Louise O'Sullivan

Louise O'Sullivan | IBM

Louise O’Sullivan is a Senior Strategy Consultant at IBM. After completing her BA (Hons) in Business Management, MSc in Management and her first graduate role in finance (realising it wasn’t for her!) she joined the IBM graduate scheme. She grew and learnt quickly, achieving her promotions in quick succession. Now, she is primarily involved in leading and managing Business Change and Learning Development projects across many industries. Louise is incredibly passionate about what she does; consistently delivering value to clients, driving innovation and building trust and strong relationships with clients and colleagues alike.

Louise has always been dedicated to her development, and is now recognised as an SME in Learning, a competent Project Manager certified in both PRINCE2 and Agile, and highly skilled in Design Thinking, Learning Development and Change Management Methodologies.

Outside of her client work, Louise is also heavily involved in: developing and growing global IBM communities, mentoring peers and creating, implementing and driving the People Agenda across UKI accounts. Focusing her efforts on developing and promoting a people-centric and supportive environment for her colleagues to share knowledge, network, build skills, and find new opportunities in.

Darryl Brissett Dowe

Darryl Brissett-Dowe | Capita

In sixth form I studied Maths, Physics, Chemistry and French. I remember thinking “What am I going to do with this?” The answer came to me following an unfortunate accident involving my PlayStation and a hardwood floor. Console condemned, I opened it up to reveal the amazing, complex circuitry inside. I needed to know how it worked.

I applied to study for a BEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at the University of Nottingham- what really captured my attention was the management side of the course. I loved working with people – supporting them to succeed.

Post graduation I won an internship with the Environment Technology Centre at the University of Nottingham. We advised on using technological interventions to combat environmental challenges.

I went on to become a Lean Practitioner, working in both the public and private sector. Here I helped clients define value and transform their organisations with focus on value added activities. I was awarded a ‘Mark In Action’, recognition of my outstanding customer service.

I moved to Fujitsu, where I expanded my skill set, focusing on Enterprise Architecture, Agile Software Development, Business Analysis and Process Re-engineering projects. I am currently a Senior Consultant at Capita Transformation.

Throughout my career I have coached and mentored clients and colleagues; Key to this is to embrace and harness their differences – I have a passion for diversity that informs my approach to work and life.

I have helped to develop Women’s Business Networks, with the aim to discover and address why there is still such a large disparity between men and women in IT and Consulting. In one case, I was nominated as a ‘Role Model’, featuring on their newsletter and website. At Capita Transformation, I am on steering groups for Diversity & Inclusion and our Women’s network- Ellevation.

In my spare time I volunteer for, and am on the General Committee for, the British Science Association. I see this role as an opportunity to promote the sciences and technological industries as a safe space for people of all backgrounds, genders and socioeconomic statuses.

I currently sit on an advisory board for an All Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM. Here I get the opportunity to work with MPs and business leaders, review the Industrial Strategy, influence policy and create lasting change. Together, we are working towards shaping a STEM sector that truly represents the diversity, ingenuity and creativity of the British population.

Verena Hefti

Verena Hefti | Leaders Plus

Verena set up Leaders Plus, an innovative Social Enterprise, to address the issue that too many talented parents feel forced to drop off the leadership pipeline after having had children.

After giving birth to baby Naira, Verena decided to help more new parents stay on the leadership trajectory and started to work on Leaders Plus. She is currently pregnant with her second child.

When on her first maternity leave, Verena and many of her peers felt torn between wanting to be a loving parent and being ambitious in their careers.

Verena was passionate about showing how you can do both.

With her work, Verena challenges the paradigm that you have to choose between continuing a leadership career and be a loving parent to young children.

Previously, Verena has run highly successful leadership development programmes and events for 10 years in Switzerland, Denmark and the UK, most recently as South East at Teach First where she worked to redesign leadership development conferences and delivered leadership training to 400 Teach First participants.

She graduated with an MA with distinction in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester where she studied gender equality in depth.

Sophie Ainsworth

Sophie Ainsworth | RAiISE (Raising Awareness of invisible Illnesses in Schools and Education)

I am the founder of RAiISE, a charity which aims to Raise Awareness of invisible Illnesses in Schools and Education and support students who are living with chronic conditions. These conditions are often 'invisible' which can cause confusion and misunderstanding, especially in the classroom. It began following a personal negative experience after being diagnosed with Lupus aged 14. Despite Lupus making me seriously unwell for several years, I often felt I was not understood or adequately supported because I continued to look just like my healthy peers. In spite of this, I was a very successful student which has led to getting a place at Durham University, where I am currently reading English. Alongside my degree and living with a complex health condition, for over two years I have been responsible for the development of RAiISE and I have seen it grow beyond my expectations. Since the initial idea, I have taken it from strength to strength, creating partnerships with organisations such as the National Institute for Health Research, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH), and Lupus UK. I oversee all the day to day running of the charity and I am currently focusing on a project in which we create information packs and resources to be used by teachers within schools, which will provide advice on best practices and strategies which can be instigated in the classroom. I look forward to continuing the progress and success of RAiISE, with hopes of implementing our strategies in schools and colleges across the country.

Ayodele Jegede

Ayo Elizabeth Jegede | Anglo American

I am the first born child, born to Nigerian immigrants and moved to the UK at the age of 5 (with english not being my spoken language).

