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Gaia House Staff Team

Meet the team of staff, both non-residential, full or part-time staff who provide Gaia House with administrative and organisational skills, and residential coordinators who look after the retreatants and the house and gardens.
More about working at Gaia House

Residential Coordinators

Virgina Kennard Virgina Kennard - Maintenance Coordinator
The Maintenance Coordinator makes sure that the daily maintenance of the building is looked after. A varied role which includes overseeing the hot water and central heating system, the lighting, electrical supply and minor DIY repairs etc
Jane Knight
Jane Knight - Garden Coordinator
The Garden Coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day upkeep of the grounds, lawns and vegetable garden. She is supported by a small team of regular volunteers.
Pete Hooker Pete Hooker – Kitchen Coordinator
In a team of two, the Kitchen Coordinator manages the running of the kitchen and ensures that well-balanced, nutritious and tasty vegetarian meals are provided daily for retreatants and staff. They will be cooking for numbers from 25 to 80.
Karen1
Karen Sivan - Household Coordinator
The two Household Coordinators share responsibility for overseeing the cleaning of the house, room allocation, laundry, furnishings, shop and plants, and ensure the house preparations are complete before group retreats.
Maia
Maia - Household Coordinator
The two Household Coordinators share responsibility for overseeing the cleaning of the house, room allocation, laundry, furnishings, shop and plants, and ensure the house preparations are complete before group retreats.
 Ramiro Ortega
Ramiro Ortega
- Household Coordinator
The two Household Coordinators share responsibility for overseeing the cleaning of the house, room allocation, laundry, furnishings, shop and plants, and ensure the house preparations are complete before group retreats.
Parvati
Parvati - Reception Coordinator
Together the two Reception Coordinators ensure the smooth running of reception, including making bookings and being the first point of call for yogi queries.
Elena De Paz
Elena De Paz - Reception Coordinator
Together the two Reception Coordinators ensure the smooth running of reception, including making bookings and being the first point of call for yogi queries.

Non- Residential Staff

Siggi Streat
Siggi Streat – Co-Director
“I first arrived at Gaia House from India in 1985 to work as Volunteer Manager. Over the years I have been involved in different roles and returned in August 2012 as acting director. At present I share co-directorship with Diana.
My background is in social and awareness work and my interest in Dharma teachings and practice runs deep.”
Diana Parratt
Diana Parratt – Co-Director
“I’ve lived within 5 miles of Gaia House for over 20 years. My interest in meditation, mindfulness and the Dharma developed whilst I was training to be a counsellor in the late 1990s. Regularly attending retreats at Gaia House supports me in my personal and professional life, I became a Trustee in December 2010 and Co-Director in 2013.”
Karrie Dashwood
Karrie Dashwood - Finance Manager
“Well it all started for me here in Feb 2003, temping and assisting the then Director Ann Gleeson; I got hooked, stayed, and went on to run the Finance department. Over the years I have developed the accounting systems, looked after the pennies and kept the financial wolves at bay. I have been working in accounts since 1977, but I’m also a massage therapist and a Reiki master practising from home. (Before you ask – no, I do not massage the books!) I am an an avid animal lover, and I love the place where I work.”
Tracy Kewell
Tracy Kewell
– Finance Assistant
“I joined Gaia House in 2010 after seeking work to supplement my current employment at the local primary school. Having previously worked in a monastic environment I was intrigued to find out more about the workings of Gaia House. The staff were very welcoming and it has been a pleasure getting to know the team. I live with my family – a house load of teenagers! – in Newton Abbot and appreciate “to the full” the peace and quiet Gaia House offers. In my spare time you would probably find me at the theatre or on the stage as I have a passion for Amateur Dramatics.”
Iain Fraser
Iain Fraser - Maintenance Manager
“I started working at Gaia House at the end of 2004. Apart from looking after the buildings, gardens & grounds, I am also a keen local historian, so combining all of these elements suits me well. The house has seen many occupants over the centuries, and had many structural changes, so what we have here now is often quite a challenge in terms of upkeep & maintenance! I love the setting here amidst the peaceful countryside and I live nearby with my family.”
Richard Rendle
Richard Rendle – Building Engineer
“I was called in to Gaia House in 2006 to fix a leaking tap and I am still here! I help with the general maintenance of the house and advise on building projects.  Since working here I have developed an interest in meditation and Buddhism, which I really feel has really benefited me and my family. I live locally in High Week with my 2 boys, a dog, 3 cats and 11 chickens!”
Rachel Davies
Rachel Davies –
Outreach Development Officer
“I first worked at Gaia House as a Volunteer Coordinator in reception between 2005 and 2006, and came back as Retreat Manager at the start of August 2008. It is a joy to work with such a committed team of staff, Coordinators and volunteers in the service of something so precious. When I’m not at work, I’m afraid to say that you will still often find me within a one mile radius – I live nearby and I also try to squeeze as much retreat time at Gaia House into my holidays as possible.”   Rachel is currently on maternity leave.
Susanne O'Brien
Susanne O’Brien
– Retreat Manager

“I feel very blessed to be part of the staff team here at Gaia House. My interest in the dharma and meditation started five years ago and my first retreat here in 2010 felt like the start of a new and nourishing chapter in my life. Having worked as a coordinator at the Barn Retreat and then here at Gaia House,  I was given the wonderful opportunity to continue to deepen my relationship with a special organisation that has had such a positive impact on me and I know of many others.”
Sarah Abdy
Sarah Abdy - HR & Administration Manager, including looking after our Kitchen & Reception departments.
I joined the Gaia House family in April 2004 as PA to the Executive Director. The changes in technology and the need for development changed my role and in November 2006 I became Administration Manager. I thoroughly enjoy working at Gaia House ensuring that the reception department, numerous systems, processes and databases support those that work and serve here. It is an amazing place to work with amazing people. I live just outside Totnes with my family and my border terrier Hamish!”
Charlotte Johnston
Charlotte Johnston – Communications Manager
I moved down to Devon in 2012 to be part of the Gaia House team and to help promote Gaia House’s offerings to the wider world. I feel incredibly lucky to be working in this very unique environment and to live in such a beautiful part of the world.”
Faith Burch
Faith Burch - Dharma Talks Administrator
“Having returned from 8 years of travelling in South East Asia I lived in London in the 90s, and came to Gaia House in 2000 to become the kitchen coordinator. I decided to stay in South Devon permanently because I enjoy living in a small, lively, creative, friendly community with a strong sangha, so close to Dartmoor and the sea. A few years after completing my service as a coordinator I was offered the role of running Dharma Talks. The benefits of coming to Gaia House on retreat over the years for me have been huge, and I feel fortunate to be part of the warm and committed team who continue to offer that to others.”
mettaPierre Tilston - IT Comms Officer
Lisa Unsworth Lisa Unsworth - – Finance Assistant
“I moved to Devon to join the finance team at Gaia House in May 2014, and am grateful for the opportunity to work in such a special environment and make a contribution to an organisation that is committed to supporting physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”

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