Discover OVs through our weekly profiles.
Whilst at King’s it is true to say that Sophie Edgar-Andrews (S 03-08) embraced every moment of her time here, being Head of School House and taking part in the Himalayan Club, the Duke of Edinburgh and Young Enterprise Schemes: her YE company qualified to represent England in the European Trade Fair. She also spent time working with our archivist in the School Archives. Her A levels were Biology, Chemistry and English Literature.
After School, Sophie spent her gap year working for Natural England and then went on to study Molecular Cell Biology at the University of York where she achieved a First Class honours degree with distinction. While studying, she undertook an internship at the University of Tokyo and decided to pursue a career in research. After graduating, Sophie completed a DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine. During her time at Oxford, Sophie researched viral immunology, primarily focussing on immune evasion in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection. She also spent time as a Visiting Research Fellow both in China (at Capital Medical University in Beijing) and again in Japan (at Hokkaido University).
Sophie’s love of medical research and analysis led her to work as a Consultant to the World Health Organisation, where she was part of the Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response team, supporting the management and analysis of data in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is now the Deputy Head of Regional Analysis and Assessment at the Joint Biosecurity Centre, supporting the UK Government’s COVID-19 response. Sophie leads a team of analysts who assess COVID-19 in the UK at a sub-national level, as part of the newly formed UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Following on from International Women’s Day, we are really pleased to feature Stella Din-Jacob (Co 85-86). Although Stella was only at King’s for a short while, she formed some lifelong friendships with some of her King’s contemporaries. Stella was a very popular, gregarious student who joined King’s from her home of Nigeria, where she returned to in 1993 when she qualified as a lawyer at the Nigerian Law School, following a three-year Law degree course at University of Kent. Not only is Stella a qualified lawyer, she is also one of the most accomplished broadcast media professionals in Nigeria.
Stella has over 20 years of senior broadcast news experience, including roles as National Head of News and Current Affairs at Silverbird Television and two years of consulting with the Nigerian Police Force. More recently, and in her current role, Stella is Director of News at TVC Communications. TVC television consistently ranks as the number two television channel in Lagos with over 4 million viewers per day. A message that Stella is keen to share with King’s students – girls and well as boys – is that although life can seem cruel, you always have options : you can choose to rise above your pain or you can allow it subjugate you; it is in your hands to ensure that even when it seems like nothing is working, your resilience and dogged determination will get you to where others believed you couldn’t reach.
She says, “My life experience has taught me to focus even when nothing is going in the way that I have planned but despite the many challenges that distract, discourage and throw me off balance, I have continued to remain dogged in my determination to get to the top. If you have to shift the goal post to attain some level of progress, all well and good, BUT never allow the distractions to deter the vision.
We live in a world and in times which are a far cry from when I was a student at King’s, and with the new thinking and all of the issues that can pose a series of complex problems for our young students today, the key to weathering the tide is knowing who you are, reinforcing your goals and aspirations and most of all owning your future – devoid of the subculture that sometimes is the result of confusion, that has inhibited meaningful progress for our young generation.
It is my hope that my story of dogged determination will inspire you all to develop a ‘can do ‘ spirit and a mindset that speaks to the challenges you seek to surmount.”
As we continue to celebrate different ways of keeping music fresh and prevalent at King’s, this week we are delighted to feature as our OV of the Week, Thomas Blunt (K 85-95). Whilst at King’s Tom was involved with Music at all levels: he was a chorister in Worcester Cathedral, a Music Scholar and a King’s Scholar; he also studied cello, organ, composition, and singing. On leaving King’s Tom spent a year as Organ Scholar at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up an Organ Scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge. He then studied conducting and singing at the Royal College of Music, and was the first ever British participant of the prestigious Allianz International Conductors’ Academy, where he worked with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras. He has gone on to develop an international career and enjoys conducting a wide-ranging repertoire, from Bach to contemporary music.
Tom has a close relationship with Glyndebourne, where he began his career as Chorus Master and worked closely with Music Director Vladimir Jurowski, resulting in his appointment as Assistant Conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has since conducted performances at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Sala São Paulo. He has also held the position of First Kapellmeister at Konzert Theater Bern.Recent and future highlights for Tom include Rigoletto and Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Glyndebourne Tour, The Magic Flute for Welsh National Opera, La Traviata and Don Giovanni for Longborough Festival Opera, and Madam Butterfly for Iford Arts, Carlo Ciceri’s L’ultimo Sogno for Staatstheater Kassel, Idomeneo for Royal Danish Opera, as well as concerts with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Coro da Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.
