University of Reading: how to work better together

Reading University’s Director of Development, Dale Cooper, engaged Fiona for general counsel and advice during his first year in post – he was looking for someone with a breadth of sector experience to act as a mentor and critical friend as he settles into his new environment and seeks to grow the impact of the development and alumni relations programmes at Reading. An example of a specific piece of help that Fiona has provided related to the fact that Reading has until now maintained two separate development functions, one for the University and one for Henley Business School, with very distinct traditions and ways of working.

Recognising the human dynamics involved, Fiona brought Penny Hunt, the leader of our US-based Talent Development Group, into the team. With Penny’s close involvement, we created a bespoke Cultivation and Solicitation training session for development staff across both offices, adopting a highly participative and interactive approach to maximise the potential for team-building. The session resulted not only in higher-level enthusiasm for cross-team working and increased team spirit, but also a number of practical learning points that could immediately be applied within the day-to-day working environment.

Dale Cooper says:

It has been invaluable to be able to draw on the extensive knowledge base of the M&L team and specially Fiona’s experience of HE development in the UK and global context.