Alumni Achievement Awards
2012 AAA winners at GCU London graduations. L-R Alan Bennie, GCU Principal Prof Pamela Gillies, Chair of Court Tony Brian, Alison Psarolis, Prof John Wilson
The annual Alumni Achievement Awards (AAA) recognise and celebrate the successes and contributions that our alumni make to society in their chosen path.
The awards are given to graduates from Glasgow Caledonian University and its founding institutions who have excelled in their chosen field, made contributions to society, the community, humanitarian issues, the arts, sport or charitable work, or special contributions to the life and development of the University.
Each year, a panel of senior GCU staff, led by Director of Development Janet Roberts, will select a shortlist of deserving applicants, with each application taken on its own merit and the above criteria in mind. The final decision on awards granted is then made by GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies.
We are delighted to award this to three very deserving alumni of GCU:
Alan Bennie - Vice Chairman, Vivid Toy Group BA (Hons) Accountancy 1977, Glasgow College of Technology Awarded in recognition of his outstanding success in the toy industry and his commitment to charitable work.
Alan’s career started in 1977 when he joined the graduate programme at Matchbox Toys. He is now co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Vivid Toy Group, now one of the world’s top 20 toy companies, with global retail sales of over US$300 million. Vivid has established an entrepreneurial culture and has successfully marketed a host of successful brands including Moshi Monsters, Crayola, Toy Story and Thunderbirds.
Alan is an active supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital and a number of other children’s charities and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Toy and Hobby Association in 2012.
Alan says: "I am delighted and very honoured to receive this award from Glasgow Caledonian University. I enjoyed my time there enormously and this is also an opportunity to recognise the platform provided by GCU which enabled me to launch my business career.”
Alison Psarolis – Brand Director, Duchamp London BA (Hons) Consumer and Management Studies (Fashion) 1996, GCU Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the British fashion industry and dedicated support of higher education.
Alison started her career in high street fashion, rising through the ranks as a merchandiser and buyer for companies such as Topshop and Debenhams, culminating in a senior buying role with Marks and Spencer.
Together with husband Marc, Alison owns Duchamp London, one of the world’s leading luxury menswear brands based in the Savile Row area of London. Marc started at Duchamp in 2002 as CEO, and Alison joined him there in 2006 as Design and Production Director before becoming Brand Director in 2010. Together they bought the company in 2006, transforming the company into a global brand with celebrity fans including Sir Anthony Hopkins.
They operate two flagship stores in London, as well as several large concessions within the major UK department stores including Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. Duchamp is also sold in the world’s most prestigious department stores, including Barneys and Bloomingdales in the USA, Holt Renfrew in Canada and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
Alison has also been a good friend of GCU London, hosting masterclasses, supporting projects, offering guidance and advice and internships for students.
Alison says: “I was overwhelmed when I found out that I had been considered for and won this award. I am so proud to be an alumna of GCU and hope that in some way I can help to inspire other women to achieve. My experience at GCU was instrumental in forming the discipline and drive that has enabled me to follow my dreams.”
Alan Cox – Chief Executive Officer and Founder, IndigoLighthouse Group BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Optics 1985, Glasgow College of Technology Awarded in recognition of both his outstanding contribution to the optical industry and his entrepreneurial initiative.
Inspired by his Father, Bert Cox, an optometry lecturer at Glasgow College of Technology, Alan began his career as an optometrist before founding the Indigo Lighthouse Group (ILG) in 1998.
ILG started life as specialists in contact lens consumer management and soon grew to provide this service for large multinational optical groups. Today ILG is the largest provider of contact lens consumer management for leading optical groups worldwide and its customer centric philosophy has enabled it to diversify services to include all backend operations required by the growing e-retailing world. Services include web management, database management, logistics, warehousing and distribution, a highly sophisticated international payment management platform, a unique subscription model as well as end-to-end multi lingual customer contact centre services. ILG distributed over 25 million packages worldwide in 2012 and dealt with over 750,000 customer calls providing support in fifteen languages. Its customer centric approach has been recognised by numerous high profile awards for exceptional customer service.
Alan's focus on innovation and service quality continues to underpin his business philosophy and on-going success.
Alan says: “I am delighted and humbled to have been awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from GCU. I have no doubt that my education at GCU provided the foundation for my success in life and I will always be grateful for this start to my career. The interpersonal skills I also learned as an undergraduate and the lifelong friendships I forged have been invaluable. GCU really was the catalyst and inspiration that enabled me to achieve my dreams.”
Maggie McAteer BA (Hons) Hospitality Management '96
Alumna Maggie McAteer was presented with a 2011 Alumni Achievement Award at GCU London in September 2011. She received the award for her “Outstanding contribution to the British fashion retail sector.”
Partner at Macandi, a London based fashion distributor of mid to high end fashion & footwear since 1999, Maggie and her colleagues have built a loyal base of clients from the large multinational to the individual designer. They also design, manufacture & distribute their own range of menswear and footwear under the brand name of FOLK.
