Our talented women: 2019-2020
A 2013 research study showed that “Women are less likely than men to be associated with leadership, and the awareness of this stereotype may undermine women's performance in leadership tasks. One way to circumvent this stereotype threat is to expose women to highly successful female role models.”
We have lots of talented individuals at Exeter, both male and female. Seeing someone achieve what you aspire to can help you achieve your own goals and ambitions. Here is a selection of inspiring individuals at different stages and levels of their careers.
Alexandra is a Postgraduate Researcher and regards her greatest achievement as her PhD. Her thesis spans multi and interdisciplinary subjects, including health, wellbeing and geography. Her thesis studies the holistic health benefits of walking groups using mixed methods to understand the varying reasons for joining, remaining and leaving them.
Alexandra is committed to implementing real world change and it is from this that her interest in policy development began. She also believes that all voices must be considered when conducting health research and it is from this that her interest in Patient and Public Involvement began. She is dedicated to disseminating her research to a wide audience, including presenting at the University of Exeter Symposium. Alexandra is passionate about global health research, current and future health concerns and how countries and communities can learn from each other; Researching these is her goal for the future. Alexandra advises to keep your core focus in mind when facing adversity, and to maintain a balanced lifestyle that works for you.
Professor Beverley Hawkins
Associate Professor of Leadership / Organisation Studies, Associate Academic Dean for Students
Beverley began her post-PhD journey at the University of Exeter Business School in 2009, researching and teaching leadership. Fascinated with leadership education, she began to integrate her research and teaching using items such as Lego, playdoh, music and film, map-making and storyboards to develop leadership identities in her students. Professor Hawkins has increasingly shaped thought and practice in wider spheres, for example sharing her research at international conferences, Arts Council England and peer reviews journals on leadership education. Beverley has led several prestigious funded research projects building leadership capacity in organisations such as the NHS, Devon and Cornwall Police, Libraries Unlimited, The Eden Project, and several local sixth form colleges.
An ILM-accredited Action Learning Facilitator and previously Director of Education, Beverley is passionate about enabling interesting and challenging conversations that sustain real change, a skill which has helped her transition into her current role of Associate Academic Dean for Students.
Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars and Nicola Sinclair
Co-Directors of the Centre for Social Mobility
Nicola Sinclair took up the role of Head of Widening Participation and UK Student Recruitment in October 2016. Under her leadership, the team has developed sector leading approaches to fair access; transformed our evidence base and use of management intelligence; introduced new provision for student carers, care leavers and estranged students; developed cross-institutional approaches to improving access and outcomes for students; and improved significantly the University’s reputation for its work in widening participation.
Anna Mountford-Zimdars joined the University of Exeter in 2017 in response to a world-wide open call for founding and directing a new research Centre in the Graduate School of Education around issues of access and fairness. She had to come for her selection interview to Exeter with five months old twins in tow but: “This was the perfect job description – if I could have written my own job, this is the one I would have chosen, so I went for this opportunity in the middle of my maternity leave”.
Nicola and Anna’s first meeting was a meeting of minds and visions. Both are driven by the overall value to enhance fairness in access to, success within, and progress beyond higher education and to conduct their own practices in line with these values. Both search for enhancing the theoretical basis and evidence-base of work to feed into stronger, evidence-based practice that maximises impact, reaches more disadvantaged students and makes higher education fairer.
Jointly, they founded the UK’s first Centre for Social Mobility in June 2018. Their first Centre conference attracted as many academics as practitioners and they continue to build a community of research-informed practice and practice-informed-research.
Desktop Support Technician
Charlotte has worked in desktop support at the University since August 2018, when she moved down to Devon from Birmingham to be with the love of her life. Prior to this, she worked in Welfare to Work and Training, working with a variety of people including 14-16 “NEETS”, the long term unemployed and those with long term sickness or disability. During all of this, she was known as the “unofficial IT person” and would fix her colleagues IT issues where possible and even trained people on the use of IT.
On making the decision to move to Exeter, her manager said she should apply for IT support roles as it is where her greatest talents are, so she applied for a Desktop Support role. On her first day in the role, Charlotte walked into the office and realised that she was surrounded by men. She didn’t let this faze her and got stuck into the work. Charlotte said whilst it’s true that as a team they do not have many female technicians, she would absolutely encourage more women to get into IT as it is a fun and rewarding job. Charlotte has learned a lot whilst on the job and her technical skills improve every day. Ultimately Charlotte would advise any woman to follow her dreams, even if those dreams are in a male dominated world and don't be afraid to change career. Charlotte loves her job and her goal for the future is to eventually become a Team Leader within Exeter IT.
Daniela started working at the University of Exeter in 2012, shadowing Penryn Campus-based researchers from the CoMH in the ESI. Soon after, she landed her first lab-based job, as a research technician in the ESI. This first role was a temporary contract and at the same time she was pregnant; not an easy way to start up your career. But fast forward to now and Daniela is the happy mother to a young girl and manager of the ESI labs, winner of a Professional Services Impact Award and has accumulated multiple performance-based Above & Beyond awards from academics, students and fellow technicians alike.
Daniela believes that although universities comprise of a variety of departments, they all should work towards common goals. For this to be true, efficient communication across board is crucial for best results. Involving end users in decisions that affect them helps Daniela to ensure the optimal outcome for her labs.
Her recipe for success? Make sure not to forget about your own life and wellbeing in the pursuit for perfection. Thanks to her manager agreeing on a flexible working pattern, she avoids a lot of the anxiety that parents in the workplace often experience, and as a result can both work efficiently and be present as a parent to her daughter.
Research Fellow (College of Medicine and Health)
After securing a first-class honours degree in Mathematics, Eilis completed her PhD in Bioinformatics at the University of Cardiff investigating the trajectories of genes associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the brain across the life course. In 2013 she joined the Complex Disease Epigenetics Group at Exeter as an Associate Research Fellow, transitioning after the first year to Research Fellow and eventually Senior Research Fellow. During her time in Exeter, Eilis has worked on a wide range of projects, either preforming, supporting or advising on bioinformatics or statistical analyses of (epi)genomic datasets. She has led the analysis of a large multi-cohort epigenome-association study of schizophrenia and genetic studies of DNA methylation using these data to interpret the functional consequences of genome-wide association studies for a range of complex diseases. In 2017, Eilis was accepted onto the ‘GW4 Crucible – Healthy Living’ programme which brings together talented researchers to aid career development. She was also awarded a fellowship from the Software Sustainability Institute to act as an ambassador to promote their work improving the quality of research software and 2018 received a Young Investigator award from the Brain and Behaviour Foundation to investigate the role that alternative splicing plays in the brain of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.
