Heahter Melville

Heather Melville | RBS

Director for Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion Initiatives | RBS | Banking


 

Heather Melville was appointed as the Director for Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion Initiatives in January 2016, following a successful career in International sales, a role which leverages vast global client relationships together with her sector specialism especially within the Retail and Textile industry.

A graduate of the IBM business school, together with a wealth of international experience secured over a 30 plus year career in the world of finance, with the last 9 years primarily focused on the SME client base positioned her in a strong place to meet the evolving global challenges of her clients.

For a number of years, she has sat on the judging panel for the prestigious “UK Fashion & Textile Awards”, “The National Diversity Awards”, “We Are The City Rising Stars” as well as the “Brummel’s Top 30”. Through her partnership with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce in 2015, she is now a Patron and has been invited as a guest judge for this year’s International competition for young fashion designers within Europe.

The Founder and Global Chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, which is managed by volunteers, to date have Circ. 12,000 members in 33 countries. Not only does she sit on a number of internal and external diversity boards, in 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Women in Banking & Finance Award for Achievement under the category of Champion for Women, and in 2012 was also awarded the World of Difference 100 Award (TIAW) recognising her as one of the top 100 women worldwide who have made a difference to the economic empowerment of women.

Outside of the financial industry, having completed an executive coaching programme, Heather is a Career Coach and Mentor advising young people who are striving to be tomorrows Entrepreneurs. She represents RBS as a Non-Executive Director for Enterprise Enfield a business consultancy funded by the Government to help small businesses. As an established speaker Heather is regularly invited to speak at a number of global business forums, and last but not least is also a Justice of the Peace.

Heather is a mother of 2 sons, a grandmother of 4 girls, who enjoys jazz and driving fast cars!

Rising Star Champion 2016 Shortlist


Elisha St Hilaire

Elisha St Hilaire | Aon

Executive Assistant | Aon | Diversity


 

I am a highly experienced Executive Assistant and have worked in a variety of different industries before joining the insurance sector.

I also Chair Aon’s Women’s International Network “WIN” which is a Business Resource Group for colleagues. Since forming the WIN Committee, we have seen the group grow organically from 60 members to 350 across the UK. It has been a very exciting journey and look forward to what the future holds in this space both internally and across the market.  Last year I was able to further empower our female colleagues at Aon to realise their true potential by implementing a signature event in celebration of International Women’s Day. An idea that was born in the small confines of the WIN Committee and in which I played an integral part.  The WIN – Empower your Career conference welcomed 90 colleagues from all over the UK to Old Trafford, where our CEO and business leaders shared their career journeys and answered guests’ questions on the day.  The conference was a great success and has helped our Talent & Development team implement specific training to help develop our female talent pipeline at Aon.  This was WIN’s biggest event to date.


Hayley Barnden

Hayley Barnden | Ministry of Defence

Safety Engineer | Ministry of Defence | Defense


 

My name is Hayley Barnden, I’m 28 years old and I currently work as a Submarine Safety Engineer for the Ministry of Defence.

I got this role through an Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Management which I started in September 2010. During the course of my apprenticeship I won two awards, the first – the Elvy and Coast Charity Award – for my dedication to self-improvement and development over the year; the second the Sir David Cardwell Memorial Prize awarded to a final year apprentice that has successfully completed their scheme and overcome great difficulty during the course of their apprenticeship.

In the my apprenticeship I became a STEM Ambassador, a role that I thoroughly enjoy and still continue to regularly attend events four years later. After completing my apprenticeship I took up a role as a Submarine Safety engineer, achieving promotion after 16 months.

In addition to my day job I am passionate about diversity and inclusion, and am co-chair of both my employers LGBT network and InterEngineering South West a grass-roots initiative to help attract, support and retain LGBT engineers, along with their straight allies.

I am currently studying part-time towards my Electronics degree at the University of West England.

