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Laura Pettitt | Insignis Ltd

I started my professional career ten years ago and was quickly catapulted into the world of recruitment. For the next 7 1/2 years I learnt how to win business, source contract and permanent candidates, employment law, management (people and business) and how to develop and nurture lasting relationships . Working with extraordinary clients I carved a career for myself running a business with a turnover of 11million for a large recruitment business, heading up client engagement and latterly taking on the challenge of turning around a failing recruitment business.

I became interested in employee engagement and the psychology of people and what makes them tick. As luck would have it I had the opportunity to work for a brand experience business designing engagement programmes and employer brand propositions. Seeing a gap in the market I took the leap to start on my own and combine my experience to deliver something innovative and new to the market. That was nearly a year ago and I've never looked back!

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Laura Herbert | Thales UK

Laura is a HR Change Partner within the Defence Mission Systems HR Team at Thales UK. She joined Thales in 2013 after completing a Graduate Leadership Programme within local government, which included working with the HR department to help manage a complex transformation programme that resulted from the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review and the need to save the organisation over £80million, which included establishing a shared service centre and streamlining terms and conditions for over 7,000 member of staff. This exposure to complex HR and Organisation Development piqued Laura’s interest in the world of HR and she began to develop her professional knowledge of the industry through roles in Early Careers and Talent Management.

Passionate about helping young people into the world of work, Laura led the Early Careers function at Thales across the UK, promoting opportunities to ambitious young individuals completing STEM based subjects. She designed an award winning early careers attraction campaign that encouraged females to engage with the organisation to create a more diverse workforce.

Laura has also coached and mentored a significant number of apprentices, interns and graduates during her career, playing a pivotal role in the career development of young talent.

After moving through a range of HR and Organisation Development disciplines across the public and private sectors, a rarity for someone still rising within their discipline, Laura is now working on the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier Alliance. It is her responsibility to design and implement a programme of change to support Thales staff over the next couple of years once the programme comes to an end, illustrating that she is a true HR business partner and giving Laura excellent all-round experience as she continues to rise within the HR industry.

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Valeriya Nefyodova | BP

Originally from Ukraine, I moved to the UK over 8 years ago in pursuit of my educational goals. Having achieved a First class degree in Psychology from UCL, I was determined to build a career in a discipline where I could put all my energies to making people's lives at work better, and my choice fell on Human Resources. I joined BP through HR Graduate scheme and after completing two rotations working closely with Group and Senior leaders particularly in Procurement function, I progressed in my career as HR Advisor working for Castrol, BP’s Lubricants business. In parallel I have completed my CIPD qualification, focusing my final dissertation on the ‘employee voice’ and how to ensure that the employees feel ‘heard’ as well as supported by organizations.

As part of my career and professional growth in BP, I have developed to lead business transformation activities, build teams of successful performers, and create an engaged workforce through business partnering. In addition to this, I currently represent HR in BP WIN (the BP Women’s International Network), a business resource group that aims to foster, develop and retain talented women by learning from others.

I work with dedication, strive for excellence and treat others with respect. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, seeing new places and exploring different cultures - both through work and outside.

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Maria Ursu | Vodafone

I joined Vodafone in 2011 as part of the Discover Graduate Programme in Italy. Currently I am HR Business Partner at Vodafone Group, London UK, and work closely with Technology Senior Leaders -challenging and driving performance across the business areas through exemplary people & organisational practices. I am supporting the Technology 2020 Strategy by hiring best talent, growing and developing people and building high performing teams.

Being very passionate about people and an active promoter of Diversity & Inclusion initiatives both in Vodafone and externally, I am leading the Vodafone Women in Technology community empowering all women across Technology to fulfil their potential.

In 2013 I volunteered in Tanzania to support the Vodafone Foundation Moyo initiative in helping women living with obstetric fistula in Tanzania’s rural areas.

In 2012 I was awarded as Vodafone Global Hero for a joint initiative to connect the Vodafone Graduate community globally on one single platform.

Before joining Vodafone, I worked with MBA students at SDA Bocconi School of Management counselling them on their career progression.

Proudly graduated with MSc in Management of Human Resources and a BSc in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.

Born in Moldova,  I studied and worked in Romania, Italy and UK.

Kirsten Doherty

Kirsten Doherty | Accenture

Kirsten graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BSc in Immunology and Pharmacology and a MSc in Information Technology before moving to London to work as a software developer before becoming an Application Outsourcing Solution Architect. Her career took a complete turn when attending Accenture’s International Women’s Day where she realised her passion for people and how the human mind works could become a career. Still a self-confessed geek she works as Accenture’s UK Inclusion and Diversity Lead where she is accountable for all the work done across gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family and social mobility. One of her objective is to remove the stigma around mental health by changing hearts and minds of men and women together through storytelling and education until anyone outside or inside of the workplace can feel supported and not judged.