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Development & Alumni Relations Office
Sheffield Hallam University
City Campus
Howard Street
Sheffield
S1 1WB

Telephone: 0114 225 4454
Email: alumni@shu.ac.uk

 

Alumni profiles archive 2007

View our profiles from 2007 below. Go back to our recent alumni profiles or see more in our alumni profiles archive.

Emily HackerEmily Hacker
BA (Hons) Media Studies 2004

Leaving behind a burgeoning media career in the heart of London to return to her Yorkshire roots may have been a surprise to some. But spotting a rare opportunity and following her instincts, Emily is now at the helm of her own modelling company Shine (
www.shinepromotions.co.uk/).

It was whilst studying at Sheffield Hallam that Emily gained early experience in the modelling industry. To supplement her student grant, she appeared on the catwalk at many local bridal shows, modelling for L’Oreal and working as a promotional executive at exhibitions and new product launches.

With a degree under her belt, Emily joined BSkyB in London. 'It was a great opportunity for me and I gained invaluable experience in dealing with the London advertising agencies. I worked hard at presenting directly to clients and delivered on several major projects for both national and regional clients.' After 18 months Emily was ready to bring her experience back to Yorkshire and start her own business.

'Returning to Yorkshire I was surprised to find that there had been no progress in the availability or supply of first class models in the Yorkshire region. During that period, if you wanted good calibre models - or even promotional staff - you had no option but to go to London or Manchester.' Emily identified a niche in the market and it wasn't long before Shine Promotions Agency was created. 'I was able to provide a suite of services which at the time was missing from the region, including in-store promotions, new product launches, outreach campaigns and corporate hospitality.'

Shine has now built up a loyal client base including GHD, Toni & Guy and Suzuki and looks set to reaffirm Yorkshire's role in the world of modelling and promotions. 'Crucially, we've been able to compete in the traditional catwalk and photographic sessions at the same time. We've also helped to bring a touch of glamour to the region - we recently worked with the Bollywood Oscars when they were held in Sheffield.'

Jonny DouglasJonny Douglas
BA (Hons) Product Design 2006

The future looks bright for Jonny. As creative consultant behind several innovative designs, he is fast making a name for himself and for his company, Jonny Douglas - 'free-thinking design'.

A solar powered cooker is one of the latest designs to appear from Jonny's company, which he describes as a 'product design consultancy' specialising in creative problem solving, concepts and product development. He has also developed 'the Prank', an ingenious invention that is not only a flat-bed pram, but also converts to both a buggy and a car seat. 'The name came about when my friends described it as a combination of a pram and a tank.'

Originally from Sheffield, Jonny was always keen to set up his own business and found that the University had the perfect vehicle to help him. 'The Hatchery - run by the University's Enterprise Centre - gave me a place where I could focus on what I was doing with no distractions. It was also a very comforting and supportive environment; I met people who were looking to further their careers in the way I was.'

With expansion plans now on the horizon ('I aim to have an office in London within five years followed by a presence in Europe'), spare time is somewhat limited for Jonny, voted 2005's most enterprising student in Yorkshire and the Humber. 'I try to fit in some power-kiting when the weather allows. I also play for a 6-a-side football team - the Banner Cross Knights - in a league organised by the Sheffield FA.'

Having recently secured investment to be used as working capital, he can now concentrate on marketing his company, with a website is due in 2008. 'I want people to be able to recognise a product that my company has designed; not from the way it looks, but from the way it works and from seeing the thought that has gone into designing it. It will be great to walk into shops one day and point out the things we've designed.'

Marina LariosMarina Larios
MA Communication Studies 1996
MSc Organisation Development and Consultancy 2002

Not someone to ever do things by half, Marina set up her own consultancy business whilst simultaneously completing her MSc in 2002. Marina’s fondness for Sheffield Hallam is perhaps best illustrated by the fact she originally came from her home town of Mexico City to study. After completing an MA in Communication Studies in 1996, Marina has remained in Sheffield ever since.

Her MSc helped to provide Marina with a sound knowledge of best practice that she has since applied to help other businesses to develop. Her time at the University was also a great opportunity to build up a network of useful contacts through course colleagues which has proved invaluable throughout the industry.

Marina’s business, Inova Consultancy, offers a variety of consultancy services to business, ranging from project management to working on equal opportunities and diversity projects. Her work involves travelling across the globe to speak at conferences and to conduct workshops for a range of organisations.

One of Marina’s particular interests is that of mentoring, with particular attention provided to those thinking of setting up in business. Through her company, she has helped many women within South Yorkshire to set up their own business and pursue their dreams, providing them with free mentoring access through a variety of European and nationally funded programmes.

