MEET THE JUDGES

We our proud to announce the judges for WeAreTheCity’s Top 100 Rising Stars. All of our judges have been carefully selected based on their industry experience and their passion to inspire future role models.

On behalf of WeAreTheCity, our sponsors and nominees we would like to sincerely thank all of our judges for donating their time to judge the 2020 Rising Star Awards.

Amanda Brock | CEO, OpenUK

Amanda is CEO of the UK body for “open”, OpenUK, the Chair of the Open Source and Intellectual Property (IP) Advisory Group of the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs, the European Representative of the world’s biggest defensive patent pool, the Open Invention Network and a member of the OASIS Open Projects’ Advisory Council (open source and open standards).

Amanda was a joint-organiser of the UK Open Source Awards in 2019, having been a judge of the awards in 2014 and 2015; CEO of the Trustable Software Engineering Project, a project focused on solutions to risk in Open Source Software during 2019 and continues as a Director of this organisation; General Counsel of Canonical, one of the world’s biggest open source companies and the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, setting up the global legal team and running this for 5 years having worked as a lead lawyer in a variety of sectors, ranging from .com to a data centre and Fintech on the mobile, across EMEA, US, AsiaPac and Emerging Markets, based out of both the UK and Amsterdam.

As well as many years of structuring and negotiating a multitude of deals, Amanda’s roles have included contribution to, and leadership of, a number of multi-organisational collaborative projects and open source initiatives. She has expertise in open source software, strategy, governance, IP, compliance audits, policies and processes as well as commercialisation and contracting around open source and provides consultancy and advisory services around these.

Amanda was a member of the Open Stack Drafting Committee during its set up in 2012. She is a regular international keynote speaker and panel member and an author covering open source, collaboration and legal issues, in particular open for good and commercial models of open source. She is an Executive Editor and co-Founder of the Journal of Open Law Technology and Society (formerly IFOSSLR), a Fellow of the Open Forum Academy.

Amanda is the Editor of the book, Free and Open Source Software: Law, Policy and Practice”, 2nd Edition, to be published by Oxford University Press in August 2020 with open access sponsored by the Vietsch Foundation and contributed to by 20 leading figures in open source.

Dr Funke Abimbola MBE | General Counsel, Cycle Pharmaceuticals

Dr Funke Abimbola is the most senior black lawyer within the UK’s pharmaceutical industry.

She joined Cambridge-based Cycle Pharmaceuticals in July 2019, becoming a member of the global leadership team with strategic responsibility for providing legal and compliance leadership of the company’s global operations.

Outside of her day job, she is a global diversity champion. In March 2019, Funke was appointed as a Champion for Action as part of Grant Thornton International’s global diversity campaign, challenging gender-based barriers to career progression including recruitment bias. As part of the Law Society’s Women in Law Group, she contributed to the success of the largest ever international survey of its kind, resulting in the Law Society’s ‘Influencing for impact’ report with practical recommendations for increasing gender diversity across the global legal profession.

Funke provides mentoring and sponsorship to support a pipeline of diverse talent and holds a number of non-exec roles within the diversity space. She has a grassroots approach to driving change and provides talks to approximately 2,000 school children annually.

 A regular media contributor for the BBC, Funke has been filmed for the First 100 Years Project celebrating 100 years of achievements by prominent women in law.  She is also a notable alumnus of her alma mater, Newcastle University, and was awarded an MBE for services to diversity in the legal profession and to young people in 2017.

In September 2019, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire, recognising her significant contributions to corporate and social diversity.

Roni Savage | Chartered Engineer, Chartered Geologist and SiLC (Specialist in Land Condition)

Roni, is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Geologist and SiLC (Specialist in Land Condition). A graduate of University of Portsmouth with a BEng(hons) in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics, she also holds a Masters’ (with distinction) in Environmental Management. She has worked on many major construction schemes, including the widening of the A406 and M25.

She was formerly Associate Director of one of the UK’s largest Engineering Firms.

In 2009, after gaining several years of industry experience, she established Jomas Associates, serving land developers across the UK, and achieving a turnover of £2m in 2017, with further plans for growth. Jomas undertake site investigations, engineering and environmental surveys on construction projects across the UK.
Under Roni’s stewardship, Jomas focus on providing their clients with high quality, high value, expedient, engineering solutions, with emphasis on delivery.

In 2017, Jomas was acknowledged as a high growth company by Goldman Sachs, and Roni took part in the 10kSB business programme run with University of Oxford, Said Business School.
A mother to three boys, Roni is extremely passionate about gender diversity and social mobility, volunteering her time to mentor and coach others.

Roni has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, with a passion for success and business growth. While acting as sole director of Jomas Associates, she simultaneously co-founded Turner Jomas, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering practice.

