About

Here at BE IN THE CHANGE, we are driven by a single mission: to inspire and empower others through the power of stories to help make the world a better place for all.

We do this by building connections and sharing stories between changemakers and those who are wanting to make a change in their local community.

We are a group of passionate activists, academics and entrepreneurs who have a long history working in social and environmental justice.

We are a registered UK social enterprise Community Interest Company (company number 12695530) where tackling social justice and sustainable development are the core drivers of our activities.

Founder and Director

Dr Niki Rust

Through 15 years of experience working across the globe on sustainability research and practice, Niki offers a wealth of expertise and networks in conservation, with links to policy, industry, the third sector and academia. Niki has a passion for bringing people together to create more than the sum of their parts and truly believes that the only way to build transformative change is through effective collaboration. As a communication specialist and long-standing journalist, she also knows the power of good storytelling. Niki founded BE IN THE CHANGE as a way to spread hope and build compassion across the globe so that we can, together, make a better society.

Creative Director

Dr Laura Kehoe

Laura is a scientist with the Nature Conservancy and the University of Oxford. She is obsessed with finding new ways to tap into more sustainable futures. She is the founder of 400trees.org, an initiative that has planted over 130 thousand trees on degraded farmland. Last year, she launched Green Santa, a way for kids to think about what they want for the planet for Christmas. In her day job, Laura is working on protecting tropical forests and Indigenous rights through stricter international trade regulations. 

Content Editor

Dr Iara Lacher

Iara is a landscape ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), interested in issues of sustainable land use planning and biodiversity conservation. She is committed to scientific research that engages the local community and bridges the gap between science and policy. Iara is co-owner of Seven Bends Nursery, a native plant nursery with a mission to increase public access to native plant material and educate the public on sustainable gardening practices. Iara is also an Ecological Landscapes Consultant for Earth Walk Dwellings, an innovative architectural design firm that believes daily living can contribute positively to the environment through sustainable and affordable design.  

Social Enterprise Advisor

Katie Aitken-McDermott

Katie advices and researches social and community enterprises. She currently works with the Centre for Rural Economy and Durham Community Action, where she is researching what is involved in setting up and sustaining rural community and social enterprises (hint: it’s not just economics, its social too..). In the past she’s worked to set up community-run out of school childcare and, has worked with Northumbria and Newcastle universities to widen access to higher education, whilst also enhancing undergraduate’s employability working in local schools and colleges. She lives, works and swims in rural Northumberland in the UK, and is currently working with fellow directors to set up Nature’s Living Room CIC making use of nature to nurture individual and community wellbeing and resilience.