Meet the team

Mary Haworth

Director of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni

+44 (0)1904 322090

+44 (0)7919 293185

About Mary…

Mary came to York to take up the role of Director of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni in 2011. Prior to York, Mary was Deputy Director of Development at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and before that Development Manager for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Newcastle. Mary’s role is to lead the team and direct the development and implementation of York’s philanthropic fundraising strategy and engagement programmes in order to encourage and facilitate philanthropic support from charities, individual donors, alumni and businesses. Mary has an MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising from Cass Business School, and is a fully certified member of the Institute of Fundraising Management.

Corporate and Foundation Philanthropy

Paul Tyack

Associated Director and Head of Corporate and Foundation Philanthropy

+44 (0)1904 324486

About Paul…

Paul studied Music at York and has worked in fundraising for over 18 years. He leads the university’s philanthropic engagement with companies, trusts and foundations, raising substantial funding for large scale and highly ambitious capital, research and student-focused projects. Before moving back to York Paul was Head of Fundraising and Development for the Anne Frank Trust UK and Development Manager at Shoreditch Trust, Family Rights Group and Barnardo’s. He is a trustee at York CVS and the Kohima Museum Trust.

Sharon Godwin 

Relationship Manager

+44 (0)1904 323275

About Sharon…

Sharon moved to York in 2009 to study an MA in English Literature. After graduating she worked in publishing before moving into the charity sector, taking on roles in fundraising, campaigning and event management at Alzheimer's Society and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Sharon joined the team in 2016 and manages partnerships with key corporate and charitable donors.

Edward Joyner

Relationship Manager

+44 (0)1904 324389

About Edward…

Edward has worked at the University of York since October 2015, working to secure philanthropic funding from corporations and foundations. He works primarily with the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, including the Festival of Ideas. Edward graduated from the University of Adelaide (Australia) with a degree in English and Linguistics. He worked in arts management, as South Australian Manager of Musica Viva Australia and managing Adelaide Chamber Singers, before moving to the UK in 2011 to take up a singing position at Lincoln Cathedral. In the UK, he has worked at the University of Lincoln and the Diocese of Lincoln. In addition to working at the University of York, Edward continues to work as a singer, and has toured to the USA, Germany, Netherlands and Italy, sung on radio broadcasts from York, Lincoln and Southwell Cathedrals, and featured on six recordings.

Roz Walton

Philanthropy Officer

+44 (0)1904 324228

About Roz…

Roz graduated from the University of York in 2017 with a degree in BA English in Education. As Philanthropy Officer, Roz fundraises from Trusts, Foundations and Corporates for strategic research, capital and student-support priority projects. Prior to this she worked in Supporter Relations, supporting students who have benefited from a philanthropically funded scholarship and managing and improving relationships with those who donate. Her interest in philanthropy stemmed from leading RAG (Raising and Giving) whilst she was a student and working in the British Red Cross Community Fundraising Team.

Individual Philanthropy

Sarah Sylvester

Associate Director and Head of Individual Philanthropy

+44 (0)1904 324555

About Sarah…

After graduating with a degree in Chemistry, Sarah worked as a Brand Manager at Unilever marketing Persil washing powder. Sarah spent several years living in Madagascar working for a charity before joining the University in 2006. Sarah started as a Development Officer in 2009 and became Head of Individual Giving in March 2017. She works with Departments to raise funds for key projects, developing relationships with alumni, charitable trusts and companies. She is also responsible for developing the University’s philanthropically funded scholarships.

Sharon Oakley

Philanthropy Manager

+44 (0)1904 324465

About Sharon…

Sharon graduated from McMaster University in Canada in 2004 wth a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Anthrology. After moving to the UK she completed her Masters in Migration Studies at the University of Sussex. Sharon was a Fundraising Manager for the North and East Yorkshire at the British Heart Foundation, before joinging OPPA in 2014. She works with departments to raise funds for key projects, through developing relationships with alumni and friends of the University. 