EmmaLucy Cole MA, FRGS, AFHEA
Teacher of Liberal Arts at INTO
EmmaLucy Cole is a UK-based speaker, researcher, writer, explorer and biker. Having worked at the University for nearly five years, she teaches Foundation Liberal Arts at INTO, is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
After studying North African and Middle Eastern cultures for over two decades, EmmaLucy spent two years with a Bedouin tribe in Sinai, learning Arabic and researching local culture. Gaining a ginger cat and a myriad of stories, she also witnessed first-hand some of the ways in which marginalised groups can be misrepresented. Her current PhD at the University of Helsinki looks at how female travel writers have represented Middle Eastern cultures. In 2019 EmmaLucy became co-director of the not-for-profit ‘Vicarious Festival’, an immersive celebration of cultural diversity through travel literature and photography.
EmmaLucy uses her 900cc Triumph Street Scrambler to conduct field research abroad and gives public talks about taking on new challenges and exploring as a solo woman. She has also signed the FlightFree2020 pledge - committing to not flying for at least one year and highlighting how we all have a responsibility to explore more ethical ways of travelling and working.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Rae joined the University from the local charity sector in July 2019. After graduating with a degree in Arabic and the History of Art & Archaeology in London followed by time spent living in Egypt, she never expected to build a career in Cornwall. However, when the local authority announced its participation in a nationwide refugee resettlement scheme, she found herself in the right place at the right time to respond to a call for Arabic speakers to help support families in the county.
A voluntary role supporting children in schools soon progressed to a full-time paid position, followed by a year working for race equity in mental health, which gave Rae many of the skills she utilises at the University today. Rae continues to advocate for and support refugee rights outside her current role; in addition to taking time out to volunteer in Calais, Dunkirk and Brussels, last year she completed the London Marathon and raised over £2,000 for Safe Passage UK.
All these experiences have made Rae a strong believer in the values of community and collaboration, values which Rae strives to bring to her role to advance equality, diversity and inclusion at our Cornwall campuses.
Researcher Development Manager
Kelly has had an eclectic life and career, starting as a dancer and performer at the Northcott Theatre when she was 14. Continuing her dance training at University, Kelly became a contemporary dance lecturer and choreographer before ‘retiring’ from dance in 2015 due to ill health. Before retiring, one of the highlights of Kelly’s career as a choreographer was having her Monty Python tribute ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ performed at The Core at Corby Cube in 2014.
Kelly moved ‘back home’ and joined the University of Exeter as Researcher Development Manager in 2015. She is an active member of the University community supporting the development of women leaders, organising annual women’s development programmes, campaigns and International Women’s Day events. She has also spoken at the Women of Influence network and the Women of the World Festival in 2018 about her work and advocacy for intersectional gender equality in Higher Education.
Recently, Kelly co-founded the University’s Disabled and Chronically Ill Staff and Student network. A long-term sufferer of arthritis, Kelly was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2017 and is dedicated to supporting other with disabilities and invisible illnesses.
Kelly is inspired by other women who are advocates and activists – everyone from Michelle Obama so those close to home, such as our own Michelle Ryan and Rachel Burn. Her goal for the future is to continue to be an advocate and a voice for equality, inclusivity and kindness.
Senior Administrator (College of Humanities)
Kristen Brind is a Senior Administrator in the College of Humanities. She is from Nebraska in the States and ventured across the pond in 2008 to study at the University with the aim of returning home and teaching at University level. Kristen then met her husband and ended up staying in the UK longer than originally planned. Once married, Kristen sought employment at the University, working in the Business School for almost four years prior to moving to Humanities.
Kristen currently oversees the PAs in the Dean's Office and supports the wider activities in the College. She enjoys teaching new things to her team and supporting projects and creatively thinking of innovative ways to improve processes and procedures. While life hasn’t taken her down the route she thought she’d be on, she has embraced every step of the way, including her new role as Senior Administrator. Working in College Operations has provided Kristen the opportunity to meet and befriend others across the University and expand her skill set. She hopes this short biography will encourage others to find purpose and contentment in their lives, even if they are not on the path they originally thought they would be walking.
Exeter Access Centre Manager
Lizzie has been involved with disability support for over 45 years, since volunteering in a Special Needs School while studying at Sixth Form. She has been part of the AccessAbility and Wellbeing Services Team at Exeter for nearly 20 years and is currently the Exeter Access Centre Manager. Her team assess students for their support requirements through the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This service is available to both Exeter based students and local residents studying elsewhere in the UK. She values offering a service to both the university and the local community. Lizzie won the award for Rigour in the 2019 Professional Services Recognition Awards for successfully leading the Exeter Access Centre through its most recent audit cycle with 100% compliance. She has actively supported her team to grow their skills and experience and this is reflected in the excellent student feedback. Lizzie is also a Dignity and Respect Advisor supporting staff and students.
Her advice to young women starting out on their careers is make the most of chances to volunteer as it’s a brilliant way to discover a wide variety of opportunities. You never know what will grab your attention and change the direction of your life.
Senior Administrator (College of Humanities)
Unsure on her career direction, Lotte joined the University Temporary Staff Bank in 2012. Since then, she has carried out several roles across the Institution, primarily within the College Operations directorate. Lotte’s natural affinity for helping others soon developed into a passion. After building strong and lasting relationships across the University, Lotte decided to progress a career in College Operations. In 2017, Lotte joined the College of Humanities as PA to the Director of College Operations and Associate Deans, providing wider support to the College Executive Group and Business Partners. At the end of 2019, Lotte was promoted to a leadership role and helped oversee major structural changes within the Humanities Dean’s Office. As part of this she now manages six Administrators across eight departments.
Lotte would say her most developed skill is her ability to remain calm under pressure whilst maintaining a positive and professional attitude towards colleagues. As a manager, Lotte aims to cultivate a happy and inclusive workplace environment to ensure colleagues feel supported and able to approach her with both professional and personal concerns. Lotte credits her love of fitness for improving her physical and mental health, giving her the drive and determination to motivate herself and others.
Associate Professor in New Testament Studies
Louise Lawrence is currently Associate Professor in New Testament Studies in the Department of Theology and Religion, she is also editor of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Her work has focussed on how biblical texts and religion more broadly, patterns and censors bodies, including those of women, and those with disabilities and mental illnesses.
Louise’s work has been inspired by a variety of people who have generously shared their stories and experiences with her including members of the British Deaf community, The Hearing Voices Network, and in her current research project, Disability Activists in Namibia. As a journal editor she is actively seeking ways to encourage more inclusivity within her discipline and encourages contributors (and her students) to engage in ‘the politics of citation’ with regard to gender and race (asking who are we reading? who is excluded? why? and how can we address this?). She passionately believes in the International Women’s Day 2020 strapline – ‘An equal world is an enabled world’ - and seeks through her research, writing, and practice to find ways to ensure ‘noBODY’ is excluded.
Director of College Operations (College of Medicine and Health)
Alongside a demanding role as Director of College Operations, Rachel Burn has demonstrated a boundless commitment to diversity and equality in the University. She is dedicated to pushing through on engagement in employment and wellbeing services and has led the College’s response to the Employee Engagement Survey. In her role as one of the University’s Speak Out Guardians, Rachel promotes a culture of dignity and respect within the University. Rachel is co-chair of the College of Medicine and Health’s Equality and Diversity group, discussing ways to improve representation and respect within the College, and has recently co-led the College’s Silver Athena Swan award.
