Introducing our new Executive Director: Chris Gurney
We are delighted to announce we have appointed Chris Gurney as OxFizz’s new Executive Director. Chris will join our team from July 2019.
You can read Chris’ introduction below.
In amongst a huge amount of expertise and experience, we’re especially thrilled that we already have a connection, as he is Chair of Governors at one of our partner access schools.
We’re really excited for what Chris is going to bring to OxFizz - a continuing to increase our focus on our impact in the university access space whilst creating more and more opportunities for volunteers to fundraise through our commercial services.
"I write this note having just returned from the first interview workshop day of the year at Dulwich College. It was a great introduction to our work and a firm affirmation of why I am joining OxFizz.
I came back touched by the dedication of our volunteers and grateful for your contributions that enable us to provide high quality support for students throughout the year.
My first job after university was as a Volunteer Coordinator, supporting 900 volunteers across London to prepare and deliver cooked food to housebound people with HIV. It was a privilege to work with such dedicated people.
Volunteers were at the heart of everything we did and the strength of our volunteer community is part of what drew me to OxFizz. It was great to meet some of our volunteers on Sunday and I look forward to working alongside you in the future.
“It was lovely to connect with one of our access partners, Villiers Park, which brought young people to the workshop event. Great partnerships are essential to the work of improving access to the best universities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This commitment to working in partnership with other access organisations was another motive for joining OxFizz. And as a Villiers Park alumnus myself (from 1999) it was nice to better understand how they are working to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I bring to OxFizz a real passion for ensuring that all young people have equal opportunities to access the best universities. I have worked and volunteered in education for the last 12 years.
6 those have been spent in senior and middle leadership roles overseeing national education programmes. I spent a year as Director of Programmes at the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET).
Before joining HET, I spent 5 years leading national research programmes aiming to improve outcomes for pupils from low income communities, first at Future Foundations and then at Teach First. I am also chair of governors of Central Foundation Boys’ School, an outstanding comprehensive school in Islington that OxFizz already partners with.
“I formally join OxFizz in two weeks and am excited about the work ahead.
The Unifrog report published last week reiterated the scale of the challenge facing us. Only 26% of the highest attaining disadvantaged students shortlist an Oxbridge college, compared to 50% of independent school students.
There is much to do to ensure that every young person has an equal opportunity to access the best universities. The current context presents exciting opportunities to enable us to reach more young people and deepen our impact.
Zoe and the team have done a fantastic job in building strong foundations from which we can build. And I want to recognise Zoe for the strong legacy that she will be leaving at OxFizz.
“Over the coming weeks, I will be getting to better understand our work, to identify our strengths as an organisations and work with the team and Board to refine how we can best grow and deepen our impact.
If you have any ideas for how we can improve what we do, please feel free to reach out.”