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StellarHE Leadership Programme 2022

StellarHE is a leadership development programme for Diverse Leaders (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) in Higher Education. The University of Manchester is pleased to support this programme. This programme has been designed specifically to develop and implement leadership strategies that reflect the unique challenges and experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic academic and professional staff across Higher Education.

StellarHE is targeted at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals who aspire to senior leadership positions in Higher Education. The programme has been designed specifically to equip participants with leadership competencies and strategies that reflect the unique challenges and experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff across the HE sectors.

The programme is open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Professional Support Staff, Academics and Researchers at a middle to senior management level.  Applicants must be ready to embark on an experiential leadership programme and available to participate in all activities during the programme.

The timetable for the programme is:

Readiness Session for participants

22 February 2022

Managers Race to Action sessions

28 February 2022


2 March 2022

VW 3&4

10 March 2022

VW 5&6

24 March 2022

VW 7&8

6 April 2022

VW 9&10

21 April 2022


April/May 2022

VW 11&12

25 May 2022

VW 13&14

9 June 2022

VW 15&16

21 June 2022

VW 17&18

12 July 2022*

VW 19&20

13 July 2022*



 All the workshops are virtual apart from those annotated

Further information can be found at

2022 Participants

Ordinarily only one applicant from each faculty and PS is sent on the StellarHE programme.  In 2022 the calibre of applicants was so outstanding that it was decided that we would double our cohort on the programme.  

Below you will be able to find out about each participant. 

Jordan Kenny - Professional Services

Smiling man of colour wearing a grey suit and white shirt.  He wears black glasses and is standing in front of a purple painted wall.

My name is Jordan Kenny, and I am the News and Media Relations Manager at The University of Manchester. I have over a decade’s experience of working in the higher education (HE) sector, specifically in communications and media relations. I have worked both in-house and as an external consultant at Russell Group and modern/post-92 universities across the country. Prior to my career in HE, I trained and worked in print and broadcast journalism at a regional and national level. I also spent around two years working overseas in Russia and Sierra Leone in journalism, education and communications. I am a proud Manc and now happily reside back in my home city working at its best university.  ‌

Catherine Millan - Professional Services

Smiling lady of colour with black shoulder length curly hair.  She is wearing a flowery shirt and is stood in front of an advertising board for UoM.  The image is branded with the University logo

‌Catherine Millan is the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Officer, specialising in the recruitment of Black, Asian and minority ethnic young people into Russel Group Universities. Catherine has a 1ST Class Honours degree in Education and a MA in Voluntary and Third Sector Management, and is now completing a PG Cert in Higher Education at the University of Manchester 

After being indirectly affected by the tragic death of Antony Walker Catherine has dedicated her career to promoting racial harmony and equal access in Education. Catherine is an experienced trainer in the area of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and in addition to her role at Manchester Catherine is also an experience Anti-Racism consultant.  

Working for a number of charities and NGO’s throughout her career including the Weston Spirit, The Antony Walker Foundation, Voluntary Services Overseas and International Citizen Service. Catherine has develop programmes that address inequalities within education systems and has supported schools, local communities and businesses develop and implement anti-racist practice and inclusive curriculums. 

Catherine is an experienced project manager, who has lead a number of projects working with Ahmed Iqbal Ullah-Race Relations Resource Centre, The Crown Prosecution Service, Housing associations and the National Union of Teachers. From developing Children’s books that diversify the curriculum to leading volunteers overseas in humanitarian aid work. Catherine has a real passion and enthusiasm for working with young people and improving their experiences in education.   

Catherine is currently supporting the work to address the degree awarding gap between minority students, developing work to embed an inclusive curriculum into HE and is the founder of the award winning Diversity Champions programme that seeks to reduce hate crime on education and across communities in Manchester.  

