Johnian Society Committee 2018

We welcome expressions of interest from Johnians wanting to join the committee. The elected term of office is for six years and the committee meets three times a year, once in Cambridge and twice in London. Please contact the Chairman, Graham Spooner, at for more information.


Sir Alastair Norris (1969)

Alastair read Law at St John's between 1969 and 1972, and then, assisted by a McMahon Scholarship, was called to the Bar. He practised as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn, becoming a QC in 1997 and a senior circuit judge (Chancery) in 2001. Alastair was made a High Court judge in 2007. He sees the Johnian Society as a means of maintaining the life of the College for those who cannot be in residence.


John Wyn Owen (1961)
Immediate Past President

John is currently Treasurer of the Learned Society of Wales, Senior Advisor on Global Health for InterAction Council and a Bevan Commissioner. Until his retirement he was Secretary of the Nuffield Trust (March 1997 to June 2005), having previously been Director General of the New South Wales Health Department, Chair of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council and Director of NHS Cymru Welsh Office. John was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1994.

Kevin Bakhurst (1985)

Kevin is Group Director, Content and Media Policy at the UK communications regulator, Ofcom. From 2014 to 2016, Kevin was Deputy Director-General at the Irish National Broadcaster, RTÉ. He was also Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs from 2012 until 2016. He was on the BBC's London Olympics 2012 committee, which was responsible for co-ordinating the BBC's coverage of the London Olympics. He produced the BBC News coverage of the Hong Kong Handover in 1997 and has worked extensively in Brussels and Washington, including the coverage of President Obama’s Inauguration. Kevin was a Magistrate from 2000 until 2005. His interests include travel, film, reading, history, US politics and Chelsea FC.

Graham Spooner (1971)

Graham is an experienced venture capitalist, corporate financier and non-executive director. Currently, he is Deputy Chairman of the AIM quoted Rotala Plc, the Principal of Mentor UK  (his business consultancy) and an Associate of Amberley Advisory (a corporate finance firm authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority). He has had various senior roles in the Third Sector and at present is Chairman of The Johnian Society, a Trustee of the Honorary Treasurers Forum and a Trustee of the Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust which operates the only Grade I listed pier as a social enterprise.

 Treeva Fenwick

Treeva Fenwick (1995)

Treeva studied Part 1 MML and Part 2 SPS at St John's. She represented the University at Tennis (2nds). After graduating, she worked in the European Parliament, Brussels, before receiving a BBC scholarship in 2001 to study Journalism. Following that she began a 7-year career at BBC News, as both reporter and producer. Treeva joined Tesco in 2010, where her role included working with senior leadership, reputational counsel, media training, issues management and leading campaigns. She joined Unilever as their Global Director of Media Relations in 2014. There she leads Unilever's financial and corporate communication to media and oversees their global media relations network across 100+ countries. Treeva enjoys travel, theatre and sport and has a young son.


Colin Burrows (1978)

Colin read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic so found a natural home working in the media industry where going berserk is a regular occurrence. After working as a producer at Capital Radio and the BBC, he founded Special Treats Productions, which produces content for the film industry as well as a range of documentaries on the music industry for the BBC and international television. Separately he produces films in India where, oddly, Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic has not been quite as useful as he had hoped.


Emma Grainger (2006)
Finance Secretary

Emma studied undergraduate Modern and Medieval Languages between 2006 and 2010, spending her third year in Madrid. During her time at St John's she met many of her closest friends (including her now-husband Ben), was involved in the University's MML society and even joined the Astronomy Society. After graduating, Emma took a year out to travel, spending 6 months in South America with Ben before embarking on a career in tax. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Grant Thornton before joining PwC's M&A Tax Team in 2014, where she spends her time providing tax structuring and due diligence advice to private equity and corporate investors. Emma joined the Johnian Society committee in 2013, and became the Finance Secretary in 2014.  


Nick McCave (1986)
College Representative

Nick is an Emeritus Woodwardian Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences and has been a Fellow of St John’s since 1986. In college he has been involved in the admin of sports as president of the GAC then chair of the Junior Members Extracurricular Activities Committee. Nick was the Chair of the May Ball Committee for five years and had two periods on the College Council. His research aims to understand how the modern deep ocean circulation shapes the sea bed and controls the distribution of sediment properties. Nick applys that understanding to interpretation of the geological record of the changing deep-sea circulation and its impact on climate change. 


Katya Bobrova (2012)
Committee member

Katya came to St John's in 2012 to read Development Studies, focusing on Development Economics and Finance, and was awarded a full scholarship by the Cambridge Overseas Trust. After graduating, Katya spent several years at Deloitte, specialising in regulatory strategy for financial institutions, and in 2017 moved to Barclays where she has been focusing on data protection and regulatory management, including RegTech. Katya has previously worked in the area of international development and government relations. Katya completed five years of music school and piano. Recently, she attended a course at Sotheby's Institute of Art. Katya is also a keen supporter of conservation and animal welfare organisations.