Steph MacLeod | Director, Kaizo

Steph MacLeod is Director and co-owner of Kaizo, a top 15 technology PR, social and digital agency that works for two types of clients – big brands or brands with big ambitions. Graduating with a Masters in Politics and International Law from The University of Edinburgh, Steph quickly realised that she was far too opinionated for a career in public affairs and discovered a love of all things tech.

Over the past 25 years she has specialised in developing creative integrated campaigns for clients ranging from Avast, Pure Storage, IP EXPO Event Series, Symantec, CheckPoint, Facebook, Cisco, NetSuite, Apple, HP and Samsung. Before joining Kaizo in 2009, she held board level positions at global PR networks such as NextFifteen and Omnicom.

When she’s not working she’s usually found ranting about politics and being Mum to her four year old son and five year old daughter, usually simultaneously.

Baroness Mary Goudie | Member of the House of Lords

Baroness Mary Goudie is a senior member of the British House of Lords and a global advocate for the rights of women and children. In the UK she is a founding member of The 30% Club which aims to influence chairman to bring more women onto corporate boards. She is an emeritus of the Board of Directors of Vital Voices Global Partnership. Goudie is a trustee of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation, based in the US, whose aims are to foster interfaith dialogue to establish solutions to global challenges affecting mankind. She is a member of the UK Board of Directors for the Center for Talent Innovation, a nonprofit think tank that focuses on challenges and issues pertaining to the workplace. Goudie is an ambassador for ICRW, and a board member the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. She is also a member of the board for the Center of Women, Peace and Security at the LSE .
She shares perspectives on her blog www.baronessgoudie.com and can be followed on twitter @BaronessGoudie.

Charlotte Sweeney OBE | Managing Director, Charlotte Sweeney Associates and Creating Inclusive Cultures

Charlotte Sweeney OBE has specialised in Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) for over 20 years and was recognised by The Economist and The Daily Telegraph as one of the Top 10 I&D Professional Consultancies in the world. She runs a consultancy specialising in I&D strategy and their effective and sustainable implementation. Her clients include many well known global companies and gained much of her global experience leading I&D in a number of companies in both Retail and Investment Banking.

In 2014 she authored an independent review for the UK Government Secretary of State Dr. Vince Cable on Women on Boards and Executive Search Firms and is the co-author of the Financial Times published book ‘Inclusive Leadership – the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, locally and globally’, which was shortlisted for Management Book of the Year by The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) in 2018.

She has held a number of Non-Executive Director roles on a number of boards, including 4 years as a Deputy Chair of an NHS Acute Trust with responsibility of over £500m annual spend.

She was recognised in the New Years Honours 2017 list with an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to Women and Equalities.

Anna Delvecchio FCILT FCIPS | Commercial Account Director, Amey

Anna Delvecchio is currently the Commercial Account Director at Amey. Anna started her professional journey at the age of 16 as an apprentice. In her 25-year career since then, she has rapidly risen through the ranks holding several senior commercial, development and supply chain roles.

Anna recently co-led the transport industry’s coordinated response to the Government’s industrial strategy, in the form of an ambitious Sector Deal for the rail sector, which was successfully secured in December 2018.
With a passion for diversity and inclusion, Anna is committed to supporting colleagues across the sector. Anna is the Industry Chair for the Women in Rail South Group and is also on the Women in Transport Board, one of Everywoman’s Ambassadors and is a strong advocate of apprenticeship programmes.

In June 2019, the London Transport Museum unveiled a portrait and plaque of Anna, appointing her as a patron of the museum and recognising her as one of the iconic women of transport. The prestigious accolade was in honour of Anna’s work across the transport sector, including developing the Rail Sector Deal and promoting diversity and inclusion across the industry voluntarily.

Anna was also named the FTA Everywoman Transport and Logistics Woman of the Year 2018. She is a Fellow (FCILT) of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and works with the President and CEO to champion initiatives across the Institute and is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (FCIPS).

Ania Rontaler | Partner (Corporate, London), Simmons & Simmons

Ania is a partner in the Corporate group in London. She advises on a variety of corporate matters, including domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and general corporate matters particularly in relation to partnership arrangements.

Ania has a particular focus on the asset management sector, advising alternative investment managers on all aspects of their business, including the implementation and structuring of “start-ups” (both on and offshore), acquisitions, incentivisation and retention plans and general operational day-to-day matters.

Ania is a member of the core team dedicated to start-up hedge fund work. The team is behind Simmons & Simmons LaunchPlus: US to UK – the firm’s online resource for US-based fund managers launching in the UK.

Mark Hedley | Group Editorial Director, Square Up Media

Mark is a founding member of the Square Up Media team and has worked on Square Mile since its launch in 2005. He spends most of his time editing both Square Mile and Hedge magazines. Having watched his father and older brothers earn a living in financial services, he decided it would be far preferable to make magazines for the City than work in it. He has a first-class MA in Photographic Journalism and occasionally dusts off his SLR for a shoot – as long as the subject or destination are glamorous enough.