And of course, Marina has her own experience to draw upon. 'Having been through the process of setting up a business myself, I know exactly what to expect', says Marina. 'I have been lucky enough to meet so many people who have helped me both formally and informally as mentors along the way. Their experience and advice was invaluable when I began my journey into self employment and is still useful today in ongoing business development. I now see it as my opportunity to help others get the help they need that’s so vital for small businesses.'

More recently, Marina has worked on mentoring programmes specifically aimed at helping black and ethnic minority women to set themselves up in business. Inova is currently offering free mentoring to women who want to set up in business in South Yorkshire. This offer is available to Sheffield Hallam alumni, providing they have remained within the region and fulfil the required criteria. For further information please contact Inova on 0114 220 7127 or email admin@inovaconsult.com

Srikanth BasappaSrikanth Basappa
MSc Entertainment Software Development 2005

Summer 2007 and the sun is shining brightly for Srikanth Basappa. Now based in Southern California, life feels very different to his heady student days in Sheffield. Having secured a job with one of the world's leading software development companies, he is using his degree and professional experience to develop a career in Simi Valley's lucrative gaming industry.

Two years ago things were looking decidedly more conventional. Shortly after graduating, Srikanth bid farewell to Sheffield and returned home to work in India. As a newly qualified international graduate, he found that his skills were much sought-after in the expanding IT firms of New Delhi. Having found himself a job through an English organisation, he began working for a local company. However, although building up his professional experience, he soon realised something was missing.

'I found I wasn't really working on cutting edge stuff' admits Srikanth. 'I am incredibly ambitious and enthusiastic and my dream was to develop consoles like the Sony Playstation and Xbox. I decided I needed to venture further afield and began to look for companies in the United States.' It wasn't long before he got his lucky break. 'I managed to find a company who were willing to hire me and sponsor my work visa. Soon after I was on my way to the USA to embark on my dream career working in the gaming industry. I think it's fair to say that my MSc in Entertainment Software Development from Sheffield Hallam was one of the main reasons they hired me.'

'I feel incredibly lucky; my work as a games programmer is giving me so many opportunities. Working for one of the studios of a highly-regarded development company, I'm currently helping to develop next-generation games on consoles like Playstation3 and Xbox360. It feels great to be learning so much and it's the best exposure I could have asked for.'

Living in Los Angeles, Srikanth is often spoilt for choice for ways of spending his leisure time. 'I have tons of hobbies out here. At the moment I'm learning to surf, which is something I always wanted to do. Last season I learned to snowboard and so I can't wait for the new season to start. As a typical Indian male, I love my cricket! There are lots of opportunities to play and watch cricket here and it's also a good way of making new friends. There are some cool bars and clubs too which are perfect for winding down at the weekend.'

'I live in a great spot in the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by amazing restaurants and bars. I love the laid-back lifestyle on offer here in California. In just 30 minutes I can drive to some of the world famous beaches in Malibu and Santa Monica. And in the opposite direction, my 4x4 can take me to the Hollywood hills in half an hour. There's a lot to love about living in Southern California!'

David JenningsDavid Jennings
MA Communication Studies 1999

As he prepares to launch his debut book Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll, David Jennings looks back fondly at how the influence of the University was ever present in his early career.

Graduating at the time from Sheffield City Polytechnic, David was keen to carve out a career as an independent freelance consultant. And so in 1995, having decided to 'give up the day job' as a psychologist, he became self-employed full-time, moving into an office in the Workstation.

'Looking back now, my early career was quite often connected back to Sheffield Hallam. One of my first projects was working on the National Centre for Popular Music (now occupied by the University's Students' Union). I also led the first project to provide internet services to enterprises in the nearby Cultural Industries Quarter, as well as the Science and Technology Parks (now home to the University's Alumni Office).'

Reflecting back to this time, all the staff in David's team would soon join David as alumni of the University. 'Gill Osguthorpe and Jonathan Grove were both PhD graduates and have since formed their own company Futurate. We also employed two excellent placement students, James Fox and Tim Jones, who in turn went on to found their own company, 3Squared.'

In 2003, David moved his business to London. 'For a combination of personal and professional reasons, the time was right. I continue to work in areas related to e-learning, with recent clients including the TUC and the British Standards Institute.'

David's interests have always been in applying technology to arts and culture, particularly music and film (serving for three years on the board of the Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre, which runs the Showroom cinema and the Workstation). All these threads come together in his latest project, 'Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll'. 'In the book I look at how the internet now makes everything available on demand. Today, our choice of what to watch or what to listen to is often based on a combination of online word of mouth, blog profiles and automated 'recommendation systems'.' David now lives 'south of the river' in London with his partner Lucy where he indulges in his favourite past time of exploring new music.

Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll is published in the autumn. For further details, please visit David's website www.netblogsrocknroll.com/

Damon Marshall, Diploma of HE in Financial Services 2005 and
Corinne Ellison, BA (Hons) Nursing Studies 2005

Damon Marshall and Corinne EllisonDamon Marshall and Corinne Ellison have both led varied and colourful careers since graduating from Hallam. Since meeting as students in 2003, they have - in Damon's own words - been stuck together ever since!

Straight after graduating, Corinne opted to build upon her Nursing skills and worked at Chesterfield's Royal Hospital as a staff nurse in their Accident and Emergency department. Having recently moved down to the South Coast and set up home in Hove, Sussex (both wanting to be nearer the sea), Corinne is now retraining at the University of Brighton and hopes to qualify as a midwife in February 2008.

Damon initially spent six months renovating a property in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. As part of the television series Property Ladder, he was followed by a Channel 4 film crew as he transformed a dilapidated terraced house. Last year they decided to combine their entrepreneurial skills to develop their own chocolate fountain company, Fondue au Chocolat (www.fondueauchocolat.com/). Established shortly after completing his housing development project for Channel 4, Fondue au Chocolat now caters for small parties and weddings, as well as large national events such as the BBC Gardener's World Live at the NEC.

Damon now has plenty of colourful ideas for his latest project - the Brighton-based iPopGroup brand. 'I'm really excited about iPopwear (www.ipopwear.co.uk/). We've managed to create an organic range of children’s and baby clothing which brings the must-have accessory for tune playing tots and their fashion-conscious parents! They also act as great fashion accessories which add a bit of fun and humour to the use of iPods. Our second development is iPopArt (www.ipopart.co.uk/), a web based photo transformation service that can transform digital photos. We're really pleased with how things are developing and hope to set up a similar site in Germany in the near future.'

On rare holidays, Damon and Corinne make the most of their time off by enjoying some favourite hobbies: surfing, snowboarding and kite surfing to name but a few. Earlier this year they both completed the Flora London Marathon, raising £3000 for charity. In terms of plans for the future, they are both busy concentrating on work projects. 'We currently have 42 weekends of the year booked up with chocolate fountains and the development of iPopGroup in the UK. I guess we are taking each day as it comes!'

Katerina and Christian HommensChristian and Katerina Hommens (née Papathoma)
MBA 2001

Katerina got more than she bargained for when, as an International student a few short years ago, she left Cyprus to enrol at Sheffield Hallam. Having earned a Masters in Education from the University of Sheffield, she decided to study for an MBA at Hallam. 'I found the course very interesting - particularly the fact that everyone involved was extremely enthusiastic. Even though as a teacher I had no background in this field of study, I graduated in 2001 with the Don Earl Award for the best performance on the course.'

It was in Sheffield where Katerina met and fell in love with Christian from Germany. They graduated together - both from Hallam with an MBA - but once the course had finished, the time came to say goodbye. 'I moved back to Cyprus (cue heartbreaking scenes at Manchester airport!) to resume my job as a primary school teacher. Christian returned home to Germany where he worked at Dow Chemicals as a key account manager. For the next two years we both travelled back and forth across Europe to be together.'

'I like to think that luck was on my side as Christian decided to take the plunge and quit his job in Germany. He moved to Cyprus where he quickly secured a job with Marcus Evans Europe as a summit producer. Two years later we were married - first in Germany at the City Hall, Fulda and then in Cyprus at Nicosia's Greek Orthodox Church. Our happiest day came just fourteen months later when I gave birth to our beautiful son Philippos.'

Today Katerina still works as a primary school teacher and Christian is now director of production at German Summits. 'We love living in Cyprus; we did a diving course recently and we also go sailing whenever we get the chance either here in Cyprus or on holiday overseas. Some day we hope to buy our own sailing boat. On the weekends we go to our nearby beach, go for camping trips into the mountains or simply stay at home with friends. We fly to Germany and Switzerland very often to visit the Christian's family (and also to do some snowboarding and skiing)! We hope one day to return to Sheffield as it brought us together - only next time there will be three of us!

David StrettleDavid Strettle
BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science 2005


David Strettle is the latest of our alumni to be selected for England's rugby union team, following in the footsteps of Chris Jones and Sean Lamont (previously featured as alumni of the month in March 2006). Graduating in 2005 with a Sport and Exercise Science degree, David was a successful participant in the University's Elite Athlete Programme. This acclaimed support network provides professional and financial assistant to help promising athletes maximise their potential.

David wasted little time in stepping from University rugby onto the International playing field, becoming a regular for the England sevens squad during the 2005/2006 IRB World Seven Series. He even made history on his debut by scoring five tries in the first half of England's victory over Papua New Guinea in 2006 - the first achievement of its kind. His contribution didn't go unnoticed and by the start of the 2007 Six Nations tournament, David was playing for the national XV squad.

