FUTURE LEADERS CONFERENCE 2016: SPEAKERS
Sophie Walker, Leader of Women's Equality Party
Sophie Walker

Leader, Women's Equality Party

Sophie Walker is the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, a new collaborative force in British politics uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that all can flourish.

She worked as an international news agency journalist for nearly twenty years and is an ambassador for the National Autistic Society, campaigning for better support and understanding of autism, particularly in women and girls.

Sophie was elected leader of the Women’s Equality Party in July 2015, and in January 2016 was voted to represent the party in the London Mayoral election. She garnered one in twenty of the votes cast for Mayor in London on 5 May.

Aaqil Ahmed BBC
Aaqil Ahmed

Head of Religion and Ethics, BBC

Aaqil has been in post for just over seven years. He joined from Channel 4 where he was the Commissioning Editor for Religion and the Head of Multicultural Programming. His role involves being the overall Head of Religion for the BBC across TV, Radio, News and On Line.

At Channel 4 he commissioned award-winning and genre-defining projects such as Inside The Mind of the Suicide Bomber, Saving Africa’s Witch Children, Priest Idol and The Qur’an. Prior to joining Channel 4 in 2003, he spent over ten years in production at the BBC working on a rich mix of programming from Panorama to Everyman.

He is a Professor at The University of Bolton; a regular speaker and writer on religion, the Media and Cultural Diversity and has contributed as a group member or chair to various educational and work related groups from formerly being a trustee of the Runnymede trust to being a steering group member of the religion and society programme.

Rafael is a Diversity and Inclusion professional with experience in both the charity and financial services sector. He was listed in the Economists’ Top 50 Diversity Professionals and has been shortlisted in the British LGBT Awards for the Corporate Rising Star category. Rafael was born in Mexico, raised in Texas and currently lives in London with his Irish partner. Outside of work, Rafael is a big video game junkie and helps run London Gaymers – a group for LGBT people who love video games!

Rafael Campos TSB
Rafael Campos Valdez

Diversity and Inclusion Manager, TSB

Ewen is a fully qualified HR Professional who specialises in Recruitment. A recent graduate in HR Management, Ewen has more than 10 years experience in the banking and finance sector. Born in Cork, Ireland in an Irish/Italian family, Ewen moved to Scotland when he was 4. His passion from a young age has always been sport and fitness and over the years has competed in various Marathons and Triathlons and endurance events.

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Ewen Burgess

Recruitment Consultant, TSB

Mark Williams LinkedIn
Mark Williams

LinkedIn Expert

Mark Williams (commonly known as ‘Mr LinkedIn) is widely regarded as one of the world’s top LinkedIn experts. Following a 20-year career in the recruitment industry, Mark set up ETN LinkedIn training in 2008. Since then he has trained thousands of LinkedIn users from a diverse range of industries and roles. He is also an accomplished keynote speaker, blogger and award-winning podcaster with his popular shows ‘LinkedInformed’ and ‘Winbusinessin’. Mark’s passion for his niche subject shines through as he enthusiastically demonstrates why LinkedIn is such a key business tool.

Claire Harvey
Claire Harvey

Paralympian & Inclusive Leadership Consultant, KPMG

Claire trained as a Psychologist and completed her post graduate training in Criminology, Forensic Psychology & Management at Cambridge University.

In 2008, an accident left her as a wheelchair user. Claire joined the Young Adult Offender Policy Lead in the Ministry of Justice, making radical and significant improvements to the system.

Two years after taking up the sport of Sitting Volleyball, she became the Captain of the ParalympicsGB London 2012 team. She was one of only two openly gay paralympians in TeamGB.

After the Paralympics, Claire returned to the corporate world as a senior consultant at KPMG and is now Head of Inclusive Leadership. She has positioned KPMG as a lead in developing the Women’s Equality Principles toolkit and is personally working to ensure it is LGBT inclusive.

Lynda Brennan is an international HR professional with over 25 years of experience in HR and global mobility, in both corporate and consulting roles. Lynda is relatively new to the charity sector having joined Lumos, the charity founded by JK Rowling which works to end the institutionalisation of children, 2 years ago. As HR Manager at Lumos Lynda is responsible for all aspects of HR in 8 countries.

Prior to joining Lumos Lynda held international HR management roles in organisations including CfBT Education Trust, Eagle Star Insurance and British Airways. She worked as a consultant at ECA International and carried out projects for organisations including AIG, Cable & Wireless and Virgin Atlantic Airways. She is a member of the Chartered institute of Personnel and Development.