Career to Date
I started my career at Deloitte LLP, in 2010 on their graduate programme within the Enterprise Risk Services where I gained exposure to high profile clients within my first year (e.g. Global transformation projects at Tier 1 banks). I spent just under four years at Deloitte, and whilst there I gained an Accounting qualification (ACA) and gained tangible managerial and client relationship building experience.

In 2014, I transitioned into Industry working within the Internal Audit function where I was responsible for coaching and managing graduates. I was involved with Finance and Due diligence reviews for new business acquisitions, which provided insights into the management and development of medium size organisations (across the UK).

In 2016, I joined Anglo Americans business assurance team, where I am responsible for delivering assurance reviews across De Beers downstream and Anglo American Marketing (the commodity trading floors across the globe). I am the lead client relationship manager for Anglo American Marketing and this role provides exposure to Senior Management (e.g. CEO direct reports).

Rabia Nasimi

Rabia Nasimi | Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA)

I am a PhD Candidate in Sociology. I graduated from the LSE in 2016 with an MSc in Sociology (Research) while my undergraduate degree was in Sociology and Politics from the University of Goldsmiths in 2015 where I received a first for my dissertation. Whilst studying I have been extensively involved in running the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, a charity my father founded when we first arrived in this country after fleeing the Taliban. As part of my work at the ACAA I have worked on a diaspora-led development programme in Afghanistan as well as supported women and families who are refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. My work at the organisation have helped me to develop strong monitoring and evaluation skills as well as project management capabilities.

I have been active in the community from a very young age and have dedicated my life to improving the lives of my home country through the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association all despite being in full time education. I have dedicated over 20 hours each week to help run the organisation throughout my time in higher education. I have always endeavoured to improve my work with others and have seen the women’s refugee programme that I work with grow from strength to strength, with demand outstripping funded supply. Given the work I have done thus far with relatively meagre resources, I can only imagine what the future holds and hope to be able to expand the services of the ACAA and reach far more refugees in the future.

Lee Anne Duffy

Lee Anne Duffy | HSBC

Lee Anne has worked for HSBC/first direct for 16 years progressing from a Customer Services Advisor to Executive Support Manager for the CEO HSBC Scotland, Alison McGregor. Lee Anne has undertaken many roles focusing on the customer experience, the development of the people and engaging with HSBC colleagues, across Scotland. In her current role, Lee Anne is responsible for driving collaboration across the Scottish businesses, building relationships with internal and external stakeholders and recognising and developing talent.

As she is passionate about developing and coaching young adults, Lee Anne spends her spare time volunteering in the local community and enjoys working with the Prince's Trust to raise awareness of young people’s ambitions within the banking industry.

Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth Bailey | Barclays

Elizabeth’s drive and passion shine through in everything she does, from leading Model Risk for the Barclays UK Business to Co-Chairing Reach, Barclays’ network for disability and mental health, inspiring others to become disability and mental health confident. Both roles have allowed Elizabeth to demonstrate her true leadership potential, bringing diverse teams together to achieve outstanding results.

Elizabeth’s career at Barclays also includes a successful period as Senior Strategy Analyst in Customer Advocacy, delivering robust financial and commercial analysis and supporting high-level decision-making. This follows financial roles in other blue chip companies, including Next and Jaguar, where she began her career.

Academically Elizabeth is a high achiever and has won several awards, including Student of the Year for her Postgraduate Diploma in Management with the Open University, the prize for Business Law in her examinations for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and achieved the highest mark in her Masters in Managerial Economics cohort at Durham University.

Elizabeth grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and went on to study Geography at Durham University where she met her future husband. Elizabeth lives in Sutton Coldfield with her husband and two young children, where she works from home, commuting to London once or twice a week.

Omolade Adebisi

Omolade Adebisi | Mizuho Bank

Omolade works in corporate finance advisory within a Japanese bank, having previously worked in a global American bank. She is very dedicated, committed and displays outstanding qualities of a rising star, both at her work and personal engagements. As a vocal advocate for diversity, Omolade is on the team of the first Diversity and Inclusion forum in her firm.

Omolade is a motivator and an influencer; she impacts courage to push people to reach their goals. Outside work, she volunteers her time as a personal mentor through the Birmingham Women in Finance mentorship program and other sources. She puts her inspiration down to growing up without mentors and having very limited information about her career options. Due to her volunteering, entrepreneurship and local fundraising activities, she won a Jane Klausman Western European Women in Business scholarship.

Omolade is a big advocate of international development. She is on the management team of NYPF (Nigerian Young Professionals Network), a society that harnesses young prolific Nigerians in diaspora with suitable contacts in Nigeria to foster the migration of talents back to the country. Additionally, she coaches youths in community-led societies on career related topics and she co-founded LSE Entrepreneurship & Businesses in Africa society.

Sarah Tolley

Sarah Tolley | Northern Trust

At the age of 16 I knew University wasn’t for me. I’d worked from the day I turned 13 starting with a paper round and was also keen in making a start in building my own career as soon as I could. At 18 and a week following my last A-Level exam, I started my career in Banking in Bournemouth. I spent 16 years at the same Firm learning the ropes and embracing a variety of roles across different parts of the Banking world, which gave me a great opportunity to learn and grow.

Seeking a change in both my personal and professional life, a little over two years ago I made the decision to move to London and joined Northern Trust. Since being in London I have truly expanded my cultural horizons and the differences / variety have really enriched my personal and professional experiences.