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CUBO is led by an Executive Committee of highly experienced professionals from commercial and campus services and the business world.
Kirsty Woodward - Director of Estates and Campus Services, University of Leicester
Kirsty joined the University of Leicester in 2010 and has been Director of Campus Services since September 2016. She was previously Deputy Director of Residential and Commercial Services.
At the University of Leicester, Kirsty is the strategic lead for Accommodation; Print Services; Leicester Conferences; Campus Operations, including Portering and Cleaning, Grounds and Gardens, Post, Fleet; and Security. Kirsty is also a Board Director of College Court Conference Centre and Leicester Services Partnership, (the Student Union and University catering partnership) and the University lead on Prevent.
Kirsty joined CUBO Executive Board in March 2019, initially picking up the conference portfolio. Kirsty is CUBO Chair and has represented CUBO on the Board of the Universities UK Accommodation Code of Practice since October 2018.
Prior to joining Leicester, Kirsty was a Senior Project Manager at the Russell Partnership. In this role, Kirsty worked with well-known organisations such as the BBC and Goldman Sachs to improve their catering offer. She also worked with a number of universities, including Leicester. It was while working for Leicester as a consultant that Kirsty began the journey of transforming the University’s catering service, which led to her being offered a permanent role at the institution.
Her early career was spent in hotels including a spell as a Hotel Manager working for Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries. She also spent ten years at the University of Warwick, firstly as Catering Manager and then as Head of Catering Services.
Kirsty is a former winner of a Caterer and Hotelkeeper Acorn Award and was named Cost Sector Caterer of the Year in 2001. She received her MBA from the University of Leicester in January 2017, having combined her studies with a very busy job.
Melissa Browne - Deputy Director of Commercial Services and Estates, University of Kent
Melissa has worked within the student accommodation sector since 2009 and has gained invaluable experience within the Private and HEI sector. Melissa is the Deputy Director of Commercial Services and Estates at the University of Kent, she has been in post since 2022. She is responsible for and provides strategic management for a comprehensive integrated range of value-added services including catering, conferencing, residential accommodation, sport and recreation and Marketing. She has extensive experience gained in managing both in-house and 3rd party contract staff, with direct strategic and operational management responsibilities, including managing Soft Services Contracts, New Builds, Mobilisation and Refurbishment Projects, Capital Investment works, Third Party Lettings/Commercial Summer Lettings and Outsourced and Inhouse Catering.
Melissa has been a member of various Senior Leadership Teams throughout her career. As a trained life coach Melissa has focused her career on the importance of investing and developing people to create effective, diverse and happy working environments which will allow teams to ‘thrive’ and achieve organisation goals and objectives. She specialises in Leadership development, building training programmes, managing teams through organisational change, promoting Culture and EDI initiatives within organisations whilst meeting commercial objective and targets.
Melissa's vision for her role at CUBO is to create a CUBO L&D framework that supports the goals and ambitions of the CUBO members. Working actively with current and new members to create impactful training and mentoring opportunities for leaders and their teams which will add value to organisations and the people within them.
Robin Walsh - Head of Residential Services, Bournemouth University
Robin has worked in student accommodation since 2003, with his most recent role at Bournemouth University (BU), as Head of Residential Services, where he has been in post since January 2015. During his 18 years, he has worked for both universities and private providers and, as such, has a unique perspective from both sectors. Robin has used this to adopt and develop a collaborative approach between university and private providers to deliver student community lead portfolios that are constantly considering and adapting to the changing needs of the modern student, thereby helping to expand the reach and recognition of student accommodation as an important, and integral, part of the broader higher education experience.
Most recently at BU, Robin has introduced a unique Residential Life programme that is a true partnership arrangement between BU's private sector providers, BU's student services as well as SUBU (BU Student Union), demonstrating how universities and the private sector can work together to achieve mutually beneficial aims and outcomes for their students, residents, or customers. Robin hopes to bring this collaborative working style to represent CUBO member's interests and to further enhance the services students receive whilst living in their accommodation.
