WEConnect International Europe Conference 2017 - Speakers

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Find out more about our speakers:

Amy Agnew | Sonia Bate | Maggie Berry | Heather Butler | Lynne Copp | Katherine Corich | Shirley Creed | Miriam Dervan | Ingrid Devin | Frank Foerster | Alison Frith | Pauline Gebon | Farida Gibbs | Shelley Hoppe | Rachel Jackson | Zoe Kelland | Justin Lambert | Tamara Littleton | Lisa Lloyd | Lara Morgan | Nataša Nikolić | Lynne Parker | Sarah Peiker | Lynda Petherick | Claire Piipponen | Michael Robinson | Maggie Semple | Amanda Spencer | Megan Stowe | Charlotte Sweeney OBE | Gill Thorpe | Karen Tracey | Elizabeth Vazquez

Amy Agnew
Europe Director, Global Citizen

Amy Agnew
Global Citizen logo
Amy has over 13 years of experience working on human rights and international development issues. She spent seven years at Amnesty International where she campaigned against human rights violations in Africa, before moving to Save the Children UK where she was Head of Campaigns on the flagship No Child Born to Die campaign. She has worked extensively in Africa and lived in Uganda for a year while working for Amnesty International. She joined Global Citizen in April 2015 where she is their Europe Director.

Amy has an MA in History from Edinburgh University and an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Amy is a board member of the Evelyn Trust which supports medical research and health and wellbeing projects in Cambridgeshire. She is also a board member of the Holywood Trust, which aims to help young people in Dumfries and Galloway.

Website: www.globalcitizen.org
 | Twitter: @GlblCtzn

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Sonia Bate
Managing Director, EDIT Development – a certified women-owned business


Sonia Bate
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Sonia is the entrepreneur who founded EDIT Development and EDIT Mentoring Exchange. She is an experienced and challenging trusted advisor who builds exceptional business relationships. She has a reputation for driving commitment for action with her clients. She is a sought after inspirational facilitator and speaker and a supportive but challenging coach. Her clients are in a range of industries and within blue chip organisations. Sonia works globally with particular experience in leadership development in Asia, West Africa, US and UK.



Sonia has held senior leadership positions in both retail and the financial services sector so brings broad commercial and operational experience to the companies she works with. Her expertise spans selection and assessment, talent management, leadership development, executive coaching and working with organisations to deliver a diverse business and an inclusive environment. 



Sonia has developed and facilitated a range of high impact, interactive leadership development programmes and solutions for clients to drive change and improve leadership effectiveness. She has also hosted global leadership conferences, facilitated top team strategy sessions and piloted high profile programmes with senior leadership teams across various industries. She has vast experience with live theatre forum and live issue facilitation. She is known for facilitating rapid and significant behavioural changes in those she works with. She is pragmatic and inspirational in her approach to helping clients achieve their potential for long-lasting personal and business success. 



Sonia has a love of the martial arts, is a third Dan black belt in Shotokan karate and was Ladies European Freestyle Champion.


Website: editdevelopment.com
 | Twitter: @editdevelopment

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Maggie Berry
Executive Director for Europe, WEConnect International

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WEConnect International Logo

Maggie is the Executive Director for Europe for WEConnect International – a global organisation supporting supplier diversity in procurement and helping majority owned women’s businesses to connect into the corporate supply chain. She has lead responsibility for the management and development of WEConnect International’s activity in Europe and her role involves developing corporate and public sector support as well as growing a network of majority owned women’s businesses across the UK and Europe.

Prior to joining WEConnect International, she ran womenintechnology.co.uk – an online job board, recruitment and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She was involved from Women in Technology's inception in the autumn of 2004 and managed all aspects of the website and the networking activities Women in Technology organised. Maggie continues to run the Women in Technology Network on an informal basis in her spare time and she is a Freeman of the Information Technologists' Company.


Website: weconnectinternational.org
 | Twitter: @weconnecteurope

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Heather Butler
Founding Partner and Managing Director, People Development Team – a certified women-owned business

Heather Butler
PDT logo
As managing director of PDT, a global training organisation who help organise, harness and empower people to create inclusive cultures that transform companies and individuals lives, Heather is dedicated to PDT’s aspiration to assist global organisations in reducing employee and organisational unconscious bias, thereby creating an inclusive environment and leveraging talent.

This ability is enriched by Heather’s background in HR; she worked for some time within an internationally known IT and management training company, as well as for other global organisations. This gives her the understanding required to support organisation on their inclusion journey.

