We are proud to present the speakers for WeAreFutureLeaders

Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity

vanessa-high-res-watc_1715-tech-siteVanessa Vallely is Managing Director of WeAreTheCity.  Vanessa’s corporate career in Technology and Finance spans 28 years.  Vanessa has worked for nine different financial organisations holding technology roles such as Programme Director, Global Head of Business Management and COO.  At the height of her career in financial services Vanessa launched the award winning in 2008 as a vehicle to help corporate women grow professionally and personally and to help corporate organisations to attract and retain their female talent. Today, WeAreTheCity has over 60,000 members in the UK and 40,000 in India and receives over 8 million hits per month. WeAreTheCity is also home to WeAreTech, WeAreTheCityJobs, Careers Club and the Rising Star awards, which recognises the achievements of women under a senior management level in the UK and India.

Vanessa is the co-founder of City-wide diversity forum Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks (TNON)).  Gender Networks is a network for internal network leaders and provides its members with the opportunity to connect with other network leaders, share best practice and drive the equality agenda within their respective firms. Gender networks has 170 members and is represented by 80 cross sector organisations.

Vanessa has won multiple awards including,Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally, Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs, GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women, The Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners and mostly recently, one of the Top 100 women in Technology, Business Cloud.

Vanessa sits on the Women of Influence board for CR-UK and the Women’s council at techUK.  She also serves the government as an advisor on the Government Digital Services committee.

Kelly Jackson, Group HR Director, WorldFirst

kelly jacksonKelly joined World First as Group HR Director in November 2014. After graduating from UCL with a degree in Psychology, she went travelling around South East Asia and Australasia before starting her HR career at QAS Limited – a subsidiary of Experian Plc. Most recently she headed up the HR team at Stemcor Ltd – a privately owned international steel trading company.

Ania Rontaler, Partner, Simmons & Simmons

Ania Rontaler is a Corporate partner in the London office of international law firm, Simmons & Simmons. Ania trained and qualified as a solicitor at Simmons & Simmons, having joined in September 2003. She studied law and French at Exeter University, with one year spent studying French law in (the beautiful and very sunny!) Aix-en-Provence, France. She advises clients on a variety of aspects of corporate law and has a strong focus on the asset management sector, advising alternative investment managers on all aspects of their business. In 2015, Ania was listed as one of the 50 leading women in hedge funds by the global publication, The Hedge Fund Journal. Ania has spent time at the firm’s office in The Netherlands, and on secondment to a well-known US hedge fund manager. Ania is passionate and committed to improving gender diversity and chairs the Simmons & Simmons women’s network, The Number One Club (TNOC). TNOC has an internal and external focus – internally, TNOC looks to support and retain women throughout the firm in their careers and externally, the network puts on various events focussed on its female client base, its “Plus One” events.

Helene Reardon-Bond OBE, Deputy Director, Government Equalities Office

Helene, is a senior civil servant, who works closely with Cabinet Ministers and No10 and has worked in eight departments leading on a number of high profile programs and campaigns, including same sex marriage, violence against women and girls, maternity rights and encouraging diversity in public life.

She currently leads for the UK on gender equality policy and oversees a range of business facing initiatives designed to help women succeed in the workplace, including being an advisor to the Lord Davies and now the Hampton Alexander Women on Boards review and supports the Women’s Business Council, a government-backed, business-led initiative to help maximise women’s contribution to the economy.  She is responsible for the new gender pay gap reporting regulations, that came into force this April, which will require employers over 250 to report their Gender Pay Gap. She is also leads on the UK’s EU and international commitments on gender and equality including the The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Outside of the Civil Service, she is a chair of a school governor. Helene was awarded a state honour, OBE, in 2008 for her work in the public and voluntary sector.

Harriet Minter, Journalist, ex-Guardian Women in Leadership

Harriet Minter

Harriet Minter is a journalist, speaker and future author. She founded and edited the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section, which focussed on women in the workplace, and is a columnist for Psychologies magazine. She’s written for publications including The Times, Huffington Post and The Pool. Prior to working at the Guardian she completed a Politics degree at Newcastle University following which she started her journalistic career at, the leading news site for lawyers. She is a regular speaker on women’s rights, the future of work, and digital media. In the past two years she’s given two TED Talks, the first on the importance of learning to fail and the second on yoga, which have had 10s of thousands of views. Outside of work her passions include high heels and big boats – just not together.

Elizabeth Harrin, Director of Otobos Consultants Ltd

Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth Harrin, MA, FAPM, MBCS is Director of Otobos Consultants Ltd, a project communications consultancy specialising in copywriting for project management firms. She has over fifteen years’ experience in projects. Elizabeth has led a variety of IT and process improvement projects including ERP and communications developments. She is also experienced in managing business change, having spent eight years working in financial services (including two based in Paris, France). Elizabeth is the author of Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers and Customer-Centric Project Management.

She also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. You can find Elizabeth online at or on Twitter @pm4girls.

