Our Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors are members of a highly valued group of philanthropists who genuinely appreciate the role that Lancaster University has to play. Specifically, our Ambassadors support students to maximise the value of their studies, regardless of background or financial means. They support the growth of our research capabilities so that we can deliver more life-changing outcomes and they help us ensure that our campus reflects our reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

Guy Leach

LUMS Accounting and Finance, County College 1985

Guy joined Serco in 1995 as Director Corporate Strategy to develop Serco’s response to the Private Finance Initiative and provide input in to group accounting and funding decisions. Prior to joining Serco, Guy worked for Deloitte & Touche for ten years. In 1997, Guy assumed responsibilities for the Group’s insurance and pension and became a Non-Executive Director overseeing the Group’s Private Finance Initiative Division. In 1999, Guy set up Serco’s Mergers and Acquisitions team which he continues to lead.

Jane Bierwirth

Politics and International Relations, Bowland College 1973

Jane has been in the executive search industry for 18 years, and is presently a Managing Director at RSR Partners in New York City.  She recruits trustees, advisory board members, and senior executives for institutional investors and family offices. 

Upon graduation from Lancaster University with a degree in politics she returned to the United States and earned an MBA from The Wharton School  of the University of Pennsylvania.  Jane began her career at the Chemical Banking Corporation, where she worked for more than 15 years, primarily in leveraged finance, private banking, and in the Chairman’s office as his assistant for two years.  From 1992 to 1998, she lived and worked in Portland, Oregon where her husband was the superintendent of the public schools.

Reza Ali

Business Studies and Finance, Furness College 2003

As Director of New Ventures, Reza is responsible for the overall delivery of ACCA’s educational delivery to support ACCA’s learning providers, universities and students as well as ACCA-X, our pilot initiative to provide digital learning to students. Prior to his current role, Reza worked across a number of different roles within ACCA and was previously the Head of Emerging Markets Asia, where he led ACCA’s developments across a number of markets including South Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Brunei and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). He was also seconded to ACCA’s Strategy team to support the development of ACCA’s strategy to 2020.

Reza was also previously an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) within the Assurance and Business Advisory Services (ABAS) in London and later became the Head of Finance and Operations at a brokerage firm in Singapore that dealt primarily with government agencies in the South Asian subcontinent.

Reza graduated with a First Class (Honours) in Business Studies and Finance from Lancaster University where he was the recipient of the Philip Andrews Memorial Prize for Economics. He is also an ACCA member.

Cathy Turner

Economics And Politics, County College 1984

Cathy is a Non-Executive Director of Old Mutual Wealth, Countrywide PLC and Aldermore, all of which she Chairs the Remuneration Committees.  She is a Council Member of the Royal College of Art, a Vice President of UNICEF UK and a former Board Member of the Institute of Financial Services.

Prior to her plural career, Cathy held several senior executive roles in banking over a 15 year period. Most recently she was the Chief Administrative Officer for Lloyds Banking Group PLC. Previously she was a member of the Executive Committee of Barclays PLC where she had responsibility for HR, Corporate Affairs, Strategy and Brand and Marketing. Earlier in her career at Barclays PLC she was the Investor Relations Director.

Cathy’s earlier career was in consultancy where she was a Practice Leader and Consultant in several major audit and consultancy firms, over a 10 year period. Cathy is an Economics graduate from Lancaster University

Lorraine Softleigh-Moore

LLM LLB (Hons), Lonsdale College 1986 to 1989

I spent three wonderful years at Lancaster University as an undergraduate. My choice of university was determined by the variety of options on the LLB degree programme, as well as the distance from London and my parents! When I came to visit I immediately fell in love with the campus and the great atmosphere, despite it raining the whole day and missing the coach back to London.

I lived at Lonsdale College during my first year, as the Law Department in 1986 was located there and it meant I could attend my lectures with minimum effort. I enjoyed my degree immensely and found as a law student I was working hard from day one. The weight of the work did not prevent me from taking part in a range of extra-curricular activities and I would encourage every student to try something new. I made life-long friends at the university and was even fortunate enough to meet my husband there, so I can certainly confirm that my time at Lancaster left a lasting impression.