Maggie has also offered invaluable support to our GCU fashion students in London who have benefited greatly from placements and business projects that she has set, alongside her guest tutorials and informal advice provision. Maggie attended the GCU Glasgow Fashion Awards 2011 and gave excellent feedback, advice and support to students. She also provided many with excellent introductions to other leading fashion companies and many have benefitted from the connections that Maggie made happen.
On hearing that she had won the award, Maggie said: “I am completely overwhelmed and feel quite undeserving of this award from my small basement office in Holborn.”
John Cullen (BA (Hons) Business Studies ’99)
For community work and as an ambassador for GCU
John was nominated for being an outstanding ambassador of GCU and sharing in the University mission. He is the Scottish Taekwondo Coach and set up both Caledonian Taekwondo Health and Fitness to help underprivileged children in Glasgow and a sporting and cultural exchange programme with Pung Saeng High School, Seongnam, South Korea. John also founded the Lee Sung Hee sporting and cultural exchange programme in 2004 and is a regular sports presenter on TV and radio.
John said: "I am very grateful to receive this award for my work. With the University’s support, we bring two countries together through Taekwondo. I’m also proud to support the Caledonian Club in all it does."
Prof Michael Keating (PhD Political Sciences ’75)
For academic excellence
Michael was one the three first ever PhD candidates from what is now GCU, with a CNNA degree awarded in 1975. He has worked at various institutions, including the University of Essex, University of Strathclyde, University of Western Ontario and the European University Institute in Florence. He has also held visiting positions in France, Spain, Norway, USA and the UK. From 2010 until 2013, he is Economic & Social Research Council Professorial Fellow.
Allan Kennedy BA(Hons) Consumer & Mgt Studies with Fashion & Business ’96)
For excellence in his chosen fieldAllan is an international fashion stylist, editor and creative director who graduated in 1996 from the fashion route of the Consumer and Management Degree at Queens College. He has styled countless magazine covers and fashion editorials and has been involved in creating the visual brand identity for many top luxury brands, both in print media and film advertising.
The award this year was designed by second year International Product Design student John McAlpine.
The awards recognise and celebrate the success and contribution our alumni make to society. The competition for the design of the 2009 awards was won by 2nd year International Produce Design student, Lucy Ross (pictured right). From the nominations five graduates were chosen to receive the Alumni Achievement Award for 2009, you can read their stories below…
Ian Deary HNC Medical Laboratory Sciences '76
Current Position: Professor of Differential Psychology at the University of Edinburgh
Ian is a Professor of Differential Psychology at the University of Edinburgh and is internationally renowned for his work on human cognitive ageing and cognitive abilities, and has been invited as a key note speaker in many countries.
He graduated with an HNC in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Haematology and Blood Transfusion) from Glasgow College of Technology in 1976. His HNC was awarded with Distinction and a Special Mention in all subjects.
He graduated in Psychology and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and studied there for his PhD. His principal research interest is human mental abilities, especially the origins of cognitive differences, the effects of ageing and medical conditions on mental skills, and the impact of cognitive differences on people's lives.
Recently he lead a large research team studying cognitive ageing by following up on the people who took part in the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. This research is very important as it could find better ways of understanding normal cognitive ageing and possibly preserve mental abilities for longer.
- In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
- During 1999-2001 he was the elected President of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences.
- In 2003 he received the first of the annual Chancellor's Awards of the University of Edinburgh which "recognise excellence in vital academic areas such as teaching and research and were awarded on the basis of innovation, relevance, creativity and personal dedication".
- From Jan 2003 to Dec 2007 he held a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award for his work on human cognitive ageing.
Ian Deary is nominated as an internationally acclaimed researcher in cognitive human ageing.
Khalid Abdulrahim MSc Construction Management '05
Current Position: CEO Cebarco
Khalid Abdulrahim is the CEO of Cebarco Bahrain, a multi-million dollar construction company in the middle-east and is the leading building and civil engineering company based in Bahrain. Some of their projects include the, Formula One Racing Circuit in Bahrain, the Sheikh Isa bin Salman Library and Conference Centre, Citibank Headquarters and the Seef Fly-Over's. They are currently working on the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 circuit in the UAE which is due for completion in August 2009.
Khalid undertook his MSc degree with GCU at the same time as he was building one of the most challenging construction projects in Bahrain - the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit which had to be completed in 16 months from a standing start. It was completed on time and this achievement helped to establish him as a major player in the construction industry in the Middle East. His turnover has grown from that time in 2003/04 when it stood at $150million to the present $1.5Billion. He was recently nominated as Middle East Entrepreneur of the year and holds the University in very high regard and is always available to help with initiatives in the Middle East.
Khalid, who previously studied Engineering at the University of Austin, Texas, USA has over 20 years experience in the construction industry and his company was responsible for the construction of the prestigious Bahrain Formula One Race Circuit, the first of its type in the Arab world.
