Leadership Award

This award recognises a graduate who has made an impressive impact in business or their industry through their outstanding leadership. Meet the shortlisted finalists:

Laura Harvey

BA (Hons) Sports Studies Class of 2001

Head Coach
OL Reign FC (USA)

Nomination by Martin Harrison:

Laura Harvey is an English football manager and former player who currently manages OL Reign of the American National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), since 2021. Laura managed the United States women's national under-20 and senior assistant manager 2020-21; Utah Royals FC 2018-19, United States women's national under-23 soccer team 2017; OL Reign 2013-17; Arsenal 2008-12, and Birmingham City 2002-07. She was also an assistant with the United States women's national soccer team 2020-21 and involved with the youth set-up of England women's national football team 2008-2011.

Laura's Managerial honours include:

*Arsenal - FA Women's Premier League 2009–10/FA Women's Super League 2011, 2012/FA Women's League Cup 2011, 2012/Women's FA Cup 2011

*Seattle Reign FC - NWSL Shield 2014, 2015

*United States U-20/CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship 2020

Laura's personal honours include:

*Football Association Women's Super league (FAWSL)

*Coach of the Year in 2011 after guiding Arsenal to win the league title, FA Cup, and Continental Cup

*She was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2014, 2015, and 2021

*FA Coach of the year 2014

*FA Pro game Elite coach of the year 2014

Kaj Pedersen

BSc (Hons) Computer Science Class of 1988

Chief Technology Officer

Nomination by Ashley Gaddis:

Kaj Pedersen currently serves as CTO of AstrumU, a Seattle-based data services firm that is pioneering the use of machine learning to forecast the value of educational experiences in the labor market. Kaj's career spans more than 20 years in the venture creation space where he has played an integral role in launching and developing companies in FinTech, MedTech, EdTech, Search and Investment Management sectors. Kaj's work has led him to develop solutions for complex business and societal challenges.

As CTO of Pharmacy OneSource, Kaj built cloud-based software to alert clinicians of adverse drug reactions in over 30% of all US hospitals in less than three seconds. Previously Kaj was CTO for Bill Gates Investments where he rebuilt the investment management systems and technology organisation. As VP Engineering at Quote.com, Kaj oversaw a 75-person team that grew the business 20X in 3 years before being acquired by Lycos, where Kaj became GM of Finance where he led the team to becoming one of the most profitable verticles in the company. In addition, Kaj has sered as part of leadership for funding initiatives that secured $32M in total investments and named inventor for three patents.

Helen O'Donnell

BA (Hons) Modern Languages Class of 1993

CEO and Director of Partnerships
Children's University Trust

Nomination by Amy Allen:

Helen is a passionate advocate of exceptional early opportunities for all and she continually strives for parity of outcome regardless of background. Her current leadership of Children's University has transformed the charity and everyone that meets Helen is bowled over by her warm smile, passion for equality and sharp intellect. Children who participate in Children’s University (CU) have the opportunity to learn in a rich range of contexts, experience new places, visit universities and attend their own graduation ceremonies. CU introduces children to the joy of learning, brings a sense of wonder in the world around them and develops their confidence and aspirations for the brightest futures. As the CEO of CU Trust, Helen has worked collaboratively with a wide range of educational, government and community groups to improve the life chances for all children, but especially those facing disadvantage. Helen is an energetic and inspirational leader who has made an amazing contribution to the lives of thousands of children through her role at CU Trust. Many of those children will never know it was Helen that made those opportunities happen, but she continues to amaze us with all she can do.

Watch the Awards Ceremony