Abisola Barber

Abisola Barber | Barclays

With a keen interest in Politics & Current Affairs, Abisola began her career at age 11, working alongside Local and UK Government, Metropolitan Police and others to ensure young people were included at the decision-making table. For over six years, Abisola sat on Government boards driving social change and inspiring others to make a difference. Abisola maintained her six AS and A-Level subjects whilst representing the organisations she supported to the UK National Media.

Whilst reading Philosophy, Politics & Economics at University of York, Abisola worked for the University’s Student Union, served on college student committees and partook in a range of societies – from Academia and Music to Sports. Abisola was selected by Google out of 200 applicants to attend their BOLD (Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development) programme in 2011; later returning to Google as her University’s Ambassador. Abisola additionally attended Spring Week and Work Experience placements at a range of Financial Services firms, including Blackrock and Goldman Sachs.

Graduating with an Upper Second Class in 2013, Abisola spent her summer on the Barclays Internship programme before commencing her MSc in International Public Policy at UCL. Completing her Master’s two months early and Passing with Merit, Abisola joined Barclays’ 2014 Graduate cohort. Holding two placements on the scheme in both the Corporate and Investment Bank, Abisola then made an impressive mark as a Project Manager whilst in Barclays’ Non-Core division, which truly escalated her career. Abisola currently works as a Trading Business Manager, supporting the division responsible for driving returns and managing Barclays International’s financial resources. At only 25 years of age, Abisola is seen as a trailblazer, with a long and fruitful career ahead of her.

Away from her desk, Abisola gives herself to her pastimes. With a love of sports and fitness, she is often found in the gym, on the Netball courts or fundraising fitness events for charities. Having trained in Classical Music whilst at school, Abisola maintains her passion for choral music, singing annually at the Royal Albert Hall and performing with her Church choir – and finds relaxation in attending dance classes and performances. Known for her “contagious enthusiasm towards everything she puts her mind to”, Abisola is a firm believer in living life to the full, using the skills and talents she’s been blessed with, and making the most of every opportunity!


Ellie Ablett

Captain Ellie Ablett MBE | Royal Navy

Captain Ellie Ablett MBE - The daughter of an RAF Officer, I read Modern History at Somerville College, Oxford and joined the Royal Navy in 1993, in the first wave of women joining a fully integrated service on the closure of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Over the last 24 years, I have enjoyed a career as a Logistics Officer at sea and ashore, rising to the rank of Captain where I have held two prestigious roles - Secretary to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy and Commanding Officer of HMS RALEIGH, the Royal Navy’s Initial Training Establishment at Torpoint in Cornwall; I am the first woman to hold these roles. During my career I have served at sea on board the aircraft carrier HMS INVINCIBLE, the Amphibious Assault Ships, HMS FEARLESS and HMS BULWARK, the frigate, HMS BRAVE, and the Type 42 Destroyers, HMS EDINBURGH and HMS NEWCASTLE. In an increasingly joint working environment, I deployed on an operational tour in Iraq in support of a 3-star Army General and UK military personnel serving in Baghdad. Ashore, highlights have included provision of executive support to the Senior Officers, policy development for pay, allowances and pensions, managing the implications of Defence-wide change programmes on people and supporting international partnerships and planning for the UK contribution to operations in Afghanistan. A graduate of the Advanced Command and Staff Course, I achieved a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College London and was awarded a Cormorant Fellowship for academic excellence. In 2014 I was one of 12 senior officers selected to represent the UK at the US/UK Rising Leaders’ Forum in Washington, DC. A keen interest in promoting effective talent management and an inclusive culture across the organisation led me to found a professional network for women in the Naval Service in 2013, which I still lead as it goes from strength to strength. I was honoured to receive the MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List. I’m married to and supported by Simon, a former Royal Navy Weapon Engineer Officer, who now runs his own outdoor sports coaching and guiding business. I too have a passion for the outdoors and enjoy hiking, cycling, sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and spend any remaining spare time in my garden.


Dominie Moss

Dominie Moss | The Return Hub

Dominie Moss is the founder of The Return Hub, a unique recruitment firm designed to fill a significant gap in the executive search market by connecting women returning from a career break with financial services organisations.

Dominie has 20 years’ experience in the financial sector, 16 of which she spent as a City headhunter. Before setting up The Return Hub in 2016, she worked at JD Haspel as a Partner and co-lead of the Global Banking and Markets practice. Prior to this, she was Managing Director at Sheffield Haworth where she established the FX practice before becoming Global Head of Fixed Income and Currencies.