Tony Chen - FSE

Chinese man stood in front of a white background.  He wears a black suit with blue shirt and has short black hair.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

Tony Lujia Chen, PhD, FHEA  

Lecturer in High Voltage Engineering  

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering  

I was born in China and came to the UK in 2003. I received my BEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Cardiff University, in 2012 and 2015, respectively. I worked in Primary System Design at Western Power Distribution after my PhD. In 2017, I joined The University of Manchester as a Lecturer where I work on insulation system design and high voltage engineering. I mainly specialise in the investigation of environmentally friendly insulating gases to replace the use of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), a highly potent greenhouse gas that is widely used in the energy sector due to the lack of a viable alternative.    

Clara Cheung - FSE

Asian lady with long black hair wearing a black short sleeved top.  She is sat in front of a bush with purple flowers.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE). My specialist knowledge is in construction and engineering project management. Before being an academic, I spent almost eight years working in different fortune 500 companies, helping senior management teams operationalise strategies through leading various operational improvement projects in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Taiwan and the US. These successful experiences proved my ability to engage with and influence international stakeholders with high-level communication and interpersonal skills. It also enabled me to obtain Project Management Professional qualification (equivalent to the Chartered Project Professional status in the UK) certified by Project Management Institute in the US. Originating from Hong Kong and spending most of my early career time in Asia, I chose to do my postgraduate studies in the US and start my lectureship in the UK. The reason is that I genuinely enjoy learning about different cultures. I firmly believe internationalisation could open up exciting new opportunities and gain novel insights into addressing global challenges as it is inextricably linked with diversity. ‌

Monique Brown - Humanities

Black lady with short brown hair wearing a brown top.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

Hi, my name is Monique Brown and I currently work as the Faculty Postgraduate Research Services Manager, coordinating and managing PGR Services and functions across four Schools in the Faculty of Humanities. I have worked at the University for 16 years, worked in recruitment and admissions and currently PGR. I live in Stretford, Manchester and I enjoy travelling, cooking and entertaining friends. I’m a happy go lucky lady and enjoy supporting and empowering others to showcase their talents.  I’m creative and eclectic, love fashions and styles make my own cushions and currently am in the process of redecorating the rooms across my home with accents of pink!  

Jesus Chairez-Gomez - Humanities

Man wearing a blue football shirt with dark short hair sat in front of a white background.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

I run a support network for students of colour in the history department. I founded this group at the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic and at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, after realizing that migrant and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students were struggling to navigate academia during lockdown, which made an already isolating and stressful experience even more difficult.

Similarly, I also convene, along Dr. Kerry Pimblott, an undergraduate yearly symposium for students working on anti-racist research which attempts to give Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students an opportunity to present their work in a friendly environment. However, I am aware that there are many people with great projects that I could support from a more senior leadership position. I would like then to educate myself about how to help others to work on similar issues and support their efforts to make universities better institutions.   ‌

Elora Baishnab - FBMH

Lady of colour with dark hair wearing black glasses and a white shirt in front of a cream background.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

‌I am a Clinical Lecturer and GP in Manchester.  I love teaching and over the past 8 years have developed a pportfolio career involving lots of teaching, EDI work, and work in undergraduate and postgraduate assessments.  

I work as an NHS GP and try to balance all this (often unsuccessfully) with a full family life.  I have two young boys aged 4 and 6, a lovely husband and an affectionate dog called Max.  I love open water swimming and managed a dip in the North Sea to bring in 2022 in style.  

I look forward to gaining friends, colleagues and some confidence in my leadership skills over the course of the StellarHE programme. 

Georgina Lewis Vasco - FBMH

Smiling black lady with shoulder length black hair wearing a black top with a white collar.  She stands in front of a blue background.  The image is branded with The University of Manchester logo

Hello, I am Georgina and I have worked in HE for over 12 years. While that wasn’t my original plan (I arrived at the university as a temp after a post-graduation, year-long internship abroad, intending to stay for 3 months!), I had an affinity for the environment of education and have never left. I’m a people pleaser and a born overachiever, two things which have both helped and hindered me at different times in my career, and definitely provided a challenge each time I have needed to stand up for fairness and equality as a young black woman trying to build her career.  

But more importantly, I am a mother of two young children and I want to be a living example that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to, as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. I hope that they will be able to grow up in a world where that is just as true for somebody who is Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic as it is for somebody who isn’t.