Developing resilient leaders and long-term sustainability

Why We Exist

Routes to Resilience™ is a collaborative initiative that reconnects people to their intrinsic capacity for leadership.  Whether you are 9 or 90, our bespoke programmes and experiential learning journeys honour a commitment to life-long learning. 

Our unique routes to resilience help you develop a deep understanding of the interconnectedness between people and planet, ensuring you have the knowledge and  tools to make better, more informed and sustainable life and career choices.

What We Do

Developed in collaboration with leading experts in sustainability principles and systems thinking, our offerings are designed to provide you with the knowledge and 21st Century skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Seminars expose you to relevant local and global issues, ensuring timely engagement with the dilemmas and challenges of sustainable development today whilst fostering future-thinking and problem solving for tomorrow.

Our aim is for participants to walk away 

  • Secure in their knowledge of sustainability principles 
  • Excited about their purpose and potential to drive change
  • Confident in their personal leadership capabilities 
  • Inspired to take action and make a positive impact

How We Do It

Our programmes bring learning to life, combining theory with real-world practical application and providing opportunities for mastering strategies for action. Applying Otto Scharmer’s U-theory, we take participants through a progression of awareness, contextualised knowledge and understanding, experience-based learning, and problem-solving and solution sensing practice. This journey is the translation of thought and feeling into action.

Find out how we got started


We Believe

Sustainability challenges are embedded within local contexts and communities

Global impact starts with local action

There is a need for more relevant learning experiences that develop future-ready, resilient citizens

Place-based learning provides a powerful tool for driving transformational change

Greater sustainability understanding increases our capacity to respond in a meaningful way

Sustainability and leadership are not separate terms

Everyone is a leader

The Routes to Resilience Team

Core Team

Executive Director

Ann de Passos

Ann brings with her, years of experience in Organisational Development and Team Coaching. She holds a bachelor in Business Science, majoring in Organisational Psychology, has managed the leadership development programmes at Allan Gray Pty Ltd, in South Africa, and implemented leadership development programmes for a global boutique asset manager. Core to her programmes have been sustainability principles and practices.

Director of Impact Trust

Tamzin Ractliffe

Tamzin has worked across the public, private and civil society sectors, providing strategic advisory services, professional development workshops and training programme development materials to drive greater impact in the application of capitals to social and sustainable development. Tamzin directs the Impact Trust, an organisation committed to promoting the multiple literacies that contribute to global citizenship, sustainability intelligence and leadership action. With foundation degrees in Commerce, Anthropology and Economics, and an Honours in Applied Psychology, Tamzin completed her MPhil in Climate and Development with ACDI in 2014, focusing on environmental citizenship and sustainable consumption.

Deputy Director of CISL SA

Elspeth Donovan

Elspeth is Deputy Director of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, South Africa. She joined CISL in 2008 and in addition to designing open and customised programmes in South Africa, she is a tutor on CISL’s Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business and the Anglo American Advanced Sustainability Management programme. Prior to this, she was at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.


Alexei Du Bois

Alexei is a Commonwealth Scholar and NRF Doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford, completing a PhD focused on Education for Sustainable Development in various Southern African countries. He has worked on policy contributions for UNESCO, DFID and the World Bank, and with the British Council teaching in Mexico. Before coming to Oxford, Alexei was a teacher in Cape Town, where he directed the Luleka Exchange Programme – a multi-school partnership that facilitated curriculum exchange and professional development as well as leadership capacity building in South African public schools.


Geordie Ractliffe

Geordie has a PhD (Zoology) in aspects of freshwater ecology with more than 20 years’ experience in river and wetland management, including planning and hands-on experience in mitigating impacts of construction and built infrastructure, water resource development and environmental flows.  She has lectured to undergraduate and postgraduate courses, supervised theses, written over 50 papers, reports and reviews.

Geordie has a long history of political and social activism, President of the Students’ Representative Council at the University of Cape Town at the height of the anti-Apartheid struggle in the 1980s, and part of a delegation to meet the African National Congress in exile in 1989.  She served as a regional organiser for the National Union of South African Students. As a post-graduate student, Geordie served on UCTs Council and on a commission into student governance.

