LGBT+ Staff Network Committee 

The LGBT+ Staff Network committee is a small group of volunteers who work together to organise network activities. We always welcome new members so if you would be interested in joining the committee please contact us at

In particular, we are keen to improve trans representation on the committee and we're actively looking to recruit into a peer support role for trans members of staff. If you would be interested in this position please get in touch via the network email address.

Who are we?

Staff Network Co-chairs

About the role: The Chair(s) contribute to both the running of the Network as well as being involved in discussions and decisions at the University level. The Chair(s) will normally serve for a period of two years, with elections to be held at an Annual General Meeting in May.

Responsibilities for the role include:

  • Organising and chairing staff network committee meetings
  • Representing the LGBT+ staff network at the University staff network chairs meetings
  • Representing the LGBT+ staff network at University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee meetings (ED&IC)
  • Writing and distributing the monthly newsletter to members of the network
  • Managing the activities/ communications for key dates in the LGBT+ calendar (including LGBT+ history month, and pride)
  • Supporting other members of the committee in their roles.

Current LGBT+ Staff Network Co-chairs


Dr Gemma Halliwell (She/Her): Co-chair LGBT+ Staff Network

Gemma joined the University of Sheffield as an undergraduate student in 2009. Since completing a PhD in pure maths in 2017, Gemma worked as a Data Analyst at Sheffield Students’ Union before moving into her current role as a Data and Reporting Analyst in the Careers Service in March 2020. Her role mainly involves creating data visualisations and reporting on activity within the Careers Service.

Gemma has been involved in a variety of equality, diversity and inclusion work during her time in Sheffield, most recently taking up the role of co-chair for the LGBT+ staff network in June 2020.  “I am proud to be a visible member of the LGBT+ community and to play a part in continuing the work of the LGBT+ staff network alongside Mark and the rest of the committee.”


Dr Mark Yarrow (He/Him/They/Them): Co-chair LGBT+ Staff Network

Mark completed his PhD in mathematical probability in summer 2019 in Sheffield's School of Mathematics and Statistics. Mark was appointed to the role of Executive Editor of the Applied Probability Trust immediately after the completion of his PhD. Mark's primary role is to manage the editorial process of a pair of world leading academic publications and oversee all operational aspects of the Trust which has been a registered charity based in the School of Mathematics and Statistics for almost sixty years.  Since his appointment in the School, Mark has taken on a number of roles around the school alongside his Executive Editor role. These include lecturing courses on probability to undergraduate students; Tutor for LGBT+ students in the School; and co chairing the staff LGBT+ network.

Committee members

About the role: Committee Membership is open to all members of the network and is undertaken on a voluntary basis. We particularly welcome members from underrepresented groups.

The committee meets approximately once every two months (but at a minimum four times a year). Dates and times will be organised by the Chair(s). Meeting days will be rotated to ensure part-time staff are able to attend. The Chair(s) will organise the agenda and ensure minutes are taken and circulated.

Committee Member Responsibilities include:

  • Attend at least 50% of the committee meetings (pro-rata basis)
  • Assist with the organisation of at least one event or activity
  • Hold one other key responsibility (e.g external engagement, or peer support)

Current LGBT+ Staff Network Committee Members


James Gregory-Monk (He/Him): Publicity/ Social Media

James works for a University spin-out company called epiGenesys, who develop web-based applications for the University and other customers. His focus on Health Research means that he works closely with customers in the Sheffield Clinical Trials Research Unit, as well as other Clinical Trial Units around the UK.

He has been a member of the LGBT+ Staff Network since he joined epiGenesys in 2011, and has represented the network as a former co-chair at a number of different events, including the LGBTQ+ STEMinar and the Stonewall Workplace Conference.  "I'm proud to be part of Open@TUoS and to be an ally to those who need it - whether it's a pointer to a student who needs advice, a visible member of the LGBT+ community to those who work around campus, or as a contributor to our LGBT+ Staff Network. If being a visible ally helps just one person feel that little bit more comfortable around campus, I think I've done a great job'


Ben Purvis (He/Him): Publicity/ Social Media

Ben joined the university on a fixed term research contract in 2020. Their research involves the use of scenario modelling and simulation to investigate strategies relating to urban sustainability.