In all her work, Heather’s clients appreciate her unique brand of energy and commitment as well as her flexible, needs-centred approach. She has worked with all levels of employees from individual contributors to global directors and executives, with her group coaching style enabling the self-learning style that is essential for the sensitive nature of Inclusion.

An accomplished director, Heather has great business acumen and a desire to ‘cut through the fog’ and move individuals and organisations forward. She has worked with some of the largest organisations in the world, delivering, project managing and developing training strategy.

Website: www.pdtglobal.com | Twitter: @PDT_Global

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Lynne Copp

Founder & Managing Director, The Worklife Company – a certified women-owned business


lynne copp
Worklife Company logo
Lynne is an organisational development expert, executive coach, author and public speaker. She is retained as a leadership coach and consultant by many organisations and works with boards and senior leaders to create transformational change in leadership environments and culture. Lynne also works with women’s networks and teams to develop women into leadership and improve wellbeing of people and organisations. She is author of the award-winning book Dancing Round the Handbags®, which is a coaching resource to support women to achieve their potential whilst balancing work and life. 



She has worked with both the private and public sector in organisations like: EY, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard, the NHS, Birmingham City Council, the Police and the Armed Forces.



Lynne has been a NED for two NHS organisations and currently works to facilitate transformation and change in commissioning and primary care environments and is retained as an executive facilitator and coach for system-wide change and leadership performance.



She is also retained as an executive coach for numerous organisations, is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD, a Fellow of the ILM, an active member of Association of NLP, and a Certified Women Owned Business Member of WEConnect International. She has a Master’s degree in Organisational Development & Design and is currently completing her Master’s in Coaching. 


Website: worklifecompany.com
 | Twitter: @worklifecompany

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Katherine Corich

Founder and Global CEO, Sysdoc – a certified women-owned business


katherine corich
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Katherine has an MA in Sociolinguistics from the University of Canterbury, is an Associate Fellow of the University of Oxford and holds a Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction from the UK Institute of Directors. She is the founder and Chair of the Sysdoc Group, a high-tech and services company with operations in four countries. Sysdoc has delivered business change programmes and technology solutions for companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Chevron Oil, Shell Oil, Fonterra, Fletcher Building, IBM, National Australia Bank.



Sysdoc is also at the tip of sustainable work, protecting native forests before it became fashionable to do so and funding regeneration of native trees in a New Zealand. Twice named in the Top 30 Companies for Working Families in Britain, Sysdoc demonstrates that it has pioneered innovative family-based working models that deliver talent to the industry while ensuring service-delivery excellence.



Katherine serves on the boards of the Liverpool Mayoral Development Corporation and WIL Europe and is Chair of global charity Happy Child International. She is on the international advisory board for the University of Canterbury and is also an advisor/ambassador for the university's earthquake database. She is also a qualified commercial pilot and flight instructor. 



She is a visionary leader with contagious entrepreneurial energy. Katherine leads Sysdoc performance-based philanthropy, offering expertise, time and seed funding to deliver projects where they can make a significant and sustainable difference globally.

Website: sysdocgroup.com | Twitter: @katherinecorich

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Shirley Creed
Corporate Secretary EMEA, Dell


Shirley Creed
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Shirley is Corporate Secretary EMEA at Dell. She is a member of Dell’s Corporate Legal Senior Management Team with over 20 years experience in the IT industry. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Company Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA), Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and a member of techUK’s Women in Tech Council.

Shirley is a core team member of Connecting Women in Technology and a driver in supporting efforts to encourage more women into IT and expanding the opportunities for women in IT both internally within Dell (as co-lead of the gender network in Dell England) and externally.

Website: dell.com | Twitter: @shirleycreed and @DellSuppliers

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Miriam Dervan


Executive Chair, mdgroup – a certified women-owned business


miriam dervan
mdgroup logo
Miriam established mdevents in 2002 with a focus on pharmaceutical meetings and she has since grown the business from a one-person operation to an organisation with over 80 employees and offices in three continents.



mdgroup is today a pharmaceutical support services company. Therefore, mdevents is now just one of the business streams sitting under the mdgroup umbrella, alongside patientprimary, mdtravel, mdtechnologies, mdtranslate and mdrecruitment. It has been a fantastic journey for Miriam, one which has brought many rewards and challenges. That is one of the reasons she chose to write To Be an Entrepreneur: Just Get on With It, a business guide and memoirs aimed at young, budding entrepreneurs.



