Host and Speakers




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Simon Fanshawe OBE
Co-founder and Partner
Diversity by Design

Simon is a Co-founder and Partner of Diversity by Design; a ground-breaking consultancy that works with organisations to develop diversity solutions to strategic questions, in order to build greater performance:

Diversity by Design’s current clients include; Sheffield, Cardiff, Kingston and Hertfordshire Universities, FirstGroup, Costa, Virgin Media, the Co-op, GCHQ, NSPCC, The College of Policing and the British Army.

From 2007 – 2013 Simon was chairman of the University of Sussex Governing Council. He is currently on the Boards of Brighton Dome and Festival, Housing and Care 21 and is a Trustee of The Museum of London.

Simon was a co-founder of one of the most successful lobby and campaign groups in recent times; the lesbian and gay equality organisation Stonewall. He is now a co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Trust, supporting LGBTI activists abroad.

Simon is also a broadcaster, writer and pundit. He was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2013 for services to Higher Education, and was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Sussex for services to diversity and human rights in 2013.


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Professor Janet Beer
Vice - Chancellor
University of Liverpool

Professor Janet Beer took up post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool in February 2015, having formerly been Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.

Professor Beer is Chair of the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit. She is currently Vice-President of UUK, England and Northern Ireland and has recently been elected President with effect from August 2017. She is also a Board member of UCAS and a Trustee of the British Council.

Professor Beer chairs the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter Board and is a member of the Liverpool City Region Innovation Board and the Liverpool Science Park Board.

Professor Beer has an established record of research and scholarship in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and culture and most recently completed a study of the late writing of Edith Wharton.

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Alexandra den Heijer
Associate Professor, Real Estate Management
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Biography to follow

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Harvey Dowdy
Director of Estates
University of Lincoln

Biography to follow

Paul Finch OBE
Programme Director/ Editorial Director
World Architecture Festival/ The Architectural Review/Architects’ Journal

Paul Finch is programme director of the World Architecture Festival and editorial director of the Architectural Review and Architects’ Journal. After taking a history degree at Selwyn College, Cambridge he joined a specialist publishing company, and subsequently was deputy editor of Estates Times (now Property Week), 1976-1983; editor, Building Design, 1983-94; editor, Architects’ Journal, 1994-1999; editor, The Architectural Review 2005-2009; co-editor, Planning in London since 1992. He was a founding commissioner then deputy chair at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), 1999-2005, and later chair, 2009 – 2014. He was a trustee and deputy chair at the Design Council, 2011 – 2014, where he also chaired Design Council Cabe. He chaired the London Olympics design review panel from 2005 to 2012. Honorary FRIBA in 1994; honorary doctorate, University of Westminster, 2004; honorary fellowship, University College London, 2006. Honorary membership, Architectural Association, 2014. Paul was also awarded an OBE for services to architecture in 2002.

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Alison Johns
Chief Executive
Leadership Foundation for Higher Education

Alison is Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education which provides high quality higher education leadership development programmes for universities and higher education colleges in and for higher education wherever it exists. The Leadership Foundation also offers consultancy and tailored in-house development programmes providing expert advice and support - meeting the needs of individuals, teams, the executive, and the whole institution.

Alison has worked in higher education for over 20 years and she has held a number of senior positions.  Prior to her current role she was head of Policy for Leadership, Governance and Management (LGM) and also had responsibility for the internal HR and oganisational development function at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).   

As head of LGM, Alison oversaw the efficiency brief, working in shared services, procurement and efficiency strategy and engaged in work on KPIs for governing bodies.  She has particular experience in productivity through HR management and has spoken regularly at efficiency events.

Alison is the immediate past president of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) and is the UK representative on the Association of Commonwealth Universities HRM Network.  She advised the Australian government on the establishment of the Office for Learning and Teaching to enhance teaching quality across the Australian HE sector and speaks regularly, both nationally and internationally on all aspects of university LGM at national and international.

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David Malcolm
Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Policy and External Affairs
Equality Challenge Unit

David Malcolm is Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Equality Challenge Unit, responsible for its work influencing the HE sector and the wider world through policy, research, training and communications, and its engagement with sector partners, institutions and decision-makers. He is on a year-long secondment to ECU from the National Union of Students, where he is Head of Programmes.

He has worked in higher education for 16 years, mostly in the student movement, with a strong focus on student finance, student welfare and widening participation policy during this time. He is a member of the OFFA Advisory Group and a trustee of DSA-QAG, a charity which quality assures the Disabled Students’ Allowance.