W100 Academy Trainer profiles


Hilary Layton

Hilary Layton, Director of Global Engagement at The University of York, has worked in communications, public affairs and internationalisation at York for many years. Previously she worked as a press officer at the UK development agency VSO, and in the British Foreign Office. She has a BA in Economics and Politics and an MSc in Communication Management.

Global Engagement at York focuses particularly on global strategic research alliances, capacity enhancement, reputation-build, and in promoting international student mobility. They also strive to involve all members of the University community – whatever their role – to play their part in internationalisation.  Hilary's professional interests lie mainly in strategy development and implementation, connections between communications and internationalisation, cultural competence in international reputation strategies, and including countries of the Global South in HE collaborations.


Abi Kelly

As Executive Director of Corporate Affairs at Newcastle University, Abi is responsible for the University’s brand positioning, Press Office, web presence, Engagement and Alumni teams. A member of the University’s Executive Board, Abi provides advice on strategic communications issues across the institution. At the regional level, she leads on communications for the N8 Group of research-intensive universities in the North.
Abi has significant experience of working in local government with roles at both Stockton and Gateshead Councils and was responsible for communications at the newly-formed Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership.

Other previous roles include: 7 years as Head of Public Relations at One North East, the Regional Development Agency, where she was responsible for a major inward investment and visitor campaign to attract people to the North East. Abi also led the Agency’s Press Office and Public Affairs work. During her career, she has also worked for Whitbread, Nissan and Teesside Power Station where she supported community and stakeholder relations activity.


Mark Sudbury

Mark is Head of Global Network Development for The World 100 Reputation Network, launched by TKP in 2007. Mark was a founding member of the Network and its first Chair.

Before joining the World 100 Reputation Network, Mark led communications and marketing activity at University College London (UCL) for nearly 10 years, helping to build reputation and establish it as a global brand.

He has presented at conferences around the world on university reputation, communications and marketing. He has also played key roles in the networks of Communications Directors at the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and the Russell Group.

Earlier in his career, Mark worked for the UK government where he managed communications around legislation which led to a ban on smoking in public places. He was Head of Public Affairs at the Football Association, the governing body for soccer in England, and started his career at the University of Sussex.


Louise Simpson

Louise is an expert in higher education communications and branding, leading research for many universities and government bodies in the UK, Japan and Europe. Before becoming a consultant, she was Director of Communications at the University of Cambridge, and a commissioning editor for Reed Elsevier.

In 2007, she created The World 100 Reputation Network, now supported by 49 World 100 universities. As part of the World 100 group, Louise has visited some of the world’s best universities with members, looking at how they manage reputation.

Louise is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, has an MPhil in Reputation management in higher education, and its impact on rankings with Manchester University Business School, and a degree from the University of Cambridge.

Andrea Farquhar

As Assistant Vice-President for Communications and Public Affairs, Andrea leads a team at McMaster that is responsible for strategic reputational management, marketing and media relations, digital media communications, fundraising communications and the alumni magazine, government and community relations, and internal communications.  McMaster is a research-intensive institution with 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  The University is internationally respected for founding evidence-based medicine and creating problem-based learning, which has been adopted at universities around the world.

Andrea has been at McMaster for the past 20 years but her first career was in media.  After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in English and history, she became a radio news reporter.  When she finished her eight-year radio career she was reading the news on CFRB, Canada’s most listened to news station.

Kirsti Lehmusto

Kirsti is Director of Communication and Community Relations, University of Helsinki. She has a strong background as marketing director in Finnish retail, bookstore and publishing business. She is a member of the board in notable Finnish foundations, such as the Kone Foundation Artist in Residence program.

She has studied at the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and International Executive Program course at INSEAD.

She has been working in her current position at the University of Helsinki from February 2011.  With her lead the university has opened up several new innovative science communication spaces and formats: Think Corner co- learning space, Think Company student entrepreneur platform, Vox science communication format and Helsinki Challenge, university 375 year anniversary science competition . 

Eilis O'Brien

Eilis O’Brien, Director of Communication and Marketing, joined UCD in 2004.  Since her appointment she has been responsible for the development of a coherent external image and identity for the university.  She created and led the UCD Horizons campaign to explain and promote the introduction of modularisation at undergraduate level.  She leads the media relations strategy that helps spread information regarding academic expertise and achievement to a broad audience in Ireland and internationally.  She manages the external communications messaging through mass-media channels including web.

Prior to joining UCD, Eilis spent three years in Dublin City University where she established the office of communications and marketing.  Prior to that, she was Director of Communications, Education and Training during the start-up phase of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.  Eilis was public relations manager with Bank of Ireland for eight years and with Bord Gáis Éireann for five years. 

In addition to her industry experience, Eilis worked in consultancy where she specialised in strategic communications in the health and environment sectors. 

Eilis O’Brien graduated from UCD in 1983 with a BA (Hons) in Political Economy & Geography.  She was awarded an MBA from UCD in 1991.

(Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios)

Ovidia Lim-Rajaram

Ovidia Lim-Rajaram is Chief Communications Officer at the National University of Singapore. She oversees institutional communications at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Her remit includes reputation management, strategic communications, branding and marketing communications, digital communications, special events and protocol, issues management as well as crisis communications for a diverse community comprising 17 schools and 27 university-level research institutes across three campuses. She is the press secretary to the university president, and university spokesperson. In her earlier life, Ovidia was a newspaper reporter, broadcast journalist, and a media studies lecturer. She graduated from NUS in political science and history, and holds an MA in International Communication from Macquarie University.

AAU nov 2015_7296_Ulla_Gjørling

Ulla Gjørling

At Aalborg University, Denmark, Ulla is responsible for Rector’s Office and the central Communications Office. Her competencies thus cover support for the university management, development and monitoring of strategy, strategic planning, political support, recruitment, branding, internationalisation and many other aspects of university management.

Prior to her job at Aalborg University she was International Director at Aarhus University, Denmark with responsibility for student mobility, staff mobility, housing, international recruitment, relocation and strategic support for the university management in  international matters.

Ulla has also worked in consultancy within evaluation and assessment of the educational sector, as an expert on blended learning in the Danish Ministry of Education and as an editor of multimedia for education.