Hessie Coleman

Hessie Coleman | Starling Bank

Hessie Coleman is Head of People Operations at Starling Bank – the first mobile-only bank offering UK current accounts. Since joining Starling in July 2016, Hessie has been responsible for the entire People remit, including growing the company from 25 employees to 150 and creating innovative career development programmes such as the Passport to Starling, for which she has been recognised at the CIPD People Management Awards.

Prior to Starling, Hessie was HR Manager at British Gas with responsibility for c.1000 employees following an intense HR graduate scheme.

She studied International Relations & German at Leeds and is currently completing a Masters-level CIPD qualification.

Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen | Alexander Mann Solutions

Starting her career with a year in recruitment agency, Charlotte has spent the last 5 years in RPO solutions for banking clients, starting in recruitment and sourcing roles and moving into attraction. She now has a strong grounding in recruitment marketing which she has recently taken into her new Talent Community Manager role, focusing on creating pre-assessed skills and job based talent pools. Charlotte has a passion for diversity and inclusion and is keen to focus on increasing female applications into senior roles.

Priti Deshpande

Priti Deshpande | HSBC

Originally from Mumbai, I moved to the UK 10 years ago in pursuit of my career goals. Being extremely strong with numerical and analytical abilities and with Masters degree in HR, I always wanted to utilize my strengths for people. The only area that could cater to my expectations was in HR Reward, where I could use my analytical capabilities to ensure people in organizations receive due recognition and reward for their performance. I have always been interested to develop pay parity for women in businesses compared to their male counterparts.

I have an experience in HR Reward for nearly 11 years in Consulting and Financial services industry. I have been involved in developing pay models and strategies and regularly interact with senior stakeholders in business. I have coached and mentored a number of junior analysts during my career, playing a pivotal role in the career development of young talent.

Outside my work, I have encouraged a few startup businesses by women where I have supported them through the initial business models and helped achieve success and economic independence. I support charitable organizations in India for Girl child education as I strongly feel education empowers girls to be economically independent and an empowered girl brings a change in the society.

Alana Drew

Alana Drew | The Marketing Store

I have been working in HR and L&D for the past 4.5 years across Advertising/Marketing, Finance and Hospitality industries.

Kickstarting my career off in Sydney, I worked various unpaid internships whilst studying my degree and then landed my first role in HR & L&D at advertising agency BMF. During the 3.5 years I was there, I learnt and honed the skills needed to build a career in HR, I had fantastic mentors and managers who guided me, which is how I developed a love for L&D. I worked my way up to creating my own content, facilitating in-house workshops and ultimately becoming a certified trainer.

The big change in my career (and life) came in 2017, when I made the decision to move to London by myself and see what the world had in store for me. 2 weeks after I landed, I scored my current role at The Marketing Store.

This has been the biggest leap for me in my career and has retaught me why we do this job - the people - and how to bring them back to the heart of the business. I have been pushed and stretched more than I ever thought I would and am about to embark on the biggest L&D project I've ran - launching and delivering my businesses first L&D Platform.

Emma Greaves

Emma Greaves | Morgan McKinley

Emma studied French and Spanish at Durham University before coming to London to train as an Accountant with Grant Thornton. After realising that people were her real passion, she joined Morgan McKinley. Over the past four years, Emma has progressed to become Manager of the Financial Services Marketing Recruitment Team whilst personally specialising in Investment Management.

Emma has spent the past few years developing relationships with a number of high profiles individuals across the city, helping them to either grow their teams or find their next career opportunity. She has also been the UK top female permanent biller within Morgan McKinley for two years running and enjoys leading by example.

Passionate about helping young people enter the world of work, Emma is an Investment 2020 Ambassador and mentor at her school. She regularly presents to secondary school students on the importance of making a good first impression, the power of networking, and recruitment as a career path and empowers young women to have the drive for success in the workplace.

You can often find Emma giving career advice, reviewing CVs and conducting practice interviews. She is passionate about seeing young people succeed, and would love to train as a life coach in the future, to further assist fellow professionals in their personal and professional development.

Cheryl Hart

Cheryl Hart | DXC Technology

Honestly, I've only just formally started my career. Whilst in university I wanted to build up my job portfolio, so I took on three roles - first as a Student ambassador in October 2012, and although I liked giving careers advice to people wanting to come to university I wanted to inspire people at a much younger age, so started Junior university as well which targets Year 9's just before GCSE. Here I found my calling and became a mentor later in October, 2012. As I went from strength to strength in mentoring and coaching I tried teaching and became a research assistant voluntarily to research how young child (4/5 years old) learn and what is the best method to access in the early years where they are likely to struggle in education and then find a fun way to solution that. In 2013 I moved on to tougher challenges, working gaining a place with the wellbeing mentors in June, mentoring people with mental issues, then, moving on to mentoring in the Children's Society with disabled and abused children in the December. After that, I went back to research how best to help students study in the health department at University of Central Lancashire but decided I wanted to be back on the ground, so to speak so began working as a Speech Therapy Assistant to a private family and a TA with severely autistic and mentally challenged children.

After a year of reflecting on my experience so far while I worked as an enrolment assistant and career advisor at Preston's College I decided to start my career - it was time to get in a big company and start making a real difference to people. On a graduate scheme you can move around the company, so I did so to find my calling, and now here I am. I coach and mentor a lot of people about what the business expects from them and about the early stages of raising a job request, over 50 and I formally mentor 2 individuals. I'm doing what I love - giving people the knowledge to do what they do best.

