Amy Hughes ǀ The 53 Foundation

amy hughesI am a runner, adventurer, personal trainer and nutrition coach. Last year I raised over £53,000 for the Isabelle Lottie Foundation by running 53 marathons in 53 consecutive days, a world record for both women and men. The previous record for women was 17. This incredible achievement led to securing the no. 27 spot in the Telegraph’s Top 100 Britons of 2014. I also made the Runner’s World Top 5 Running Heroes of 2014 and picked up ‘Running Moment of the Year’ at the prestigious Running Awards.

As a Dame Kelly Holmes Trust athlete, I am dedicated to inspiring other young people, girls and women in particular, to keep fit and healthy. Unbelievably, just 6 years ago, I had never run a marathon before. After successfully completing her 53 challenge, in April 2015 I ran 250 miles in one week from her home town of Oswestry to London, so I could help Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell to run her own first London Marathon.

Originally hailing from West Felton, Shropshire, I now live in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where I run my own private personal training business. My partner and I are currently in the process of setting up our own charity ‘The 53 Foundation’ with the aim of helping disabled people to become more active.


Gemma Guise | Journolink

Gemma GuiseManaging director of Journolink, founder of Primedia Solutions, CEO of disguisepr and part time personal trainer.

I'm passionate about all the businesses I am involved with and look forward every day to expanding each of them.

I am driven and focused in everything I do, I love being able to interact with people on a daily basis. Apparently it's one of my great skill sets...'talking'

I have learnt a huge amount in every business I have started. I have worked what my weak areas are and I have employed staff accordingly.

Outside of my work life I like to be gyming or running, I'm also a health nut when it comes to food and I always have my head buried in a healthy recipe book.
My true love though :)

Mel Aston

Mel Aston | Merlin Entertainments Plc

Mel AstonI currently work as Group Talent & Development co-ordinator, the role began 3 ½ years ago with me supporting the Group Talent & Development Director and the rest of the team on admin and the logistics of the global programmes, with no previous HR experience.

I have grown and developed the role enormously. Working within a small team, that delivers Leadership and Management programmes to a global business with over 100 attractions in 23 countries, liaising with HR Director’s and L&D Manager’s around the globe and external suppliers. I have also been instrumental in the creation of several new programmes and initiatives as well as leading on Merlin’s Diversity Agenda. Working closely with the Group HR Director, and Executive Diversity Champions, I ensure that improving our Diversity is a priority across our business.

Previously I started my career in Hotel Management, working within operations and guest relations departments, with companies such as Marriott / De Vere / Crown Plaza and Le Meriden. My next move took me into the Conference & Events industry working at the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park, London for 6 years.

I am extremely passionate about Merlin, they’re a great company with so many opportunities that gives you the chance to put your own personal touch to the role and the support you are able to offer to the wider global team.

Mitra Janes - DLA Piper

Mitra Janes | DLA Piper

Last year, Mitra moved to the City from Ford Motor Company to take up a newly-established Diversity and Inclusion position at DLA Piper, one of the world's largest corporate law firms. Mitra's background is in generalist HR, having undertaken a variety of roles in employee relations, learning and development and as a business partner. Her focus and specialism in Diversity and Inclusion stems from her passion for ensuring that everyone feels valued and included and has an opportunity to contribute.

She has a clear strategic vision of improved diversity within the legal sector and in society more broadly and has developed and implemented a number of initiatives focussed on developing the talent pipeline. Outside of work, Mitra is a school governor at a girls' secondary school and is committed to inspiring future generations of women to achieve their full potential. She is a huge Prince fan and has travelled across the UK and abroad to see him in concert.


Rashida Abdulai | Hogan Lovells

Rashida AbdulaiRashida Abdulai is a Senior Associate and Solicitor-Advocate within the renowned International Arbitration practice at international law firm Hogan Lovells. She acts for multinational companies on complex, high-value international business disputes across a range of industry sectors including energy and natural resources, telecommunications, consumer goods and banking and financial services.