Natalie Reynolds, Founder and Managing Director, advantageSPRING


Natalie Reynolds is the Founder and Managing Director of advantageSPRING and is a recognised thought leader on effective negotiation and the benefits it can deliver for individuals and organisations. Natalie has trained clients all over the world how to negotiate more effectively including Schroders, the European Investment Bank, DLA Piper, Mayer Brown LLP, Deloitte, KPMG, MasterCard, Invesco, Lloyds Banking Group, Goldman Sachs, ETF Securities, Capital One and HSBC.

Natalie and the advantageSPRING team work with a range of global companies to develop internal negotiation capability through coaching and training, often generating huge savings, increased revenue or efficiencies for their clients. Natalie also coaches senior women on the topic of salary negotiation, writes regularly in the national press on the role that negotiation can play in tackling the gender pay gap and delivers keynote speeches at conferences worldwide on effective negotiation.

Mairi McHaffie, Managing Director & Founder, Scene Change Creative Consultants

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Mairi is an Impact Expert and CEO of Scene Change Creative Consultants Ltd, providers of bespoke people development and talent initiatives across the sectors. She is Director of Coaching Squared™, an award nominated cross organisational leadership development programme spanning the diversity strands which has been shortlisted for several diversity awards and is registered on the Civil Service Learning Framework.

She is founder of the House of Commons Women into Leadership (WIL) programme and has designed and delivered successful Presentation Skills workshops for their Senior HR Leadership Team.

She is a lead trainer for Civil Service Learning and associate trainer for various global consultancies. As part of the core delivery team for the PwC/ HMRC Module 48 programme, she led bespoke role-play sessions on the highest scoring elective “Communicating Confidently with Customers and Advisors”.

As a trained professional actress and BBC TV presenter, Mairi uses her skills to enable individuals and groups to communicate and present better, build confidence, increase visibility and align personal branding to organisational values.

As a sought-after speaker, Mairi regularly speaks across the City with practical sessions on confidence and influencing skills combining her theatrical training with the work of Harvard social psychologist, Prof Amy Cuddy.

Mairi has been a judge on the BBC Apprentice Final as part of a team of business experts assessing the market potential of a key product and in 2016 she was a judge for the prestigious Rising Stars Awards for female pipeline talent across industries, she will again be judging these in 2017. She is the mother of two young boys, a School Governor and occasionally dabbles in stand-up comedy.

Andy Reid, Founder of theGeniusBox Ltd, the facilitation business

Andy found his passion for problem solving whilst studying engineering and for people whilst working at a bar. andy reid

He was a secondary school Design teacher for 8 years and later became a coursework moderator, subject examiner and curriculum adviser for the Qualifications Curriculum Authority. He left teaching and headed for the bright lights of London where he worked for ?What If! Innovation, the world’s largest innovation company. He spent 5 years growing the Learning Team and transferred the creative process to 60+ clients in over 30 countries.

For a short time he was the mind of the Mind Gym as Solutions Director, designing and delivering an award-winning employee engagement programme for British Gas, Unilever and RBS.

Not wanting to waste an entrepreneurial opportunity he founded theGeniusBox on April 1st 2010 with mobile phone and a client notepad. Since then, theGeniusBox has facilitated strategic planning sessions, projects and training across the US, Middle East and Asia for a select client base including HSBC, Red Bull, JWT, VISA and Bupa. He and the team champion brilliant facilitation and rage against reassuring professionalism.

Andy holds a Masters in Educational Psychology, is a published author, is married with 2 children, has had three surgeries from skiing accidents, owns a problematic sports car and knows nothing about football.

Sonia Bate, Managing Director, EDIT Development

Sonia Bate 1

Sonia Bate is the Managing Director of EDIT Development, a global leadership development business. Sonia has previously been a senior leader in both retail and financial services and is known for being challenging, pragmatic and impactful. Her expertise spans inclusive assessment, talent management, the future of leadership and working with organisations to deliver a high performing environment. Sonia designs and delivers award winning, ground breaking programmes to build diverse talent pipelines in global businesses and her team works with a range of FTSE 250 companies on inspiring, enabling and supporting women on being the best version of themselves.

Kate Stephens, Chief Executive, Smart Works

Kate-StephensKate Stephens is Chief Executive of Smart Works, leading our mission to roll out nationwide and help ever more women into employment. Based in London, Kate runs our HQ operations, as well as overseeing our long-established London service, ensuring it remains best-in-class and that we collaborate and share learnings across the Smart Works family. Kate combines senior private sector experience with a passion for the entrepreneurial, dynamic and inspirational charity sector, learnt first as Trustee, Vice Chair and then Chair of a leading family charity and now as CEO of Smart Works.























Ben Higgins, Head of Human Resources, Société Générale

Ben joined Société Générale in June 2005 and was appointed Head of Human Resources, UK and Ben Higgens 16 Ireland in February 2016. Previously he held a number of senior roles including UK Head of HR Business Partners, Compensation Director, Head of HR Operations and Lead HR Business Partner for Coverage and Investment Banking and Global Finance.  Ben sits on the UK Executive Committee for SG London Branch and is a member of the Global HR Executive Committee.

Prior to joining Société Générale, Ben was an HR Business Partner for Allianz Dresdner Asset Management.  He has a Masters Degree in HR, a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Management and is a Board Director of the City HR Association; an UK Industry Association whose purpose is to support and provide best HR practice to over 170 organisations whose activities are directly involved in the financial services sector.

