Chair – Dr Rossana Espinoza (Virgin Media)

R EspinozaI am a Learning Experience Designer at Virgin Media specialized in Learning and Development, Learning Experience Design and User Experience . Before this, I devised outstanding online modules for Avado Learning, focused in Apprenticeship programmes (Business Analysts and Data Analysts) and Professional Qualifications for CIPD Learning and Development professionals. In the HE sector, at Westminster and Middlesex, I devised pioneering online courses: Academic Integrity, Working with the Prevent Duty. Implemented performance management systems and e-learning suites of compliance modules and blended learning modules.

As SDF Chair, I am leading the SDF to transition into new adventures! I led the organisation of the first virtual SDF’s Festival of Learning and Development during the pandemic. I added a horizontal structure with an invigorated Exec team working in specific themes aligned to our founding and strategic partner AdvanceHE. I am supporting the sustainability of regional networks. We are having fun!

Treasurer – Dorota Tworek-Uptas (London South Bank University)

Dorota Tworek-Uptas

I would describe myself as being passionate about Staff Learning and Development. My role at London South Bank University allows me the opportunity to seek new challenges and opportunities, enabling me to learn more about Learning and Development and Organisation Development that I am then able to put into practice.

My strong interpersonal skills help me easily develop rapport with those I come into contact with and to work effectively with colleagues on different levels and from different backgrounds.

I am familiar with challenges, opportunities and administrative processes, which will enable me to work effectively with the administrative element of the role, and my previous work in the accountancy and financial sector will assist in the complexities of the role, such as that required by Companies House.


Executive – Michael Monaghan (Liverpool John Moores University)

m.monghanI am a proactive learning and development practitioner with an MA in Advanced Educational Practice: Teaching and Learning. I’ve worked at LJMU for over twelve years in various learning and development related roles and am currently a Leadership and Development Adviser for LJMU’s contemporary Leadership and Development Foundation.

On a day-to-day basis I design and deliver development activities, sessions and programmes for training, teaching, coaching, mentoring and action learning, and lead on a number of strategic level projects for LJMU, including OD projects to affect institutional change and enhance culture. My master’s research gave me the opportunity to further my interest in active learning and passion for making learning engaging. I have won AUA Member of the Year twice for combining their AUA CPD Framework with active learning in innovative and pragmatic ways: developing an AUA Accreditation Programme and three development resources which the AUA have launched nationally. I was featured in the THE Magazine last year after I became the first two-time winner of the AUA award: Leading the area of active learning for the SDF is a very exciting and welcomed challenge.

Outside of work, I am a Level 1 sushi chef, amatuer golfer, aspiring triathlete, enthusiastic writer, and father to two amazing children.


Executive – Carol Steed (University of Nottingham)

c.steedHaving worked in higher education for over 22 years in a range of academic and professional service roles, it’s safe to say I have a passion for learning and a curiosity about change and innovation. From leading national and international organisational and cultural change research projects; leading a faculty specialising in work-based learning; running a consultancy business; and launching an academy specialising in leadership development, I have a range of perspectives which help me to be open to the traditions of the past and be excited about the possibilities of the future.

As a life-long learner I have six post-graduate qualifications, and am currently studying for a Doctorate in Education, my focus being on complexity, leadership practice and higher education – you can’t get much more topical than that! I believe learning is for everyone at any stage in their career, with learning in work, at work and through work being the most powerful of the lessons we can engage with.

When I haven’t got my nose in a journal paper, I enjoy walking my dog on the beaches of the North Yorkshire coast and I’ve recently started doing cross-stitch embroidery again as a way of keeping busy whilst relaxing!


Executive – Clare Trembleau (University of Aberdeen)

I’ve been a Learning and Development Professional for over 20 years and have worked in the Public, Private and latterly Charity sector for 12 years before moving to the University of Aberdeen to become the Staff Development Partner.

I love working with people to develop their full potential and enable them to work effectively with skills they have learnt through our learning interventions. I have a real interest in understanding why we do what we do and what drives our behaviour and sharing these insights to build empathy and understanding of each other to foster a supportive working environment.

I am a qualified Coach and workplace Mediator and use my transferable skills to offer different perspectives on the challenges we face when managing people.

Another area of interest is the development of Women in Higher Education and encouraging colleagues to engage in development and share experiences at all levels so we can support our like-minded colleagues and hopefully start to redress the balance.

I am delighted to be supporting the SDF in my role as SDF Executive and to be able to give something back to a network which has been and continues to be so supportive over the past two years since I started at the University of Aberdeen. I am looking forward to developing the Special Interest Group and engaging with the community supporting our colleagues.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends and travelling abroad to discover new places. We have recently re-homed a cat and my current obsession is trying to just get him to acknowledge me!!