Skip to main content

The members of the Foundation Board provide advice and support the President and Development Director on all aspects of fundraising. This includes establishing the vision, mission and values of the fundraising campaign, developing the strategy to support its ambitions and acting as advocates for the College. 

Meet the members of the Foundation Board:

Mustafa AbbasMustafa Abbas

Mustafa Abbas serves as a Managing Director at a large European bank and has been in finance for over twenty years. Mustafa read PPE at Merton College, Oxford where he also served as JCR President and Captain of Boats. He returned to complete an MBA at the Said Business School. Mustafa is passionate about education and overcoming underrepresentation and has been involved with Philanthropic efforts for several years. He serves as a Campaign Board member and Society member for Merton College as well as a Governor for The Hall School, Hampstead, London. Mustafa is delighted to join the Foundation Board at Lucy Cavendish College at this exciting time in its history.

Ebrahim Al KhalifaEbrahim Al Khalifa

Ebrahim Al Khalifa is Deputy Chairman on the Board of Trustees, and a member of the Quality Assurance & Accreditation Committee at University College of Bahrain, as well as a founding member of the Bahrain Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education Steering Committee. Ebrahim completed the Management Development Programme in Higher Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2014, and is currently an Engineering PhD student at the University of Cambridge.

Derek laudDerek Laud

Derek Laud is the Chair of the Foundation Board of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, as well as the North America Committee. In addition to chairing the full board, he also chairs fortnightly board business meetings with an executive team within the College. He works as an Ambassador for Lucy Cavendish College, and the wider participation agenda more generally.

Derek is a Partner in a Private Bank, and holds various other non-executive directorships. He is perhaps best known for his UK speechwriting and political broadcasting and writing work, writing frequently for the Financial Times, Guardian and Mail on Sunday. He has appeared on numerous political TV programmes, including BBC Question Time and Any Questions.

In his private sector work, he formerly worked as Chief of Staff and a Director at Pacific Investments PLC, chaired and owned by Sir John Beckwith. During that period he was responsible for the group's investment in education and Chaired the Board of Ravenstone Group of Schools. He has staged numerous Thought Leadership events at both Cambridge and Oxford on widening participation, and the role of private finance in higher education. He is a former adviser and speechwriter to the Governor of the Bank of England and Sir Gordon Downey, the first Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He was also a partner at Stanhope Capital, overseeing assets of £10 billion and Director of the Advisory Board Chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley, former group CEO of BP. In 1990 he was a chief campaign aid to Prime Minister John Major.

He is passionate about human rights and through his work with the Sir Michael Bishop Foundation actively works with Lord Glendonbrook who is a champion for those without a voice or resources to defend themselves against institutionalised prejudice against the LGBT community. 

He has recently been appointed a Visiting Professor at London South Bank University in the Faculty of Law and Social Science. He has a particular interest in the connection between the use of religion in post war British Prime Minister's political discourse and studied Theology and Philosophy at Peterhouse, Cambridge.

He is an Ambassador for the Dogs Trust and says 'the love of dogs is what he really wants to be remembered for'.

Pauline PerryPauline Perry, Baroness Perry of Southwark

Pauline served as President of the College from 1994-2001. During her Presidency, the College was given  Full College Status within the University and in 1997 was granted its Royal Charter. In her earlier career, she was Vice Chancellor of London South Bank University, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector in the Department of Education and a lecturer in Philosophy in the Universities of Massachusetts, USA and Manitoba, Canada. She was granted a Peerage in the 1991 Honours List as Baroness Perry of Southwark. As a member of the House of Lords she chaired the All-Party Group on Universities for 13 years, and served on many select committees, including Science and Technology and the joint committee of Lords and Commons on Human Rights. After Lucy Cavendish, Pauline was Pro-Chancellor of Surrey University and Chair of Governors for Roehampton University during its transition to full university status. She now serves on the Board of the British University in Egypt. She is honoured to have been awarded 8 honorary Doctorates and six Honorary Fellowships, including Lucy Cavendish and Girton.

