Jane Crombleholme, Managing Director for Executive Education has been appointed to the board of UNICON. Jane has served on the UNICON Membership Committee since 2011 when Alliance MBS was admitted as an associate member. She became off-board co-chair of the committee in 2012 and she leads UNICON's outreach activity to potential members. This appointment is testament to her standing in the executive education arena globally. We spoke with Jane about her appointment as board member and what it means for Executive Education at the Business School.
Can you tell us more about UNICON and what your appointment as board member means?
UNICON is a consortium of executive education providers from research-led business schools from across the world. It's a membership organisation of peers where we learn from each other and talk about the issues that impact on the industry. UNICON is 50 years old this year - it started off as a small network of US schools and has grown into a global consortium with 115 members.
UNICON is an organisation of high reputation, world-class providers of executive education, so my appointment gives a certain level of assurance that as a business school with our history and ambition, we are serious about our craft. It also gives assurance to our clients that, when they partner with us, they are working with an organisation that knows what we are talking about in terms of the development, design and delivery of impactful executive education programmes that will make a difference to their organisation and the people that work in them.
I also have quite a personal reason for wanting to do this. When I started in executive education at the Business School, I went on a programme for new directors of executive education where Bill Shedden was programme director. At the time Bill was Director of Executive Education at Cranfield Business School and on the Board of UNICON. He was always very supportive to me as I developed my career and he encouraged me to put in an application for us to join UNICON. Being part of the Membership Committee at UNICON for number of years, I know that it's not easy to get in and I think Bill's support was crucial. Since being part of UNICON, the Business School has seen significant growth and for me personally, I have always felt like I owe them a lot. So, when they asked me to on the board, I was delighted to have the chance to give back.
What will your role as UNICON board member involve?
As I've mentioned, UNICON is a peer-led consortium and exists to share knowledge to grow the reputation of university-led learning and development, so in some ways, my role as board member is to ensure effective governance and to be a custodian for a highly successful organisation where members get huge value from it. I do also hope that I'll continue to be a part of the Membership Committee as supporting new members is key and I enjoy it.
What are you most looking forward to about your role?
I'm looking forward to a number of things about my new role. I've been involved with UNICON for a number of years and have known the people within the organisation for a long time. I'll be in New York for a UNICON event soon and I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends again and building new networks.
I'm also looking forward to seeing the next generation come through. I think about how Bill supported me 15 years ago, and it would be really rewarding to be able to do the same thing for someone else coming through in an organisation.
What are the impacts and benefits to UNICON member organisations?
It is the same as you'd expect from any peer network, which is that you learn from one another. Every organisation is different and the more you talk to each other, the more you learn about what you are doing well and what you can improve. We do a lot of research, so we have more quantitative information about what people are looking to do and the ways organisations measure the impact of programmes. There is the personal development of individual members but also organisational benefits from networks as well.
What does your appointment as UNICON board member mean for of Executive Education at Alliance Manchester Business School?
I hope that my appointment demonstrates to our stakeholders that we know what we're doing. You don't get asked to sit on a board at a high level if you're not a serious executive education outfit delivering value for organisations and the people who work for them. I think it also confirms that Alliance MBS is in the right position to meet our ambition of being one of the best business schools in the world.
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