A number of Westminster alumni and supporters have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2021 for their achievements and services to their respective industries.

The front of Buckingham Palace

Along with the Birthday Honours, the New Year Honours list is the most significant announcement of civilian and military gallantry awards. The recipients have improved the lives of others or are outstanding in what they do in some way. 

Rajinder Tumber, Computer Science BSc Honours graduate, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the cyber security industry. Tumber has worked in the cyber security industry for over a decade and has written many articles which have been published by magazines such as Forbes. He has devised a unique framework called CyberDD6®, which addresses the lack of cyber due diligence in the Mergers and Acquisitions process. During 2021, a major book publisher will be releasing Tumber’s latest innovation, Cyber Security in Mergers & Acquisitions, which incorporates his framework. This industry handbook will help to create the next generation of students in the domain of Mergers and Acquisitions. 

Tumber is a cyber security specialist, a valued mentor to students and a board member at the University of Westminster. He is a survivor of Meningitis and now advocates for raising awareness of the possibly fatal infection. In 2017, he broke a century-old world record for writing the world’s longest love poem, Divine Verse, and has recently completed his second poem titled ‘Royal Britain’.

Jenny Garrett, Business Administration BA alumna, has been awarded an OBE for her services to entrepreneurship and to women in business. Jenny is a long-term supporter of the University and students at the University of Westminster. She is also a published author, a Freeman at the Guild of Entrepreneurs, an award-winning career coach and TEDx speaker. She provides practical advice and tips on improving public speaking skills and has extensive experience coaching individuals from companies such as Ernst & Young, American Express, Accenture and Shell. 

Jenny is also the founder of Reflexion Associates, an expansive, holistic and enlightening leadership coaching and development consultancy, which aims to evoke the best in individuals, teams and organisations. 

Talking about his recognition, Rajinder Tumber said: “It is an absolute honour to be awarded an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen. Today, we live in a mobile, connected world and the cyber threat landscape is increasing so the need for cyber security is becoming greater. Being awarded the MBE indicates that cyber security is increasingly being recognised as an essential area and I am proud to represent the industry.

“I am someone who has previously hit rock bottom in life – years ago, I was unemployed, and I have also nearly died in hospital from meningitis. To go from there to where I am today, with an MBE from the Queen, I would say the MBE serves as a symbol that if you fight for your life and innovate and help others, your life will become more enlightened and your efforts will be recognised and rewarded.”

Other alumni and University partners to have been recognised in the New Year Honours List 2021 include Debbie Scully who studied Management Studies in 1987, Deputy Principal and Deputy CEO at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, who received an MBE for her services to drama training and higher education, and Michael Kuhn, Founder of Qwerty Films and a loyal supporter of the University’s Regent Street Cinema, who was awarded a CBE for his services to the film industry.

Catherine Tuitt, who studied a Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) programme at the University, received an MBE for her services to the community in London. Speaking about her award, Catherine said: “I am delighted and grateful to receive such recognition for my service to the community of London. I wish to thank all the dedicated kind and wise people from all backgrounds and diversity I have met over many years during my community service across London . Including the staff and my peers of the University of Westminster. I intend to continue to contribute to the city of London in what ever way I can. After such a difficult year for all of us this honour is especially humbling.”

Maria Lenn, who studied for a BA in Social Science at the Polytechnic of Central London, was awarded an MBE for her services to unemployed people in London. Maria is the Founder of the charity Suited & Booted, which helps unemployed, vulnerable and low-income men into employment by providing interview clothing and interview advice. 

Caron Bradshaw (LLB 1990) was awarded an OBE for her services to charity. Caron is Chief Executive of the Charity Finance Group, a membership organisation which supports finance professionals from over 1,350 charities to develop essential leadership and financial management skills.

Famous names on the list this year also included actress Sheila Hancock, ex-footballer Jimmy Greaves, singer, songwriter and record producer Craig David, and make-up artist Pat McGrath.

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