Helen I'Anson

Our staff

Helen I'Anson

Director, Face to Face Learning Programme


Helen has spent over 20 years working in the development sector, in both field and head office roles across Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. After qualifying as a chartered accountant in the UK, Helen began her travels overseas: working first for a German construction company as company accountant, then becoming a VSO volunteer in Bhutan; this was the beginning of her work in development. Her roles gradually moved away from finance towards organizational development and country management.

Helen joined the Mango register in 2004 and had used Mango tools and training approaches in many roles, so she was thrilled to join the Mango staff in 2015. As Mango’s learning and development manager, she focuses on ensuring quality and promoting a culture of continual learning across Mango’s services. She also coordinates Mango’s approach to working with associates, and she enjoys the cross-team collaboration and working which comes with the role. 

Q + A

What is your favorite place you’ve been to, and where do you want to go next?

I loved living in Bhutan from 1995-7 as a VSO volunteer. It’s an amazing country, and it’s where I met my husband (who’s from the UK). So it will always have a special place in my heart. I was lucky enough to visit again in 2008, and it was great to look up all the old haunts and friends again, but the country is developing fast and had moved on a lot from when I lived there with no TV, internet, or phones. But still a very special place – mountains, simple life, fresh air, fabulous nature, and rich traditions, which are deeply integrated in day to day life. 

What are your favorite hobbies outside of work?

We have a small garden at our home in West Yorkshire in northern England, and I am often found outside on my hands and knees during weekends – weeding and planting. We also have a polytunnel where we grow vegetables as our home is quite high up and in a cold and blustery part of the world, so it takes a hardy vegetable or plant to survive outside! I don’t know much about horticulture, but I find it very therapeutic.

I also enjoy making greetings cards and have boxes full of card, ribbon, and scraps of pretty paper in our loft. I need more days in the year when I can get it all out, spread across the kitchen table, getting stuck in with glue and scissors – so I often wait until my husband is away and make a super mess over a whole weekend. Nice distraction from work, and it’s great to have a creative product to give to people.