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Mentorship Programme

From Michaelmas Term 2022, we will re-launch our College Mentorship Programme that will look to pair undergraduate and postgraduate students with our carefully selected cohort of world class mentors. If you are interested in joining this valuable programme, please complete this form

For further information or questions please email

Rev Dr Peter Oluwakayode Adegbie PhD Newcastle

Peter, a leadership mentor with over 30 years’ experienceMentor 12 Rev Dr P Oluwakayode Adegbie sits on several boards both as adviser and trustee. He is the founder of Maximum Impact Group, which offers mentoring, leadership development and employability training amongst other things. He manages a heritage asset in Sunderland and is skilled at communication, project management, human resource management and fund raising.

He is a prolific writer, a published author and performance poet who represented Sunderland at the Artomatic Arts Festival USA. Peter’s oral history educational web portal of African and Caribbean Diaspora in the North east of England to commemorate the Bicentenary celebration of the Parliamentary Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and two universities who engaged as partners in kind. He is recipient of the Newcastle University enterprise award for culture and creativity, the Northern Film and Media Capture Documentary award and Dr Tony Trapp ABC award.

Katrina Appleyard

I am a management consultant, facilitator, and business K Appleyardresearcher.  With over 25 years of business experience in Australia, Prague, Hong Kong, America, and England, I have worked for Deloitte, Credit Suisse, Durham Business School and most recently, Raby Estates, a 60,000-acre heritage organisation in County Durham.  I have now gone out on my own as a Management Consultant, with my company, Appleshed Consulting.

I am curious and strategic and love high-level dreams as well as understanding the detail. I make things happen and get things done.  I thrive landing in a new country, organisation, or project, engaging with a new team and examining the situation I find myself in.  The buzz of helping clients to create simpler, efficient, or better strategies and processes for people and organisations keeps me grinning.  I hold a business degree, an MBA, and an MSc Psychology.

I am enjoying my life’s journey, from an Australian farmer’s daughter to the Northeast of England with my husband, two teen sons, Reg the dog and 2 cats who are brothers – the thing I miss most right now is the ability to travel. Oh yes, and our urgent need to save the planet is something I engage in fully.

Dr Soondus Aslam MBBS, MRCGP. 

Dr Aslam is a General Practitioner with special interest in Dr Soondus Aslam MBBS, MRCGP.Mental Health, Women’s health, and Sexual Health. She has practiced medicine in the Northeast of England since 2008 and has been affiliated with St Aidan’s College as a Student Development Mentor since 2014. In recent years, she has been involved in supporting refugees, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities in her role as a healthcare professional. She has worked with Newcastle Medical School since 2016 and has taught medical students in classroom and clinical setting. 

In 2019, she was invited to Regents University London, to speak to students visiting from Seattle University. She delivered a seminar on Diversity and Prejudice. She speaks English, Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi. Dr Aslam has a parallel interest in creative writing. She has published over 50 short stories, essays, and articles in Pakistan. Her published work encompasses fiction, poetry, health, and contemporary issues.

Rachael Barker

Rachael Barker is an education marketing and engagementR Baker professional, who has worked in the UK higher education and independent school sectors for the last twenty years – including a most enjoyable 5 years at Durham University Business School! An alumna of the Universities of Liverpool and Sheffield, Rachael has sector relevant professional qualifications and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Rachael’s professional trajectory has seen her move around the UK to advance her career and she is currently Head of Alumni Relations & Development at the University of South Wales. Rachael’s expertise is across the disciplines of advancement - marketing, events management, volunteer engagement, communications, and fundraising.

Outside of work, Rachael enjoys travelling widely and previously spent a gap year living in Australia. Her interests and passions include good food & wine, sports, hiking, history, and local heritage.

Rachael’s professional trajectory has seen her move around the UK to advance her career and she is currently Head of Alumni Engagement and Stakeholder Development at Teesside University.

Natalie Bennett

8 years’ experience in Beijing, China, a former Architect, Natalie BennettARB British Registered, I now work with educational, community and civil society organisations in China and Europe to increase sustainable value. I thrive on interaction & exchanged expertise; my motivation renewed by socially and environmentally driven successes.

I believe every choice we make should consider sustainable solutions, that are human centred and connected to the environment.

