Meet the Team

David Heron David Heron

David Heron

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David Heron

Head of Sales

After an early career in Film and Publishing, David finally found his way to the world of incentives and events, joining the Black Tomato Agency in 2011. Privileged to have lived in six countries (Brazil, Hong Kong, Norway, Netherlands, Malaysia and UK), and visited countless others in his 38 years, David has found his perfect profession in the world of travel.

David’s boundless energy – even after 2 hours sleep thanks to an ever-growing family – keeps us all entertained. And he looks a little bit like James Blunt.

Best travel tip: Don’t be afraid to go to countries in low season.  Get great value on hotels and who cares if it not 30 degrees when it is a pleasant 20.
Strangest Talent: Superhuman peripheral vision.  Useful for spotting friend or foe from 100m and taking appropriate action
Top of the bucket list: Lions Tour in South Africa

Jessica Charles

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Jessica Charles

Head of Operations

Jess joined us in 2014, bringing the Agency another 14 years’ events experience and the best hair in the industry. She has run events of all sizes across the automotive, retail, finance, insurance and pharmaceutical sectors to name just a few. Her vast and varied experience has seen her driving vintage cars around the Amalfi Coast, supercars around Lapland, playing Elephant Polo in India, and putting her best negotiation skills to use in Downtown NoLa.

Jess is obsessively organized and the queen of lists. She even keeps a second outfit in the office so she’s always ready for wherever the day / night takes her. Putting these skills to use, in 2016 Jess became Head of Operations for The Black Tomato Agency and helps to keep all of us in check.

Ritual drink on the plane: Always start with a wine, always end with a water.
Jet lag tip: Locate spa on check-in and indulge in a head, neck and shoulder massage.
Best travel tip: Travel as far as you can for as long as you can afford

Emma North Emma North

Emma North

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Emma North

Project Director

Emma joined The Black Tomato Agency in 2011, starting out in prize delivery before becoming an Account Manager across both Prize Fulfilment and International Incentives teams. In her 3 years at the company she has run events throughout Europe and the US for a huge range of global brands from Unilever to Corona, Mazda to Budweiser and many others in between.

She has a surprising penchant for RnB music. And she doesn’t like rule breakers. Balls should not be thrown in the office, apparently.

Top of the bucket list: Yosemite National Park, California
Office vice: Black coffee. So much of it. And a stash of mini eggs.

Hollie Parsons

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Hollie Parsons

Project Director

Hollie joined us back in 2008, initially working on the Agency’s prize campaigns but has since made the leap (across the office) to the events team and never looked back. She now delivers complex world-wide incentives and conferences for some of the UK’s biggest corporate clients. Travel obsessed and with the gift of the gab, Hollie is happiest meeting people on-site and getting under the skin of a destination.

She’s the office provider /stasher of treats – and a stickler for manners. Important to say thank you when you steal her favourite chocolates.

Top of the bucket list: Bora Bora, Japan, Guatemala, Patagonia, Botswana…
Can’t travel without: Filling her Instagram page with bragworthy photos

Sally Yates

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Sally Yates

Project Director

Having graduated with a degree in Events Management in 2009, Sally joined us early in 2014 with over 5 years’ experience in incentive travel, particularly in the automotive, insurance and retail sectors. She’s run events from Dubai to Zimbabwe, raced kayaks, Americas Cup yachts and supercars, taken on Central America by helicopter, raft and tube, been chased onsite by baboons, elephants and an angry hippo and coordinated 600 guests in an immersive whiskey tasting experience – all without touching a drop.

She has an excellent collection of coats.

Best travel tip: Never take the easy option and have room service, always go out to explore.
Bucket list: Horseback riding on a deserted beach

Micky Robinson Micky Robinson

Micky Robinson

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Micky Robinson

Head of Marketing & Communications

Disillusioned by her early career in corporate law and litigation, Micky’s first foray into the group travel world was in 2010, running a graduate ski operation and responsible for all graduate sales, marketing and operations throughout the French Alps. She joined the Black Tomato marketing team in 2012 and is now Head of Marketing and Communications for the Black Tomato Agency, in charge of website development, print collateral, PR and all creative comms before, on and after group events.

She’s happiest on top of a mountain or behind a camera. And she never ever stops talking about snow. You have been warned.

Best travel tip: Stop a local in the street and ask where they love to eat. Guide books don’t always get it right.
Bucket list: Sail and heli-ski in Norway

Hannah Ridyard

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Hannah Ridyard

Marketing & Communications Executive

With a background in film and arts events, Hannah made the move into the travel industry in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. Having been chased up a mountain by monkeys in China, jumped out of a plane in 12,000 ft above Australia and survived being stranded in an open top car in Death Valley, Hannah was well-prepared for life as one half of the Marketing & Communications team, where there’s never a dull moment. Day to day, Hannah supports Micky in pre and on-site comms, PR and all creative output for The Black Tomato Agency.

