Successful Leicester figures become Pro-Chancellors at DMU

Successful figures who have helped bring economic, charitable, artistic and social benefits to Leicester have been recognised by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). 

A number of individuals have been invited to become Pro-Chancellors, playing a key role in events like graduation ceremonies and acting as friends and ambassadors to the university. 

Some have already attended the recent winter graduations, which saw hundreds of students celebrate completing their degrees in ceremonies held at Curve theater. 

Those joining DMU as new Pro-Chancellors are: 

Khudeja Amer-Sharif 


Khudeja has more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles in finance, education and the voluntary sector. She has led diverse teams of professionals, implementing organisational change, spearheading equality and diversity agendas. The Shama Women’s Centre, based in Leicester, helps women from diverse communities overcome cultural, economic and language barriers. As CEO for the centre, Khudeja pioneered innovative mental health support programmes, improving outcomes in education, work and health inequalities. Khudeja is also an advocate for patients in the health service, through taking on a number of board lay roles within the NHS. 

Jiten Anand 


Jiten, 34, is co-founder and the executive director of Inspirate - a National Portfolio Organisation that celebrates the intertwined culture of the Indian subcontinent and the UK. He has been instrumental in bringing to life an array of nationally leading arts festivals - from 'An Indian Summer' to 'Bring The Paint'. Jiten has collaborated with a breadth of prestigious organisations, including the Royal Collection Trust and the British Science Association. As a creative entrepreneur, he has become adept at building bridges between international corporations and the arts - working with companies such as Sony Entertainment Television and State Bank of India. Jiten is a Trustee of New Art Exchange, has served as a Vice-Chair of Leicester Arts Festivals, and is passionate about harnessing the arts to inspire positive social, cultural and economic change. 

Jenny Cross 


jenny cross

Jenny is the founder and chief executive officer of Leicester-based marketing agency Cross Productions. The company creates strategic marketing campaigns to help increase both corporate and personal brand awareness. Jenny, who is a Virgin Start-Up mentor and East Midlands Chamber patron, graduated from DMU herself with a PGCert in Professional Coaching. She became an entrepreneur in residence at DMU in 2018 and has gone on to develop a training role working on the university’s flagship Crucible start-up incubation programme supporting graduates and alumni with marketing masterclasses and business mentoring. In 2020, she joined the Business Advisory Board of DMU’s Leicester Castle Business School, advocating for the university in the business community. She is also a guest lecturer on DMU’s marketing degree course and keynote speaker on DMU’s MBA programmes. 

Byron Dixon 

Byron Picture

Byron Dixon, an OBE and the chief executive officer and founder of Micro-Fresh®, embodies entrepreneurial spirit. At 18, unable to afford university, he entered the retail industry and studied chemistry at The Open University. His breakthrough came when an anti-mould chemical caused burns from new leather sofas. Byron’s innovative safe leather treatment gained traction. Inspired by smelly football socks, he developed the now widely used Micro-Fresh® technology, revolutionizing antimicrobial solutions.

Micro-Fresh® was accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2013, providing access to capital and business mentorship. Byron graduated from the program at Aston University, and the subsequent Goldman Sachs Ambassador Programme at University of Oxford Said Business School, sharing his experience with other young entrepreneurs while continuing to grow Micro-Fresh®. Byron and Micro-Fresh are multiple award winners including the 2020 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Midlands & South West and the 2023 Powerlist Business Of The Year. Byron was awarded an OBE in 2019 for Services to Industry & Innovation. In 2021 Micro-Fresh® worked with researchers from DMU to study the lifespan of COVID-19 on the surfaces of leather and textiles. Their work showed the survival time was cut from over 2 days to less than two hours.The Micro-Fresh brand and story has featured on the NASDAQ tower and also in Forbes magazine in 2022. His leadership, coupled with Micro-Fresh’s cutting-edge approach, promises to elevate campus well-being and student experience as DMU Pro Chancellor.

Ian Mattioli MBE 


Ian is the founder, chief executive officer and director of Mattioli Woods, a company which provides financial advice, administration and investment services to families and businesses. The business was started from a residential garage and now employs nearly 1,000 people, with offices across the UK, with its head office being in Leicester.   With the success of the business, Ian and his family set up the Ian and Clare Mattioli Charitible Trust to better the outcomes of people who need help and support.  To date the charity has helped families with the purchase of specialist equipment, built water wells and homes in Malawi, supported the Leicester riders with helping them to build a new multiple and inclusive set of indoor courts, and it has helped Leicester Cathedral build its new cultural centre. The charitable trust has provided financial donations to both Leicester University and De Montfort University to help students who need financial and social support. 

Posted on Thursday 22 February 2024

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