Tom McNerney

Operational Research, County College 1986

Tom has over 25 years of experience in financial markets, financial data and consultancy. Following completion of his M. Sc. in operational research at Lancaster, Tom worked for 2 years as a consultant building financial models for measuring advertising efficiency and pricing interest rate options. He then entered the finance industry where he spent 10 years in the exotic derivatives business as a quantitative modeller, deal structurer and trader at SG Warburg and Barclays. This was followed by a stint as Head of Market Risk Management for Europe and Asia for Toronto Dominion Bank. In 2002 Tom co-founded Markit Ltd, a financial data and services company. Tom was instrumental in particular in building the quantitative foundations and operations of Markit's credit derivatives data and derivatives valuation businesses. Markit floated on NASDAQ in 2014 at a valuation in excess of $4bn.

Tom now works with Semantic Evolution, an AI/technology company which builds models to extract structured data from documents, with True Global Ventures, an angel investment fund, and is an active international property investor.

Paul Taylor

Marketing, County College 1983

Paul Taylor is president and chief executive officer of Fitch Group, a leading provider of essential financial information and services to the global financial markets.  Mr Taylor was appointed to this position in April 2012 and is based in London.  Mr Taylor also serves on the Hearst Corporation Executive Committee.  Hearst is the majority owner of Fitch Group and is a diversified media, information and services company with more than 360 businesses.

Mr Taylor previously served as president of Fitch Ratings, the group’s largest business and a leading provider of credit ratings, commentary and research.  Prior to this appointment in 2010, he spent two years as global head of structured finance ratings, presiding over numerous ratings reforms following the 2007 collapse of the U.S. housing market.  Mr Taylor has held a variety of analytical leadership positions at Fitch Ratings, including global head of sovereign, public finance, corporate, and financial institution ratings.  He also headed the agency's operations in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Simon Langelier

Operational Research, Cartmel College 1980

Simon is a highly experienced senior executive with a long and successful career with Philip Morris International. His expertise in working in multicultural and multinational environments together with his effective leadership and people motivation skills have led to the achievement of ambitious results in diverse businesses in very different markets.

He served in leadership capacities with Philip Morris International (PMI) and subsidiaries for over 30 years, most recently as the managing director of Coltabaco (Philip Morris Colombia) in Bogota from 2010-2011. During his career, Simon has worked and been based in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Bruce Callander

JYA, Furness College, 1983

I am President of Sweet & Baker, a full-service San Francisco based Insurance broker. Before joining Sweet & Baker I worked in commercial real estate finance for McDonnell Finance Corporation, placing multi-million dollar loans on commercial property on the Pacific Coast. My previous business experience also included the coordination and budgeting of real estate syndications for a large property management company. I am active in the San Francisco non-profit community, currently serving on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco. Previously, I have served on the Boards of Katherine Delmar Burke School, The Guardsmen, The University Club of San Francisco, and BRAVO! CLUB San Francisco Opera. I am a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in Economics, including an emphasis in Computer Science and I spent my JYA year at Lancaster University.

Lancaster is a very special part of my College memories.

Hamza Jamil

LUMS, MSc Management Sciences, 2000

Hamza is the co-founder of On Call People in the USA and Director at Firewood in the UK.  At Firewood, he advises clients on commercial strategy and contract management. Hamza has personally worked with clients such as Experian, France Telecom, Oracle, GNER, NHS England and the Department of Health.

Hamza started his career at British Airways, leading change programmes and launched an industry first: using SMS to inform passengers of flight delays.  He brings experience from multiple industries in both public and private sectors, and has held senior roles in: programme management; sales; commercial and contract management; and account and relationship management.

Chris Cook

Computer Science with Software Engineering, Furness, 1998

I studied Software Engineering at Lancaster between 1995-1998 and I now lead a global technology solutions team at GSK. I work with and enable scientists to do their job well, which I find very satisfying. I could not do this had I not done this degree, which taught me how to think and analyse differently.

When I look back now, I realise how much I loved my studies and Lancaster. I chose Lancaster because it offered the chance to go climbing, plus I had the chance to take such a large range of subject choices. I loved being in the department and I remember the inspiring tutors there. Of course there were times when I doubted myself, worried whether I was good enough, had no money and felt far away from home. But it was all worth it.

Andrew Rollerson

Computer Science, Cartmel College, 1975

Lancaster University, even in its early days was a vibrant complex multi-faceted society, enclosed in its own mist-enshrouded draughty cultural pressure cooker on a hill outside the city.  In the Great Hall, Leyla rubbed shoulders with Die schöne Müllerin, while in the middle of the campus a group of bemused capitalist lackeys (otherwise known as the administration staff) would file out onto the Square as the placard-waving Trotskyists began a sit-in.  It was possible to conduct a respectable pub crawl without even leaving the campus, and there was an opportunity to sample to the delights of coastal living with a year out in Morecambe.

