Council Member Biographies

Class 1: Ex Officio

Dame Jo Williams, CBE, DBE (Pro-Chancellor)

Jo graduated from Keele in 1971 and began her career as a social worker. She spent the next thirty years in Local Government, the last ten as a Director of Social Services. In 2003 Jo became the Chief Executive of the Royal Mencap Society. Her last post was Chair of the Care Quality Commission. Jo was appointed as a member of the University Council from September 2014 and also sits on the Business Review Committee. 

Jo enjoys reading, cooking for family and friends, travelling, music and the theatre.

Richard Barnes (Deputy Pro-Chancellor and Senior Independent Member)

Richard has been a member of the University Council since July 2012 and is presently a Deputy Pro-Chancellor and the Chair of the University's Audit and Risk Committee. Richard was also appointed as Senior Independent Member of Council in April 2020. Prior to joining Keele University, Richard was CEO of Barwood Products Ltd and held senior financial positions in Burtons Foods, Waterford Wedgwood and Ford Motor Company both here and abroad. He has also been a founding Director of Advantage West Midlands (the Regional Development Agency) and was Chair of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone. He is presently Deputy Chairman of the Lichfield Garrick Theatre Trust and Treasurer of Burslem Port Trust.  In his spare time Richard sails, shoots and has a love of music and classic cars.

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Richard Callaway (Deputy Pro-Chancellor)

Richard graduated from Keele University in 1990 with a degree in Geography and Economics, which was then followed by an MBA from Leicester University in Sports Management. Following numerous roles within the sports industry at both Adidas and Puma, Richard is currently the Senior Sports Marketing Director at Nike. He lives in Tunbridge Wells in Kent and is married with two children.

Sally Bucknell (Deputy Pro-Chancellor)

Sally has been a member of Keele University Council since September 2015 and was previously a lay member of the Equality and Diversity subcommittee from September 2014. 

She is Director, Diversity & Inclusiveness for the UK firm of EY LLP, a global professional services organisation and  has over 20 years’ experience in HR roles in professional services , leading on change and organisational development.

Sally lives in Cheshire with her husband and two young children.  She works 4 days a week for EY, committing time outside work to mentoring social entrepreneurs with the EY Foundation, and enjoying time with her family.

David Hall (Honorary Treasurer)

David grew up in Alsager and graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1985 with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Money, Banking and Finance (BSocSc).

David joined Arthur Anderson (Birmingham Office) in 1985 as a Trainee Auditor and left as an Audit Partner in 2002.  David joined Deloitte LLP in 2002 as an Audit Partner at both the Birmingham and Nottingham Offices.  David successfully became a Qualified Chartered Accountant in 1988.

David retired in February 2017 and joined the Council of Keele University in 2018 as the Honorary Treasurer. 

Professor Trevor McMillan, BSc, PhD, Hon MRCP, Hon FRCR (Vice-Chancellor)

Professor Trevor McMillan became Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Keele University in January 2014 and was appointed Vice-Chancellor in August 2015. 

A radiation biologist, he has published widely on the use of X-rays in radiotherapy and the harmful effects of sunlight. He has taught at all levels in Universities and to medical professionals on the biological basis of cancer treatments. Trevor has also worked on several groups that have examined the harmful effects of radiation in the environment. 

Before coming to Keele he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at Lancaster University, where he led several major academic developments and was the lead for many partnerships with other Universities and external organisations in the UK and abroad. Before that he led a laboratory examining DNA Damage and Repair at the Institute of Cancer Research/Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey. Trevor has taught at Universities around the world and to medical professionals on the biological basis of cancer treatments. 


Mark Ormerod

Professor Mark Ormerod, BA, PhD, MRSC (Deputy Vice-Chancellor)

Professor Mark Ormerod became Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of Keele University in August 2015. He was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and Head of the Schools of Physical and Geographical Sciences, and Chemistry and Physics.

Mark is a chemist by background, graduating in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, where he also undertook his PhD in surface chemistry, and was subsequently awarded the prestigious Cambridge University Oppenheimer Research Fellowship. His research centres on sustainable technologies and processes, in particular sustainable materials chemistry, cleaner catalysis, fuel cells and biogas conversion, and has been extensively cited, with over 150 publications. In 1997 he was awarded a major Research Council Research Fellowship and promoted to Professor of Clean Technology and Inorganic Materials Chemistry in recognition of his research achievements.

Mark’s research interests also include interdisciplinary research on sustainability and energy, focusing on reducing energy use and factors affecting pro-environmental behaviour in individuals and communities. He has a national profile for his public engagement activities and educating schoolchildren, particularly in disadvantaged communities, in sustainability issues.