Adam Fidler | Principal and Founder, Adam Fidler Academy

Adam Fidler is the Principal and Founder of Adam Fidler Academy, which offers inspirational teaching and learning for PAs, EAs and business support professionals. His most popular courses ‘Get Ahead as an Executive PA’ and ‘The Strategic Executive Assistant’ run regularly in Manchester, London – and abroad.

After graduating with a first degree in business and economics in 1999, Adam worked as a corporate Board-level Assistant in a variety of organisations, including The Boots Company PLC, Bank of America and Salford City College. He qualified as a teacher in 2008 and has, since then, educated hundreds of Assistants all over the world.

In 2017, Adam Fidler Academy was appointed preferred training provider to the Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), the UK’s leading professional body for EAs and PAs.

Adam is also the author of the ‘EA Manifesto: What I Am’ which elevates and articulates the true role of the Executive Assistant, a definition which has gone viral on social media with some 1 million views on social media alone.

Adam’s cutting edge perspectives on the true role of the Executive Assistant make him a leading authority and thought-leader in the industry, where his work has received worldwide acclaim.

Paulette Mastin | Counsel in the Capital Markets practice, Linklaters

Paulette Mastin is Counsel in the Capital Markets practice at Linklaters, where she advises financial institutions and multinationals on a wide spectrum of capital market transactions, structured finance products, infrastructure/project financing, renewable deals and Islamic finance.
Paulette is co-Sponsor of Linklaters’ BAME Network, and Chair of the Black Solicitors Network (BSN), an award winning non-profit organisation committed to achieving equality of access, retention and promotion across the profession, with a membership of several thousand. Paulette was made a Companion (CCMI) in 2018 and a Chartered Manager (CMgr) in 2019 by the Chartered Management Institute.

In 2015, Paulette won the Champion and Executive Sponsor Award presented by BITC’s Race for Opportunity for her work on improving diversity both within her firm and externally. In 2017, Paulette received the Outstanding Woman in Professional Services Award at the 11th Precious Awards ceremony and in early September 2019 she was included in the Brummell Magazine 2019 Top 30 Inspirational Women: City Leaders.

Melanie Seymour | Managing Director, Head of BlackRock Budapest

Melanie Seymour, Managing Director, is Head of BlackRock Budapest. She is responsible for establishing our presence and building out the footprint in Hungary. She is a key partner for global businesses, helping to identify BlackRock teams that can take advantage of the city’s technology, language and quantitative analysis capabilities.
Melanie is part of the Technology and Operations Leadership team and a member of the Human Capital Committee.

Melanie has been an active member of WIN EMEA since she joined the firm and took over as co-chair in 2015.

She joined BlackRock in 2011 to review the strategic direction of DC and took over the Operations in May 2013. Most recently she transformed our UK DC Administration business and led its sale and transition to Aegon.

Prior to joining BlackRock, Melanie worked for Hewitt as the operational lead for their European benefits business where she was responsible for setting up a near shore location in Eastern Europe and developing a TOM to incorporate this.

Melanie is passionate about education and people development. She is on the Advisory board of Women in Banking and Finance where she actively supports all levels of women in the industry. She coaches and mentors both internally and externally.

Helen Pankhurst CBE | Writer, Women’s Rights Activist & International Development Advisor for CARE International

Helen Pankhurst CBE is an author and a women’s rights activist and international development practitioner.

Helen studied at Sussex University, Vassar College, New York, and Edinburgh University and has an honorary degree from Edge Hill University. She is a Visiting Professor at MMU and the First Chancellor of the University of Suffolk.

Helen is a Senior Advisor for CARE International. She previously worked for other international development charities including WaterAid, Womankind Worldwide and ACORD. She is currently a Trustee of ActionAid.

The great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement, Helen carries on the legacy. This includes undertaking re-enactment work for current-day awareness-raising including at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 film Suffragette, leading CARE International’s annual #March4Women event ahead of or on International Women’s Day in London and convening the Centenary Action Group. She has worked with the composer Lucy Pankhurst, on the lyrics of the Emmeline Anthem commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and in 2018 published the book: Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now.

Bev Shah | Founder & CEO, City Hive – A Network for Change

Bhavini ‘Bev’ Shah is Founder and CEO of City Hive – A Network for Change. Prior to founding City Hive in 2016, Bev gained more than 15 years’ experience in the City at some of

the world’s largest financial institutions – Aviva, Aviva Investors, Merchant Securities (now part of San Lam UK), HSBC, Bear Stearns & Lehman Brothers. As a British/Indian dyslexic woman (and married mother of two), Bev is passionate about empowering the investment and asset management sector to forge a more equitable and inclusive culture. She passionately believes in the value of diverse thought and experience in rebuilding trust in financial services and enhancing investment performance.