As a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion in the legal sector, Rashida is a founding member and Co-Chair of the UK’s first inter-law firm diversity network, NOTICED, which is an initiative aimed at promoting ’Networking Opportunities to Integrate, Celebrate and Educate on Diversity’. NOTICED has welcomed more than 200 junior and aspiring lawyers to its high profile events over the past two years. Rashida is also a committee member of the Law Society's Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division.

Of mixed Caribbean and African descent, Rashida has particular interests in these geographical regions and the role of law in economic growth and development. Rashida is a key member of Hogan Lovells' Africa practice and regularly publishes articles on important legal developments and issues of interest to businesses operating in Africa, and has participated as a speaker and panellist at a number of legal and business forums both locally and internationally, including the East Africa International Arbitration Conference, held in Nairobi in July 2014 and in Tanzania in April 2015. Rashida sits on the working committees of International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) and Africa International Legal Awareness (AILA), non-profit organisations which work to build legal excellence and foster sustainable development across Africa.


Dara Kirton ǀ PwC UK

Dara Kirton

I am a manager at PwC, having started on the Consulting graduate scheme in 2011 and worked my way up in the Operations consulting team. Since being at the firm, I have demonstrated passion for our people, our clients and our communities in the true ethos of PwC – “doing the right thing”.

Our People: I am a people manager, mentor and coach taking an active role in the development of others.

Our Clients: I have delivered large successful transformations for a range of FTSE 100 companies – including disaster turnarounds, relocations and operating model transformations.

Our communities: I have set up a mentoring scheme at the firm to support students from under represented backgrounds (women, ethnic minorities and socially/economically deprived) to get into professional services. We work with a range of universities, charities and social enterprises that help us to identify students that PwC wouldn’t typically target through recruitment. As a result of the mentoring scheme’s successes in the last two years in improving equal access opportunities, this year the team won two awards- PwC Consulting Award for “Doing the Right Thing” and the PwC (Firmwide) Award for Sustainability and Community.

I have a passion for diversity and have been a champion in the firm for gender equality, multiculturalism and social mobility as well as supporting and linking in with our other people networks. I am the chair of the newly relaunched Multicultural Business Network at PwC and am looking forward to developing my network externally around the topic.

Outside of work, I have an active social life, am a massive foodie, love travelling and try to keep up a dwindling skill in street dance.

Life motto: Live. Love. Laugh. (hardly original but pretty much encompasses everything I’m about!)


Rosa Goncalves ǀ Kidbrooke Community Enterprises

Rosa GoncalvesRosa Goncalves is an entrepreneur in community development and regeneration. Whilst raising her 3 children she qualified and worked as a child minder.

In 2003 to 2006 she organised community engagement in the then known as Ferrier Estate in Greenwich London Some of her volunteering work includes:

  • 2000– 2004 – She was vice Chair of Ferrier Residents Action Group (FRAG).
  • 2001 – 2005 – A volunteer Liaison community development officer
  • 2002 –Volunteer with Greenwich Community Law Centre and trained as Legal Adviser
  • 2003 – 2011 -director of Paraiso Samba School, Security Coordinator, Participation officer
  • 2003 – Member of the Greenwich Diversity Board
  • 2006 - Healthier Greenwich Executive Group Community Representative
  • 2003 – 2005 - community representative with Greenwich Community Network and LSP Board member
  • 2005 – Vice - chair of the Greenwich Community Network 2005 - 2009 Borough wide housing panel Member
  • 2005 – Vice chair of the Ferrier/Blackheath Housing Panel 2007 – 2008 –School for Social Entrepreneur Graduate
  • 2008 – 2015 – Founded/Developing Kidbrooke Community Enterprises
  • 2007 – 2015 – Managing/Developing Guarida Community Cafe

Her current project is focused on developing her signature brand, Kidbrooke Community Enterprises (KCE), with little to no funding.

