Staff Profiles

Meet our staff team

Sheila Smith - Director

I have worked for UNA Exchange for around 20 years, so I’ve seen massive changes and developments over this time; although with the same values and goals, it really is a different organisation today. I am hugely proud to work for such a positive and dynamic organisation, supporting literally hundreds of young people each year to take up opportunities which, in many cases, really do changes lives.

I have volunteered in several countries myself – China, Vietnam, Wales, the USA and Germany – and personally gained so much from those varied experiences. I’ve met some truly inspirational people from all corners of the globe and widened my own horizons every time. I get the most satisfaction seeing the effects of our work on Welsh communities and on young people local to our own work across Wales – this is where I think UNA Exchange has the greatest impact.

With Scottish parents, having grown up in England and lived in Wales for nearly 30 years I am technically British but I belong in Wales now. Working for an international organisation, and constantly looking towards the rest of the world, enables me to feel connected to the bigger picture at the same time as the pleasure of living in one of the most beautiful parts of it.

Owain Iorwerth- Volunteer Abroad Coordinator

I started working for UNA Exchange in January 2008. Previously I’d been working as an administrator for several other smaller charities around Cardiff. I’d heard about the organisation years ago when I did a project in the Czech Republic in 2001, back then I didn’t think I’d end up working for them! I’ve been volunteering since I was 16 when I took part in a local summer youth challenge run by the Princes Trust. I continued to volunteer while I was at university as I enjoy it so much. In my spare time I love cycling and camping.

Helen Wales - Volunteering in Wales Manager

I’ve been involved in UNA Exchange for many years now, as an overseas volunteer, as a leader, as a trainer and now as a member of staff. I’ve taken part in projects in Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland, Quebec, Botswana and Wales, of course! I’ve led a UNA Exchange environmental project in Port Talbot and a playscheme project in the Rhondda Valley.

I used to be a teacher and spent 2008 volunteering at a school in Lesotho with the charity Dolen Cymru. I returned to Lesotho in 2010 as an EVS volunteer. My work included mentoring a group of Welsh teachers volunteering in the country and developing ways of linking schools in Wales and Lesotho.

I grew up in Wrexham and believe that it’s really important to make links between Wales and other countries. I really enjoy supporting projects in different parts of Wales and helping to create opportunities for international volunteers to learn about Welsh communities.

Anna Mortimer - Administrator

I joined UNA Exchange at the beginning of December 2010.  I have a degree in Social Anthropology and before working here I had been working in various administrative roles in universities, the most recent being Programme Officer in CMCI at King’s College London. 

After finishing university I took part in the ‘Global Xchange’ programme and spent 3 months volunteering in a centre for physically and mentally disabled young people in Egypt, and then 3 months volunteering with the youth service in South London.  Since then I have taken part in UNA Exchange’s Leaders Training 2010, led a 2 week environmental project in Wales, taken part in the Training for Trainers and am now part of the Leaders Training training team for 2011.

Roanna Larson - Supported Volunteering Manager

Emma Butler – Volunteer Development Manager

I’m new to the UNA team, joining in March 2011. I have previously worked in project management for Barnardo’s, Oxfam and Save the Children. I have also worked on the development of smaller charities, recently completing a contract with Arts Alive Wales. 

I have volunteered for Oxfam for the last two years as Regional Manager for the Oxjam Music Festival. I also manage other festivals and events in Wales, which rely on large teams of volunteers.  I’m very pleased to join UNA which provides such exciting opportunities for volunteers.

Rachel Schmieder – Office Intern

I joined the UNA Exchange Office/Team in February 2011 and will be here until June. I studied maths at university and have recently completed my masters. I was first involved with UNA Exchange when I attended Leaders Training in 2009. Since then I have led two environmental projects in Wales and participated in Global Training 2009 and Training for Trainers 2010. I am excited to be one of the training team for Leaders Training 2011.

During my gap year travels I volunteered in schools and orphanages in South East Asia and Nepal and helped with post-tsunami clean-up in Thailand. Whilst at university I was involved in several volunteering projects including coordinating a charity eco arts festival and leading workshops for homeless members of the community.  I also held the role of Community Warden which involved providing support to local community members and developing and coordinating community projects.