With the difficulties of live performances over the past year, Tom has had a number of important international engagements in Germany, New Zealand and Brazil with orchestras, choirs and opera houses cancelled or postponed, but is looking forward to a resurgence of live music later this year and into 2022.
It is great to feature James Debenham (W 85-95) as our OV of the Week. At King’s James played for the 3rd XV Rugby team and took part in CCF, Young Enterprise, and also played for the 1st tennis team. For his A Levels, James studied Geography, History and English.
After taking a gap year, travelling to Australia and New Zealand (with fellow OV Jono Gurney Br 89-95), James went to the University of Leeds where he completed a degree in Geography, followed by a Ph.D. in Geodemographics. After University, James worked as a Consultant for GMAP Consulting for over 6 years before working as a Business Intelligence Analyst at Virgin Media. In 2013, James started working as a Location Planning Consultant for Information Technology & Services company, CACI Ltd and in 2017 was promoted to Principal Consultant.
The field of Location Planning (or “Geo-Marketing”) involves the application of geographical analysis and models to help consumer-facing companies understand where best to locate their shops, branches or services. It requires the use of a variety of demographic and consumer data to find the best locations for a brand on the basis of their target customer types. During his time at GMAP and CACI, James has worked with a variety of companies across the world and in all sectors of the retail environment (for instance high street retail, financial services, petrol forecourts and leisure). Since 2016 he has been specialising in the automotive sector and currently works with a number of car manufacturers to help them adapt their franchised dealership networks. His academic studies and professional career were built on a deep interest in geography that was founded in the Geography Department at King’s – so he has a lot to thank them for!
At King’s we have been taking part in Wellness Week and we are delighted to feature as our OV of the Week, Charlotte Sidaway (S 07-14) who is manager of Soul Sanctuary Corporate Outreach and yoga teacher at Soul Sanctuary Studios. At King’s, Charlotte enjoyed a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as choir, flute group, musical theatre performances and was involved in the 1st team for Hockey and Netball. A highlight of her time at school was being in the U16 Netball team for the National Schools Netball Competition in which King’s placed second in the country. Charlotte studied English Literature and Language, Business Studies and Art at A level before taking a gap-year to Australia and Malawi.
Charlotte went to University of Leeds and graduated in Fashion Marketing and during her first year at University, founded her own online sportswear business.
Charlotte qualified as a yoga teacher in October 2017 and soon after graduating joined Soul Sanctuary Studios. Here she helped grow the start-up yoga studio business, taught regular classes and expanded the Soul Sanctuary Outreach business, delivering yoga classes and employee wellbeing programmes to a range of organisations in the UK.
Charlotte’s passion for health, psychology and yoga comes from her own recovery from anorexia through her teenage years and her purpose today is to share her knowledge and experience to support the health and wellbeing of others.
We are delighted to feature our very own Head of Sixth Form, Josh Hand (Cl 91-01) as our OV of the Week. As a pupil, Josh was involved with the Himalayan Club and was vice-captain of the 1st XV. Josh was also Head of School which he says, “was a real honour, although I can still remember the nerves of my Monitors’ Address in College Hall. Planning your first ever speech was tough in the pre-internet days!”
After school, Josh took a gap year, playing rugby and teaching at Hastings Boys’ High School, New Zealand. He went to the University of Nottingham to study Economics before working in Verbier, Switzerland, as a chalet host and ski guide.
Josh then did a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at the University of Bristol before landing his first job as a Maths teacher at the King’s School, Gloucester. Whilst there, Josh also studied a Masters Level qualification in Teaching Advanced Mathematics at the University of Warwick.
Josh joined King’s Worcester in 2010 as a teacher of Mathematics, U12 rugby coach and year group tutor in Wulstan House. In 2012, Josh became Chappel House Tutor and had five very happy years in this role. During this time, Josh led Himalayan Club trips to Turkey and the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, Nepal, and coached rugby on the tour to Sri Lanka and Singapore. In 2017 Josh was appointed to the role of Head of Sixth Form.
