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Warm welcome for Interim Assistant Vice-Chancellor

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May 29 2015

The new interim Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Glyndŵr University says she is impressed by the rich and varied community of lecturers, students and researchers at the north east Wales institution.

A keen rugby fan and fundraiser, Louise Casella was born and raised in Cardiff and went on to work at the city’s university for more than 25 years after graduating from nearby Swansea.

Specialising in strategic planning and internal management structures, she brought all of her experience and skills to the challenge of helping Glyndŵr University achieve stability - financially, academically and with the students, staff and stakeholders at the heart of all future decisions.

Having headed-up the departments of planning, student recruitment, the VC’s office, fundraising, marketing, and the international office while in South Wales, Louise is working with staff and governors on a new long-term strategy for Glyndŵr - to be unveiled in July - before staying on in the north until later this year.

Having left Cardiff University in 2012 to start her own successful consultancy and executive coaching business, the married mother-of-two says the lure of joining Glyndŵr and “belonging to something again” is what brought her to the region.

“The situation we have here at Glyndŵr University is in some ways similar to the one Cardiff was in when I arrived in 1988, where we were handling big organisational upheaval and dealing with the aftermath of financial troubles,” said Louise.

“I knew, particularly after speaking with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Upton, that we would have to make decisions, quick decisions, to build the University up again, and that has proven to be the case.”

She added: “I immediately saw a lot of potential in Glyndŵr and think there is so much we can do here. There is the opportunity to reinvent the institution and make big jumps forward. I don’t think you get those same opportunities at bigger and established universities.

“There is also a really great team of people who are open to change and have welcomed me, which was heartening - I feel like a part of the university after just a matter of weeks.”

As well as producing a strategic plan, Louise believes her experience in other areas will contribute to the University going forward.

She admits herself to asking questions of the people around her… lots of them.

“My role is to question, test and ask,” said Louise.

“It’s about bringing the best out of people, getting them to take a step back and look again at their department or course or a problem they may have. It’s about finding the solution but not just in the short-term.

“While we have immediate problems to sort out we have to keep an eye on the long term. A lot of the important things we have to do are further away on the horizon but we have to look at the impact of these decisions in two, three, four years’ time.”

She added: “The important thing about that is that we can’t do it alone, we need to look at partnerships that will help us progress, and to have confidence in where we are.

“I truly believe if everyone continues to work together, remains focused and keep creating and welcoming new ideas then we can achieve that.”

When she’s not at work, Louise and her husband Mike can be found watching their beloved Cardiff Blues and local rugby side Rhiwbina, whom her sons Joe and Dylan have both played for.

As chair of the Tenovus Cancer Care’s Ball committee she is also a major fundraiser and is currently enjoying a “year of giving selfishly” for the cancer charity.

“I decided earlier this year to see how much money I can raise just by doing things I enjoy and going about my daily life,” said Louise.

“I will, of course, be there for the fundraising ball and recently took part in the Goodnight Walk, and these are things I love to do, so they are not a challenge to me.

“If I’m honest I’m never going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or run 26 marathons in 26 days or do anything remotely heroic - I’m not that kind of person.

“But this charity is very close to my heart and I may even join the Tenovus choir here in Wrexham… though I am a dreadful singer!”

Sponsor Louise at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LouiseCasella

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