Meet the team

bridget cowan

Communications Manager

Bridget worked as a journalist before turning to PR for sustainable food businesses. After helping us to celebrate our 10th anniversary, she joined the team and visited Palestine for the olive harvest in 2019.

“This photo was taken in Sebastiya, at the end of a long day visiting suppliers. We spent time with their families, listened to stories and ate so many snacks and meals. The highlight was Musakhan drenched in freshly pressed olive oil!

HEather masoud

Co-founder & Operations Director

Heather visited Palestine in 2003 to join human rights observers in accompanying farmers to harvest their fruit. The trip was a life-changing one, after learning about the scale of injustice first-hand it was impossible not to become further involved. Heather has a Masters in Natural Resource Management and a long-term interest in trade justice.

“This was taken at Canaan’s olive harvest festival in Jenin – the olive oil fresh from the press and dancing the dabke in the olive groves is an annual highlight.”

Omar qasim

Finance Assistant

Omar joined Zaytoun in 2020, with several years experience in his role as finance assistant elsewhere.

“With Palestinian heritage, I was gripped by the chance to be a part of Zaytoun. I’ve been a big fan of Zaytoun products for a few years, in particular the olive oil, and the chilli roasted almonds are a new favourite. One of my favourite Palestinian dishes is Bamiyeh – roast okra in a tomato sauce – but I can never turn down some Shawarma fresh off the grill!”

Mahsheed Langheroodi

mahsheed langeroodi

Finance Manager

Mahsheed is a CIMA qualified accountant with 30 years’ experience. She joined Zaytoun in September 2015 after a long career working for JVC where her latest role was General Manager of Finance.

Originally from Iran, she has been living in the UK since 1975 and graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Economics. Throughout her life Mahsheed has had a strong interest in politics and social justice.

MAnal Ramadan white

Managing Director

Manal grew up in the diaspora and her love of food and yearning to connect with Palestine inspired her to join Zaytoun in 2009. Previously she worked in finance in the City of London.

She is an Austrian national of Palestinian origin – her father was made a refugee in 1948 as a toddler and was never able to return. Manal visited Palestine for the first time when she started working with Zaytoun.

Wesam Tahboub

Customer Relations Manager

With a background in hospitality, and experience in the charity and social housing sectors, Wesam brings her love of cooking and an eye for detail to our customer relations.

“Working at Zaytoun has given me the opportunity to tell people about my roots and educate them about the dishes I ate as a child. I strive to share the message about Palestine through my love of food. My best moments have been the harvest tour and visiting places beyond my Aunt’s sofa; seeing the true beauty of the land. I also love meeting the many visitors from Palestine and I feel like I am part of a special family.”

Meet the board

atif choudhury

Co-founder & Non-Executive Board member

Atif co-founded Zaytoun CIC in 2004 in direct response to his visits to Palestine and volunteer work with the International Solidarity Movement. 

He is an award-winning social entrepreneur, with a background in economic justice and disability inclusion projects. Until recently he was also a trustee for the anti-poverty NGO War-on-Want and remains founding director of  ‘Diversity and Ability’ (DnA) a user-led social enterprise working to highlight lived experiences of disabled and marginalised adults in the role of assistive technology and mentoring to co-supporting others to flourish in Higher education and the workplace.

Cathi

cathi pawson

Co-founder & Non-Executive Board member

Cathi has travelled in the Middle East since studying Arabic and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, and first went out to Palestine in 2003 as a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service.

She worked there with farming communities on land access and returned with a resolve to take action to tangibly support those communities through finding a market for their products, and to find a way to tell their stories

Mazen Arafat Nomura

Non-Executive Board Member

Mazen is a finance professional who spent two decades in the City working for investment banks and asset managers. He is currently transitioning to ESG and impact investments, with an interest in sustainable agriculture.  

He serves on the board of various Palestine-related non-profits, and has a passion for Zaytoun’s mission of supporting the livelihoods of Palestinian farmers and is particularly excited by its tree planting programme. He joined our board in 2018.

peter jones

Non-Executive Board member

Peter spent the first part of his career as a corporate executive with commercial management roles at Procter & Gamble and Reed Elsevier to name a few. He now works as an independent management consultant based in Gloucestershire, and since 2013 has served as a trustee on the board of a medical charity, The Paget’s Association.

Peter joined our board in 2019 wanting to contribute to Zaytoun’s mission of expanding the market for Palestinian produce.

Rebecca Rowland

Non-Executive Board member

Becca has been a keen supporter of Fairtrade for over 20 years and a supporter of Zaytoun for almost as long. She was one of the first to pre-finance one of the very first shipments of olive oil in 2004. She has run a local Fairtrade group and served as a Trustee at Fairtrade Foundation for several years.

Becca is also an experienced business analyst having spent her career in the aviation sector where she is an expert in understanding air travel markets around the world. She joined our board in 2019.

susan ralphs

Board Chair

Sue joined the board as our Chair in 2019, inspired by Zaytoun’s mission to show the richness of Palestine culture; the enthusiasm of the staff team, and of course the best olive oil and dates in the world!

Sue has worked within the social business sector for over ten years; as Finance Director, then Managing Director of Ethical Property Company.  She is a Chartered Accountant and has been in senior management for 25 years. She worked initially in Oxfam then as Finance Director at the women’s organisation, YWCA before joining Ethical Property.

Sue currently lives in Oxford working as a consultant and coach and is also on the boards of a housing association and charitable foundation.

taysir arbasi

Advocacy and Liaison in Palestine & Non-Executive Board member

Taysir has been working with Zaytoun since our founding years. An advocate of the power of fair trade in supporting community resilience, he grew up in the Salfeet district which is an area highly dependent on olive cultivation, and one which has seen much of its rich agricultural resources confiscated through the construction of illegal Israeli settlements

In addition to his work with Zaytoun he has worked with an international NGO on advocacy and development projects in Palestine for over 15 years.

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