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development are an excellent lens through which to examine challenges. Ideas and solutions, in my opinion, are born of critical skills, often termed the “4 C’s”, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity - and what I believe is the most important 5th C, crazy, just a little bit!

Natalie works with youth groups and professionals in Europe and China, creating conversations that inspire action towards sustainable impact on society and the environment. She applies creative processes to kick start thinking, regarding  challenges of how we can each make positive impact, through the choices we make in our everyday lives and  in the way we do business.

Natalie grew up in Durham, studied at the Glasgow School of Art and worked in Beijing for ten years, now she is based between the UK and Italy. With more than ten years professional experience in architecture and implementation of design thinking methodologies, she focuses on working in collaboration with organizations focused on amplifying holistic methods for mindset shift to realise real systematic change.

Neil Blakeman

Neil Blakeman is a senior management consultant with Neil Blakeman30 years of international commercial experience in business and education, working in the UK, China, Asia, Central Europe, and other international markets.  He has worked closely with companies of all sizes and across many sectors on international strategy, business development, operations, and growth. 

Neil worked with FutureLearn from 2013-17, the global social learning platform offering short courses and degrees from leading Universities. Previous consultancy clients have included blue-chip multinationals, universities, business schools, leading public-sector and independent institutions, and start-ups which are ‘born global’. Prior to becoming a consultant, Neil was the UK Government’s Director of Trade and Investment for China (Commercial Counsellor), at the British Embassy in Beijing. Before working in the public sector, Neil had numerous senior roles in private sector multinationals, in Poland, Czech Republic & Slovakia, France, UK.

Dr Douglas HallidayDr Douglas Halliday

Douglas is Professor of Physics at Durham University. His research is on solar photovoltaics and new materials. He is a Co-Director of Durham Energy Institute and teaches on Masters programmes related to renewable energy. He leads on the Energy Centre for Doctoral Training as part of Durham Energy Institute. He is Director of the Durham University Global Challenges Centre for Doctoral Training supporting a cohort of 25 international students from 17 developing nations to undertake multidisciplinary doctoral research projects across 15 academic departments exploring solutions to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Douglas has held a range of different roles at Durham including Dean of Graduate School and Deputy Dean of Science. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Energy Institute, and a Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE. Douglas has had a long association with St Aidan’s College having been a college mentor for many years.

Dr Peter Boulding

Peter Boulding is a professional trainer, teacher, and Dr P Bouldingconsultant in public sector management, and now a freelancer. He is a tutor for CIPFA delivering the Audit and Assurance course, face to face and online. This is a professional course for trainees to become Chartered Public Finance Accountants.

In 2019 and 2020 he delivered a spectrum of short courses for Public Administration International, ranging from governance, standards to internal audit. He taught several sessions for the Civil Service College groups of public servants from India and Sri Lanka.

In his twenty-year consulting career, he has worked in many countries across the world including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Uganda, Trinidad, Tajikistan, Russian Federation, as well as UK and across Europe. He gained his professional accountancy (CIPFA) qualification whilst a senior auditor at the National Audit Office. Peter’s PhD is from Durham’s Department of Geography.

Elizabeth Caulder

For more than two decades, Elizabeth has served in Elizabeth Caulderexecutive leadership roles at prominent strategic marketing agencies, providing brand strategy to Fortune 500 Companies, Government Agencies, NGOs, and Non-Profit Organizations.  Ms. Caulder was honoured to support the Chief Secretariat by leading the design of the strategic communications plan for the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment and now serves on the Advisory Council for the global organization, WEI Forward – Women’s Economic Imperative.

Elizabeth is passionate about issues impacting women, particularly Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, Premature Birth, and Infant Mortality.  She serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes and leads the charge to drive awareness and inspire support to eradicate these issues.   Her commitment to service is not new.  She has been a member of the international service organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, for 25 years and currently serves on the organization’s International Branding Team.  As the President of PHOENIX Lifestyle Marketing Group, Ms. Caulder sets the strategic direction for the firm and serves as an advisor to young professional women throughout the US.

Laura Chambers

Laura is a Co-Founder of Jack & Grace, a purpose-driven communications and impact relations agency. On a mission to use commsLaura Chambers as a force for good, Jack & Grace only works with organisations that value people, planet, and profit equally.

