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Meet Our UK & Ireland Team

UK & Ireland

Dirk Talsma
Managing Director

Dirk graduated from one of Europe’s most prestigious hotel schools with a “Commendation to the International Hotel Industry” and went on to graduate from the Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Hospitality and Business Management.

His early career included spells in some of London’s finest hotels including the prestigious Stafford Hotel, the Lancaster London and finally Sopwell House, a luxury hotel in Hertfordshire. Dirk then moved into a Regional Manager role for a collection of private Country Estates and oversaw the opening of the exclusive Froyle Park, before joining Rapport as Head of Operations in 2015 where he focussed on supporting new and existing clients and teams.

After successfully completing his Executive MBA with Distinction, Dirk took up the position of Managing Director at Allianz Park, home of Saracens, where he had responsibility for the strategic direction of all aspects of operations before re-joining Rapport in 2019.

Dirk has a great passion for anything related to food and drinks and can often be found in France or Italy visiting various vineyards or sampling their local cuisines.

Management Support Team

Hayley Barnard

Business Director

Hayley graduated from University with a BSc in Hospitality Business Development. She then spent over 12 years in Front of House management roles in major law firms and investment banks.

Hayley joined Rapport in our founding year in 2012 and in 2015 she joined the head office team. Her journey from Head of Operations to Operations Director and Director of Business Operations has been marked by her influential contributions to the growth and success of Rapport.

Hayley leads the overall day-to-day for UK & Ireland Rapport business, ensuring the successful execution of strategic initiatives and promoting operational excellence across Rapport.

In her spare time, Hayley is a keen wine connoisseur and loves exploring native English Vineyards for new wines to try.

Daniel O’Hehir

Director of Client Operations

Daniel started his journey with Rapport in 2016 and joined the head office team in 2018. He sees Guest Service from a different lens with his experience in the Premium Airline industry working for Qantas Airways, and his work on Private Jets for high-profile individuals.

Before joining the head office team, Daniel managed Rapport’s largest client operation and one of the world’s largest media companies. Daniel’s move to Rapport Head Office saw his progression from Head of Operations to Operations Director and in his current role as Director of Client Operations overseeing all of Rapport client accounts.

Daniel’s role is to lead on the design and implementation of Rapport’s operational strategy and the business operational function providing support and guidance to the Operational Leads.

Daniel is a very keen traveller and lover of all thing’s food and wine. He spends his free time hosting dinner parties, drinking excellent wine and entertaining guests where he can showcase his love of food and travel on a plate.

Emma Williams

Operations Director

Emma, a seasoned professional in service management, became an integral part of Rapport in 2011 as the Service Development Manager, paving the way for the company’s successful launch in 2012. Since Rapport’s launch, Emma has had subsequent roles as the Head of Operations in 2013 and Operations Director in 2018

In these positions, Emma spearheaded and managed high-profile Front of House operations, catering to major investment banks and renowned law firms. Her expertise extended to meticulous planning and seamless service delivery during numerous new building openings.

Prior to joining Rapport, Emma gained experience in Front of House Management at the prestigious five-star Sanderson hotel in London.

As a working mum of two boys, Emma’s spare time is spent with her family, but she will always make time for exceptional food and wine.

Abbie Livesey

Head of Operations

Abbie joined the Front of House industry in 2013 as a Receptionist and has worked her way up since then. She joined Rapport in August 2018, to run one of our largest multi-site operations in London. She led her team to win the Front of House Team of the Year at the Food Service Cateys in 2019 and then went on to be named one of the ’30 under 30’ in the hospitality industry in 2020 by winning a Caterer Acorn Award. In 2021, Abbie joined our Head Office Team as a Head of Operations, where she currently holds responsibility for overseeing the operations of multiple client portfolios.

Abbie heads up our Women and Allies Network, Empower, and has a passion for inspiring young female leaders. Outside of work she loves to cook and all things musical theatre.

Kathrin Willhelm

Head of Operations

Before joining Rapport in 2018, Kathrin worked in various front line and management positions in the luxury hotel sector in Austria, Ireland, and the UK. Having worked in such a range of roles, Kathrin gained the necessary skills to work with a large variety of different clients across Rapport.

Prior to joining our head office team in 2022 in her current role, Kathrin managed one of our largest contracts across the UK, a world leading company specialising in information technology services and consulting. That operation consisted of 70+ team members across the UK and Ireland. In her current role, Kathrin oversees a variety of different contracts within the UK and Ireland ranging from financial industries to private equity.

In her spare time, Kathrin enjoys exercising and being active, but you will also find her taking a nap on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

    Daniele Filippone

    Head of Operations

    Daniele brings with him a wealth of knowledge from the hospitality industry, with ten years of experience in five-star hotels in London and Italy.