Alec RussellAlec Russell

Alec Russell is Editor of FT Weekend. He was previously the FT’s News Editor and also Comment and Analysis Editor. A long time former foreign correspondent, he has reported from eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and the US, and written three books.

Dr Florian TreuDr Florian Treu

Dr Florian Treu is a Senior Relationship Manager and Executive Director at LGT Bank, Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein, where he advises his clients in long term and sustainable investments. He is also Chairman of the SwissDiin Board and member of the DIVAS Asset Management board.  He received his doctorate degree from the University of Basel, with a doctoral thesis on service charges in international group companies. Dr Treu has represented entrepreneurs in M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) transactions, mainly to expand their businesses and to facilitate Direct Investments into real estate, companies and collector items (such as cars and art). He has 20 years of experience in structuring assets, financial advisory and family office servicing.

Cristopher WhitneyChristopher Whitney

Mr Christopher Whitney is Senior Director of Development, Principal Gifts, University of Cambridge and Bye-Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Christopher oversees the University of Cambridge’s programme for transformational philanthropy, an integral part of the institution’s £2 billion campaign. As Senior Director of Development, he works in close collaboration with the Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge’s academic leadership, and generous donors from around the world to develop innovative solutions for problems of global significance.  He has had a long career in higher education. Before joining Cambridge he played a leadership role in the University of British Columbia’s successful C$1.5 billion campaign, the first of its kind in Canada. He has also held senior positions in health and the performing arts. He holds an undergraduate degree in saxophone from the University of Ottawa, a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University (Toronto).

Madeleine AtkinsDame Professor Madeleine Atkins

Professor Madeleine Atkins CBE, FAcSS was appointed President of Lucy Cavendish College in October 2018. Madeleine’s background includes reading Law and History as an undergraduate at Cambridge, teaching in a large comprehensive school in Huntingdon, and completing a Ph.D. and post-doctoral research contracts at the University of Nottingham. Following various senior positions at Newcastle University, including Pro-Vice-Chancellor, she was Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University between 2004 and 2013. Madeleine then joined the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as its Chief Executive in January 2014, retaining that post until March 2018.

Jo RyanJo Ryan

Jo oversees the College’s development office. She is responsible for developing the long term fundraising strategy, major giving and all aspects of College alumni relations and development. She joined Lucy Cavendish’s fundraising team in 2014 and she was promoted to Development Director in 2017. Before Lucy, Jo worked as Major Gifts Officer for Newnham College for six years where she was part of the team which delivered the successful Changing Lives fundraising campaign and she led on legacy giving. Prior to Newnham, Jo worked for the University of Cambridge’s Research Office with responsibility for marketing initiatives and the Horizon series of interdisciplinary events.

North American Committee of the Foundation Board

The North American Committee will support the aims of the Lucy Cavendish Foundation Board for a three-year period. With the guidance and assistance of the Executive Team the Committee will:

•      Establish the foci of a friend-raising and fundraising programme in North America for Lucy Cavendish College

•      Agree the strategy and solicitation plans to support these ambitions

•      Provide regular updates to the UK Foundation Board

Nick AllardNick Allard

Nick Allard is an educator and lawyer with international prominence in higher education, public policy, US and international government relations, technology, and innovation. 

Nick is Senior Counsel at Dentons, the largest law firm in the world, President of the Merton College Charitable Corporation, and also serves on the Board of Making Every Vote Count. Nick is recognised by peers and the media as a thought leader in higher education, law, government advocacy, and politics.

John AycothJohn Aycoth

John’s early career began in the US Navy. Following that he became State Coordinator with the Reagan for President Campaign and the Reagan/Bush Campaign in Florida. After the election in 1981 he moved to Washington DC and launched Edward Aycoth & Co Inc, an international consulting firm which specialised in public relations, advertising, government affairs, and trade and economic development programmes for developing countries. In 1990 John launched EAW Financial PR in New York which specialised in representing British and international companies with their American Depository Receipts listings on the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, or OTC Exchanges. In 1994 EAW Financial PR was merged with Citigate Financial PR in London. In 2006 the company became EAW GROUP LLC and over a span of 39 years, the firms represented over 250 corporations and 28 foreign governments in both Washington and the United Nations.

