Skip to main content
Harper Adams University logo

    All Harper

    Inaugural conference sees celebration and innovation bring Harper Together

    20 September 2023

    The inaugural Harper Together staff conference has been held – with a day of celebration, innovation, development and training open to employees across the Harper Adams community.


    Opening the conference, Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan told attendees: “Today is about togetherness – getting to know each other better to establish a stronger sense of community, appreciating the bounty of talent we have across all our employees, connecting with the goals set out in our strategic plan to understand what our contributions might be, and developing some of the new skills required to achieve our future vision. 

    “I know that some colleagues are involved in welcoming our postgraduate and international students and other important events across campus. They might only be able to join for some of our staff conference and in some cases, may not be able to get here at all.  It is inevitable that we will never find a day that works for everyone. Which is why this will not be the only Harper Together event across the year.

    “But it is important that we learn how to free up space to invest in our people and our community – without doubt you are the University’s strongest assets.”



    Speakers during the morning session of the conference included Ninder Johal DL, the CEO of the Nachural Group of companies, whose work includes a recording company and an events company, who spoke about his career and about how ‘Change Starts from Within.’





    The conference also linked up with Ukraine via Zoom, with an address to attendees from Bogdan Iegorov, the President of the Odessa National University of Technology (ONUT), which Harper Adams has linked up with through the Universities UK International (UUKi) Twin for Hope campaign.

    Professor Iegorov talked about the history of his institution, the development of its work and staff, and the impact that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having upon its work and the lives of its staff and students.

    He said: “More than 8,000 students study at the university, and ONUT continues to develop successfully. Our main focus is on close co-operation with businesses and industry.”

    While he described the terrible day-to-day effects of the invasion, with ONUT staff keeping the university running under missile strikes, Professor Iegorov told the conference that there were still reasons for positivity too.

    He added: “Our optimism comes through supporting each other. Today, we see that almost the whole world is united in supporting Ukraine.”

    Meanwhile Andrew Proctor, the Executive Lead for Education at Amazon Web Services, spoke about how technological and digital innovation is set to transform the world – and higher education – in his talk, ‘The Future is Closer than You Think.’



    Mr Proctor and staff from Amazon were also on hand throughout the day at an Amazon Future Universality Zone in the main conference tent.

    After the first set of speakers, staff were able to take part in breakout sessions.

    These were themed into both personal development – with sessions on branding, university values, and making videos through smartphones – and on other creative activities, including a coffee and clay session, jewellery making, and the development of a Harper Choir.





    A performance from the choir opened the afternoon session, which also saw some of the work of those who had developed videos during the morning screened.




    Following this, a more formal ceremony saw the conferment of an Honorary Doctorate to Margaret Boanas, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers.

    Professor Jude Capper, the ABP Chair of Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production at Harper Adams, gave the oration before Margaret received her degree – describing her as “a truly inspirational friend and colleague, with an illustrious career within the meat industry.”

    And she added: “Margaret will say that she is only here because of the immense support and mentoring she’s had from people in the industry – I would argue that she has paid this forward a hundred times over. She is a brilliant example to women of all skillsets and ages - throughout her career she has mentored and actively encouraged countless other women to achieve and fulfil their potential.”



    Following the conferment of the Honorary Doctorate, the achievements of Harper Adams employees were marked with the first Make the Difference Staff awards – before the event rounded off with music, drinks and photographs.



    Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.