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Meet The Team

Our team is security cleared to both Secret and Top Secret. Our mission is to ensure your mission and your projects are completed to the highest quality, with the right people, in the right place at the right time.

Clare Riches

Senior Vice President of Commercial Development

Clare has more than 10 years’ of language industry experience and has spent the past five years managing and providing language support to defence clients. Clare was responsible for the creation of the Defence and International Security team in 2011 and has since led its expansion and development.

Clare holds responsibility for the team’s global sales, contract management and commercial development. Clare has ensured our contracts are not only 100% fulfilled, but are also constantly being updated and improved to deliver an unrivalled and cost effective service to our customers.


Steve Watson

Business Development Director – Europe, Middle East, North Africa

Steve has more than 30 years experience within defence, the first 24 years in service with the British Army. During his service Steve deployed on twelve operational tours including Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

His final appointment was the SME at the Royal School of Military Engineering overseeing the delivery of all Combat Engineering Training.
Following his distinguished military career Steve joined the thebigword and is responsible for the overall management of all strategic Private Defence, Security and Justice Clients and International Customer Relationship activities.


Matthew Woody

Head of Business Development, USA

Based in Washington, D.C., Matt represents thebigword across the US defense, intelligence, and security space, as well as the commercial markets that support these agencies. Matt began his professional career as an Arabic recruiter for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Since then he has worked in a number of language-related roles within the US Government’s language services, intelligence, and training sector, including deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, the Horn of Africa, and Germany. Prior to joining thebigword Matt was managing director of a language testing & training start-up, which supported government contractors around the world. Matt has an undergraduate degree in Foreign Policy, Economics, and Arabic from Miami University and an MBA from Hult International Business School in London.


John Dean

Global Operations Director

John, a former British Army Officer and linguist speaking Pashto and Czech, has a wealth of civilian and military operational experience including two tours of Iraq and two of Afghanistan. John’s experience of languages and culture in an operational environment allow him to align thebigword’s Defence Division with military requirements globally.

John works to embed our ex-military and culturally aware operational staff with military end user clients and develops enhanced working relationships and cross cultural understanding. John’s background and working practices ensure that thebigword’s Defence Division is proactively anticipating our clients’ needs enabling us to deliver fast quality services anywhere and at any time.


James Walker

Operations Manager

James is our Operations Manager and a BA Hons Graduate in Business with International Management. Since starting with thebigword in 2011, James has gained a wealth of experience in recruitment and operations on projects across Europe, USA, Asia and the Middle East.

He has built a database of interpreters, translators, teachers and cultural advisors with defence specific experience. In doing this James has implemented stringent quality controls and testing to ensure all of our contractors meet the highest standards. James is also responsible for the implementation of new projects on the ground and operational visits to ensure standards are met.