Lynda Brennan
Lynda Brennan

Human Resources Manager, LUMOS Foundation

Biography to come soon…

Victor Olisa
Dr Victor Olisa

Head of Strategic Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Superintendent, ‎Metropolitan Police

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Laura Haynes

Co-Chair, UN Women UK

UN Women National Committee UK is the voice for UN Women in the UK. They support the work of UN Women globally in its mission for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Their work is focused on influencing and raising awareness to create change in the treatment of women and girls here in the UK and throughout the world. Laura is the founder and Chair of Appetite, the leading strategic brand and communications consultancy, where her experience includes over 25 years’ helping organisations to embrace change, build and enhance culture and expand potential. This led Laura to develop the new brand-led approach to building sustainability in every organisation through “Business, on Purpose”, an Appetite initiative.

In addition to being Chair of UN Women National Committee UK , Laura is also a Director of FutureLondon Enterprises, a member of the Parliamentary Design Commission, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and the Marketing Society (UK). Laura has previously held the position of Board Trustee of The Legacy List, set up in 2011 by Mayor Boris Johnson to support the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; a Board Director of ArtsCommons, formerly Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, Chair of Alberta Ballet (Canada), and the  President of the DBA, the UK design industry trade association.

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Daisy Reeves

Partner, BLP Law

Daisy is a partner at international law firm, Berwin Leighton Paisner, and is one of the most senior ‘out’ gay female lawyers in the UK. She is BLP’s international LGBT Champion and co-founded its LGBT group ten years ago. Daisy spearheaded the LGBT graduate recruitment event, ‘DiversCity’. Its mentoring scheme has encouraged over 300 LGBT students to apply to participating firms, recently winning the cross-sector national ENEI award for Inclusive Recruitment. Daisy acts as a Stonewall role model, mentor and ambassador, consistently presenting and writing articles around LGBT matters. As well as promoting the LGBT-cause, she sits on the Inclusivity Board at BLP covering all strands of diversity, regularly participating in events around gender. Daisy also acts as a firm CSR representative.

In a career that spans over 30 years in the City, Robert Hunter has been a partner in both a magic circle law firm, and a boutique fraud specialist firm. He is profoundly deaf, having suffered from progressive hearing loss since his early teens. He has conducted advocacy in fraud and trust cases at all stages in the proceedings including carrying out cross examination at trial. Together with Kayleigh Farmer and Kate Rees-Doherty he founded City Disabilities, offering mentoring and advice to professionals in London. In his spare time he is a keen pilot and supports Aerobility, a charity that assists disabled pilots to fly.

Robert Hunter
Robert Hunter

Partner, EMM Legal & Founder of City Disabilities

Robbiie is the Vice President (Society & Citizenship) at the National Union of Students (NUS) and former the NUS LGBT+ Officer. He has a background in health and social care as well as a PGCE in lifelong learning from Plymouth University. Through the responsible futures programme, Robbiie with colleges and universities to create an enabling environment for staff and students to work together to embed the principles of social responsibility and sustainability into their curriculums.

Campaigning for votes for 16-17-year-olds and working for a sustainable education and future for all is one of Robbiie’s priorities as Vice President. In addition, he works with Fairtrade brands to ensure that NUS acts in a manner that is both ethical and sustainable.

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Robbiie Young

Vice President, National Union of Students

Dawn Bonfield at AGM
Dawn Bonfield

Chief Executive, Women's Engineering Society

Dawn Bonfield is Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society. She is a materials engineer, graduating from Bath University with a Degree in Materials Science. She joined WES in 2011, becoming President in 2014. She became Chief Executive in 2015 – the first CEO that the Women’s Engineering Society has employed in its history.

Dawn is a chartered engineer, a Fellow of WES, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. She is also a member of the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

She is passionate about supporting women in engineering, and is founder of National Women in Engineering Day, and the WES outreach activities ‘Magnificent Women’ and the ‘Sparxx project. Her Presidential theme was ‘women returners’ and she is working on a number of initiatives to support women to return to work after career breaks.

Dawn was awarded the SEMTA Diversity in Engineering Award 2016. Dawn was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 for services to the Promotion of Diversity in Engineering.

