Just as Queen Elizabeth II reflects on her 14 UK Prime Ministers, I have been thinking about the 14 wonderful Chairs and Presidents of Enterprise Educators UK, all of whom I have been honoured to work with since 2006.
In 2011 when I started my current stint at EEUK, Professor Andy Penaluna was Chair. EEUK had just gone through a fairly turbulent time formalising its structure as a legal entity, and my regular ‘audiences’ with Andy were about steadying the ship, taking on greater responsibility for leading the annual conference (IEEC), and putting a plan in place to drive the membership up from 63 members. We dreamt of 100, but at that point, it really did feel like a dream rather than a realistic ambition.
Going back a little further, I had an earlier period working with EEUK from 2006 to 2008 when the organisation was transitioning from UKSEC to EEUK. I worked with Chairs, Dr Bob Handscombe, Dr Julie Holland and Chris Hall to remodel and rebrand the organisation. Dr Simon Brown became Chair after I left but it would be remiss not to recognise Simon’s long slog, ably supported by Director and Company Secretary Brian Clements and former Chair Chris Hall, to establish EEUK as a Company limited by guarantee in 2010.
I have mentioned Andy but who are the others from recent years? Dr Kelly Smith followed Andy and was in turn followed by Dave Jarman, Dr Tom Williamson, Sheila Quairney, Dr Karen Bill, Professor Gups Jagpal, Professor Sarah Underwood, Jon Powell, and Gareth Trainer. To bring us bang up to date, and with the new title of President, we have Dr Emily Beaumont at the helm of the good ship EEUK. I have spent too long telling people that blogs must be short so won’t expand on all their many achievements. However, I do want to recognise Gareth’s recent two-year spell, through the challenges of the pandemic, when he introduced a totally revised governance structure to enable EEUK Associates to have more input to the future direction of EEUK.
And then there was the Chair who sadly never became Chair. Regular phone calls starting with his usual joke “Hello Kate, it’s your brother Richard” stopped abruptly and tragically in 2016 when Dr Richard Beresford, Vice Chair of EEUK, died suddenly. Richard and I were not related but he was a massive part of the EEUK family, and we were all immensely shocked and saddened to lose him. The 2016 IEEC gala dinner in Liverpool cathedral saw Richard’s widow, Dr Nicolette Michels, bravely announce the new EEUK Richard Beresford Bursary which, to this day, provides bursaries to support the professional development of early career enterprise educators – a fitting tribute to Richard.
At the end of March, I leave EEUK where I have totally loved working with my colleagues Lynn O’Byrne and Alison Price and the many directors who have come and gone over the years, each leaving their own legacy. And of course, the EEUK Members and Associates who make EEUK a truly collaborative and sharing organisation. Rob and Sal Edwards are picking up the reins and I know they will do a brilliant job. All I can say to them is – enjoy the ride!
But what happened to that dream of 100 members? Well, we have reached 115, an achievement of which I am immensely proud, that could not have been reached without the collaboration and teamwork that makes the EEUK family a very special community to be a part of.
Outgoing Head of Membership and Operations and Director of IEEC, Enterprise Educators UK