Emily Brand (1987)
Committee member

Emily read English under the directorship of Professor John Kerrigan and enthusiastically played netball for the college as well as becoming President of the Lady Margaret Players.  Having learned about love in literature, she qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and is now a specialist divorce and family lawyer in partnership at Boodle Hatfield LLP. While her children were little, she taught courses on English common law to undergraduates at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam and subsequently the judiciary of Berlin and Brandenburg.  She still has a home in Berlin.  Emily hopes to encourage more Johnians across the generations to attend events and refresh their ties with the College.

Oliver Choroba (1996)
Committee member

Oliver left the College in 2004 as a postgraduate student and as a Research Fellow. He joined the teaching profession first at Charterhouse (also Head of Chemistry), Gordonstoun School (Housemaster) and from September at Radley College (Head of Chemistry). Oliver rowed for the LMBC and was a member of the 2000 Henley Boat that went through to the Friday. He also chaired the May Ball committee. Oliver also holds a PGCE, an MA in Philosophy and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Oliver is still extremely fond of the College and likes to visit when he can.

Stefan Fafinski (1986)
Committee member

Stefan read Natural Sciences at John’s which finally taught him that hard sums are not his forte and that his natural clumsiness did not mix well with delicate scientific equipment. His clumsiness, however, served him well in College football. He is now an Independent Member of the Parole Board which determines whether prisoners can be safely released into the community. Stefan also works as a legal consultant. He is Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists for 2017-18.  When not working elsewhere, he enjoys hands-on property renovation, spending time with Fraggle (his cockapoo) and doing nothing in exotic locations.

Julian Gould (1995)
Committee member

Julian studied Geography at St John's. He represented the University at football in the second team (The Falcons). After graduating, he joined Schroders on the graduate programme. Julian worked at Schroders from 1998 to 2007, where he was a Director and fund manager. As an investment analyst he has had responsibility for the utilities, luxury goods, and paper sectors. He started managing money in 2004. In 2007 he left Schroders to join Intrinsic Value Investors (IVI) as a partner and fund manager. IVI is a long-term, long-only value investor focused on European equities. Julian enjoys travel, golf and spends most of his free time trying to keep up with his three young children.


Zip Jila (2002)
Committee member

Zip read Law at St John’s College as an undergraduate, and since then has worked in the areas of cross-border and domestic financial restructuring, workouts and insolvency. She recently took up her current position as General Counsel of a hedge fund which focuses on special situations. A former President of the Winfield Society, Zip is an active alum of the Faculty of Law. On a personal level, St John’s College means a lot to Zip – she met her husband at College, got engaged on the Backs under the fireworks of the 500th May Ball, and married in the College Chapel.

Danae Mercer (2009)
Committee member

Danae Mercer is based in Dubai as Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health Middle East and Men’s Health Middle East. Previously she has worked as a freelance journalist roaming the world. Her writing focused on luxury, health and travel, with stories ranging from high-end surfing in Indonesia to bespoke destinations. Her pieces have appeared in The Sunday Times, Travelzoo, Shape, CNN Travel, Afar, Elite Traveler, The Guardian, Edgar, Bespoke, several inflight magazines and other UK, UAE and US outlets. She has also done radio for the BBC. Danae previously attended St. John's College as a Davies-Jackson scholar, and has a degree in Politics and Journalism from Creighton University. 

Victoria Raymond (2006)
Committee member

Victoria attended St John's College from 2006 to 2009 and read Law.  She was an active member of College, having played rugby, netball and hockey for the College. Victoria qualified into the Dispute Resolution department at Ashurst LLP in London and worked there for 6 years before moving to Hong Kong to join the Dispute Resolution team at Walkers.  She has since sought to connect with members of the College who are based in Hong Kong. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys sailing and has relished the opportunity to explore the waters of the South China Sea


Nigel Snaith (1979)
Committee member

Nigel read Natural Sciences at St John’s followed by a PhD from Birmingham University. He spent almost 30 years with Shell and BG Group, initially in research but later focussing on the development of new oil and gas fields and optimising production from existing fields. Nigel represented the University at golf, playing for the Stymies and enjoyed rowing for the College. Having played with the Johnian Golf Society since 1983, he took over the organisation of the golfing activities in 2013. As his predecessor in this role served for 24 years, this is likely to be a long commitment.

Mark Wells (1981)
Committee member

Mark studied Law at St John's, and his fondest memories are captaining the College hockey team and winning his blade with an LMBC Gents' boat in the Lent Bumps. Mark was formerly the Domestic Bursar at St John’s, and is now a writer living in Cambridge. He can still be found cheering on the sports teams most weekends and prowling the banks of the Long Reach during the Bumps.  Mark is happily married to Karina, whom he met at St John's, and they have two sons who come back to Cambridge occasionally to see how the old folks are doing.


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