Our Team

Meet Our Team

Wade Tink

Chief Executive Officer | Co-Founder

Previously a full-time serving infantry officer in the Australian Army, Wade was the Head of Leadership at 40K Globe, worked at UBS, and Centric Wealth. This mix of international leadership and business, combined with his moon-shot mind ensures we have the most innovative, flexible, and autonomous organisation in this space. It’s strange when people call him Wade rather than Tink.

Jimmy Bayssari

Head of Training & Country | Product Team Co-Founder

Having worked in the social enterprise space for 5 years, Jimmy has coordinated, executed and led multiple projects overseas. He is heavily invested in the personal and professional development of all our students and is focussed on developing out our product and service offering. Having been involved in working with over 500 students on the ground and over 1000 students on training, Leadership Training is like Christmas for Jimmy. You can find him riding his motorcycle, developing training curriculum or trying to obtain his dive licence.

Jessica Arvela

Head of University Engagement (VIC, SA, WA) | Marketing TeamCo-Founder

Jess is onto her third degree, currently completing her Masters of International Development at UoM. Jess is passionate about facilitating development both globally and personally. You will find Jess on her red Ninja Kawasaki, and can win her over with neat whisky or fresh coconuts. Jess has led teams of up to eighty in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste since 2014. Personality type: ENTJ. Jess has established our Adelaide base and will lead Melbourne in 2019.

andrew vild

Head of Project Development | Product Team Co-Founder

Andrew operates within Projects, Relationships and Recruitment. Andrew is a qualified Materials Engineer from UOW and has led teams in India, Uganda, Cambodia and Malawi since 2015. In his spare time Andrew loves a Guinness, flying his Phantom Advanced drone, and looking into how to combine his love of travel and positive social impact. Andrew is an infantry officer in training with the ADF.

Fiona Aaron

Head of Commercialisation | Product Team

Fi joined our team to focus on the commercialisation of our ventures. With a Bachelor of Business (Management) and a Diploma in Business (Marketing) under her belt, Fi used her extensive experience in sales and marketing experience to transition into business incubation and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for facilitating the evolution of ideas into successful business and the potential of the Australian start-up space. Although Fi did ballroom dancing for 8 years, there’s conveniently a lack of incriminating evidence on YouTube.

Amber Johnston

Head of Business Operations

Our go to for all things business operations, Amber has been working in the space for over 5 years. She has a Commerce (B.Com.), Marketing and International Business degree from USYD and has led teams of over one hundred and fifty in India and Cambodia since 2014. Amber is huge on automating everything (and we mean everything), to ensure the best experience for both our students, clients and staff alike. Amber is a keen Sydney Brunch Crawler fan, and enjoys a cocktail or a beer by the sea.

Emma Ridley

University Engagement Manager (NSW, QLD) | Marketing Team

Working, studying and travelling through the U.K., Europe, Asia, and the U.S., Emma has experienced shifting environments and role requirements. From leading a team in India to working for an advertising agency in L.A., Emma has built an impact directed and multifaceted approach to marketing. Definitely a country girl at heart, Emma lives and breathes social media and spends her time between herding cattle on her family farm in Forbes, and enjoying smashed avo in the best cafes on the eastern beaches.

Lily Partridge

Content Coordinator | Marketing Team

Lily is our resident designer’s eye, operating as content coordinator and pun-queen. She has a double degree in Design, and Creative Intelligence and Innovation from UTS, and has been with Project Everest since January 2016. Since then, Lily has spent multiple months senior leading in Timor Leste and runs Design Thinking training. She is passionate about enabling the personal development of others, and is often embarrassed by her general clumsiness.

WIlliam Lee

Growth and Strategy Executive

Although Will has been involved with PEV since 2016 in a range of roles, including Team Leader and Project Consultant, his role in Growth and Strategy is the first that finds him in an office environment – with us anyway. Completing a Bachelor of Commerce in 2017, he brings a range of consulting and strategy experience to our team through work with companies both in Australia and Hong Kong. Quite the adventurer, Will’s ticked off almost 40 countries on his travel to-dos, as well as hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and when he’s not being outdoorsy you’ll find him exploring books, podcasts, and the net to feed his love of learning literally everything. 


Ryan White

Training & Country Operations Coordinator | Product Team

Ryan has recently transitioned from Recruitment and Relationships in Adelaide, to coordinating trekker, business and leadership training. He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from UOA, and has a passion for innovation, social impact, and pasta. Ryan has spent considerable time in Timor-Leste and Malawi with Project Everest working on multiple projects based on access to clean drinking water, sanitation and energy. Win his heart over with Jatz and 12/12 banter.

Lucy Preiss

Community Coordinator | Product Team

Lucy has been in Fiji or Timor every Project month except one since she Trekked two years ago, making her perfect for her role as the Community Coordinator. She graduated with an Engineering degree from UOA in 2017, and has a real passion for teaching the next generation of Engineers to have a more holistic view of the world they are working in. Lucy is an advocate for anything to do with the environment or creating a more equal society, and she can exist for months at a time off of chocolate, rice and Timorese red bull.

Rose Gooding

Recruitment Manager

Rose started as a trekker in February 2018 on the ERS project in Timor Leste, and now, so help us if anyone tries to mess with it! She has a Commerce/Economics degree from UNSW, and as an ex-gymnast, she’s a professional when it comes to teaching the worm to anyone (and everyone) interested. Rose has led multiple teams over in Timor-Lesté and now looks after the team working to recruit and vet our biggest and brightest for projects. Win Rose over with an acai bowls and Messina gelato.

