Judges announced for London Higher Awards

With our 25th birthday celebrations coming up this year, we are delighted to be hosting an awards ceremony aimed at celebrating London HE. As a part of this, we welcome a distinguished panel of judges who will be helping us make the final decisions on submissions to the awards.

If you haven’t managed to submit yet, you have until 07 March to enter one of our 12 categories, ranging from wellbeing, to international to civic (and many more!). Nominations are easy to submit, with the whole process outlined on our website.

Mary Curnock Cook CBE is our lead judge and will be coordinating the panel.

Woman with blond hair speaking at podiumMary Curnock Cook is an independent education expert serving in a non-executive capacity on a number of Boards. From 2010-2017, Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS. Earlier in her career she held executive and non-executive positions in the education, hospitality, food and biotech sectors.

As a NED with Pearson Education, Mary chairs its Qualifications Committee and also chairs the governing body of the Dyson Institute. She is a non-exec Director at the London Interdisciplinary School, the Student Room and Education Cubed, and a Trustee at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the River Learning Trust.

Mary has an MSc from London Business School and was awarded an OBE in 2000, and a CBE in 2020 for services to further and higher education.

Mary will be joined by:

John Dickie, Chief Executive, BusinessLDN

Man in blue shirt smiling at cameraJohn Dickie is the Chief Executive at BusinessLDN. Formerly the organisation’s Director of Strategy and Policy, he was responsible for the business membership organisation’s public policy development and its member management team. A former Deputy Leader of Camden Council in London, John was a member of the current Mayor of London’s London Finance Commission, the previous Mayor’s Infrastructure Delivery Board and is a member of the King’s College Commission on London.

His previous senior roles include Head of Corporate Affairs at the BBC, Regulatory Affairs Director at the European Competitive Telecommunications Association and Managing Director of consultancy Prima Europe, later GPC London, where he provided political and policy advice to major international businesses. John started his career at Swiss Bank Corporation International and has degrees from Oxford University and the London Business School.

Amatey Doku, Senior Consultant, Moorhouse Consulting

Man with glasses smiling at cameraAmatey Doku is a Senior Consultant at Moorhouse Consulting, working in their Higher Education and People and Culture Teams. Prior to that he worked as a consultant for Nous Group, working on a range of HE projects, from student experience to EDI. He sits on the Board of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as an independent co-opted member of the Board. 




Simon Emmett, IDP Connect

Man in blue shirtSimon leads the strategic direction and operational delivery of IDP Connect, the business-to-business division of global education company and ASX 100 listed organization, IDP Education. With more than 20 years of experience in Higher Education sector, Simon is a leading figure within the industry and regularly provides expert comment and analysis on policy, trends, and sector developments.
Sitting on the Global Leadership Team for IDP Education, Simon leads the direction of strategic partnerships and government relations for IDP across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. Simon is responsible for the delivery of IDP’s client-facing data and insight, marketing and recruitment solutions for higher education clients across the world. In addition Simon leads student facing research websites and apps including The Complete University Guide and Whatuni.


Smita Jamdar, Shakespeare Martineau

Woman in black blouse.Smita is Relationship Partner for Shakespeare Martineau’s education clients and advises on strategic, regulatory, constitutional, governance and student matters. Her approach is best summed up by Chambers & Partners: “She is very knowledgeable about the sector, very well informed about the challenges the sector faces, and insightful about how we could change and adapt.” Smita is a member of the Higher Education Commission and an enthusiastic contributor to sector debate through the firm’s education blog, Going Further & Higher and her Twitter feed. She has Honorary Doctor of Law degrees for services to higher education from the Universities of Warwick and Lincoln and a Fellowship from the University of Worcester.




Antonia Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for London

Woman with long hair smilingAntonia is Chief Executive Officer at the Centre for London. Prior to joining Centre for London in September 2023, Antonia worked across numerous think tanks, charities and campaigning groups promoting progressive economic development. Most recently she worked at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), where she led on advancing anchor networks and community wealth building in local economies across the UK. Antonia is also is Chair of the board of Rethinking Economics. She has expertise across progressive local economic development, deepening democracy and sustainable economics. Antonia holds a Master’s degree with distinction in Politics and Communications from the LSE, and a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Catherine McGuinness, City of London Corporation

Woman in blue blazer smiling at cameraA financial services professional by background and former Chair of Policy & Resources of the City of London Corporation, Catherine now holds a portfolio of roles. 

On education, Catherine is an Independent Member of Council of City, University of London, chairs the City of London Academies Trust, and is a board member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment.  She is currently Upper Warden of the Worshipful Company of Educators, the City livery company established to raise awareness of, and to promote, the education profession.   She has also previously chaired the board of governors of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 

Catherine led a government-commissioned taskforce aimed at boosting socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK Financial and Professional services.  As a non executive director of Connected Places Catapult, she is currently leading a Net Zero Investment Taskforce for 3Ci, the UK Cities Cliate Investment Commission. 

A solicitor by training, Catherine studied PPE at St Anne’s College, Oxford.