Rachel has supported leadership development opportunities and coaching for women; lobbied to stop sending Accelerate teaching survey results to staff on weekends as it impacted work-life balance; has worked with other members of College Executive Group to improve support for staff applying for promotion, including reviewing promotion applications; drafted guidance on line manager responsibilities; and lobbied for improvements to the nursing mothers’ room at St Luke’s, currently underway.
Professor Alison Curnow
Director of Medicine
Professor Alison Curnow was featured as one of the 100 inspirational women in healthcare leadership (WIHL) this year. Co-director of Medicine at Exeter University and leading cancer researcher, Alison contributes at the highest level of education to the University.
She leads the Clinical Photobiology research team, which forms part of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health (ECEHH). The primary focus of their experimental and clinical research programmes is the causation, prevention and treatment of skin cancer.
Speaking of her WIHL nomination, Alison said, “It’s an honour to have been named as an inspirational leader and to encourage other women to take up healthcare related employment as a profession. Being part of aspiring doctors’ lives is a privilege, especially within my native Cornwall. I was the first of my extended family to leave home to attend university and want to encourage others to also realise their full potential.”
Professor Soojin Ryu
Mireille Gillings Professor of Neurobiology
Professor Soojin Ryu, Mireille Gillings Professor of Neurobiology, is a globally-renowned expert on stress. She has made major advances in the field by developing the zebrafish model in which stress hormones can be manipulated.
Having recently joined the University, she is leading a research team studying zebrafish to examine how acute and chronic stress change behaviour and the longer term consequences on the brain and behaviour.
One important aspect of securing the Gillings Fellowship was a commitment to promoting women in science. Soojin has mentored numerous female scientists and organised workshops and meetings for women in neuroscience, showing an ongoing commitment to women in science.
Professor Sallie Lamb
Mireille Gillings Professor of Health Innovation
Sallie Lamb, Mireille Gillings Professor of Health Innovation, is a physiotherapist and clinical trials expert who’s programme to combat lower back pain was acknowledged as one of the most successful innovations in the NHS.
New to the University, her work will help her develop more tools for older people to combat frailty.
A key aspect of the Fellowship appointments is a commitment to promoting women, Sallie said she found herself in a role model position by leading by example, and as mother to 8-year-old Emelia, she is passionate about promoting work-life balance while enabling career progression.
Professor Chrissie Thirlwell
Mireille Gillings Professor of Cancer Genomics
Medical oncologist and cancer expert Chrissie Thirlwell, Mireille Gillings Professor of Cancer Genomics, is a world leader on neuroendocrine tumours. At Exeter, she studies why people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of cancer.
Chrissie’s commitment to women in science began through her involvement in the UCL Cancer Institute’s Athena SWAN team, where they secured a coveted silver award to recognise commitment to equality. Here Chrissie realised the extent of underrepresentation of women in senior roles. Inspired by this experience, she promotes female representation in senior scientific roles and actively speaks out about representation.
“It has to be about the right person with the right skills to do the job, there’s so much evidence that having diversity across all areas in leadership roles and on executive boards, leads to a far more productive workforce. That’s why it’s so important to encourage women to take those senior leadership roles.”
Senior Press and Media Manager
Louise Vennells is an advocate for everyone in the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health; working with researchers, students and professional services to be the voice and presence of the college. Often flanked by interns, she champions graduate opportunities and supports the development and future careers of the next generation of communication experts. Recently, she has balanced completing a Master’s whilst keeping up her full time role, supporting two new graduates joining the department and maintaining her busy schedule.
Louise is in on secondment to the CMH from the Press Office as Senior Press and Media Manager where she publicises research from the college and has worked on promoting numerous ground-breaking projects. Before working at the University, she worked as a local reporter for the Western Morning News.
Professor Juliet Osborne
Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI)
Professor Juliet Osborne is Director of the ESI at the University of Exeter, Penryn campus. She also has a research group studying bees and pollination. Juliet was always inspired by the natural world, and particularly plants and insects from a young age. After doing her degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge, she managed to secure a PhD position, supervised by one of her academic heroes, Dr Sally Corbet. And so her research and love of pollination ecology began. She has worked in this field for 30 years now, over a period of time when the plight of pollinators has become widely known.
After many years working at Rothamsted Research Institute in Hertfordshire where she pioneered the use of harmonic radar to track bees, whilst also taking on the major caring role for her two disabled parents, Juliet moved to Cornwall to join the University in 2012 when the ESI opened. It was an exciting new venture to join a truly interdisciplinary research centre focussed on finding solutions to environmental change; and enabled Juliet and her husband to enjoy a new life on the edge of the Helford River, surrounded by countryside.
One of the things that Juliet has found most interesting and rewarding was to lead the University’s Working Group to recommend how to respond to the Climate and Environment Emergency in 2019. She chose to undertake this work in a spirit of collaboration – valuing the views of every part of our community at the University. Juliet thinks finding ways to work together, in a supportive and equal environment, usually brings out the best in people and leads to better results.
Senior College Operations Officer (Cornwall)
Ruth started work at 18 and juggled part-time UG and PGT study with full-time work. She started in HE in 1989 and after successfully climbing the career ladder, took a short break to become a mum at the age of 42. Returning to the workplace and juggling motherhood, a demanding job, a divorce and a recent change in roles has all served to challenge Ruth’s sense of worth, value and what she stands for, but throughout she has been honoured to have the support of amazing friends and colleagues.
Like so many other women, Ruth reports suffering from chronic Imposter Syndrome. What’s been a revelation, however is the realisation that so many others feel this way and you never know who is looking at you and thinking “wow!” and Ruth is really glad that over the years, she has had the opportunity to mentor and be mentored. She has been invited as a speaker on the Springboard programme and a highlight was a local “Women in Fitness” Conference last year, where she was one of 8 speakers sharing their life journeys and the role that exercise and fitness has played.
“That’s my take home message, no individual journey is like another but that doesn’t make it wrong or of less value – it’s unique and it’s yours! When you get the opportunity, support someone with a kind word, a smile – it can all go a long way. Shine your light – you never know who is watching you!”
Dr Sara Burton
Senior Lecturer (Biosciences)
Dr Sara Burton is a proud mother and wife, inspired by Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE and her catchphrase ‘winner’s smile’. She is committed to supporting the University ASPIRE scheme, gaining her ASPIRE Principal Fellowship and guiding others during their professional development. Sara has helped many tutees and research students achieve their full potential through mentoring and support.
Sara juggles being a Council member alongside being Chair of the Education Division of the Microbiology Society, where she has shaped and employed strategies with a national impact on microbiology education and scholarship. These strategies are particularly beneficial for early career scientists.
Sara’s future goals include continuing to petition for the professionalization of educators in HE including through recognition and reward. She also strives to achieve a happier and healthier work- life balance and walk most of the South West Coast Path, perhaps avoiding the extremely steep parts! Visit the webpages to find out more about Sara and her work.
