Connecting classrooms with careers across the Tees Valley.

Our Team

The High Tide team work together towards delivering excellent schemes and programmes for young people across Teesside.

David Robinson


David is Director of Operations within the Brookfield Infrastrucure European team and PD Ports Chairman. Following his appointment as Regional Ambassador to HRH the Prince of Wales in 2012, David’s vision and drive to raise aspirations and improve employment prospects for young people in the maritime industry led to the creation of the High Tide Foundation in the same year. Due to his passionate commitment to the maritime sector, David was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2015 for services to international trade and the UK economy.

Mark Easby


Mark is Managing Director of Better, a brand agency based in Teesside and London who manage a portfolio of local, national and international brands, including everything from maritime and manufacturing to soft drinks and skin care. Mark is a very passionate ‘Teessider’ who is committed to supporting a range of business growth, skills development and charitable activities across the North East region, including his role as Chair of the Foundation.

Lauren Bywater

General Manager

Lauren is our General Manager and she is responsible for the foundations development, programme delivery and membership engagement. Lauren’s passion for supporting young people on Teesside is infectious and she has been instrumental in the development and growth of High Tide since it’s conception in 2012.

Michael Shakesheff


Michael is the Managing Director of Casper Shipping, a leading port agency and marine services business in the UK and one of the founding partners of High Tide. Michael is also a board member of International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC), the world’s leading mutual insurer for the transport industry. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, has an MBA from the University of Teesside and is a non-practicing solicitor in England and Wales.

Kirsten Donkin


In her position as head of PR, Marketing and communications at PD Ports, Kirsten is responsible for directing and overseeing the implementation of the Company’s group-wide communications strategy, brand management and CSR Policy. Aside from design, all marketing and PR activities are handled in-house and centrally managed at PD Ports’ Middlesbrough based headquarters. Kirsten is engaged with a number of groups and organisations in support of the delivery of PD Ports’ business strategy including an active role within the Cabinet Office’s Communications Steering Group to promote the Northern Powerhouse.

Neil Parker


As an experienced entrepreneur and financial governance expert, Neil’s Plan Happy Academy has helped thousands of people deliver real improvements to their lives. His passion for Teesside and making sure that opportunities and support are available for younger people has made him a long-time friend of High Tide. Now as a trustee, Neil’s financial planning skills will help the charity develop and deliver its business plan to reach more young people than ever before across the region.

Paula McMahon


Paula has a key position with Sir Robert McAlpine, which is heavily committed to apprenticeships and schools, as well as being the regional Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) supervisor and mentor. She also chairs two engineering organisations aimed at helping young people in their own careers. As a female engineer, Paula has talked about the challenges she’s experienced and has previously supported High Tide as a STEM ambassador. Alongside our diverse trustees, she will help provide the delivery of interactive, exciting and meaningful work experience to many more students.

Upcoming Programmes

View All Programmes

Our Corporate Partners

Casper Shipping
Jacksons Law Firm
PD Ports