Sarah Disney

Philanthropy Manager

+44 (0)1904 322097

About Sarah…

After graduating with a BA (Hons) in International Relations, Sarah spent 12 years working in international development, developing funding programmes for ActionAid, WaterAid and International Service, before taking up development roles at Macmillan Cancer Support and the University of Leeds. She joined the team in April 2018 and works with departments to raise funds for key projects, through developing relationships with alumni and friends of the University.

Kalli Keramari

Philanthropy Officer (Legacies)

+44 (0)1904 324379

About Kalli…

Kalli holds a BA(Hons) in Applied Arts from the University of Wales and an MA in Industrial and Product Design from Middlesex University. Glass artist and designer by studies, skilled in sales, marketing, management, retail and hospitality by profession, fundraiser by all means: you might have seen her through her volunteering or running the streets of York to fundraise for the causes she feels passionate about. Kalli joined the team in September 2017 to develop and lead the University’s fundraising through giving in a Will (a Legacy).


Operations and Experience

Chris Barnes

Head of Operations and Experience

+44 (0)1904 3222099

About Chris…

Chris read Politics at the University of York and graduated in 2014. Before that, he worked as a website manager for education and careers services in Norfolk. Chris started working at OPPA in 2014 as a marketing officer; he now leads the Operations and Experience Team, which is responsible for alumni and supporter communications, supporter relations, customer care and information. 

Communications and Digital

Charlotte Capper

Communications & Digital Manager

+44 (0)1904 324001

About Charlotte…

After graduating from the University of Bath with a degree in Politics and International Relations, Charlotte worked at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships press office for three years before starting a career in charity communications. She worked in various roles at the NSPCC, Make-A-Wish UK and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust before joining the University of York. Charlotte leads the communications and digital team and is responsible for alumni and supporter communications and campaign planning and delivery.

Thea Windsor

Projects & Editoral Officer 

+44 (0)1904 322326

About Thea…

Thea graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2012 with a degree in International Marketing. She has worked her way up in her marketing career, developing her skills in a mix of industries from retail to manufacturing with experience in both online and offline marketing. Thea joined the team in July 2017 and now oversees the email system for OPPA and manages our websites, and  

Alex Blundell-Joyce

International Communications Officer

+44 (0)1904 326392


Alex recently joined the Communications team internally having been in the central marketing team at the university previously. She will be working to develop our international offering to alumni with the International Alumni Officer, leading on all international comms projects, as well as working on large general comms projects too. She also oversees OPPA's presence on social media, developing our twitter, facebook and instagram presence. 

Julia Baker

Information and Communications Assistant 

+44 (0)1904 328958

About Julia…

Julia graduated from the University of Loughborough in 2004 with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. Julia joined OPPA in 2018 as Database Assistant (part-time) and is responsible for keeping the alumni database up-to-date, for sending our e-communications and assisting with mailings and other alumni communications.

Jen Massey

Information and Communications Assistant 

+44 (0)1904 324388

About Jen…

After graduating from Wye College (University of London) with a degree in Rural Environment Studies, Jen worked for the Nature Conservancy Council/English Nature (now Natural England) until moving to York where she worked as departmental assistant for the science department of a local secondary school. Jen joined OPPA in 2015 as Database Assistant (part-time) and is responsible for keeping the alumni database up-to-date, for sending our e-communications and assisting with mailings and other alumni communications.

Supporter Relations

Emily Jones

Supporter Relations Manager  (Maternity Leave)

+44 (0)1904 324392

About Emily…

After graduating from Bristol University with a degree in English Literature, Emily worked in publishing in London for a short while before joining the University of Oxford where she spent six years working in development, marketing and alumni relations. Emily is responsible for thanking and looking after all those who make a gift to the University of York.

Tierney Holloway

Supporter Relations Officer

+44 (0)1904 324423

About Tierney…

Tierney graduated from the University of York with a degree in English Literature in 2018. After working for OPPA part-time throughout her university degree, working various roles in fundraising, events, and operations, she joins us in a full-time position. Tierney is responsible for thanking and looking after all those who make a gift to the University of York, while stewarding scholarship and bursary recipients, providing support and assistance for a wide range of students. 