Associate Director for Arts and Culture
Sarah Campbell joined the University in early 2019 as Associate Director for Arts and Culture. Originally from New Zealand, Sarah has built her career in the UK, designing and delivering learning programmes in galleries and museums. An art history graduate, Sarah wasn’t aware that such professions even existed when she was a student but has found her calling. The work requires an equal mix of passion for the arts and interest in other people, and the most satisfying part of the job is seeing someone’s eyes light up when they find meaning and relevance in an artwork.
Sarah has worked in a range of venues, spanning large nationals (National Galleries of Scotland, Victoria and Albert Museum) to regional institutions, and University-based collections. Relocating around the UK has been a great opportunity to get to know different communities and gain an understanding of the importance of place when it comes to the arts. Sarah was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship in 2016, which enabled her to visit the US, exploring the creativity of art museum educators and innovations in art museum programming. Ever since, Sarah has been a keen champion of creative thinking and processes, a fascination that has been put to good use at Exeter where Arts and Culture aims to ‘activate creativity’.
Student Support Officer (Transition & Integration)
Sue had her dream job at 21: print production deputy-manager at Tate Gallery in London. It was glamorous, interesting, fast paced but also involved a 3 hour daily commute time and so after 10 years she made the difficult decision to move on.
Two years later she found herself at Exeter for an interview supporting students working on EU projects. Quite a different sector but many similarities: a large organisation that felt like a village, project management (of sorts) with the added bonuses of helping people develop. 19 years later and she is still enjoying all those elements working on large scale events such as Freshers’ Week, Global Chums, Diwali and Chinese New Year. In 2014 she had the opportunity to work in Beijing for a month at a partner university. She has delivered Cultural Awareness training to over 500 university staff. Since 2018 her team has encouraged staff at the university have donated almost 3 tonnes of food to Exeter Foodbank. She says the greatest pleasure in her job is seeing students arrive from all over the world and making sure they have the best experience here at Exeter. Sue was very surprised and honoured to win the PSRA Community Award 2019. She says it goes to prove that if you do a job long enough, eventually you might get it right.
Sue’s advice for young women starting out is to develop the bits of your job that you enjoy, work at your work relationships, fix that thing that needs fixing and if you make a mistake, own it.
Employability & Placements Advisor (Penryn Campus)
Ties left the Netherlands in 2013 to go on a three-month tour of California. And never went back! Ties settled in Central America for two years, using her multi language skills and background as an independent personal development counsellor and trainer to set up several small businesses and entrepreneur networks. After a brief spell in London in 2016, Ties packed up again and spent a year cycling 15,000 miles around 26 US states and all 10 Canadian provinces. It was on this trip that Ties and her partner decided to move to Falmouth.
In January 2018 Ties joined the University of Exeter as an Employability Adviser. Ties supports students and colleagues by helping them identify employability and personal development opportunities and deliver one to one and group training. In 2019, Ties took a group of budding global leaders to Bucharest, where she supported them to complete the Global Leaders Experience, as well as delivering plenaries and liaising with international businesses. Ties is now using interactive technology to incorporate innovative education technologies to the University’s training repertoire. Her goal is to build on these educational technology skills to develop fun and informative training courses. Oh, and one day maybe saddle up and cycle the world!
Exeter alumna, Maths & Education, 1995
After graduation Caroline taught in her old primary school in Plymouth for a year and then moved to Tokyo in search of adventure. Whilst teaching at an alternative international school, she established an international women’s magazine, which then led to her founding a publishing company producing community-focused books and magazines. She also provided consulting services to artists, entrepreneurs, and independent schools, and frequently gave speeches relating to entrepreneurship, living overseas, and women’s issues, including a TED Talk on positive body image.
Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami she became active in fundraising and project management to support the ﬁshing communities that were destroyed on a remote peninsula. She has since raised around £170,000 and continues to raise money and manage projects there despite now living in the UK.
In 2013, Caroline established Auntie Caroline’s in The Cotswolds, producing homemade pickles, chutneys, and jams. She now produces around 30,000 jars per year and supplies 60 independent shops throughout the country. She lives in Cirencester and returns to the ﬁshing communities in the North East of Japan every year.
Dr Charlotte Sanders
Exeter alumna, BA, MA, and PhD at Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, 2019
By the time of her final graduation last year, Charlotte Sanders had been a student at the University of Exeter for over a decade, completing a Bachelor’s degree, two Master’s degrees and a PhD at the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies. Her doctoral research considered how Sudanese women in her hometown of Portsmouth struggle to pursue settled and flourishing futures in Britain, against gendered and raced obstacles. This doctoral work produced a Feminist & Women’s Studies Association competition winning journal article (published thereafter in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies) and Charlotte is now turning her attention to extending her thesis into a specialist work of writing.
Just a few weeks after passing her viva voce without corrections, Charlotte became a mother for the first time. Despite settling in Portsmouth, Exeter is never far from Charlotte’s heart and this semester has seen her and her (now nine months old) son commuting to campus every week for Charlotte to lecture a class on Gender & Politics in the Middle East. Living academia and mothering together is central to Charlotte’s feminist politics. For Charlotte, mothering is a powerful site for producing feminist theory and practice in pursuit of more loving, nurturing, hopeful and equal futures.
Exeter alumna, Drama, 2006
Debbie Coulson (Nee Hill) works in senior management and has spent the last five years at Marie Curie.
She has had many life and career highlights from a life point of view; she was late to discover the absolute thrill of travel and in the last six years has had some unforgettable experiences in some uniquely special countries like Jordan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. One that stands out is spending three days on a boat in the Borneo rain forest following orangutans! From a career point of view, she also counts herself fortunate - although a lot of this is down to hard work and the odd risk being taken! One of her highlights is the University naming one of the alumni volunteering awards after her for the exceptional support of students – recognition which she is very proud of.
Debbie is inspired daily by incredible women and working in the not for profit world she is surrounded by strong and passionate female leaders. Debbie is motivated by business women like Helena Morrissey who’s book ‘A good time to be a girl’ inspired her to aim to strike the perfect balance between being successful at work and not forgetting personal dreams she also has - like starting a family. Debbie is also a big fan of Elizabeth Day who’s podcast ‘How to Fail’ is an essential reminder of the importance and power of reflecting on times that don’t always work out and the strength that these give us.
In terms of her goal for the future Debbie personally looks forward to starting a family and continuing to travel. Professionally, she craves new experiences and learning opportunities including a recent interest in change management, HR transformation and exploring the benefits of the increasingly important role of technology in the workplace.
Exeter alumna, MPHYS Physics with Australian Study, 2015
Exeter alumna Emily Nicholls began her career in the defence sector, as Project Support Engineer for Babcock Marine & Technology. Emily worked on a pioneering project to reduce waste metal by extracting recyclable material from radioactive equipment. In recognition of her work on this project she was awarded the YINI National Contribution to Business Award.
After this achievement, she went on to gain a Masters in Physics from the University of Exeter. Emily took full advantage of all the opportunities available at Exeter, including a study abroad year in Australia. She also set up her own business through the Exeter Entrepreneurs society and won Most Creative Business, awarded by Deborah Meaden.
