Meet the Team

Tracy Sheppard, Manager & Mediator

Hi, I’m Tracy, Founder of TalkFIRST. 

I have always been passionate about supporting family life through improved communication and the understanding of each other to help resolve and prevent conflict. 

I facilitate family mediation and work to help build better relationships. I am accredited with The Family Mediation Council; member of The College of Mediators.

I have 2 grown up children, and spend what little spare time I have walking, running and reading.

David Coghlin, Mediator

Hey, My name’s David but you can call me Dave. I’m a Mediator who completed my foundation training in family mediation in 2017. I  have  been gaining valuable experience since then through the work we do at TalkFIRST.  I am registered with The Family Mediation Council; and I am a member of The College of Mediators since 2018.

 I have worked with children and young people in education and social services in various roles for 15 years prior to mediating. I really enjoy the variety of work that comes through our door at TalkFIRST and I find that there is always something else to learn to help people through what can be a difficult situation.

Sholem Saltzman, Volunteer Mediator

I’m Sholem (Sha-Lum), I joined TalkFIRST as a mediator in January 2019 and have worked in a variety of settings as a Head Teacher and with vulnerable adults as Director of a Mental Health Hostel. 

I am presently a Mental Health Act Manager sitting regularly on Managers Hearings, covering several health areas. I am a member of the College of Mediators and registered with the Family Mediation Council. I also work in the Orthodox Jewish Community as a Community Rabbinical Co-Ordinator and, a specialist mediator helping Jewish couples with the arrangements of the Jewish GET (Religious Divorce).

Dean Owens-Cooper, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Hi, I’m Dean, I am a qualified health and social care senior practitioner with over 2 decades of experiences in statutory (NHS & Local authorities) work and the same in the charity sector.

I have a passion for helping others. In my day job I am a Manager working in homelessness services and very much enjoy the work I do. In my spare I like to go on holiday; mainly city breaks, Barcelona and Germany being mine and my Husbands favourite places. I’m Manchester born and bred. I really enjoy swimming and that helps me keep healthy and well.

Martine Delaney, Trustee

I am a Chartered Legal Executive and an accredited civil and commercial mediator.  After 20 years of representing clients in dispute I considered that encouraging my clients to seek a solution and be part of that process might reach a better outcome than a court decision.

As part of the mediation process disputing parties can drive a resolution that best suits them.  At the end of the day no one knows better than the parties in dispute what will work best for them and people are more inclined to work with a plan they have been a part of.  That applies at work and at home.  A happy and healthy home life is a vital foundation for all of us.

Steve Powell, Trustee


I am an accountant and business adviser with over 30 years experience. I am a relatively new Trustee to the charity, but I have known Dave and Tracy for many years. I wanted to do something to use the skills that I have developed in my day job to support a charity and where better than TalkFIRST? I am really enjoying my time as a trustee and I love the work that the team do – it really is a wonderful organisation!

Lindsay Ogden, Trustee

Hey, I’m Lindsay. I’m an experienced housing professional but most recently ventured into the Higher Education sector working in the Customer Experience/Facilities Management Department.

I have worked across the Northwest during my social housing career- ranging from rural areas to urban cities and the challenges that they bring from affordability to poverty, crime and deprivation.

I am extremely passionate about equality and ensuring everyone have the opportunities to reach their potential no matter their background, stemmed from growing up in a single parent household in council housing.

Fascinated by the study of people, particularly the criminal mind- which steers me to study Psychology as my first degree- To compliment my studies I worked in a forensic psychiatric hospital.


Christine Boydell, Administrator

I have been a part-time administrator at TalkFIRST since January 2018, and also work as a secretary within the NHS.  I have lots of administrative experience within children’s services and I have some previous administrator experience with local charities.

I am very practical and methodical and try my best to organise the team!

I have two children, two stepchildren (all grown up) and a grandson.  I live with my partner, younger daughter and our two cats (who would benefit from mediation every now and again!) 

Joe Shaw, Trustee

Hi, I’m Joe 🙂 

I wanted to become involved with the charity as I am very passionate about improving outcomes for other people, especially young people who have faced challenges, and saw a great opportunity to grow my own skillset too!
Although I’m still at the beginning of my career, I do have a lot of experience in a few areas, for example day to day I work for a Local Authority as a finance officer, and I am studying towards becoming an accountant alongside working as a young people’s participation officer for another charity, and I volunteer where I can to support children’s services. 
In my spare time I like to go to the gym and keep myself relatively fit and healthy as well as a bit of PC gaming, or watching about anything tech or finance related. 
I love a good chat and a coffee too!

Covid-19 Update 😷

During the current Covid-19 situation, our office is closed however we are still open for business.

If you would like to talk about how you could mediate via video conferencing (Skype, Zoom, etc.) or would like support with difficult relationships, managing children/teens during lockdown and beyond, contact us on 07462 607023 or email [email protected] for more information.

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