Loughborough Alumni

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Karen Whittingham

B.A Business Admin/Language, 1987

Karen explains how she would like to explore what opportunities are available for alumni internationally.

Since the first day I arrived at Loughborough University, I have a passion, respect and pride that all these years later, 32 years since graduation, still remain strong.

I have only recently fully reconnected with the University to support students and potentially contribute through lectures and mentoring. An opportunity to join the Alumni Advisory Board would be the perfect platform to which I could contribute to, to continue to grow and enrich its role in the Loughborough community.

In reconnecting, the ongoing, significant changes and developments that place Loughborough at the top 5 of the University rankings and recognition as the home of many Elite Sports (to name but a couple of the many achievements) continue to make me more and more proud that I was ever privileged enough to be there for my 4 years. The desire to give back and also to share these great achievements across the widest alumni community is my driving force.

Loughborough provided me with the ultimate platform for my career, which today is still evolving and growing based on my love of marketing and strategy, building talented teams and doing business internationally. The skills I have learned over my career will all contribute to me making the best contribution I can to the Board - whether it is ideas and plans around marketing the Alumni Association, extending its membership, engaging more Alumni in the University, building teams etc. I would like to explore the international opportunities (and understand more about international alumni etc).

I think the Alumni experience could be more tailored as often, Alumni always want to know what happened the people in their tenure, people in their sport. In addition, a variety of formal and informal events would attract more people. Alumni offers - how to get Alumni back to the Uni for events, use of facilities would also be worth considering. There are a significant number of options with the outstanding Sport facilities - reunion games, matches etc.

If I were to be elected I would first want to get a real understanding of the alumni community - how it could be segmented and also how active it is - does the university measure this? Understanding of the alumni data would be the first step that would shape the ideas I would like to explore.

This would be matched with an understanding of the vision the University has for the Alumni Association and objectives for the Board, including growing membership, link to current student community, international, budget etc. that set the scope of activities.

Following these 2 steps, developing a range of linked ideas and recommendations against the objectives would be the next stage and I expect these to cover mentoring programmes/work placement opportunity development, channels for engagement/communication, use of digital channels/groups, events (current student, social, sporting etc.), alumni offers. 

Career history

I am Group Marketing Director for Speedy Plc - a ~£400m revenue business based in the UK and Middle East. The business provides Enterprise/Construction products and services for companies in the Construction, Facilities Management, Events, Oil & Gas, Utilities etc. industries.

Prior to this role, I was Group Marketing Director of Northgate Plc, a commercial vehicle hire business across UK, Spain and Ireland.

Up to that point I had >22 years experience in the tech industry, mobile communications and IoT in a number of marketing, commercial and strategy roles which took me to companies solving business issues in more than 40 countries around the world.

Following my BA from Loughborough, I went on in to study for an MBA from London Business School and successfully graduated in 1994.

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