The GCU Alumnus of the Year award winner for 2015 is Erica Charles, who graduated with an MSc Fashion Marketing in 2003.
Erica is currently Chief Brand Ambassador for Mary’s Living and Giving Shop, the premium charity retail concept launched by retail expert Mary Portas with the Save the Children charity in 2009. Since graduating, Erica has also been a lecturer at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, and has held a number of account director and consultancy roles with companies including BUREAUX, HGA Group and EJLeRoy Consultancy.
The GCU London Alumnus of the Year award winner for 2015 is Steffen Bornhoeft, who graduated with an MSc International Fashion Marketing in 2013.
Since graduating in 2013, Steffen has worked internationally, joining the Mintel Group, a world-leading market intelligence agency, where he was promoted to Account Director Germany, Austria and Switzerland within a year of taking up an internship role.
Jacqueline Wales - PgD Biomedical Science (1999) Laboratory Manager, Golden Jubilee National Hospital
In recognition of her significant contribution to the biomedical science industry and dedicated support of higher education
“When I received the letter informing me of the award, I was absolutely delighted and a little humbled when I realised that the very institution which has played such a big part in my success wants to reward me when perhaps it should be the other way around.”
Jackie has worked in the Biomedical Science Profession for almost 30 years in the field of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, a career which began on the South coast of England where she completed her training including a HNC and Part 1 of the Fellowship of the Institute of Biomedical Science. After 8 years Jackie returned to Scotland where after a couple of years she attended Glasgow Caledonian University where she gained her Post Graduate Diploma in Biomedical Science, without which she would not have secured a Senior Biomedical Science position within the department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill in 2004. This post came with responsibility for Training and Education within the department and it was, in Jackie’s opinion, pivotal to successes that followed. It was through this role that she became involved with the University, supporting the Applied Biomedical Science Degree which she continues to do. Her involvement with GCU has given her valuable experience and opened doors, which has been instrumental in the rate of Jackie’s promotion from Senior Biomedical Scientist to the Head of Laboratory Services in 10 years. Jacqueline was awarded the title of the first ever HCS Scientist of the year in 2013 for her outstanding and sustainable contribution to the profession and was also presented with the Scottish Quality Managers Group Quality Award 2013 for her approach to method validation.
Saskia Tepe - PgD Knowledge Management (2003) Author, Surviving Brigitte’s Secrets
In recognition of her commitment to the Common Weal through her inspiring work in educating communities about the Holocaust
“My PG Diploma in E-commerce and Knowledge Management gave me the impetus to research and document my mother’s experiences, and so I am delighted at receiving this award from GCU, whose work for the “common weal” is as integral to its agenda, as it is to mine. The support it gives to educational charities like the Gathering the Voices project ensures that society will never forget the lessons learned from the Holocaust."
Saskia Tepe was born in 1954 in Germany. She and her mother emigrated to the UK in 1961 under the auspices of World Refugee Year 1959. She has taught Modern Languages, and worked in the whisky, computer and banking industries. Her memoir "Surviving Brigitte's Secrets: A Holocaust Survivor. Her Daughter. Two Traumatic Journeys." was begun in 2006 for cathartic reasons, and she was overjoyed when it finally made it into print last year. Saskia blogs and speaks regularly to the public about her and her mother’s remarkable experiences, as well as sharing her story alongside other oral testimony from those who escaped the terror of Nazi dominated Europe and found sanctuary in Scotland on www.gatheringthevoices.com. Since retiring to the U.S.A to travel full time, the opportunities to tell her story have broadened considerably.
Alex Clark - BSc (Hons) Fire Risk Engineering (2001) Deputy Chief Officer, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
In recognition of his significant contribution to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
“When I was notified that I had received this prestigious award, I was surprised and delighted in equal measure. Whilst I am the one receiving the award, for which I am extremely grateful, I have to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the University for creating the platform that enabled me to pursue my career goals.”
Alex joined the then Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade, as a firefighter in February 1987 at the age of 18. He served as a firefighter for 7 years at Sighthill fire station in Edinburgh, before progressing through the ranks. He realised that in order to fully develop his potential he needed to expand his horizons and pursue academic development. This led him to the doors of Glasgow Caledonian University and enrolment on the BSc Fire Risk Engineering programme.
Having successfully attained the BSc (Hons) in 2001, this provided an excellent springboard for further career development and he quickly rose through the ranks to take up several senior roles prior to becoming Acting Chief Fire Officer of Lothian and Borders in 2011, a post he held until the creation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2013, where he was appointed Deputy Chief Officer.
Christopher To - BEng(Hons) Engineering Management, 1992, Glasgow Polytechnic Secretary-General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Awarded for leadership in Arbitration and his work on Zero Carbon Building technology
"I am delighted and honoured to receive such a prestigious award. I enjoyed my time at GCU enormously -in fact the attitude and dedication of those who put their heart and soul into teaching me gave me an impression that the University is indeed a cut above the rest when it comes to delivering quality and innovative teaching techniques. The University gave me direction and a sense of purpose in life which is to strive for excellence and dedication wherever possible. Thank you GCU for being my guiding star.”
