Spotlight on Kimberly Cornfield and Dr Effie Konstantinou
26 April 2017
This week the spotlight is on Kimberly Cornfield, Head of Proposal Management in the UCL European Research and Innovation Office, and Dr Effie Konstantinou, Programme Leader of the MSc in Strategic Management of Projects, an executive development programme.
What is your role and what does it involve?
Kimberly: I am Head of Proposal Management within the UCL European Research and Innovation Office. I lead a team of dedicated European proposal managers who provide a niche and comprehensive in-house support service to UCL academics and clinicians that are leading large-scale European collaborative grant proposals.
I am also a recent graduate of the MSc in Strategic Management of Projects (SMP) and I have taken on a voluntary role as Director of SMPAlumni. I am working closely with Effie on developing alumni outreach and networking activities.
Effie: In relation to the MSc in Strategic Management of Projects, I am responsible for the academic leadership of the programme and a set of relationships with high calibre guest speakers from across a number of project-based industries who share the principles and philosophy of the programme.
It is an executive development programme that helps mid-career professionals build their ability to think critically and make difficult decisions at a strategic level. The programme builds on our research on professionalism, ethics and competitiveness in the management of projects. I am also Assistant Director of the UCL Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management and Head of Strategic Initiatives for the school.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
Kimberly: I have been at UCL for six years, and I joined the SMP programme nearly four years ago. Prior to joining UCL, I was a Project Manager at the University of Lapland (Finland), where I managed European collaborative projects that focussed on developing joint MSc and PhD programmes in the areas of business and art, semiotics, and Russian and Chinese economic law.
Effie: I have been at UCL for just over five years now. Previously I worked at Deloitte LLP as a Knowledge Manager for the Audit Service Line. I was responsible for creating synergies and cross-selling initiatives between the different service lines of the firm.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
Kimberly: Completing my MSc in the Strategic Management of Projects and my publication in the SMPJournal. I was working while carrying out the programme so it was a challenge, however it provided the opportunity to put the new ideas and approaches I learned in the programme straight into practice.
I am excited to be able to remain connected to the programme through my role as Director of SMPAlumni. The first output with the alumni that I have been involved in is the SMPJournal. The first issue was released in winter 2016, and it has allowed us to share our ideas and approaches to the strategic management of projects with a wider community.
Effie: I am proud of the whole programme and the change that I have seen it brings to the way that students and guest speakers think. Our latest achievement is the SMPJournal. The SMPJournal is a collection of the students' ideas and it is an ISSN-listed publication registered with the British Library, and the relevant libraries at Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Our students asked how they can publish the ideas that they develop during their studies, and a journal for the programme was the obvious response - it links directly with the UCL Connected Curriculum agenda and it is perhaps one of the best ways to showcase the work of students and increase their employability - do take a look! It is also a great way to say thank you to more than 100 people who are involved in delivering the programme every year. Everyone needs good ideas!
Tell us about a project you are working on now that is top of your to-do list.
Effie: At the moment we are working on the SMPUn-Conference, which complements the SMPJournal. The idea of an un-conference is new to the academic world - first tried at the Academy of Management in the US, and recently adopted by the British Academy of Management. As a learning innovation, it fits very well with our MSc.
I am also drafting a book proposal on 'The 'why' behind projects: an edited collection of essays on the purpose of projects from a philosophical perspective' - this is a new area in the management of projects and will help further develop a unique learning experience for students.
Kimberly: As Effie mentioned, we are planning the first SMPUn-Conference and preparing the second issue of the SMPJournal. The journal will be similar to last year's issue, with articles from current students, but this year we will also publish one dissertation, as well as an interview with one our alumni who has set-up his own company in Taiwan, based on the ideas that he worked on while studying on the programme.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Kimberly: I cannot select one favourite album, film and novel, however ones that first come to mind are: Adele's 21; Finnish film Äideistä parhain (Mother of Mine) - during my time in Finland I came to appreciate Nordic films, and A Spy Among Friends: Philby and the Great Betrayal, by Ben Macintyre.
Effie: My favourite album would have to be Boys and Girls by Brian Ferry. My favourite film is Love and Death (Woody Allen), and my favourite non-academic book (even though it's not a novel) is Reading Myself and Others, by Philip Roth.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Kimberly: I enjoy situational humour - I have a lot of situations to look back on and laugh, but not a good joke to share…
Effie: What does the optimist say when they've thrown themselves out of the window? So far, so good!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Kimberly: Right now I would have to say John Oliver, Mindy Kaling and Miriam Margolyes.
Effie: …That's a difficult question! I would have to say Hannah Arendt, Baroness Onora O'Neill, Steve Merchant, Eddie Izzard, Goethe and Woody Allen.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Kimberly: Worry less and enjoy the moment!
Effie: Your instincts were spot on!
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Kimberly: I play softball… in London! I think that it is more surprising for people to learn how popular the sport is in the UK.
Effie: I have absolutely NO idea!
What is your favourite place?
Kimberly: Vancouver Island, Canada. I was very fortunate to grow up in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, with temperate rain forests, mountains, an abundance of various wildlife and the Pacific Ocean on our doorstep.
Effie: An island called Paros in Greece. I have been visiting the island since I was 15 years old. The friends, the sun, the sea and the rough but simple landscape of the Cyclades are really beautiful.