5 minutes with Mandy Hill

5 minutes with Mandy Hill
Mandy Hill Managing Director of Academic Publishing, Cambridge University Press

Mandy joined Cambridge University Press in 2014 as Managing Director of Academic Publishing. She is also currently a member of the Publishing Board of the Royal Society.

Before joining Mandy worked for OUP for over 15 years, initially in journals editorial and culminating in the role of Publishing Director for Global Academic from 2010.

Mandy’s publishing career started at Elsevier (6 years) and also included a period at a medical communications agency.

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Biochemistry (2i), Bath University; Diploma Organisational Leadership (Oxford).

What was the last book you read?
All Out War by Tim Shipman.

And what did you read it on?
Kindle: practically the only way I read anything outside work.

What’s next on your reading list?
Probably a thriller next: I need something a bit lighter after the stark realities of the lead-up to Brexit that All Out War described.

Which writer would you have loved to have met – and why?
Charles Darwin – not someone everyone would call a ‘writer’ but clearly the author of one of the most significant books ever.

What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
West Wing – about 15 years after everyone else!

What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?
We are a department of the University of Cambridge and a global publisher of books and journals. This combination gives us the drive to innovate our approaches whilst also retaining our commitment to quality and the information needs of researchers and students worldwide. As an example, we have just developed and launched our digital platform, Cambridge Core, which combines our research book and journal content.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the academic publishing industry right now?
Keeping pace with the changing needs and ways of working of our authors and customers: this impacts everything from copyright to the need to demonstrate impact and users’ craving for easy, instant access.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in academic publishing today?
Have no preconceptions and don’t get blocked by the ‘status quo’ – this industry is changing and we need people with fresh ideas and perspectives

What was your first job?
Working in a gift shop and café. I loved it and learnt a lot about people, the importance of knowing your customers, and great chocolate cake.

And your first in the book industry?
Production Editor at Pergamon Press, working on science review journals.

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
Various low-calorie lunch options, which would be fine, if occasionally I didn’t blow it all on a panini instead.

Tell us about a passionate interest you have outside the business.
Gardening is how I relax. We bought a new house when I moved to Cambridge and our garden is a bit of a blank canvass. I love to cook as well, but several hours outside digging helps me to forget work issues just for a while so that when I come back I am refreshed and reenergised for the week ahead.

What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Talk to as many people as possible, wear comfortable shoes, and have fun.

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