Ben has two young daughters and is passionate about being an active father. His other interests include spending as much time as he can in the countryside (where he lives), clay pigeon shooting and photography.

Andy Woodfield, Partner, PwC

Andy Woodfield Andy started his career straight from school working as an Engineering Design Apprentice. After completing an HND in Computing, Andy spent the next few years working in IT consultancy, project management and IT management. In 1998 he joined Price Waterhouse in London as a Cyber Security Consultant focused on Ethical Hacking. Andy was admitted into the PwC Partnership on the 1st of July 2006. Andy is now the Lead Partner for the International Aid Development Consulting practice at PwC in the United Kingdom. Working primarily with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), they use the Global network of PwC member firms and associated subject matter experts to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the world and to promote sustainable economic development and prosperity.

 As well as his market facing International Development role, Andy is also part of the People Consulting competency responsible for the development and delivery of Leadership, Culture, Talent and Inclusion programmes within PwC and with Clients, with a focus on helping individuals, teams and organisations to be the best that they can be, unlocking their full market and individual human potential. Andy has developed a number of ground breaking human development programmes including ‘Building Strength in Leaders’, this programme leverages both positive and cognitive psychology to help leadership teams build strength in preparation for and following traumatic business change. At the heart of the programme is a workshop that Andy developed a few years ago for the PwC Global Talent programme, this workshop ‘Genius. Power. Dreams’ aims to help individuals and teams understand and respect their unique strengths and talents, understand how to use them more often, and finally to consider their legacy of life. Andy is the sponsoring Partner for the firms inclusive business network, [email protected] This is an inclusive business network for gays, lesbians and everyone else, it’s open to everyone including clients and those in our extended networks and you don’t have to be gay or lesbian to join it, you just need to be passionate about valuing and exploring difference as something we all have in common.

He is a regular public speaker, usually focusing on the Strengths based development and Diversity and Inclusion. He has completed two TED Talks and has recently spoken on Gender Equality at the United Nations HQ in New York. Andy is a Trustee for the charities: Diversity Role Models, Action Breaks Silence and Opening Doors London. He is a judge for the National Diversity Awards, the Inclusive Business Awards, the We Are The City Rising Stars and the head judge for the Australian LGBTI Awards

Heather Melville, Director for Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion Initiatives


Heather Melville was appointed as the Director for Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion Initiatives in January 2016, following a successful career in International sales, a role which leverages vast global client relationships together with her sector specialism especially within the Retail and Textile industry. Heather was recently been recognised in Financial Times 2016 inaugural Upstanding 100 Executive BAME Power List (UK & US) and WeAreTheCity 2016, Top 5 Rising Star Champion for Diversity.

A graduate of the IBM business school, together with a wealth of international experience secured over a 30 plus year career in the world of finance, with the last 9 years primarily focused on the SME client base positioned her in a strong place to meet the evolving global challenges of her clients.

For a number of years, she has sat on the judging panel for the prestigious “UK Fashion & Textile Awards”, “The National Diversity Awards”, “We Are The City Rising Stars” as well as the “Brummel’s Top 30”. Through her partnership with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce in 2015, she is now a Patron and has been invited as a guest judge for this year’s International competition for young fashion designers within Europe.

The Founder and Global Chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, which is managed by volunteers, to date have Circ. 12,000 members in 33 countries. Not only does she sit on a number of internal and external diversity boards, in 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Women in Banking & Finance Award for Achievement under the category of Champion for Women, and in 2012 was also awarded the World of Difference 100 Award (TIAW) recognising her as one of the top 100 women worldwide who have made a difference to the economic empowerment of women.

Outside of the financial industry, having completed an executive coaching programme, Heather is a Career Coach and Mentor advising young people who are striving to be tomorrows Entrepreneurs. She represents RBS as a Non-Executive Director for Enterprise Enfield a business consultancy funded by the Government to help small businesses. As an established speaker Heather is regularly invited to speak at a number of global business forums, and last but not least is also a Justice of the Peace.

Heather is a mother of two sons, a grandmother of four girls, who enjoys jazz and driving fast cars!

Justine Lutterodt, Director, Centre for Synchronous Leadership

justine lutterodt 1Justine Lutterodt is Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership. She brings to her practice fifteen years of experience working with senior executives from professional services and Fortune 500 companies. Her project work has been recognised for its innovative design and high impact, receiving Business in the Community (BiTC) Race Equality awards in 2013 and 2014.

Outside of CSL client work Justine is an international conference speaker, an occasional lecturer, and a contributor to several community initiatives.  Her thought pieces on ethical leadership have been featured at the World Economic Forum on three separate occasions.  Justine serves as an advisory board member for the University of East London School of Business and Law, as chair of the judging process for the Diversity Legal Awards, and as judge for WeAretheCity’s Rising Star awards and BiTC’s Gender Equality Awards.  She also sits on the executive committee of the multicultural chapter of the Network of Networks (TNON), and contributes to the gender and LGBT chapters.  In 2016, Justine was named one of Britain’s most influential black entrepreneurs by BE Mogul.

