Steve’s post-graduate qualifications in environmental economics, wildlife management, and business administration, augmented by twenty years of experience in conservation and ecotourism projects throughout Africa, provided the perfect springboard for his next ambitious undertaking to create Natural Capital.
As a founding partner of Conserve, Steve focused on fundraising, building and resourcing the core and project teams for an ambitious new conservation organisation established to address the conservation crisis unfolding in abandoned, neglected and under-resourced hunting blocks in Africa: an enormous and frequently overlooked sector of the continent’s conservation estate.
As Executive Director, Steve was responsible for effectively managing and allocating an annual USD 5 million budget to safeguard and sustainably manage the 350,000-acre Singita Grumeti Reserves concession area in the western corridor of the world-renowned Serengeti ecosystem.
His work as an Executive Board Member, along with his experience with 501(c)3 tax deductible giving, donor proposal development and grant reporting requirements, led to a major restructuring and streamlining of the Grumeti Fund that achieved significant efficiency gains and cost savings of USD 1.5 million annually, against a backdrop of extensive programmatic expansion.
During his five-year tenure leading the Grumeti Fund, external fundraising and third-party contributions increased by 4,500% to USD 3,240,958 in final full year in charge.
Steve not only led and motivated 160 full-time conservation staff and 60 dry season contract workers, but he also recruited and built one of the most diverse, experienced, and professional senior management teams in the conservation sector (comprising a PhD, three double Masters, and four Masters graduates).
He also delivered strategic guidance to various operational divisions – including conservation management, anti-poaching and law enforcement, community outreach, research and monitoring, and stakeholder engagement – and achieved a year-on-year reduction in illegal activities (i.e. poaching incidents and snares removed). As a result, the Grumeti Fund successfully undertook the largest ever black rhino reintroduction into Tanzania in 2019 and succeeded in having no elephants or rhinos poached on the concession during Steve’s tenure at the helm of Grumeti. Furthermore, the strong team dynamic he nurtured helped to quadruple the mammalian biomass residing within the protected area estate actively managed by the Grumeti Fund.
Steve was recruited by Javelin Capital to head up the long-term public-private partnership, working in conjunction with PPF and the BRE as the asset manager of this threatened wilderness.
Steve helped raise the necessary seed capital and conducted extensive site visits and ground truthing exercises (in conjunction with PPF), but it was always envisaged that carbon would be the main economic driver to generate sufficient funding for meaningful community development and upliftment initiatives. This was – and still is – a multi-year undertaking and a project that continues with PPF leading the carbon work to this day.