Top of the bucket list: Trekking the Inca Trail
Strangest talent: Finding a song for every occasion

Jake Pickering

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Jake Pickering

Business Development Executive

After studying law at university and briefly working abroad within financial services, Jake decided to let his hair down (literally) and pursue a career that is closer to his real passion: travel. He joined the Business Development team in 2015 and spends his days inspiring the masses with tales of adventures around the world.

Jake has travelled far and wide, all in the name of the Great Incentive, and is always keen to break new boundaries when putting a new programme together. He is one fifth of our in house 1 Direction band and brings a refreshing Northern accent to our very Shoreditch office.  His average sporting talent is summed up perfectly by his most recent attempt at ten pin bowling where he managed a gentleman’s 40, but he doesn’t let that get him down.

Best destination visited: Guatemala
Don’t leave home without: Earphones
Best travel tip: Say yes to (almost) everything

Alex Agertoft

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Alex Agertoft

Sales & Marketing Executive

After travelling extensively around South and Central America, Alex went on to study Spanish & International Relations at university; his studies broken up by a year abroad in the Basque Country and followed by further travels. One particularly memorable experience saw him buy a motorbike for $100 off a friendly local and ride all the way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh.

Alex comes to us from a leisure travel background, having spent a few years crafting bespoke trips around Latin America. He joined The Black Tomato Agency in 2016 as our Sales & Marketing executive; he spends his days writing proposals, contributing to the blog, dreaming up innovative marketing campaigns and ensuring nothing leaves the office without being checked by his eagle-eyes. You can blame any spelling mistakes on him.

Desert island luxury: In real life – a hand-axe. In an alternate reality – a pocket-sized Ray Mears.
Strangest Talent: Can rap the whole of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-lot… acapella
Top of the bucket list: Road trip through the southern USA in a classic Mustang listening to nothing but Robert Johnson

Lauren Anthony

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Lauren Anthony

Senior Project Manager

After finishing her studies in Events Management in 2012, Lauren took on the Automotive industry as a PA before discovering the world of group incentives. Over the last five years she’s worked predominantly across the automotive, telecoms and IT sectors, operating in some luxurious venues and inspiring locations, and is always keen to expand her destination knowledge.

Joining the team as Senior Project Manager in February 2017, Lauren is now a true London commuter, learning where the trains stop along the platform and avoiding eye-contact with fellow passengers on the tube. She doesn’t like holidaying in the same place twice as there’s always somewhere new to explore.

Last thing to pack: An extension cable – nothing worse than no plug socket near the bed.
Jet lag tip: Stay awake until at least 9pm, or stay in bed until at least 6am.
Don’t leave home without: Power bank charger – my phone is my communication as well as my camera so needs constantly charging.
Best travel tip: Don’t always trust TripAdvisor – people generally only focus on the bad points.

Heléna Vella

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Heléna Vella

Project Executive

Heléna joined us in 2009 as a bright eyed intern, delving straight into the process of creating and organising competition campaigns. Having conquered the weird and wonderful world of prize management she now masterminds some of our most complex corporate events across the globe, from the glitz and glamour of Monaco to the bustling and vibrant metropolis of Japan. Moving quickly up the ranks in Agency, Heléna currently project manages across a wide range of sectors including automotive, property investment and DSA.

She lives by two travel musts:

  1. Remember that Border Control personnel do NOT have time for sarcasm. The answer to ‘are you carrying anything sharp’ should never be ‘just my wit’.
  2. Don’t catch a flight without a trusty neck pillow. They really work (and there are photos to prove it…)

 

Lizzie Herring

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Lizzie Herring

Project Manager

Lizzie had worked in the travel industry for the last seven years with stints at the Las Vegas tourist board and British Airways before joining The Black Tomato Agency in early 2015 and quickly becoming one of our star players, even though she doesn’t like hugs. In her 2 years at the company she has run events from Europe to the US and beyond with highlights including leading a fleet of muscle cars across of the Mojave desert, a convoy of Cinquecento’s up the Amalfi Coast and a caravan of camels in the Atlas mountains.

Jet lag tip? Run, gin, sleep, repeat
Don’t leave home without: Trainers
Top of the bucket list: Panda cuddling in Chengdu

Archie Muir-Mackenzie

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Archie Muir-Mackenzie

Project Executive

Archie graced The Black Tomato Agency in November 2013, having previously worked in the Sports Gaming industry, setting up and maintaining websites. A Fine Art graduate, he has also worked for Australian tour company Contiki Holidays in Sydney back in 2008. Certainly the most charming of the gang and the only one of us to have a watercolour portrait of himself hanging in the office. It’s something the rest of us are aspiring to.

Best travel tip: Ask for directions
Desert island luxury: Sea plane
Strangest Talent: Gymkhana
Top of the bucket list: Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Favourite dance move: The Sprinkler

Natasha Finch

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Natasha Finch

Project Executive

Nati arrived at The Black Tomato Agency in April 2016 in pursuit of her passion for all things travel. With a professional background as varied as her collection of languages (four to be precise) ranging from corporate to non-profit work; Nati makes sure the in-room gifts are ordered, flights are booked and all the elements are in place for a smooth event, as well as putting her language skills to good use contacting DMCs in faraway lands.

