Gus Macfarlane

Gus Macfarlane | Barclays

Gus Macfarlane

Gus leads Technology Vendor Transformation, plus responsibility for the Vendor Management Centre of Excellence.

He provides senior day-to-day oversight of Barclays Vendor partnerships with a focus on increasing the commerciality of the relationships, both contractually and financially, maximising the relations with Barclays strategic vendor partners and developing broader relationships and ensure Barclays has smooth and transparent partnerships.

Prior to this, Gus was Chief Operating Officer for Group Technology, Innovation and Applied Research and Design. He was responsible for the coordination of innovation globally across the firm. His role was to define and own the Technology and Innovation Operating Environment, with a focus on maximising commercial and reputational opportunities both internally and externally. He owned the execution of the Innovation Strategy and embedding the position of innovation across Barclays Group.

Gus joined Barclays from Experian where he was Managing Director, Commercial Enablement. Gus has a long track record of managing business solutions and embedding commercial strategy. Prior to Experian, Gus worked globally for Transcom and Sky, and consulted for a variety of large and small organisations. He previously set up a tech startup which delivered risk and continuity based analytics, gaming and solutions. Gus served in the Royal Scots as an infantry Captain, and during his career, he has served 12 years in the reserves. Throughout his career Gus has championed Diversity and Inclusion.


Peter Palmer

Peter Palmer | S.E.E.D Lancashire

Peter Palmer

My main background is within management of occupational health and safety for over 30 years. I am a Chartered member of IOSH and a Fellow member of IIRSM.

As a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner my role can be very challenging and diverse on a day to day basis. Predominantly, I assist clients in ensuring regulatory compliance, whilst mentoring and supporting management teams in system implementation and creating positive culture change.  My consultancy services have enabled me to successfully share my many years of industry knowledge, skills and ethos across a wide range of companies in the north west.

I have volunteered with at Breathe Therapies and S.E.E.D Lancashire (Support and Education for Eating Disorders) since 2016 to assist with the implementation of the health and safety management systems. I continue to champion and support the services of S.E.E.D Lancashire and its driven, female weighted leadership team. Since 2020, I have also been a charity Director and Trustee with this much needed organisation.


Fiona Barrett

Fiona Barrett | Genius Within CIC

Fiona Barrett

Fiona is the Director of Operations at Genius Within CIC with overall responsibility for our Social Justice Projects.

She is responsible for leading, developing and supporting the Senior Leadership Team to drive performance and develop customer relationships. Fiona is an experienced frontline senior manager, specialising in implementation and leading high performing teams in the Employability Sector.

Combining her public sector knowledge, she can bring together an in-depth understanding of employability alongside diversity and inclusion. She recognises the barriers that people with disabilities face, and has a working knowledge of how to support individuals and businesses to overcome them. Fiona has been working in the Social Justice setting since 1999, training to be a Probation Officer and latterly working as a Senior Probation Officer in Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust. She moved to Genius Within in 2015 to take advantage of working in an agile Community Interest Company whose passion is for all people to maximise their potential and work towards their strengths. During her time at Genius Within, Fiona has grown the social justice team four-fold and prides herself on being able to communicate the vision and strategy effectively to build a high performing and well managed front line team.


Berndatte Thompson

Bernadette Thompson | Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Berndatte Thompson

Bernadette is the Deputy Director for Inclusion, Wellbeing and Employee Engagement in the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

She joined the Civil Service in 1998, starting as a Caseworker in the Legal Aid Board, and she has held a range of roles within the Civil Service across many Government departments, including, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Treasury and Cabinet Office.

She is a notable diversity advocate and public speaker, working with leaders across government and the public sector to drive a culture of inclusion and increase the pace on representation of Black and Minority Ethnic employees particularly at more senior grades. In 2019, she won one of the Civil Service Charity's Community awards and in 2020 she won the Workplace Hero category in the Investing in Ethnicity Awards for championing and driving race equality and inclusion across the Civil Service.