Miriam has had great pleasure to have the opportunity now, through her book and the mdeducational foundation, to visit secondary schools and colleges. She hopes to inspire action and courage in those thinking of starting their own business and to show them exam results are not the only mark of success.

Website: mdgroup.com | Twitter: @mdgroupintl

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Ingrid Devin


Director of Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell

Ingrid Devin
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Ingrid is the director for Dell’s Women Entrepreneur Network. This international network creates a forum for global women founders and CEOs to share best practices, build business opportunities, explore international expansion and access new resources.

Prior to this role Ingrid was the European, Middle East and Africa ( EMEA) lead for diversity and inclusion in Dell and was responsible for implementing and driving a strategy which focused on leadership and accountability, inclusive culture, and external brand, across EMEA.

Website: dell.com | Twitter: @ingriddevin

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Frank Foerster
Senior Director EMEA Sales, Programmable Solutions Group, Intel

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Frank joined Altera in November 2007 as distribution account manager in Germany. After undertaking market development roles for the industrial business unit, first in EMEA and later on a worldwide basis, Frank took the position of Central EMEA Sales Director in 2011. After four years in this position, he took on the EMEA leadership sales role after the acquisition of Altera by Intel in December 2015.

Prior to Altera, Frank worked in several sales and marketing positions for small and mid-size privately owned companies in Germany. Frank holds a BSc degree in EE/Telecoms.

Website: intel.co.uk | Twitter: @IntelFPGA

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Alison Frith
Managing Director, Artizian – a certified women-owned business


Alison Frith
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In 20 years, Alison has successfully grown Artizian, an outsourced food service management company that provides Intelligent Eating in the workplace, from zero to £10.5m with over 180 team players.

Alison’s passion has always been about delivering great service experiences. Her father’s premature death from cancer prompted her to consciously change her lifestyle and eating and is also why she was convinced in 2010 that everyone subconsciously ate according to their mood. Alison imagined what could be achieved by those who consciously ate and initiated the introduction of a nutritionally balanced Mood Food® range of products to help people feel ‘energised’ and ‘chilled’. Her next goal is to commercialise this brand which accounts for over 30% of Artizian’s sales revenue and to grow her nutrition and wellbeing solutions company – Nutrition Bites - that launched earlier this year.

Artizian has received many accolades over the years including this year: 2017 Winners of the Health and Vitality Honours for Communication & Engagement and Cost Sector’s PS100 Health & Nutrition Award.

Website: artiziancatering.co.uk | Twitter: @ArtizianCaters

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Pauline Gebon
Global Head of Supplier Diversity, MetLife


Pauline Gebon
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Pauline is a veteran supplier diversity advocate. At MetLife, she has responsibility for the overall supplier diversity strategy development and implementation within the organisation both in the US and in international markets. Pauline’s passion and commitment to supplier diversity and minority business development continues to be demonstrated and under her leadership MetLife’s supplier diversity programme has grown significantly to include components such as the “Rule of One”, monthly opportunity forecasting, internal mentorship and Tier II deployment.

Prior to joining MetLife in May 2014, Pauline led the supplier diversity initiative for Adecco Group. As the leader of supplier diversity, Pauline designed, implemented and managed the supplier diversity initiative for over 10 years with demonstrable year over year diversity spend increases. Pauline was a valuable contributor in the sales process as the solutions engineer in designing innovative and authentic supplier diversity solutions for both her internal and external customers. Her experience in working with the sales team made her a noted expert on selling to corporations and how minority businesses can be successful in the bidding process.

Pauline currently serves on the NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) executive committee of the board of directors, is chair of the chairpersons committee for the NMSDC affiliate network and she is a member of the Chairperson’s Tiger Team of NMSDC. She is also a board member for the supplier diversity group for the Institute of Supply Management and the Supplier Diversity Council of the Conference Board. Pauline has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in supplier diversity including Diversityplus and MBNUSA as Champion of Diversity and Advocate of the Year award from The NY/NJ MSDC.

Website: metlife.com | Twitter: @MetLife

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Farida Gibbs



CEO, Gibbs Hybrid – a certified women-owned business


farida gibbs
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Gibbs Hybrid is an international people-powered business, providing programme technology solutions, total talent management services and people operations as a business. The company offers innovative blended models to help improve their clients’ people, technology, process and delivery challenges.



Farida’s passion is to be the most respected and trusted business partner and her philosophy is centred on innovation, customer centricity and expert execution.



