Careers Beyond the Ordinary

How to turn the skills you have, into the career and lifestyle you want


Policy Gurus: Shaping Tomorrow’s World in the Wake of COVID-19

With the turmoil caused by COVID-19 and global lockdowns, many of us are wondering how we can have an impact on government policy to better prepare for future challenges and to turn current difficulties into positive long-term changes.

The wake of World War II brought global and drastic social progress, including moves towards: decolonisation; democratisation; women’s empowerment and liberation; and wonderful initiatives like the NHS in the UK.

So too will COVID-19 reshape our societies. Concepts that were ideals last year are now credible and being shaped into policy around the world, including experiments with the universal basic wage, remote and flexible working, accessible online education, increases in cycle lanes, significantly reduced carbon emissions, and more.

But how can we impact government policy and help shape tomorrow’s world? How can we make our voices heard and work towards real social progress? Join us this week for a discussion on how to get into careers in public policy and non-profits with two inspiring speakers who’ve built their careers around these issues and passions.

With Isla Lamparelli, Exeter Uni student and Edu-venture Exeter founder, our speakers, Angus Mercer and Maria Finnerty, will discuss:

  • How they found their passions and made their work more than just a job
  • How they built up the necessary skills and network to achieve their goals
  • How they developed their expertise in public policy
  • Stories of friends and acquaintances who followed different routes to similar end goals
  • Their tips for how you can get started in careers in public policy and non-profits


7-8pm (BST) Wednesday 5 August 2020 (please note this is a slightly later time than usual)


This event has now finished.


This event has now finished.

Our Guests

Angus Mercer
Angus MercerFounder and CEO Alpenglow
Angus is co-founder and Chief Executive of Alpenglow, a non-profit that connects policymakers to leading academics who work on some of the most important long-term challenges of our time—think artificial intelligence, biosecurity, climate change.

A lawyer by training, Angus was formerly Head of External Affairs at the UK Department for International Development, where he also served as a policy adviser and speechwriter in the Secretary of State’s office.

Prior to his time in government, Angus was part of the Senior Management Team of a leading public affairs consultancy in London, where his clients included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation and the Boston Consulting Group’s Centre for Public Impact.



Maria Finnerty
Maria FinnertyExecutive Adviser
Plan International
Maria is a political adviser and strategist with experience at the highest levels of politics and international development. Having studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter and been elected Chair of Exeter Students’ Guild, she has gone on to work on political campaigns around the world.

A lifelong Labour Party member and activist, she began her career running a Member of Parliament’s Westminster office, managing the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Russia and Latin America and advising the member in their role on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In 2016, she was seconded to the Stronger In campaign during the EU referendum and to the Democratic Presidential campaign in the state of Colorado.

More recently, Maria has moved into International Development, becoming Executive Adviser on Policy, Advocacy and Communications to the CEO of global girls’ rights organisation Plan International.

She is passionate about creating a more equal world in which resources are equitably and sustainably distributed.