For over four years, Bernadette has co-chaired the multi award-winning Race to the Top G6/7 network, a community of interest network group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) G6/7 employees across all Government departments and agencies. The Network actively supports members by helping to increase preparedness for leadership at the next level, and the overarching intention is to help the Civil Service address BAME underrepresentation in the Senior Civil Service (SCS). She is also a Different Woman Ambassador where she campaigns for a more inclusive gender agenda, amplifying the voices of women of colour.

Bernadette has also been a Community Governor at a local infant school for over 18 years and volunteers at athletics/sports events such as 2012 Olympics, 2017 World Athletics and she is really looking forward to being a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Gamers. Bernadette’s most important job, however, is being a mother to her two children.


Joy Foster

Joy Foster | Tech Pixies

Joy Foster

Since 2015, Joy Foster has led TechPixies on a mission to help thousands of women upskill with social media in order to return to work, change careers or start a business. TechPixies, and Joy herself, have been recognised nationally for the work she is doing.

Most recently, in 2020 Joy was named one of 100 Women of Inspiration by Pioneers Post and NatWest as well as Editor’s Choice for the WeAreTheCity Rising Star Awards. Her signature course, Social Media Magic was named Course of the Year 2020 by Digital Women.
When the global pandemic hit the UK in March of 2020, Joy set up and ran multiple free training programmes to help women quickly upskill with modern technology. Over 4,000 women have now participated in this free training programme and it was featured in The Times.

TechPixies was also profiled in Forbes for raising £150,000 and Stella Magazine for breaking down barriers for women wanting to re-ignite their careers and in April 2019, TechNation named TechPixies ‘one to watch’ in the EdTech space.

In 2018, Joy won the Startup Director of the Year for London and the South and was the only female finalist in the national award. Her business, TechPixies was named Women in Business Startup of the Year 2018 and Enterprise Nation Female Startup of the Year 2017.
Joy is a Mum of 2. Her husband is Tim Foster MBE; he won the Coxless 4 Rowing Gold Medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Joy loves sports herself and was a member of the US Archery Team from 2004-2007. She has run 3 marathons, competed in Ironman Wales and won a Gold Medal at Women’s Henley in 2001. The Fosters live in Oxford, England with Asteroid the cat.


Yota Trom

Yota Trom | Together in Tech

Yota Trom

Yota Trom is the founder and CEO of the non-profit organisation Together in Tech, a UK-based community that aims to encourage and empower women, amongst other under-represented groups to be bold and equipped to pursue a career in tech.

Founded in London in August 2019, Together in Tech has now over 4000 members, ranging from CEOs, CMOs, entrepreneurs and employees of tech companies. Together in Tech has organised over 25 online and offline events under cooperation with leading companies such as The Telegraph, educational institution General Assembly and more are planned with Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, Sky, UCL and other companies. Also, we have recently started expanding internationally in countries such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Greece.

Yota is also a Leadership Coach specialising in building high-performing teams and developing emerging tech leaders by applying Positive Psychology and Strengths-Based Coaching. Combined with 13+ years of leadership experience holding a variety of senior roles within high-profile companies, such as Amazon and Yahoo she has a deep understanding of the tech industry and a passion for new technologies. Finally, she is a visiting lecturer at University College London (UCL) where she teaches leadership and organisational psychology for students of the Business Psychology and Management department.


Lisa Waterhouse

Lisa Waterhouse | National Grid

Lisa Waterhouse

A Talent Management and I & D expert with almost 20 years of experience in my field.

A strong track record of designing, implementing and leading talent management strategies and methodologies both at a strategic and operational level. More recently moving into the inclusion and diversity space where I have found my passion; I care deeply about equity and equality and am responsible for implementing groupwide I & D strategies and leading both new and well established interventions to shake up the diversity mix to improve inclusion for all.

My purpose is to create an environment where everyone at National Grid...no matter what their race, age, role, gender, gender identity, colour, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, marital status, dependants, disability, social class or political views...can bring their whole selves to work, feel a great sense of belonging and have the opportunity to thrive.

'Diversity is a fact but inclusion is a choice'; my goal is that everyone at National Grid chooses inclusion!