Farida is determined always to deliver and exceed expectations and provide a first-class experience for her customers. Her inspiring career and rise to the top has led her to direct the UK's efforts and become one of the fastest growing professional services firms with an incredible CAGR of 29% year-on-year growth rate.



Learning to balance her duties as CEO, mother and role model to the next generation, Farida has been asked to support the ‘Women of the Future’ Ambassadors Programme - nurturing and mentoring the next generation of female talent. Farida sits on the Advisory Board for Mosaic Network (Prince’s Trust) founded by HRH Prince of Wales, is an appointed ambassador of WEConnect International and helped to launch the Mosaic Associates Female Entrepreneurs Network. She’s a columnist for the Asian Wealth Magazine section ‘Wonder Women’ and sits on the Advisory Group for the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Entrepreneurship.



Farida was born in the UK, one of four children - her mother is from Egypt and her father is from Pakistan. With a passion for cooking Arabic cuisine and travelling to the Middle East, Farida has a love for all cultures. She is married and dedicated to raising her daughter and spending quality time together.

Website: gibbshybrid.com | Twitter: @faridagibbs

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Shelley Hoppe




Founder, Southerly – a certified women-owned business

shelley hoppe
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After a varied corporate communications career, Shelley set up Southerly in late 2009 and focused its services on two key offerings: the then-nascent areas of content/social media marketing and employee engagement/internal communications, which is really just content for internal audiences.



Today, a content strategy is no longer a novelty. Most of Southerly’s clients have retainer contracts in place for internal and external content strategy and production, editorial services, storytelling and social media services. Corporate clients include Shell, RBS, Bank of England, Waitrose, Phillips and Google; Southerly also works with UK government clients. 



Shelley is a self-confessed marketing communications geek and follows all the latest trends with the sort of enthusiasm that most people reserve for holidays and ice cream (etc).

Website: hellosoutherly.com | Twitter: @southerlycomms

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Rachel Jackson
Program Director, Global Blockchain Development, IBM


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Rachel is based in the Hursley software development laboratory in the UK. During her 27 years in the company, Rachel has held lead roles in the delivery of many of IBM's key software products which provide the core middleware and infrastructure to the world's major corporations. With a degree in Psychology and an MSc in Work Design and Ergonomics, Rachel's original career path was in usability and UI design; however, her journey has seen her move from design, through planning and project management to leading development, services, support, marketing and emerging technology teams located across the world as they work together to produce the first class products that IBM are famous for.

While on this journey, Rachel has always been a champion for females within the IT profession, acting as a mentor to women in a variety of businesses and leading the gender diversity efforts for IBM's technical community in the UK for a number of years. She was recently appointed as IBM's representative on the board of Ada, The National College for Digital Skills whose mission is to create a new generation of digital pioneers and to address the gender imbalance in the IT industry.

Website: ibm.com | Twitter: @ibm

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Zoe Kelland
Senior Digital Campaigns Manager, Global Citizen

Zoe Kelland
Global Citizen logo
Zoe is a Senior Digital Campaigns Manager at Global Citizen. Global Citizen is an online platform for a generation of young people passionate about tackling the world's biggest challenges including extreme poverty and gender inequality. She leads the development and implementation of online campaigns with the aim of mobilising large scale public support and maximising the organisation's influence on political decisions.

In 2016, Zoe led the #SheWill campaign, calling on world leaders to prioritise girls' education. As a result, Global Citizens took more than 100,000 actions leading to governmental and business commitments set to affect the lives of 1.2 million girls by 2020 including a pledge of £100 million from the UK Department for International Development.

Zoe also co-founded and directs Nakuru Children's Project, an NGO that works to relieve poverty and improve education for children in Kenya. To date, the organisation has directly impacted the lives of 1,500+ children through construction of educational facilities, provision of free school lunches, and school-fee sponsorship.

Website: www.globalcitizen.org
 | Twitter: @zoekelland

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Justin Lambert
Head of Procurement, Roche

Justin Lambert
Roche
Justin joined Roche in January 2015 as Head of Procurement and has an inclusive approach to the work he does; he seeks solutions from his suppliers that are aligned with his company’s business sustainability goals and patient centric culture.

 “Roche is committed to sustainability in all business activities and aims to apply the highest ethical standards. Our suppliers play an important role as enablers of our sustainable growth and overall success.”



Justin’s vision for the future is delivering solutions that have a socioeconomic impact for Roche and the community in which it operates, inclusive practices are no longer a nice to do but a competitive necessity.