KCE, a Cooperative Social Enterprise Company Limited by Guarantee, founded in 2008 by Rosa Goncalves, with the support of community minded residents. Back then its work focused on ensuring the Kidbrooke community benefited from the regeneration of the area. Today, KCE is going through many changes. With a new board of directors working with Rosa to further develop KCE to brand to other areas of Greenwich and London.

Having moved KCE from the now regenerated Kidbrooke area, to the Woolwich Common Estate in Royal Greenwich, with some support from the local authority, Rosa aims to facilitate and maximise the potential to secure local residents position by giving them a voice in the local area development plans.


Caroline Renouf

Caroline Renouf ǀ Rossborough Guernsey

Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy® 07768 401009

I began my career in Insurance in 1995 when I left school. I went to work for a small family run firm that specialized in Personal Lines products.

In 1997 I became one of the youngest people in the Channel Islands to hold the then titled Certificate of Proficiency and now hold the Certificate in Insurance.

I joined Rossborough in 2000 as a Directors Broking Assistant in the Commercial team, this role allowed me to grow as an individual. I was in charge of certain in house schemes and this made my confidence grow. In 2006 I became a Commercial Account Handler dealing with a portfolio of clients.

In 2009 I was asked by the Commercial Director to become his Personal Assistant. I jumped at the chance as we already had such a good working relationship. It is a role that I thoroughly enjoy and I am still able to do broking as part of my job to assist him.

At nearly 36, I have had nearly 20 years working in the Insurance Industry and this experience enables new staff members to shadow me and I often find myself as a referral point for colleagues.

In 2015 I began assisting my friend as a coordinator of a local PA network, Guernsey PA Connect. This is a venture I am extremely proud of. I am not naturally a confident person and it takes me out of my comfort zone. The PA Network has been set up to allow the PA`s of Guernsey from all organizations, to connect with each other, develop closer relationships, learn from each other and also all take away valuable skills to assist us in our future endeavors.


Dominique Liberto | Aon UK Ltd

I derive from a multicultural background, belonging to diverse nations including Italy, Malta, South Africa, England and Greece. I received an eclectic education in the United States, Rome and London. I have a four year BA degree in Communication and Marketing and an MA in Creative Writing Studies. I have obtained substantial work experience within Non Profit International Organizations (organizations under the UN umbrella) in Rome and London, especially in the fields of communication, marketing, public relations and risk management.

In 2009 I moved to London to obtain my Masters Degree and at the beginning of 2010, I joined Aon as a placing broker and then moved in the claims department where I have acquired vast experience in Financial Lines, Power, Property and Crisis Management.

I love mentoring the junior colleagues who have the passion and hunger for career development. I am also highly involved in the Woman’s network and charity events within Aon.


Nicola Ruane | EY

Nicola firmly believes that the finance sector has a responsibility to create a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable world. From 2007 whilst working on a trading floor, Nicola began to question the negative impact of complex financial products on the wider economy. Following a career break in 2010 to work on a sustainability project in Peru, she studied part time for a Masters in CSR focusing on corporate governance, ethics, sustainability and human rights, achieving first class honours. Since 2012 she has been pioneering the EMEA CSR programme of MUFG, a major Japanese bank, developing a regional community investment programme leading to the bank’s shortlisting for a prestigious Lord Mayor of London Dragon award. At a global level, she initiated a materiality analysis to identify the bank’s most important social and environmental issues in order deliver value to the business and stakeholders. Ready for a new challenge, she has recently joined EY’s EMEIA financial services office as Corporate Sustainability Operations Lead.

A change agent, Nicola is passionate about inspiring, educating and learning with and from others to move the dial in a collaborative way; through mentor and mentee relationships, as a co-founder of the women’s network at MUFG, as an active One Young World ambassador and with a blog on the Huffington Post. Consequently, she has been invited to speak in New York at the B Team forum, a collection of business and world leaders led by Richard Branson, who have come together to advance the wellbeing of people and the planet through business. Committed to be part of changing the sector for the better - Nicola advocates for more women in senior roles, more long-term and ethical decision making and a financial services sector that responds to the needs of our society.