Julie Thomas

Julie Thomas | Zurich Insurance

 Diversity & Inclusion Manager | Zurich Insurance plc

Julie Thomas has led diversity and inclusion (D&I) activity in the UK since 2014. She was the first full-time resource supporting D&I in Zurich Group. Julie has responsibility for both setting the D&I strategy and tactical delivery. Under Julie’s leadership, Zurich has set up four D&I Networks, implemented diversity data monitoring, rolled out several FlexWork pilots, launched the annual Inclusion Week and successfully achieved global EDGE Certification (a global commitment to gender equality). This culminated in her winning Zurich’s UKGI ‘People Award’ earlier this year.

Julie joined Zurich in 2006. She’s worked in various employee communications roles supporting the UK and EMEA business. Before that, Julie worked in a number of marketing and communications roles for companies including Santander and Lloyds Banking Group.

Outside of work, Julie enjoys running, having completed five marathons, and travelling. She is also a volunteer Girl Guiding Leader; coaching and mentoring girls age 10 – 17.


Rising Star in Diversity Shortlist 2016


Rupal Kantaria

Rupal Kantaria | Oliver Wyman

 Social Impact Program Manager | Oliver Wyman

Rupal 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’s current role is Program Manager of OW’s Social Impact team which takes a capabilities-based approach. She is passionate about women’s financial inclusion where she believes OW is uniquely well placed to create impact and is developing this theme to be published in 2016.

Rupal co-leads OW’s Women’s Network globally across 30+ offices. Recent activity has included launching cross-company mentoring, parental coaching and presenting best-practice gender diversity initiatives to support the broader industry.

Rupal is a strategic advisor to her Family’s charitable foundation, focused on women and girls. She is co-director of the Women-for-Change network founded to connect City leaders passionate about using their skills, resources and networks with tangible ways to create social impact.

Rupal is an executive advisor to a UK-based executive search firm.


Lauren Peel

Lauren Peel | Aviva

 Media Relations Manager | Aviva

Lauren is a Media Relations Manager for Aviva UK Life and Deputy Chair of Aviva Pride, Aviva's LGBT Network. Lauren joined Aviva on a graduate scheme, undertaking four roles across the business in two years. In addition to her day job, Lauren is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, an active member of Aviva Pride and Aviva's Women's Network, as well as the founder of the LGBT Insurance Network in Yorkshire.


Elisha St Hilaire

Elisha St Hilaire | Aon

Executive Assistant | Aon | Diversity


I am a highly experienced Executive Assistant and have worked in a variety of different industries before joining the insurance sector.

I also Chair Aon’s Women’s International Network “WIN” which is a Business Resource Group for colleagues. Since forming the WIN Committee, we have seen the group grow organically from 60 members to 350 across the UK. It has been a very exciting journey and look forward to what the future holds in this space both internally and across the market.  Last year I was able to further empower our female colleagues at Aon to realise their true potential by implementing a signature event in celebration of International Women’s Day. An idea that was born in the small confines of the WIN Committee and in which I played an integral part.  The WIN – Empower your Career conference welcomed 90 colleagues from all over the UK to Old Trafford, where our CEO and business leaders shared their career journeys and answered guests’ questions on the day.  The conference was a great success and has helped our Talent & Development team implement specific training to help develop our female talent pipeline at Aon.  This was WIN’s biggest event to date.

Rukasana Bhaijee

Rukasana Bhaijee | EY

Diversity Coordinator | EY | Consultancy


Rukasana has been working on the Diversity and Inclusion (“D&I”) agenda since March 2013 and is very passionate about making a change in this area. In this time she has become a subject matter expert for all D&I characteristics and has delivered organisational change programmes to effect positive long term change.

Her previous role was within the Diversity team at Queen Mary University London, focusing on Gender Diversity to increase the number of women progressing in academia, specifically in STEM subjects. Rukasana successfully supported the Barts and the London, School of Medicine at the University to achieve Silver Status in the Athena SWAN gender equality charter.

She joined the D&I Team at EY in March 2015, and currently has a specialist focus on the Disability and Social Mobility Strategy in the organisation. Rukasana is working to progress the Disability agenda at the organisation to build a disability confident organisation through socialising conversations around disability in order to remove any remaining stigmas associated.

Rukasana coordinated a working group for EY success to achieve ‘Social Mobility Business Champion’ status with the BIS led government initiative. She has also completed a 5 year review of D&I Activity at EY, in order to review progress and identify future strategy.

Linked to her work on Social Mobility and the EY value to ‘Build a Better Working World’ Rukasana has worked with the YesFutures charity this year to coach four girls aged 13 to improve confidence, focus on self-development and aspire to a better future. She is also a mentor at EY and is currently mentoring an individual in the EY Smart Futures work placement programme.

Her career in Diversity has seen a return to the city after an extended career break, her background up to 2002 was in Client Services in Finance.

Susan McDonald

Susan McDonald | National Grid

 SWW Submissions Manager, RIIO Delivery and Lead of Women in National Grid | National Grid

Susan is responsible for maintaining National Grid’s relationship with the energy regulator and for securing regulatory funding up to the value of £1bn to deliver new electricity transmission projects.

