Oliver Woolley (MBA 1992)
Oliver Woolley is the CEO of Envestors, a private investor network, and sits on Imperial's governing body, the Court.
What first encouraged you to volunteer?
It wasn't until my two sons started growing up that I decided to reconnect with Imperial. Looking at them, aged seven and ten, I realised the importance of education and the value of my Imperial MBA. After losing touch for about 15 years, I re-engaged with the College a decade ago and haven't looked back. Initially, we employed two interns from Imperial at Envestors, which was a useful experience, and as a result I joined the Business School's Alumni Advisory Board. Then I was very flattered to be invited to join the Court, which is a fascinating, diverse group of people - quite different from the 'male, pale and stale' boards I often encounter.
What are the benefits?
Last year I was making a business trip to China and got in touch with the Imperial College Alumni Association for South China. They set up a drinks party, which I hosted and gave a talk at - it was well attended and gave me a fantastic opportunity to meet alumni. Not entirely without self-interest - we are always on the lookout for new investors. I have a huge fondness for Imperial and choose to support the College with my time (and in mine and my wife's wills) regardless of any benefits to myself and my business. But through volunteering I have met so many interesting people that it is definitely two way traffic.
What outcomes can you expect?
I see the Imperial Court as having two roles - providing a sounding board for the College's strategy and acting as ambassadors. Currently, I am encouraging the College to support its own investment community and in June this year I put together a panel for a sell-out talk on crowdfunding versus angel investing. I hope it will result in greater investment in spin-outs from alumni and so I may have done a bit of good in 'giving back' - the evening was also great fun!