Specialising in marketing and communications for professional services organisations, before setting up Jack & Grace Laura held a number of head of comms roles in the economic development sector.

Whether it’s figuring out what to say or how best to say it, Laura helps businesses and brands connect with target audiences to deliver work that has measurable impact. She’s a highly experienced communicator who knows how to understand and engage diverse audiences in a way that changes how people think, feel and act.

Her strategic, integrated campaigns achieve results - from fuelling the circular economy to fighting for equality for autistic people.

Laura holds a business and marketing degree from Nottingham Trent University and a diploma and postgraduate diploma in marketing from the CIM. She’s also a member of the PRCA.

Paul DaviesPaul Davies

I am a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years experience in the engineering consultancy industry. I have a BSc in Geology from the University of London. I have an MSc in Engineering Geology from Durham University. I was a member of the Postgraduate Society, which is now Ustinov College.  After graduating from Durham I stayed in the North East to further my career working for regionally based firms. My expertise is in environmental engineering, contaminated land and geotechnics. I was employed as an Environmental Board Director for WYG for 20 years. In 2009 I established my own consultancy practice, MD2 Consulting Ltd based in Durham, specializing in environmental, planning and regeneration and we have been trading successfully for over 12 years. I am a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

I am married and my wife, who is also a Durham University graduate (St Mary’s College Law), works for Durham University and my daughter is in her first year at University College London reading comparative literature.

As a proud Welshman I am a keen rugby fan, I enjoy travelling, good food and fine wine and after 30 plus years of marathon running I now keep semi fit with gentle cycling.

Julian Fisher

Julian is cofounder of Venture Education. Venture EducationJulian Fisher empowers UK education in China through research, projects, and partnerships, including EdTech market entry and M&A. He has fifteen years’ experience working in education in China including time with Harrow Beijing and the British Council. Julian is also Vice Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce in China and chair of the Education Forum. Julian is passionately involved in entrepreneurship and the former president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization China North. He is currently one of the sixty global mentors for the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2020, former organiser of the China Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards and an associate for UCL Discentia Capital. He taught entrepreneurship in a North Korean university in 2018.  

Julian has a joint honours undergraduate degree from UCL and SOAS universities in History of Art and an MA from UCLAN in Antiques.

Yolanda Gibb

Yolanda worked in industry, academia, and international Yolanda Gibborganizations before setting up her own company working with small businesses in a wide range of sectors to grow their business internationally as well as with international organisations focusing on enterprise and entrepreneurship, strategy, international competitiveness, marketing, and digitization. Most recently she has also been involved in projects covering issues including social enterprise and impact investment as well as women´s economic empowerment.

She has also been working with students and young graduates on personal development and cross-cultural communications. Grounded in the south of Spain since the start of the pandemic, she now works virtually, constantly looking for new ways to harness technology to maintain human connections and develop online learning opportunities that are interesting, effective, and fun.

Donald Henderson

After a short time in the private sector, Donald joined the Donald HendersonUK civil service, as part of the pre devolution Scottish Office. While remaining based in Scotland, he has had periods on secondment to various UK Departments in London and overseas (in the Middle East with the Foreign Office 1984/85, in London working on Fisheries in Defra 1992/93 and in the Cabinet Office 1999-2002 operating as secretariat for UK Cabinet and Anglo-Irish Committees chaired by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown among others).

An experienced leader of large units of staff, his assistance and advice are also regularly sought within the Scottish Government as a mentor and a coach. He was appointed to the Senior Civil Service in 2002 since when he has led work in Scotland on staffing in schools, EU policy, Public Health and Child Protection.  He is currently setting up a scheme to pay redress to people who were in children’s homes in Scotland in past decades and were abused there. Donald lives in Edinburgh and is married with two primary age children.

Keith Herrmann

Keith is Director of Higher Ed Research a research Keith Herrmannconsultancy specialising in higher education policy, graduate employability, and strategy development. He also has a strong interest in entrepreneurship education and SME development. He was previously Director of Employability and Careers at the University of Surrey where he had a university-wide remit as strategic lead on employability, careers, and the university’s renowned student placement programme. He also successfully developed the University’s strategy on Degree Apprenticeships.

