Home » 2024 Commendations of Contribution and Honorary Membership

2024 Commendations of Contribution and Honorary Membership

The 2024 Commendations of Contribution and Honorary Membership were announced at the HELOA Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 24th January 2024.

A Commendation of Contribution provides an opportunity for members who have gone above and beyond in service of the association, or, been influential in the development of the association to be recognised.

Individuals can also be nominated for Honorary membership. This is for individuals who are no longer represented by institutional membership of the Association and are unlikely to be in the future, and therefore cannot be considered for HELOA membership, but have previously served to support the Association in achieving its aims and objectives.

Honorary Membership

Penny Eccles
Nominated by Sêra Evans – University of South Wales

After 25 years in Higher Education marketing, communications, widening participation, admissions and student recruitment at seven very different universities, Penny is now a freelance HE marketing consultant. A Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the CIM, she was honoured to lead the University of Gloucestershire to win the Times Higher (THE) Marketing Team of the Year 2017 and was key to Nottingham Trent University enrolling the largest number of new undergraduate students in the UK (2018 and 2019). Penny is working in collaboration with UCAS to show universities how they can achieve student recruitment growth. She is a HEIST Awards panel chair and an annual speaker at the AdvanceHE Aurora Leadership conference for women.
I believe Penny has a lot to offer HELOA as an honorary member. She would not only make an inspirational speaker at HELOA events and Conferences, but she could also impart her expertise via other HELOA forums, potential joint webinars and would help spread the word about HELOA’s work within the sector. As a passionate advocate for outreach and schools/colleges liaison IAG and as someone who has a large HE following, I believe it would be useful for Penny to hear from HELOA members on the ground, to ensure that she is imparting our knowledge and expertise to Executive teams she works with in UCAS and at HE institutions across the UK. I believe Penny would be a powerful and influential advocate for HELOA and its work in the HE sphere more broadly, and the outreach profession as a whole.

Commendations of Contribution

Amanda Kenningley – University of Huddersfield

Nominated by Jennifer Barton – Durham University

Amanda has been heavily involved during my time in HELOA, supporting our regional group as VC Training and then Group Chair, before moving on to VC Group Development. She has been an incredibly supportive HELOA representative who has inspired and encouraged me to run for roles. As a deputy head she also maintains a strong commitment to supporting students and is often out on the road inspiring the next generation. Without Amanda’s support I certainly wouldn’t have been as involved. She has also helped to develop our regional group, but also shaped the new role of VC Group Development. 

Andy Cotterill – Keele University

Nominated by Michelle Terrell – The University of Edinburgh

Andy Cotterill has served on the HELOA UK Committee for 6 years, initially joining the Communications team as a Communications and Web Manager in 2018, before being elected as the Vice-Chair (Communications) in January 2021. As I’m sure we can all remember, this was right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and a challenging time for HELOA. Andy’s clear direction and eye for detail ensured that we kept our members up to date with timely communications throughout. Andy is a champion of all things sustainability related and strives to ensure that the association operates with sustainability at the forefront. If you are wondering why there’s been a reduction in free of charge HELOA merchandise in recent years, you need wonder no further. During his tenure, in addition to writing-off HELOA tote bags, Andy has led the association to implement a digital first communications approach. Members who have attended conferences in  previous years may recall the substantial amount of printed paperwork that used to be issued to delegates. For as long as I’ve had the pleasure to know Andy, his main objective in life has been to exterminate the national conference brochure and replace it with a suite of digital resources. This year, he’s finally achieved that goal and this year’s programme is entirely online. Well done, Andy! Having achieved this life-long ambition, Andy now ends his tenure on the UKC, and I’m sure members will join me in thanking Andy for his dedication and diligent work to support HELOA over the years.

Ashleigh Hope – Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Nominated by George Green – Imperial College London

Ashleigh had given over 5 years of service to HELOA and the London Group through:

  • Strategically leading the London Group, offering guidance on Training and Development Conferences to enhance and develop members who work with school and college students.
  • Challenging the Executive Committee where appropriate to ensure decision making is considered from different view points.
  • Sharing best practice from her own experience, inspiring colleagues to develop impactful projects.