During her career she completed numerous leadership assignments for a range of global clients in FX, rates, credit and emerging markets in sales and marketing, trading, structuring, e-commerce and corporate risk solutions.


Carol Stewart

Carol Stewart | Abounding Solutions

Prior to starting Abounding Solutions, I worked for the Ministry of Justice. I started off in one of the most junior positions in a magistrates' court and worked my way up to a senior position of Group Court Manager, with strategic responsibility for operations for the group.

I started Abounding Solutions in 2012 after taking voluntary redundancy.

I am Director of Abounding Solutions and I'm an Executive, Career, Business Coach, Speaker and Writer, helping women (with an emphasis on introverted women) to break through barriers and thrive in their careers and businesses.

I also help organisations to develop the female pipeline so that more women make it to senior management roles. I provide coaching, training, workshops, webinars and as well as private clients, some of the organisations I have worked with include London Borough of Croydon, Department of Health, London Borough of Lambeth, I am a coach on the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW) women in leadership programme. Some of the sessions delivered to gender networks include:-

• Designed and delivered the 2018 monthly recorded webinar series for RBS Women, the global gender network of the Royal Bank of Scotland
• Delivered the 2018 International Women's Day session for Asurion's women's network
• Delivering the 2018 International Women's Day session for the MetBPA Women's Forum of the Metropolitan Police Service
• Speaker at the Regents University 2018 International Women’s Day event
• Speaker at the University of Leicester’s Black History Month women’s event
• Between 2014 -2018 delivered numerous workshops and webinars to the RBS women’s network, including the Maximising Your Potential webinar series in 2015
• Delivered How to Future Proof Your Career and Setting Yourself up for Success workshops to Barclays women’s network
• Delivered public speaking workshop to Westminster City Council’s women’s network
• Speaker at the Greenwich School of Management International Women’s Day Event
• Key note speaker at Women in Gaming annual conference
• Careers workshop for the Women’s Engineering Society’s National Women’s Engineering Day Conference
• Speaker at London Borough of Croydon’s BAME employee conference
• London Borough of Waltham Forest’s International Women’s Day event
• Careers workshop for Family Mosaic residents

In 2015 I was named as one of Britain’s top 50 Business Advisers by Enterprise Nation for the work I do with women starting businesses. In December 2017, out of 21 million UK users, I was one of 12 people selected as a LinkedIn Top Voice UK. I have been told that I am one of the favourite speakers of the RBS women’s network.


Zaheer Jaffary

Zaheer Jaffary | Carlton Bolling High School

I qualified as a Physical Education teacher in 2000, as the first ever South Asian P.E teacher in England, this story was acknowledged by BBC news. I grew up in the city of Leeds and played county cricket and badminton until the age of 19, after that I found myself having to look after my father's restaurant throughout my further education as he had a triple bypass and was no longer been able to work. I found myself refusing Loughborough and accepting Leeds as I needed to be working every evening throughout my Sports Science degree. I first started working at Carlton Bolling in 2001 and immediately accepted the cultural differences of those in Bradford to those In Leeds. I stay back most days until 6pm, a couple of hours after my colleagues have left for the sole reason of giving the children an opportunity in life to develop dexterity and social skills.

In 2014, I started the first ever South Asian girls cricket team where I constantly had to fight social, cultural and religious barriers which till this very day I still have to face. In 2015 I won the BBC teacher of the year award, the same year my girls cricketers won their first ever county final especially after everyone, including several members of our own school had written them off. In 2017 I won the secondary teacher of the year award at the T&A teacher awards, later that year I won the National Pearson teacher award. My teaching career as whole has been up and down, maybe due to the mere fact of my loyalty and the chances I give to the students to better themselves. My career as a teacher has suffered many set backs and difficulties but I have never once drifted from helping the children chase and follow their dreams and ambitions.

In May 2018 I have been invited to a Royal Garden Party which is hosted by Her Majesty the Queen for my services to Education. I appeared on Sky Sports international news, and was invited to Lords cricket ground to meet some of the England cricketers I have also, appeared on countless news broadcast ranging from BBC to ITV.

In April, BBC have commissioned a documentary about myself and the girls cricket team following our journey of changing and breaking typical stereotypes for many Asian girls, 'Back Streets Of Bradford To The Success Of Bollywood'.