Keith was previously Deputy Chief Executive at the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) where he was involved in research on entrepreneurship education, leadership in higher education, innovation policy, university-business collaboration, employability, career guidance and STEM education. Before this he worked at Durham University Business School as Director of Programmes for Small Enterprise Development where he led a team specialising in entrepreneurship education and economic policy research. Keith is passionate about education, and convened pro bono the Careers Alliance, a strategic leadership network of 25 national organisations in the UK with an interest in career guidance, including employer bodies, trade unions and education and skills organisations.

Yaman Islim

Yaman is a St. Aidan’s College alumnus and currently a product manager at bp where heYaman Islim leads the innovation and engineering’s global market risk team. Before his current position, he was an assistant vice president at Delta Capita, a technology consulting firm working on their structured derivatives digital products offering. Earlier, Yaman was the Managing Director of The Chapar, a disruptive UK based eCommerce start-up.

Yaman completed his bachelor’s in Economics at Aleppo University, Syria in 2012 after which he moved to Istanbul, Turkey where he obtained his MBA. In 2015, Yaman moved to the UK after being awarded a Chevening Scholarship to study MSc Finance at Durham University Business School graduating in 2016.

Agnes Kennedy

Hello, I'm Agnes. I have been a Primary Teacher for many Agnes Kennedyyears and almost 30 of those years have been spent in the local school in Beith, Ayrshire. Throughout these years, the most intrinsic part of my teaching style has been to provide a nurturing environment for the pupils in my class. I believe that it is essential to look beyond the child and endeavour to understand how their day has unfolded before they arrive in school.

The past four years have allowed me to develop this approach further through my current post of Nurture Teacher. With regard to this, and in post-lockdown days, my colleague and I established a Woodland School. Our hope for this new venture was that it would instil a lifelong love of the outdoors and foster the children's sense of self-worth. I am a volunteer with Who Cares? Scotland and have sought to reduce the stigma which can surround care-experienced children and young people in school environments. My involvement in curriculum planning for this is ongoing and relevant. In 2019, I visited Sampark in Bangalore to assist in training the teachers who work in the creches. As a result, I found that their hard work and dedication altered my approach to life. In conclusion. If I had to detail my strongest belief in life, it would be to CHOOSE KINDNESS... always.

Stephanie Lawson

Stephanie is an Asia-based sustainable fashion specialist Stephanie Lawsonfrom England with over 12 years’ experience working in fashion design, brand management and communications and higher education. She has started two fashion companies, one is "Laws on Design" which provides design, education and business services to companies and schools in China with a focus on responsibility and sustainability, the second is "Zodiac Active" a women's urban activewear brand which holds the mission of providing smart design capsule clothing with a conscience.

She has designed for brands including Macy's, JCPenney, Next, ONLY China and Toread amongst others.

She has taught fashion and marketing subjects at Raffles Shanghai, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Zhengzhou University and most recently SHTCS. She has collaborated with companies including Feiy, Kehu, Wework, Kering, Zurita, NYU Shanghai and InStart Education.

She regularly contributes to China Temper magazine with a focus on sustainable fashion in China. She is established within sustainability communities in Shanghai and fashion industry networks, leading to a position aiding others to overcome challenges in problem-solving and adopting progressive approaches to business and education. She speaks often in public and in schools; her uniqueness comes from her wide range of experience which gives her a big picture advantage - a birds-eye view across the fashion spectrum from education to business and back - along with an empathic working style.

Rusty Livock 

Is a Durham MBA who has had a varied public sector and business career. Working in the UK, Scotland, Germany and China,           Rusty Livock                                        Rusty had 15 years of corporate employment and then went on to found a highly successful Welsh based enterprise. 

Her interests are Organisational development, Getting the best out of people and working cross culturally. She understands the challenges of transitioning into a new institution and the demands that a degree can command.               

While a business leader, Rusty completed coaching and mentoring qualifications. Resident in London, Rusty is involved with a range of organisations as a Trustee  a Non-executive Director and or coach.

Rusty would be flexible in her offering to a mentee and will be happy to negotiate with an individual on how they believe they could be supported best.

She would be very happy to support anyone currently exploring aspects of their identity.

