Women inspiring through collaboration

This #InternationalWomensDay, we’re celebrating the Inspirational women of the Alliance – those working in our member universities who are have been nominated by their peers and colleagues for their inspirational leadership, outstanding contribution to their field, and work championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Our second category is those women nominated for their collaborative and supportive approach to their work. See the rest of the categories here.

Dee Reid, Director of External Relations, Leeds Beckett University

A one-woman comms machine, I am always so impressed with Dee’s ideas and super sharp insights.

Tess Piper, Research Excellence Officer, Coventry University

Tess is a breath of fresh air to work with. Her knowledge, drive and kindness motivate others to do a good job. Tess is approachable and always willing to give her time to help others, not only in the workplace but with her volunteering commitments outside of work too. I feel lucky to have worked with Tess throughout this challenging year and I’m always impressed by her energy, enthusiasm and commitment to a task or project alongside a busy workload.

Rachel Bowden, Head of Evaluation and Policy, University of Brighton

Rachel is generous with her time and knowledge, she is a strategic thinker and a great collaborator. She has her finger on all things evaluation and policy! A real joy to work with.

Professor Hanifa Shah, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University

Professor Shah always goes above and beyond, and has demonstrated a real passion, zest and enthusiasm for her work throughout her time at BCU. She is a true inspiration for colleagues and students across the University and consistently embodies the ambition and leadership which make her such a valued member of our organisation.

Tracey Lancaster, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Resources), Leeds Beckett University

Tracey’s empathy, diplomacy and positivity (not forgetting her humour!) during this past year has made the challenging situation easier. She is passionate about placing students at the heart of decision making and has genuinely encouraged collaboration across our university.

Sarah Flynn, Associate Director of Learning and Teaching (Workplace Learning and Degree Apprenticeships), University of Hertfordshire

Sarah is just on it the whole time. She’s one of the most capable people that I’ve ever worked with and the consummate professional. Sarah is so knowledgeable in her field and a very trusted and supportive colleague. You couldn’t want for a better colleague in your institution.



Caroline Harries, Chief Financial Officer, Kingston University

Extremely good in her role, always professional and a supportive colleague

Holly Parker 

Her amazing work ethic, kindness and support to others. Her ability to carry on working during this time effectively whilst children are at home – she’s inspiring! Her attitude is always positive and helpful.

Jane Golsby, Head of Residential Services, Oxford Brookes University

Their relentless dedication and her positive actions to students residing in university accommodation

Gedminte Mikulenaite, Vice-Chancellor’s Policy Officer, University of Greenwich

Gedminte has an amazing positivity about her and an authentic can do attitude. She proactively gets in involved and has a passion for initiatives that promote social mobility and always puts students at the heart of the conversation. She also has actively got involved with the development of the University’s Mental Health toolkit. A real star.

Jen Vanderhoven, Director, National Horizons Centre, University of Teesside

Jen is a global leader in the bioscience industry on a mission to drive forward the region’s life sciences. For Jen, being a successful leader means spending each day motivating and empowering others, taking on bold missions, having a vision and going for it. She successfully balances the roles of being a leader, colleague, friend, mother, wife – and smiling throughout – showing women you can have it all.



Magi Hoppitt, Chief People Officer, Coventry University

Magi is a member of UA’s HR network. The HR network was one of the first new UA network established in the days building up to the first national lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic. The network and all its members have proved invaluable during the last year coming together regularly to share experiences and solutions to common issues and challenges. Magi has inspired by how she has gone out of her way to share her vast experience in the HR world and the approaches taken by Coventry to dealing with the endless difficulties thrown up by the pandemic. In addition to her vast knowledge and wisdom Magi brings humour and light relief to the network meetings often needed in those darkest of times and for the HR leads who are all very much firefighting at the frontline.

Sharon Harrison-Barker, Secretary and Registrar, University of Hertfordshire

Sharon is a member of UA’s Registrar / COO Network. Sharon has inspired through her positivity and pragmatic approach bringing huge value and positivity the Registrar/COO meetings. Eminently sensible, Sharon says it how it is and always on hand to offer advice to the group.

Shannon Lee, President of USW Students’ Union

Shanon is a members of UA’s SU Network, Shannon has inspired through her passion and dedication to her role, to the student experience, working constructively with the university, University Alliance and colleagues across the Alliance membership.

Cathy Burleigh, Director of Finance and Legal Services at Oxford Brookes Cathy is a member of UA’s Finance Leads network. Cathy has inspired through her openness and willingness to share challenges, her meticulous attention to anticipating issues long before they hit, a tremendous advantage for a group that is at the frontline for handling risk is invaluable. Despite the challenges faced by the group, Cathy remains positive and light hearted, which has been very much needed in these times of pressure.
Daisy Way, PR and Communications Manager, University of Hertfordshire,

Daisy is always ready to ask how she can help or to offer ideas – her enthusiasm for our work always brings me much-needed encouragement and she’s a joy to work with.

Viki Faulkner, Head of Apprenticeships, University of Brighton

Viki is highly collaborative and generous with sharing her vast expertise and strategic vision.

Stacey Kerrigan, Senior Business Officer, University Alliance 

On behalf of the UA PA/ EA network: we want to say a huge thank you to Stacey for her efficiency in co-ordinating not just the VCs, but us as well! Thanks to Stacey we have an established network that is not only efficient, but supportive too. Having this network (which has been headed up by Stacey) throughout the pandemic has been invaluable and I know we will continue to harness the ‘power of us’

Mazia Yassim, Faculty Quality Enhancement Lead, University of Greenwich

During what has been a difficult year for everyone, Mazia has stepped into a lead role in the faculty to help others as the Faculty Quality Enhancement Lead. While doing this she has continued to improve her own programme that she leads. She has found inspirational ways to create a sense of community for her students, through Covid, examples being through virtual exchanges and publication projects. These types of events have helped students to develop and enable student to create their own brand. All this while finding a novel way to embed SDGs and leadership certification on the postgraduate programme, while home schooling her children.

Professor Dot Newbury-Birch, Professor (Research), Teesside University 

Dot has worked tirelessly to motivate and encourage her team throughout the pandemic – and has always been there for a friendly chat and a virtual cuppa when her colleagues need it. For Dot, being inspirational means working with her team of incredible women and men to ensure they are always looking towards the next step, and believes that together we can pave the way.