Phil Scott - Head of New Openings, StayCity Group
Having spent over 4 years as Head of Commercial Services at Manchester Metropolitan University I am currently employed as Head of New Openings for Staycity Group Ltd, and have extensive experience in strategic and operational hospitality leadership roles spanning over 20 years.
At Manchester Met I had the pleasure of leading development of the 2018 Summer Conference programme during which time I was struck by the opportunity CUBO has to support and promote excellence in development of the campus experience.
At the point that I joined the board, and increasingly more so in recent times, I believe there is much to be learnt by understanding and adopting good practice from best in class not just best in sector. Driven by a passion for making a difference in my personal and professional life I see a wealth of opportunity for CUBO to add value to members and partners alike and I’m keen to play a part in that.
Sue Pimblett - Head of Marketing and Communications, University of Leeds
Sue joined the CUBO Executive in 2019, having chaired the CUBO Marketing Group for 4 years. She has a marketing career spanning nearly 24 years, the last 19 years of which has been focussed in higher education.
She is currently Head of Marketing & Communications at the University of Leeds where her portfolio includes the commercial, facilities, campus experience and sustainability areas. Sue plays an active role in the wider marketing industry as a Chartered Marketer, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and previously as a member of the regional CIM Board.
“I am very passionate about the role that CUBO as an organisation plays in helping to drive forwards commercial and campus service areas of higher education that can often be forgotten, but that have huge strategic importance within each of our institutions. I have been fortunate to witness first-hand the significant changes and growth in CUBO over the last few years, including broadening the remit to reach into soft FM areas and overall campus life experience. Personally, I have gained a huge amount from CUBO including opportunities for networking, knowledge, inspiration and motivation, and I believe that through the ambitious new strategy, CUBO has the potential to widen its reach further, positively impacting greater numbers of colleagues across the sector and providing excellent value for money for the membership base.”
Mark Chester - Head of Commercial Finance, Loughborough University
I currently work as Head of Commercial Finance at Loughborough University, supporting the financial management of commercial services including accommodation, catering and sport. I qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) in 2017 after receiving the highest mark worldwide in two of my professional examinations. I live in Leicestershire with my wife and daughter and away from work make regular trips north to watch Preston North End FC. I graduated from Loughborough University in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Sport and Exercise Science. Prior to moving to Loughborough I grew up in Chorley, Lancashire as a keen sports person and in 2010 I was the runner up in the National Junior Crown Green Bowls Championship.
CUBO makes a significant contribution to the development and collaboration of commercial services across the sector. 2020 has been a particularly challenging time for many of CUBO’s partners and members, but the challenges faced have also accelerated the pace of change and created new opportunities. As part of my role on the CUBO board I hope to help colleagues in the sector shape the student facing services of the future.
Ian Jones - Deputy Director of Accommodation and Commercial Services, The University of Sheffield
I am currently the Deputy Director of Accommodation and Commercial Services at the University of Sheffield having previously been Head of Accommodation Services for twelve years. Previous roles were with LSE, Royal Holloway and City University and I have experience of both residential and hospitality operations along with management of sportsground, nursery and IT and internal audit functions.
Over the past decade I have been particularly interested in the development of Residence Life in the UK, leading me to study tours and conferences across North America, Australia and Europe and a commitment to supporting this growth at Sheffield and at other institutions through CUBO and professional contacts. Having experienced the huge benefits of this international sharing of knowledge, I'm keen to promote this for colleagues across CUBO along with supporting the organisation more generally.
Helen Rutherford - Head of Campus Facilities Management, Staffordshire University
I currently work as Head of Campus Facilities Management at Staffordshire University, having responsibility for a wide range of staff and student facing services, including; sustainability, waste, water, cleaning provision, porting, travel, transport and post services. I also lead the Estates and Commercial Services aspects of our onsite Graduation Awards seasons. I am a member of IEMA, working towards chartership in the near future and also trying broaden my facilities management knowledge. I graduated from Newcastle University in 2008 with BSc Hons. in Environmental Biology and gained my MSc in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technologies from Keele University in 2013. I am originally from the Midlands area, but have moved around the country and the world and have now settled just outside Burton on Trent. I’m a keen netballer, returning to the sport after over 10 years not playing – so really enjoying getting back into the game (through the Back to Netball Programme, which I would really recommend) and have recently got into road running!