Parisa Namazi

Parisa Namazi | Cicero Group

Parisa is currently Head of Talent at Cicero Group. Having joined Cicero in April 2016, she is responsible for providing strategic business partnering HR advice to Cicero’s Executive Committee and provides a supportive role to our talented employees. She is responsible for all aspects of human resource management including; employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, internal communications, benefits and reward, training and development, CSR and charity initiatives and group wide recruitment of Cicero's top talented teams.

Parisa has a great interest in promoting diversity in the workplace and was appointed as one of 12 on HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter Board in 2016, representing SME signatory firms. Parisa also sits on the Membership Committee for OUTstanding, LGBT+ network and is an associate member of Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

Before Cicero, Parisa delivered HR at international advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson.

Parisa holds MSc in International Human Resource Management and Comparative Industrial Relations from Manchester Business School. She has always been passionate about diversity and conducted award winning research into female leadership experiences in male dominated industries as part of her undergraduate degree at University of Manchester.

Toni Osoba

Toni Osoba | Accenture

I started my career in HR Consultancy, leveraging my Microeconomics skills to advise senior HR executives on how to take their functions to the next level, using tried and tested best practices. This role gave me great C-level client exposure and valuable insight into how the best organisations are run.

Following this, I transitioned to an HR practitioner role, leading a project to help my organisation prepare for upcoming government legislation changes. This gave me great project management experience, as I was in charge of leading the project and mitigating potential risks.

I now work as a Talent Retention lead, in charge of the engagement, leadership development and recognition of over 13,000 employees. I have thoroughly enjoyed this role so far, and have hit the ground running, due to my ability to leverage and build upon the skills gained in my previous role.

In my spare time, I also volunteer as a school governor and a community manager for Lagos Business Academy, which is a not-for-profit organisation, commited to upskilling and connecting BAME individuals in the Tech space.

julia robertson-avenell

Julia Robertson-Avenell | Hays Life Sciences

I have been actively involved in the recruitment industry for over 25 years, throughout this time taking on a number of different roles and building my skillset ahead of and during each transition.

I believe that the role of the recruitment industry and of the professionals like myself operating within it, brings with it both a significant opportunity and a responsibility. I understand that the work I do can have a real impact on the fortunes and prospects of both businesses and individuals. In short, the appointment of the right person can transform an organisation and securing the right job can transform a person’s life. I am really motivated by the essence of this I use my experience and this passion to influence and encourage this belief through recruitment work, via my professional and personal networks and in turn the wider networks which are aligned to these.

At its heart, recruitment is about building trusted mutually valuable relationships with people. The most important feature and ingredient to these long term relationships is the ability to listen and to recognise its importance. When I meet someone, I listen to understand what is important to them - I care about the trust and reliance that will be placed on the advice I give.

My current position as Contractor Relationship Manager at Hays is to build and maintain relationships with Hays contractors and trusted clients and spot new opportunities for both. I believe that you build good relationships by meeting people face to face.

Continually training and developing my own skills has been rewarded by my membership of a Fellow member of EPAA and a Fellow Member of IAM. I make time to attend events and training sessions outside of work hours and more recently my studying has included modules exploring Mental Health, Equality and Diversity and Personal Branding. It is important to me to ensure that wherever I can, I pay-it-forward. It’s essential to support those in the pipeline so they develop their own set of skills and make their own connections too.

I am also co-founder of The Essex PA Network. A voluntary group set up 2 years ago to connect and develop the skills of office professional staff in Essex. I have brought my experience in building partnerships throughout my career to make sure that the network is successful in its operations and objectives. We currently have 40 members that we bring together quarterly, and invite industry leaders to speak on topics which focus on professional and personal development.

Since 2014 I have been a voluntary shop worker for the Hamelin Trust Charity, Essex. Hamelin Trust supports disabled children and adults with disabilities as well as supporting their families. Working for a local charity has enabled me to give something back to the area I grew up in as well as allowing me to pick up another skill set at the same time.

Emily Whittaker

Emily Whittaker | Photobox Group

Emily graduated from the University of Bath with a 1st in Human Resource Management and Sociology. It was following her year in industry with GlaxoSmithKline that set the course for her career and ignited her passion for people management and leadership.

She spent some time as an Associate Consultant in leadership development before joining PA Consulting as a grad in the People and Talent practice. Uncommon in consulting, she was promoted three times within three years from an Analyst to a Principle Consultant taking the lead on large scale transformation projects. Some of her proudest achievements in this role include her pivotal role in developing the new Investors in People framework; setting the standard of people management in the UK and globally, leading an L&D team in an insurance firm through a multi-million-pound transformation programme, and re-writing the volunteer strategy for Blind Veterans UK.

She recently joined Photobox Group as their Group Talent and Development manager, where she built a whole new learning and development proposition, introduced a new learning platform ‘degreed’ implementing this for over 1,000 employees across multiple sites and geographical locations and is responsible for designing and implementing a new manager development programme.

Passionate about diversity and inclusion, she is currently leading on the design of the Photobox Group inclusion strategy and plans – building an inclusive culture where everyone is treated fairly, has equal opportunities to succeed and can bring their best selves to work. This includes a number of gender initiatives such as establishing a women’s network and building a sponsorship programme for women in leadership.

At only 28 years old, Emily has been able to make a real strategic impact to a number of organisations. She works with grit, determination and humility.