In 2015 Susan was awarded the EY and Energy UK Young Energy Professional of the Year in recognition of her commitment to the energy industry, and combined with her leadership skills, showing great potential as a future leader in the energy industry.

Susan is also the Lead of National Grid’s UK Women’s network. Susan collaborates and works with diverse team members, whose time is also on a voluntary basis, to support 521 members in professional development and deliver projects to increase future business effectiveness.

Susan is an enthusiastic engineer and is passionate about using her experience and knowledge to promote engineering and careers within the energy industry. Susan regularly presents to schools and universities, mentors students and is a TeachFirst coach.

Susan holds a MEng (Distinction) in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Strathclyde


Movell Dash

Movell Dash | HM Revenue & Customs

 Programme Manager | HM Revenue and Customs

Movell started her career in the Civil Service as an AO in the old Department of the Environment in the early 1990s, after being promoted to O grade she left the department to work in the private sector. Many years later after starting a family Movell joined HM Customs and Excise in 2004 on the HMRC Fast Track Programme. Since joining the department Movell has done a variety of jobs ranging from policy to Private Secretary and in recent years has focussed her career in the Programme and Project Management field working on programmes such as RTI and Digital Solutions Programme, her most recent post was managing the multiple award winning embrace Programme. Movell is Prince2 and Agile qualified and is also a qualified Barrister.

Movell is very passionate about helping people to achieve their potential and is an Oxford Brookes/CSL validated Coach working with clients across government and the Private sector. Movell also mentors for the National Mentoring Consortium, working with students from Brunel University she also volunteers for other community organisations. Movell has a keen interest in diversity and is an executive committee member of the HMRC BAME Women’s’ Network and is co-chair of the Gender Network, she is also a member of the Disability Network. Movell was also a member of the Civil Service Race Forum. Movell has a 14 year old daughter and is a parent governor at her daughters’ school. She works closely with the school to help with the development and welfare of all the girls at the school focussing on helping them all to establish goals that allow them to reach their full potential.


Lucile Kamar

Lucile Kamar | Liberal Democrats

 Diversity and Outreach Manager | Liberal Democrats

Committed to changing the face of politics and to ensure that parliament becomes as diverse, inclusive and representative as possible, Lucile has been advising on the diversity strategy for the Liberal Democrats since January 2014.

She developed opportunities to increase the diversity of the party at all level from members to parliamentary candidates with the expertise of diversity networks such as Lib Dem Women, Ethnic Minority Lib Dems, LGBT+, Liberal Youth and Lib Dems Disability Association. Lucile has been driving the diversity agenda including the regeneration of Regional Diversity Champions, coordinating the Diversity and Engagement Group and providing mentoring opportunities and support to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

With a particular interest in women and ethnicity,Lucile leads on training and upskilling events for underrepresented groups and through initiatives such as the Leadership Programme, the diversity of the Liberal Democrats candidates in the 2015 election has increased by more than 10%. As an experienced trainer, Lucile has worked to empower individuals across the UK and Europe. Through coordinating and developing training opportunity, she reached out to more than 800 individuals from underrepresented backgrounds and she continues to be inspired by people along the way.


Stephanie Kouame

Stephanie Kouame | Bloomberg

 Relationship Manager - AIM Trading Solutions | Bloomberg L.P

Stephanie Kouame is a relationship manager within Bloomberg’s Trading Solutions business. Her role is to support clients’ use of the AIM platform, a multi-asset buy-side order management system fully integrated with the Bloomberg professional Service.

Prior to this, she spent several years in Bloomberg L.Ps Global Data department responsible for turning raw numbers into actionable insights. Since her first role as an economic data analyst, she has held a number of different positions building her expertise in various financial asset classes. In 2011 she undertook her first management role as team leader responsible for 15 analysts across six Global Data teams.

She is co-founder of the EMEA Bloomberg Black Professional Community and also sits on the executive committee of The Network of Networks’ (TNON) BAME/Multicultural chapter.

Stephanie holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics and History from SOAS, University of London and an MBA from Oxford Brookes University.


Ariel White-Tsimikalis

Ariel White-Tsimikalis | Latham & Watkins

 Associate | Latham & Watkins

My firm’s diversity initiatives have enabled me to turn my passion for diversity into action. I lead the London office's Women Lawyers Group which has grown to over 100 female attorneys under my leadership. I have spearheaded numerous internal events including a discussion panel with senior female attorneys about how to balance work life and being a working mum, a talk with the CEO of Fearless Futures (which seeks to empower women to become leaders) and a client networking event to support the charity SmartWorks. I mentor five female attorneys at Latham and two female law students at my law school. As the London associate representative on Latham’s global training committee, I helped organise our inaugural Diversity Leadership Academy and our annual Women's Leadership Academy. I aspire to be a role model for female attorneys generally and to do my utmost to help each other rise up the ranks so that female attorney talent is properly represented at all levels in our industry.