Website: roche.co.uk | Twitter: @roche

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Tamara Littleton

CEO and Founder, The Social Element – a certified women-owned business


tamara littleton
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Tamara founded The Social Element in 2002 before the explosion in social media. She had previously run the online webmaster team for BBC Online which fuelled her love of online communities. From the early days of moderating online chatrooms and branded communities, she recognised the potential of social media engagement and great content for business. When Facebook launched in 2004 and then Twitter in 2006, the business took off and her prediction about the future of social media was realised. The Social Element (formerly Emoderation) is a global social media agency that delivers social media strategy, content, engagement and insights to some of the world’s biggest brands including Oreo, Toyota, Primark, HSBC and The LEGO Group. The business is now the largest independent agency in its space. It has a team of 350 people working across the world in more than 50 languages and it has seen average business growth of 43% over five years. It has offices in London, New York and Los Angeles.



Tamara set up the business differently, challenging the conventional agency model. Social media is a 24/7 global business, and needs a business model that can be flexible enough to adapt to a fast-changing market. She pioneered and built a fully flexible and distributed workforce model that is truly innovative in the digital agency market and enables the company to deliver social media campaigns to global clients 24/7, across multiple time zones, cultures and languages.



The Social Element has been named as an International Growth Business of the Year at the National Business Awards, A Rising Star of the Year at the UK’s Private Business Awards, a City AM Leap 100 company and they are listed on the Sunday Times Tech Track and Export Track 100.

Website: thesocialelement.agency | Twitter: @tlittleton

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Lisa Lloyd
Ultra Marathon Swimmer


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Having always been a little adventurous, Lisa has climbed Kilimanjaro and travelled across Mongolia but when she lost a friend to cancer, she became an accidental ultra-marathon swimmer. At 38- years old, Lisa became one of less than 500 women to have swum across the English Channel.

Other accomplishments include swimming a two-way Lake Windermere (21 miles), swimming the Straits of Gibraltar (from Europe to Africa) and she even managed to escape from Alcatraz on her honeymoon. 

Website: lisaswims.com | Twitter: @lisa_j_williams

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Lara Morgan

Owner, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor

lara morgan
Scentered logo

Lara is the CEO, MD and owner or investor of several businesses. She has global experience and a record for delivering exceptional growth. Lara is an inspirational leader with a legacy of building world-class teams and aligning organisations behind a clear strategy. Her portfolio is made up of Scentered, Dryrobe, KitBrix, Gate8 and Global Amenities Direct.



Lara is mother to three teenage girls and a committed volunteer and philanthropist. She is involved with various global non-profits as a trustee/board member or advisor. She speaks regularly at industry events and appeared and commented on current affairs with Sky and BBC. She also keeps fit and trains for charity bike rides and triathlon, coming 10th in the 2011 World Championships.

Website: laramorgan.co.uk | Twitter: @iamlaramorgan

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Nataša Nikolić

EMEIA Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program Lead, EY

natasa nikolic
EY Logo
Nataša is a marketing and business development professional with more than 15 years of experience in multinational environment specializing in programme management, change management and public affairs.

As part of EY’s Women Fast Forward team whose aim is accelerating gender parity in the workplace, Nataša leads EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women programmes in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. The programme identifies high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale and provides them with ongoing support to help accelerate their growth. Nataša is also part of the EY team that supported the formation and efforts of Women 20 (W20), the new G20 engagement group focused on gender equality and economic inclusiveness.

Through various programmes, such as EY Entrepreneurs of the Year, Entrepreneurial Winning Women and start-up initiatives, Nataša has been working with entrepreneurs for almost a decade now. Prior to joining EY, she has co-founded an IT company in Serbia. Natasa also serves as mentor in the Share your knowledge programme that the European Movement in Serbia organises with collaboration from Vital Voices, US Embassy, OEBS and Erste Bank. She was member of the Steering Committee of UN Global Compact in Serbia.

Website: ey.com/be/eww | Twitter: @nikolnna and @ey_wff

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Lynne Parker

Founder and Chief Executive, Funny Women Limited – a certified women-owned business


lynne parker
Funny Women logo
Award-winning producer and entrepreneur, Lynne created Funny Women in 2002 and her company is now recognised as the leading experts in female comedy, helping women to perform, write and do business with humour. With the celebrated Funny Women Awards at the core of her business, now in their 15th year, Lynne runs events in London, Brighton, Manchester, Dublin and at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe. 



