Joanne Brunnen

Jo is a finance officer and in 2023 celebrated 35 years of working for LJMU.

It was during her first job after school that she started working in partnership with the university, at the time the Liverpool Polytechnic.

“My career started in 1986 when I left school, I was employed by Liverpool City Council when back then they did youth training schemes. My first role was visiting many of what was the polytechnic buildings and doing a survey of classrooms, seeing if they were being used as per timetabled. I moved to personnel for the housing department before taking time off to have my son. When I returned to work, I was after a part time role and job share was available in finance in Rodney House and that’s how it all began, in 1988.”

It was in 1988 that the Education Reform Act came into existence and so Liverpool Polytechnic became an independent higher education corporation away from Liverpool City Council control. As a result, Jo was officially now working for the polytechnic and then LJMU once it received its Royal Charter status as a university in September 1992.

“It’s the people that make us at LJMU. The university has not only been instrumental to my own career but to my personal life too. I met my husband David while working here.”

– Jo Brunnen

“In 1994, two years after becoming LJMU I moved to the management accounts section within the law school in Josephine Butler House as their School Finance Officer under the umbrella of Arts and Professional Studies. My line manager at the time was the now Vice-Chancellor Mark Power. This move saw me go from a salary grade 1 to a 4 which back then was a big jump.

“I loved my time at the law school, working with the Director, Roger Evans, and Deputy Director, Brian Kerrigan. It was my first-time being student facing which was great but could be challenging with regards to fees.

“In 2001 I took a chance at going for a grade 5 at the School of Education, Leisure and Community, that eventually became Education, Health and Community. Here I met my partner in crime Bernie Staniford and we became great friends always making jokes and lots more. I am blessed to have worked with so many great people and Directors including Elaine Prisk, Pat Shenton, Kate Johnston, and Ceri Daniels, there are too many to mention! Line managers changed to Management Accountants Peter Johnson, Karen Smith and now Christina Fitzpatrick.

“After the COVID-19 pandemic and with the I.M. Marsh campus closing, my next work location was Exchange Station, still doing the same role, but now back to being part of the Finance Team.

“As much as I wanted to climb the ladder, I was happy with my role and grade as the work life balance that is in place within LJMU suited me so much, and when my family needed me, I had line mangers and the benefits LJMU have in place to support me.”

Jo can also say that LJMU has brought unexpected happiness to her life.

“It’s the people that make us at LJMU. The university has not only been instrumental to my own career but to my personal life too. I met my husband David while working here, we had our daughter in 2006 and got married in 2019. We’ve been together for 30 years. Plus, I have made lots of memories, memories of Christmas parties, making friendships with colleagues, lots of laughter and occasionally some tears!”.