Emily has volunteered as a STEM ambassador and represented women in STEM at a number of events, including as a guest speaker at the House of Commons where she encouraged young women pursue a career in STEM.
For the past five years Emily has worked in consultancy, working to solve challenges faced by a wide range of industries; manufacturing, defence, insurance, financial services, healthcare - to name a few! She currently heads up the Solutions Consultancy team for the UK at Vuealta, but still loves to buckle down and build models that can aid a variety of business problems.
Exeter alumna, English, 2001
Helen Russell is a bestselling author, journalist and TEDx speaker who graduated from Exeter in 2001 and now researches into cultural concepts of happiness and the expression of emotions worldwide. Formerly the editor of marieclaire.co.uk, Helen has worked as a correspondent for The Guardian, as well as writing a longstanding column for The Telegraph. She now writes for magazines and newspapers around the world and lives in Denmark with her husband and three young children.
Helen’s first book, The Year of Living Danishly – Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, was an international bestseller. She is the author of two more non-fiction titles, Leap Year (2016), The Atlas of Happiness (2018) and a novel, Gone Viking (2018). Her fifth book, How to be Sad, non-fiction, will be published in 2021.
Exeter alumna, Mathematics and Phsycology, 2010
Kathryn is a Senior Manager within EY, where she focuses on delivering large scale business change, enabled by technology, within the Asset Management industry.
After graduating she spent a number of years working in the asset management industry in Edinburgh. Several years later, she moved into consulting, where she now leads teams delivering complex multinational technology transformation programmes for some of the largest asset management companies globally. Kathryn is a CFA charterholder, qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and a Professional Scrum Master I certification holder.
She is passionate about developing others to recognise and achieve their full potential, as well as driving initiatives to increase engagement and motivation to retain and grow talent.
Kathryn has been an enthusiastic driver of talent initiatives, and has an active leadership role within EY with a strong focus on people leadership and strengthening community. Kathryn has setup several campaigns and interactive events to support advancement and diversity, including a series of sessions set-up for women across technology in EY, aiming to provide a forum that invests in female talent by providing practical and useable advice that they can apply every day.
Having met her fiancé in Birks Hall on the very first day of the first year at Exeter, Kathryn is now in training for various sporting challenges including a half marathon and the Three Peaks Challenge, in preparation for their honeymoon climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kathryn’s advice for young women starting out in their careers is to take opportunities (be a “yes” person), live your values and be yourself.
Laura Sinclair Williams
Exeter alumna, Modular Degree at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, 2005
Laura Sinclair Willis is a member of the Senior Management Team for National Trust Wales and an alumna of the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies (2005). Laura lives in Wales with her husband Duncan and their children. Laura is an outspoken advocate for women who choose to return to work fulltime after having children.
During her undergraduate degree she served as an Arabic/English translator in the Iraq war. Laura then joined the UK Police Service - working in a number of disciplines over a 15 year career, including response, community policing, counter-terrorism special branch and custody. In 2010 she began volunteering as a career mentor for the University of Exeter.
In 2015 she was policing expert for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Stabilisation Unit and was later deployed to the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti as the Executive Officer to the Commander of UN Police Forces.
Laura’s much deserved recognition throughout her diverse career has included being awarded the Iraq Service Medal, the Queens Jubilee Medal and the UN Service Medal. A competitive bodybuilder, Laura won the Welsh Figure category title at the 2018 UKUP championships.
Exeter alumna, Psychology and European Studies, 1995
Laura Waters is founder and co-chair of the NHS National Performance Advisory Group for Arts, Heritage and Design in Hospitals, alongside her work as an arts programme manager and musician. After graduating in 1994 with a BA in Psychology and European Studies, Laura went on to gain an MSc in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surry under an ESRC scholarship, and a Licentiate Diploma from the Royal Schools of Music. Laura has since combined music and psychology in a varied career as musician, teacher and project manager, with a particular interest in the impact of the arts on our health and wellbeing.
Laura developed training programmes for artists to work in healthcare environments, delivering enhancement projects and developing arts participation projects. Now based at the Royal Derby Hospital, Laura runs the nationally acclaimed arts for wellbeing programme ‘Air Arts’ as well as enjoying a busy musical career. In 2016, Laura was invited to present evidence for the House of Lords All Party Parliamentary Group on arts in health, being subsequently cited in the inquiry report ‘Creative Health’ and invited to represent arts in hospital programmes nationally for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance and the APPG for arts in health. Laura is a Member of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and a Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Exeter alumna, Politics and Sociology, 2014
Lauren Kay-Lambert is a Co-Managing Director for Shape History, a social change communications agency and has worked at a purpose-led creative agency for most of her career and has experienced many positive highlights so far. She has personally evolved a huge amount, starting at Shape History when there were just four people and having been a part of the growth to now 20 people. Some highlights include working on a campaign that reduced the price of emergency contraception in the UK, continuing to raise awareness of LGBTI rights with the UN and supporting the team in developing a behavioural change campaign around the right to protest in Kenya and Brazil.
Her favourite experience has been attending the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver last year where she was surrounding by awe-inspiring women, from High Level Commissioner Dr. Alaa Murabit to Ziauddin Yousafza. As a recently promoted co-Managing Director, Lauren has increasingly put more female values at the heart of the agency. Her team inspire her each day and encourage her to become the best possible version of herself. Lauren has no set goal for the future and is “just looking forward to the process of trying to continue figuring out what it is that I love to do”.
Colonel Lucy Giles, Hon LLD
Exeter alumna, Biological Sciences (Zoology), 1990
Lucy Giles is a Colonel in the British Army with over 28 years’ service. She commissioned in 1992 after reading Biological Sciences and spending a year travelling, teaching outdoor activities and going on exercise with Exeter University Officer Training Corps. Early regimental duty included postings within Germany, UK and South Africa with deployments to Bosnia (1994, 1997, 1999), East Timor and Sierra Leone. After a posting at HQ Northern Ireland, she commanded 47 Air Despatch Squadron enabling operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world. She was an instructor at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in 2011 and was then appointed Commander of New College RMAS in January 2015.
As the first female commander at RMAS, she received an entry into the Debretts’ People of the Day in 2016 followed by winning the ‘Inspirational’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ awards at the inaugural Women in Defence event in October 2016. She is an ambassador for First Women UK, is part of the Girls School Association teachers’ mentoring programme, an ambassador for Girl Guiding UK and was delighted to receive an honorary doctorate from the University for services to the military in July 2017. Promoted in 2018, she is now President of the Army Officer Selection Board in Westbury and continues to enjoy orienteering at UK Armed Forces level.
Her greatest achievement is being happily married to Nick (Economics 1990-1993) and watching their children growing up to be such wonderful people. She is inspired by the selfless commitment of Her Majesty The Queen and is energised by the constant inflow of talented men and women into the Army. The goal for the future is to continue to add value and make a difference to the various people that she meets. The immediate concern, however, is to complete the Marathon des Sables, where she aims to raise over £5000 for Walking with the Wounded.
