sonia meggie

Sonia Meggie | Inspirational YOU

I am the Founder of Inspirational YOU, a UK based Social Enterprise that specialises in delivering empowering masterclasses and workshops for women, students and start ups. I have engaged with thousands of attendees via Inspirational YOU and have a proven track record of successful partnerships with the corporate, statutory and third sector organisations. These include the BBC, UK Supreme Court, Lewisham Homes, PwC, Pearson, ITV News, Channel 4, Go Think Big, Impact Hub, Punch Records, London Youth, BBC, Birkbeck, University of London, Lambeth Council and Metropolitan Housing.

caroline odogwu

Caroline Odogwu | Business Launchpad

Caroline Odogwu is committed to working with young people, inspiring them to reach their full potential. And after working nearly five years at youth entrepreneurial charity, Business Launchpad, alongside running her own award winning social enterprise - she has an inspiring story of her own!

After graduating with a degree in journalism, Caroline began her career as a broadcast journalist working with OHTV (Sky Digital), ITV, Granada and Sky News. It was through this work that Caroline was able to hone her skills in digital marketing and communications. Coupling this budding talent with her passion for working with her fellow 20 somethings, she created a TV series called Young Achievers for OHTV. The 20-part programme shone a spotlight on the achievements of young professionals across the UK, giving voice to an often under-represented section of society.

Channeling the knowledge and experience she gained working in the media, Caroline was driven to do more to give young people a voice. She began speaking out about issues such as youth unemployment, diversity and entrepreneurship, reaching key influencers at round table discussions at the House of Lords and House of Commons. Caroline also secured speaking engagements about these vital issues at events with top business leaders from companies including RBS, Tata Consulting and vinspired.

Generating awareness was only one piece of the puzzle, however, it was Caroline’s drive to do something that led her to co-found She is You in 2012. Aimed at helping girls and young women achieve their full potential, She is You provides workshops, events and peer mentoring.

In addition to that Caroline currently works as the Marketing & Outreach officer for Business Launchpad (BLP), a South London-based charity that connects young entrepreneurs, providing them with the skills, resources, support and mentoring they need to start their own businesses. In addition to her marketing role, Caroline leads on BLPs peer-led youth leadership panel and is currently piloting a youth-led digital marketing agency as part of BLP’s development programme.

Sarah Kouch

Sarah Kouch | Societe Generale

After finishing my degree in 2015, I had the opportunity to join Soc Gen's graduate program in London. Travelling has always been a dream to me and being able to fulfill it through my job is a wonderful thing. As a student I had to sacrifice a few experiences abroad because I had to work to finance my college education. I worked as sales but also as a babysitter or a mathematics teacher. This is something I am very proud of and I am very satisfied today that I finally managed to explore a new country and a new culture.

I was born in Paris, from Moroccan parents. I am part of the first immigration generation who needed to adjust itself to a double culture. This is something I always bring to the fore, as it makes people sharing different lifestyles, understand more about each other and open our mind to live in cohesion.
I opted for a Mathematic degree as I was more interested by scientific classes than literature, but in the meantime, through my few experiences I really loved my sales roles, discussing with clients and being proactive. Thus, I chose to complete my mathematics degree by a business school in partnership with an engineering school to study Financial Markets. I had the chance to simulate trading activity there and I found the job really fascinating.
If I was not a trader today, as one of my passions is cooking, I would have opened a French and Moroccan restaurant with a crazy touch. Maybe a food truck to reach as many people as possible…

Zainab Atta

Zainab Atta | RBS

From the young age of 11 I was interning at my father’s business as an office assistant, and from him I learned really strong work ethics although I didn’t realize it at the time. I went on to study accounting for 4 years at university, and by the time I graduated I knew I did not really want to be an accountant. I always had an entrepreneurial flair so I decided to pursue a Masters degree in International Business and hoped it would guide me to my calling, but it did not quite work out that way. I spent the last 10 years gaining a vast range of experiences in finance and project management roles and finally my current role in financial crime compliance.

