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.


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.


Leanne Armitage

Leanne Armitage | St George's University of London

At present I am a third-year medical student at St George’s University of London. Between my second and third year of medical school, I took a year out to study a BSc degree in Global Health at King’s College London. During this year, I also set up and piloted a medical outreach programme called ‘Leanne’s Amazing Medics’ (LAM) designed to increase diversity across UK medical schools. Lack of diversity in the field of medicine is a significant issue because less than 5% of medical students come from deprived backgrounds and half of all schools across the UK do not produce a single medical applicant (BMA, The Right Mix 2015). Personally, I believe statistics like these are shocking and the LAM programme is working towards changing them.

As well as increasing diversity across UK medical schools, I am also passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their full potential. As such, in my spare time I engage in various public/ inspirational speaking opportunities which enable me to do this.


Thorrun Govind

Thorrun Govind | Sykes Chemist

Having studied at King's College London and undertaking her training in Newark on Trent. Thorrun qualified as a pharmacist in 2016 and has continued to work hard to promote community pharmacy utilising national and local media. This has been alongside her role as a locum pharmacist and her studies undertaking a law conversion course which she aims to use to defend healthcare professionals. Having appeared on the national BBC news talking about the pharmacy cuts she subsequently went on to appear on BBC Newsnight showcasing local pharmacy and highlighting the continued impact of government policies on the sector. This drew attention to the impact of each manifesto on the care pharmacists aim to provide.

She has continued to dispense free pharmaceutical advice to the public as the Resident Pharmacist on BBC Radio Lancashire, which she has been doing for over a year now. This involves speaking to a variety of local listeners of different ages and backgrounds. This has also led to her being approached to do the same since January as the Resident Pharmacist on BBC Radio London.

Actively seeking appearances on Radio 1 discussing illicit drugs and being quoted in national newspapers regularly Thorrun has been able to promote the sector, showcasing the great work pharmacists do in reducing pressure on the rest of the NHS. She has worked hard to advocate for the profession and raise awareness of the great work pharmacy teams do. Having been dubbed a 'one woman pressure group' for relentlessly campaigning for the sector and she is not scared to challenge key figures.

Thorrun actively pushes to get pharmacy on the agenda locally and nationally. Appearances discussing pharmacy have enabled her to “myth-bust” a number of common complaints patients raise about pharmacies generally, such as the time taken to process a prescription. It’s not quite as simple as “picking a box off a shelf,'' and this has educated the public and engendered good will towards the profession.


Adama Ibrahim

Adama Ibrahim | Biogen

An innovation award winning operational strategy expert and patient engagement thought leader with over 17 years in the NHS on commission by the DOH and in Industry (Hoffman La-Roche, Amgen, ALMAC, ICON and Biogen). Worked in England and Northern Ireland with temporary assignments in the USA (Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts). Currently part of the DIA Patient Engagement Voluntary Community Leadership team.

Experience across various therapeutic areas such as Neurology, Inflammation, Metabolic Disease, Gastroenterology and Oncology across various phases of trials in drug development include creation and execution of successful strategies for research protocols and CRO oversight, patient and site feasibility, expertise in eClinical tools such as electronic Patient consent technologies, electronic clinical outcomes assessments and interactive response technologies, creation of optimal drug packaging and administration concepts, mapping the patient journey, planning and executing effective global site and patient engagement campaigns using direct to patient methods, leading and coaching remote and complex global teams.

Currently working as one of the Co-Leads for a cross-industry group with 7 other Bio-pharma companies to create an educational white paper on the use of Blockchain technology in clinical trials. Presented findings at Orlando at the Internet and Engineering Standards Forum (IEEE).


Vijay Kunadian

Vijay Kunadian | Newcastle University

I am an Academic Consultant Interventional Cardiologist based at Freeman Hospital Newcastle and Newcastle University having completed all my clinical cardiology and interventional cardiology training in the North East of England and an International Academic Fellowship in Cardiology with the TIMI/PERFUSE Study Group, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. I am one of handful of female Interventional Cardiologists in the UK and to my knowledge one of few female interventional cardiologists holding the clinical academic position in the UK in my sub-specialty. I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, European Society of Cardiology and American College of Cardiology. I currently serve as a Steering Committee member of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Intervention Women’s Committee (Since 2013), Young Interventionist’s Committee (Since 2013) and British Cardiovascular Intervention Society Research & Development Committee. I am an invited Speaker and Faculty member of major cardiology scientific sessions. In addition to practising interventional cardiology in one of the busiest cardiac centres, I spend a significant proportion of my time in clinical cardiovascular research with primary focus on strategies to improve cardiovascular outcomes in high-risk patients including older patients and those with co-morbidities. I am a Chief and Principal Investigator in a number of national and international clinical trials. I serve as an Academic Lead in a number Cardiology training programmes including National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) academic foundation programme, NIHR academic clinical fellowship, and DOH Modernising Scientific Careers Master of Cardiac Science programme in Newcastle. I am also lead academic supervisor to a number of students in Newcastle (MBBS, BSc, MSc, Masters for Research, MD, PhD).