Exeter alumna, PGCE, 2005
Teresa is an experienced, award-winning Coach, Former Harley Street Clinical Hypnotherapist, Published Author and Business Mentor with over forty years of experience. Having trained extensively with the world-renowned Hypnotist Paul McKenna and the Co-Founder of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Doctor Richard Bandler, Teresa is also a licensed NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer.
Although Teresa has an extensive background in Science and Biology, to include a MSc in Science and a PGCE in Further Education from The University of Exeter, she now specialises in Business, Personal and Youth Coaching.
In November 2019, she launched her new book Ladies, Let’s Get Going which gives advice to everyone in the business world, whether you are a fully established CEO or someone just starting out in the field. As a working woman trying to decipher the work/life balance for herself, Teresa understands and shares with her readers the importance of prioritising tasks, apportioning time, and communicating effectively. This ensures that realistic targets are set and met, without impacting on very important family and rest time.
With many accolades to her name such as Venus Awards Most Influential Woman Semi-Finalist 2019 and Finalist in The International Coaching Awards 2019, Teresa is a woman with a mission to help as many people as she can, in the ways that they need.
Exeter alumna, Modern Languages, 2012
Virginia is an EU Negotiations Advisor in the UK Civil Service, who also writes the award-winning travel blog (www.TheWell-TravelledPostcard.com), is an Ambassador for global children’s charity Plan International, and volunteers on the Exeter Alumnae Committee for female graduates. She currently lives in London, but has previously lived in six other countries across Europe, South America and Asia, has visited over 65 countries in total, and she’s happiest when abroad.
What she loves most about her career to date is the variety of experiences, stories and diverse skills it has equipped her with: from the foreign languages and societies she studied at Exeter; to the communication and intercultural skills acquired through her Erasmus year and teaching English in Spain and Italy. From creativity and travelling the world with her travel writing; to entrepreneurial experience through running her website and freelance work. From team leadership while leading a sustainable development project in Nepal; to primary research and analytical skills through her Master’s thesis on the impact of Brexit on EU27 citizens in the UK. From business management knowledge in the private sector while working for the CEO of O2; to foreign policy and diplomatic engagement with the EU in the Civil Service.
As well as keeping a healthy dose of variety in her day-to-day, her next career goal is to continue specialising in EU and foreign policy in the UK Government, and she’s eyeing up opportunities to move overseas again - ideally in a diplomatic or international engagement role. She has also recently been selected as the Head of the UK Delegation to the annual G7 Youth Summit in Washington DC in June 2020, which mirrors the format and topics of the actual G7 Leaders Summit.
Medical Science with Professional Training Year: third year student
From as early as Nasara can remember, she’s always had a strong sense of ambition. From wanting to be a fashion designer to a psychiatrist to now eventually being unsure. Her passion for science however led her to study Medical Science and her uncertainty of my career path compelled Nasara into currently doing a placement year at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical research in Ghana. She feels that coming to Exeter has helped her develop into the woman she wants to become.
The turning point for Nasara was when she ran for President of the African Caribbean Society. She challenged myself to do something out of my comfort zone, and she regards that as what started her growth. During her time as President, alongside the amazing team and the Student Guild, Nasara was able to create the first ever Black History month campaign on campus and was able to develop many long-lasting initiatives for the society.
Nasara’s biggest achievement so far is launching my very own foundation called The Golden Foundation which is based in Ghana. It is aimed at helping children aged 12-18 go through school successfully by providing them with basic necessities including books, clothes, stationery etc. grateful to have had amazing, independent, hardworking, successful women to look up to like her cousin Azara and her aunties Noshie and Juliet: “They have always taught me to establish myself as an individual before ever relying on anyone else and always thrive to be the best version of myself.”
Sociology and Visual Culture: second year student
Yudi is from China and came to the UK for the first time to study at Exeter University. She has overcome a lot of challenges since coming to Exeter, leading the change for resolving issues related to the international community in Exeter. She now serves as DVP international for the Guild and has led changes to help integrate the international community into the student body as a whole. She seeks to foster a more understanding and positive discourse on the campus around international students and speaks out for the underrepresented Chinese student community - hosting many events and engaging with students from different backgrounds. She aspires to make it so that future international students coming to study in Exeter don't experience frustrations and challenges like she did, to bring the local and international students together into a respectful community.
Exeter alumna (Accounting and Finance, 2011), and Institute Manager at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Tinashe is a graduate from the University of Exeter and is currently the Institute Manager at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. She started the influential and successful BME Network for staff and students in 2019 to amplify the voice of the BME community on our campuses. Her passion is to see progress- to ensure that future generations of BME Staff and students are not being faced with the same issues we are now and to see the University she loves be sector leading and innovative in facing these issues head on. She is inspired by many incredible women- first and foremost her mother. It takes a special resilience to successful navigate the economic, social and political environment in Zimbabwe and retain optimism. Tinashe’s hope is for a future with an even playing field and it is a pleasure to be working alongside others in achieving this. Tinashe is also a great advocate of kindness and is open about her journey with pre and post-natal depression. She views managing a successful family life and career amid mental illness as her greatest accomplishment. Her future goals include continuing the conversation about race equity and mental illness as well as creating opportunities for girls to believe in themselves and their dreams.
Lab Manager (College of Life and Environmental Sciences)
Natascha joined the University of Exeter in 2011 after a long break from work during which she was looking after her three daughters. A trained biologist, she started working as a technician in a Biosciences lab where she worked with pathogen plant fungi. Since then, she has held a variety of jobs in the technical services, spanning numerous disciplines. For example, she worked in Geography, where her work ranged from counting pollen for the Met office to research on soil and peat.
Natascha’s work in these labs has led to her being a co-author on several academic papers, including Nature publications. She has since moved into lab management. Natascha was managing multidisciplinary labs at first, and now shares the management responsibility for the medical labs on Streatham Campus. In addition to this role, she is the project manager for the implementation of a new lab management system, which is currently at trial stage, and will be rolled out across University campuses. During her time at Exeter, Natascha has noticed that technicians are easily overlooked, as most of them ‘just get on with their work’ and do not advertise their own skills despite being trained to the highest level. As a chartered scientist and part of the technical commitment team of the University, she hopes to address this by promoting the visibility and profile of technical staff across the University.
Exeter alumna, MA Financial Investment, 1989
Sharon was always interested in the value of things. In the early 1980s the City was just beginning to change and she undertook a degree at Sunderland Polytechnic in Business and Finance and came out with a 2:1 from as well as completing a one year internship with IBM. Following that degree she briefly worked for Fidelity before applying for a place on the MA in Finance at Exeter and she was offered a scholarship after her interview. After graduation Sharon took a placement at Midland Montagu.