Bev is a media commentator on topics of gender equality and all aspects of diversity in the investment sector. She is frequently quoted in The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Investment Week, Money Marketing, Citywire and many more. She is equally comfortable with print and broadcast media.

She has been a judge at the Women in Investment Awards 2017 and 2018, is keynote speaker at industry events and a panel moderator, most recently at the London School

of Economics’ Phenomenal Women Conference. Bev is also active across work streams at the Diversity Project (including gender and neurodiversity) and an Advisory Board

Member of the Association of Professional Fund Investors (APFI). She holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics and Accountancy from City University (CASS).

Julie Baker | Head of Enterprise And Community Finance, NatWest

Julie Baker is Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest with a 30+ year career in the world of banking covering leadership roles and was ‘Highly Commended’ at the Women in Finance awards for the program she leads at NatWest supporting female entrepreneurs. Julie is an external influencer and has chaired the BBA Diversity & Inclusion Council, the Access to Finance Group at the APPG for Women in Enterprise and was Business lead on the Rose Review research and sits on several external boards. Julie is an international speaker and expert on Women’s Market programs. She acts as an Enterprise Ambassador and is an inspirational role model who is passionate about helping others succeed.

Victoria Wratten | Founder, Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA)

Victoria is a former Multi Award Winning Executive Assistant from the United Kingdom.

She is extremely passionate about the role of the Assistant and actively encourages it as a truly fantastic career choice, after experiencing an extraordinary career journey herself.
Victoria spent the first five years of her career, from the age of sixteen, working her way up the secretarial career ladder. She commenced her work as an Office Junior for a car leasing firm, before moving to a Junior Personal Assistant role at her next company. She then became a Secretary, until receiving her first Executive Assistant position at the age of 21, this was for Susan Scott-Parker OBE, CEO of the Business Disability Forum.

Victoria then went onto to join one of the world’s leading specialist recruitment firms as an Executive Assistant and shortly after joining, went on to set up an award winning Internal PA Network in November 2009.

In 2008 Victoria was a Finalist in the Hays/Times PA of the Year and in October 2011 Victoria received ‘Outstanding Contribution to the PA Profession’ at the Mayfair PA Magazine awards.

Victoria has appeared as a judge on many prestigious awards for Assistants, most recently Wearethecity.com ‘Rising Star Awards’.

Victoria contributes to industry press on a regular basis and has appeared on the BBC Breakfast Show, BBC Radio 5 and in newspapers/magazines such as The Times, The Daily Mail, London Business Matters, People Management Magazine (CIPD), Executive Secretary Magazine, former Office Secretary Magazine and Management Magazine to name but just a few.

In 2015 Victoria was placed into the City AM Newspapers ‘Women in the City Power List’ and is currently in the Top 30. She was the first Executive Assistant to be recognised in a list such as this!

Victoria regularly presents and trains Assistants at events and conferences across the UK and also internationally including; Belgium, Dubai, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, South Africa and the USA.

Jessica Wade BEM | Physicist, Imperial College

Jessica Wade is a British physicist and early career researcher in the Blackett Laboratory at Imperial College London. Her research investigates polymer-based light emitting diodes (LEDs). She also carries out public engagement work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), particularly in the promotion of physics to girls. Wade won the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Robin Perrin Award for Materials Science in 2017, the Institute of Physics (IOP) Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize in 2018 and was included in Nature’s 10 people who mattered in science in 2018

Wincie Wong | Head of Rose Review Implementation, NatWest

Wincie Wong uses her background at the leading edge of creative and disruptive innovation in the banking industry to break down barriers and tap the huge unrealised economic potential of female entrepreneurs by making the UK one of the best countries in the world for women to start and grow a new business as recommended in the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. An international speaker and a digital evangelist, she is passionate about spearheading the growth of a diverse technology workforce as co-founder of the NatWest Girls Can Code network and founding member of Tech She Can, an organisation of 140+ corporates working together to increase the number of women in technology roles in the UK through education. She is also co-host of the NatWest Technically Speaking podcast series discussing current topics in the evolving world of tech. A serial entrepreneur herself, she has been featured in Season 2 of BBC’s My Million Pound Menu with host Fred Siriex for her business running Burmese supper clubs – now available on Netflix globally. In 2019, she was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in UK Tech by Inclusive Boards & the Financial Times. Having grown up in New York City, she’s spent the last 10+ years across the pond in London where she is passionate about making innovation useful for customers.