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Caroline Flanagan

Author and Professional Coach

Caroline Flanagan is founder of BabyProof Your Life, a niche consultancy that helps organisations improve retention rates and increase diversity in senior roles, by making it easier for women to stay in the workforce when they start a family.

 

Caroline is a working mother of four and passionate advocate of having it all. Her book, Baby Proof Your Career: The Secret to Balancing Work and Family So You Can Enjoy It All, became an Amazon bestseller on publication in 2015. Caroline has appeared in The Times Legal Supplement, Marie Claire, Grazia, Huffington Post Lifestyle and Mother & Baby Magazine.

 

Caroline Flanagan has a BA Hons from Cambridge University and spent eight years as an international finance lawyer before qualifying as a professional Coach in 2007. She has been supporting men and women to improve their work life balance for over nine years.

Rachael Orr is Head of Oxfam’s UK Programme. She has overall responsibility for Oxfam’s advocacy, campaigning and programme work on UK poverty, leading a team delivering programmes supporting poor women move into work, and challenging poverty and inequality. Previously, she was head of Oxfam’s regional campaigns team, leading a team campaigning on aid, land grabs, and helping deliver the historic Arms Trade Treaty campaign.

Rachael joined Oxfam from Shelter, where she held various senior policy and campaigning roles. She ran regional and national campaigns on housing, welfare reform and wider UK poverty issues. Before Shelter, Rachael worked as a support worker and in hostels for homeless people.

 

Rachael is a Trustee at the Refugee Council, volunteers with Help Refugees and is working with her local London Citizens branch on a local campaign around refugee resettlement. She has previously served for seven years as chair of Angel Shed Theatre Company, an inclusive theatre charity in Islington.

Rachael Orr Oxfam Head of International Development
Rachael Orr

Head UK Programme, Oxfam

Javier is best defined as a Cultural Architect. He spent the last 20 years helping organisations and cities change old habits, allowing their strategies to work.

With both theoretical and practical understandings of what makes people engage and behave in certain ways, Javier creates award-winning interventions that produce change in record times.

Javier was the Founding CEO of The Talent Foundation and a former Senior Executive at Accenture in London. He works with a wide range of global organisations, ranging from HSBC to Buckingham Palace, to the City of Buenos Aires.

He is an active fellow of the RSA, the Editor-in-Chief for Strategic HR Review, a professor of culture change at St Andrews University, and a Visiting Fellow of the Business School at the University of Surrey.

Javier has a PhD in Behavioural Change and an MSc in Neurosciences.

His speaking style quickly engages audiences to think differently, not only about their organisations, but also about themselves. People are left with an urge to act right after the event.

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Javier Bajer

Cultural Architect, Leadership Development Expert

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Stephanie Oueda Cruz

Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion of Coca-Cola European Partners. She is responsible for the creation, deployment and rollout of the Diversity and inclusion policy in the subsidiaries of the Group.

 

Multicultural by birth, fluent in 5 languages, Stephanie has lived and worked in Europe and North and South America. Previously of joining Coca-Cola, Stephanie was Head of International Diversity at L’Oréal where she was responsible of the Diversity Policy worldwide. Prior to that, she worked in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mexican Consulate in Montreal. She also teaches Intercultural Management to Master Students in the Sorbonne University. She holds a MA in Economics and Political Science from Sorbonne University.

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Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Co-Founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride

As the Co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride, Phyll is one of the leading lights behind the amazing celebration of Black LGBT communities. She has been named in the Independent Rainbow List as one of the top 100 most influential LGBT people and also in the World Pride Power List. 2015 saw Phyll become one of the judges for the Independent Rainbow List. She was nominated as Woman of the Year at the Black LGBT Community Awards 2007.

She has worked tirelessly to bring together LGBT activists, artists, volunteers and supporters from within the LGBT community and beyond to support UK Black Pride and other such events.

 

A Civil Servant by profession, she took a job in the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Trade Union where she started off trailblazing as the only Black female lead negotiator within Law and Justice bargaining area, then was promoted to Head of Equality, Health & Safety. Thereon to be the Head of Political Campaigns and Equality.

In 2014, Phyll previously served one year on the Pride London Community Advisory Board (CAB) and currently sits on the TUC LGBT Committee, TUC Race Relations Committee, board member of Justice for Gay Africans which focuses on Human Rights, Equal Rights, challenging racism and discrimination. In 2015 Phyll was one of the newly appointed Trustee for Stonewall.