Outside my day job I pursue other passions and have held a range of roles at various charities including a Trustee position. One of such roles is as Chief Operating Officer at Career Masterclass where I have the opportunity to support the founder’s vision of giving women and BAME professionals a fighting foot by organising events and Masterclasses that improve soft and interpersonal skills. I am extremely passionate about fairness and equality issues faced by women and BAME professionals in the workplace. I also love to support and mentor young women when I can. At Career Masterclass I am responsible for driving operational effectiveness and driving the activities that ensure we meet our organisational objectives. Ultimately I find fulfillment in volunteering and being able to give back

People would describe me as passionate; always ready to challenge the status quo, dependable and adaptable. I am also a bit of a perfectionist and probably my own biggest critic, but only because I always want to put my best foot forward.

Michelle Delaney | BNY Mellon

An expat from Australia, Michelle moved from Perth to London in February 2008 realising her dream of travelling the world to live in a new country and experience new cultures. Early in her career, Michelle developed a keen eye for talent from her work in talent management and recruitment, supporting people to achieve their career aspirations.
More recently Michelle moved into Technology Risk Management where she is responsible for Communications and Training globally, raising awareness of cybersecurity, information security and privacy in the workplace and at home. Since late 2015, Michelle began her role as Co-Chair for IMPACT’s Brand and Communication workstream, celebrating multiculturalism and diversity of thought. IMPACT is BNY Mellon’s multicultural employee resource network, advocating diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Rachel Scandling

Rachel Scandling | Barclays

I grew up surrounded by military stories of courageous behaviour and risky adventures; my father and grandfather were both in the Armed Forces and from an early age my ambition was to follow in their footsteps. Growing up in a small rural, farming community, my career choice of a life at sea was definitely viewed as out of the ordinary. However, my determination paid off and in the late 80’s I was accepted into the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a Wren Writer.

After 5 years as a non-commissioned officer, I passed the selection process for Officer training and went on to attend Britannia Royal Naval College.  I have always strived to be ‘my very best self’ and following an extremely rewarding and challenging career spanning 27 years, I left the RN as a Commander having served overseas, at sea and in Afghanistan as well as at home in the UK. In 2015 I was ready for fresh adventures and exchanged my military career for one in financial services. Whilst these two sectors may seem poles apart, they both require courage, tenacity and resilience along with the ability to make things happen, get things done and deliver results. I started working in Barclays, initially as a Project Manager supporting Structural Reform and more recently as the Optimisation Lead within Global Markets Operations.

Outside of work I love sport and travel, ideally combining the two; I have cycled across Kenya, Cuba and most recently, Vietnam and Cambodia fundraising for female cancer charities. I am passionate about supporting young women to achieve their potential and volunteer as a mentor for the Girl’s Network, supporting young women from disadvantaged communities, with career and professional development advice. My philosophy is one life, live it; don’t let your own fear hold you back.

judith payen

Judith Payen | Barclaycard

Born to Haitian parents and raised as a first-generation American in a largely Spanish-speaking city, it’s safe to say I’m no stranger to diversity. I often hear the maxim “people like people like themselves”, but I find I am most at ease amongst disparate characters, and often go out of my way to seek them out.

I moved from the USA to Scotland at the age of seventeen to pursue a business degree at the University of Edinburgh (only after convincing my mother with a cost-benefit analysis!). I've since gained experience in a variety of settings (including The Scottish Parliament) before ultimately moving into financial services at Barclays. I was selected to join their two-year Future Leaders Development Programme offering graduates accelerated development and insight into roles and operations across Barclays through four six-month rotations. I currently work for the Managing Director of Barclaycard Payment Solutions, a recognised payments industry leader and advocate for gender diversity, as her Operational Planning Manager.

Since joining Barclays, I've not only learned about how start-ups are eradicating long-established barriers to entry in financial services, but I've also seen the ways that these upstarts are creating solutions to address the needs of the under- and unbanked in other markets. I’m still blown away by the size of this demographic; the lack of slick, accessible products available to them; and their resultant financial instability. With this in mind, pursuing an MBA seemed like a natural next step for my career to best equip myself to address these issues, and I set my sights on Harvard Business School (HBS), inspired by the HBS commitment to educating leaders who create value for society. I am fortunate to have been extended an offer to join their Class of 2019, and will matriculate in August this year.

mary mosope adeyemi

Mary Mosope Adeyemi | Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mary Adeyemi is a Credit officer (VP) at BAML, where she started her career in 2008 at the age of 20.

