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Management Team

Meet our global leaders

Totara’s management team represents over 80 years of experience working with some of the largest brands in the world to solve skills and technology challenges. Helping people do their best work is close to our hearts and at the core of everything we do.

Mark Ash


“The evolution and uptake of learning technologies is the fastest, most effective path to overcoming some of the most serious global challenges affecting our planet. Powering ongoing talent development, it’s the single biggest driver of productivity, innovation and growth that an organization has at its disposal and has become the ultimate determiner of success or failure. Totara is committed to creating learning tools and experiences that can be used to positively transform the world we live in.”

Mark leads our international team at Totara. He’s had almost 25 years shaping the development and growth of international technology businesses across a range of industries such as education, marketing and advertising, publishing and media and data analytics. Ever since he started off his career as a training consultant for DoubleClick, Mark has had a passion for learning technology and is fanatical about the role it can play in lifting business and human development across the globe.

Nicole Lyons

Head of People & Culture

“Forward-thinking and successful organizations put their employees at the core of what they do. This means creating and fostering an environment where meaningful employee experiences take place, and where people are respected, developed, supported and empowered to do their best work.”

Nicole leads Totara’s global People Experience function, ensuring our teams are set up to succeed through a positive, empowering employee experience. Nicole has a unique and innovative approach to talent, through extensive international experience at all organizational levels. She has worked across a multitude of sectors including technology, publishing, digital media, advertising, finance, law and engineering, and has specific expertise in rolling out new HR technologies on a global scale.

David Newcomb

President of Totara Americas

“As demand to improve the skills and competencies of the workforce increases, we strive to develop products that meet that demand with innovative and flexible solutions. In this era of the employee experience, Totara is working diligently to provide our clients with products that are flexible, integrated, and most of all effective. I am excited and energized to help guide our organization in all of these endeavors.”

David is responsible for all operations in the Americas with a focus on the United States. He will be a key factor in the introduction of new products and strategies in these markets. Prior to joining Totara, David was involved in the technology marketplace for over 25 years and has held senior leadership roles at GP Strategies Corporation, SkyMall, and Greenleaf Technologies.

Lars Hyland

Managing Director, EMEA

“To thrive in a world that is full of change and uncertainty requires a singular focus on supporting people to sustainably do their best work. That means building a company culture that emphasizes skills development, continuous, open feedback and a shared clarity of purpose.”

Lars leads Totara’s operations across EMEA. He is a well-known figure in the HR and workplace learning community, as an expert in the field of Talent Experience, which brings together learning, engagement and performance management practices to drive employee satisfaction and productivity. Lars has held senior management positions at a number of learning technology startups in the UK, as well as founding the pioneering SaaS-based spaced learning platform, Retenda.

Benn Crawford

Chief Product Officer & General Manager NZ

“A flourishing product is created when the customer’s greatest needs are at the heart of its design – this is Totara’s product strategy.”

Benn leads Totara’s team of passionate product people, who are focused on helping organizations create exceptional learning and talent development experiences for their employees. As Chief Product Officer, he is responsible for translating Totara’s vision into an approach that delivers value for Totara, our partners and customers. Benn also serves as the General Manager for New Zealand.

Sam Hemelryk

Director of Technology

Sam leads Totara’s global engineering teams in their delivery of products, services and operations to the enterprise standards expected by our world leading customers. As Head of Development he is responsible for the technology vision, ensuring Totara continues to be a trusted solution that evolves with the technical needs of our ecosystem.

Sam is a passionate, engaged technologist and leader with a keen interest in quality delivery. He joined Totara in 2015, before which he worked for Moodle as a Senior Developer and Integrator. In total he has more than 12 years’ experience working with the platform underlying Totara’s products.

Kiran Patel

Chief Financial Officer

“Totara’s products allow our customers access to technology that unlocks value by greatly enhancing their overall employee experience. With continued transformation across markets and global competition for skills, it is even more critical now to invest in developing people and enhancing collaboration within organizations.”

Kiran leads the financial strategy to support Totara’s continued rapid expansion globally. He has a strong commercial focus and deep experience in organizational growth and business transformation. Kiran has held senior management positions across a number of industries including communications, manufacturing, entertainment, energy, retail, and professional services.

Kate Handley

Head of Brand

“Totara’s unique brand story is all about helping people thrive in this ever-changing world. Our flexible technologies exist to help human beings do their best work, their way – creating more meaningful work experiences, and ultimately helping organizations succeed.”

Kate leads Totara’s brand team to create compelling and coherent storytelling with distinctive design, clear messaging and rich content across the global network. Before joining Totara, Kate ran a brand and digital agency for 15 years, working on a variety of brands big and small (including Totara in the early days). Her career in creative businesses spans global advertising, digital brand and design management, and board directorships.