Conference Agenda



08:15-09:00Registration and coffee 

09:00-09.15 – Welcome, Vanessa Vallely, WeAreTheCity and hosts, Simmons & Simmons

09:15-09.25 – Welcome conference host, Harriet Minter, Ex Guardian Women in Leadership

09.25-09.40 – Opening Address, Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party

09:40-10:10WeAreNotImposters with Elizabeth Harrin, Author, CEO Otobus group – this session aims to dispel the imposter phenomenon and prepares the individual to acknowledge achievements, leave their comfort zones and enter into a mindset of taking risks.

10:10-10:40WeAreNegotiators with Natalie Reynolds, CEO, Advantage Spring – an interactive session that teaches our attendees the core skills they require to successfully negotiate. These skills can be used not just to negotiate their own career needs, but to ensure they get the best deal for their firms when dealing with third parties.

10:40-11.05 – Q&A panel with Natalie Reynolds, CEO, Advantage Spring, Elizabeth Harrin, Otobus Group, Heather Melville, Regional Director, RBS and Andy Woodfield, Partner, PwC

11:05-11:20Networking break

11:20-11:40WeAreCommunicators with Mairi McHaffee, CEO, Scene Change – this session covers a multitude of practical advice to enable clear and confident communication (at all levels) in a way that ensures you are being heard and understood.

11:40-12.00WeAreInfluencers with Andy Reid, founder of theGeniusBox Ltd, focuses on the ability to influence senior individuals around you so they see your potential. Include tips on how to influence senior stakeholders with business cases, taking forward your ideas and allowing you to show your true capability.

12:00-12:30 – Q&A panel with Mairi McHaffee, CEO, Scene Change, Ben Higgins, Head of Human Resources, UK and Ireland, Société Générale, other panelists to be confirmed


12:30-13.20 – Buffet Lunch Break


13:30-14:30Electives (delegates can choose one of the following three elective sessions)*

14:30-14:45 – Transition Break

14:45-15:45  – Electives (delegates can choose one of the following three elective sessions*)

15:45-16:00  – Networking Break

16:00-16:30 You as a future leader with Sonia Bate, CEO, Edit Development – Here we look at what leadership looks like in the future (15 minute keynote/15 minute Q&A)

This session covers the skills required to be an effective future leader. Sonia will also cover unconscious bias and the role this plays within being a diverse leader. We look at the next generation and their expectations of the leaders they want to be and work for!

16.30-17.00So how do YOU get there! – Emerging Leaders Panel session

We hear from newly appointed leaders, not senior leaders! These are accessible role models with recent experience as to what it takes to progress in today’s ever changing world. Don’t expect to hear the same old thing!

For this session we are joined by WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star winners from 2016 who have all been recently promoted or taken on additional responsibility. These are Luma Zitani, Barclays, Kim Opszala, Dentons, Rupal Kantaria, Oliver Wyman, Julie Thomas, Zurich, Manisha Taylor MBE,   Swaggarlicious, Shauna Bull, Pure Storage, Sarah Chapman, 3M and Elaine Gibson, NSPCC

17:00-17:45So how do you stand out in the crowd- Senior Leaders Panel session & speed mentoring – This time we are bringing in senior leaders! These men and women are at the top of their   game and they have learned a lot on their way. During this panel, our leaders will share what they look for to identify future talent and leaders of the future.

For this session we will be joined by Caroline Graham, Director, Barclays, Chuck Stephens, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Google, Funke Abimbola, Senior Counsel, Roche and Birgit Neu, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, HSBC and Tamara Box, Managing Partner, EME, Reed Smith

The panel will conclude with 2 x dynamic speed mentoring sessions lead by Vanessa Vallely where our senior leaders join delegates tables to impart their top tips for future success.

17:45-19:30Close, networking drinks & canapes (optional attendance)

During the conference we will be joined by John Cassidy, The Headshot Guy, who will be providing professional headshots for our guests. Headshots will be on a first come, first served basis and be available during all breaks and during the networking session early evening.





* Elective sessions are booked on a first come first served basis. We aim to accommodate every delegates preference but all sessions are designed to be of value to any delegate.

(delegates can choose one of the following three elective sessions)

Session One:

Session Two:

Session Three:

I won’t get there on my own –introducing the power of delegation with Susan Berardi

You can’t do it all!  How do learn to let go and not try to do everything.  How do you leverage those around you to deliver? How do you use your influencing skills to get other individuals to buy in to your ideas and want to help you?

How do I show what I am capable of? The art of managing upwards with Des Christofi

How do you build effective relationships based on trust and the ability to deliver? How do you train yourself to think like your boss and carve yourself out a position as their number two?  How do you get your seniors to see your potential and position yourself for promotion?

I need to be seen and heard! – How to establish your presence & portray your brand with Vanessa Vallely

How do people see you?  Do you portray the behaviours of the position you aspire to? What makes you memorable? How do you create a brand that is both true to who you are and impactful enough to get you noticed and remembered?


*Sessions will be allocated on a first come, first served basis

(delegates can choose one of the following three elective sessions)

Session One:

Session Two:

Session Three:

Obtaining the buy in of others – Managing teams and team members with Beth Chadwick

What does a good leader look like?  How can you portray leadership behaviours even if you are not currently running a team?  What can you do now to be seen as a future leader?

Keeping the machine running – Mental health and life balance with Suzy Reading

Can we have it all?  We put ourselves under increased pressure to be everything to everybody every day.  The balancing act of managing work, outside commitments, family and own passions can result in a juggling act no one person has the ability to juggle. So how do we learn to let things go, ignore the guilt and look after the engine that is driving the bus? Here we look at mental wellbeing and ensure that we build balance in to all our future career plans.

Hello, I am in the room! Presentation skills and public speaking with Deon Newbronner

There comes a time when we all have to present our ideas, for some this prospect fills them with dread.  Here we look at proven techniques to enable you to stand up and take your place at the table.  We will show you how to clearly articulate your ideas and above all be heard!