Michelle Sharples

Michelle Sharples | Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Michelle Sharples is a Public Health Nurse Executive who has worked in various health organisations, both private and NHS for over 18 years.

Michelle holds a DipHE Nursing, BSc (hons) Public Health, MSc International Management (MBA), is a NMC registered nurse prescriber and is an accredited member of The Association of MBA’s.

Michelle is an incredibly driven person who strives to make a positive contribution in all her work. Michelle believes that, in all aspects of business, a team abundant in diversity is the key to competitive advantage: “The more diverse that a team is, the richer and more innovative the strategies and ideas offered”.

Michelle is passionate about colleague empowerment, learning and development and has maintained an innate love of ongoing education throughout her working life.

Michelle has enjoyed a great deal of voluntary work throughout her career to enhance and compliment her employment experiences. From peer supporter in local parenting groups to consulting as a Non-Executive Director within a C.I.C. Michelle believes that every experience adds value.

For eleven years Michelle worked in school health and noticed the growing trend of young people’s obsession with image and tried to teach and empower them, especially the girls to value themselves.

In 2014 Michelle returned to university having secured a fully funded secondment with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to complete an honours degree in Public Health. In preparation, Michelle had an assessment for dyslexia, as she always suspected that she had undiagnosed problems. During the assessment it was concluded that Michelle did have dyslexia as well as the sensory elements of dyspraxia and Irlens syndrome.  In addition, Michelle scored highly for ADHD and was referred to the adult ADHD service for further assessment. It was confirmed that Michelle had quite severe, inattentive ADHD.  The diagnosis explained her early struggles in education and previous underachievement.

In September 2015 Michelle graduated as a band 6 'Specialist Community Public Health Nurse' (SCPHN) with a specialism in 'Health Visitng'.  However, Michelle missed working with young people, so she tenaciously wrote to every NHS trust within 50 miles until she eventually secured full secondment and sponsorship through Virgin healthcare. Michelle stayed on at The University of Surrey for another four months to complete an additional field of practice qualification in School Nursing.  On completion Michelle became a dual qualified SCPHN practitioner of Health Visiting and School Nursing.

In January 2016, Michelle then began working at a school and registered care home for children with severe challenges and special needs, as a band 7 school nurse practitioner and health centre manager.

With ambitions to progress her career further Michelle returned to University a third time in September 2017 and commenced a MSc International Management (MBA) at Royal Holloway University of London, full time.

The MSc was the first course of education that Michelle had ever completed whilst in receipt of adjustments and support for the various learning difficulties.  The difference was phenomenal, and for the first time Michelle was able study effectively and with focus.  Michelle is a self-funded MSc student via a SFE loan, working agency nurse shifts at Frimley Health as a bank nurse, between her studies.

During bank shifts, Michelle can be placed anywhere in the hospital. Most staff ask about her background and Michelle is happy to tell them. Michelle always encourages those who cross her path to apply for every opportunity available and Michelle continually seeks to empower female colleagues to not limit themselves.

Coaching and inspiring others (especially fellow women) is a deep rooted passion.  With Michelle’s MSc she is currently working at an average of 73% and is on track to gain a MSc with distinction.

Michelle is currently applying for senior positions and hopes to continue to motivate and role model her tenacity and drive, to other professional women in all that she does. Although it’s not just women; Michelle endeavours to empower anyone who is lacking self-confidence and needs support. Michelle loves helping people, she is a people person through and through, and strongly believes that it just takes one person to smile at another person who is struggling and say ‘I know you can do it’ to make a huge difference!


Georgina Demetri

Georgina Demetri | London Underground

I joined Transport for London in 2013 as a Project Management Apprentice and completed a two year scheme, which consisted of four six-month placements around the organisation. The placements included two multimillion pound projects, Bond Street Station Upgrade and the ‘Fit for the Future’ project, which was part of the Station Works Improvement Programme. During this time I also achieved a Level 4 Diploma equivalent to the Association of Project Managers - Project Management qualification. Through this scheme I contributed to different areas of the business, and different stages of the project lifecycle; it provided me with an opportunity to build strong networks as well as hone my problem solving and team working skills. Currently I work as an Assistance Project Manager within the Renewals and Enhancements Department. I project manage three Mid-Tunnel Ventilation Shaft (MTVS) projects with a mechanical and electrical focus, and a combined EFC of £7.2m. I lead our in-house, multi-disciplinary design team, and coordinate works with our Principal Contractor on site to provide increased cooling benefits to the Jubilee Line. This is achieved by installing new ventilation systems that allow trains to run more frequently. The MTVS upgrade projects act as an enabler for the World Class Capacity Upgrade Programme, a major programme for London Underground and a key target of the Mayor’s Transport Plan, improving public transport for the population of Greater London.