Once at Midland Montagu she decided to interview for a place in the fund management department and gained a position on the Asia desk. She was soon managing a small portfolio and after that managed their Japan Opportunities fund and quickly gained good performance and results. After HSBC bought Midland bank she was offered a move to Japan but decided to move jobs instead and moved to Clerical Medical where she became head of the Japan Equities desk. She also worked at Bessemer Trust, a US wealth management company managing funds for significant families in the US, before becoming a partner at TT International. Sharon left in 2015 and now spends my time managing her own money and investing start up companies. Along the way she has also had success in undertaking property development, her other passion.
The advice Sharon would give is: “Don’t give up if you think you haven’t done so well and just because you did do well don’t assume that life will treat you well going forward. Always look for opportunities and trends and notice what is changing around you and why. We all have skill sets so observe in yourself what those are and how you can best use them whether you are sociable and have a lot of empathy or whether you are numerical or good at spotting opportunities and have an entrepreneurial flair.”
Executive Officer, College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Caroline has worked for the University for six years within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and previously worked at the Met Office, EDF Energy and Devon and Cornwall Police Authority since moving to Devon over 10 years ago. Prior to this Caroline worked for National Express Group, Cable and Wireless and spent five years working with the FE sector. Caroline says there must be something either consciously or sub-consciously that particularly draws her to the learning environment, given her career history (11 years in education both FE and HE).
This leads us to Caroline’s own educational experience and who is currently undertaking a Degree Apprenticeship Programme at the University of Exeter Business School. Caroline is working towards a Chartered Manager Degree within a three year programme. Caroline says that this has been a “fantastic opportunity to study and work simultaneously and although at times has been challenging, particularly in terms of the time commitment, tackling new subjects and a return to essay writing!, has been hugely rewarding in terms of meeting new people, learning new skills and behaviours which I hope to bring back to the workplace – in-fact which I already am bringing back to the workplace!”
Finally Caroline says that the main things that keep her going are:
• Eternal optimism (almost to a fault)
• Instinct (always trust your gut instinct!)
• Sense of humour (thank you Julie Walters)
• Yoga (the link between well-being and exercise – this has become so very important to me)
• Never give up (keep trying no matter what and believe in yourself)
Dr Lisa Alberici
Lecturer in Academic Practice
On reflection, Lisa feels, that the journey to her current role has been a circuitous one. She is from a widening participation background and is still the only person in her family to have been to university – every opportunity she has had in higher education involved a steep learning curve, but she did also flourish.
Lisa originally wanted to be an Ancient History lecturer (and her doctorate is in Ancient History and Archaeology), but she never secured a permanent contract. She was therefore able to use her skills and experience to move into education enhancement and student experience development roles, which eventually brought her to the University of Exeter. Currently she works as a Lecturer in Academic Practice in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and gets to work with some amazing and inspirational early career academics taking the Academic Professional Programme. Lisa highly values her network of supportive female peers and role models, and therefore endeavours to support, develop and champion others wherever she can. For example, Lisa is a panel chair and mentor for the ASPIRE professional recognition pathway, and an advocate for the recognition and development of colleagues’ education practice no matter what contract they have at Exeter.
Vanessa Rowan Johnstone
Exeter alumna, Economics & Agricultural Economics, 1991
Vanessa Rowan Johnstone is an alumna and works in sales and marketing in the City of London for a US investment bank. She was the first female hired in her firm’s graduate program in 1991 and she has been in the City now for nearly 30 years. She has enjoyed supporting many women in the City, especially early in their careers. Her greatest achievement came when she partly funded a short film, The Silent Child where the film went on to receive many awards, most notably The Academy’s prestigious Oscar. She is inspired by many amazing women around the world and most notably Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, as she highly respects her work ethic and her commitment to people. One of her goals for the future is to continue to work with her original faculty and get farmers’ voices heard. With many changes in Britain today, she is passionate farmers have their say in shaping this country’s agriculture policy for the next generation. She has sponsored a PhD student at Exeter University as a first step in this initiative.
Mandy McBain MBE, Hon LLD
Exeter alumna, Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD), 2015
Mandy McBain is a Client Account Manager for Stonewall, the Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans (LGBT) Equality Charity. In this role she manages the Defence & Security Sector and those organisations who have committed to work with Stonewall who are based on the Southcoast.
Before joining Stonewall she served for 25 years in the Royal Navy, starting her career as a Junior Rate and leaving as a Lieutenant Commander. Mandy established the first endorsed support network for LGBT personnel in the Royal Navy and is inspired to see how this has matured and continues to make positive changes today. To mark the 20th Anniversary of the lifting of the Ban on LGBT people serving in the UK military, she has contributed, along with nine other authors to Fighting with Pride – LGBTQ in the Armed Forces. This brings together a selection of LGBTQ servicemen and women who have served since the Second World War. This book will hopefully help the voices of those who were dishonourably discharged or left as a result of their sexuality, be heard and appropriately recognised for their contributions to the UK military.
Mandy was awarded an MBE on the 2012 NY Honours list for her contributions to the inclusivity agenda for the Naval Service, wider Defence and internationally. She was also humbled to receive an honorary doctorate from the University in 2015 for her contributions to the field of equality and diversity.
Her proudest moment was leading the UK military at the 2008 London Pride, which was the first time that all three Services had been allowed to march in uniform. She remains passionate about wanting everyone to feel they can be accepted for who they are, and this drive has increased since Mandy and her wife Sherry had their son Harrison in 2018.
Exeter alumna, Law 1998
Soon after graduating in Law in 1998, Exeter alumna Sarah Dusek packed up her bags and headed to Zimbabwe. Fuelled by a desire to do some good in the world, she settled into aid work supporting development, healthcare and education within the community. It was here that Sarah fell in love with the outdoors, the wide open spaces and the bush experience. Fast-forward a few years and Sarah settled in Montana on her husband’s family farm. Colloquially known as ‘Big Sky Country’, Montana’s big open space reminded Sarah of Africa and the bush, which sparked the initial idea of setting up a safari experience.
Sarah and her husband started by leasing land close to Yellowstone National Park, but have since grown the business to purchase land in a total of eight locations - Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Mount Rushmore, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Tucson.
Sarah’s goal is to be the largest and most innovative glamping company in the world. By 2020, she wants her company to be a company that produces zero waste. As well as this Sarah wants her company to open up access to the outdoors while also conserving land and reducing their impact on nature. They have a minimal disturbance approach to development and strive to leave the land as untouched as possible.
Hon Deng 2013
Exeter alumna Alexandra Jellicoe is primarily a mum of three but moonlights as an environmental activist and writer. Before she had kids, she worked as an Environmental Health Engineer and carried out her Ph.D research for the World Health Organisation and other aid agencies with the goal of preventing loss of life from natural disasters, polluted waterways and, increasingly towards the end, climate change. She also has an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the University of Exeter.
Alex has worked all over the world with a broad range of fascinating people – from warrior tribes in the Sahara Desert to Government Ministers. Secretly, she found the warrior tribe more interesting. Alex has worked with many cultures where women are vulnerable and do not have many rights. Of course, being a woman of responsibility working in such countries had many challenges, which she largely overcame by being respectful of their culture and quietly persistent of her work goals. At times this was scary but Alex very much believes in the moto, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’
Alex has since written a book, The Splitter, about the dilemma an aid worker feels when she interferes with the social structure of the indigenous Turkana tribe of Kenya, in order to provide them with water. Concerned about the current environmental crisis, Alex’s new project is to create a community of women, to garner increased political will to take action on climate change in the UK.