Since joining Sheffield he has been actively engaged in the SSoA's equality and diversity work, and with the university's UCU branch as an anti-casualisation rep. Within the LGBT+ staff network Ben helps run our Twitter account and has led the recent update to our web pages.


Scotty Dixon (He/him): External Engagement

Scotty has a BSc in Biology from the university of York, and after working in the charity sector for six years dealing with all things data, systems, processes, and projects, found his way into an educational setting at the University of Sheffield; first as a Project Manager at the AMRC until the end of 2018, and now as a Business Intelligence Analyst on the Data Warehouse Project, which is soon to be the university's new and dedicated Business Intelligence Team.

In his role on the LGBT+ Staff Network Committee in External Engagement, Scotty is looking forward to making and maintaining connections with Sheffield's LGBT+ charities and organisations, and trying to foster and contribute to the wider LGBT+ community here in Sheffield.


Catherine O’Sullivan (She/her): External Engagement

Catherine joined Sheffield Students' Union in September 2019 as a Volunteer Coordinator. Her role involves working closely with students from all disciplines to develop their own volunteer programmes in schools around the region.

In 2020 she joined the LGBT Staff Network committee doing External Engagement, and hopes to be a link between the University and the Students' Union.


Kate Montague-Hellen (She/her/they/them): Peer Support (Bi+/ Pansexual) and Hospital liaison

Kate joined the University in 2014 as a Research Sister in Oncology and Metabolism. She specialises in Haemato-Oncology Clinical Trials working with patients at the Royal Hallamshire. Her patients have a wide range of cancers from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, to Mantle Cell Lymphoma, to Myeloma.

Kate is a Union Learning Representative for the Royal College of Nursing, and is the Student Nurse Liaison between the NHS and the Universities in Sheffield. She also sits on the Athena Swan Committee in the Medical School. Kate is a Bisexual/Pansexual Representative and works as a liaison between the NHS and TUoS LGBTQ+ Staff Networks.


Sarah Shahid (She/Her): Peer Support (Bi+, Disabled, BAME, Mental health and wellbeing)

Sarah has worked at The English Language Teaching Centre since summer 2010 as a Clerical Assistant, and is one of ELTC’s Wellbeing Champions. As an out and proud Bisexual, she was elected to represent all UNISON Bi members nationally at UNISON’s LGBT conference in 2010, and co-chaired the Bi Group for many years. She is passionate about working towards eradicating biphobia and bi-invisibility and has delivered conference workshops on these subjects. Sarah sits on UNISON’s Branch Committee as the Welfare Officer, Equality and Diversity Officer, and is also a steward. Sarah has been involved with the network since the launch in 2009 and is a Peer Support and Mental Health Support member for LGBT+ Staff. Sarah has previously represented the University in the following roles: Bi Role Models page, LGBT+ Allies page, and has featured in University online communications for Bi Visibility Day. Sarah is also a member of the Disability Staff Network, Autism Group, and BAME Staff Network.


Craig Best (He/Him): Peer Support (Early career support, including PhD)

Craig is a driven and passionate individual who believes strongly that everyone should be able to be their true and authentic self in all aspects of life. He joined the University in March 2020 as Deputy Director Student Support Services & Head of Student Experience with oversight of Student Administration, Student Support and Guidance, Student Wellbeing, and Student Services Information Desk (SSID).

Previously, Craig held roles at the University of Salford, Brunel University London and the National Union of Students (NUS). He has a keen interest in culture and travelling, which led him to complete his undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology and a postgrad in Higher and Professional Education. He enjoys exploring Sheffield and the wider countryside when he can with his dog Blu or taking a weekend trip to Manchester or London to see friends.

Anonymous - Peer Support (Mental health and wellbeing)

We have an additional member of the committee whose role involves peer support relating to mental health and wellbeing. We respect that members of the committee may not feel comfortable having their name and photograph included on a public webpage. There is no requirement to do so in order to take part in the committee.