Rising Star Champions

We are proud to announce the top 10 shortlist for the Rising Star Champions category, sponsored by Oliver Wyman in partnership with the UN Women National Committee UK

These individuals will now be invited to celebrate their shortlisting alongside our sponsors, judges and guests at a celebratory reception sponsored by Bloomberg on 17 May 2016.   

Judging will now begin to identify the final five winners for each category.  Winners will be notified by 6 June 2016 and invited to celebrate at the winners party sponsored by Barclays on 30 June 2016.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our amazing shortlisted nominees the very best of luck in the final stages of judging.


Rising Star Champion's Shortlist

Carolyn Pepper | Reed Smith

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.

Eleni Antoniadou | European Health Parliament

Eleni Antoniadou is a multidisciplinary researcher in the fields of Biomedical Informatics, Space & Regenerative Medicine. Eleni serves as the President of the European Health Parliament for 2016 and the Chair of Prevention and Self-Care Committee where she actively advocates for innovative technologies and promotes the establishment of the self-care agenda through as an integral part of the European Health framework in recommendation policy papers at the European Parliament.

She has gained professional experience in the public sector through her work in hospitals in UK and the US and in governmental agencies at NASA and ESA and has co-founded the startup “Transplants Without Donors”. Eleni has received numerous recognitions for her research and her philanthropic and political initiatives such as being named as the 2016 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, 30under30 by Forbes, Cartier Laureate, 100 Most Powerful Women by the BBC among others.

Funke Abimbola | Roche UK

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.

Hanna Roos | Latham & Watkins LLP

 Senior Associate | Latham & Watkins LLP I was born the eldest daughter of 12 in Finland, and discouraged from aiming for Oxford. Now I’m an Oxford and Cambridge educated Solicitor Advocate (Higher Courts), and a Senior Associate at Latham & Watkins – the world’s largest law firm by revenue.  I practice broadly in international disputes, and specialize particularly in energy and pharma (https://www.lw.com/people/hanna-roos). Studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, imprinted a passion for ethics and justice which informs what I do: Setting up and co-leading Latham’s global Parent Lawyers Group, which supports the progression of parent lawyers (mothers and fathers) at the firm (https://www.lw.com/AboutUs/Diversity/Affinity). Our awesome initiatives to support those returning to work and planning parenting have generated excitement in our more than 30 offices. Co-leading our London Pro Bono Committee to help the disadvantaged by offering free legal advice. This help has merited an external...
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Heather Melville | RBS

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!

Jeanette Pope | BAE

An advocate for women in business at BAE Systems, a blogger on female talent, a steering board member for female talent within the workplace and a committee member for the APM Women in Project Management and the Henley Women in Leadership Forum.

In her current role Jeanette’s responsibilities include all aspects of resource management including the promotion of skills, capability & knowledge development for 1200 Project Management employees. She is also responsible for creating and implementing ideas to enhance diversity and inclusion and for managing the impact of transformational change.

Jeanette has previously worked in a number of Project Management leadership roles, focusing on delivering business operations activities and managing large project control teams. Prior to that Jeanette’s career was within Finance, qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant with BAE Systems in 2004, after starting on the graduate finance leadership development programme in 2000. She holds an APMQ, an MBA from Henley Business School (2009) and a BSc in Psychology & Health Psychology (1997). She is married and has two daughters aged nine and five.

Liz Dimmock | Women Ahead

A coaching and mentoring expert who is dedicated to using this knowledge to bring about tangible change for women in sport and business. Ex-global Head of Coaching at HSBC and Managing Partner at GP Strategies. First woman to cycle the entire route of the Tour de France (2012). 30% Club steering committee member and co-chair of the Club’s sport and business working group. Liz’s cycling achievement highlighted long-standing inequality in the sport she loves – and ignited her desire to use her corporate experience to bring about a level playing field for women in sport and business. In May 2014 Liz founded Women Ahead. She also sits on the Steering Committee of the 30% Club and is co-chair of their Sport and Business working group. Women Ahead, moves organisations beyond the debate and focuses on practical action to improve the parity of women in sport and business. Over the last...
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Peter Duff | BP

BP’s Diversity and Inclusion Ambition to attract, motivate, develop and retain the world’s diversity of top talent in our industry. As the Director of D&I for the EMEA region, Peter is creating an inclusive working environment for all of BP’s workforce.

Prior to this role, Peter was Chief of Staff of the Chief Scientist’s office and Secretary to BP’s external Technology Advisory Council (TAC). He also led BP’s Distributed Research Laboratory and BP’s Emerging Technology scanning activities.

Peter has worked for BP for 30 years. He qualified as a Mechanical Engineer and has had a varied career, including roles in petroleum and reservoir engineering, technology management and people development. He has also worked extensively with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, in project management and leadership and led BP’s relationship with Imperial College, London for a number of years.

Robert Thesiger | The FISER Group

Robert is a graduate of Exeter University and Cranfield School of Management with over 24 years’ experience of Human Capital Management within Financial Services. Robert’s career has been framed within recruitment where he was the Chief Executive of a publically listed global financial services recruitment business which he was instrumental in building to over 500 staff across 15 international locations. In 2010 he co-founded The FISER Group, of which the senior leadership team is almost entirely female and four are part-time return to work mothers. He has been recognised by the Recruiter Awards for Excellence, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and Best Companies for championing diversity and work in Financial Services. Robert has been instrumental in a number of gender diversity initiatives in human capital, including the creation of the Women in Financial Institutions Index (WiFI Index), which tracks the recruitment and engagement of women in financial services, and a...
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Tamara Box | Reed Smith

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.


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