Bianca Angelico

Bianca Angelico | Sodexo

Bianca is an energetic and inspiring Executive PA, currently working with James Taylor, CEO Sodexo Healthcare UK & Ireland; a division of one of the largest companies in the world. She is invested in the wider cause and has a passion to mobilise and help others rise up and achieve their potential.

After graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2011 with a degree in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Sociology, and then furthered her academic prowess with a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management, she moved to the UK to begin her career. In the 5 years before joining Sodexo she took up PA and Marketing roles in both Unwired Ventures and Condeco Software, immersing her in, and allowing her to discover her proclivity of, the Workplace and FM industries.

With a love for these communities Bianca is recognised for her efforts in challenging mindsets of the struggles women encounter and the mental health issues that manifest as a result. She has made it her life to challenge the status quo and make a difference in the areas of Diversity & Inclusion and Gender Parity. She achieves this through leveraging her strong network, inspiring talent and by holding roles in high profile industry professional bodies. She is in her second year of being both the Deputy Chair for BIFM Women in Facilities Management, and the Head of Communications for the Young Manager Forum.

Bianca is a world class Executive PA and is astute enough to recognise that she can use her position to elevate the industry she works within. Demonstrating servant leadership qualities, she volunteers her time and knowledge so that everyone has a voice, everyone feels supported and everyone can rise up and achieve their potential.


Yvonne Darling

Yvonne Darling | Colt Technology Services

I am Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at Colt Technology Services in London, a company that I joined in 2003. With 20 years’ experience in the technology industry and a career that has spanned almost three decades, I have seen the role of assistant change significantly in terms of remit. I have also lived through several technological revolutions redefining the way my colleagues and I work. This is something especially present at Colt as a technology company that strives to be at the forefront of digital evolution.

I’ve worked with CEO Carl Grivner for nearly 2 years and he actually chose me for the role – I was working in a different position at the time. The interview was as much about me interviewing him as him interviewing me. He recognised a mutual respect we have for each other, which was realised in 2017 when he penned a nomination for me for London Networking PA of the Year – which I won! Carl visibly empowers me in my role, taking care not to see me sidelined by the Chief of Staff. As a result the Chief of Staff and I complement each other as his two main supporters.


Kim Glover

Kim Glover | Michelmores LLP

I am Assistant to the Managing Partner at Michelmores LLP, having joined the firm in 1996 as a legal secretary in the Corporate/Commercial Department. My role is to provide a comprehensive, executive assistant level support function to the Managing Partner, provide a secretarial support function at core management meetings, including our Executive Board, and to play an active role in strategic projects as determined by the Managing Partner/Executive Board.

Previously, as a part of a dual role, in addition to supporting the Managing Partner, I was Head of Professional Support and worked alongside our team of Departmental Support Team Leaders to manage our secretarial resources (c80) across our three offices.

I started my career in the motor trade; in commercial and then car sales admin, having gained my secretarial qualifications at Secretarial College in Exeter in the early 1990s.


Jessica Coggins

Jessica Coggins | University of the West of England

I graduated from the University of Bath in 2015 with a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science. My experiences during my education increased my passion for health but also education provision. I started working at the University of the West of England, Bristol, in 2015. My role is Executive Support to the Department of Allied Health Professions, the Faculty Director of CPD and Educational Partnerships and the Faculty Senior Project Manager. In total, I provide support to 10 people in an area that combines both of my passions. In my spare time I also provide administrative support to the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) South West Hub. My work for CAHPR promotes research for Allied Health Professions and creates a research network within the South West.

I feel very strongly about the quality of Higher Education provision, especially for Healthcare students. Student experience is the priority and I ensure I do all I can to keep these standards high. My role ensures time is maximised for the Senior/Executive colleagues within the Faculty. I have recently started researching the generation gap. I have been lucky enough to share my findings with the Department, Faculty and Clinical Colleagues. It is a topic I find fascinating but also an area I feel individuals should understand within the workforce.

I am very fortunate to work within an inclusive and supportive organisation. As an individual with dyslexia, I have learnt that my dyslexia enables me to think differently. I involve myself in various inclusivity and widening participation events with the aim of ensuring equal opportunities for all.


Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith | Teens and Toddlers

I am an experienced Executive Assistant and Office Coordinator, having worked in local government and the third sector for over 10 years. I currently work at Teens and Toddlers; previously, I worked at the NSPCC and was involved in the creation of their strategy for 2016-2021. I have a degree in Psychology and diploma in business administration for personal assistants.

I am also a member of the Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), a national body whose mission is to champion, promote and develop the Assistant profession.