UCL Alumni


UCL Connect: Everything You Need to Know About Setting up Your Side Hustle

20 May 2024, 12:30 pm–1:30 pm

An image of wooden blocks that spell out the words Side Hustle

This UCL event will feature an online alumni panel discussion, followed by an audience Q&A.

This event is free.

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Alumni Relations

Ever thought about setting up a side hustle? You are not alone. According to recent research, as many as 43% of Brits have at least one side hustle in 2024, with the average income earned across the UK standing at just over £900 per month. UCL alumni who have turned their passions into second incomes will share their learnings and insights in this panel event, with an opportunity for questions from the audience.

About the Speaker


Amberlee Green

Amberlee is a Lecturer, Mental Health Practitioner and Illustrator in London. Following postgraduate study in the UCL Division of Psychiatry, she has worked in NHS Community Mental health teams, university mental health teams, and more recently, as Head of Impact & Communication for a substance use charity. Her career focuses on mental health promotion in marginalised groups and staff wellbeing/self-preservation in academic settings. She currently lectures in Psychology, Health and Social care at Regent London.

Amberlee also has a creative practice, which is rooted in wellbeing and focuses on intersectionality and the duality of black women. She founded Line & Honey, an illustration studio that spans commerce, commissions & workshop facilitation, and creates works that instigate conversations around visibility, representation and who has access to rest.


Verna Gao

Verna Gao, aka vernahungrybanana, is a civil engineer and ad tech girl turned social media content creator and influencer to 800k+ followers across TikTok and Instagram. Specialised in food and cooking, Verna began her side-hustle journey in the pandemic, using it as a creative outlet in a difficult time. Through documenting her daily eats and sharing recipes, she established herself as the UK’s go-to social media personality for Asian cooking thanks to her in depth tutorials on making dumplings and noodles. This is now her full-time job.

In September 2023, Verna published her debut cookbook - Have You Eaten? filled with vibrant, Asian-inspired recipes that are super fresh and packed with flavour. Following on from this, she has hosted various supper clubs and cooking events, always expanding her side-hustle repertoire. 

Leo Garbutt

Leo Garbutt is the Administration and Events Coordinator of the Research on Research Institute at UCL. He holds an MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development from UCL and a BA (Hons) in Politics and Social Policy from the University of Leeds. Leo has worked in project management, events, editorial and communications roles, including at UCL’s Bartlett Faculty and Psychoanalysis Unit.

Leo has been a freelance photographer, musician, and multimedia producer for over a decade. His photography commissions include professional portraiture, live music and exhibitions. Last year, he co-produced, mixed, mastered, and performed on a 5-song EP whose lead single received regular radio play on BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio X. 

Iesha Small

Iesha is a communications professional with a side hustle. She helps leaders career pivot, create the lives and careers they want, and build profitable passion projects. She uses systems and frameworks because she's a geek.

Iesha's career journey has taken her from Engineer Assistant headteacher Head of comms & Business owner.

She writes every weekday on LinkedIn and has a weekly newsletter. You can connect with her via her website.

Robert Vilkelis

With a diverse background in higher and further education, Robert's passions and expertise are grounded in making learning experiences transformative. Alongside his full-time job coaching apprentices as an Advanced Data Fellowship coach for Multiverse, he is the co-founder of Masters of Impact, a consultancy specialising in strategic communication training, and is responsible for Japan's largest English language summer camp as the Program Director for Come On Out - Japan.

He is the co-author of Recharge Your Batteries, a book written to help business leaders optimise their energy and be at their best, and previously studied Psychology & Language Sciences at UCL.