Keele Alumna on ‘aiming high’ as her degree takes her all over the world working for the United Nations
Victoria Stephenson, who graduated from Keele in 2007 with a degree in International Relations and English Literature (dual honors), shares her story of dreaming to work for the UN, before going on to lead a team that secures millions of pounds in donations to support UNICEF’s causes all over the world.
Victoria Stephenson working in Afghanistan for the United Nations
I currently work in the private sector headquarters for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) leading the Global New Business Team, working with new philanthropists around the world giving at the multi-million dollar level to support UNICEF’s work.
After I left Keele I started as a temp in a national children’s rights organisation in the UK working on high value fundraising events with Board members. I then moved to an international human rights organisation focusing on the issue of child soldiers; the topic of my dissertation at Keele; as their Head of Development. I then took a role at UNICEF UK leading the Philanthropy Department and after six years moved into the United Nations to start my current role.
I’ve been lucky enough in my career so far to travel to incredible places such as Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq and beyond to raise money from the private sector for the UNs work. I think my greatest achievement to date has been securing UNICEF’s biggest ever single gift from a philanthropist of $15m to support our work in India.
Victoria in Iraq while working for the UN
My time at Keele really helped broaden my thinking in terms of where I thought I could reach in my career. I always wanted to work for the UN but never thought it would be achievable. I had a really fantastic tutor at Keele who helped me to see that if I focused on the right path I would get there.
I have some fond memories of my time at Keele, the friends I made and the opportunity to study a dual honours are really the stand out things for me when I reflect on my experience. Keele is a special place and really offers a unique way of learning that I feel really set me up for life after University!
My advice to current students would be: aim high! And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find your career role model and ask them out for a coffee. People like to be asked for their advice. It will really help you broaden your professional network.
Victoria being interviewed by Bloomberg.