Justine holds an MSc from LSE in Organisational Psychology and a BA from Yale in Maths and Philosophy, both with distinction.

Tanuja Randery, Zone President UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric

tanuja randery 2Tanuja joined Schneider Electric in 2015 from BT Global Services, where she served as President, Strategy, Marketing & Transformation responsible for the growth transformation agenda. Prior to BT, Tanuja spent 10 years at Colt Group, in both strategy and operations roles – while at Colt she led the UK/IE Enterprise Business, was MD of Benelux and setup Colt’s Global Business division. Tanuja also led the acquisition of MarketPrizm – a low latency trading infrastructure company and was CEO of the entity driving the expansion into Asia and cross asset classes.

Tanuja’s professional career has also seen her working as Vice President of Strategy at EMC Corp where she led a number of key M&A initiatives and she worked seven years as a Consultant at McKinsey, specialising in technology and sales and marketing effectiveness, both in the United States.

Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE, CEO, ASAP Communications

Kay White, Founder of Way Forward Solutions Ltd & Author of The A to Z of Being Understood

kay whiteKay White is Author of the number 1 best-selling book The A to Z of Being Understood and Founder of the global mentoring company, Way Forward Solutions Ltd.

Kay mentors and coaches experienced career women, both one to one and in groups, and shows them how to express themselves most effectively to attract more income and opportunity by understanding how to ask for what they want and how to own, position and express their value and experience.

She draws upon the highs and lows of her own 20+year corporate career in international insurance broking in the City (working her way from secretary to Director level) and the stories and successes of her private and group clients.  Kay’s passionate about showing career women how to confidently attract promotion, recognition and rewards by leveraging their skills, opportunities and relationships (all without losing themselves or selling their souls).

A dynamic, entrepreneurial business leader with a proven record for building high performing teams.  Since starting her own PR Company over 30 years ago Ms Thompson has acquired an exceptional range of transferable skills that can complement high performing companies and organisations. Originally from Guyana, South America, Ms Thompson has always shown an entrepreneurial flair. Not taking the usual channel to the small business arena, she evolved from freelance writing for many music industry papers including Music Week the industry bible, and IPC weekly and monthly titles. She also has been involved in many successful firsts in the UK including, being Music Editor for the UK’s first Black Monthly glossy magazine – Root, and also being a founder and director of the UK’s first Black Music radio station Choice FM, now owned by the Global Radio Group.

Other firsts include, starting the first Black Owned PR company (according to PR Week),now known as ASAP Communications; running the first in depth research of the lifestyle of  the Black community across the UK – The Black Consumer Survey and starting the UK’s first Black Women Business Network – The European Federation of Black Women Business Owners. She also has over 20 years’ experience for which she is well known on public sector boards, which includes, Chairing:- the London Central Learning and Skills Council, DTI’s Ethnic Minority Business Forum, African Caribbean Business Network, and many others where to brings energy, experience, dedication, and change to and for many. Often called upon for media interviews, on issues concerning small business, women and minorities; Ms Thompson is no stranger to engaging with Prime Ministers, Ministers, and high profile personalities in the business arena.  Having made her mark in the UK she was awarded a CBE(Commander Of The British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List  in 2003 for her services to women, small business and minorities. In 2005 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by London Metropolitan University for services to small business, and mass communications. She has been recognised across the UK and Europe as well as internationally, having been acknowledged by the Mayor of Houston Texas, with an Yvonne Thompson Day (4th January) as well as being named in Washington in the Congressional Records. Ms Thompson has been hailed as a role model chairing the events committee for the Women’s Diplomatic Service Network, and most recently appointed to the Economics Honours Committee where she is committed to help in their campaign to increase nominations from  minorities and women.










Luma Zitani, VP Sanctions Advisory, Barclays


Born and raised in Syria, Luma obtained her BA in Economics from Damascus University and worked as an Economist for two years while teaching Principals of Banking at the Commercial Polytechnic. In 2003, Luma won the UK’s FCO Chevening Scholarship to complete her master’s degree in the UK at Cass Business School.

Luma joined a small London-based merchant bank in 2004 where she rotated between Front Office relationship team, Trade Finance operational area and the Risk Management team.In 2012, Luma joined Barclays Plc where she continues to work today. Her role covers providing Subject Matter Expertise in Sanctions and Financial Crime within Barclays.

Luma is Member at Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and has CISI’s Diploma in Investment Compliance and an ICA Diploma in AML with distinction. In 2016 she was named We Are the City Rising Star in Banking. She’s married and lives in Kent with avid interest in current affairs, FinTech and Financial Inclusion, foreign policy and photography.

Kim Opszala, Corporate Associate, Dentons


Kim is a Corporate Associate solicitor at Dentons UKMEA LLP. Having graduated in 2010 with a first class honours degree in Business Law, Kim qualified into corporate law, following her LPC and training contract, in 2012. Kim was recently promoted to a level 2 associate, following her Rising Star in Law Award 2016, and has experience of advising all types of businesses from owner-managed businesses through to large listed multinational groups in relation to a wide range of corporate transactions including acquisitions and disposals. Last year, Kim also completed a 6 month client secondment to Network Rail, where she worked in the Corporate team.

