Biographies

Students sitting in a lecture theatre

Trustee Biographies

All 6 of the Elected Fulltime Officers are also Trustees.


Sophie Pender, one of our elected student trustees, was educated at Hertswood Academy in Hertfordshire and is currently an English Literature undergraduate. Sophie dedicates much of her free time to charitable causes and has been to Downing Street on numerous occasions to offer insight to policy makers on how to enhance social mobility. Following her appearances at Downing Street, Sophie has been selected as the chair for the alumni of the charity Access Aspiration and in her first year at the University of Bristol Sophie has been the Vice-President of the City Centre Living JCR. Sophie has a love of all things musical theatre, Disney and hopes one day to have made enough money to own her very own animal rescue centre. I wanted to be a trustee after being involved with the City Centre Living JCR. I realised that being an active member of the student body is one of the most rewarding experiences I had in my first year at University and I wanted to carry this on for my final two years at Bristol. I hope that by being trustee I can help ensure that the Bristol SU becomes an integral part of the student experience at the University of Bristol.


Natalie Bird is a Mechanical Engineering student now in her third year of her degree. She is heavily involved with the Engineers without Borders society at Bristol, previously on the committee running a several projects in partnership with the local charity The Converging World, including organising a development trip to Tamil Nadu, India, and is currently the President of the branch. She was also on the committee for the Women in Engineering Society in her second year, as well as being involved in activities run by Bristol Student Hubs. She decided to become a student trustee to represent the views of the student body and to learn more about how the organization is run.

Lea Hampton O'Neil is a Cell biology PhD student in her third year. She was born and raised in France, by a Canadian and American family. She graduated from Cambridge University with a BA and MPhil in Natural Sciences. Her interest in student politics started during her undergraduate years where she was Academic and Disabilities officer on her college’s JCR commitee. During this time, she organised several seminars and pushed for changes in policies, in particular to improve support for students taking a year out due to ill health. When she arrived at Bristol, she wanted to stay involved in Union activities, so she joined many societies and became Biochemistry postgrad rep. As a trustee, she wants to make sure the Students' Union represents the student body, in particular the postgraduate population.

Noha Abu El Magd is a BSc in Nanotechnology (chemical) from the University of Leeds. Currently in the second year of a PhD in Functional Nanomaterials at the University of Bristol, based in the school of Chemistry. PhD project in biochemistry and materials chemistry looks into the application of nanoporous protein crystals biohydbird materials. I also sit on the National Executive Committee of NUS as the Postgraduate Research representative. I am a member of the Bristol Doctoral College Postgraduate Research Development Committee and am Black and Minority Ethnic Students Officer at Bristol SU and was the Postgraduate Rep of the NUS Black Students’ Campaign last year. Interests include: Culture, film, politics, literature and sociology. I also love to travel and write and have recently become obsessed with spinning. 

Jonathan Phillips (Chair of Trustees). After being educated at Rickmansworth School, Jonathan studied Geology at the University of Bristol (BSc 1994) and now manages digital communications for Coca-Cola Enterprises in Europe. Jonathan is an internationally recognised expert in digital communications and collaborations, a regular keynote speaker and consultant to the public and private sectors. He is the co-founder of Intranetizen and Managing Director of ClarityDW. He is based in Bristol and London. Jonathan is also the Chair and non-executive director The Rainbow Centre for Children, and a communication advisor to UK Government and the University of Bristol.

Nick Shanahan read Geology at the University of Bristol before entering the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and commissioning into The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. Nick served throughout the world in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, America and Greenland, before steering himself towards a business specialisation of HR and finance within the Ministry of Defence. Since leaving the Army in 2010, Nick has been employed as the Deputy Director of Finance and Operations for the Natural Environment Research Council, the Director of Finance and Business Planning for the National Centre for Social Research, and is currently a senior associate in the Bank of England. Nick is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and holds an MBA from Henley and a post-graduate diploma in charity accounting from the Cass Business School


Ian Robinson was the Chief Executive of the University of Bath Students' Union and retired from this role in July 2016. The Union is one of only 4 Students' Unions nationally with a Gold award in the Students' Union Evaluation Initiative (SUEi) and is widely regarded as a leader in fields such as enterprise education, peer support and student representation. Ian has been a Director of NUS Services Limited, the purchasing arm of the NUS, and has been appointed as an auditor to support NUS’  national quality assurance programmes.In July 2016, Ian was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the NUS for his services to the student movement.Ian has previously been an Assistant Principal of a large Further Education College, and was a Director of a privately funded Distance Learning and consultancy organisation where he was responsible for delivering and managing their Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Professional courses and for providing a range of consultancy services to public and private sector organisations. Ian has a degree in French Studies from the University of Portsmouth, a postgraduate degree in Management Studies, and is a Member of the CIPD. Ian is a Mentor for the Carers’ Trust, a charity which provides strategic support and development for Chief Executives and Boards responsible for supporting carers across the country.

Noelle Rumball did quite a lot of Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Bristol (BA Hons 2003; MA 2005), before embarking on a career defining and measuring the success of public sector organisations. She’s currently the Head of Student Information and Advice at UWE, having previously worked for The Planning Inspectorate, Ofsted, NERC, and University of Bristol. She’s also slipped in a few years of freelance research, mostly with the think tank Demos.In addition to her role as trustee with UBU, Noelle is a governor at Frome Vale Academy; a member of the Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Partnership; a Director at the Bristol Cable; and Treasurer for Up Our Street.  

Tilly Beech graduated from the University of Leeds in 1994 with a BA in Classical Civilisation. She then completed a PG Dip in Information and Library Management at the University of Northumbria.She joined the University of Bristol in 1999 working for the Library Service, then became part of Information Services and then IT Services. She is now a Zonal Team Leader in IT Services and Warden of Durdham Hall and University Hall . She joined the University in 1999 working for the Library Service, then became part of Information Services and then IT Services. She's has worked in University residences since 2001 and is a member of UCU. When not working she likes travelling and running.

Last updated 25th August 2016