition team 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.

All the Government Officers have similar responsibilities and they include:

  • leading the administration of many government functions on South Georgia
  • acting as the single point of contact for all on-Island interaction with the Government for all visitors, operators and personnel
  • representing Government as a forward looking British Overseas Territory
  • ensuring all persons on the Territory adhere to prescribed laws, policies and regulations
  • take responsibility and ownership for helping the Government to meet its vision and objectives.