Class 2: Members of the University Staff

Professor Nicholas Forsyth (Appointed by the Electoral Roll)

Nick, a graduate of Glasgow University at BSc (Hons) and PhD level, joined Keele as a Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology in 2006. This followed on from postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre at Dallas, Texas, USA and the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh. Since his appointment he has progressively risen from Senior Lecturer (2009) to Reader (2012) and to Professor (2016). His research is focussed on improved understanding of stem cell biology and mechanisms of action in regenerative medicine applications and is based at the Guy Hilton Research Centre. From a research leadership position Nick previously sat as the Director of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences multidisciplinary and internationally leading Research Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine. Nick was appointed as Faculty Research Dean in 2019.

Dr Rebecca Leach (Appointed by the Electoral Roll)

Dr Rebecca Leach is a sociologist of consumer and material culture, with over 20 years' experience of multi-method research and critical analysis, focusing in particular on the role of objects and homes in constructing social order. Graduating with first class honours in Sociology and Politics from Bristol Polytechnic, she returned to the University of the West of England – after an ESRC supported Masters’ in Cultural Studies at Lancaster University – to study for her PhD (awarded in 1997) on taste and community in a new housing estate, supervised by Prof Jeffrey Weeks. 

She was appointed to a lectureship in Sociology at Keele in 1995 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004, partly because of her lifelong inability to say no to delivering big challenging projects and because students love her energetic teaching. She has continued to balance a full research programme, including a major project on Baby Boomers’ consumption patterns, with a deep commitment to making Keele the best it can be.

A core strand of Rebecca’s research interest lies in understanding the broader role and value of culture in society and most recently she has hit the news for research into the intangible heritage of the ‘Turnover Club’ – the North Staffordshire practice of turning over plates wherever they are found. Having an extensive ‘spare time’ community commitment (and she doesn’t just mean her three school age boys and councillor/Keele lecturer husband: Rebecca founded the Keele Women’s Community Choir and the Newcastle Wakes Lantern Parade , the latter now a charity for which she is Chair of Trustees; she is also acting Chair of Friends of the Guildhall), she is busy marshalling any spare energy towards making a difference in the local community and using her research and leadership skills to effect real transformation in North Staffordshire. An alumna of the Aurora Women’s Leadership programme, Rebecca is striving to work authentically while supporting the rapidly changing institutional context.


Professor Peter Andras (Appointed by the Electoral Roll)

Professor Andras is a computer scientist with a PhD from the Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj, Romania). His research is about information processing in complex systems, covering the analysis of biological neural systems, agent-based modelling of social systems, and machine learning. He worked in the 1990s as the CEO of a non-profit foundation active in local and regional development. He started his academic career as Lecturer in the Department of Psychology of Newcastle University in 2001. He was a Lecturer (2002) then Reader (2005) in the School of Computing Science of Newcastle University. He joined Keele University in 2014 as a Professor in the School of Computing and Mathematics and he became the Head of School in 2017. He was member of the Senate (2003-2006, 2009-2012) and Council (2011-2014) at Newcastle University. He is member of the Senate at Keele University since 2015. He is co-founder of three university spin-off companies, one of these, e-Therapeutics Plc, entered the London Stock Exchange in 2007. He was a local councillor (Liberal Democrats) in Newcastle upon Tyne (2011-2014).

Emma Colley (Staff Member Appointed by the Non-academic Staff Electoral Roll)

Emma joined Keele University in June 2014 as the Professional Development Advisor in the previous Learning and Professional Development Centre, having worked at another HE Institution for 17 years as a HR/OD professional. 

In 2018 she joined the central HR team as the Organisational Development (OD) Officer.  She leads a core programme of development including over 100 different workshops, accredited and non-accredited programmes, conferences and events and online learning through Learning Pool. Her role enables her to work in partnership with colleagues across campus on such projects as the Technician Commitment, Apprenticeships, AUA, Professional Services and Technical Services Networks, JISC development projects and coaching opportunities for all-staff. 

Emma completed a Masters in Strategic Human Resources Management in 2018 and holds a range of regional and national memberships to groups such as the Heads of OD, Midlands Staff Development Partnership (MSDP), Staff Development Forum (SDF), Association of University Administrators (AUA) and is a Peer Reviewer for the Technician Commitment.

Class 3: Lay Members Appointed by the Council

Ruth Bagley

Ruth Bagley has over 35 years' experience working in the public sector of which the last 16 were as a Chief Executive of Councils in Devon and Slough.  She has considerable experience attracting national recognition in the fields of, Economic Growth, Skills and Inward Investment, Affordable Housing, Strategic Transport Infrastructure, Community Safety and Community Cohesion.  She has led organisations through major transformation and extreme austerity, succeeding in achieving high employee satisfaction and continuing investment.  Under her leadership Slough became the most productive town per capita in the UK and achieved a faster reduction in crime than comparable and less disadvantaged areas.

