INSPIRING WOMEN IN BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2017
Our confirmed speakers for 2017. Further announcements coming soon!
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Prue is the phenomenal foodie behind the Leith's group, including Leith’s School of Food and Wine, the Michelin Star restaurant Leith’s, and a catering company with contracts for the Orient Express Train, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, in total employing 500 people. She has been chair of the environmental charity Forum for the Future, the RSA, Ashridge Management College, 3E’s Enterprises (a not-for profit turning round failing schools) and the School Food Trust, tasked with the reform of school catering. She also also been a board member of British Rail, Safeway, Halifax, Whitbread, Woolworths, Omega and Belmond Hotels. A prolific food writer, she has published a memoir, Relish, and seven novels. She is busy writing the third book in the Food of Love trilogy. She is a judge on the Great British Bake Off.
In 2009 Gina founded SCM Direct, which offers low cost access to high-end wealth management while giving clients 100% transparency. In 2012, Gina launched the True and Fair Campaign calling for an end to rip offs in the UK investment and pension industry. By relentlessly shining a light on dubious industry practises, Gina’s work has contributed to three EU directives – MiFID II, PRIPS and the Shareholder Directive. The result is that from 3 January 2018 over 500 million consumers across Europe will benefit from enhanced consumer protection. In 2016, Gina successfully challenged the government over its authority to implement Brexit; winning in both the High Court and Supreme Court..
Bruce joined Twitter in 2012, following a career at Google (where he had responsibility for YouTube and display advertising), Emap/Bauer and Capital Radio. New Media Age has recognised Bruce as having made the Greatest Individual Contribution to new media in the UK. In 2015 he was voted Individual of the Year in The Drum's Social Media rankings. He runs a podcast 'Eat Sleep Work Repeat' on work culture, which has featured in the iTunes top business podcasts since its launch at the start of 2017.
Stella is the award-winning author of 15 novels (including her latest, The Hidden Room), devised 14 plays and more than 60 short stories, including several for BBC Radio 4. She won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2002 (Martha Grace) and 2013 (Come Away With Me), and Stonewall Writer of the Year in 2008 (The Room of Lost Things) and 2010 (Theodora). HBO optioned her two Theodora novels (Theodora and The Purple Shroud) for a TV series. She is the founder and co-director of Fun Palaces, an international and hyper-local campaign with an emphasis on community-led cultural participation and an annual weekend of action every October. She was awarded the OBE for Services to the Arts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016. Stella grew up in New Zealand and now lives in London.
Omar is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s strategy, innovation programmes and investments. He is a member of Accenture’s Global Executive and Global Management Committees. He has advised client executives on major strategic issues for their businesses, from scaling digital innovation to mergers and acquisitions. He served for ten years on the Global Energy Board chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley. Omar joined Accenture in 1989 and became a partner in 1998. He holds a degree in electronic engineering from Cambridge University and a master’s degree in business administration from INSEAD.
As co-founder of MysteryVibe, an award-winning British pleasure brand, Stephanie is focused on changing perceptions around pleasure in a positive and empowering way. A strong advocate that pleasure is a beautiful part of the human experience, and fundamental to our happiness, Stephanie is MysteryVibe's spokesperson on the role of technology within sex and relationships. She has been featured in major publications such as the BBC and WIRED and regularly appears as a keynote speaker on international stages.
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.
As the UK and Ireland technology managing director, Zahra is responsible for developing the technology that powers innovation and transformation in the future. With a focus on artificial intelligence, cloud computing and platforms underpinning new applications, Zahra is passionate about technology’s potential to change people's lives for the better. The majority of Zahra’s career has been in business and IT transformation projects in grocery retail, oil and gas, banking, healthcare and telecoms. She has pioneered a number of ‘firsts’ in the oil and gas industry, including patent-pending uses of cloud computing technology. She also created and led the Global Resources Blockchain Council where she advises utility, chemical and energy companies on how to generate value from Blockchain technology. Zahra sits on Accenture’s UK board and has been named as one of Management Today's '35 Women Under 35'. Zahra is on the board of advisors for Mind Matters – an initiative focused on mental health for young people.