John is Chairman of the Rice House Healthcare Foundation, which was created to fund research on Type-2 Diabetes Melitus. John was a long-time director of Hemdale International; the global arm of Hemdale Film Corporation, the largest independent British-American film production company in Los Angeles, which produced over 80 films, including The Terminator and Platoon.

John has been a board member or affiliated with a number of international trade, cultural associations, and charities.

Disha PatelDisha Patel

Disha is Director of Information Systems – Strategy, Commercialization, Innovation & Business Development at Amgen. She has extensive experience in life sciences/healthcare, government, and non-profit domains.

Disha is an Adjunct Professor at California Lutheran University School of Management, was a board member of the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School Alumni Council from 2015-21) and is a Lucy Cavendish College alumna (MPhil Management, 2002). Disha is also on the board of Miami University’s School of Engineering and Computing Executive Council, serves as the Global Vice Chair for Amgen’s Women’s Business Resource Group, and as an Advisor and Mentor for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. 

From 2006-2016 Disha was a strategic advisor to School on Wheels, which volunteers to provide free tutoring and mentoring to children from kindergarten through to twelfth grade living in shelters, motels, vehicles, group foster homes, and on the streets in Southern California. 

Nick ShekerdemianNick Shekerdemian

Co-Founder and Chairman of Headstart App; a revolutionary graduate recruitment platform that seeks to create a more efficient graduate recruitment process with just a single application form, analysing a student’s entire ‘fingerprint’ rather than just what they can demonstrate on paper, ensuring every student is recommended the job that they are most suited to. The company currently works with major Fortune 2000 companies ranging from Accenture to Lazard.

Nick also currently works as advisor and/or board member for Y Combinator, Forbes U30 Europe, the UN, and Inflection Point Acquisition Corp. Since 2017 he has been a Fellow at the Thiel Foundation and in 2019 he became a Founding Partner of The Venture Collective; a transformational, early stage venture business that is on a mission to bridge the funding gap for underrepresented founders. In 2015 he founded Teaching by the Top; an elite online tutoring service working on the philosophy that the world’s best tutors should educate willing learners, no matter where they are located, no matter what age. 

Nick is fluent in English, Chinese, and French.

Dr Jackie SpayneDr Jackie Spayne

Jackie recently retired from clinical practice as an academic Radiation Oncologist at the University of Toronto, after a career caring for people with breast and lung cancer. She is now concentrating on global health, focusing on cancer care in low resource settings.

After completing a PhD in pharmacology at Cambridge (Trinity), Jackie worked in the venture capital and biotech industries for 10 years.  She then trained as a physician and radiation oncologist as a mature student at the University of Toronto; she has recently completed a Master’s in Global Health at University College London.

Jackie holds UK, Portuguese and Canadian citizenship. She and her fellow Cambridge alumnus husband are long-time friends and supporters of Cambridge University. For ten years she helped with recruitment and selection of Canadian undergraduate candidates for admission and scholarships. She is a member of the Board of Cambridge in America; Lucy Cavendish (where her daughter did an MPhil) is her “adopted” college.

Gabrielle BennettGabrielle Bennett

Gabrielle Bennett is an Executive Director at Cambridge in America. She took up this role in 2019 following 18 months as Senior Director, Development at CAm. 

Previous roles have been:

  • Director of Development at Eugene O’Neill Theater Centre
  • Development Director and Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge
  • Strategic Partnership Manager at the University of Aberdeen
  • Director of Development, UK, Netherlands & Denmark, INSEAD
  • Director of Development, Europe and the Bologna Center, John Hopkins University
  • Director of Development, Downing College, Cambridge
  • Associate Director of Development, American School in London
  • Director of Corporate, Foundation and Governments Support, Pittsburgh Opera
  • Managing Director, Contemporary American Theater Festival
  • Special Events Coordinator, The Kennedy Center

Find out more about giving to Lucy

Lucy Cavendish - tackling global issues

Lucy Cavendish - boosting social mobility