Anant Mathur (Ba Hons, MBA)

An experienced multi-channel, multi-category food industry Anant Mathurconsultant, with diverse experience. I have worked in the Food industry for all my career and have created business plans and sales strategy for brands like Walls, Ben & Jerrys, and Kingfisher for the UK market. I have also scoped, launched, and grown World food brands from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in the UK and the EU. Having started as an accountant after graduating with a Finance degree, I moved into Operations and Supply chain on the back of my MBA, and then into account management and control for UK retail and wholesale category leaders.

Currently an independent consultant, my most recent projects have been supporting UK SMEs (Food and Drinks) with UK market growth and managing and improving their EU trade while overcoming the challenges of Brexit.

When I’m not working, I’m playing or managing at my local hockey club, or working my culinary magic in the kitchen!

Shivali Mathur

A passionate environmentalist with a degree in electronics Shivali Mathurengineering and MBA(Finance). I started my career as project engineer on government funded projects and after MBA, entered the world of renewables and worked in diverse roles across business analysis, sales, projects, and product management in Daikin Airconditioning UK. I have enjoyed working with people and on creative, innovative ventures.

Currently, I am an experienced heat network specialist at BEIS (Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) with a drive to contribute to the heat sector as part of the multi-vector approach (generation, storage, transport) that can lead to smarter cities. Heat Networks can be a key part of supporting local economic growth and regeneration while also helping to ensure the UK can meet its legal decarbonisation targets at a low cost. I immerse myself fully in new, immediate experiences. I am social and like being surrounded by other people. I believe collaboration is key to success in any industry.

Jessica P. Nyirenda

Jessie is an Associate Member of the Zambia Institute of Jessica P. NyirendaBanking & Financial Services and a graduate of Copperbelt University in BSc Banking & Finance. Jessie has over fifteen years of experience in the Banking Sector with a bias toward Gender and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development. She has developed a passion for taking financial intermediation to the rural-based women, and youth SMEs and has been considered a turnaround strategist in product development, capacity building and gender role profiling.

She has contributed extensively to the growth of the financial sector through training of bankers in Executive Diploma in SME Relationship Management and government/private stakeholder engagement, and on the demand side through, financial education and Business Development Services to SMEs.

Jessie previously consulted on the digitisation of government school fee payments; the digitisation of SACCOS; and served as Chief Operations Officer of an MFI. An Honorary Wildlife Police Officer, Jessie is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and the preservation of the Zambian heritage and the promotion of local tourism where she has volunteered for Women in Conservation.

Wendy Parvin MA, FRSA

Wendy Parvin is an entrepreneurship, innovation, and Wendy Parvin MA, FRSAcreative educator with over 30 years of experience working within higher education, businesses and the non–profit sector, both nationally and internationally. With a successful track record in research-led education, small business management and developmental mentoring, she holds a master’s qualification in entrepreneurship - Wendy is a fully equipped expert with a passion help creative individuals and teams set up ventures that inspire them, earn sustainable income, and ultimately make a positive impact within their community. She is a visiting fellow at both Durham and Newcastle University, embedding Entrepreneurship into the postgraduate curriculum. 

Wendy has a well-grounded understanding of the issues surrounding graduate employability and the demand for graduates to be equipped to build portfolio careers. She has been instrumental in designing and delivering programmes to support University staff, (both in academic and support roles) to understand the concept and practice of innovative and entrepreneurial behaviour and how it impacts globally, societally, organisationally, and at an individual level. She has written and taught programmes, accredited and non-accredited, together with a range of extra-curricula skills development training for students and staff.

Since 2002 through her consultancy company Conversations with Purpose, Wendy works with large clients including the Department of Trade and Industry, the British Council and Virgin Money.  Having supported over 5000 new ventures over the last two decades, Wendy has harnessed her knowledge to expand her support offering including the more established SMEs and larger organisations, enabling them to innovate and address their biggest challenges. With the intention to empower people, Wendy follows a practical and pragmatic approach that helps graduates, entrepreneurs, and businesses to be proactive in harnessing opportunities, gain the skills they need to take ownership, clarify their barriers to growth and from there generate sustainable solutions.

Professor Suncica Oberman Peterka

Suncica Oberman Peterka was born on April 08, 1973. Professor Suncica Oberman PeterkaSuncica is a full professor at the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia and where, since 2013, she is the vice dean for study programmes and students’ affairs. At the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, she teaches Strategic management, Entrepreneurship, New Ventures Creation, Leadership and Entrepreneurial Strategies at the undergraduate level, and graduate and postgraduate (specialization and doctoral) levels.

