Distinction and Diversity in Higher Education

Staff list and responsibilities

Who’s who?

GuildHE Annual Conference 2015

CEO: Gordon McKenzie

As CEO, Gordon is responsible for leading and developing GuildHE as a key representative and advocacy body in the higher education sector. Gordon advises the Chair, Executive and Council Members on developing and implementing GuildHE policies and strategy and leads on communicating with government and other stakeholders on higher education issues.

In his spare time, Gordon likes cooking, wine, theatre, box sets and playing (beginner’s) guitar.




Deputy CEO: Alex Bols

Alex Bols works closely with the CEO in developing and managing all aspects of the organisation’s mission and strategy. His key responsibilities involve the effective dissemination of policies and advocacy on behalf of members and students.

Alex is a Board member of the University College of Osteopathy, Chair of Governors at Vittoria Primary School and is studying for his Doctor of Education at UCL’s Institute of Education.

In his spare time, Alex is a keen theatregoer and traveller. He has recently completed his ninth marathon.



Head of Resources: Dee Easter

Dee is responsible for overseeing GuildHE operations; coordination of GuildHE networks including the Marketing & Communications and HR networks and HE policy areas relating to communications and resources.

Outside of the office, Dee regularly competes in her local tennis leagues and enjoys walking her pet Labradoddle.





Policy Manager: Kate Wicklow

Kate leads on areas relating to: HE funding, regulation and student finance, widening access, admissions and recruitment, student support and graduate employability. She co-ordinates GuildHE’s networks for these policy areas, advocates for members on these issues to the wider sector, and undertakes research to support GuildHE projects and policy work.

Outside of work she enjoys ten pin bowling, rock music and walking her dog in the Hertfordshire countryside.




Policy Officer: Cat Turhan

Cat works closely with Kate on both long-term and arising policy matters. She attends sector meetings, writes briefings and consultations, and works on strategic policy planning for GuildHE members. Alongside this, she also co-ordinates the international and SU network, and sits on the Copyright Working Group.

Cat is a school governor at Parliament Hill School and a trustee of Laamiga, a charity which helps BME women enter employment

In her spare time, she enjoys writing and performing poetry, skiing and playing the banjolele (badly).




Policy Manager (Research & Innovation): Rachel Persad

Rachel leads on policy areas relating to research and supports Matthew on innovation policy. She manages CREST (the Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training), GuildHE’s collaborative research network of over 25 smaller and specialist institutions.

In her spare time, Rachel enjoys walking in her new home town of Tunbridge Wells, gardening, and taking her baby daughter swimming.






Policy Manager (Knowledge Exchange & Industrial Strategy): Matthew Guest

Matthew leads on policy areas relating to knowledge development and exchange. In particular he focuses on Industrial Strategy; innovation policy and Brexit. He coordinates the associated networks and works closely with Rachel to support CREST (the Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training).

Outside of work, Matthew is Honorary Treasurer at Community Southwark and serves on the PCC for Battersea Parish Church.

In his spare time, Matthew enjoys cooking, coffee and badminton.




Project Officer: Jack Fleming

Jack leads on a number of key areas for GuildHE, including the Annual Conference and the delivery of policy projects. He is responsible for GuildHE’s external communications, such as the newsletter and twitter, and supports colleagues across a range of policy areas. Jack also provides general office and administrative assistance across the full range of GuildHE activities.

Outside work, Jack is an enthusiastic singer, regularly performing with several London-based choirs. He also enjoys writing and photography.