Mary started in banking via SEO London, a charity that helps organizations to meet their diversity needs. Since then, Mary has progressed through the ranks gaining both sectorial, product and regional experience. She is regarded as a top performer in her department, one who is ‘able to provide a balanced risk/reward assessment whilst building strong relationships with stakeholders at various levels’.

Her appreciation of her SEO pathway continues to fuel Mary’s passion for promoting social mobility, ethnic and gender diversity in the workplace.

Within BAML, Mary leads her department’s Female Forum, is a committee member on Multicultural Leadership Network (MLN) and mentors for the Africa Recruitment Program.

Outside of BAML, Mary is a Co-chair on the Alumni board of SEO London. This pioneering leadership role is one that Mary uses as a platform to gain further support for the SEO program in the banking industry and further create opportunity for social mobility.

Through key collaboration with sister Charity, SEO Africa, Mary is starting a Virtual mentoring program where young women in Africa, who are about to start their professional careers and experienced Female professionals in London, are given the opportunity enter into a mentoring relationship.

Mary holds a  1st Class bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Finance from Lancaster University and a Masters in Management from Imperial College. She is also a Chartered Accountant with the ACCA.

She is of Nigerian Descent, a singer; serving as a worship leader in her local church, an avid traveler and a fashion enthusiast.

Ashleigh Harvey

Ashleigh Harvey | RBS

During  working hours I am a Business Manager for RBS, proactively driving improvements to simplify our business and enhance our customers experience. But  in work I am a commissioned Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Training Branch. I help to train, teach and prepare young people to be better citizens and develop an array of skills to further develop their future careers. This training twice a week and some weekends, involves  a wide range of activities including shooting, flying/ gliding, archery, kayaking, first aid and radio communications just to name a few. All of which I need to be proficient in myself in order to train others. I am a fully trained Fieldcraft Instructor and work with the RAF to teach these survival skills used in the field. My aim is to support young people to foster the spirit of adventure and provide them with the life skills they need to be successful in whatever ambitions they may have, whether that be a civilian or military.
During my career in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets I have completed 4 flying scholarships towards my pilots license, Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, won best Sports cadet in the country (47,000 people) and participated in an International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) spending 3 weeks in Ghana, and then hosting over 20 countries the following year in the UK.
Last year I successfully graduated at Military Acadamy Sandhurst with a degree in Leadership and Management through CVQO. I completed my degree in my spare time alongside my full time career, whilst playing for a football team and completing my volunteer work, which I am extremely proud of. I am currently now completing my Masters whilst also having recently started my Chartered Banking qualification to further support my finance career.
After a shoulder injury ruled out joining the RAF as a pilot I started RBS in 2013 as  a telephone/webchat advisor in Fraud and Chargebacks. I was then promoted after 9 months to a Customer Experience Manager and then to a Senior Customer Experience Manger after another 8 months. After completing the RBS Talent Programme in 2016, I recently started a new role this year as a Business Manager in Large Corporate and Sectors UK and Western Europe- which I love.
Being from a small Island in Essex called Canvey, I never thought it would be possible to achieve the things I have. I ow a large proportion of it to the Royal Air Force which just proves what you put into life you get out.   I believe my experiences in the above are very transferrable in the work place, which at the age of 22 has lead me to my successful career so far, which I hope continues within the financial sector.

Danni Li

Danni Li | Barclays

Born in China, working and living in London. I work at Barclays as an equity research analyst, with a focus on oil and gas companies. I joined Barclays in August 2015 and before that, I worked at a global accounting firm Ernst & Young for over three years as an auditor and received the chartered accountant qualification. I went to Imperial College London for undergraduate degree in mathematics, and University of Cambridge for master degree in real estate finance.