Terri Duhon | Board Director, Keynote Speaker, Educator, Finance and Risk Expert

Terri Duhon is the Chair of the Board of Morgan Stanley Investment Management for the EMEA business, on the board of Morgan Stanley International and Rathbone Brothers plc, a FTSE250 UK Wealth Manager. On these boards, she also chairs the Risk Committee. She is an Associate Fellow at The Said Business School at Oxford University, on the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee for the MIT Math Department, a motivational speaker for Speakers for Schools and a frequent Keynote Speaker on Culture, Career Management, Diversity and Corporate Purpose.

After graduating from MIT in Math, Terri started her career at JPMorgan and spent 10 years working as a derivative trader. In particular she was part of the team that developed the credit derivative market globally as documented in Fool’s Gold. Later she became an entrepreneur and started a consulting business where she lead expert witness teams in unwinding some of the more complex products from the credit crisis. She has been on the board of CHAPS Co (the UK high value payment system), the board of Operation Smile UK and was a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Group for the Prince’s Trust. She is the author of How the Trading Floor Really Works.

Elizabeth Vega | Group CEO, Informed Solutions

Cabinet Office Small & Medium Business Panel, Member & Chair of the Meet the Buyer Working Group, Digital Leader Founder Award Winner, DIT Northern Powerhouse Export Champion, ScaleUp Institute ‘Access to Markets’ Committee Member.

Elizabeth set up Informed Solutions in the UK in 1992 and has built the company into a multi award-winning market leader, trusted and respected in both public and private sectors in the UK and Australia.
Elizabeth was the first person to be an elected Director of both techUK’s Main Board and the National Board of the Australian Information Industry Association. As a member of the Cabinet Office SME Panel, she is a key opinion former in the UK SME community.
Committed to sustainable business and good corporate responsibility, Elizabeth champions important economic issues such as government spend with SMEs and the equitable treatment of SMEs (in many cases delivering innovation and high value specialist skills) within supply chains. She is equally committed to addressing the Digital Skills Gap and sees the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) into the national curriculum as critical to success in this area.
The continuing success of the Company’s global scale up has seen key changes at Main board level, with Elizabeth assuming the role of Global CEO for the Informed Group, while remaining CEO in Australia.

Dr Diahanne Rhiney BCAe | Founder, Diahanne Rhiney Consultancy, Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M) & The Baton Awards

Dr Diahanne Rhiney BCAe is an award-winning social cause PR and Diversity Marketing entrepreneurial pioneer who has made an immeasurable impact.

Diahanne defied the odds to steadfastly establish a global reputation in PR as the first to specialise in diversity marketing and race relations almost 30-years ago. Instrumental in negotiating big business contracts worth £3.2bn, Diahanne is a recognised and authoritative commentator on business success, PR and branding, media, personal development and the theory of change.

Her gift for combining leading-edge PR with methods tailored for minority and unheard groups is unwavering. Having consistently putting marginalised groups on the map via national cutting edge media campaigns, events and platforms, her work has had a long-term impact in changing mind-sets and practice as she continues to use her networks to promote social change with women and girls as her central focus, having founded social cause PR company Naked Truth PR and Management in 2017. Her mentor and client list of dynamic young change-makers at Naked Truth PR is ever-growing and includes change-makers Kenny Imafidon, Amani Simpson and Joss Cambridge Simmons.

Her global work in empowering women is particularly notable, she has been awarded a British Citizen Award for her positive contribution to Britain as she continues to utilise her entrepreneurial savvy to shape the future and invest in generations via her leading female empowerment platforms including The Baton Awards and Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M).

Lieutenant Colonel Sulle D Alhaji | Royal Army Physical Training Corps

Born in Newcastle, Sulle joined the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment in June 1978 and was posted to Germany, his first active duty was in 1979 in Northern Ireland. In 1982 he took part in the Falklands War where his unit captured Mt Longdon. In 1984 he served 6 months on an operational tour in the jungle of Belize protecting the border.

In 1986 he transferred into the Royal Army Physical Training Corps where he ensured each unit he served with, was physically fit to be deployed worldwide for any operation, this is also where he learnt the skills to be an effective mentor. He attended Farnborough college in the evenings to study Sport Science and sport therapy. He was promoted up through the ranks and commissioned to the rank of Captain in 2000. He completed the Junior Command Staff College course in 2002 at Shrivenham. Gaining much experience (and further promotion) through a variety of jobs he was selected for Lieutenant Colonel and responsible for designing the assurance process for all physical, adventurous and sport development in the Army. In 2017, he took on a new assignment as the director of the Army Youth Outreach Team, responsible for identifying opportunities to engage with diverse youth communities across the country. During this assignment he was awarded a commendation for an act of bravery from the Chief of General Staff.

Lieutenant Colonel Sulle Alhaji has an interesting story of overcoming adversity, social mobility, bullying, dealing with dyslexia and much more. He uses his story to mentor disenfranchised youths, which includes students at pupil referral units and secure homes. His story is changing the way audiences assess their own situation. Consequently, he won the Business in the City 2018 Best Employer for Race Award for the Army, his contribution ensured the Army won the European Diversity Team of the Year 2018 and is currently nominated for 2020 Soldiering on Awards.