    Daniele joined Rapport in 2021 to manage the Client Services teams for one of our high-profile professional services clients. With the challenge of re-building one of our largest teams in the phased return to work post-pandemic, he managed multiple services for our clients. His contribution was key for a successful contract retention at the end of 2022. In 2024, Daniele joined the head office team as Head of Operations.

    Daniele is a sports enthusiast who frequently engages in various athletic activities. With a particular passion for football, he intertwines his love for sports with his passion for travelling.

      Melissa Harvey

      Head of Operations

      Melissa joined Rapport in 2022. Only one year later in 2023, she took home the Leadership Award at the Rapport Excellence Awards. In 2024, Melissa joined the Rapport head office team as Head of Operations.

      Melissa has over 14 years’ worth of high-end customer and guest services experience. Prior to joining Rapport, she mobilised and launched new contracts for iconic buildings such as the Battersea Power Station and the Bentall Centre. Before she joined the property management and professional services world, Melissa had been working across high-end retail departments such as Harvey Nichols as a Business Manager.

      Outside of work, you will usually find Melissa sourcing the best food spots in London and Kent. She also loves attending music shows.

        Emily Abbam

        Head of DE&I

        Emily joined Rapport in 2019 as Learning and Engagement Business Partner. In this role, she also championed D&I initiatives, and chaired EmbRace You, our Race and Ethnicity Network. Now as Head of DE&I, Emily leads the delivery of Rapport’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and empowers our leaders by sharing best practice to ensure an inclusive workplace culture.

        Emily has gained management experience working within Front of House at Firmdale Hotels, a luxury five-star hotel group. She also brings with her a wealth of experience from working in a special needs school, being Family Link Respite Carers for Haringey Council, and undertaking Camp America where she supported young adults with severe learning and physical disabilities.

        Emily loves to travel, visiting a new country each year. Aside from her passion for singing and leading the Rapport Choir, Emily also enjoys keeping active and spending time with friends and family.

        Gary Acheson

        Head of Learning & Development

        Gary has 25 years’ international experience in luxury hotels and corporate support services. His operational hotel experience included work in Switzerland, New York, Ireland, and The Dorchester Hotel in London.

        Gary joined Rapport in 2011 prior to launch, leading on HR and Learning, and has worked in similar roles for two serviced office businesses. Gary returned to Rapport in 2021 to focus on reframing and elevating Learning & Development at Rapport. He leads learning strategies for our national and global teams, unlocking a culture of hospitality and service excellence through Rapport’s leadership teams. He also works with consultancy clients on tailored learning solutions, and champions diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything we do.

        Gary loves gardening and is passionate about anti-waste. He champions our Be The Change network, which focuses on environmental and sustainability awareness.

        Emma Jonas

        Head of Business Excellence

        Emma has over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality and travel industry. She completed her MBA at Aston Business School with Distinction, specialising in Strategic Account Management.

        Emma joined Rapport in 2019, leading regional operations on one of our largest contracts. Prior to this, Emma worked as Head of Operations for a global travel company, with a focus on the European market. Emma’s experience covers a vast array of differing operations including restaurants and bars, hotels and resorts, day visitor attractions, wedding and events venues, retail, and corporate space.

        In 2022, Emma joined the head office team as the Head of Business excellence. In this role, Emma enhances operational excellence by finding innovative solutions, and support’s Rapport’s international clients.

        Emma has a passion for travel and photography, and she loves spending time with her three children.

          Anouk van den Ing

          Head of HR

          Anouk graduated with a Business Bachelor Degree from an award winning Dutch International Hotel Management School in Breda in The Netherlands. In 2014, Anouk moved to London to pursue a career in Human Resources. In 2016, she worked in the cluster offices for Marriott Central London, supporting the HR and Learning and Development function for a number of their five-star hotels.

          Since joining Rapport in 2017 as HR Operations Specialist, Anouk has since being promoted to Head of HR worked closely with our Head of Learning and Development to provide a joined-up people function to our ambassadors and clients. Anouk also has a real passion for wellbeing and is the Executive Sponsor for our Be Well network.

          Anouk enjoys spending time with her friends and loves to travel. Outside of work when not socialising or exploring new restaurants in London, you can find her in the gym doing a regular gym class.

          Sonia Louro

          Head of Client Partnerships

          Sonia joined the Rapport team in November 2023, but has been part of the wider Compass family since 2014. Sonia brings with her over 16 years’ experience in hospitality and client relationship building, with her previous roles focusing on social impact partnerships and operational excellence. As Head of Client Partnerships, Sonia’s role ensures that all new Rapport clients and partners have a solid and impactful start to their journey with Rapport. From service concept, through to mobilisation and continuous excellence delivery.

          Sonia has a passion for all things coffee and brewing. In a previous life, she achieved several coffee qualifications and can always be found brewing up a batch in our head office kitchen.