Suncica Oberman Peterka participates, as a researcher, in many scientific, research and professional projects and she is involved as an external associate in many projects of CEPOR (policy centre for entrepreneurship and SMEs – and Centre for entrepreneurship in Osijek ( She is a member of the European Council for Small Business and one of the founders of the Alumni association of the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, Croatia. Suncica Oberman Peterka, Ph.D., full professor, Faculty of Economics in Osijek, J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek.

Leigh Searleigh

Leigh is currently Chief Executive of SFEDI Solutions, part of the SFEDI Group, which is the Sector Skills Body for Business and Enterprise in the UK.  Having previously worked at Durham Business School and Wood Holmes Group, Leigh has 20 years’ experience of understanding and supporting enterprise learning and skills development at a national and international level. Leigh has extensive experience in designing and delivering programmes of enterprise learning and skills development for government departments and agencies, large corporates, regional and local development agencies, community and voluntary organisations and small businesses.  For example, Leigh is currently managing a number of Erasmus Plus projects which are developing innovative learning and skills programmes for micro-business owner-managers, migrants and refugees and businesses in the green economy. Leigh is working with an international automotive supplies business to develop and deliver a mentoring programme. Leigh is also working with Newcastle Business University School on the delivery of the Captured Programme which has been recognised nationally and internationally an innovative approach to supporting management and leadership in micro businesses.

Leigh is Vice-President for Policy and Practice with the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (a UK small business research body).  He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, an Associate of the Centre for Knowledge Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE) within the University of Newcastle and an Honorary Entrepreneurial Fellow at Durham University Business School.

Thalia Simich

Thalia Simich (Lima, PERU). Professional Lawyer graduated Thalia Simichfrom the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Peru), holding a Diploma of Specialist on Sustainable Development from ESAN Graduate School of Business (Peru) and Community Leadership from George Mason University (USA). I have over 6 years of experience in legal consulting in the energy and mining sector (Oil, Gas, Electricity and Mining) and regulations of natural resources. However, beside my corporate side, I have always been passionate about gender equality as a key aspect for community development.

Therefore, since 2017, I am dedicated to organizing, alliance building, public relations, fundraising and program development that involve youth, women, and communities to promote awareness, development, and growth. Currently, I am the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Sustainability of Ligas Femeninas de Fubtol 7, a social enterprise that promotes women empowerment through football. As well as the Fundraising Manager of LMI, an NGO that foster financial literacy.

Morna Simpkins

Morna has been the Director of Scotland for the MS SocietyMorna Simpkins since 2015.  In addition to leading the team, being key spokesperson for the organisation in Scotland she is a member of the UK wide Senior Management Team representing the devolved nations.  She is also the UK lead for Co-production and Engagement.

Prior to this she held roles as Chief Executive of Dundee Voluntary Action and Brittle Bone Society – a UK wide Charity. From 1999 to 2002 she worked for University of Durham Business School as the Centre Manager of the Barclays Centre for Entrepreneurship and completed a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship. Her interests include social enterprise, women’s leadership, co-production, and co-design rooted in a strong desire to make a difference in both her paid and voluntary roles. Outside work she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog – Daisy, cooking and gardening.

Victoria Smith

Head of Learning and Development, reporting directly to the Victoria SmithGroup People and Sustainability Director, I lead the Learning agenda for Brewin Dolphin (FTSE 250 Wealth Management business with 30 offices based in UK and Ireland). Responsible for a team of 7 experienced L&D partners, we design and deliver group-wide learning strategies that support culture change and talent across digital learning, regulatory learning, executive leadership & management development, apprenticeships, client skills and wealth manager development. Prior to joining Brewin, my career included starting-up and, for 7 years, co-owning a consultancy business generating over £30m productivity improvements for SME and corporate firms in both private and public sectors. I also studied for an MBA at Durham Business School which led to 6 years with their Small to Medium Enterprise arm developing a highly successful portfolio of accredited management development programmes for senior business executives in the UK and Overseas.

A key driver throughout my professional career has been to help people build confidence and develop capabilities. I like to keep things simple, adopting a collaborative approach to designing solutions which are tailored yet scalable. I've been fortunate to lead teams in innovations that have increased revenues and improved bottom-line results through enhanced personal performance.

