My first three months at Brighton


Hello, I’m David Phillips and I have recently started working at the University of Brighton in the Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement team. I am working as Leadership Giving Officer – which is a great job! I get to go out and meet Brighton Alumni and Supporters (you are a very friendly bunch) and help match donors to projects at the university. It is really great being able to see first-hand the impact gifts of all sizes have on students and our wider university community.


Who am I, and why Brighton?

I am originally from Staffordshire and moved down south 10 years ago to study Music in Chichester, then went to the University of Southampton for my Masters in Music Performance – I specialised in Historical performance playing Recorder and Bassoon. I love baroque music but also 90’s pop and disco – the playlist in my car is varied!
My original plan was to move to the south for a few years to go to university then join an orchestra and travel the world. 10 years later I’m still on the south coast and love it! I live in Chichester and have a beautiful drive along the coast and through the South Downs to work each morning. It’s such a beautiful place to live, as a student I was unaware of all the treasures on our doorstep and 10 years on I’m still discovering new gems to explore.

I have wanted to work at the University of Brighton for a while, when I saw the job advert I had to apply! The University has such a great reputation for creativity and inclusivity that all alumni should be very proud of. Brighton’s focus on Practical Wisdom and Practical Philanthropy ensures that everything we do has a real-world practical impact.

What have I achieved in my first 3 months?

Whilst it’s a bit daunting starting a new job I have been made to feel very welcome!
My first aim was to meet as many people as possible from all over the university. This has become something of a numbers challenge, with 160,000+ alumni there are a lot of you to meet! I am always up for meeting for a coffee in Brighton or travelling to you, I love hearing about your experiences at the university and now – please do get in touch. It has been really inspiring hearing so many personal stories of the impact of studying at Brighton and meeting people who are passionate that today’s students are given the same opportunities. At graduation in August student recipients were able to meet individual donors, I have found it very moving meeting donors that share our vision of a diverse community open to everyone despite their personal finances. 

Working in Brighton has meant I have also become a commuter, in my previous job I only had a 15 minute walk to work (at the time I didn’t realise how lucky I was). This has meant I have had to say good bye to my first car Esther the Fiesta, who was struggling with the hour dive each way, and have upgraded to a mini that has such luxuries as electric windows and air con. Now that I am travelling in style am I able to get about much easier between all the campuses allowing me to get out of the office and meet even more of you.

Other highlights include, alumni events at the Amex Offices and on the i360. And exploring all the wonderful coffee shops in Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne.

What do I want to do in the next 3 months?

In the next 3 months I would like to plan some trips around the UK and abroad to meet alumni and supporters who live further afield. I would really like to get out to see the alumni group in Hong Kong – I have never been so any travel tips would be helpful. I would also like to launch some more alumni and supporter events in the UK, maybe something a bit different from the traditional networking drinks, if you have any suggestions for venues or activities drop me a message.

I am going to be working with academic schools on projects including the launch of the new business school which includes a mock court room and pro bono law clinic, the annual Cinecity film festival and the Galleries and Theatre at the University.

Outside of work I have just got a new puppy called Gustav. My first priority with him is to finish toilet training. Anyone with a dog will know this is a slow process.

It’s going to be an exciting and busy few months! I would love to meet as many of you as possible so please get in touch and we can connect online or have a coffee and I will be able to share with you some of the university’s plans and find out your link with the university community.

David Phillips – Leadership Giving Officer 01273 641578

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