UCL News


Spotlight on Becky Potter

11 November 2015

This week the spotlight is on Becky Potter, Communications Manager, UCL Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).

Becky Potter

What is your role and what does it involve?

I'm the Communications Manager in the UCL Development and Alumni Relations Office. We work with alumni and supporters to raise philanthropic funds for UCL, as well as engaging UCL's community of around 200,000 alumni. I manage the production of Portico, UCL's award-winning supporter and alumni magazine, which will be on alumni doorsteps mid-November, and I'm also involved in leading the communications for UCL's fundraising campaign, which is launching in September 2016.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I've been at UCL since January, so managing Portico for the first time was rather a baptism of fire! It's been a fantastic year at DARO and I've been pleased to have been involved in so much.

Previously I set up (and still run) a fine jewellery business. Although most of my professional experience is in communications, I spent some time in 2012 training as a goldsmith in Hatton Garden. It's a fascinating world and a dying trade so I'm lucky to have had the time working and learning there. My media and PR experience came in very handy as I was setting up my business, and I was able to get my jewellery featured in Vogue in 2014.

Until 2012 I was working for the British Red Cross, in fundraising communications with corporate partners such as Land Rover, and before that I set up Internocracy, an award-winning social enterprise that campaigned for fair internships.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I've had a varied and exciting working life so far; I'm proud of that.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

Currently I'm pleased - and slightly nervous - about the launch of issue two of Portico on 11 November. Because I've been project managing it since March, it's a point that I've been keen to get to. Not that I get to sit back and relax; my team is working on promoting Portico to alumni and around campus - so be on the lookout for copies popping up everywhere!

I'm especially happy about the content of this year's issue; UCL attracts so many inspirational people - from top academics to alumni who are doing amazing things - that it's difficult to ensure that Portico reflects all of this, to give readers a flavour of the real UCL. But I think we've got a good balance; this year's Portico covers everything from Mathiness and the role of forensic science, to urban living and 1960's student high-jinks. If you get a copy, check out DARO on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join in with Portico-based fun; there are prizes for the best photo taken with an issue of Portico!

With 2016 approaching, I have simultaneously been working on the communications around the fundraising campaign, as well as Portico. The communications planning covers everything from what information we share with staff and students, to how alumni would like to be involved and how we announce the launch of the campaign to the public.

As part of this, I'm working with colleagues in DARO to run Philanthropy Month in February 2016 - you might remember the Bentham mask world record we set earlier this year - I'm pretty sure there have been some even wilder ideas cooked up for next year. Our aim is to ensure colleagues around UCL are familiar with the idea of philanthropy and how UCL benefits from philanthropic giving.

One of the aspects I find fascinating about UCL is the sheer size and strength of it as an institution and a voice; it's exciting to imagine what we could achieve collectively for UCL by each being advocates for philanthropy.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album - Nick Drake, Pink Moon. It was the soundtrack to my time at university and listening to it takes me back to autumn days in Sheffield, the leathery smell of the main library and pints of real ale at lunchtime.

Film - Not a film but a TV series; The West Wing. Every seemingly witty, off-the-cuff remark I make in real life is inevitably something that CJ Cregg said first.

Novel - A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

What herbs did Dickens have in his cupboard? The best of thymes and the worst of thymes! Can I hear the sound of tumbleweed…?

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I'll dodge this as I'd be hosting dinners for months once I got started listing guests. Think of the washing up!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Two pieces of advice:

Query the premise of the question before answering.

Enjoy irony more.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I can speak some Swedish. It's a lovely language that I try not to maul with my terrible pronunciation.

What is your favourite place?

The North West coast, where I grew up. Can be bleak, but it's truly beautiful!