Outside of law Kim is passionate about helping young people and enjoys volunteering at various organisations. In particular she has recently been appointed as a trustee of St Francis’ Children’s Society, a children’s charity and adoption agency based in Milton Keynes which places children with new families and offers support to anyone involved in the adoption process. She is also a school governor at a local secondary school, a professional ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors which aims to educate and inform the next generation of the legal profession about the importance of diversity and promote and encourage diversity within the profession and regularly volunteers for Worktree, an employability education charity on a mission to help young people succeed in work by broadening their career awareness, stimulating their aspirations and enhancing their communication skills.

Rupal Kantaria, Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Wyman


Rupal is passionate about diversity, women’s empowerment and the power of the corporate sector to create lasting contributions to societies. She has over a decade of experience in financial services strategy consulting, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of Oliver Wyman’s EMEA Insurance Practice.

Rupal is strategic advisor to Oliver Wyman’s Social Impact team, which takes a capabilities-based approach to creative positive social change. She is passionate about access to finance for women, as well as gender diversity in financial services, where Oliver Wyman continues to drive the global agenda and provide actionable solutions. She co-chairs Oliver Wyman’s women’s network across 30+ offices globally, leading programmes including executive-level cross-company mentoring with the 30% Club and speaking at conferences to share best-practices.

Rupal is on the advisory board for an international executive-search firm. In 2016 she was listed on Brummell’s 30 Ones to Watch 2016: Rising Stars of the City and as a 2016 Rising Stars Diversity Winner.

Julie Thomas, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Zurich Insurance Plc

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Julie joined Zurich in March 2006 and spent eight years in employee communications and engagement. In 2014 she took a career move into HR to lead diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the UK. This included establishing the strategy and priorities, governance and the set-up of four Employee Resource Groups (multi-cultural, gender, LGBT and disability) which have grown to over 1,000 members. Under Julie’s leadership Zurich UK has received substantial external recognition including achieving 2016 Overall Winner – Private Sector at the Employers’ Network for Equality & Innovation (ENEI) awards.

In June 2016, Julie was recognised at the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars awards in the diversity category.

In late 2016, Julie was asked to lead the global implementation of Zurich’s diversity and inclusion framework. She is committed to creating a workplace that attracts and retains talent, with a culture of inclusion that enables everyone to have their best experience.

Outside of work Julie lives with her husband and her two young children. She is a volunteer Girl Guiding Leader, and enjoys running, travelling and continued learning. Most recently, she has embarked on a Mindfulness Diploma.

Shauna Bull, Account Manager, Pure Storage


Having graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in International Business in 2015, Shauna already has a wealth of international experience from her time studying in Australia, France, Germany and China, and working in the USA, The Netherlands and The UK. She has a passion for sales, which started during her Secondary School years, setting up various small businesses both inside and outside of school. Her progression has led her to work for a Silicon Valley based technology company, starting in Inside Sales, and recently being promoted to an Account Manager, after her Rising Star win in 2016, having responsibility for her own UK territory and revenue targets.

Outside of the office, Shauna is a member of the Women’s Equality Party, enjoys attending various events, recently attending a Women In Technology event hosted by The Guardian at Skype HQ London, and was a participant at a TEDx Event in 2015, where she gave a speech on ‘Making Your Own Luck’.

Sarah Chapman, Technical Manager, 3M


Sarah Chapman is a Technical Manager at global science company 3M. She graduated from the University of Southampton with a degree in Chemistry and has held a variety of roles in industry including technical service engineer, regulatory specialist and project manager for the build of a multi-million pound Customer Innovation Centre at 3M’s Bracknell head office. Obsessed with STEM education and people development, Sarah is a keen STEM Ambassador and active member of the 3M’s Women’s Leadership Network. She is a trained coach, experienced mentor and champion of flexible working – which is proving handy as she recently started a family of her own. Sarah was a key contributor to 3M’s Big Tick Education Award and last year won a WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award.

Elaine Gibson, Facilities Manager, NSPCC

elaine gibson

Elaine has worked for the NSPCC for ten years starting as their receptionist and working her way up to Facilities Manager. One of her proudest achievements at the NSPCC was to set up the apprenticeship scheme, working alongside another charity called City Gateway who work with young people from challenging backgrounds. She has committed two years to each apprentice, working with them guiding and mentoring them through their apprenticeship and supporting them through some difficult personal situations. Elaine is now reaping the rewards as she watches them leave the NSPCC into full-time employment having turned their lives around. Elaine also volunteers for Childline as a Children’s Telephone Counsellor. Last year, Elaine’s dedication was recognised as she won a WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award.









Funke Ambimbola, General Counsel & Head of Financial Compliance, Roche UK

Funke ambimbola

Funke is a solicitor and senior leader for Roche, the world’s largest biotech company. Currently the most senior black lawyer in her field, she is ranked by the Financial Times as being one of the top 20 BAME leaders internationally (UPStanding100 2016 Powerlist) and one of the most influential leaders of African/Afro-Caribbean heritage in the UK (The 2017 Powerlist).