Christopher is a recognised authority on alternative dispute resolution techniques and is a sought-after speaker/moderator at international forums. He is the Secretary General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. He was selected by the World Economic Forum to work towards its 2030 initiative, which aims to understand current and future trends, risks, and opportunities at both global and regional levels.
In 2007 he was awarded Young Global Leader 2007 status by the World Economic Forum to recognise the most distinguished 250 young leaders below the age of 40, from around the world. Christopher played a key role in the World's first zero carbon building (ZCB), which is a pioneering project to showcase state-of-the-art zero carbon building technologies and raise community awareness of sustainable living in Hong Kong.
Jaswant Hayre – BA(Hons) Business Studies, 1990, Glasgow College of Technology Managing Director and Head of International Tax – Americas, APAC & EMEA, The Bank of New York Mellon (London Office)
Awarded for leadership in the field of Banking and his work with aiding injured Royal Marines
“I am deeply honoured to have been chosen to receive this award. However, it truly belongs to those wonderful lecturers who gave me my education at GCU, and in particular Dr John Cooper, as without them I would not be where I am today. It is a debt that cannot ever be repaid.”
After graduating, Jas left Scotland and started a distinguished career in Accountancy for professional firms and financial institutions. In 2004 he was awarded a Fellowship in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales in 2004. Jas is now in a senior position at The Bank of New York Mellon in London where he has responsibility for a wide range of businesses globally.
Jas enjoys motor racing, and uses this hobby to assist with the rehabilitation of injured Royal Marines returning from Afghanistan, regularly taking injured soldiers around Brands Hatch in his racing Lotus (pictured). He also regularly takes terminally ill children around Ford’s test track at Dunton – albeit in his slower classic Ferrari.
Pat Dunion – BA(Hons) Business Studies, 1987, Glasgow College of Technology Chief Operating Officer, Transform Medical Group
In recognition of her business excellence and ethical practice in the cosmetic surgery field
“I am thrilled, delighted and extremely honoured to have been nominated and chosen as a winner of the award. GCU taught me a broad range of topics in business which really set me on my way and has helped me in my role as a Chief Operating Officer, to take Transform to new level.”
As Transform's COO, Pat is responsible for the day to day running of a company with around 350 employees and a turnover of over £37 million. Her main duty is to deliver the highest levels of patient care across the Company, but she also has to balance this with the delivery of the budgets agreed with Transform’s Board of Directors.
She is an advocate for ethical practice and is member of the Transform Clear Panel, which discusses new ways of delivering best patient care in the hope that Transform’s ethical and transparent marketing standards will one day be at the forefront of all cosmetic surgery practices.
Douglas Dawson – HND Engineering Management, 1982, Glasgow College of Technology Chief Operating Officer, Caparo Group
Awarded for leadership in the field of Engineering and the Caparo partnership with the RSA Academy
“I was surprised, humbled and delighted to receive this award. GCU was the first step for me on a very exciting and rewarding career in Engineering and Industry and without the platform that the GCU provided me with I would not have been able to realise my ambitions. I hope this award gives inspiration to all young people contemplating a career in Industry regardless of their background."
After his graduation, Douglas spent the early part of his career as a Chief Engineer in the Navy and subsequently gained over 25 years of experience in industry including senior positions within BTR Industries, Citicorp Venture Capital and SPX Corporation.
Currently Douglas is Chief Operating Officer of Caparo Group, a £1.5 billion turnover privately owned global industrial group. Caparo manufactures products / services ranging from street lighting to vehicle braking systems and is noted for producing the fastest accelerating road car in the world, the Caparo T1 (pictured).
Douglas is very proud of his humble beginnings in Glasgow and is passionate in providing opportunities for all young engineers who otherwise would be denied the possibility of excelling in a career in engineering & manufacturing. He demonstrated this commitment when partnered with the RSA Academy to create 12 apprenticeships for students. As well as the 12 apprenticeships, the company will also offer a university scholarship for one RSA Academy student with engineering aspirations.
Alan Bennie - Vice Chairman, Vivid Toy Group BA (Hons) Accountancy, 1977
Awarded in recognition of his outstanding success in the toy industry and his commitment to charitable work.
Alan is the 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. Alan is an active supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital and a number of other children’s charities.
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
Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the British fashion industry and dedicated support of higher education.
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. 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.
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
Awarded in recognition of both his outstanding contribution to the optical industry and his entrepreneurial initiative.
Alan founded IndigoLighthouse Group, specialists in contact lens consumer management, which today 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. 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.
Read more about Ethels remarkable journey from the Island if Shetland to the City of Philadelphia.
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