I have worked in a number of government bodies and HE institutions in environmental and sustainability roles and have first hand experience of the changes in the sector in relation to our environment and our impact on both the local environment, but how this also impacts global aspects.
As part of my role on the CUBO board, I hope to provide a supportive community, harnessing the great work which is being done across the sector in relation to sustainability, capturing best practice and also create a sustainability strategy which is future focused, student focused and based on behaviour change and demonstrable improvements for the business and the local environment. We all know that change is needed to reduce our impact on the environment, but it needs to be easier to do the right thing, than continue to do what we’re doing!
Adrian McGillion- Director Facilities Management, Edgehill University
Adrian has worked within Facilities Management for over 24 years, holding a variety of roles from a Duty Manager, to an Area Manager, through to Director level. Adrian has worked within the University Sector since 2012, and is currently employed as the Director of Facilities Management at Edge Hill University. He is responsible for providing strategic leadership to wider FM team, and is accountable for overseeing the operational delivery of a range of hard and soft services which includes catering, conferencing, residential accommodation, and sport and recreation services. He has extensive contract management experience across a variety of sectors, and has operated on both the contractor and client side.
Adrian believes that everything starts with a conversation, and he is keen to have more member conversations across the CUBO network, to gain a greater insight to how CUBO can add more value to its members. Adrian will be focused on ensuring that members continue to engage with and benefit from all of the excellent CUBO activities, including special and regional group events, learning and development, round table discussions, online resources, discussion forums, conferences and of course our best practice awards!
Carol Thomas - Accommodation Services Manager (University of the Arts, London)
I am a woman of colour with lived experiences and more than 20 years' experience as a senior manager within Students Services, Accommodation Services, and the voluntary sector, throughout this period I have continually acquired and refined skills which I have applied in my personal and professional life.
I am currently a member of UAL Accommodation Services Senior Management Team, where I contribute to and lead on strategy to enhance the student's experience. Most recently I have been working with my team and key stakeholders to encourage students with disabilities and health conditions to disclose at the point of application so that we can engage, provide support and enhance the student’s experience. As a result we have received an increase in disclosures and engagement.
I have had the privilege of being the ASRA South East representative which enabled me to work with so many wonderful colleagues across the HE and PBSA sector.
During my 4 year tenure the regional meetings covered a range of topics that were relevant to the sector such as the impact of student fees, student disciplinary issues, applications, housing management, youth breast cancer, students with disabilities, mental health, resident life, policing campus through to offering campus study tours.
I have managed several projects whilst working with homeless and vulnerable people such as implementing and facilitating various groups that offered a safe space, through to mobilising women only hostel and introducing a student Head Leasing Scheme.
I have served as Chair for UAL Black workers group which has grown and evolved to Equality of Minority Staff (GEMS) of which I am still a member.
I am a mentor and a member of the B-Mentor network facilitated by UCL and a member of Black Equity Organisation (BEO).
I have been described as having many superpowers which include personable, friendly, compassionate, trustworthy, reliable, effective listener, effective communicator and collaborative leader.
As your CUBO EDI I aim to harness my superpowers to embed EDI.
Jo Hardman - Director of Commercial Services, Lancaster University
I have worked at Lancaster University for 30 years in a wide range of commercial, research and marketing roles and this has helped me to get under the skin of the widest possible elements of HE life - during the pandemic this has really helped to understand the range of challenges and solutions that we need to address to make our campus flourish.
I value the ability to beg, borrow and steal ideas from others via CUBO, but also to meet people who can challenge my view of the world.
I got involved in the Board as I could see an organisation that wanted to lead and help set the agenda for commercial services in the University sector. CUBO wants to make sure that staff across the range of activities are acknowledged for the important work they do to make Universities great places to live, work and study, and I wanted to help develop this.
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