Operations and Information

Eszter Palotai (on sabbatical)

Data Analyst

+44 (0)1904 324422

About Eszter…

Eszter came to York from Hungary in 2012 to pursue a BA in Politics and International Relations. Having been admitted to the Erasmus Mundus MA in Public Policy, she studied in Budapest for a year before coming back to the University of York, where she worked on several quantitative research projects. Eszter joined the OPPA team in August 2017 to manage and support data analysis and reporting for University fundraising and alumni relations.

Vicky Patteson

Funds Officer 

+44 (0)1904 324391

About Vicky…

After studying Accountancy and Finance at university, Vicky spent eight years working at Norwich Union and a local software company before joining the database team in 2009. She is our gift administrator and is responsible for processing all our donations, setting up Direct Debits and claiming Gift Aid.

Hannah Droop

Data Analyst 

+44 (0)1904 322623

About Hannah…

Hannah graduated from the University of York in 2005 with a degree in Environment, Ecology and Economics and joined the OPPA team in 2007. Hannah helps with the administration and maintenance of the alumni and friends database, and provides support and training for other database users throughout the University.

Dan Parker

Information Officer 

+44 (0)1904 324422

About Dan…

Dan joined OPPA in May 2019, having worked at the university since 2011 in Student Services and the medical school. Dan is responsible for the administration, maintenance and reporting of alumni data, and is OPPA's Departmental Computing Officer.

Claire Walsh

Research Officer

+44 (0)1904 324390

About Claire...

Claire graduated with an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of York in January 2019. Before this she completed a undergraduate degree in History at the University. Prior to joining OPPA in April 2019 she worked in the Information Services Directorate of the University. Her responsibilities include completing due diligence and prospect research for the team.

Fundraising Programmes

Tom Piercy

Head of Fundraising Programmes

+44 (0)1904 324794

About Tom...

Tom graduated from Northumbria University in 2011 and has since worked across various charity fundraising roles for the likes of Prostate Cancer UK and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. He joined us in 2018 to lead the University’s fundraising programme team, focusing on raising awareness of philanthropy and the role of the alumni community via multi-channel marketing appeals.

Sophie Blyth-Bristow

Philanthropy Officer (Fundraising Programmes)

+44 (0)1904 326391

About Sophie...

After graduating from the University of Warwick with a degree in History and Politics, Sophie moved to Manchester to study for her MSc. Having returned to her hometown of York, Sophie worked at the University of York Students' Union coordinating the Volunteering and RAG (Raising and Giving) programmes. With both professional and voluntary fundraising experience, Sophie joined OPPA in 2018 and is responsible for coordinating the regular giving and participation giving appeals.

Matthew Ingram

Student and Young Alumni Officer

+44 (0)1904 324394

About Matthew

Matthew graduated from York with a degree in English Literature in 2017, and worked with the Students' Union and OPPA throughout his time as a student. He's now responsible for managing the running and development of YuStart, York's crowdfunding platform, as well as providing support to students who wish to benefit from philanthropy and inspiring recent graduates to support current students. Matt is always keen to hear from York students and recent graduates all over the world.

Volunteering and Alumni Programmes

Kyla Holt

Head of Volunteering and Alumni Programmes

+44 (0)1904 322033

About Kyla…

Kyla joined OPPA in October 2016 to manage the alumni engagement programme for the University; leading on alumni events and promoting volunteer activity among the graduate community. You can contact Kyla if you have a query about alumni events, volunteering or have a general query about alumni relations.

Nat Smallpage-Hurst

Volunteering and Alumni Officer

+44 (0)1904 322083

About Nat…

Nat joined us in September 2017 and she has a strong background of working within the third sector for national charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, and most recently within the development team at the University of Birmingham. You can contact Nat if you have a query about alumni events or for any general query about alumni relations.

Aiko Mizumori Hirst

International Alumni Officer

+44 (0)1904 324467


After completing a degree in Social Anthropology at University of Manchester, Aiko worked in Japan for Global Marketing team in Nissan HQ and for University of Leeds where she worked with Japan-based prospective students and alumni. She moved back to the UK in 2016 and joined OPPA as Department Administrator in November 2017. She is now developing our international communications, leading and developing on an offering for our international alumni, working with the International Communciations Officer.