Kaela Fenn-Smith | Managing Director, Real Estate Balance

Kaela Fenn-Smith is Managing Director of Real Estate Balance working with CEOs and leaders across the property sector to increase the number of women in senior positions in real estate and to ultimately achieve gender balance across the sector.

Kaela has over 26 years of experience in commercial real estate. She spent the first 9 years of her career in Canada at CBRE in the retail sector and for the past 17 years has focused on large scale mixed-use development in London. Kaela was a Director of CBRE and JLL and went onto Landsec for 7 years where she was a member of the Executive Committee running their £8bn London business. As Head of Commercial she was responsible for new revenue and capital value growth leasing their 3.5 million square foot office and retail development pipeline. Kaela was also responsible for customer service, commercial strategy, workplace innovation, design development, residential sales, marketing and PR, and research insights.

Kaela is a main Board Trustee of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity where she Chairs the Property and Development Committee overseeing the redevelopment of the Hospital including the new Children’s Cancer Centre and Zayed Centre for Research.

Seyi Akiwowo | Founder and Executive Director, Glitch

Seyi Akiwowo is the Founder and Executive Director of Glitch, a growing not-for-profit organisation that aims to end online abuse through advocacy, campaigning and education. She is a graduate from the London School of Economics, a Fellow of the Royal Society of
the Arts and recently became a Fellow of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

At the age of 23, Seyi was elected as the youngest black female Councillor in East London and established Glitch in 2017 after she faced horrendous online abuse, when a video of her speech at the European Parliament went viral. Since then, she has published a
number of reports and has been interviewed for various news channels; including BBC Radio London and Sky News. She has also written for the Guardian and HuffPost.

For nine years Seyi has worked in the charity, politics and policy sectors, both in the UK and Brussels and is an expert facilitator in skills and inclusion; delivering workshops around the world, including the UK, Kuwait and the UAE. She is also a TedxLondon
Speaker and a UN Goalkeeper: a leader and influencer who is dedicated to accelerating progress towards achieving the UN’s global goals.

Seyi is passionate about inclusion and leadership and has written several critical pieces and delivered talks around the world – including Washington DC, Istanbul and Geneva – on widening participation and representation of diverse groups in public life.

Diana Kennedy | VP, Strategy, Architecture and Planning, IT&S, BP

Highly experienced, energetic, executive-level CTO, Chief Architect, Engineer and technology strategist, with extensive experience of leading global teams in large organisations. Strong technical leadership and delivery with experience of leading large, global transformation programmes. A passion for talent development and committed to attracting and developing the best technology leaders with diverse talents, backgrounds and perspectives who will enable the digital leadership of our industry.

Shing-Wai Wong | Associate Director, Executive Education, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Shing-Wai is a member of the senior management team within the Executive Education business at Saïd Business School. Here she directs the business development and marketing activity for a portfolio of programmes which provide short and intensive transformational personal development experiences for senior industry leaders and has expanded the business in terms of revenue and profit targets. Shing-Wai has strong financial management skills including planning and budgeting of revenue/expenditure and financial control and accountability with a commercial focus. She has an entrepreneurial mind set to achieve business growth and is responsible for diversifying the portfolio where she has developed new innovative executive education programme options.

Additionally, Shing-Wai is responsible for the School’s reputation through the annual Financial Times rankings of global business schools for Executive Education Open Enrolment Programmes where she has achieved unprecedented success for the School following her appointment in post. In 2015 Oxford Saïd entered the No.1 place in the UK and Top 10 worldwide for the first time. By 2018 the School advanced to No.2 worldwide and as of 2019 has been ranked No.1 in the UK for 5 consecutive years.

Shing-Wai launched the School’s Women Transforming Leadership Programme in 2013 designed exclusively for female leaders, which she subsequently participated in 2016, and has a lead role in the School’s commitment to the development of women in Executive Education. She is also a committee member of the School’s Athena Swan project, an initiative for achieving excellence in diversity. Shing-Wai’s achievements have been recognised by the School and by her peers in achieving excellence in elevating the department’s impact within the global community.

A business development professional with over 14 years’ experience, Shing-Wai started her career at a British Sky Broadcasting, a FTSE 100 News International Company where she gained several accolades for her achievements around commercial success towards the vision of achieving 12 million subscribers by 2010. Shing-Wai has also led the business development and marketing strategies for executive education at two London-based Universities. Most recently in her previous organisation, Shing-Wai launched the commercial training and consultancy division, a first in the charity’s history, where she oversaw the management and operations of a sustainable business as an additional income stream to traditional fundraising as a common income generation activity within the not-for-profit sector. Here she chaired the Business Development Committee, advised on market growth and made recommendations for strategic direction to the Executive Management Group and Board of Trustees.

