Meet our team

Karen Barker

As Founder and C.E.O. TranExec, Karen’s approach to developing leaders is to foster in them the self-awareness and belief that they can better lead their people to achieve great results. This includes coaching leaders to fully understand the impact they have on their people and the direct correlation to their engagement, productivity, innovation and retention.

Karen’s passion is to help executives globally and at all levels bring the best version of themselves to work to positively influence the team they lead. Karen draws on her extensive senior executive business experience; c-suite, middle management and frontline coaching experience; and academic knowledge to inspire current, emerging and future leaders to bring out their full potential.

  • Over 10 years of c-suite and senior executive coaching experience
  • Over 20 years of senior management and global organisational experience, including general management

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership (2018): Oxford University, United Kingdom.
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC): International Coach Federation (ICF), United States
  • Accredited Levels 1, 2 & 3 Executive and Organisational Coach: Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL), Australia.
  • Certificate in Team Coaching: Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL), Australia.
  • Certificate in the Foundations of NeuroLeadership: NeuroLeadership Institute, United States.
  • Diploma in Business: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.
  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Training: National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australia.
  • Executive Certificate in Retail Business: Monash University, Australia.
  • Financial Analysis and Reporting for Directors Course: Institute of Directors, New Zealand.
  • Meikle Files Black Leadership Program: The Meikle Files, Australia.
  • Institute of Coaching Affiliate.

Sarit Vandegraaff

A seasoned executive coach, coach mentor and coach supervisor working with leaders through powerful, challenging questions, feedback and exploration. Sarit empowers leaders to reduce external and / or internal barriers and leverage their strengths to optimise potential. As a facilitator of our leadership programs, Sarit encourages self-reflection and self-awareness amongst leaders through dynamic questioning and idea generation. This creates a challenging yet supportive environment for optimum learning.

  • Over 10 years of senior organisational coaching experience in Australia, and Globally
  • Over 15 years of leadership experience – retail and finance industries

  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC): International Coach Federation (ICF), United States
  • Accredited Executive and Organisational Coach: Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL), Australia
  • Accredited Coach Supervisor: Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership (IECL), Australia
  • Registered Mentor Coach: International Coach Federation (ICF), United States
  • Currently undergoing Conversational Intelligence certification (C-IQ): ‘The WE Institute’, Judith E Glaser, United States
  • Bachelor of International Business (BIB): Flinders University, Australia

Helena Roots

Helena Roots ACC is a customer and team centric leader who has led teams across a diverse set of industries for 20 plus years. Having extensive international operational and strategic airfreight, logistics, commodities and sales experience, Helena developed a true passion for Coaching and now works with leaders in Switzerland, EU,UK, and the USA.

Educated at Oxford University in Organisational Leadership in 2018/19 Helena then went onto graduate as a TranExec Accredited Coach. Helena believes in the hidden talents and strengths of leaders and works with their self awareness and social intel to enable them to realise the power of their individual potential and the impact of purposeful and authentic leadership both for themselves and their organisations.

Helena is fluent in Estonian, English, German and Russian. She is based in Zürich, Switzerland.

Penny Van Niel

Penny is a certified New York University Coach and Columbia University Organisational Behaviour Professional. Having been a former Managing Director of Human Resources at JPMorgan Chase where she designed leadership, performance and compensation programs Penny developed a true passion for supporting and positively challenging senior leaders including C-suite

Penny has coached executives and teams in multiple industries including financial services, consulting, non-profit, technology, media and law. Her extensive experience in partnering with leaders to align their business and people strategies, maximise their effectiveness during leadership transitions and manage cross -cultural teams has won her many accolades and high profile assignments.

Certified in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), Hogan Personality Inventory(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Level 1), Resilience Alliance Assessments (Strength Deployment Inventory) Penny utilises the appropriate tools where she believes her clients will gain the most insights.

Penny is an Adjunct Professor and Executive Coach at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology where she teaches MBA classes in Coaching for Managers and Strategic Human Capital Management
Penny also coaches global executives on Executive MBA programs at Harvard Business School.

Vinod Thapliyal

Vinod is a seasoned executive coach and business leader with 33 years of experience across diverse corporates and Indian Army. He has forged cohesive, high-performance teams and delivered successful outcomes across manufacturing, financial services and engineering sectors. He is passionate about building leadership capabilities and leverages his in-depth understanding of business drivers and varied experience to create learning and growth opportunities for the next level talent.

An ardent believer in people and the unique set of strengths that they possess, Vinod has mentored and coached more than 50 senior and middle management leaders through his corporate journey. While serving in the Indian Army, he trained more than 5000 officers and other defense personnel in leadership and combat. He also managed and coached sports teams in the Army, which won 200 medals at the national and international level.

Vinod holds a certification from International Coaching Federation, besides a degree in civil engineering, post graduate certifications in management, finance and HR and has been trained in leadership by the Army War College.

Nidhi Jain

Nidhi Jain

Nidhi is Project Manager at TranExec Group of Companies where she manages TranExec leadership and coaching expertise projects for global corporate clients. This includes delivery of programs, monitoring all project deliverables, project scheduling, resource allocation & program logistics.

Nidhi holds a Masters degree in Engineering and was a former Assistant Professor/ Mentor at IP University, Delhi, India where she taught various subjects to electrical engineering college students. Nidhi in addition to her teaching has also published technical papers in national peer reviewed journals during her successful career as an educator.

Nidhi has gained extensive experience in mentoring students with their projects and both understands and appreciates the critical importance for effective planning to maximise efficient outcomes both internally and externally.

In her spare time as a creative person by heart, Nidhi is a trained Fine Artist, with expertise in paintings in different mediums. She exhibits her work in exhibitions throughout Delhi India.