After six years working as sales and editorial assistant for the publishers Grove Books, whose office is housed in Ridley’s basement, Dona moved up the stairs to the ground floor to job-share with Lizzie Allen on reception, becoming at the same time the college’s webmaster.
Following a brief period working on the second floor as Acting Admissions Officer, in 2009 she ‘completed the set’ by moving to a new office on the top floor of what was formerly the Principal’s Lodge, to take up an official role designing print and online publications for the college. With offices any further up the building in short supply, we await with interest the day she is relocated to the top of the college clock tower!
Her role as designer for the college in effect sends Dona on a similarly wide-ranging but virtual tour of the college, and it is perhaps this aspect of the job that she enjoys most – the opportunity to get to know the college’s work and ministry from multiple angles.
She works closely with the college’s four (very different) Centres, advising on marketing ideas, and designing everything from pvc banners to promote the Centre for Pioneer Learning, to branded promotional stationery for CYM at Ridley Hall, to posters and e-postcards to publicise conferences run by Faith in Business and the Simeon Centre.
Twice a year she designs and manages the production of News from Ridley, the college’s magazine for friends and alumni, and it is this together with her website work that gives her most insight into the heart of the college’s work – our students. As churchwarden of a local parish, she particularly values the additional bond between her faith and work afforded by Ridley students gaining practical experience on placement at her church.
Dona is currently helping to establish a new interdisciplinary initiative in the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Governance Labs seeks to translate knowledge and lessons about decision-making into practical tools for those who exercise authority on behalf of citizens.
CGL's aim is to empower citizens and leaders to meet the challenges facing society, especially in developing countries where populations live closer to the edge and where poor decisions cost lives in untold numbers.
Dona is enthusiastically and deeply committed to her church, St Michael and All Angels (Caldecote with Childerley) and enjoys using skills gained through her day jobs to benefit the life and witness of her congregation and the wider church when she can. She currently runs two websites for the church (a services and events website, and a fundraising website for the Friends of Caldecote Church).
Dona has taken an unusual route through life, by her own admission! Staying on in Cambridge after graduating from St John’s College with a BA in Classics, she took a job as a domestic assistant at a catholic convent where, over her six years working for the nuns, she received support, wisdom and friendship from the community for which she will be ever grateful.
Since then, she has worked for Grove Books Ltd, housed in Ridley Hall offices, and has had the privilege of working for Professor Jeremy Begbie for seven years during which a new theology/arts initiative (Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts) was established. The work gave opportunites to discover and hone skills in a wide variety of areas, including event management.
Selection of design work for Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (2008-2013):
Portfolio of designs for church-related activities:
Download Dona McCullagh's CV: