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Harassment Peer Support Network Contacts

Here are the biographies of current members of the Harassment Peer Support Network.

Read through and contact a volunteer from the network if you would find it helpful to talk to someone.


Ellie Biggs

I am a Digital Change Analyst for the Digital Portfolio Team in DTS. My role requires me to implement IT change projects across the University and I have received training in change management.  Since joining Reading in 2016, I have worked with a broad range of colleagues and have experienced in a lot of University departments.  I started as an Administrative Officer for Academic and Governance Services after a year of work and travel in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and have since progressed to roles in Students Services, Marketing and Campaigns and Henley Business School before joining DTS in 2022. My roles have taught me about the structure of the University and I have witnessed the different work cultures firsthand. I understand and appreciate that each role in the University comes with its own stressors and would be happy to speak with someone effected by challenging work relationships or environment.

Outside of work I am an outgoing, sociable and outdoorsy type, who enjoys meeting friends, going on adventures and travelling.  I meet new people often and draw energy from helping others as I am empathetic and kind.

For friendly, impartial advice on any issues you may be having, please contact me on Teams or by email at

Maria Broadbridge

I joined the University as part of the Academic Computing Team in DTS in June 2016. My role as a Specialist Teaching and Research Support Analyst involves supporting the computing needs of students and staff in the Meteorology Department. Prior to this I’ve obtained my BSc in Meteorology from Reading in 2007 and my PhD in Ocean Modelling from the University of Southampton in 2012. Just before joining the University in my current role I’ve been a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London in Regional Climate Modelling. Because I have moved around quite frequently in my career and often changed teams, I am very familiar with the challenges of new working environments and adapting to new roles. I am also a working mum and I focus on and try to maintain physical and emotional happiness in a very busy lifestyle!

I have a very relaxed, tolerant and non-judgemental approach to any kind of query or concern and I’m always up for an informal chat and giving advice and support where needed. I am an LGBT+ Ally. I can be contacted via email at

Sue Glover

Following my Masters of Research, I have worked in the Civil Service for over 15 years in a variety of roles to do with policy and environmental research.  I had a substantial career break and returned to work part-time in March 2022 at Reading as a Researcher Development Project Officer in the Doctoral & Researcher College where I provide support for early career researchers.  During my career I have experienced many organisational changes (reorganisations, ring-fenced job applications, redundancy etc) and some challenging personal and professional situations.  I have experienced first hand the impact of good support and the difference that can make.   

I have a particular interest in neurodiversity, attachment and trauma.  I am also a working mum and a part-time carer for my father, so I understand that life is a constant juggle of priorities!  I hope that I am easy to talk to, open-minded and would be very happy to chat with you about your situation, or even meet and grab a coffee.  Please feel free to contact me either via email or direct on Teams. 

Evangeline Gowie

I joined the Psychology department in September 2023 after four years working in mental health charities. My previous role involved facilitating open communications between management and frontline staff in hospitals and prisons. Here, I work to understand researcher’s challenges in engaging in open research, and apply this to policy and training development. These roles have made me pretty good at understanding multiple sides of the same situation.

Workplace harassment/bullying is intimidating to talk about, which can feel very isolating. I’m happy to help you work out next steps, or just be an ear to vent to. I’ve also acted as independent support for an employee who was accused of sexism by another team member. I don’t believe that many people intentionally create toxic workplaces, but understand that stress can unintentionally filter out to other colleagues. Neither workplace stress, nor having someone else’s stress taken out on them is something that anyone should ever have to deal with alone.

Contact me via email

Mark Laynesmith

I've been working full-time at the University since September 2005 and have been a priest in the Anglican Church since 2001. Much of my role involves supporting and accompanying students and staff - of any faith or none - through times of difficulty. I aim to provide a non-judgmental, friendly ear to all. I teach mindfulness and wellbeing techniques, supporting students and staff dealing with anxiety and stress. My academic background is in History, Medieval Studies and Theology.

Mark Laynesmith 0118 378 8797 Email

Mary Weller

I joined the University of Reading in 1995.  I currently work as the Finance and Office Manager for Digital Technology Services, a role I enjoy very much.  My role involves working with various teams within DTS, often dealing with confidential and time sensitive information.  I believe you have the right to work in an environment free from harassment. I am a good listener, and won’t pass judgement, I am here to support you whilst you seek advice in going through the options available to you.

In my personal life I enjoy reading, listening to music and spending time with my young Grandson who keeps me active.

I usually work a hybrid week, I can be contacted via email,,  MS Teams or 0118 378 8430

Emma Sowden

I have worked in higher education since 1997, starting at the University of Wales, Bangor, moving to the University of Reading where I have worked since 2000. For the last 24 years, I have worked in the Careers and Placement team, which has given me a wonderful opportunity to work with a huge range of colleagues across almost every part of the university and also externally with many stakeholders. I also provide voluntary consultancy to other HEIs through our professional networks.

My role at the university is to lead the support and operations of student placements as well as providing support services for students during their placement with many experiencing challenges within the workplace so I am well conversed with advising individuals on conflict resolution as well as providing advice on mediation. In addition to providing decades of confidential guidance to students, staff  and young people, I have long standing experience of managing teams and providing relationship management support  as well as providing mentorship to colleagues.

I believe very strongly that everyone deserves a voice and respect in and outside of the workplace, and I am a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, an LGBQT+ Ally and have a strong understanding of neurodiversity and disability through lived experience.

In my home-life, I am a mum of two neurodiverse teenagers with a range of complex disabilities, we are an animal mad family, spend a lot of time at zoos or with our rescue pets, and have a penchant for 80’s pop and natural history!

I would encourage anyone experiencing workplace bullying and harassment or those impacted by being accused of it, to talk to a network peer, it can really make a difference to your perspective and give you ideas on how best to find a way forward that works best for you. Contact me via MS Teams or email

Emma Butler

I have worked in Higher Education for nearly 30 years with the last 25 years at Reading as a Careers Consultant where I provide a confidential, non-judgmental careers guidance and support for students & graduates. During my career I have experienced many changes including restructures and office moves, and I have been fortunate enough to work with some great colleagues and together we ensure we support one another. I have a particular interest in mental health and have completed the Mental Health First Aid course. I realise that not everyone experiences such support at work and as a working mum I also understand that sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

I would hope that I am approachable, a good listener and a naturally supportive person. I am an LGBTQ+ Ally and also have a particular interest and understanding of neurodiversity. Please feel free to contact me either via email or on 0118 378 6614.

Jude Brindley

I have worked for the University of Reading since 2008, in a variety of roles. I currently work as a Health and Safety Coordinator for the Institute of Education, the School of Arts and Communication Design and the School of Built Environment. I've also worked for the central Health and Safety team and in various Widening Participation projects. My long time at the University and the varied roles have given me a breadth of knowledge of the University and the way it works.

I am currently a Wellbeing Peer Supporter and often work with people to signpost them to the bullying and harassment resources. Previously, as a member of the Staff Forum, I have supported staff through formal procedures. I am an open, approachable and empathetic person with a strong belief in equality and fairness. I have previously coached staff in other organisations and at the University through difficult situations with a successful outcome for all parties.

You can contact me on 0118 378 8870, 0789 474 8471, or

Rosie Pursey

I joined the University in 2008 in the Student Services team. Since then I have worked in different roles within Student Services, Admissions, the Joint Faculties Office and am now in CQSD. Prior to coming to the University I worked in Rome for 4 years as a teacher trainer, as well as teaching English to a wide range of people from young children to business executives. I have also worked as an employment tutor for 16-18 year olds with physical and mental health issues, including those with offending backgrounds. All of these experiences (some good, some not so good!) have helped to inform my attitude to harassment: I firmly believe that people should feel confident and comfortable in their workplace and should always have somewhere to turn to if they feel that this is not the case. I am a pro-active and non-judgemental listener and can be easily reached by email or phone. Rosie Pursey Ext. 0118 378 5428 Email

Simon Mealor

I joined the University in March 2003, and work as the University’s Treasury Manager in Finance. Before coming to Reading, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002 with Deloitte, London. However, before I joined Deloitte in 1999, I taught 19th and 20th Century French literature for three years as lecturer in French at Hertford College, Oxford. I have a DPhil in Renaissance French Literature and a degree in English and French from Oxford University, and spent a year teaching English in France, so have a pretty wide range of experience across some very different work cultures – the City, University administration, as a postgraduate student, as well as teaching and pastoral roles in my previous incarnation as an academic. Some of the workplaces I’ve experienced have been extremely stressful, with focuses on deadlines and financial pressures, but I’m a firm believer people should be entitled to tolerance, respect and fairness whatever the stresses of their job.

I’m usually very flexible in when and how I can be contacted, either by e-mail or internal phone. Simon Mealor 0118 378 6135 Email

Keshavan Niranjan

I joined Reading University as a lecturer in October 1989. After completing PhD at the University of Bombay, where I also lectured in chemical engineering between 1980 and 1984, I worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge between 1984 and 1989. I have been part of the Harassment Peer Support Network since the beginning of 2001. My experience in dealing with harassment matters relate to problems between colleagues (staff or students), as well as perceived prejudice based on race and gender. At Reading, we are fortunate not to have had many cases of harassment, but if you do feel harassed in any way, you are not without help. Feel free to email me at