Geordie served on a school governing body for 9 years, which sparked a deep commitment to contributing to finding solutions to the education crisis in South Africa.  She thus retrained as a teacher, earning her Post-Graduate Certificate in Education with Distinction at UCT in 2014.  Geordie is passionate about improving the access to quality teaching and resources.  She has taught for four years as an Intermediate Phase teacher in poor communities.  She established a 6000-title library at her school, leveraging donor funds to develop facilities and support a part-time librarian, and conducting an evaluation of the impact of the library on learner engagement and literacy.  She is currently taking forward a programme focusing on teacher practice and curriculum design to engage the most marginalised youth in their education

Inge Anderssen

Inge is a qualified educator and parent who is passionate about literacy and language and has a deep interest in fostering multilingualism in learners. She completed her PGCE and B.Ed at UCT in languages and literacy and explored how language impacted temporal and physical spaces within schools and the classroom. As an isiXhosa and Afrikaans teacher she is exploring how translanguaging in the classroom can aid English FAL and SAL learners to develop and effect change. Inge aims to develop transferable skills such as critical and creative thinking, problem solving, effective communication and collaboration with peers, thereby generating a solid foundation for lifelong learning. In her spare time, Inge volunteers as a firefighter with the Volunteer Wildfire Services where she is an active firefighter, trainer and events co-ordinator.

Expert Contributors

Mike Freedman

Mike is the founder of Freedthinkers, a partnership that specialises in market research, brand development and place-making. He consults on purpose-driven strategy for corporates, NGOs, Government, towns and cities. He is also Chair of the Impact Trust.

Retha van der Schyf

Retha van der Schyf is a transformation specialist. She is known for her ability to solve for the why and the how to in complex environments, partnering individuals, organisations or ecosystems through difficult transformations. Starting her career as a barrister, Retha soon transitioned into financial services where she led global strategies from the UK, US and Africa. This culminated in her leading the corporate and innovation strategies for Africa for a global bank before changing course to specialize in transformations that progress social innovation and require innate personal or organisational resilience. Her purpose is to help carve out ways to bring about sustainable change to both the present and the future of people, organisations or communities. This is enabled by her core skill in finding the how to.


Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle is the concept initiator and developer of the Global 1000 Schools Project (G1000), a project being developed to lead 1000 SADC schools to Carbon Neutrality. In 2011, Mike managed and oversaw the construction of the Kamoka Bush School, where he established and managed an off-the-grid environmental school that accommodated 84 students and visiting teachers. Michael holds an undergraduate degree in Commerce and postgraduate degree in Futures Studies from the University of Stellenbosch. Mike is also a Member and Accredited Presenter for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Dr Gary Kendall

Dr Gary Kendall has been working at the intersection of business strategy and sustainability for more than a decade. Prior to joining Nedbank in 2013, he was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and previously served as Executive Director at SustainAbility in London, where he advised numerous blue chip organisations on how to strengthen their business strategies with enhanced systems intelligence.

Gary’s career in sustainable development began when he joined WWF International’s Climate & Energy team in 2006. Gary is the author of the WWF publication on electromobility titled “Plugged In”. He has a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Liverpool and has held a season ticket with Liverpool FC since 1991.

Catherine Cameron

Catherine co-founded Agulhas Open Knowledge in 2003 and leads the Agulhas practice in the areas of sustainability and climate change. She has held a number of advisory and board positions, and is currently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Aviation consortium (including Airbus, BA, Rolls Royce, NATS, TUI & Virgin Atlantic). Catherine is a Visiting Professor at University of Essex Business School, and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) at the University of Surrey.

Bill Scott

William Scott is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Bath where his research focuses on the role of learning in sustainable development, on the contributions that education can make to this, and on the problems of researching the effectiveness of such activities. Bill has authored and co-authored numerous books, serves as the Chair of Trustees of the UK National Association for Environmental Education, and is the Associate Editor of the Routledge Journal Environmental Education Research.

Dr Harriet Marshall

Harriet specialises in global citizenship education and intergenerational learning (PhD Cambridge, PGCE London, FRSA). She has worked in the field of global learning for 22 years as a teacher, lecturer, researcher and project manager, and is currently working as a freelance consultant and trainer. She was lead author on the recent Oxfam SDGs teacher guide and is facilitating an exciting new intergenerational learning project in West Berkshire @WBerksIntergen

– To the late Tom McLaughlin, your legacy lives on –
Read the Impact Trust’s tribute to Tom McLaughlin

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