Khalid Rahim is nominated for his entrepreneurial drive and business leadership in creating a hugely successful construction company in the Middle East.
Lena Wilson BA/BA (Hons) Public Administration and Mgt '85
Current Position: Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Enterprise and the CEO of Scottish Development Internationals
Lena Wilson is the Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Enterprise and the CEO of Scottish Development International. She leads Scottish Enterprise in supporting companies to grow and Scottish Development International in both helping to promote Scottish businesses overseas and attracting new high value investment to Scotland.
Born in Glasgow, Ms Wilson grew up in East Kilbride. A graduate of Strathclyde University as well, she holds a BA in Public Administration Management from Glasgow Caledonian University
Her early career was spent in Production and Quality Management in the Electronics industry after which she joined the Scottish Development Agency (now Scottish Enterprise) in 1989. She has had a range of roles covering all aspects of economic development.
Seconded to World Bank in 1998 for 2 years as senior Investment Advisor to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency she worked in over 20 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia advising governments on economic development strategies with particular emphasis on the conditions necessary for the attraction of FDI.
Non executive appointments include her being a Board Member of the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, and a Board Member of the Tartan Clef Foundation (Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland). She has also held non executive roles in Arts and Leadership organisations.
Outside interests include keeping fit, live music and the Arts, spending time with her family and travel.
Lena Wilson is nominated for her outstanding success in the business development field, especially in promoting Scottish businesses overseas.
Ethel Hofman Institutional Management '56
Current Position: Co-director Greenlee Concepts / USA
Ethel has come a long way from teaching in the Shetland Islands after graduating from the "Do School". She immigrated to the US in 1959 and has since worked as a dietetic intern at the University of Chicago, then chief administrative dietician at Michael Resse Hospital, Chicago.
Currently Ethel Hofman is a nationally syndicated columnist, a contributor to Gastronomica, Cooking Pleasures, and other publications featuring food and travel. She is also food editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times and the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. She promoted her third cookbook, Everyday Cooking for The Jewish Home, through numerous television appearances and radio and press interviews. Her cookbook, The Art of Cooking was published in May 2001. Her latest book, Mackerel at Midnight - growing up Jewish on a remote Scottish Island was published in March 2005. As a consultant and recipe developer, her clients include the Dannon Company, Inc., Welch's Grape Juice, Vermont Cheese Company and The National Association for Specialty Food Trade (NASFT).
Ethel is the Co-director of Greenlee Concepts, an on-line training program for wait staff.
- Ms. Hofman's food and wine expertise is specifically targeted to contemporary home cooks and to the culinary industry. She is a consultant to Integrated Marketing Communications, Inc. (New York). She has conducted seminars at The Restaurant School (Philadelphia, PA).
- Ms. Hofman was president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) from 1995-1996, and is a member of the prestigious Les Dames d'Escoffier.
- Her books were also featured in the Edinburgh Book festival in 2007.
Ethel is nominated for the Alumni Achievement Awards for her unique career as a Dietician and her success as a food critic / writer and syndicated food columnist in the US.
Ian MCleod BA (Hons) Business Studies '81
Current Position: Managing Director of Coles Supermarkets, Australia.
Ian joined Coles as Managing Director in May 2008 and oversees the Coles Supermarkets, Liquor and Convenience businesses. He is in charge of 106,000 employees including 700 managers.
Prior to this, Ian was Chief Executive Officer of Halfords Group Plc: the UK's leading retailer of car parts, leisure and cycling products. Between 2000 and 2001, Ian was on the Executive Board of Wal-Mart Germany as Chief Merchandise Officer and prior to that was the Managing Director of Asda's largest operating division with direct responsibility for over 40 superstores and 20,000 employees. His performance here was judged to be the strongest in the company.
Prior to the Wal-Mart takeover in June 1999 Ian held various senior roles and Asda Management Board positions including Productivity Director, Trading Director for Ambient Grocery (the company's biggest trading division) and Trading Director for Bakery, Frozen Food, Dairy, and in-store restaurants. He was one of only two Asda managers promoted to this level after Archie Norman took over as Asda CEO.
Following the Victoria bushfires of 2009 he personally signed off on Coles donating A$10M to the relief fund to help the victims of the fire which was the largest donation by an Australian company.
Outside of his experience in retail, Ian also spent two years as CEO of Celtic Plc, the listed company controlling Celtic Football Club and has also added Melbourne Victory to his list of directorships. Ian also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1999.
Ian McLeod is nominated for his business leadership and outstanding success in the retail industry
The annual Alumni Achievement Award, launched in our fifteenth anniversary year, aims to recognise and celebrate the successes and contributions to society of our alumni - the former students of GCU as well as its founding institutions. The 2008 awards were presented to seven of our alumni at the Alumni Crystal Ball on April 24 at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel.
- Maura Buchanan
- Catriona Kerr
- Pauline Chabinga
- Helen MacKechnie
- Dr Andrew McLaughlin
- David Sibbald
- Sean Tracey