Rising Star Champion 2016 Shortlist


Jennifer Curtis

Jennifer Curtis | ZS Associates

Consultant | ZS Associates | Consultancy


 

Jennifer is a Business Consultant at ZS, focused on Marketing and Customer Insights (CI). Since starting in 2009, she has been promoted three times, taking on leadership roles in pushing innovation in the ZS European Marketing & CI practice area and managing this work for the largest client in Europe. Prior to ZS, Jennifer worked in marketing & communications strategy for healthcare and medical device firms.

Jennifer’s passion is in human behaviour and psychology, which naturally lead to her interest in marketing. She received an MSc in Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Economics from the University of New Hampshire.

While at ZS, Jennifer has actively worked to support junior women, driving the London Women’s Leadership Initiative, aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women to take on leadership roles. She has led the development of a programme geared at empowering women and raising organisational about the benefits, challenges and steps to achieving diversity.

Outside of working, Jennifer has a passion for travel, previously living in Dublin, Madrid and New Zealand before moving to London nine years ago. Jennifer is a certified yoga instructor, Pilates enthusiast and occasional marathon runner.


Carolyn Pepper

Carolyn Pepper | Reed Smith

Partner | Reed Smith | Law


 

Carolyn is a partner at Reed Smith specializing in litigation, entertainment and media and intellectual property law. Carolyn sits on the firm's Executive Committee and is an advocate for diversity and equality in all its guises.

She chairs the firm's award winning Disability Task Force in London and has mentored two young women with disabilities seeking to enter the legal profession. She is a regular speaker at the firm’s Insight Days which enable young people to learn more about working in the legal profession and has offered work experience and work shadowing to many students over the years. Brummell Magazine named Carolyn as one of its Inspirational Women 2015: City Champions of Diversity last year and she was recently invited to speak at the Law Society’s City Firms Diversity Forum.


Tamara Box

Tamara Box | Reed Smith

Global Chair, Financial Industry Group | Reed Smith | Law


 

Tamara Box is an internationally recognised expert in legal and financial structuring and in strategic financial advice.  She is currently Global Chair of the Financial Industry Group at international law firm Reed Smith, where she also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee.

A founding member of the 30% Club Steering Committee, Tamara is knowledgeable and passionate about the efforts to establish gender parity in corporations and professional organisations.  In order to achieve gender balance, she focuses strongly on the pipeline of talent that takes rising stars up the leadership chain.‎

A few years ago, she created Women in Structured Finance to actively encourage and mentor women in the male-dominated sector.  She is a member of the Board of Governors of the London School of Economics, where she is also a frequent speaker.  For the past two years, she has been the chair of “Women of Influence”, an initiative that has raised almost £1 million in support of the senior women fellows of Cancer Research UK.‎

Tamara was a commissioner on the All Party Parliamentary Group’s first Commission on the Future of Management & Leadership, which launched at the House of Commons in 2014. She has lectured at the University of South Bank, debated at the Oxford Union, and written articles for many publications on the topic of gender balance and the pipeline of talent women offer‎.  Tamara is also a member of The Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only organisation of women who mentor future female leaders through scholarship programmes at the world’s foremost universities.  Last year she was instrumental in selecting three rising stars at the LSE for this honour.


Funke Abimbola

Funke Abimbola | Roche UK

General Counsel & Company Secretary | Roche Products Limited | Rising Star Champion


 

A senior leader for Roche, the world’s largest biotech, Funke leads the legal & corporate compliance functions supporting Roche’s pharmaceutical operations (UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar).

She is a multi award winning solicitor and diversity campaigner and has received national and European recognition for her work, speaking regularly at conferences (UK and abroad), to school students (as part of Speakers4Schools) and to University students (as a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors).  She is a Champion for Women in Law London network (supporting the pipeline of women lawyers) and the First 100 Years Project (a digital library celebrating 100 years of women lawyers). In 2015, she founded Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law, a network supporting the international pipeline of female legal talent within life sciences.

A mentor, sponsor and proud working mother, Funke advises working mothers on achieving life balance. She is passionate about the law, diversity, education and healthcare and a regular media commentator, keen fundraiser for various charities and has twice served as school governor and as a board director.

She was recently admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, recognizing the outstanding contributions she has made to society as a whole.