Where are they now?
What is your current Job/Position and where do you work?
Deputy Chief Executive - Bath Spa University Students’ Union
Officer role(s) you held
Vice President Health & Social Care / President
2010/11 (VP) 2011/12 (President)
Where were you an Officer?
University of Salford Students’ Union
What’s the best memory that you have from running for election and/or your time as an Officer?
There are so many! One of the best bits about being an Officer was the fun I had working with the rest of the team. We regularly played pranks on each other, one resulted in the rest of the team convincing the President we were running a 'No to Fees, yes to Cheese’ campaign and when he came back to the Union he was not happy! It resulted in what we called a 'Two Door situation’ when we had to close both the doors to the Sabb office so others couldn’t hear us having a disagreement - He didn’t take the joke very well! In terms of our campaigns, we took nearly 300 students, 6 coach loads on the National demonstration 2010 in London. Salford didn’t have much of a political campaigning history and for us to organise that many students to meet at 5am to have their voices heard on a National issue, was a real privilege.
What do you think you learnt from running in an election and/or being an Officer?
I learnt so much as well as making sure you still have fun even when work is full on and hard! From time management, planning, building relationships with people at all levels, leadership, negotiation, networking, influencing skills, charity governance, learning how to engage with policy and public speaking. And working within a team, both my immediate Officer team but also the wider SU staff team, who had varied roles and at different levels. I also learnt about the art of keeping stakeholders updated, on sometimes complex issues which are tricky to explain.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of standing for election?
Do it! I only wish I could do it all over again.
How has your time as a Full time Officer impacted your career?
I wouldn’t have the career I have now if it wasn’t for my time as an Officer. I developed a passion for Higher Education and the importance of having fun at work. I developed so many skills and was able to articulate the invaluable experience I had gained in order to get my first graduate job. I was still able to draw on my experience of being an Officer for my subsequent 3 promotions since. Because it’s such a unique role where you have a great deal of responsibility, power and influence from the off, it’s experience you constantly can draw on. For most people it’s their first 'proper’ job and you are at the top of a complex charity, setting the direction and you are constantly asked for your opinion and views - people are really interested in what you have to say! This sort of influence doesn’t usually happen before you become a senior manager. It also cemented in me a desire to have a career that makes a difference, to improve things for others.
Five words to sum it all up?
The time of my life