A multi award winning solicitor and diversity leader, she has received both national and international recognition for her legal and diversity work. She is an experienced public speaker, speaking regularly about her personal journey to large audiences ranging from school children to senior professionals including regularly speaking in Parliament. She holds a number of board-level voluntary leadership roles across a range of different diversity organisations. In 2015, she founded a network supporting the international pipeline of female legal talent within the life sciences sector. She is a Committee member of a House of Lords-based diversity recruitment drive and also appears regularly on BBC 1 as a news reviewer, commenting on world business news.

Funke is a proud working mother, an expert mentor and sponsor, passionate about the law, diversity, education and healthcare. She is a regular media commentator, a keen fundraiser for various charities (including Cancer Research UK) and has twice served as school governor and as a board director. She recently founded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in memory of her father, Dr. Frank Olufemi Akindolie. This is a privately funded bursary and leadership mentoring initiative aimed at supporting future UK doctors from a minority ethnic background.

In October 2016, Funke was honoured with a ‘Point of Light’ award by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK Cabinet Office, recognizing the outstanding positive impact of her voluntary diversity work in improving workplace diversity and in supporting the next generation of future leaders.

Caroline Graham, Director, Barclays

caroline graham

Caroline Graham is a Programme Director at Barclays currently working for the Barclays International Structural Reform Programme. Within her nine years at Barclays, Caroline spent three years in India as Head of Location Change building out a change organisation across Mumbai and Chennai.

Caroline is passionate about the Diversity and Inclusion agenda. Within Barclays she is Co-Chair of the Win London gender network, founder of Win India and founder of the Win Assistants Forum. Externally, Caroline is co-founder and head of WeAreTheCity India, is an Associate Board Member of Gender Networks and has recently become a Corporate Ambassador for the charity Smart Works.

Originally from Glasgow, Caroline is now based in Twickenham and loves writing, networking, cycling and travelling.

Chuck Stephens, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, EMEA,Google

chuck stephens

Chuck is a recognized leader in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Leveraging more than a dozen years’ of experience building, deploying, and managing D&I practices, Chuck delivers measurable, business-focused solutions that meet the demands of complex organizations. He has guided some of the world’s largest companies in addressing their D&I challenges while increasing their eminence as diversity leaders. He has deep experience establishing and governing broad-based D&I practices that are tailored to the needs of individual business units while leveraging knowledge across the organization.

Established relationships with Fortune Magazine, Human Rights Campaign, Stonewall, Race for Opportunity, UN Women, Working Mother, OpportunityNow, outstanding, The Guardian newspaper, and others have contributed to drive brand eminence and D&I impact.

Birgit Neu, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, HSBC


Birgit is the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at HSBC. She was previously Head of Private Banking Initiative, Global CMB, HSBC, and also held COO roles within Corporate Communications & Marketing and Corporate Development in HSBC’s GBM business.

Named one of The International Alliance for Women’s World of Difference Top 100 for 2012, European Diversity Awards Inspirational Role Model in 2012, and Women of the Future’s Mentor of the Year in 2009, Birgit has been actively involved in driving diversity efforts in the corporate world for a number of years. At HSBC she was founding co-chair of its Balance employee network for men and women as well as a founding member of the Women on the Wharf initiative linking up the financial and professional services firm’s gender networks in London’s Canary Wharf. She sits on leadership committee for Out on the Street, the global LGBT forum for financial services.

She previously served as UK Director for the Center for Talent Innovation, a non-profit think tank based in NY. Her financial services experience includes communications at Atos Euronext Market Solutions and a variety of roles at electronic broker Instinet. Prior to her work in financial services Birgit worked with book publisher Henry Holt and Company, branding agency Wunderman and restaurant chain Planet Hollywood in NY. Birgit also currently sits on the board of legal charity Advocates for International Development.

Tamara Box, Managing Partner, EME, Reed Smith

tamara box

Tamara Box is an internationally recognised expert in legal and financial structuring and in strategic financial advice. She is currently Global Chair of the Financial Industry Group at international law firm Reed Smith, where she also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee.

A founding member of the 30% Club Steering Committee, Tamara is knowledgeable and passionate about the efforts to establish gender parity in corporations and professional organisations. In order to achieve gender balance, she focuses strongly on the pipeline of talent that takes rising stars up the leadership chain.‎

A few years ago, she created Women in Structured Finance to actively encourage and mentor women in the male-dominated sector. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the London School of Economics, where she is also a frequent speaker.  For the past two years, she has been the chair of “Women of Influence”, an initiative that has raised almost £1 million in support of the senior women fellows of Cancer Research UK.‎

Tamara was a commissioner on the All Party Parliamentary Group’s first Commission on the Future of Management & Leadership, which launched at the House of Commons in 2014. She has lectured at the University of South Bank, debated at the Oxford Union, and written articles for many publications on the topic of gender balance and the pipeline of talent women offer‎. Tamara is also a member of The Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only organisation of women who mentor future female leaders through scholarship programmes at the world’s foremost universities. Last year she was instrumental in selecting three rising stars at the LSE for this honour.

