Alumni winner

Rita Robert otu, MSc international Development 2007

After gaining her Masters degree Rita returned to her home country of Nigeria and founded Beau Haven Farms, a social enterprise that empowers communities to address the interrelated problems of malnutrition and lack of economic opportunity with environmentally sustainable biofortified/nutritious farms. UNICEF estimates that at least one in two children under 5 years suffer from ‘hidden hunger,’ with deficiencies of vitamins and other essential nutrients in Nigeria. 

Rita has been instrumental in empowering and upgrading the livelihoods of rural women and girls in her community through agriculture. Under her leadership, (‘‘UFORO IBAN UTO INWANG)’’ meaning #SHE’s Empowered through agriculture) was a local initiative, to empower and upgrade the livelihoods of rural women and girls in her community. The project has enabled 50,000 women especially widows to build their financial and entrepreneurial skills and provided them with the self-confidence they needed to start their own commercial cassava farms in Nigeria.

Through her entrepreneurial endeavours and her involvement in her community she was selected by United Nations Empower Women as a Global Champion. 


2nd Place

Katherine Leopold, BA German and Linguistics 2001

Katherine has been a very long standing supporter of the Alumni Association, acting as the London Network Coordinator since 2013 and Chair of the Alumni Association since 2017.   She has been central to guiding some of their most innovative engagement programmes, including the London Network series and a recent graduate programme. This has led to highly successful models of alumni engagement - including a Career Hackathon for recent graduates where participants set an agenda then workshopped solutions, and the London Network series where a panel of alumni professionals hold a Q&A on big topics from the EU Referendum to Crisis Management, from Cryptocurrency to Cyber Security. 

Katherine's knowledge and insight helps to shape the alumni engagement programmes for the benefit of the University’s alumni community, particularly supporting recent graduate employability. She has directly supported Widening Participation students with their career development in her role as a Global Graduates host and continues to advocate on behalf of the less advantaged students and graduates. 


3rd Place 

Tamanna Haque, BSc Mathematics and Business Management 2015

Tamanna has volunteered to support the employability of University of Manchester students.  She has spoken on career panels and student networking events including speaking as a panel member at the first Manchester Interdisciplinary Mathematics Undergraduate Conference (MIMUC) and The University of Manchester’s Women in Science and Engineering, Math Society event. 

Tamanna also mentors a current student of The University of Manchester, giving up her time outside of her role at Jaguar Land Rover. 

Internal at her company, Jaguar Land Rover, Tamanna mentors female apprentices at her company,  She has founded a ‘Women in AI’ group at Jaguar Land Rover which provides female members with technical and soft- skill development opportunities in a challenging, male-dominated field. Additionally, she was chosen for a new (voluntary) role within Jaguar Land Rover’s Women in Engineering committee as its Analytics Lead, helping committee chairs and executive sponsors to become better informed towards improved gender diversity.