Josh is married to Lucinda, a Year 6 teacher at King’s St Alban’s, and they have two children, Elodie and Theo. Josh is passionate about running – whether it be with one of the children in the buggy, or crossing the finishing line at the 2019 London Marathon in 2:50:16.
It’s a new year and our first OV of the week for 2021 is Chartered Engineer Lewis Bryer (Cl 78-87). At King’s, Lewis was a monitor, took part in CCF and played for the 1st XV. Lewis took A Levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry before studying civil engineering at the University of Portsmouth (then known as Portsmouth Polytechnic).
Lewis became a chartered civil engineer in 1996 having completed extensive design and on site civil and structural highway experience with two nationally recognised consulting practices. Lewis assisted in the design and construction of various projects including the M4 tunnels at Newport and the M4 new motorway bridge at Swansea. Lewis also was involved with the design of the Sheffield tramway and the design of the Tingewick bypass in Buckinghamshire.
Soon after becoming chartered, Lewis entered the insurance world and commenced work with Ellis & Buckle chartered loss adjusters. He gained extensive building defect and subsidence experience on complex structural and civil engineering projects. Lewis was involved with many subsidence and landslip events and he managed Insurer’s response to the South Birmingham tornado event in 2005.
In 2005, Lewis decided to set up Bryer Consulting Ltd, a civil and structural engineering consulting practice, based in Malvern. He manages many major insurer loss claims involving flood, fire, subsidence and landslip issues. Lewis also actively resolves structural issues to properties for local housing associations and private clients.
For our final OV of the Week for 2020 we are delighted to feature OV Paul Stevens (H 52-59). Paul’s areas of expertise are in vocational guidance and career coaching of youth and adults and career options analysis, worklife satisfaction and employability assessments. At King’s, Paul was involved in the CCF and was a rowing cox for 4s and 8s and for the Worcester College for the Blind (now New College).
He was involved in Human Resource Management in UK, Canada and in Australia for 21 years. In 1979, Paul founded Australia’s first fee charging career services consultancy for adults, Worklife – The Centre for Worklife Counselling, which he managed until 2005. In 1999, Paul became the founder, tuition designer and student tutor for ten years at The College for Career Practitioners with distance education students in 15 countries. In addition, he trained over 6,000 people in career counselling in Sweden, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Paul has written more than 35 books, guides, texts and workbooks including The Australian Resume Guide, Win That Job!, Stop Postponing the Rest of Your Life, My Third Age: Work & Life Choices, My Life My Work Myself, Career Coaching Guide for Managers, A Passion for Work: Our Lifetime Affair.
Paul has received Special Achievement Awards from several National and International Career Development Associations. Now enjoying retirement in the country where he has lived since 1965 residing at Balmoral Beach, .N.S.W.
This week our OV for the week is communications, PR and marketing professional Sarah Fardon (Os 01-08). As a pupil at King’s, Sarah was involved with Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh, climbing and rowing. After leaving school, Sarah moved to Cardiff and spent six months on placement working in KPMG’s audit team, before spending a further five months travelling around South America, NZ and Fiji. Sarah studied Management Studies at Nottingham University including a semester on exchange in Sydney.
After graduating, Sarah was accepted onto the graduate programme with IBM in London as a Marketing Specialist. After 2 years, Sarah moved into the IBM External Relations team to kickstart her PR career and spent the following 4 years working with IBMers and journalists. This included landing stories on BBC News, Reuters and the Gadget Show, as well as working onsite at The Wimbledon Championships each year.
Sarah moved to JLL in 2018 to expand her PR skills working in a real-estate press office, before spending a year at Capco managing social media and communications for their executive office. Currently Sarah leads Communications for a technology start-up called Cutover where her focus is on expanding their brand presence in the external media. This involves pitching stories and interesting comments to journalists, and writing and publishing branded articles and content across blogs and social media.
Sarah says, “It’s a hugely exciting role and I’m loving it! I started the role during the pandemic and so my entire onboarding process was virtual. My laptop was shipped out to me and I met all of my colleagues virtually! I’ve only been to the office once this year, and now work from my desk overlooking London from Holloway.”