Meet the team

Rainbow Network Committee

Tom Syder



The role of the Chair is:

  • To chair committee meetings and disseminate information to committee members
  • To forge relationships with internal, external, regional and national networks relevant to the Rainbow Network
  • To maintain a strong relationship with HR and ensure that the network is adhering to and informing UoB policy
  • To focus the direction of the network and recognise areas for development
  • To make recommendations for and review content in newsletters, the website and other publicity materials

I joined the Rainbow Network committee because LGBTQ+ equality is a particular area of interest. In addition to the general rewarding feeling that I am helping people and giving back to the community, being on the committee has also provided specific opportunities for professional development which have been highly beneficial.

As well as the leadership skills gained, being Chair has fostered my ability to think strategically while overseeing various operational activities. My main role is to implement cultural change, which has allowed me to meet and interact with many people across the University beyond the remit of my day job, including members of UEB. I also benefit from insight into the operations and projects of many different University departments, allowing me to pick up best practice and find out about developments which I may not otherwise.

My voluntary work with the Rainbow Network has definitely had a positive impact on my career, both in terms of giving me valuable experiences to draw upon in interviews and cultivating professional skills which have helped me to progress. I would recommend anybody to join us and get involved.

Emily Villers



The role of the Secretary is:

  • To take minutes at committee meetings and AGMs
  • To select a suitable date and venue for committee meetings and AGMs
  • To deal with any minor administrative tasks that arise between committee meetings
Ryan Owens

Financial Officer


The role of the Financial Officer is:
  • To keep written records of annual budget expenditure
  • To work with the Chair to plan annual budget forecasts
  • To advise committee members on the availability of budget for particular activities
  • To procure goods and services on behalf of the committee
Jack Whitfield

Communications Officer


The role of the Communications Officer is:

  • To produce a monthly newsletter for members of the Rainbow Network and LGBTQ+ Ally scheme
  • To write copy relating to the networks for internal and external e-cards and magazines
  • To write design briefs and work with approved suppliers to create publicity material
  • To provide quotes for relevant University of Birmingham press releases


Social Media Officer


The role of the Social Media Officer is:

  • To act as the primary point of contact for incoming and outgoing messages on the Rainbow Network Facebook and Twitter pages
  • To post events and news, linking to other staff and student Equality and Diversity groups within the University and other LGBTQ+ groups and networks locally/regionally and tweeting/retweeting in order to raise the profile of the Rainbow Network online
  • To manage online advertising and campaigns
  • To monitor other university social media accounts to find out about relevant events and initiatives taking place on campus and feed these back to the Committee

Being part of a staff network committee has given me access to teams and specialists in areas all over campus, regionally and nationally that I’d never have met otherwise, giving me connections, skills and resources, opportunities (conferences) and experiences well beyond my daily job, which have all been usefully and effectively reincorporated into how I do my work.

Being part of this committee has taught me not only the social media skills I’d needed for the named role I’m doing, but also the less tangible skillsets that come with operating in a voluntary capacity, with equally voluntary colleagues. Managing always with little or no budget, I’ve learnt how to leverage change from a non-dominant negotiating position, how to diplomatically address sensitive issues, consult effectively with diverse and contradictory stakeholders. I’ve been shown how to make progress with objectives through small, manageable but stable actions after both rejection from potential sponsors and in challenging circumstances. I’ve observed the committee take tough decisions in a calm, measured fashion, sometimes to do nothing or to stop a loved activity if necessary. I’ve learned the great value in maintaining reliable, detailed documentation and planning contingency for continuity in a work area that is fraught with change.

If you want to expand your knowledge and skills in ways you might not have thought of yet, I’d really recommend joining a staff network committee. It’s not as hard as it looks and the rewards are massive.

Danielle Blackburn

Events Officer


The role of the Events Officer is:

  • To contribute to Rainbow Network strategy, campaigns, and awareness raising
  • To lead on the planning and organisation of Rainbow Network events, ensuring that they take place on different days and at different times of day
  • To engage with other staff and student Equality and Diversity groups within the University and other LGBTQ+ groups and networks locally/regionally with a view to collaborate and/or hold joint events
  • To capture and record details about LGBTQ+ events on campus as determined by the committee


Anthea Kunz

Outreach & Engagement Officer


The role of the Outreach & Engagement Officer is:

  • To represent and promote the Rainbow Network at Central Induction sessions and other relevant events on campus
  • To meet with new members of the Rainbow Network to give them an overview of the Network's activities
  • To be a confidential and objective point of contact for any staff experiencing issues relating to being LGBTQ+ in the workplace
  • To signpost staff to Wellbeing Services and other departments, without taking personal responsibility for resolving issues


Helen Coy

Campus Services Officer


The role of the Campus Services Officer is:

  • To plan and organise specific activities and events for staff with shift-based working patterns
  • To advise committee members on how to make general activities and events more inclusive for staff with shift-based working patterns
  • To advise committee members on appropriate communication routes for staff without regular computer access and to support the implementation of these routes
  • To post events and news on Instagram and act as the primary point of contact for incoming and outgoing messages through this forum
  • This role is usually reserved for staff with shift-based working patterns
Thomas Clifton

Committee Member


  Since joining the Rainbow Network Committee I have gained understanding of how broad policy decisions affect individuals, and of the importance of careful implementation. Our committee is drawn from across the LGBTQ+ spectra as well as the University, and it is motivating to see how each voiced is valued, and how collectively we can make changes which improve all our lives. I also get insight into the operations, work load, and objectives of staff working in the many departments of the University.
Laura Graham

Committee Member


Em Lardner

Committee Member


Josh Savage

Committee Member


Kate Stewart

Committee Member


Steph Waldron

Committee Member



Join us!

Members of the Rainbow Network are always welcome to join the committee. Named roles are usually assigned at our AGM unless there are vacancies during the year. We currently have a vacancy for a Social Media Officer.

Feel free to email any of us or for more information or to express an interest in getting involved!


Professional Services