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CUBO is led by an Executive Committee drawn mainly from our member universities.
Kirsty Woodward - Director of 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 now Chair Elect 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.
Jane Donachy - Associate Director: Catering, Retail and Accommodation Services (University of the Arts, London)
Jane Donachy is a business development and networking specialist with over 30 years’ experience in both commercial and not-for-profit sectors across the U. K and Australasia. Her successful and diverse career spans a variety of industries including accommodation, catering, food services, hospitality, and retail.
Some of her proudest achievements to date are running the athletes’ village dining at the Sydney Olympics and working in five directorial roles. During her time at Spotless Services Australasia, she led teams, built stakeholder relationships at all levels successfully managing operations in changing environments, as well as compiled strategies and analysis to formulate company direction that made a growth of over 10% per annum. She has set and controlled P&L’s of over £40 million, secured bids and presented to boards to win business of up to £50 million per annum. She also developed innovative concepts building brands to gain 10% growth year on year, utilising commercial acumen to progress new opportunities.
Having spent ten years working in Australasia, Jane returned to the U.K in 2005 and specialised in interim contract work within a wide range of markets to reacclimatise to the U.K, before joining the world-renowned University of the Arts in 2012 as Head of Accommodation Services. In 2016, Jane was promoted to her current role: Associate Director of Catering, Retail and Accommodation Services in which she has changed the services delivery significantly; introducing a 24/7 staffing model, an award winning social and well-being programme, developed brand identity for Catering, opened a Vegan Café, project managed the mobilisation of two university owned halls, and has maintained a 99% occupancy percentage in halls of residence.
Jane recently became Vice Chair of CUBO in 2021, a membership organisation for campus and commercial services professionals, which supports over 900 members in the UK and Ireland, where she aims to support the board in making changes to ensure we are “the go too” place for advice, support, and networking opportunities within the commercial department in universities.
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 currently at University College London (UCL) as Head of Operations where she has been in post since 2018. Melissa is responsible for defining the operational strategy and delivery of UCL's in-house Accommodation and oversee's partnerships with 3rd party providers providing accommodation for over 7,000 students across central London. 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 Catering.
Melissa has been a member of various Senior Leadership Teams throughout her career. At UCL she sits within the Estates Operations Leadership Team. As a trained life coach Melissa has focused her career on the importance of investing and developing people to create effective 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.
Melissa's vision for her role at CUBO is to create a professional framework that is recognised within the sector. 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.
Richard Kington (CUBO)
Until March 2020 I was responsible for housing over 10,000 students and running the commercial accommodation, catering, event and festival services for the University of Edinburgh.
In the development of thousands of new rooms the aim was to always innovate as much as possible the way in which student accommodation is designed and the services provided within. Also to enhance and improve upon the way catering services are provided to students and staff.
Edinburgh have long been CUBO members and I have actively encouraged my team to engage in the numerous activities and opportunities.
For over a decade I have been on the CUBO Board (until recently the Executive) responsible until now for International activities. Edinburgh has also been at the forefront of the development of Residence Life and I have aimed to bring our experience to help CUBO to support colleagues in the development of their own versions.
I have been part of CUBO for so long because it has and continues to play an essential role in ensuring that members are provided with the resources and networking opportunities to continually develop for the benefit of their Institutions and the wider sector. Also to represent members and help drive the agenda at the highest level of government.
My role in Edinburgh has been a privileged one and I believe it is incumbent upon myself and others to use the knowledge and experience gained to help CUBO as an organisation and as many colleagues as possible. Something I am very happy to be able to do.
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.
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.
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.
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