Exeter alumna, PhD Biological Sciences 2000
Alumna Bea Gare is a former British Diplomat, with a total of more than 25 years’ service. She joined as a teenager in the days when the Civil Service still hired secretaries, but after couple of years overseas in West Africa in her early 20s, she decided she wanted to do more than typing.
After transfer to the mainstream diplomatic service, she took a degree in Environmental Science at Reading University and then undertook a PhD in biological sciences at the University of Exeter. She rejoined the FCO after a short stint running her own Environmental Consultancy. Her work in the FCO during this part of her career concentrated on multilateral arms control and included five years in Vienna as Deputy Head of Mission responsible for politico-military negotiations at the British delegation to the OSCE.
Bea joined the Women's Equality Party in 2016. She now sits on the Steering Committee of the Party, is a part of the operational Executive Committee, is Party Treasurer and co-leader of the local Exeter branch. She was instrumental in ensuring that the WEP took a strong stand in favour of a People's Vote on the Brexit negotiation outcomes at their Party conference in 2018.
Exeter alumna, BA CH Philosophy & Sociology 2008
Exeter alumna Sarah Turner is an author, freelance writer and blogger living in Exeter with her husband and their three boys. After graduating in 2008, Sarah joined the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Fast Track scheme, working for Lombard (asset finance). After having her first baby in 2012, she left RBS and returned to the University of Exeter to work as an Alumni Officer. With a passion for writing, and after becoming frustrated with the lack of honest parenting commentary available online, Sarah started The Unmumsy Mum blog in 2013. She left her role at the University to pursue a writing career shortly after. She has since written two books, The Unmumsy Mum and The Unmumsy Mum Diary, both of which are Sunday Times bestsellers. The Unmumsy Mum was voted number four in Amazon’s Top 10 books of 2016 (as voted by Amazon customers) and was also shortlisted for Book of the Year (non-fiction, lifestyle) at the 2017 British Book Awards. Her third book will be published in autumn 2019.
Emily Duncan, is a Postdoctoral Researcher with our Centre for Ecology and Conservation, whose PhD investigated the impact of plastic pollution on marine turtles. Last year Emily was lucky enough to get the opportunity to sail across the Pacific Ocean as a lead scientist on leg one of eXXpedition 2018. This was an all women crew sailing thorough the North Pacific Gyre to collect data and raise awareness of marine plastic pollution.
Emily is both inspired by the marine environment and all the amazing life with it, however now through her work and work of others it is now apparent of the impact we as humans are having on this incredible environment, and her work aim’s to contribute to understanding and resolving this.
After securing her first teaching job, Jocelyn was delighted to work for an inspirational headmaster, who didn’t view gender or age as a barrier to promotion, and she was fortunate to hold senior posts at a very early stage in her career. Following a move to a secondary school in Devon, part of Jocelyn’s was responsibility for trainee teachers, and her enjoyment of this led Jos to her current post as Partnership Director in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter.
In 2018, Jocelyn was awarded the ‘David Allen Hero/ine of the Year’ award for her outstanding work, though Jocelyn says that neither the award nor the Ofsted Outstanding grade the University achieved are what motivates her. The thing that motivates and gives Jocelyn most satisfaction is knowing that there are people, (pupils, trainees, colleagues) for whom something that she said or did made a positive difference. Jocelyn’s advice for young women starting out in their career is to not allow anything or anyone to define your career successes, rather be very good at what you do and enjoy it.
Pensions & Reward Advisor
Alison Rose left school at 18 with no idea of what she wanted as a career, she dabbled a bit in life insurance for a few years but got a bit bored, so looked for a new challenge, which turned out to be with a pension’s administration company. Some thirty five years later, Ali is still working in the pensions sector. Ali’s role at the University of Exeter as a Pensions and Reward Advisor, means she gets to talk to a lot interesting and diverse people which she finds very rewarding.
Ali says that she learned early on in her working life that taking exams was not something she was good at, so for her working hard and learning as much as possible from others and getting hands on experience, was the best way to gain the knowledge and technical expertise that she needs for her role. It is never too late to learn something new or take on a different challenge, as Ali found out in September 2018 when she was elected the Professional Services representative on the University of Exeter’s Council.
For a women starting out today, Ali believes that you should do what is right for you, accept that there will be changes in your life, some of which you will embrace and some will be a challenge. She also says to try and love what you do and always make sure you have time for yourself.
PGR Support Officer (Humanities)
After finishing her education, Cathryn Baker wasn’t sure what to do and did not feel ready to settle into a career. For a few years she worked in France for Euro Camp. Whilst working in France she realised that she enjoyed working with and helping people of all ages, in particular young people. She then decided to train to become a Careers Consultant and went to UWE to study the PGDCG qualification. This work gave her opportunities to work with both adults and young people, in a variety of settings. She was also an assessor for the Princes Trust, awarding young people financial awards to access training and equipment.
After being made redundant Cathryn came to work for the University, starting in the Admissions Team and then moving quite quickly to join the College of Humanities, and now the Doctoral College where she works with PGR students.
Whilst as a careers consultant Cathryn met a 6th form college tutor who wanted to set up a vocational provision for young people who had been permanently excluded from school and has a number of personal issues. Working together they set up and delivered a course which focused on developing basic skills and life skills. Cathryn says the work was exceptionally challenging, but to see them progress into mainstream college courses and achieve was fantastic. Last year, Cathryn received the Professional Services Recognition Award for rigour. Her nomination was submitted by students in the College, and made her like her work was having a positive impact.
Cathryn’s advice for young women starting out is not to be afraid if you do not know what you want to do as a career, take the time to discover the opportunities that are out there because there will be many that you do not know about.
Final year Law student
Ebun is a final year student studying Law. She loves reading, engaging in conversations about politics and learning about different cultures. She’s the General Secretary of the newly formed Exeter BAME Law initiative aimed at striving for equal opportunities and workplace inclusivity for all students of different backgrounds. Ebun is also the Vice President of Women and Law and seeks to ensure that those who fall into the intersectional groups feel included; women and BAME like herself. She aims to equip fellow BAME/Female students build confidence to access to a range of career avenues to do with Law, regardless of the degree discipline. She is passionate about changing the current landscape of the university and making the community more diverse.
Third year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student
Tabitha is a third year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student. Alongside her degree she is an activist and volunteer with feminist organisations such as No More Taboo and Devon Rape Crisis. She regularly attends and organises events, campaigns and protests in the Exeter area in order to raise awareness of oppression and discrimination. Her activism is focused on human rights from an intersectional feminist perspective. Recently she campaigned for Amnesty International’s Fast Fashion and Pro-Choice protests. Tabitha also led Reclaim the Night Exeter and marched with the Dead Women Walking Devon in 2018. This is the kind of work she wishes to pursue in her future academia and career