Sylvana Storey BSc (Hons) MSc MBA DBA HonFAPM FIC PABP MBPsS

Sylvana Storey, CEO of Global Organizational Integrators,Sylvana Storey is a recognised business psychologist with 24 years’ experience as an Organisational Development and Change Provocateur Managing Consultant.  She is credited for her expertise in designing and leading multiple culture and behavioural transformation strategies and interventions for FTSE100 and Fortune 100 companies across the globe.

Sylvana authored ‘The Impact of Diversity on Global Leadership Performance: LEAD³ published by Palgrave Macmillan and is soon to publish, ‘HEY CEO, NO!’ published by HBR. She is a contributory author of Business Psychology in Practice, Business Psychology in Action and soon to be published ‘Organizations Unfolding’ in 50:50 –Scenarios for the next 50 years’ published by Fast Future. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and sits on the IAS Development Board at Durham University.

Julie Toner

Julie is a Durham MBA graduate who describes herself as a Julie Tonerlifelong learner.  Initially trained in Marks & Spencer, she has held management positions in a variety of sectors including telecommunications, the motor industry, financial services, and higher education.  She has worked in blue chip international companies and in fast-growing small businesses. In recent years, her focus has been on primary education where she has explored a range of curricula at home and abroad. Having studied at four UK universities and been employed in two, she is only too familiar with the challenges facing students.

“Life is a journey - at times plain sailing, at others, a roller coaster ride.  Helping others to navigate their own path with confidence and insight is the privilege of a mentor.  As the pace of change around us continues to gain momentum, it is inevitable that we are sometimes overwhelmed.  We all at times need help in harnessing our inner resources and developing the life skills we need to enjoy the ride and reach our chosen destination”.

Dr Ellen E Touchstone

Dr Touchstone is an Associate Professor of Practice at the Dr Ellen E TouchstoneInternational Business School Suzhou @ XJTLU who received her MBA in International Business from Thunderbird – School of Global Management and her PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Southern California.  She was also recently appointed the IBSS Associate Dean for Responsible and Sustainable Business Education. Her research interests include environmental issues such as Chinese women’s attitudes towards sustainable menstrual hygiene products as well as social and economic justice related to gender parity.

She is a thought leader in services marketing, in particular the linguistic services cape, and the use of multilingual advertising. She has taught at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University-Long Beach, California State University-Los Angeles, and Whittier College.  She has also worked as a marketing practitioner for PeopleSoft, LingualCare, Target, Dillard’s and the US Department of Commerce.

Cissie Tsang

Cissie is the Collaborative Projects Manger leading on Cissie Tsangexternal engagement at Newcastle University Business School. Cissie manages the collaborative spaces and communities of practice which have an over-arching theme of social justice and responsible leadership. Working closely with the Leadership Development and Organisational Futures academic team, she develops opportunities with external stakeholders and partners, and she has a particular interest in regional engagement.

Cissie has worked in Higher Education for over a decade including in the Student and Graduate Enterprise service, ranked no. 1 in the UK for start-ups (HEBCIS), mentoring students and graduates who wanted to start their own businesses. Cissie is a member of Newcastle University’s Race Equality Charter working group and is passionate about challenging and changing inequalities that exist within Higher Education. Cissie graduated from Durham University before studying a master’s degree at The University of Manchester.

Susan Tyson

I have a first degree in French and an MBA from Manchester Susan TysonBusiness School. I have run my own business, worked in a major international bank in the city and worked in the charity sector. I am now retired but for the last 20 years of my working life, I worked at both Newcastle and Durham Universities. I know my way around university systems and am very familiar with the varied challenges and opportunities students encounter. I live locally and for the past 9 years have been involved in the running of Durham Pointers, a volunteer information and signposting service in Durham City:

I want to help my students make the most of their time in our beautiful city and would be interested in mentoring the following: French/German speakers, LGBT, Linguists, Business School students, Winter sports enthusiasts, Rochdale AFC supporters, anyone interested in local heritage and history, genealogists.

Amy Griffin

Originally hailing from Durham, Amy GriffinAmy is Deputy Head at Claremont Primary School in North West London. With eleven years experience teaching children from diverse backgrounds with diverse needs, she is particularly passionate about literacy. She has spearheaded a number of action research projects to develop how schools can best support children to develop communication and language even when they start school speaking no English.