Ruth’s early career was an Archivist and Manager of Heritage Services in Wales and Shropshire before moving into Senior Management.  She now holds a non-executive role in a Housing Association and provides advice to the private sector.  She is currently chairing a Thames Valley Working Group to secure delivery of a rail link to Heathrow and sits on the British Chambers of Commerce Expert Panel on Transport.  She acts as an Independent Investigator.

Ruth was the first female Chief Executive to lead a CPA Excellent Council and was awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to Local Government.

Paul Clark BA (Hons) DMS (Lay-Member of Council)

Paul joined Council in September 2012, some 30 years after leaving Keele as a student with a degree in Politics and Economics. Paul was active in student politics at Keele and held the sabbatical post of Secretary. After leaving Keele in 1980, he worked for the trade union movement, including 11 years at the TUC, managing their residential conference and training centre. 

In 1997 Paul left the TUC and was elected as the Member of Parliament for his home town of Gillingham. Paul subsequently went on to win the 2001 and 2005 general elections and was the Labour MP for 13 years. During his time in the House of Commons, Paul held a number of positions including Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ed Balls and John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, Government Whip and Transport Minister. 

Since the 2010 general election Paul established Gateway Associates Ltd, which has been working on transport related issues and political communication and engagement matters. This work has been both at home and abroad, particularly East Africa. 

Paul is still connected within his local community, being a director and governor of a number of schools, trustee of an award winning social enterprise, the Sunlight Centre, Chair of Medway Citizens Advice and heavily involved from the creation of the Universities at Medway, with the Universities of Kent, Greenwich and Christchurch Canterbury. Paul’s work on this programme of regeneration was recognised by the University of Greenwich in 2011, when Paul was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree. 

Having thoroughly enjoyed his time at Keele, Paul is delighted to be able to contribute as a member of Council to assist in its continued success.

Sajid Hashmi MBE (Lay-member of Council)

Sajid Hashmi is Chief Executive of Unique Ways, a charity that supports disabled children.  He has been working as a Chief Executive in the Voluntary and Community Sectors (VCS) for over 20 years, and has extensive experience of managing, supporting and developing organisations.  Currently Sajid is a trustee of NAVCA, (National Association of Voluntary and Community Action), and a governor at Mathew Moss high school.  

Prior to this he has been working as a consultant supporting VCS organisations in income generation, governance and development including The Training Factor and Green Village.  He served as the Chief Executive at VAST in Staffordshire.  Sajid took over at VAST in 2006 at a time of severe crisis with organisation facing a huge financial deficit and having lost its core grant.  Within 3 years he transformed VAST in a robust profit making social enterprise through a successful income generation strategy.  

Sajid was the driving force in the development of the Staffordshire Community Foundation and setting up an endowment Fund.   He was also instrumental in the setting up and establishment of the Staffordshire Credit Union.

He started life in the private sector as a finance manager and volunteered as a Field Operations Manager for Bosnia Aid Committee, coordinating aid deliveries during the Bosnia civil war. Upon his return he qualified as a youth worker and left the private sector in 1997, to take up the post of Director of KYP in Rochdale. This he developed from a small community centre struggling to survive, into a robust social enterprise and one of the largest organisations of its kind in the UK.

Sajid joined in Calderdale Voluntary Action CVA a project of Voluntary Action Kirklees and led on it becoming a successful independent organisation Voluntary Action Calderdale (VAC).  He was instrumental in setting up and developing the Resource Centre on Hall Street.  He was also involved in the development of Fit 4 Funding; West Yorkshire Community Accountancy Service and Kerbside Recycling. 

At a national level he was appointed by the minister of Local Government Rt. Hon John Denham MP on to the Stoke City Transition Board a body to oversee developments in Stoke City Council, when it was placed under special measures.   

Fiona Mctarget MP appointed Sajid to the Community Cohesion Panel which was set up in2004, producing the report “The End of Parallel Lives?” a report in response to public disturbances in northern towns.

He was also involved in the panel that produced the Funding Diversification Report in 2006 ‘Believing in Local Action’, which was commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG). 

In recognition of his work in the voluntary sector Sajid was awarded an MBE in 2010.

Manali Lukha BSc MSc (Lay-Member of Council)

Manali graduated from Keele in 1997 after completing an undergraduate degree in Geography and Geology, continuing at Keele to complete her Masters in Information Technology. With a passion for meteorology, she combined the two disciplines and joined the Met Office as a software programmer, working on key strategic projects with high-profile clients such as the FA (Football Association).