Caroline Hunter-Yeats, Partner, Simmons & Simmons

Caroline Hunter-YeatsCaroline is a partner at Simmons & Simmons in London. She joined the firm in 1997 and became a partner in 2008. Caroline is a financial markets litigation specialist with a particular focus on wealth management firms and complex products sold to high net worth investors. She also regularly advises on the contentious regulatory aspects of the FCA’s product and distributor governance in the retail structured products and asset management sectors.

Since 2015 Caroline has been an elected member of the Firm’s Board.  She also has responsibility for the Firm’s market leading eDiscovery team and is a member of the Firm’s Innovation Committee, which is comprised of individuals from across the firm who have a track record of innovation.

Caroline is passionate and committed to improving gender diversity within Simmons & Simmons and chaired the firm’s first female partner conference in 2016 which was all Simmons & Simmons female partners from across its international network, together with our senior management team and key male colleagues.  The conference was part of Simmons & Simmons step change in how it approaches creating inclusion and greater diversity within the partnership, as well as considering issues as to pipeline, sponsorship and role modelling.

Outside of work Caroline is a keen skier and has enjoyed heli-skiing in the wilds of north Canada for the past 3 years.  She also organises the Simmons & Simmons London litigation ski trip, which has been a fixture in the firm for over 25 years.

















Julie Carruthers, Integration and Transformation, Corporate Functions, TPIcap

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Julie has been in Operations for 25 years of which the last 15 have been at ICAP. During her time at ICAP she has enjoyed a variety of roles in both the Electronic and Voice divisions primarily in Operations, Technology and Strategic projects. Prior to ICAP she worked at Deutsche Bank in an Operational Project team and went on to run the Operational PMO. She started her career at UBS in Operations doing reconciliations and settlements. She is currently the chair of the Women’s Network at ICAP, A board member of Women In Listed Derivatives (WILD) and a Trustee of Futures for Kids.

Simon Fillery, Head of Inclusion, Bank of England

I am a passionate diversity and inclusion (D&I) leader with over 10 years’ experience in directing diversity initiatives. Able to build strong interpersonal relationships at all levels from board level to volunteers, I am driven to execute to the highest standards.

Currently I serve as Head of Inclusion at the Bank of England, developing and embedding our Inclusion strategy to colleagues to support them so they can all deliver their best work and contribute to the good of the people of the UK.

Previously, I developed and embedded the diversity and inclusion architecture and strategy in the Barclays Investment Bank and overseen a sustained improvement in the diversity of the population.

Jo Robinson, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, EY

Jo RobinsonJoanne has over 22 years restructuring experience and has led on some of EYs highest profile restructurings, including Metronet and Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust.

Joanne leads the government and public sector offering in restructuring and joined EY as a school leaver, making partner last year.  A passion of Joanne’s is diversity and inclusive leadership, having been on the leadership team of EY’s Women’s Network for the last 6 years, formerly as co-chair and now leading our D&I initiatives with clients.

Tricia Driver, UK Talent Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Capgemini UK

In my role as Capgemini’s UK Talent Diversity and Inclusion Lead, my focus is ensuring that we attract, retain and develop the best possible talent from as broad a population as possible. We know that teams with a rich diversity of backgrounds and profiles are the ones which come up with cutting edge innovative solutions. We have a terrific offering for all our employees, and we want to make sure that message is out there in the market place for everyone to see.

I believe that inclusion is about more than just the absence of exclusion. We have to make a proactive and concerted effort to ensure that everyone in our organisation feels completely free to be their real selves at work. That’s why I believe it’s so important to ensure visibility for all kinds of relatable role models – everyone needs someone to look up to.

As a mum to two small girls, I’m especially passionate about ensuring that girls and women have strong and relatable role models to inspire them in their careers; and I am a huge believer in the value and importance of mentoring at every stage in a career.

Rebecca Drew, Enterprise Sales Leader, LinkedIn

Rebecca is an Enterprise Sales Leader at LinkedIn within their Talent Solutions business and has almost 20 years of experience and a career spanning Cloud Software, Recruitment, Management Consulting and now Social Media. She has an excellent track record in business development and business transformation and is an active member of the Diversity and Inclusion networks in the UK. Rebecca is incredibly passionate about mentoring and how diverse teams drive success in organisations.

Kelly Jackson, HR Director, WorldFirst

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Kelly joined World First as Group HR Director in November 2014. After graduating from UCL with a degree in Psychology, she went travelling around South East Asia and Australasia before starting her HR career at QAS Limited – a subsidiary of Experian Plc. Most recently she headed up the HR team at Stemcor Ltd – a privately owned international steel trading company.

Melanie Eusabe, Executive Producer of Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre

Starting her career working at the branch of a local bank while completing her Masters of Philosophy, Melanie is a Business, Media and Creative Strategist with over 20 years experience working for global brands including IBM and EY, She specialises in working with large and small organisations to implement strategies and plans for growth and sustainability.  She appears frequently in media, speaking on business and leadership, and her work and advice have been featured on BBC and Sky News, in The London Evening Standard, Management Today, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and City AM. She loves education and lifelong learning and dedicates part of her time to being a professor, teaching courses in both Business Strategy and Leadership & Management. Alongside being the Chair and Co-Founder of the Black British Business Awards, the first awards of its kind in the UK, Melanie is also a champion of the arts and is the Executive Producer for the Women of the World Festival (WoW) a global movement based out of the Southbank Centre, occurring in 5 continents and 41 cities around the world.

