Meet the Team

With diverse voices driving our decision-making process and guiding our work, our team has a range of perspectives whilst all sharing a vision for change. 

 

United We Climb works in partnership with Climbing and Outdoors companies and organisations. We are developing new experiences and opportunities designed specifically for, and with those who are currently underrepresented and under-served in our community.

We are building connections and using research to guide the development of these sustainable and empowering climbing experiences. These cover many aspects; from first steps into climbing, to more advanced skills development, to training, employment and leadership opportunities within the climbing and outdoor industry.

A vital part of our work is the empowering changes we are supporting from within the industry.

 

Our Team

We have an incredible team of volunteers working behind the scenes.

Anoushé Husain

DEI expert, advisor and developer.

Anoushé is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people within the climbing industry, when it comes to challenging barriers and self-limiting beliefs. Together we are developing industry-specific resources and training, to assist with barrier recognition and removal.

Photo: Claire Clifton Coles

Rachel Briggs

With over 20 years’ climbing experience and 8 years working within the industry, climbing has had a hugely positive impact on Rachel’s life. Perhaps the most significant impact has been its healing powers and benefits to her mental health. This is why she is so passionate about sharing climbing, through her work with children and women and now through United We Climb. Rachel uses she/her pronouns. 

 

Nutan Shinde-Pawar

Advisor, writer, and Social Media expert.

She is a climber, mountaineer, and outdoor travel writer from India. She has written for UKClimbing, GearJunkie, ExplorersWeb, and many other outdoor sites. She has overcome many barriers to pursue her passion for adventures. She is now either climbing or writing, living her dream! Find out more about Nutan in our first blog post.

Nutan and her husband on Deepak on the day of their engagement.

 

Gillian Smyth
Gillian joined the United we climb team because she felt that visibility is one of the best ways to take the heat and light out of a so called ‘debate’ around transgender people. Trans people have always been with us, they’re a part of the human story, but recently a lot of myths and fantasy have been posited both in the mainstream media and on-line, which has produced an astonishing level of discriminative and divisive discourse, and a lot of misunderstanding.  Gillian hopes that the United We Climb team can help form a kinder, more inclusive narrative and understanding of trans identities. 
 
Gillian hopes that the warm and kind, inclusive and supportive environment she is so profoundly grateful to have experienced at Depot Birmingham, can be the experience everyone shares at whatever centre or crag they find themselves’.
   
Yasmin

I’m Yasmin- I’m a Trainee Child and Educational Psychologist. I am mostly a sport climber and enjoy climbing both indoors and outdoors. I have been climbing since 2015, and realised that I was usually the person with the largest body at the climbing wall or at the crag. This fuelled a passion for advocating that climbing is for everyone- despite body type or ability (I am also a paraclimber). This advocacy highlighted the myriad of barriers to climbing experienced by many other under-represented groups in the sport, and I became involved with the wonderful team at United We Climb: on a mission to bring to light and then break down and overcome such barriers.

 

Shiggi Pakter

Audio Business Owner, Executive Fitness Consultant, Avid Climber.

Born and raised in Kenya, but only experiencing the tip of the Kenyan adventure “iceberg” at a young age before being carted off to boarding school in the UK. Shiggi found a love for bouldering years later in 2015 as a way of facing and combating psychological distress from a childhood injury. Jokingly calling it “reverse vertigo” – indoor and outdoor bouldering allows her to physically push through this distress in a safe manner. With this new-found love for the outdoors, she’s constantly looking to support inclusivity for People of Colour and especially bring more attention to Kenya’s up and coming outdoor community.

           

 

Tom Hull

Regional Manager of The Lakeland Climbing Centre Ltd

I’ve been climbing since 2003 and I’m happiest above my gear on a classic mountain trad route. I oversee the management of LCC’s seven London gyms after setting up VauxWall in 2014.

As a cis gay climber, being given the opportunity to open a gym in the heart of south London’s gay scene was a huge privilege. I’ve focused on ensuring the centres are inclusive not only through our policies, but in a way that’s visible to all. We proudly fly the progress flag at all of our centres and have an increasingly diverse customer base.

Inclusivity for me is about feeling at home in the spaces I enjoy. As a white male, I’m well aware that I’m in the majority within the climbing community and that a lack of visibility poses a barrier to underrepresented groups. I intend to use my platform and my experience in the industry to call attention to systemic issues and elevate marginalised voices. Climbing is about breaking though barriers and I’m excited to be apart of the United We Climb consultation group.

Soraya Abdel-Hadi

I’m Soraya Abdel-Hadi. I’m a sustainability professional, writer and founder of All The Elements – a community for those creating change on diversity in the UK outdoors. I have been climbing since 2013 and am an indoor climbing instructor. Since starting out, it’s been clear that there are groups that are underrepresented and/or undersupported by the mainstream climbing sector, but there are lots of amazing groups and people out there creating change. I’m passionate about supporting diversity in all its forms throughout the outdoor industry and enjoy working with United We Climb, both personally on the Consultation Team and through collaboration with All The Elements. www.instagram.com/sorayaearth  

Katherine Schirrmacher

I’m Katherine Schirrmacher.  I’m a rock climber, coach and instructor based in Sheffield.  I absolutely love all kinds of climbing and climbing has formed the basis of my whole adult life.  For me inclusivity is all about creating environments where people are able to live in the full expression of themselves.  From this place people flourish and grow – that is important to me in my work and how I live my life.

Photo by Natasha Hirst

Ambassadors

Molly Thompson-Smith

Molly started climbing at the age 7. By the time she was 12 she was in the GB youth climbing team. With titles such as a 3rd place in the Lead World Cup, she has achieved incredible things in climbing and continues to do so. Molly says “I want to help create a safe space within climbing for people of colour to feel accepted and comfortably in.”

 

Jinalee De Silva

I am Jinalee De Silva. I was introduced to climbing at university and haven’t looked back since! After receiving sponsorship last year, I moved up to Sheffield to make my climbing aspirations a reality. Originally from Sri Lanka it is uncommon to see young women like myself reflected in the climbing community, both at the crag and indoor walls. We are often influenced by the people and stories that surround us and they can be a measure of who we are but more importantly who we tell ourselves _we can be_. I am determined to be an advocate for lesser-heard voices and promote diversity in the climbing world. I am stoked to be apart of the United We Climb team!

 

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