Trustee Board

In non-profit organisations, the board of trustees is made up of elected or appointed individuals who will oversee the function of the organisation, ensuring that the core values and purposes of the organisation are reflected in the operation process. Our Board of Trustees is made up of the five Officer Trustees, three Student Trustees and five External Trustees, get to know them below!

Melanie Welaratne

Student Trustee
How or why did you become a trustee of the Union of Students?
I was approached by Grace the current Union President at the time. After chatting and finding more information on the role I decided that this would be a great way to support, represent and empower students.
What is your fondest memory of being a student so far?
Getting involved in general, I have always been engaged with the Union of Students but being a trustee was one step further and so worth it.
Tell us about what you study and why you chose it...
I study Fine Art, I’m currently in my 3rd year. I chose to study this subject because I when people asked me that dreaded question “where do you see yourself in five years” I still had no clue. Art had always been a constant in my life and the course has let me study and research into multiple subjects. I now find myself aiming to move onto a Master’s in Education and hopefully teach. Being a trustee and getting an inside look into education really helped me realise my love for it all.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
People do. They range from my family to friends to famous social media icons/artists. It is acts of kindness which inspire me to give back. Acts of wisdom that encourage me to never stop learning and acts of determination that motivate me every day.
If you could join one club or society, what would it be and why?
I have been a part of Women’s Rugby and been on committee and have been the president of the Athletics club for two years in a row, however, if I had the time to try something new I would have loved to join Musical Theatre!
What do you hope to bring to the trustee board?
I hope to bring enthusiasm and curiosity. Last year I focused on bringing a strong BA student voice by collecting your concerns and voicing them out at meetings, this year I want to grow the feedback I get to result in more of an impact.

Muhammad Ali Yousuf

Student Trustee
How or why did you become a trustee of the Union of Students?
I have been active in extracurricular activities since my undergraduate education via societies and student representation. As this is my last stage of the university education as a postgraduate research student, I continued my association with the Union of Students. Through gradual progress, from college representative to PGR officer at Derby US, the Student Trustee position was the last missing role in my profile. I was told about the opening by the President of the Union. Without a second thought, I applied. After initial screening and interviews, I was offered the Student Trustee position.
What is your fondest memory of being a student so far?
There are many memories which I will cherish. However, getting involved in charity event for the family of my deceased colleague is close to my heart.
Tell us about what you study and why you chose it...
I am a post graduate research student, studying / completing my PhD studies at the college of Engineering & Technology. I am part of the Rolls-Royce funded project and that was the main reason why I choose the University of Derby.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This quote is so inspiring and highlights the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.
If you could join one club or society, what would it be and why?
There are already many societies, however, I would like to join or promote PGR society as this represents my stage of education.
What do you hope to bring to the trustee board?
I would bring years of industry and academic experience. I am already familiar with the dynamics of Student Union and due to my past experience, I could effectively direct leadership and vision into the Derby US strategic decisions.

Jaqueline Hallam

External Trustee
How or why did you become a trustee of the Union of Students?
I have been a school governor/chair of governors for many years and both of my daughters have been to university. I have recently decided to work part time and this has released more time for me to make the commitment being a trustee would require. I wanted to use some of my time in the voluntary sector and as I have a particular interest in education and young people the Union of Students is a good fit for this.
What is your fondest memory of your student days?
I never attended university as I joined an A Level Management Training Scheme with M&S. I was told by a manager that I had joined the “University of Life!” There were quite a few trainees at the time and we spent a lot of time away on courses, sandwiched between varied social activities many of which involved drinking copious amounts! I recall enjoying meeting lots of new and diverse people and finding myself in different and unexpected situations which was exciting. It made me aware that there were endless opportunities if you were open to them.
Tell us a little about your career
I worked for 36 years in a variety of HR generalist and specialist roles for Marks & Spencer plc across the UK as well as in Dublin and Warsaw. Following a short career break I decided to return to the world of work and am currently a Divisional HR Business Partner for the Co-op. At present I am part of a transformational change team.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
I need to able to be in a position where I can operate with honesty and integrity which are my core values. I have high personal standards and value this in others expecting 100% commitment. I need to feel I am making a difference and adding value, I want to be able to “give back” as not everyone is as fortunate to have the same experiences and opportunities. I want to support those that need it most and don’t always feel they are being heard.
What are your specialisms or particular interests?
I would say I am a highly skilled business leader used to working in fast paced, customer focused environments. I am a strong decision maker, while being pragmatic and adaptable. I am particularly experienced in leading successful transformational change. I am a Chartered Member of CIPD and have a particular interest in workplace mediation and NLP. I am also a trustee for Inspire North a mental health charity based in Leeds.
If you could join and of the Unions clubs or societies, which would it be and why?
I love to read so would probably join the book club. I bought the Harry Potter Books for my daughters who were not in the least bit interested but I became an avid fan so would probably join Dumbledore’s Army for fun too!
What do you hope to bring to the trustee board?
My aim is to bring my Business and HR expertise to the role and facilitate the Student Union in delivering its strategic plan to the best of my ability.

