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Carolyn McKeeCarolyn McKee is Head of Commercial Strategy & Risk in the Medical Sciences Division. In this role, Carolyn provides leadership in relation to governance, compliance and major projects with a commercial dimension.

We talk to Carolyn about her early days practising law in Exeter, what is on her 'to-do' list, and why it may include developing her DIY skills!

What’s currently at the top of your to-do list? 

Two things are at the top of my list, first I want to progress governance improvements relating to information handling in the Division, and second I need to make sure we have an effective internal process for the Warneford redevelopment project which I am leading for the University.

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied Modern languages, then I qualified as a lawyer and practised for a couple of years post qualification in intellectual property and corporate/commercial law. It got quite dull acting for endless local businesses in Exeter who either wanted new terms and conditions of sale, or to take over the small business in the next town. Then I saw a job advertised at Oxford University seeking a corporate and intellectual property solicitor to advise the tech transfer company and Research Services, that sounded interesting and indeed it was, so I stayed there for twenty years by which time I had become Deputy Director of Legal Services. After twenty years in Legal Services I wanted an opportunity to tackle something new. The role in Medical Sciences allows me to use my many years of sector and organisational knowledge, as well as my legal skills, but it’s also a new type of role for me in which I need to develop new skills and perspectives, which will hopefully keep my mind active for another few years.

What do you like to do to relax?

I like to walk especially on the coast in Cornwall but I will also walk around the fields and roads near home. I am very pleased with myself if I fix or improve anything at home, although my DIY skills are not well developed it is fair to say.

If you weren’t Head of Commercial Strategy & Risk, what would you like to be doing?

I think I would like freedom to decide what to do every day instead of having the decision made for me. In reality, I would probably have to adjust quite a lot to anything other than a full and busy day, so I’m not sure if I would really enjoy the freedom. I like to learn languages, so I might try to improve my Spanish or Italian, ideally by living in Spain or Italy.