Dr Heather Melville OBE CCMI | Director & Head of Client Experience, PwC

Heather Melville OBE, CCMI, JP,  joined PwC in November 2018 as Director, to lead the  Client Experience Business for the UK.

Following a successful 37 year career mainly in financial services and international sales (IBM), with the last 17 years focused around International trade/Domestic Cash Management and most recently Director of Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

A passion for Inclusion and the ability to transform the gender agenda within business has led to being recognised by a number of industry bodies, i e 2010 awarded Champion for Women, by Women in Banking & Finance (appointed as a Patron of Women in Banking & Finance), 2016/2017 Financial Times Top 100 UK & US BAME Leaders, 2017/2018 , Upstanding FT Sheroes, 2018 listed on the Power List as one the UK’s most influential black people and Top 30 most influential black people in the city. In 2016 she was made a Companion by the Chartered Management Institute , where she currently sits as a NED and Chair of CMI Women. Heather also holds a Trustee role with Enterprise Enfield, a position she has held for 7 years.

In 2017 Heather was awarded an OBE for her services to gender equality in business.

Heather is mother to 2 entrepreneurial sons, grandmother (nana) to 5  beautiful granddaughters and 2 handsome grandsons and loves fast cars!

Sir Peter Hendy CBE | Chair of Network Rail & Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation

Sir Peter Hendy has been the Chair of Network Rail since July 2015, and Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation since July 2017.

Sir Peter was previously Commissioner of Transport for London (TfL) since 2006, having served since 2001 as TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport. He led, and played a key role in preparing for, the successful operation of London’s transport for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He was formerly Deputy Director UK Bus for FirstGroup and previously Managing Director of CentreWest London Buses.

He started his transport career in 1975 as a London Transport graduate trainee. Sir Peter was President of the International Public Transport Association (UITP) from 2013 to 2015. He was International President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in 2019, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transport and a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers.

He supports the Railway Children and London Poppy Day Charities, is a trustee of London’s Transport Museum and of the Science Museum Group. He holds honorary doctorates from the City University, the University of Leeds, the University of Bath and Queen Mary University London. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List, having been made CBE in 2006

Sophie Walker | Chief Executive, Young Women’s Trust

Sophie Walker spent twenty years at Reuters as an international journalist and news editor. After a long and trying journey supporting her elder daughter through a diagnosis of autism, she started campaigning for disability rights, particularly those of girls on the autism spectrum, for Ambitious About Autism, Include Me TOO and the National Autistic Society. In 2015, she helped to create the Women’s Equality Party, Britain’s first feminist political party, which she led and grew into a movement of thousands across the UK. Sophie ran for London Mayor in 2016, and in 2017 stood for election to Westminster, campaigning for equal pay, affordable childcare and an end to violence against women. She was named by Vogue in 2018 as one of the ‘New Suffragettes.’ She is now co-director of Activate Collective, a fund to support female community activists to run for political office and Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust, which campaigns for economic justice for young women.

Lucy Chamberlain | Founder, C&C Search

With a 20 year career tracking the industry’s leading recruitment companies, Lucy founded C&C search to redefine and elevate client and candidates’ recruitment experience.

Coming through a challenging personal time – three years as a single mum, single-handedly responsible for her daughter – Lucy found her career was out of sync. In C&C, she’s built a successful business aligned with her high standards, ethics and goals, and created an inspiring workplace for her team to fulfil their own career goals.

Lucy believes encouraging teams holistically, and nurturing happy, engaged, market-leading talent has the most impact on a company’s success. It’s this foundation that serves to empower, captivate and delight C&C’s clients as they build their own teams, and has been at the heart of our story.

With her team, Lucy actively collaborates with and supports as many other female business leaders as possible; social consciousness and legacy is at the business’ core.

Phillip Palmer | Chief Executive, Collyer Bristow

Phillip is the Chief Executive of Collyer Bristow, a long-established law firm based in London which provides a wide range of legal services to commercial organisations, particularly SMEs, and to high-net-worth individuals and families, based in the UK and internationally. The firm has a particular reputation for its business, dispute resolution, real estate and private wealth services. This is a full time executive role in which he is a member of the firm’s Board and has day to day responsibility for the operations and the performance of the firm. He works closely with partners and other firm leaders to shape the firm’s strategy and to implement initiatives and projects designed to realise that strategy, to improve firm performance and to ensure the delivery of premium client service. He has a particular interest in attracting and developing young talent in today’s legal marketplace. Phillip formerly practised as a banking and financial markets lawyer and was a partner at global firm Clifford Chance, where he trained and worked for 25 years, latterly holding practice and firm leadership roles. He worked extensively with international clients and spent a number of years based in the firm’s Tokyo office. He is married with 3 grown up daughters and, outside of work, particularly enjoys watching sport (especially tennis) and listening to jazz.

