Born and bred in the Wairarapa, Helen Gilmour-Jones has a long career as a nurse, nurse educator, senior manager in tertiary education, and education specialist. Helen’s dedication to nursing education and leading UCOL’s academic staff through many periods of change in tertiary education has benefitted UCOL’s regions, staff and students for nearly 40 years. Prior to graduating with a Masters in Educational Administration from Massey University, Helen was a lecturer at the Palmerston North Hospital School of Nursing and was part of the changes that bought nursing education into the Manawatū Polytechnic during the 1980’s. During her time with the Manawatū Polytechnic and UCOL, Helen held a wide range of roles and is regarded as a flexible, knowledgeable, talented, future thinking leader and educator. Helen’s talents are boundless, and she has tackled a huge variety of roles, evidence of her adaptability and her wide basket of knowledge. Helen was highly regarded by so many for her dedication to vocational education, along with the compassion she demonstrated on many occasions to staff and students. In her early career days the various roles she held include Lecturer, Academic Advisor, Project Researcher, Project Planner, Student Complaint Investigator and Acting Principal Whanganui,. Helen fronted student scholarship ceremonies, and is a huge advocate for student support Commencing as a lecturer in 1982 Helen later headed the Nursing (Academic) department at UCOL until the early nineties, when she became the Director Programme Delivery in 1993. Then followed a promotion to the role of Deputy Chief Executive (Academic) and part of the Leadership Team in 1998. Helen was instrumental in introducing many improvements during her time (including leading a major project on Flexible Learning and Educational Technology, the effects of which are still felt today) as Deputy Chief Executive (Academic), with the student always at the centre of her leadership and strong support for staff. Her years of experience and knowledge combined ensured that Helen’s views and decisions and mantra to do the right thing were front of mind. Staff describe her as the kind of individual who always had a way about her, with a knack to maintain difficult and meaningful conversations gracefully. Helen was one of the early adopters of open learning and flexible delivery methods in the mid 1990’s and led the Flexible Learning and Education Technology Project to introduce more innovative and ‘open’ ways of learning in UCOL programmes. This concept extended through to front line services such as student support services, information and enrolment teams, educational technology and spatial design which connected through to the new city campus development and design and the influence on the use of space such as the Atrium. This project laid the foundation for the changing pedagogical construct and influenced UCOL practice for subsequent years. Helen, along with other staff, visited a number of Australian and United States Institutions to look at their teaching models that could be potentially used at Manawatū Polytechnic at the time. Helen’s published research work in the Journal of Professional Nursing titled, ‘Moving from an Oral Tradition: The Praxis Story’ is still referred to. Nursing Praxis in Aotearoa New Zealand which published this research has this to say “This is a story, so a good place to start is at the beginning. Yet it isn’t easy to pinpoint just when that beginning was. Projects like Nursing Praxis represent the fulfilment of a dream, and who can say where a dream begins? We could say that the reality began on the night of 3 June 1985 when a group of women meeting in Palmerston North resolved that there would be a journal, and that the first issue would appear in November of that year.” This is an example of the many times Helen was involved in breaking new ground, leading from the forefront. Helen retired as Deputy Chief Executive (Academic) at the end of 2003, and since then has returned to UCOL in various contract roles due to her passion for education. Helen always steps in to assist wherever help is needed. There are numerous examples of this, e.g. she worked as part of the Whanganui Tertiary Education Collaborative Venture, liaising with secondary school principals on collaborative initiatives with UCOL. She spearheaded a number of noteworthy UCOL projects such as the Student First project, working with a team to eliminate barriers in communications with students. She emphasised the student perspective. Helen has worked tirelessly to consolidate and rewrite a portion of UCOL’s academic policies and procedures, as well as carrying out academic audits. In recent years Helen has continued her commitment to UCOL, assisting with the preparation of new programmes for approval and accreditation by NZQA. Her capability and organisational knowledge of UCOL and our communities has well positioned UCOL to this day.