For me Lancaster facilitated the transition from insecure pimply ex-schoolboy to a somewhat more secure and less pimply young adult, newly launched on what as been a very long and fulfilling career.  But the real gain from my years at Lancaster has proved to be much more subtle.

Now as I reach the end of my career, and, aided by a large glass of single malt, I look back wistfully through a life hopefully well-lived.  And I feel a growing sense of indebtedness for the richness with which my experience at Lancaster infused my life, without me realising it at the time.  I am left with a strong sense of being very privileged to have been at Lancaster.

In 1975 I was fortunate enough to win the Colorado Scholarship, which provided a year of postgraduate study at the University of Colorado in Boulder, funded entirely by contributions from American Junior Year Abroad students at Lancaster.  It was a transformational experience, and one made possible by the generosity of others. 

Lucy Briers

Independent Studies, Cartmel College, 1988

Lucy studied theatre and sculpture at Lancaster University from 1985-1988 and then went on to train as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 1991.  Her recent theatre credits include Show Boat at Sheffield Crucible and the New London Theatre, The Seagull and Ivanov at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon, The Aldwych Theatre, London and The Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway, NYC. Lucy also performed her one woman show in London and New York, 'Some Kind of Bliss', written for her by the playwright Samuel Adamson. Recent television credits include Count Arthur Strong, DCI Banks, The Thick Of It, The Night Watch and 2012, although she is still recognised as Mary Bennett in the iconic BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, despite it being filmed nearly 25 years ago...

Lucy has also enjoyed varied work on radio and providing narration for documentaries; most notably the Channel 4 series Body Shock and two series of ITV's Ladette to Lady. Lucy is thrilled to be a patron of the new Lancaster Playwriting Prize as new writing is a passion for her. There is nothing more exciting for an actor than to be the first person to speak the words of a young playwright and bring the first interpretation of their work to life on stage.

Jeffrey Johnson

JYA, Lonsdale College, 1980

I am a partner at Pryor Cashman LLP, a mid-sized law firm based in New York City.  I specialize in the transactional aspects of technology and intellectual property exploitation (patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyright) and have represented a broad range of clients, from small start-up companies to large, well established companies like Godiva Chocolatier and celebrities like Lady Gaga, in a variety of industries including telecommunications, life sciences, entertainment, digital media and software.  Away from the office, I spend most of my time enjoying my family and outdoor sports, particularly skiing and soccer.  I'm a particularly passionate reader of historical fiction, especially Patrick O'Brian's "Aubrey-Maturin" series.

My best Lancaster memory is a toss-up between enjoying The Men From Uncle, a band consisting of mostly Lonsdale residents who are now long-time friends, Professor Fox's history classes, and being a member of the Rugby League team (who knew there were two kinds of Rugby?)

I support Lancaster University because the University introduced me to so many wonderful people from all over the globe, many of whom I've kept in touch with over the years, and I want to help others do the same thing.


Chris Goodwill

LLB, Grizedale College 1983

When I arrived at Lancaster, my plan was to study English Literature, though without any clear sense of where it might lead. In truth, I was just thrilled to have dodged the world of work for a few years. Under the Lancaster system, I 'minored' in Law and Politics in my first year and this enabled me to convert to a Law degree - and this set the course for my professional life.

After leaving, I took an LLM at Cambridge and then qualified as a solicitor, specialising in employment law. It is no coincidence that whilst I was at Lancaster, the head of the Law Department was Peter Wallington, an inspiring employment lawyer. Since 1986, I have been with the same law firm, Clifford Chance. I became a partner in 1995 and global head of employment law in 2003. The firm, which belongs to what (infuriatingly for other firms) is known as the 'Magic Circle', has provided me with an endlessly challenging and highly rewarding career due in part to those at Lancaster who set me on the road to the 'city'.

I also have Lancaster to thank for some enduring friendships. A number of us still meet up occasionally to reminisce and visit old haunts. It takes only a few minutes for us to fall into our old routines and we are soon recounting (and embellishing) our shared experiences as students.