Paul Sesay | CEO & Founder, The Inclusive Companies and The National Diversity Awards

Paul Sesay is the Founder/CEO of The National Diversity Awards, The Inclusive Companies Awards, The Inclusive Companies Membership, The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List and The Diversity Group. Paul’s business acumen has mainly been with a social focus.

With over ten years’ worth of experience within the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion sector, Paul has worked with some of the largest organisations in the world on their diversity and inclusion profiles. He has also worked within local communities to help people from various backgrounds to achieve and empower disadvantaged groups throughout the UK.

Katie McEwan | Business Affairs and Communications Manager, Ann Summers

Katie McEwan is Business Affairs and Communications Manager for Ann Summers.

Having previously worked as Executive Support Manager to Jacqueline Gold CBE, CEO Ann Summers for 11 years, Katie was promoted to the role of Business Affairs and Communications manager, as a result of winning the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars award in the EA/PA Category in 2017.Katie now leads the delivery of Ann Summers’ 3-year strategy, manages the delivery of key business-critical projects, as well as owning corporate reporting, communications and reputation for the organisation.

Despite moving away from the EA role, Katie still has a real passion for brilliant executive level support and continues to play a key role in driving the EA/PA profession forward, as Chair of the General Advisory Board for EPAA, the Executive and Personal Assistants Association. In addition, Katie has been incredibly fortunate to present at a number of conferences including; the Hays PA Network, the PA Hub, Manchester PA Network, ACE’s Scotland, the Office Management and PA Conference & OFFICE, as well as proudly judging the Executive PA Magazine awards and the Hays High Achieving PA of the Year award. In 2014 Katie was awarded the SecsintheCity award for Social Networking PA of the Year.

Finally, outside of work Katie is Musical Director of a brilliant community choir, Southend Vox, based near her home town of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, which allows Katie to bring her love of music and singing to a varied and dynamic group of people.

Paul Sesay | CEO & Founder, The Inclusive Companies and The National Diversity Awards

Paul Sesay is the Founder/CEO of The National Diversity Awards, The Inclusive Companies Awards, The Inclusive Companies Membership, The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List and The Diversity Group. Paul’s business acumen has mainly been with a social focus.

With over ten years’ worth of experience within the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion sector, Paul has worked with some of the largest organisations in the world on their diversity and inclusion profiles. He has also worked within local communities to help people from various backgrounds to achieve and empower disadvantaged groups throughout the UK.

Dame Inga Beale, DBE | Founder & CEO, Noringa Consulting

Dame Inga Beale took over the helm of the 330-year-old City financial institution Lloyd’s of London in 2014, after working in senior leadership roles in some of the world’s largest insurance companies. With over three decades of global business experience she was awarded her Damehood in 2017 for services to the UK economy.

During her 5 year tenure at Lloyd’s, Dame Inga was responsible for accelerating the modernisation of the insurance market, embedding an innovation culture with the opening of the Lloyd’s Innovation Lab in the heart of the market, and expanding the market’s global access across new, high-growth markets including China, Dubai, and India. As the first female Chief Executive of Lloyd’s, she also played a critical role in advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives across the global insurance sector.

Before joining Lloyd’s, Inga was Group CEO of Canopius with its principal operations at Lloyd’s. Prior to that she was on the Global Management Board of Zurich Insurance Group. Earlier roles include Group CEO of Swiss reinsurer Converium, and a variety of international leadership positions for GE Insurance Solutions. She started her career as an underwriter with Prudential in 1982.

She currently has several non-executive roles including Clyde & Co, the London Mayor’s Business Advisory Board, Deputy Chair of London First, and is an advisor to NTT Data UK. She is Patron of Insuring Women’s Futures and her philanthropic interests include being a member of Stonewall’s Development Council and the Pitt Rivers Museum Advisory Board at Oxford University.

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu | Lawyer, Founder of Women in Leadership Publication; Political & Women’s rights activist

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a New York Attorney and Solicitor of England & Wales with broad expertise in the financial services industry, an author, public speaker and political commentator featured in mainstream and online media. A political & women’s rights activist, she also teaches intersectional feminism to female refugees and asylum seekers; scrutinizes government policies from a gender and diversity inclusion perspective; and co-organises women’s marches and social campaigns. She founded the Women in Leadership publication as a platform to drive positive change on topical issues that impact women globally through inspiring personal leadership journeys and established [email protected] to promote women & BAME leadership in the legal profession through universities and secondary schools. She is also the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Africa committee. An academic enthusiast, she has anExecutive MBA (Cambridge); PhD(Birkbeck); LLM (London School of Economics & Political Science); MA (Westminster) and LLB Hons (Buckingham University).