Jack Bennett

Business Operations Coordinator

Jack is completing a Maths degree at UOW and is a massive extrovert. Our second Trekker to ever come on board, Jack has been with Project Everest since 2015. Having led in Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Malawi, he currently operates within recruitment and gets excited by all things data. We’re yet to meet a person that Jack doesn’t like or can’t get along with- he is the definition of Company Morale.

Grace Blackford

University Engagement Coordinator | Marketing Team

If there’s anyone that knows what it’s like to work in university engagement, it’s Grace. Powering through a double degree in Arts and Advanced Studies majoring in Politics and International Relations at the University of Sydney, she’s been involved with recruiting new students since she returned from Cambodia in December 2017. A flexible leader, Grace has led teams and groups in both Fiji and Malawi in Team and Senior Leadership roles.

Abbey Dyson

University Engagement Coordinator | Marketing Team

Since her first month in country in February 2019, Abbey has become rapidly involved with PEV as a Team Leader, Marketing Coordinator and Senior Leader in-training. An Environmental Science student at RMIT, Abbey has applied her degree to waste management and agricultural projects across Timor Leste and India, with her heart now lying with both countries of operation. Describing Abbey as “fiercely passionate” is an understatement, and a descriptor that no-one would argue with – in fact we’ve even seen her fiercely passionate about her yoga practice in her downtime.

Isabelle Andary-Geslin

Recruitment Coordinator

Issy joined our recruitment team off the back of a trek to Timor Leste over January 2018 within an Environmental Sustainability project. She’s halfway through a double degree at UTS, studying both Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. If you’ve spoken to her, you’ll have either heard her rave about Timor Leste or an adorable hiccup – both if you’re lucky.

Zak Stacey

Recruitment Coordinator

When Zak isn’t down in Wollongong, hard at work studying a Bachelor of Commerce (International Business), he’s grabbing his first caramel latte of the morning in time to hop on the train to join us in the Sydney office. We were lucky enough to see his degree put into use in July 2018 with the Social Consulting team in Malawi, and were even luckier to have him join our team upon his return. There’s only one recorded interview note from when we first met Zak: “he is amazing” – it still stands true.

Ashleigh Rankin

Recruitment Coordinator

 Ash is one of our newest team members, joining us after her trek in Timor Leste in January 2019 on the Everest Recycling Solutions project. When she’s not working with us, she’s smashing out a double Commerce/Arts degree at USYD, enjoying a glass of rosé, or hitting up a concert or three. Oh, and believe it or not, she really enjoys cross country running – something the rest of the team can’t fully comprehend, but respect nonetheless.

Phoebe Chilman

Recruitment Coordinator

Phoebs joined our recruitment team this year following her trek in Cambodia in December 2017 on ERS. With one year to go on her honours degree in Chemical Engineering (Sustainable Energy) at UOA, she’s a huge advocate for women in STEM and environmental sustainability.

Her love of all things spicy is completely incongruent to calm and controlled nature, which has earned her the title of ‘chill mum’ around our Adelaide office.

Mira Gaponova

Recruitment Coordinator

We’re not sure how she manages it, but Mira manages to switch from giggles to game-on faster than anyone we’ve seen. Just two months after trekking in Fiji on the FarmEd project, Mira had smashed out her Team Leadership Training and is keen as ever to get back overseas. “Hard Work” is a pretty accurate value to attribute to Mira, given that when she’s not finishing her Commerce degree, she’s kicking goals with us – after all, she claims her best feature is “the KPIs”.

Melissa Lee

Recruitment Coordinator

The phrase we’d most often associate with Mel is ‘absolute weapon’. Always quick with a savagely witty one-liner, a lover of Oreos and dairy-free baked goods, and “not a fan of land sports”, Mel has been part of the team since trekking in Fiji in February 2018. When she’s not in the office making us jealous by bringing her Grandma’s handmade dumplings, she’s finishing off her double degree in Psychology and Business at UNSW.

Kristen LAzarus

Recruitment Coordinator

Krit is the recruitment team pocket-rocket with the world’s most infectious smile. Halfway through a Commerce/Law degree majoring in International Business at USYD, she joined our team after trekking in Fiji over Summer 2019. Completing her Team Leadership Training in April, she’s heading back to Team Lead in Fiji this winter. If you want to win Krit’s heart, your best bet is with a solid meme, a gorgeous sunset, or, according to her, “pretty much any type of food”.

Dr Cristian Birzer

Chartered Engineer, PhD. Mech. Eng.

Dr Cristian Birzer MIEAust CPEng is the Director of the Humanitarian and Development Solutions Initiative. He is a Chartered Professional Mechanical Engineer and Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Energy Engineering at the School of Mechanical Engineering. He is a former consultant engineer and also a member of the Australian Defence Force, having worked in East Timor and the Solomon Islands. Cris also deployed to Nepal with the World Food Programme to assist with the 2015 Earthquakes emergency response.

Cris is the Director and co-founder of the Humanitarian and Development Solutions Initiative, Associate Editor and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Humanitarian Engineering and also the Deputy Head of School and Director of Engagement for the School of Mechanical Engineering. He is a former Manager of MechTest, the consulting arm of the School of Mechanical Engineering, and former Manager of the Adelaide Wind Tunnel.

Aakash Parekh

Relationships Manager – Singapore

Working simultaneously at Alfa Tech VestAsia, Aakash is a wealth of knowledge on business development procurement strategy. Aakash has supported the implementation of multiple pilot projects and has diversified business clientele by acquiring new capital projects from the Australian education and Singapore government sectors. Aakash is our Singapore champion, successfully onboarding the brightest students as well as managing our relationships with prominent universities in the region. Aakash is an avid lawn bowler in his spare time and really, really likes chicken wings.