INSPIRING WOMEN IN BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2018
Listed below are the previous speakers who took part in our 2017 event. Announcements of the 2018 line-up will be coming soon. Book tickets here >>
Meg Lustman is CEO at Hobbs, the British fashion brand that offers timeless British elegance to smart busy women, with an unparalleled reputation for quality and style. Hobbs has earned its place in customers’ wardrobes and gained trust through its consistency and craftsmanship including its beautiful shoe collection made in its exclusive Italian factory. Prior to her time at Hobbs, Meg held the position of buying director of fashion at John Lewis and spent more than a decade with Aurora Fashions, latterly as managing director of warehouse. As chief strategy officer of Aurora, Meg was integral in the development of the international and omnichannel strategies of Oasis, Coast, Karen Millen and Whistles.
Amanda became CEO of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton (AGS) Airports at the end of 2014 following the sale of the three airports to Ferrovial and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) from Heathrow Airport Holdings. A qualified chartered accountant, Amanda is responsible for leading and developing a high profile, national business that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and supports over 8,200 jobs. Alongside her role as CEO, Amanda is also the MD of Glasgow Airport – a position she’s held since 2008. Prior to that, Amanda also worked for worldwide drinks business Diageo, and global accountancy firm KPMG. Amanda received an OBE in 2013 in recognition of services to business and tourism.
Jacqui is a communications professional with more than 30 years’ experience in media, business, politics and government, involved in many high-profile situations in Scotland throughout her career. As executive chairman of award-wining communications company Indigo, she works with organisations and individuals to protect their reputations in a crisis. Jacqui also holds a number of NED/trustee roles in charities and commercial businesses. In 2015, she became a director of Partick Thistle Football Club, the first woman to do so in the club's history, while becoming one of only three female directors in the Scottish Premiership. .
Helen qualified as an accountant at Coopers Lybrand before spending 15 years in the retail sector where she held a variety of senior finance roles at Dixons, Forte and Safeway. In 2005, Helen joined Lloyds TSB as finance director for the Community Bank. She subsequently joined the retail board and was responsible for leading the integration of the retail divisions of Lloyds TSB and HBOS. She joined Verde in 2011 as COO to lead the development and build of TSB as a new multi-channel challenger bank on the UK high street. Helen now has responsibility for operations, payments, IT, customer relations, property, branch and ATM support teams.
Julie Ashworth is CEO at BroadReach, a boutique leadership and operations consultancy in the retail sector, which she founded in 1997 after taking a year’s break to prepare for the Clipper Round the World yacht race. Julie’s retail career began over 25 years ago at Tesco. Since then, she’s worked extensively as a business adviser to FTSE 350 companies, alongside interim roles as retail director at Liberty of London and Punch Taverns, and executive partner EMEA at IBM. Julie is chairman of Clear Returns and IOD Edinburgh, an adviser for Women on Boards, a non-executive director, and an angel investor.
Claire's poetry has appeared in The Guardian, Poetry Scotland, The Edinburgh Review and many other publications. She is the author of the poetry pamphlet The Mermaid and the Sailors (Red Squirrel Press, 2011) and the collection This changes things (Bloodaxe Books, 2016), which was shortlisted for an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire Society First Book Award. Claire is also a novelist, and her debut novel-in-progress won the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. Claire is a full-time writer based in Edinburgh: she holds a PhD in creative writing and contemporary women's poetry from the University of Edinburgh, and is the 2017 Jessie Kesson Fellow.
Helen has worked in the investment industry for more than 15 years for organisations including The Bank of New York, State Street Global Advisors and NWQ Investment Management Company. She is currently vice president and head of fund distribution for EMEA at Nuveen. In 2013, Helen's first son, and only child at the time, Yianni, died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was just 16 months' old. Helen is now in the process of co-founding a UK charity to raise awareness, funds and offer support to families affected by Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. It is her hope that one day SUDC will be predictable and preventable, and that no family will be devastated by the sudden and unexplained death of a child.