Melissa Ahmed

Melissa Ahmed | Techwuman Ltd

Melissa Ahmed

Melissa is very passionate about being a role model, not only for engineers, but young entrepreneurs and females in ethnic minorities to show that engineering or being an entrepreneur can be a viable career choice for women.

At the age of 26 Melissa has achieved Incorporated engineer status, SolidWorks professional member, SolidWorks Champion, STEM and female role model, an advocate for women in engineering and is a successful entrepreneur, running an engineering consultancy business.

She does a tremendous amount of outreach work as she is very passionate about helping the next generation and her company takes on her mission to empower the next generation to take up a career in STEM through the activity days they do but also provides mentoring and uses her network to find jobs and placements for her mentees. She networks with other females to expand her network and tries to be the role model she never had when she was entering her career in engineering.

Was the first female employed in the technical department at a manufacturing company and excelled at leading the team to produce a successful stock part system in the factory, as well completed a successful innovate project to improve the design process of security products - saving the company 40% of the overall product development costs in a year.

Melissa has successfully completed a Research Masters (MSc) on The Digital Simulation of attacking structures in accordance to the standards LPS 1175 set up by the Loss Prevention Certification Board. During this project she identified new methodologies for improving the efficiency of the design process for security products - saving the company 40% of the overall product development costs in a year. She was the first female employed in the technical department at a manufacturing company and excelled at leading the team to produce a successful stock part system in the factory. She achieved a (BEng Hons) in Aeronautical Engineering and was a finalist for the Female Undergraduate of the Year Award in 2014 . She also achieved the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Outstanding Paper on an Aerospace Subject, RAeS University Prize and the Manchester Branch Project Prize.


Julie Haigh

Julie Haigh | North Cumbria Integrated Care

Julie Haigh

With 20 years experience of both the military and engineering it was always my passion to be a midwife.

I retrained in my late 30's and qualified as a Midwife in 2012. 3 years ago I became a Digital Midwife leading on several projects whilst also acting as the elected Chair for the Digital Maternity Group within NHSx along side my daily role. I was the first midwife to become a Fellow with the Faculty of Clinical Informatics in 2020 and am currently a recipient of a scholarship to study for my Masters in Heathcare Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Sheffield Hallam University.


Rikki Alderman

Rikki Alderman | British Army

Rikki Alderman

As a career soldier within the AGC(SPS), my journey began directly upon leaving school in 2004 at the Army Foundation College Harrogate.

Completing special-to-arm training, my first assignment commenced as a junior administrator with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Embracing every opportunity of developing my newly learnt administrative skills, I also deployed with the Battalion to an exercise in Malaysia and on operational engagements to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following an assignment to Headquarters 16 Air Assault Brigade as the Logistics Movements Clerks and promoted to Corporal, in 2009, I was selected to become a Section Commander with 2nd Army Training Regiment Pirbright. My appointment consisted of training the army’s future soldiers in addition to providing them with pastoral support. In 2011, I was selected as the army’s ambassador for an exchange post in New Zealand on Exercise Long Look, where upon I instructed personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force.

Upon return, my journey took me to the Falkland island whereupon I was employed as the movement Junior Non-Commissioned Officer in a Tri-Service environment within the Falkland Island Support Unit. During this assignment and being recognised for making the most contribution for a junior non-commissioned officer (NCO), I was awarded the prestigious Avery-Wilkes trophy.

Selected for promotion to a Senior NCO in 2012, I was assigned to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in the position of their Staff Support Assistant where I became a part of the Commanding Officer's TAC Headquarters and subsequently deployed on exercise and overseas on operations in Afghanistan. Upon return and selected to be the STRAP Focal Point to the Chief of Defence Staff in 2014, my role entailed the dissemination of highly sensitive material for Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Secretary of State and all other Defence Ministers.

Promoted further in 2017, I returned to Pirbright as their chief clerk, responsible for administrating in excess of 140 permanent staff members and 1,000 recruits within a busy training establishment. In 2019 I returned to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian regiment as the Financial Systems Administrator and I have recently promoted to a Warrant Officer 2nd class and look forward to an appointment with the Light Dragoon Guards situated in North Yorkshire.