Earning his first call up - replacing an injured Jason Robinson - David scored England's only try in a 43-13 defeat to Ireland. His impressive debut was enough to convince team selectors to include him in subsequent matches against France and Wales. 'My aim in my playing career has always been to keep my head down and work hard' commented David. 'I have never raised my expectation levels too high because sometimes you can be disappointed. It has been absolutely brilliant coming into the England squad - so many of whom I have watched on television - and I have been made to feel very welcome.'

Throughout the standard rugby season, David holds a regular place in the Harlequins squad and is one we can all look out for in the future.

Malcolm YoungMalcolm Young MBE, MSc, PhD, MCIPD
MSc Organisational Development 1999

Malcolm graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in November 1999 having gained an MSc with Distinction in Organisational Development.  After 30 hectic years in the Armed Forces, which included senior command, staff and diplomatic appointments, followed by six years as a company director he decided that a gentler way ahead should be academic.  He moved to Cranfield University in the School of Management as a Research Fellow, with Professor David Tranfield who had recently left SHU.  While there he was involved in a number of research projects on topics as varying as: teamworking, knowledge management in innovation projects, characteristics of programme management, resource configuration in extreme situations, and authored a research-based report on the introduction of prime contracting into an agency within the Ministry of Defence.   So as not to squander the golden opportunity of also studying at Cranfield, he completed a PhD in Organizational Behaviour.

In Malcolm's own words, 'now more gifted in years than hair of the head', he has moved again (for the last time!) and is now in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Lincoln.  Here he lectures on Human Resource Strategy, Management Development, Knowledge Management, Change Management and Research Methodology.  He is also programme manager for initiatives in work-based learning and specialist degrees for the Armed Forces.  Finally he is an external examiner for the University of Leicester. Still resident in Bakewell with his wife Pip, an English Pointer, Tulip, and a Whippet, Thistle, he commutes to Lincoln, rising at 5am and departing at 6am.  As a keen wild-life watcher the drive through the northern reaches of Sherwood Forest is interesting at any time of the year but especially so in the spring and summer.  The onset of arthritis has ended his golfing career and somewhat curtailed his enjoyment of walking in the Peak District but his perennial interest, learned in the Armed Forces and nurtured over a sustained period of nearly 45 years, of seeking out the finest real ales and food that the country has to offer, thrives.

Christos TheodorouChristos Theodorou
MA Experimental Media 1999


Christos Theodorou graduated from the University's Northern Media School in 1999 and has been a keen member of our international alumni community ever since. On his return to Greece he was selected to represent his home country in the Biennale of Young Artists contest, an opportunity which led to him directing a short comedy for the Greek State Channel (E.R.T).

A key move to Barcelona in 2000 enabled him to start his career as a TV commercials director as well as studying for a PhD in Film. In 2005, he founded Cannonball, a production and graphic design company, which in just two years has become a leading force amongst Barcelona's production companies.

'Moving to Barcelona was absolutely the best decision I could have made' enthuses Christos. 'It's such a lively, friendly and multi-cultural city, with plenty of activities throughout the whole year. And of course, it's perfectly located along the Mediterranean Sea, something incredibly important for an islander like me.'

One of the best things to come out of Christos' relocation to Barcelona was the opportunity to reunite and collaborate with close Spanish friends and former Northern Media School students Estela Rivero and Jose Antonio Santos. 'Estela graduated the same year as me with an MA in Media Production and is the co-founder of Cannonball. Jose graduated from the same course and works alongside us as director of photography and is a regular collaborator. Our life in Barcelona is far removed from the student days in Sheffield, but we fondly remember our many trips to the Showroom cinema, the Blue Moon café and the Washington pub.'

To follow the work of Christos, Estela and Jose, please visit their website www.cannonballstudio.com/

Rosemary Chileshe
BSc (Hons) Business Property Management 2004


Rosemary ChilesheOn 12 November 2006, Sheffield Hallam University graduate Rosemary Chileshe was awarded the GAB (Gathering of Africa’s Best) award at the London International hotel. Rosemary was honoured with the award for her outstanding charitable work in Africa and in the UK. She is certainly in good company - previous recipients have included Nelson Mandela.

The main objective of the GAB Awards is to reward excellence among those contributors who, through their activities and endeavours, contribute to the positive image of Africa and Africans worldwide.

Mark Rawstron, regional senior partner at GVA Grimley says: 'Rosemary joined the telecoms department of GVA Grimley as part of our graduate scheme in 2005, before moving to the valuation department in 2006. Receiving the GAB Award is a great achievement for Rosemary and we are all extremely proud of her.'

Rosemary is pictured receiving her award from Dayo Olomu at the awards' gala dinner.

 

 


       
 

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