After progressing to the position of IT Manager in 2001, she later became the Business Manager if the Met Office's independent broadcast sector based in Central London. Manali was responsible for managing key-accounts commercially and contractually, developing new and existing customer relationships, across all broadcast and multimedia channels. In parallel to this role, Manali was asked to screen test as a weather presenter, this resulted in a successful career presenting forecasts for national and regional ITV channels.

In 2014 Manali was appointed Head of ITV Weather, in this role she continues to manage all ITV's weather content across broadcast, online and mobile platforms whilst maintaining her screen presence. She currently lives in South West London with her family.

Sherree Schaefer (Lay-member of Council)

Sherree graduated from Keele in 1991 with a degree in German and Russian Studies and graduated from University of Chester in 2013 with a Masters in Organisational Development.

She has spent her career in HR and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD) as well as an active member of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and Association for Coaching (MAC).

With a career spanning over 20 years she has worked for organisations such as BASF, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Barclays specialising in organisational development and change and transformation management. Roles have involved responsibility for graduate recruitment and development for UK and International schemes.

 Currently Sherree lives in Manchester and is the founder and Director of Two Sixty Ltd, a coaching and outplacement company and continues to work in the field of career management. 

Sherree joined the Council of Keele in 2016 and was appointed to the Audit Committee in 2017.

Alistair Ulph

Alistair joined Keele University Council in September 2012 and was appointed Deputy Pro-Chancellor in 2013. He is a member of the Business Review Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Senior Remuneration Committee and chairs the Ethics Oversight Committee. Starting in 1970, his career has been as an academic economist, principally in the field of Environmental Economics. He has also been a senior academic manager, notably Deputy Vice-Chancellor University of Southampton (1995-2001) and Vice-President and Dean of Humanities University of Manchester (2004-2010). Since retirement from that role in September 2010 he continues to work part-time at the University of Manchester as a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics and plays a number of other roles. From 2006-15 he played a national role on issues related to the funding of Universities through his membership of two sector-wide groups representing universities and their funders. In his spare time he plays bridge.

David Brown

David, a Keele graduate, is the Group President and Founder of Oxford International Education Group. Oxford International was founded with a £5,000 loan from the Prince’s Business Trust in 1991 and has grown to be a £100m revenue international education company offering programmes in a number of countries and in the areas of secondary schools and sixth forms, university pathway colleges, trans-national education programmes overseas, English language schools in UK, USA and Canada and study trips and student mobility programmes for schools and universities.  David is passionate about the opportunities international education offers to students of all ages from around the world.  He is also on the Board of the Association of Language Travel Organisations, Oxford Sixth Form College and d'Overbroecks Independent School in Oxford.  As well as being a lay member of the University Council, David is a member of the Business Review Committee.

Lesley Thompson

Lesley is Vice President, Academic and Government Strategic Alliance at Elsevier.  In this role, she is responsible for building strong relationships with the UK’s research leaders, building collaborative projects with universities and contributing to the development of Elsevier's work in data analytics for research and life sciences.  She is also Chair of the Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership Innovation Board.  Lesley was formerly Research Director for the EPSRC, chaired the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Research Directors Group, she was a founder member of the Royal Society Diversity Board and non-executive Director of the UK Research Councils Shared Services Board.  As well as being a lay member of the University Council, Lesley is a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Group. 

Council Member Photo

Peter Harris

Peter graduated from Keele in 1995 having been a mature student. He has worked across sectors including professional services, telecoms, retail and engineering with a focus on Governance, Risk and Compliance roles. Peter now provides consulting services to the SME market through The Alternative Board.

Peter joned the Audit Committee at Keele in 2017 and was appointed a member of Council in April 2020.

Peter lives in Staffordshire with his wife and three children.

Class 4: Student Representatives

KeeleSU Officer

Amy Holden (Union Development & Democracy Officer)

Amy graduated from Keele University in 2018 having studied Biochemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. During her studies, she had become involved with KeeleSU through the Keele University Women’s Rugby team and took on the role of Captain in her third year of study. Amy was elected as the 2018/2019 Athletic Union (AU) and Sport Officer (AU President). Through this role, Amy learnt about the work of Student Unions’ and the importance of elected officers and representation within the Higher Education sector. This influenced her decision to run for the Union Development and Democracy Officer position, of which she was elected and took up the post in July 2019.

Katie Charlton (President of the KPA)

Katie graduated from Keele University with a BA Hons in American Studies in 2017. She then began a professional career in recruitment in September 2017. Having realised that her passion remained within higher education, she returned to Keele University in 2018 to complete a postgraduate course and is currently finishing her MRes in Humanities (History). Whilst balancing her studies and working life, she dedicated a lot of her spare time to the Keele Postgraduate Association and Clubhouse. Here, she understood the need for postgraduate representation across campus and was elected KPA President in May 2019. Katie continues to promote the student voice and has taken part in a whole host of campaigns to benefit postgraduates nationally.