DDAR Staff Spotlight: Molly Southwood, Deputy Director

Posted in: Bath, DDAR Staff Spotlight, On campus

The Department of Development & Alumni Relations help our graduates to stay connected with the University of Bath and each other. We also fundraise for a wide range of causes at the University, including scholarships, research and student experience.

Molly, Deputy Director, shares her highlights of 13 years at Bath and what lies in store for the future.

Photo of Molly Southwood

How long have you worked at the University, and what does your role involve?
I joined the University in August 2009, so nearly 13 years ago now. When I started I was Alumni Relations Manager, leading engagement with the University’s alumni community – which in those days was around 80,000 individuals.

I am now Deputy Director of the department (a role I've recently returned to after two years as Acting Co-Director), and my main focus is leading the teams who deliver communications, events, regular giving and development services. We now have nearly 140,000 alumni in over 170 countries.

I’ll actually be leaving the University this summer, which is going to be a real change for me after so many years.

Name one thing that has made you feel proud to work in the University of Bath’s Development & Alumni Relations (DDAR) team?
We’ve achieved some amazing things, all down to the great ideas and dedication of highly skilled and experienced individuals. Some really transformational programmes have been kick-started by DDAR, including the Gold Scholarship Programme, which has now supported 250 students.

There are also mentoring programmes such as Bath Connection and the Get Connected networking events, which enable students to connect and learn from alumni. For me, that’s really what alumni engagement is all about and it’s been great to see both programmes grow and develop.

What have been some of your highlights of working here?
There have been so many things over the years, but one thing that really sticks out is working with the SU African Caribbean Society to deliver the first Black student/alumni networking event. There was a real interest from the students and alumni to get something started and it was great to be able to offer some events support and funding.

Who was your most influential teacher and why?
I had a history teacher in high school, Mr Batcheller, who was really challenging. He encouraged us to think about context, not just what was written but who wrote it and why. Our set American History text was A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, which was pretty off-beat for a public high school in the mid-'90s.

Around that time the book was mentioned in the Matt Damon film Good Will Hunting and I can remember feeling pretty cool that I was reading it in high school. For the first time, school wasn’t just about spitting back facts, and that had a huge influence on me.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining DDAR?
Over the past 12-and-a-half years I’ve had around 100 colleagues in the department. I’ve recruited a lot of those and I’ve always tried to encourage people joining to share their ideas and to ask questions. We do a lot of things really well, but we aren’t perfect and it’s often the new starters who can see opportunities for improvement.

When are you happiest?
At the beach, preferably in the sea, on a sunny day with my family (husband Ed, Teaching Fellow in MASH, and daughters Immy, 9, and Katy, 6).

What are your plans for the future?
Spend more time at the beach!

Posted in: Bath, DDAR Staff Spotlight, On campus

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