Becci Williams – Nottingham Trent University

Nominated by Emily Day – Lancaster University

I met Becci just over a year ago when she was interested in applying for a HELOA role as a VC training and partnerships. After successfully being elected to the role in December, Becci hit the ground running and managed to arrange speakers for 3 online meetings taking place in February, help lead the National group meeting as well as support a new HELOA Group Chair into their role. Fast forward a year and Becci is now the group chair of the largest group in HELOA and has great ideas to engage the membership and provide the best possible opportunities for members.
Outside of her HELOA role Becci is a ray of sunshine on the circuit, taking every opportunity to embrace the local area including a trip to the Giants Causeway (bit upset I didn’t get an invite, but I wasn’t going over the bridge either). In March Becci attended 46 events – a potential record? And still managed time for her own wellbeing, managing to squeeze in a run between events – something I know she is keen to help other members do!
Becci has embraced HELOA and why it was established, she can see the benefits that the group meetings can have for all members and I know is going to ensure that all Midlands members and regional reps have a great experience as she moves into 2024

Ellie Lloyd Davies – Manchester Metropolitan University

Nominated by Johanna Edgerton – Manchester Metropolitan University

Ellie Lloyd Davis is the chair of HELOA for North West and Ireland which is invaluable to Manchester Met. Although she doesn’t have to, Ellie comes to the Student Recruitment Team Meetings (including Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Outreach, and Course Enquiries teams) and shares best practice she has learnt from HELOA. Through her advocacy of HELOA, she has encouraged teams in Recruitment to join the meetings and for December we have a record number of the department who are keen to attend and network with colleagues from other universities. Ellie is a credit to HELOA, and Manchester Met, and wants students to have the best experiences and IAG possible and she proves in her daily role of First Generation and Schools Outreach Manager. 

Helena Ziegler – University of Aberdeen

Nominated by Calum Fraser – University of Dundee

Helena is a long-term member of HELOA Scotland and served one term as UCAS working group representative. Helena is known throughout HELOA Scotland and beyond for her hard work, determination and willingness to work collaboratively. The HELOA / UCAS relationship is extremely important to Scottish HELOA members and Helena represented the group vigorously throughout her time. This involved taking on board feedback from members and providing comprehensive updates at group meetings. Helena communicated assertively and forthrightly with UCAS staff to ensure timings, venues and logistics for various Scottish events were confirmed.

Helena also had close involvement with re-instating the Forth Valley UCAS event. Helena worked closely with the HELOA Chair to collate evidence which was presented to UCAS which resulted in bringing back the event which enabled students from that region to access information on HE. She also worked with other HELOA Scotland members to find a new venue for that event which took significant time and effort. This was welcomed by the HELOA membership as there are limited outreach opportunities in this region. 

Helena advised UCAS as to appropriate travel and set up times for their events in Scotland. Due to a high turnover in UCAS Events staff, there was a poor understanding of the time required to transport materials to venues, especially those situated in the Highlands & Islands. This forward thinking anticipated and mitigated logistical difficulties and lead to a smooth delivery of a number of Scottish UCAS events during Helena’s tenure. As UCAS exhibitions in Scotland are often scheduled later than their English, Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts, this information was of paramount importance to HELOA Scotland members.

Helena was also influential in the naming of Scottish UCAS events pushing back on proposed changes which were deemed inappropriate by members.

This commendation is thoroughly deserved due to Helena’s outstanding representation.

Kat Knight – City, University of London

Nominated by Ashleigh Hope – Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Kat has completed more than two terms as the UCAS Events rep for the London group – I actually can’t remember a time when she wasn’t providing cheery updates (both via email and at Group events), and advocating on behalf of our members in  UCAS Events meetings. Kat has undertaken the role to the highest standard, circulating timely, detailed updates which are very informative, and working effectively as a link between members and UCAS, always sharing UCAS responses to London members’ feedback and questions. Kat has been a total joy to work with, and I know I will have the support of the London Group membership in commending her for her commitment and hard work in the role.

Kate Venables – Arts University Bournemouth

Nominated by Raffaella Cuccia – City, University of London

Kate has gone above and beyond her role of Partnerships Manager (non-commercial) in the last few months and to support the successful delivery of HELOA National Conference. After the Partnerships Manager (commercial) stepped down, Kate took on all the extra work and supported me as new VC Partnerships whilst I was recovering from surgery. Kate has managed all the relationships with the sponsors in a very busy time of the year and in preparation for the National Conference. Kate has also inducted and supported the new Partnerships Manager once she was appointed. Kate is the longest serving member of the Partnerships team and has supported us all to ensure we function as a team, manage all partners and provide a service to our members. Both our Chair, Reena, and VC Training, Emily, have commended Kate’s work in the last few months. Kate has decided to step down soon and we would like to recognize her hard work and thank her. She will be greatly missed and we are so grateful for all she has done for HELOA and the Partnerships team!