She believes strongly in the need to balance academic progress, creativity and wellbeing in teaching approaches. With all three pillars supporting each other, every child has an opportunity to feel success and gain improved outcomes. In her role as part of the senior leadership team, Amy has developed and embedded a new curriculum to encompass these values, inspiring the theme of her NPQSL final project.

Committed to ongoing learning and development for teachers, Amy proactively cultivates a growth mindset, where colleagues feel safe and supported to promote pupil development. Over the years, she has mentored newly qualified teachers and schools direct students, relishing in supporting their evaluations and professional development.

Dr Krishanthi (Krish) Vithana

Dr Krishanthi Vithana is an Associate ProfessorDr Krishanthi in Accounting in Southampton Business School  at the University of Southampton. She is an academic representative at the University Senate and a member of the University Council. Krish completed her Doctoral studies in Durham University Business School in 2014. She also holds MBA in Finance from the University of Colombo Sri Lanka and BSc in Agribusiness Management from Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. Part completion of the professional examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka did open the path for her to change the discipline from science to accounting and finance. She believes this to be one of the best decisions.

Her focus of research is Accounting for Human capital resource in organizational context. She also research in areas including accountability in relation to environmental social and governance performance and disclosure, market based valuations on ESG and sustainability and the Real living wage. She has published her research in reputed academic journals including, Journal of Business Ethics, Accounting Forum, and The International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Krish has been the principal investigator for the ESRC IAA funded research projects entitled “Investment case on real living wage accreditation” and “Incorporating the broad ESG agenda in investment analysis: case of climate related engagement”. Krish has actively engaged with industry partners including the Global Responsible Investment team of Aviva Investors, Living Wage Foundation and Platform Living wage financials.

Robert Edwards

Based in Yorkshire, Rob has worked hjdhwith membership groups, academics and businesses for over twenty years, holding senior roles in academic publishing before becoming self-employed in 2014. As Director of Herald Academic, he advises about marketing, events, business development and board strategy, and has been an Associate Lecturer in creativity and innovation. Before moving into a consultancy role with them, Rob served as a board member of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship for two terms. 

He is now Director for the International Enterprise Educators Conference, and Head of Business Development & Marketing for Enterprise Educators UK. He is also CEO of the Neurodiversity & Entrepreneurship Association.

Di Gates

Di has over twenty years’ experience running Mentorcreative businesses and working with a range of national and international clients. From 2001 - 2009 she ran one of the North of England’s biggest creative agencies, growing the company to 20+ employees and £1.4 mil turnover, with a national reputation for health and enterprise campaigns. On exiting to an investor in 2009, Di founded collaboration agency, Stick Theory, delivering brand strategies and complex communications projects for investor-backed startups and a range of national and global brands. Di has also been a director of two social enterprises, a mentor and coach on several incubators and enterprise programmes, a training facilitator on all aspects of brand and communications and, most recently, has published a children's book to raise money to support families in Ukraine.

Dr Simon Raybould

Simon started his professional career as a researcher, mentorfollowing a PhD looking at the causes of childhood cancer.  He spent 24 years in research and as a manager at the UK's largest social science research centre before he became a presentations and communications trainer.  He has also worked as a lighting designer for dance companies, a fire-eater, a drugs educator and a teacher!

His last book - Presentation Genius - hit the top ten.  Simon now lives in Newcastle with his wife and (between their jaunts around the world) two daughters.

Alex Waterston

I am the Associate Director of Innovation and Leadership in an international business and IT consultancy called Waterstons. Inmentor my innovation role I make sure that we are doing new and exciting things and staying ahead of the curve and in my leadership role I ensure that all of the leaders we have across our 260 people are leading in a way that is aligned with our culture and values.

I've done a lot of weird and wonderful things in my career - from working on million selling video games and building popular mobile apps for huge start ups to consulting on business strategies for a caravan company and designing games with one of the best known architects in the world. I'm also one of hosts of the comedy business ideas podcast Brains on the Outside.

I have lots of experience of dreaming up big ideas, failing fast, knitting teams together, creating safe and inclusive cultures and building confidence.

Peter Bagnall

Dinah Bennett

Sui T Kong

Laura Manther