Working with the UK’s largest companies, Rachel advises business leaders on how they can acquire and retain profitable customers in order to grow market share. With a strong interest in social responsibility, Rachel represents the UK in Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship Council and is the client account lead for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. She also sits on the grant body for UnLtd and is a business mentor to SAFE, a social enterprise which aims to eradicate female trafficking. Rachel was listed in MT’s ‘35 Women Under 35’ and has been voted ‘Most Inspirational Leader’ for Accenture UK.
Jo-Anne launched Beauty Kitchen in September 2014 with the goal of getting more people to buy natural beauty products - not because they should but because they really work. Starting with five products stocked exclusively in Holland & Barrett UK, Jo has grown the business to include more than 90 products. She has launched in Holland and Belgium and will be expanding into new territories this year. .
Debbie is Clydesdale Bank’s chief operating officer and an executive director, having joined the PLC’s Board in May 2014. The appointment to the COO role in January 2015 followed a period when Debbie had responsibility for all of the Bank’s operations and IT and established a Customer Trust and Confidence division. Debbie joined Clydesdale Bank in 1997 after a spell with the Prudential Assurance Company. She held a number of strategic and planning roles before being appointed as chief information officer in 2008. During this period, Debbie was instrumental in unifying the different infrastructure and operating systems of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. In 2011, Debbie’s role was expanded to included responsibility for payments, collections and recoveries and all back office processing for the bank. In the first half of 2015 Debbie was the bank’s acting chief executive officer. She was invited to provide evidence to the UK Parliament’s inquiry into Women in the Workplace and in 2015 became the first female executive to sign Scottish banknotes. She is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
Ali founded The Lane Agency in 2008 and has grown it into one of Scotland’s most successful and well regarded creative communications agencies by helping clients to streamline their communications strategy and increase their organisation’s relevance to audiences. Her business now includes a second company, The Lane Media Agency, and the two businesses have a combined turnover of £7m. Ali and her #Laners pride themselves on delivering compelling creative work that’s effective and adds significant value to clients’ bottom line.
Alice’s love of good food and its provenance was kindled at a young age as she grew up on a fruit farm in Scotland. The infant nutrition specialist spent years honing her skills in recipe writing and development by working with baby food author and entrepreneur Annabel Karmel. The duo developed the programmes for the Food Education Foundation, the sister charity of Piccolo, and they work alongside the NCT on weaning workshops for families with new babies. Alice won a Grocer Top Talent Award in November 2016 and Piccolo’s range has also been shortlisted for the UK's Product of the Year.
Lorna works for the Raspberry Pi Foundation as the Code Club Scotland co-ordinator. Code Club supports schools and other venues to run coding clubs for children, with the aim of giving them the skills, confidence and opportunities to shape their world. There are now over 380 Code Clubs across Scotland which equates to more than 4,500 children learning to code. Lorna has a background in human-computer interaction, accessibility and child-centred design, and understands first-hand the impact technology and technological innovation can have. She volunteers at two clubs a week. Watch her 2015 TEDx University of Dundee talk 'Coding the Future'.
Julie is the brains behind Information Apps, which launched its first product, CRITON, in October 2016. Prior to this, Julie was the CEO of Lateral City, a serviced apartment operator, and MD of Abbey Business Centres, a UK-wide serviced office operator, which she returned to profit, grew to a turnover of £20m and successfully sold in 2011. Julie also owns a gift and homeware shop in the seaside village of Elie, which she runs with her husband.
Gemma joined BGF in 2013. Based in its Edinburgh office. Gemma’s main role is to identify and successfully execute investments for BGF across the Central Belt of Scotland and Northern Ireland. She has recently been involved with the sale of Livingston based company Stevenswood Windows & Doors and currently sits on the board of Bar Soba Group. Prior to BGF, Gemma worked in private equity, focusing on mezzanine finance for Scottish SMEs across multiple sectors. She began her career as a corporate solicitor at DLA Piper, where she was involved with private equity and M&A transactions.
