Society recently partnered with the University of Oxford’s central Development Office to appoint three Senior Development Executives who will work to secure philanthropic support for the University’s core priorities across the Student Support, Chemistry and Humanities divisions. It is a hugely exciting time to join the University’s Development Office. Under the leadership of Chief Development Officer, Leisl Elder, 'Oxford Thinking: The Campaign for the University of Oxford' has been running for almost ten years and the team have raised £2.5 billion of their ambitious £3 billion target.

The Development Office is in a uniquely advantageous position to work collaboratively across the collegial setting. Each of the Senior Development Executives will work in partnership with world-leading academics and development colleagues to build enduring relationships with donors.

Our search was creative and broad in scope, covering major gifts professionals from higher education institutions, charities and the arts and heritage sector. A key priority was to look for people with an ability to engage academically with leading experts in each specialist field. We therefore widened our search beyond the usual suspects and into a diverse range industries from academic publishing through to pharmaceutical sales, for those with transferable relationship-building skills and an entrepreneurial approach to generating income. The result was a varied, interesting shortlist with candidates spanning a wide range of sectors.

Jacob Lawless will join the newly-formed, Student Support team under the pan-University directorate. The University’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson has placed widening participation as a key priority for the University and so Jacob will play a critical role in raising funds to enable students from low-income backgrounds to access university education. Having been a Leadership Giving Manager for the University of Bristol’s DARO team for over two years, Jacob is passionate about inclusion in education and has worked extensively on development for outreach programmes and student scholarships. Jacob commented:

“I was delighted to be offered the role of Senior Development Executive at Oxford and I can't wait to start gathering support for the University's student support and outreach activities. The cause is one that is close to my heart and I was impressed to see how committed Oxford is to breaking down barriers and supporting its students. From start to finish, my experience of working with Shehrazade and her colleagues at Society was great. Their communications were always very personalised and I felt thoroughly looked after throughout the entire process.”

Jane Rice will join the Department of Chemistry, one of the world’s largest and most successful research departments. As part of their 1916 campaign to mark the centenary of the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, the department are now raising funds to build a new undergraduate teaching facility for the 21st century. Most recently, Jane has been working on UCL’s ‘It’s All Academic’ campaign, working closely with world-leading scientists to secure philanthropic support for health-focussed priority projects. She commented:

"I am very much looking forward to taking up this exciting role at the University of Oxford, and to joining a proactive group of academics, fundraising professionals, students and alumni that is building on centuries of history in order to prepare for the institution's impactful future. It is hugely inspiring that I will be based in the Department of Chemistry, which is home to some of the most preeminent experts in the field and to research that is shaping the world around us. I am very excited for all of the opportunities that will come with this position. The team at Society, particularly Ruth and Shehrazade, ensured that I had everything I needed to succeed in my interviews and that I felt informed, prepared and comfortable at every stage of the process. Very refreshingly, it was very clear that their priority throughout was taking time to match the right candidate with the right job. I am so grateful for all of their support, and for their identifying me for this wonderful opportunity."

The University of Oxford’s Humanities division is made up of 14 faculties and units and is ranked number 1 in the world by QS rankings. As their new Senior Development Executive, Diane Cook will increase support for exciting projects such as TORCH, the Oxford Research Centre of Humanities, which brings humanities scholars together individuals from a broad range of academic, industry backgrounds and expertise to collaborate on big ideas and engage with the wider community. Originally from Canada, Diane has a passion for the arts, having worked in development for a theatre and a ballet school in the past. In recent years she has been working for the University of Nottingham, as their Regional Development Manager, raising philanthropic gifts from the University’s North American alumni. About her new role, Diane commented:

“I am thrilled to join Oxford in a position that offers me the occasion to unite my background fundraising for arts organisations in Canada with my recent experiences in higher education here in the UK. I am also inspired to see so many strong women sitting in leadership roles within Oxford’s central fundraising office and its Humanities Division, not to mention the University more generally, and am looking forward to learning from and working with them in this new role. In talent recruitment, there is a delicate balance between serving a client's interests and respecting potential candidate’s hesitations - and the Team at Society have most effectively found this. From the first inquiry email I received through the recruitment process and subsequent job offer, my contacts at Society have been nothing short of respectful, patient and supportive. As unprepared as I was to hear from them, not to mention to consider a job change, I am ever grateful for their decision to contact me and for the opportunity that is now at hand as a result. Thank you.”