Old Millfieldian of the Year Winners 2024

Old Millfieldian of the Year Winners 2024

We are thrilled to announce that our highly anticipated annual OM of the Year Awards celebration will be taking place on Friday 24 May. This prestigious event serves as a testament to the outstanding accomplishments of our esteemed alumni, showcasing their remarkable contributions to various fields and industries. 

Since its inception in 2000, our OM of the Year Awards have recognised the outstanding achievements of alumni from diverse professions and fields. From authors to Olympic champions, media personalities to theatre and film directors, gardeners to musicians, national and industrial leaders to politicians, entrepreneurs to pioneering doctors, charity and humanitarian workers, and many more, our awardees represent the breadth and depth of talent within the global Millfield community. 

We are proud to announce our winners for the OM of the Year Awards 2024. These outstanding individuals, Alison Oliver MBE, Kostas Bakoyannis, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, and Jonathan Warburton, embody the spirit of excellence and leadership that defines the Millfield community. 

View our full list of OM of the Year winners here. 

 

Alison Oliver MBE (1987-89; Warner)  

Alison is the Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to building a brighter future for young people through the power of play and sport. Alison joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 as a member of the senior leadership team and became the CEO in 2015. Prior to this, Alison was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath having joined as the course leader for the Physical Education Initial Teacher Training course. Whilst at the University of Bath, Alison established the TEAMBath Netball Super League franchise and played a central role in the delivery of the English Institute of Sport Project. Alison was awarded the University Prize for Innovation in Teaching and Curriculum design for establishing an undergraduate programme for full-time elite athletes. 

Before moving to Bath, Alison was Head of Physical Education at Millfield and Assistant Houseparent to Portway, having started her career as a Physical Education teacher in Essex. Alison attended the International Olympic Academy in 2003 as a representative of the British Olympic Foundation. She delivered the Paralympic Inspiration programme on behalf of the British Paralympic Association in 2012 and facilitated the Youth Board for the London Olympic & Paralympic Games.  

Alison currently sits on the government’s National Physical Activity Task Force, having previously worked on the International Inspirations Legacy programme for London 2012 supporting the South African Government with their school sport plan.    

Alison is currently a Trustee of the Youth United Foundation and The Wave Project, is a Director of the Sport for Development Coalition, and an independent member of the HMC Sports Committee.  

Alison was recognised as the Best Leader (not for profit category) in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies in 2020, and in the same year was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. 

 

Kostas Bakoyannis (1994-96; Orchards) 

Kostas Bakoyannis served as Mayor of Athens from 2019 to 2023, having previously served as Governor of Central Greece from 2014 to 2019 and as Mayor of Karpenissi, from 2011 to 2014.  

After leaving Millfield in 1996, he attended Brown University (USA) to study History and International Relations, continuing his postgraduate studies in Public Policy, with a specialisation in Macroeconomics, at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (2004, USA).  

He holds a D.Phil. in Political Science and International Relations, from the University of Oxford (2019, UK). Most recently he was a resident fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics. 

He has worked at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as executive manager in the private sector in Athens. He has also held positions in the European Parliament in Brussels and the World Bank in Kosovo. He is a council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a Greek Leadership Council member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).  

In 2022, he was declared “Grand Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne” by King 
Philippe of Belgium. He has served in Greek Special Forces as a Paratrooper and speaks English and German. 

 

Urška Klakočar Zupančič (Tor; 1994-95) 

Urška is well known to the public as a former civil law judge who dared to criticize the ruling politics in Slovenia during the covid19 period when the government passed a large number of decisions that were later declared to be unconstitutional. She also holds a master’s in law. 

In 1996, after returning from Millfield, she was a gold graduate student from secondary school and continued her studies at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. In 2001, she worked as a graduate student at the United Nations headquarters in New York. She graduated in law from international organizations and international economic relations. In 2005, she passed the State Bar Examination and was employed as a senior judicial adviser at the Office of the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia. In 2011, she got a master's degree in legal history. 

Urška became publicly known after expressing her opposition views to government policies, their impact on judicial independence and the excessive use of repression by the executive. Because of the invasion of her privacy and her views, she had to defend herself before a disciplinary court, where she was acquitted, but nevertheless left the ranks of judges and took a job with her own company, where she dealt with legal and business consulting. She has been highly critical of the authorities in public and continues to advocate the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.   

Urška became a member and vice-chairperson of the Freedom Movement political party. In the 2022 Slovenian parliamentary election, she was elected to the National Assembly.  

On 13 May 2022, she was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly, becoming the first woman to hold this position. Today she is one of the most influential women in Slovenia with strong political views. She fights for women's rights, for special protection of children, for better quality of life of elderly people, for animal welfare etc. She also fights against corruption and against hate speech. She is very active in foreign policy, currently putting her attention on the horrific situation in the Middle East. She is a strong advocate for democracy and one of her most known quotes is: Democracy may not be the most efficient way of ruling, but it is certainly the most humane. 

Jonathan Warburton (1971-1976; Millfield House) 

The Warburton company has been passed down for generations, however, Jonathan had his first taste for business working with Unilever, prior to joining the family firm when he was 23 years old.  

Working his way through the ranks of the company, Jonathan has been National Account Manager, Sales Director, and Marketing Director for Warburtons. Serving as Chairman, Jonathan has overseen Warburton’s through great change, going from a small family bakery to a national industry leader. Warburton’s has experienced a growth of over 60% during Jonathan’s tenure and has been named 'One of the Best Big Companies to Work For’ by The Sunday Times.  

Becoming nationally successful, Jonathan is now sitting at the helm of a business that employs over 4000 people with 12 bakeries across the country. The Warburtons Foundation was launched in 2022, pledging to help more families at a time of continued financial uncertainty. Focusing on product donation, education, and financial giving, the Foundation launched with a commitment to donate one million products directly into the hands of those families most in need through community hubs including schools and food banks. This sits alongside a trial with the charity Magic Breakfast in which Warburtons supply fresh bread to children in 30 schools. To help tackle the gap in food education, The Warburtons Foundation has also developed, a programme in partnership with education specialists, named “Bake the Most of Life” to support both primary and secondary schools with curriculum linked, free online resources. The specially crafted lesson plans and interactive content, designed to engage kids on healthy eating and food provenance, will be available for all schools to access, with a target of reaching 1.5 million children in the next three years.  

Jonathan is also Trustee of The Royal Countryside Fund (formerly The Prince's Countryside Fund), which supports family farmers and rural communities. 

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