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 board of 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.
Anna leads the Seller Fulfilled Prime business on Amazon's UK Marketplace. Previously she was Global Selling Manager, helping UK Sellers expand their businesses to Amazon's marketplaces worldwide. Anna started her career with OC&C Strategy Consultants, advising retail and consumer goods businesses.
Karen has a breadth of experience in recruiting, talent planning, career coaching and assessment. Her executive search experience has involved recruiting general counsels, CFOs and marketing directors across sector and internationally. She is also a qualified solicitor. At Strategic Dimensions, Karen focuses on the attraction, engagement and recruitment of senior HR talent for UK and internationally-based clients. She advises on role creation, the constitution and creation of teams, and developments and insights relating to the areas of specialisation within the HR function. She also works closely with Strategic Dimensions’ associate businesses, CRF and PARC.
Investment banker turned entrepreneur Lavinia is the culprit behind the latest craze in the confectionery world. With more than one million sweets sold since launching her own handmade Italian confectionery business Lavolio in 2013, she sells her award-winning products online, on Amazon, and at F&M among other prestigious outlets. Lavolio's first shop opens in Parsons Green later this year.
Tor is a detective chief inspector and senior investigating officer in the Met Police where she leads a team of detectives investigating high risk, complex crime. Tor set up the Commissioner’s 100, a frontline 'do-tank' in the Met driving innovation, and she is the co-founder of Police Now, a radically different police entry route. Tor studied natural sciences at Cambridge and is a Fulbright Scholar.
Cat is the founder of Piccolo, the fastest growing brand in the baby food market, with a turnover of £2m in its first year. Piccolo gives 10% of its profits to food education programmes to help encourage parents to give their children the best start to a positive relationship with food. Cat began her career with the United Nations food agencies in Rome, where she created campaigns and programmes promoting sustainable livelihoods for farmers, as well as promoting female parity and equal opportunities. She then became the CEO of Slow Food UK, the global campaigning organisation for good, clean and fair food. Cat was named by Channel 4 4Food’s as one of Britain’s most inspiring food women for her food education work.
Sarah joined Jack Dorsey's payments company Square in 2016 to lead its expansion into the UK, where she is responsible for a range of business functions including recruitment, sales and marketing, business development and strategy. Prior to Square, Sarah was COO of endurance events company Tough Mudder in NYC, and has also worked across Europe and Africa for the UK Civil Service, for management consultancy Bain, drinks giant Diageo, and on a range of international development projects for not-for-profit organisations and businesses. Sarah holds an MA in English from Cambridge University and lives in London.
As managing director of award-winning communications agency Golin, Bibi has spent her career developing and leading strategic communications programmes for clients including Unilever, Cadbury and Npower. She is passionate about improving diversity and gender equality in her industry. At Golin, she has introduced flexible working and a returnship for return-to-work women.
Fay has spent the past decade negotiating multi-million pound contracts, resolving complex commercial disputes and managing financial risk for market leaders in the private sector. As one of the country’s top commercial experts, Fay was recently appointed to work for the Cabinet Office in their complex transactions team. Fay advises central government departments, such as the Home Office and Department for International Trade, to ensure HM Government achieve the right outcomes on their most challenging commercial deals. Fay is also a magistrate for the London West Judiciary, a published thought-leader on commercial best practice and a mother of three.
Verdure Plus is an online retailer specialising in quality health products. Founded in 2013 out of her home, Sanjana has built her business to have a range of more than 120 products which reach hundreds of thousands of customers online.
Four 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 four 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. Last year she published her first book, Dropping the P Bomb, on dealing with her diagnosis. Emma is devices and apps strategist at Parkinson's UK, 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.
As a thematic investing strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Beijia addresses long-term issues including ageing, climate change, cybersecurity, food security, millennials, obesity, AI, virtual and augmented reality, and water. Prior to joining the team, she was an equity derivatives trader at BofAML in New York. She holds a BS with honours in biology from Stanford University.
