Meet the Team
Tracy Edwards MBE – Founder
Tracy founded The Maiden Factor in the process of rescuing of her beloved yacht Maiden. In 2016 she decided she wanted to do more than just restore Maiden, she also wanted to make sure she was used for something special. Tracy is Patron of, fundraises for and supports a number of small but effective charities who facilitate the education of girls around the globe. For Tracy, the drive to get girls who are currently denied the basic right of an education into school, is particularly poignant as she was expelled from school at 15. She now knows what she gave away.
She also wanted to pay tribute to the late King Hussein I as a thank you for his role in getting Maiden to the start line 28 years ago. His Majesty has many wonderful legacies but his vision of the equality of women through the education of girls is close to Tracy’s heart and a perfect way for her to remember her friend.
With over 30 years’ experience creating and running sailing projects, Tracy will oversee the entire programme. She will skipper Maiden until she gets to Jordan when Maiden’s new up and coming female skipper will take over. Tracy will also work with HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein to make the vision a reality and get girls into school.
Howard Gibbons – Project Manager
Howard has vast experience running projects as both Shore and Project Manager. He has been involved at all levels of boat preparation including design and build and is well placed to return as Project Manager of Maiden. He will oversee Maiden’s restoration and work with Tracy to organise the world tour.
Howard was working as a journalist and sports writer in the UK, mainly in the Southampton area when he met Tracy in 1986. He became the Project Manager/Communications Director of the Maiden a few weeks later and was one of the driving forces in the campaign.
In 1993/94 he became Shore Manager of the ‘Heineken’ WRTWR campaign and then he ran Lawrie Smith’s ‘Silk Cut’ project for the 1997/98 WRTWR. Howard was Shore Manager for the boat building and race preparation period for Nautor Challenge and in 2002 he was Project Manager for Maiden 2 working with Tracy once again.
In recent years, Howard was the Project Manager for the Volvo Ocean Race Legends – a regatta and reunion for former Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race sailors and boats staged in Alicante, Spain prior to the Volvo Ocean Race, 2011-12.
Libby Mudditt – Head of Public Relations
Libby’s role will be to maximise the potential sponsorship and media opportunities of The Maiden Factor world tour in support of the overall aim to get more girls into education.
She has extensive experience in marketing, PR, communications and sponsorship having worked for major international consultancies; the Women’s Tennis Association; on Olympic programmes and helped set up Generations for Peace (formerly Peace through Sport). Libby has worked with Tracy on previous projects and brings a wealth of experience to the team.
Libby grew up in Northamptonshire and her experience of sailing was in dinghies at Cransley Sailing Club; she lived and worked mainly in London until moving to Jordan when she married her husband and working at the British Embassy in Amman as Vice Consul for five years before joining The Maiden Factor.
Kaia Bint Savage - Social Media Coordinator
Kaia will coordinate the social media creative content within the business, working alongside and assisting Libby Mudditt, Head of PR. Kaia is passionate about equality for girls and women, and hopes to connect with as many people through social media as possible to spread the positive message of The Maiden Factor and what it achieves.
Kaia attended The Henley College, and went on to study Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She discovered her enthusiasm for supporting children's' education and development working as an ABA Autistic Tutor during her BSc (hons) and continued on to become the Creative Facilitator for Nature Nurture CIC, a company that aims to re-connect children with their local natural environment, and collaborated with companies including BBC's Cbeebies and Intelligent Health.
In 2015, she joined Jubilee OWLS (outdoor woodland learning scheme) as their Nature and Education co-ordinator, working and liaising with schools to support children's education and curriculum in a forest setting. She also helped with the development of the sister company Jubilee Cadets, an outdoor woodland-based holiday club, assisting with the managing and running of the club in the school holidays, and worked to support and progress the growth of both companies.
Alexandra Roberts – Events Manager
Originally from Edinburgh, Alex has worked in the Events & Hospitality business since 2010. She has delivered a wide range of events over the years from conferences, product launches and corporate incentive travel. Clients have included governing bodies, entertainment and hospitality sector members and corporate clients from across the UK and overseas.
Alex has worked on promotional events for large governing bodies throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for Event Den and more recently for Scotch Whisky Experience PLC as Assistant Events & Hospitality Manager. She worked with clients to organise meetings, product launches, promotional events and seminars for up to 500 people which has given her a varied and extremely hands on knowledge.
Over the past two years Alex worked for Virgin Money as their London Office Host. She has organised fundraising events for charities such as Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) & Heads Together raising over £75,000. An avid gym and running enthusiast, Alex has also raised money and awareness for charities through sporting events and recently undertook the Virgin Money London Marathon and later, The Three Peaks Challenge.
Alex will be organising events before Maiden leaves the UK and at each of the stopovers which will include; fundraising events, school visits, media days, VIP days and Gala dinners.
Allie Smith – Shore Manager
Allie has 25 years’ experience working in Operations and Logistical management within the Yachting World, both UK and Internationally. Allie raced around the world as Bowman on the 67 foot yacht InterSpray in the British Steel Challenge and is a commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster Offshore sailor and experienced RIB Skipper.
She has previously worked for lnternational Yachtsmen including Sir Chay Blyth, Sir Robin Knox Johnston and Mike Golding. During this time she has been involved in many international yacht races including the Vendee Globe, Transat Jaques Vabre, Route du Rhum, OSTAR, Around Alone, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, BT Global Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race. She was also was Project Manager of the inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race from the Canaries to Barbados.
Allie is the founder of one of UK’s most successful sailing and racing schools. Sailing Logic, which she ran for 13 years and has a BA Hons degree is Sports Management. She also volunteers with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) as a Safety Inspector, checking the safety of racing yachts prior to international and cross-channel races.
Jo Gooding - Head of Development and Liaison for Girls’ Education
Jo will be researching which charities we will be working with and developing relationships with those with whom we already support. Jo’s particular interest will be how we assist with effective solutions which enable girls to attend school.
She grew up in Wales, she sailed locally and to the Isles of Scilly with her father from a young age on a 22 ft Catamaran. She started travelling when she was 17 years old, spending time working in the Isles of Scilly, Ireland, Australia and Wales. In 1987 she joined Maiden as cook and was responsible for the filming on board.
In 1994 jo began a career in Mental Health and she then then took a year sabbatical. trained with the BBC and was responsible for the filming on board Tracy’s Catamaran Royal Sun Alliance for the Trans-Atlantic Record attempt.
After the birth of her son in 1998 she worked in a respite home with Children and Young people who had profound learning and physical disabilities. Jo qualified as a counsellor in 2006 and she set up her own business working with children, adolescents and adults. She completed her PGCE in teaching in 2008, and delivered courses, workshops as well as developing health and well-being programmes. She has also recently trained as a meditation teacher with the British School of Meditation.
Jo has had experience of working with a variety of charities since 1994 including Victim Support, Action for Children, Cruse bereavement care, The Old Mill Foundation (Cancer charity), Womens Aid, Crossroads Young Carers and Rehab.