Three years ago, Emma was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. She was aged just 29. Yet Emma has gone on to do more in those three years than she ever expected to achieve in a lifetime. Her journey has taken her from an unexpected diagnosis to winning CharityComm’s Inspiring Communicator of the Year Award 2015, featuring in a BBC television documentary and appearing in magazines such as Cosmopolitan. This year she published her first book, Dropping the P Bomb, on dealing with her diagnosis. Emma is head of creative at insurtech startup SPIXII, a creative strategy expert for the Digital Tourism Think Tank and a freelance creative director. She is speaking on the 'When the Chips are Down' panel.
Bill is a member of the UK and Ireland leadership team in Accenture’s Operations, BPO business and is also managing director of the consultancy’s Scottish arm. A qualified accountant (FCMA), he has specialised in finance and accounting outsourcing in his 20 years with Accenture, looking after clients in fields as diverse as oil and gas, telecoms and media. Bill previously spent 14 years in the energy industry in a number of senior finance roles. He has been a board member on a number of cultural organisations including MacRobert Arts Centre, Arts and Business Scotland and Young Enterprise Scotland.
As managing partner of award-winning management consultancy Oystercatchers, Richard helps brands and businesses be bold and brave with advertising, creativity and talent. His career highlights include working globally with The Coca-Cola Company, leading domestic marketing at McDonald's and, pre-Oystercatchers, tripling P&G EMEA's business and leading Publicis Groupe's successful African expansion. Richard is a brand expert for C5 News, writes a regular column for Marketing Week and is published by the Wharton School of Business. He is a true champion for gender equality and diversity in business.
Aki runs commercial interior design specialists Fourfront Group, which employs 290 people. One of Aki's key achievements was his role in establishing the Fourfront Academy alongside HR director Pippa Savory, an initiative which supports each employee with a career development training programme, tailored to suit their needs and job role. The company invests three times the national average on training for staff, and this element helped them to achieve 11th place in the Sunday Times' Best Top 100 Companies to Work For in the mid-sized category in 2016.
Karen's career has spanned defence, telecoms, finance and now entertainment. At Sky, she leads the team responsible for a multi-million pound portfolio of change projects across the customer management platform. She's a strong supporter of women in technology and girls into STEM subjects. She has an MBA and is now studying a transactional analysis diploma to provide further insight into individual performance in large teams. A mother of three, Karen works hard to balance a family life with the challenge of delivering large strategic programmes at Sky UK.
Starting at Lloyd’s of London, Jennifer advanced her career within the insurance sector and is now head of internal communications & experience at Direct Line Group. With over 20 years experience in PR, she has more recently been a leading diversity champion within Direct Line Group. Through her role as chair of the Gender & Working Families strand at Direct Line Group, her aim is to move diversity and inclusion up the boardroom agenda and encourage businesses to see the benefits of a truly diverse workplace.
Roger joined the board of Greggs as NED in 2008 and was appointed CEO in February 2013. He is an experienced CEO with a successful track record spanning both the retail and leisure sectors. Prior to his current position at Greggs, he headed up Punch Taverns and the Thresher Group off licence chain, and was part of the founding team of Ocado, the innovative online grocer operating in partnership with Waitrose. He began his career at Marks & Spencer where he spent 20 years, ultimately becoming head of its food business.
Christine's regular contributions to Management Today include a series of interviews with Power Mums (and Dads). She is a founding member of Jericho Chambers, a progressive communications consultancy, and she and her husband run www.villas4kids.com . Previously she has held leadership roles at the major advertising, PR and research agencies in London, Toronto and Washington, DC. Christine will appear at the conference to discuss the truth about working mums.
Kate has been a business journalist for the past 14 years, editing Real Business magazine and writing for The Times , The Guardian and The Financial Times . At MT , you'll find her interviewing business big shots and entrepreneurs, commissioning columnists and running MT's Inspiring Women event.
Matthew has edited MT for the past 14 years and has won the BSME Business Magazine Editor of the year award five times. During a 15-year career as a freelance, he wrote for the Sunday Times Magazine , The Independent , The Telegraph , The Observer , GQ and Business magazine. He has been named a 'Male Agent of Change' by the Women's Business Council.