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2019 Summer conference - Speakers
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We have a great line-up of speakers for the plenary sessions, with extensive expertise in higher education, the public sector and the business world.

The legendary Jonathan Davies will be our guest speaker for the 2019 CUBO Awards.

Andrew Rhodes

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Jonathan Davies, OBE

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Key Note 1 - Andrew Rhodes

- Registrar and Chief Operating Officer
Essential Partnerships within Higher Education

Andrew Rhodes is the head of the University’s operational and support services, including HR, Finance, Estates, Digital, and Marketing and student services. He is responsible for the governance of the University and is Deputy Chief Executive, stepping in for the Vice Chancellor in their absence. The Directors of the administrative and support services report directly to the Registrar.

Before taking on this role in April 2018, Andrew was Director-General, Operations at the Department for Work and Pensions – the largest operational role in UK Government – responsible for some 72,000 staff plus the delivery of all benefits, pensions, employment and child maintenance services in the UK.

Andrew’s career began in customer service before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers; he then joined the Civil Service, progressing through a number of roles at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Food Standards Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions.


Jonathan Davies, OBE

One of the greatest players of his generation , few sportsmen have been as versatile in both rugby codes as Jonathan Davies. Career highlights include one of few men to captain his country in both Rugby League & Union, winning Rugby League`s coveted man of steel award in 1994 and helping Wales to a third place finish in the Rugby Union World Cup in 1987.

Since retirement from the game , Davies has forged an illustrious career in commentary leading the BBC`s coverage of the Six Nations. Jonathan’s message will resonate with audiences who are managing change, who need to perform under pressure and who believe in having the right mental attitude in order to win.

Sahar Hashemi OBE

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Professor Charles Spence

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Key Note 3 - Sahar Hashemi OBE

Innovative and Entrepreneurial Partnerships

Sahar Hashemi OBE is an internationally recognised thought leader and speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship. Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m. Giving up their current careers (she as a lawyer in London and Bobby as an investment banker in New York) they staked everything on a dream and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the coffee revolution that transformed the UK high street.

Sahar believes

"Entrepreneurial behaviour isn’t for start-ups – it’s for big organisations at every level"

"Innovation isn’t about genius tendencies: its just about finding a better way"


Key Note 4 - Professor Charles Spence

The synergy of academic and commercial excellence.
How Partnerships Drive Experiences

Professor Charles Spence is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Charles has lectured and consulted extensively around the world on the topics of consumer neuroscience and sensory marketing to a very wide range of companies and industries, including PepsiCo, Unilever, Twinings, Nestle, P&G, Mars and McDonalds.

He has worked with top restaurants around the world, such as Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck at Bray. Charles is also interested in the effect of the indoor environment on mood, well-being, and performance. Charles has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, and, most recently, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research, not to mention the 2008 IG Nobel prize for nutrition, for his ground breaking work on the 'sonic crisp'!

Rachael Flanagan

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Amy Williams

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Key Note 5 - Rachael Flanagan

Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services
Building Business Partnerships & Cleaning Up!

Rachael Flanagan runs a multi-million-pound business employing over 300 staff throughout Wales and the West. With her go-getter attitude and drive for success, she is truly an inspiration to all. Starting her business, Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services, at the age of 18 after failing her business A-level. Ten years on, Rachael Flanagan has created an impressive management team who run the day to day business now, enabling her to work ‘on the business, not in it’ as well as mentoring other entrepreneurs and small business owners on helping them take their business to another level.

Her passion is building highly motivated teams, marketing to get your brand standing out from the crowd. In recognition of her business success, Rachael has attended special receptions with the former Secretary of State for Wales Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP and the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. Rachel was also handpicked by the Prince of Wales as one of Wales’ leading business people to attend an event during the NATO summit.


Key Note 6 - Amy Williams

Winning Partnerships

How a collective of national governing bodies, coaches, mentors, teachers, and universities can work together to support personal and team success.

In 2010, University of Bath graduate Amy became Britain’s first solo Winter Olympic Champion for 30 years, returning from the Vancouver Games as the nation’s first female individual gold medallist in 58 years. Amy retired in April 2012 and in May 2013 was appointed the first ever Vice President of British Skeleton.

Amy holds an international co-driving license and competed in the International Wales GB Rally in Nov 2013 with Tony Jardine, coming first in their class and 26th overall. 2014 and 2018 saw Amy head to the Sochi and PyeongChang Olympics as a Team GB mentor and part of the BBC Sport coverage team. A regular on the BBC Ski Sunday, Amy has also featured in Channel 4’s ‘The Jump’ as coach of the skeleton event.

Amy takes every opportunity to challenge herself in sporting and broadcasting challenges such as 71 Degrees North, Alone in the Wild & Tour de Celeb. She also presented 6 series of The Gadget Show from 2014-16.

Richard Noble OBE

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Sarah Jones

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Key Note 7 - Richard Noble OBE

Richard Noble is an entrepreneur specialising in high risk projects. Educated at Winchester College, where he was awarded the prestigious Ad Portas ceremony, he went straight into industry and at the age of 22 was responsible for £20m sales.

He ran expeditions across Africa and Asia, taught advanced management skills and sold specialist building products around the world. He then progressed to entrepreneurial projects, breaking the World Land Speed Record, setting up an aircraft design and manufacture plant, developing advanced marine record-breaking technology, leading the team that broke the sound barrier on land for the first time, developing new high-performance taxi aircraft and developing the Bloodhound 1000mph car programme over a 12-year period. Richard is currently working on a wide range of multiple start-ups - more information later this year.


Key Note 8 - Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones is a specialist in the world of higher education and student accommodation. Her 17 years in the sector have been dedicated to developing science to describe student demand and competitive advantage: for residences, universities, and for international students choosing the UK. Working part time as a freelancer since 2018, she has project managed the NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 2018 and now the CUBO Campus Experience Survey 2019.

Sarah is also a Partner in Cushman & Wakefield’s Public Sector Advisory Team, and previously worked for Empiric Student Property plc (R&D), for the British Council (EducationUK/PMI2) and Addleshaw Goddard (Business Analyst). She is a member of Unipol’s Portfolio committee and the BPF Student Accommodation Committee.

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