Chris Hughes

External Trustee and Chair
How or why did you become a trustee of the Union of Students?
Having been on the Governing Council of the University for 16 years, the last six as Chair, on retirement I wanted to maintain strong links with a University I so admire and in particular to carry on the student focus so important to a University’s and student success. I was honoured to be asked and look forward to helping make a positive outcome for all our students.
What is your fondest memory of your student days?
Undoubtedly the opening of the theatre at the University of Sheffield in 1971 a joint project between the Union and the University in which I took the technical lead. It continues successfully to this day.
Tell us a little about your career
I left University with a degree in Chemistry but because of my theatrical connections joined the BBC as a Studio Manager in London working in the World Service and Foreign Language services. I then moved back to Sheffield into local radio as a producer and presenter for five years before moving to Radio Four’s Special Current Affairs Unit producing programmes from Parliament and the City. I left to join Commercial radio in Nottingham at Radio Trent as programme director and then MD and saw the expansion of our services across Leicester and Derby before moving back to London to work on Capital Radio, Classic FM and Planet Rock. I retired in 2008.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
I’m inspired by creating an environment for talent and ability to flourish. I firmly believe that in everyone there is something so very special and unique as managers it is our job to find and develop that effectively.
What are your specialisms or particular interests?
I’m passionate about birds and the environment and have travelled widely in Europe, the Middle East and Asia on birding trips particularly favouring Mountains and Deserts. I’m treasurer of Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers and the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, The Caucasus and Central Asia. For the Board I’m well versed in Governance, Finance, Strategy , Planning and the Politics of the Sector.
If you could join and of the Unions clubs or societies, which would it be and why?
Musical Theatre and Drama as I have a special interest. I would though like to see some environmental or wildlife societies on the roster.
What do you hope to bring to the trustee board?
Experience that will encourage and enable our students to make bold decisions for themselves and their successors.

Adam Buss

External Trustee
How or why did you become a trustee of the Union of Students?
I was fortunate enough to have been elected as a Sabbatical Officer after my studies finished and the role gave me such a good insight into possible future careers and a greater appreciation of the challenges of running an organisation. I also benefitted hugely from the SU when I was a student that I wanted to give something back and ensure that as many students as possible took up the increasingly important opportunities the SU presents.
What is your fondest memory of your student days?
For me like many I suspect it was building life-long friendships but if I had to pick out one memory it was the first time we got nominated for a Guardian student media award and the feeling that the whole team had of making it happen.
Tell us a little about your career
Communications and Research Officer at SU – Stand-up comedian and Actor – Head of Media for the UK’s leading Youth focused Experiential Marketing Agency (London) – Press Manager, Derby Playhouse – Marketing Manager, Deputy Director then (now) CEO of QUAD. I also had my first job when I was 14 and have worked continuously since then including during summer holidays of University and believe hard work, passion and dedication are key elements to success. The arts have always been part of my life and I am very fortunate to work in a field I believe changes peoples lives for the better.
What inspires and/or motivates you?
Working with and for brilliant people, the arts, sport, my family and knowing that we can always do more to make the world a better place.
What are your specialisms or particular interests?
Governance, strategic planning, creative thinking, communications, budget management and income diversification.
If you could join and of the Unions clubs or societies, which would it be and why?
Radio Society! Was a massive influence on me whilst at Uni and also post in my career? I also met some wonderful diverse people and learnt a lot from the various shows that I was part of. Student Radio is limitless in the creative possibilities and am passionate about others benefitting from it.
What do you hope to bring to the trustee board?
Sound business sense, a keen sense of social conscious, focus on diversification in all its forms and a passion for Derby SU.