An international relations graduate, Nati is in her element when she’s out and about meeting people from all over the globe, travelling wherever the wind takes her and taking over the mic at hip hop karaoke bowling (yes, it’s a thing).

Best travel tip: Ask a local – it’s the best way to get under the skin of any destination.
Top of the bucket list: Hot air ballooning over the annual Maasai Mara wildebeest migration.

 

Andrew Rae Andrew Rae

Andrew Rae

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Andrew Rae

Head of Promotions

Andrew has spent the best part of 10 years providing prize experiences for a host award winning sales promotion campaigns. As Head of Promotions at Black Tomato, he is responsible for curating hugely engaging prizes and rewards for a vast array of brands, agencies and employees. There are few things he hasn’t arranged or done himself when it comes to unique activities. Private training sessions with Premiership footballers, done. Arranging a dinner for two in a dormant volcano, done. Winning Gold, Silver and Bronze in the same category at an industry awards, done.

He’s even beaten Denise Lewis in a 5 yard dash on the Olympic 100m track before the London 2012 Games. A defeat she said “she will never recover from”.

Ritual drink on the plane: G&T (clear when spilled)
Jet lag tip: Always watch the sun go up and go down
Top of the bucket list : Canadian outback

Harriet Kendall

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Harriet Kendall

Account Manager

Having experienced life as a prize-winner first hand, Harriet joined the Black Tomato Agency’s growing prize team in 2014, with a background in social media consulting. And Disney. Having spent the previous year working for Walt Disney World in Florida (although not as a princess, unfortunately) and another living in Amsterdam, Harriet is first to admit she’s a victim of the travel bug, but has happily settled herself back in London after missing cups of tea and Sunday roasts a little too much.

Top of the bucket list: Floating lantern festival, Honolulu
Best travel tip: Plan every trip around the restaurants. Good food means a good holiday.
Jet lag tip: Avoid moving walkways in airports, tire yourself out for the flight by walking for a mile instead.

 

Luisa Oliveira

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Luisa Oliveira

Prize Fulfilment

Luisa fell in love with London after visiting a friend in 2013 and never left, even completing her university degree in travel and tourism from this side of the Atlantic. She joined the office as an intern in February 2016 and was quickly made a permanent member the promotions team, where she spends her days making sure that our prize winners’ every wish is granted.

A native of Toronto, or ‘The 6ix’ as it is also known, she is a huge fan of Drake and regularly breaks office Sonos rules to get his songs to the top of the queue.

Ritual drink on the plane: Anything with bubbles
Jet lag tip: Whatever you do, don’t nap on your arrival day
Don’t leave home without: Headphones (for Drake) and socks (for warmth)

Sabrina Turczynowicz

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Sabrina Turczynowicz

Promotions Executive

Having spent her childhood living in Warsaw, Prague and New York, as well as the UK, Sabrina’s passion for travel started at an early age. Her solo adventures have seen her hopping trains in Europe, road tripping through the US, saving turtles in Central America and cruising around the Caribbean.

After graduating from university, Sabrina spent a few years perfecting her customer care skills at a dating agency (not Tinder) before the travel bug bit again. Having found her way back to London by way of South America and the Antipodes, Sabrina joined our Promotions team in 2016 where she charms clients and prize winners alike with her ability to talk to anyone about literally anything.

Face your fears: An adrenaline junkie, Sabrina loves nothing more than bungee jumping off bridges and diving out of planes.
Near death experience: Almost drowning in a riptide while trying to save hundreds of turtle eggs from Costa Rican poachers.

Astrid Decrop

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Astrid Decrop

Senior Designer

Curious about the world and passionate about design, Belgian born Astrid started her college education in the U.K. completing a foundation course in Art and Design at Maidstone’s University of Creative Arts. Her design career continued across the pond where she spent five years in the Netherlands at the renowned Design Academy Eindhoven and a summer at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC. Eager to add as many strings as possible to her creative bow, Astrid interned at a design consultancy in Paris and a studio on Brussels before joining us as an intern in October 2012. We soon created a permanent role for her and her many talents.

She is addicted to Diet Coke. In a really big way. But it seems to fuel her creative genius, so we let it be.

 

Louisa Lau Louisa Lau

Louisa Lau

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Louisa Lau

Art Director

After 5 years of climbing the graphic design ladder, Louisa joined The Black Tomato Group in 2012 as Art Director, producing and overseeing all visual communication for the company and its clients. From packaging and print to digital and video creation, she ensures every project meets the client’s brief, engages the relevant audience and is delivered on time and within budget. Louisa is a self-proclaimed luxury brand enthusiast and has worked with the likes of Coca-Cola, Harvey Nichols, It’s Nice That, Dazed & Confused, and Nokia.

Leather goods and Asian street food are her weaknesses. And pugs. She loves pugs.

Ritual drink on the plane: A glass of bubbly
Don’t go home without: taking an Instagram-worthy photo.

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