I was very pleased to be asked to be an Ambassador for the University and to have an opportunity to offer a message of support to those debating whether to embark on student life (with all that now entails) and, in particular, whether to apply to Lancaster. My answer is an unequivocal 'yes' to both questions - take the plunge as you may be about to start the best years of your life...


Stuart Brinkworth

LLB Law, Fylde College, 1997

Stuart is a corporate partner resident in the London office, and he heads up the office's finance practice. He specialises in acting for UK and international lenders (including credit and debt funds), sponsors and bidding consortia on a variety of UK domestic and cross-border leveraged finance transactions. His practice focuses on private equity-backed leveraged buy-outs, management buy-outs/buy-ins, public bids, corporate M&A and recapitalisations Mr Brinkworth also has experience across all elements of the debt capital structure. In addition, he has been at the forefront of the development of unitranche as a funding source in the European leveraged finance market. His sector experience includes healthcare, media, sports, real estate, financial services, business services, retail and leisure.

Stuart is a member of both The Law Society of England & Wales and the New York State Bar Association.  

Mohammed Adaya Salisu

PhD Economics, Bowland College, 1990

Mohammed holds a doctorate in economics from Lancaster University, UK. He is currently Economic Adviser to the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is a multilateral development bank whose mission is to promote comprehensive socio-economic development of the 57 member countries of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Mohammed is also Managing Partner and Chief Economist at Seeds Consulting, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which provides knowledge-based solutions to governmental and non-governmental organisations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Prior to that, Mohammed was the Chief Economist of both Gulf One Investment Bank (Bahrain) and Gulf One Capital (KSA) from 2007-2014, after a brief stint at the African Development Bank (2004-2007) as Principal Research Economist. Mohammed has a long teaching and research career at Lancaster University Management School (1990-2004). He is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and economic reports. His scholarly work in development economics, international business, finance and emerging market economies has contributed tremendously to organisational growth and policy-oriented debates. He has strong research collaborations and partnership with a wide range of reputable organisations, such as the World Bank, United Nations, Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), World Trade Organisation, Centre for European Policy Research (CEPR), African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Gulf Research Centre (GRC), and several research and academic institutions around the globe.

Roger Brown

Law, Bowland College 1989

Born in 1967 in Northern Ireland Roger joined Bowland College in 1986 studying psychology, philosophy and law in his first year and extending his interest in aesthetics from the Philosophy Department with a paper considering the potential impact of applying the principles of judicial precedent in the analysis and criticism of art and vice versa. After solicitor’s finals at the College of Law in York Roger completed his training contract with a large West End firm in London with whom he remained for a short time after qualification in the banking department before moving to join Peter Woodroffe at Woodroffes, a boutique practice in London’s Belgravia. 

Woodroffes was founded in 1877 representing individuals and families of substantial personal wealth and has continued to do so for the intervening 140 years.  Roger became a partner in 1999 and senior partner upon Peter Woodroffe’s retirement (to consultant) in 2010. Roger had built a personal practice in the intervening years representing the hotel and hospitality trade and acting for a number of five-star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. His firm continues to offer a highly personalised and bespoke service to wealthy individuals from across the UK and all corners of the world, creating and managing investment portfolios of commercial and residential property across the UK, often in a Sharia’ compliant manner. Roger deals with deal making and non contentious matters.

Gregory Tilmant

LUMS Business Studies, Pendle College 2006

After three years of studies and a lot of fun, I graduated from Lancaster in 2006. Not only did I earn a degree from one of the top UK University, but I also left the school with fond memories, I met my wife and the mother of my son, and had the necessary tools to start a career in finance. 10 years later, I am still in finance and work as an executive director in investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

When I was invited by the university to join the Ambassador programme, I did not hesitate very long. It feels like a normal thing to give back. I consider that I have a good job and I am lucky for that, I owe that hard work but also to Lancaster University and everything I learned there.

Lancaster University provides strong academic background to its students; the university has done its part of the job, now it is up to the Alumni community to help the university to build a solid reputation globally. We need to ensure that its students are represented everywhere including the most prestigious institutions – we will all benefit from it. Helping the university to achieve this goal is not pure altruism but also the fruit of selfish interest… So I hope that this donation, amongst many others, will help student from all background to maximise the value of their studies, have great careers and that they can themselves give back to the university in the future and help grow its reputation.

If you would like to find out more about becoming one of our Ambassadors, please contact our Head of Philanthropy, Paul McCarthy.

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