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Spotlight on Kate Faxen

12 July 2018

This week the spotlight is on Kate Faxen, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Faculty of Brain Sciences, soon to be the Communications and Engagement Manager in Organisational Development. 

Kate Faxen Spotlight

What is your role and what does it involve?

I actually hold four roles just now. I’m about to leave one role for another on a six-month secondment, so I am the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Faculty of Brain Sciences but I’m in the process of transitioning over to become the Communications and Engagement Manager in Organisational Development. I also have a couple of extra roles, in that I am one of the co-leaders of the Digital Community of Practice and I am Head of Communications for WHEN: Women’s Higher Education Network.

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

I’ve been at UCL for 18 years. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been well supported at every step of my journey through UCL. I’ve been encouraged to apply for secondments, and I’ve had my strengths recognised and nurtured leading to movement around the Faculty and UCL. My first role was as a medical photographer. (I once told someone my job and they misheard it as Magical Photographer – which would have made for a much more exciting story).

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the work I’ve been doing with the Digital Community of Practice with my wonderful partner Clare Kennedy; building an engaged community of amazing people who range from being interested to experts in digital communications. We share similar values and our opinions and ideas have made demonstrable improvements to the way we do things across UCL. Our project leaders and core members are incredible, and enabling them to make a difference is truly rewarding.

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

I’m in the early stages of reworking the induction and onboarding programme for new staff to UCL. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to get properly stuck into it! I’ve already found lots of existing best practice that I can draw from around UCL and I can’t wait to start delivering a sector leading welcome experience. (Think big!)

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I’ll start with the novel, although it’s a children’s book, but then I much prefer reading with my children than alone. It’s called Nevermoor and is about a cursed child called Morrigan Crow who is destined to die on her 11th birthday, only she ends up travelling to another dimension to try out for the Wundrous Society. I won’t spoil it, but it’s epic, and there’s a giant talking cat called Fenestra. What’s not to love? Favourite film would have to be The Princess Bride (I have others, but this one remains a solid top contender while others come and go). And album, the Beastie Boys, Ill Communication. Kind of apt.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Q: Why did the computer wear glasses? A: To improve its website.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

I can’t put TV celebrity doctors Chris and Xand since there is a chance one of them might see this. So instead, I’ll choose the cast of Horrible Histories – an absurdly funny children’s TV show that is loved by the kids and grown-ups alike in our house!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be authentic to yourself, support the people around you and don’t take criticism too personally. Be better at forgiving and don’t be afraid to think big. Oh, and embrace the internet because it will change the world.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

My favourite animal is a moose. Is that surprising enough? I’m clearly playing it safe here but then, I don’t know who’s reading.

What is your favourite place?

I love museums, castles and the great outdoors. Anywhere that I can have fun with my kids. It’s hard to choose one place, but since we just went to the Harry Potter studio tour this weekend, I’ll choose that. The Science Museum is pretty amazing too (especially the Wonderlab!)