Alex Gurr, Partner, Baringa Partners

Alex is a Partner at the Management Consultancy firm Baringa Partners. He joined in 2007 to help set-up their Financial Services practice having spent the previous 10 years working across the Financial Services sector. At Baringa Alex has taken a number of leading roles around the people agenda and has been central to helping shape the culture of the company, which has been recognised over the last 10 years through “Great Place to Work Awards”. Most recently Alex has taken on sponsorship for the Balance Baringa programme, which is Baringa’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative.

Outside work Alex is married with four young children who are the focus of most of his spare time, but when not at the park, Alex enjoys taking part in “very amateur” motor racing (racing the Caterham he built himself) and is currently learning to fly.

Stacey Toder Feldman, Director, Deloitte

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Susan Berardi, EDIT Development

Susan BerardiSusan Berardi has over 25 years of experience in corporate business development, management and business consulting and training. With experience across a range of industries from telecommunications and IT to financial, retail and consultancy, Susan has a range of areas of expertise including strategic leadership, high impact communication, the art of good management and motivational speaking. She is passionate about developing the potential of others and believes inspiration and communication is at the heart of all training and coaching.

Des Christofi, Executive Coach & Facilitator, EDIT Development

Des ChristofiDes Christofi works as an executive coach and facilitator with senior leaders and teams seeking or undergoing change in the private or public sector. Des works across a range of industries and holds expertise in areas including talent management, cultural assessment, employee engagement and stakeholder engagement. Her vast international and cultural experience allows her to maximise her impact and influence throughout her many years of working with global organisations.

Deon Newbronner, Truth.Works

Deon is a business owner, a writer and a father.

Deon has made businesses fly, and has been at the helm when they have failed. He has been running small businesses and consultancy firms for near on 15 years. He is a master of coaching psychology, and he understands human nature – a key ingredient for good public speaking.

Deon has spent the past 15 years helping business owners and senior executives drive improvement in bottom-line results by mastering their power to influence and building real trust when presenting and public speaking.

He challenges people to re-examine their intentions and values and use their story to influence their leadership presence – their ability to communicate and relate to others. He does this, by getting to heart of why people don’t want to express their true self.

Beth Chadwick, EDIT Development

Beth ChadwickBeth Chadwick is an strategic and innovative organisational effectiveness professional and consultant with over 20 years’ global experience. She has solid grounding in HR and extensive experience in designing and delivering communications and impact, engagement, and leadership programmes. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, personal brand and impact, change and talent strategy and enabling high performing teams. Beth thrives on helping individuals to maximise their potential, and brings passion, energy and creativity to all her work.

Suzy Reading, Coaching Psychologist, Well Aware

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Suzy is a coaching psychologist specialising in wellbeing, stress management and facilitation of healthy lifestyle change. She holds a B. Psychology (Hons) degree from the University of Sydney and a M. Psychology (Org) degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, is a certified yoga teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Her coaching is informed by Positive Psychology, the Mindfulness Tradition, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Suzy offers an integrated approach to wellbeing: nurturing head, heart and body, and is passionate about teaching tools of self-care to help people weather and recover from periods of stress, loss and change and to boost resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics.

Suzy Reading from Well Aware is a true expert in the field of psychology and offers an integrated approach to wellbeing: nurturing head, heart & body. As part of the Well Aware team, Suzy is passionate about empowering people with the tools of self-care to help them weather and recover from periods of stress.

Well Aware are the leading provider of workplace wellbeing programmes, servicing a number of companies throughout the UK, including several Fortune 500 organisations. Employee wellbeing is now high priority on most companies’ agendas, with many organisations seeing it as a strategic part of their overall business plan, not just a nice-to-have.

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Hearn, business owners, multi-award-winning authors & resident WATC Future Leaders bloggers

The Leadership map is constantly changing – and that’s how it should be.

What was expected of leaders 20 years ago is not necessarily relevant any more.

New business and organisational challenges, new world challenges (lack of resources, changing political climate, greater global collaboration) and new generations with new expectations are some of the reasons why the concept of Leadership needs to evolve fast – in order to meet the demand of a fast-moving future.

Mandy and Elisabet are dedicated to continuous leadership development, for chairmen and CEO’s, team leaders and everyone in between, as well as aspiring, future team leaders of tomorrow. As business leaders themselves, having spent many years in the corporate world, they know first-hand how leadership can help drive both employee engagement, customer loyalty and bottomline results.

They work with organisations, teams and individuals all around the world. They facilitate real, transformational change. They advise (on both strategy and tactics), speak, coach, write and engage to help people develop. Organisations are made up of people first – and what people do and how they behave in the process is crucial for sustainable organisational success. It starts with each individual.

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, business owners and multi-award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula” and ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions” published by Financial Times publishing

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”This book is a 21st-century guide on how to build a world-class team. I highly recommend it” Steve Siebold, Founder, Mental Toughness University, Florida USA.

Discover Mandy and Elisbaet’s Future Leaders blog here.