Alumni Awards 2016

28 June 2016

Alumni Awards 2016

Find out who from our alumni community won Donor and Volunteer of the Year awards, presented at the first ever Alumni Homecoming on the Whiteknights campus.

We are honoured and incredibly proud to have both alumni and supporters of Henley Business School among the winners of this year’s University of Reading Alumni Awards, hosted at the Alumni Homecoming on 25 June. Henley is represented by three outstanding members of its community this year.

Neil Poole, MBA, 2009  – Joint Volunteer of the Year
Associate Partner, St James’s Place Wealth Management

Neil is a partner at St. James’s Place Wealth Management and helps individuals and businesses plan for and achieve their financial goals. Prior to this he has worked for various companies – examples include KPMG, BBC, several large global manufacturers, and various smaller digital agencies. Neil has also lived and worked in Europe, Asia and Africa. He has been a dedicated volunteer for Henley Business School for several years, organising the regular monthly Third Wednesday socials since 2011, and is chair of the Henley Business School London Alumni Group. Neil is committed to representing the London Alumni Group and welcomes alumni from across the Business School to their regular meet-ups. In 2016 he introduced a new series of pop-up lectures, which have been a tremendous success. Neil has also been a member of the Henley Alumni and Development Advisory Board since 2013.

Bryan Laxton, Real Estate and Planning, Land Management, 1981 – Joint Volunteer of the Year

After graduation, Bryan went on to join the UK branch of Cushman & Wakefield, staying with the company over the course of his career and eventually becoming CEO of their UK operations before retiring as a partner in 2015. Bryan has been incredibly supportive of the Reading Real Estate Foundation (RREF) for over 10 years. Bryan is a very active volunteer and regularly gives his time to secure speakers for events, raise awareness of our activities and convene meetings with potential supporters. He also regularly uses public speaking platforms to promote the focus and work of RREF. Bryan has played an instrumental role in establishing the RREF Mentoring Programme, from which approximately 1,200 students have benefitted to date, shaping the programme as its needs have evolved. Bryan has been a RREF chairman and remains a RREF trustee and an active member of the Pathways to Property Project Board (where he was responsible for raising £400,000 to help launch Pathways), as well as an advocate of RREF, Henley Business School and the University of Reading. 

Helen Rugman – Donor of the Year 

Following the death of her husband, Professor Alan Rugman, Helen has helped set up the Alan Rugman Memorial Fund to support an International Business Masterclass Studentship and a Visiting Fellowship at Henley Business School. Professor Rugman was a leading scholar in the field of international business and Head of International Business and Strategy at Henley Business School between 2008 and 2014, significantly influencing the development of the school. He was also a founding Fellow of the John H. Dunning Centre for International Business. The projects, developed with the support of Mrs Rugman’s philanthropy, aim to encourage research and study in the areas of interest most associated with the late professor, thus building on the reputation that Henley Business School has acquired in this field thanks to his major contribution to the study of international business. 

The Alumni Awards are an annual occurrence. To find out more please email your alumni team at