A promising career in fashion design was cut short when Vicki discovered she couldn't draw. Encouraged by her mentor Paul Smith to write her ideas down instead, Vicki soon found her way into the world of advertising. Vicki has spent over 15 years developing campaigns, thoughts and ideas for agencies including Wieden + Kennedy, Mojo and Amsterdam International before joining Grey London to work on briefs as diverse as full fat butter and the British Heart Foundation. She has collected more than 35 major awards for her BHF 'Hands only CPR' Vinnie Jones campaign – which has now saved more than 50 lives (and counting) – while The Angina Monologues, also for the BHF, earned her a coveted British Comedy Award. Last year saw her take the chairmanship of the Creative Circle Awards, becoming the first female chair in its history.
Poppy is a multi award-winning, progressive funeral director who quit her high-flying career at Sotheby’s auction house to revolutionise the funeral trade, a sector dogged by bad practice. A former Samaritan and Trinity Hospice volunteer, Poppy was appointed a trustee of Cruse Bereavement Care in 2015. Poppy has been featured in The Times, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Tatler, Cosmopolitan and Stylist and appeared in Management Today's 35 Women Under 35 list in 2014.
As managing partner of management consultancy Oystercatchers, Richard helps brands and business be bold and brave with their marketing, communications, creativity and talent. His career highlights include working globally with The Coca-Cola Company, leading domestic marketing for McDonald's and, pre-Oystercatchers, leading Publicis Worldwide's P&G business in EMEA. Richard is an award-winning diversity advocate, recognised by Management Today and the Women’s Business Council as a Male Agent of Change and ranked 11th by the FT of men championing women in the workplace.
A qualified chartered accountant, Helen spent 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. She now leads more than 2,100 employees. Helen is passionate about gender diversity and is the executive sponsor for gender at TSB with a particular interest in building a sustainable female talent pipeline.
Yasmin is a disability consultant, coach, trainer and multi-award winning speaker. A former lawyer with Clyde & Co, she sustained a spinal stroke at the age of 29 which resulted in her having to use a wheelchair. She now helps both individuals and organisations to tap into our skills, be resilient, overcome challenges and also have confidence around disability (both visible and non-visible) to ensure people truly flourish though her workshops, webinars, events and speaking.
Jennifer has played a pivotal role in transforming the profile and reputation of Direct Line Group. Jennifer’s skills extend to all aspects of communication including crisis and reputation management, a thorough knowledge and understanding of the demands of business, the intricacies of the financial sector, and the pitfalls to be avoided in an increasingly competitive sector. Jennifer is also a leading champion of diversity as co-chair of Direct Line Group’s Diversity Network and lead of the Gender and Working Families Strand. A member of the group’s strategic leadership team, Jennifer’s current role is focused on developing the internal communications strategy, establishing clear and strategic goals designed specifically to engage employees.
Christine Armstrong is co-founder of Jericho Chambers and contributing editor at Management Today. She is currently writing Big Jobs and Small Children for Bloomsbury, based on four years of interviews and the off-the-record accounts of many working mothers – plus some fathers, grown-up children and a few grandparents. The book will be published in April 2018. Prior to Jericho, Christine spent 20 years in advertising, PR and research agencies, based in London, Toronto and Washington DC. Christine is currently working with the CIPD on the Future of Work is Human campaign and researching the circular economy. She recently introduced plastic fishing to London’s docks and will shortly launch a boat made out of the recycled plastic that has been collected.
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 the Inspiring Women event.
Ann is a transformational leader and an expert on gender balance in the workplace. She has authored ‘Financial Times Guide to Management’, holds advisory board positions at Grant Thornton International, and has been named in the top 100 women to watch in the 2015 Female FTSE Cranfield report. Ann was awarded the MemCom ‘Louis Armstrong award for outstanding leadership of a UK professional body’ in 2016. She previously held senior executive positions at: Procter and Gamble, Mars, Boots, Yell and BSI.