Alongside their comedy credentials, Funny Women runs bespoke corporate events and provides workplace training for some of the world’s leading companies and organisations, including JLL, PwC, MasterCard, Investec, Lloyds of London, Aon, Virgin, Women in Rail and Accenture. 



Lynne is a respected writer and facilitator and runs workshops about using humour in the workplace for boosting confidence and self-esteem, building teams and improving diversity. She regularly contributes to business and consumer publications, including The Independent, Guardian, Huffington Post and KWIB Magazine and is a regular guest on BBC Radio Kent’s drive time slot, The Conversation.



Her pioneering work in female comedy was honoured at the NatWest Ladies at E11even Business Awards in November 2011 with the ‘Inspirational Woman Award’, and the ‘NatWest Award’ for outstanding business success. She was also recognised as one of ‘One Hundred Unseen Powerful Women who Change the World’ for her outstanding work in arts and media and she was nominated for the 2015 and 2016 Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards. Lynne was also a runner-up for Women’s Champion and Creative and Arts in the Kent Women in Business Awards.



Lynne is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise and sits on the working party for skills and education.

Website: funnywomen.com | Twitter: @funnywomenlynne

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Sarah Peiker
RPO Practice Leader, EMEA, ManpowerGroup Solutions

Sarah Peiker
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Sarah is a recognised thought leader within ManpowerGroup Solutions, where she brings over 20 years proven industry experience from human resources management to recruitment management and consulting. Sarah is responsible for leading the RPO business in Europe in which she delivers innovative recruiting solutions in order to enable companies to provide measurable results through their talent.

Sarah’s exceptional communication and management skills enable her to consistently build credibility with senior-level sponsors. She’s viewed by clients as a valued business partner who helps determine priorities and designs tailored solutions to address pain points. Sarah has successfully led large recruiting teams to drive client-specific results and recruiting team metrics, resulting in a significant increase in hiring manager satisfaction and a decrease in days-to-fill by an average of 45%.

Throughout her career, Sarah has held a variety of increasingly complex HR and recruiting positions which have enabled her develop deep and sought after industry knowledge. Most notably, Sarah developed and led the ManpowerGroup Solutions Consulting and Research practices, which offers recruitment consulting services in the areas of recruiting process and compliance consulting, sourcing effectiveness and candidate selection and training.

Sarah has written several position papers which have been published by leading industry magazines, websites and newspapers and was awarded the Jaspar Award Gold Medal for Excellence in Writing, Feature Story.
Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in human resources and recruiting. She holds a BA in business from Michigan State University.

Website: manpowergroupsolutions.com | Twitter: @sarahpeiker

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Lynda Petherick
Head of Fashion, Accenture UKI

Lynda Petherick
Accenture logo
Lynda leads the Fashion practice in Accenture UKI. After spending most of her career in financial services, Lynda took the risk in her 40s to essentially change career direction and focus on fashion.

In a career spanning over 20 years, Lynda has worked both sides of the buying and selling equation and spent seven years client side at Barclays as the Global CPO of Barclaycard. In a diverse commercial career, Lynda has led M&A deals, established innovation incubators, managed commercial investments during the dotcom boom and worked with global regulators on best practice approaches to managing supplier risk. Lynda has been a mentor through an Accenture/WEConnect International mentoring programme for three years.

Website: accenture.com | Twitter: @AccentureUK

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Claire Piipponen
Senior Procurement Manager, MSD

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MSD logo
Claire is a marketing procurement specialist who has previously worked at L’Oréal and Williams Lea and is currently on the procurement team at MSD, known as Merck in the US - a leading global biopharmaceutical company. As a frequent participant at WEConnect International events, Claire hopes to guide women-owned businesses to unlock opportunities and win contracts with large corporations by navigating the complexity of competitive tenders and showing the value of working with diverse suppliers.

Born-and-bred Londoner, Claire is a mum and dog lover. In her spare time she is a keen ‘localist’ championing local entrepreneurs and sings in the community choir. She has ambitions to learn to play the guitar and build a Finnish sauna in her back garden.

Website: msd-uk.com | Twitter: @MSDintheUK

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Michael Robinson

Program Director, Global Supplier Diversity, IBM

Michael Robinson
IBM logo

Michael is responsible for leading IBM’s supplier diversity initiatives worldwide. In this role, Michael and his team, focus on the utilization, development and mentoring of diverse suppliers who can provide value-add to IBM’s Supply Chain. Michael’s team is also responsible for IBM’s Supplier Connection initiative which provides small businesses access to large corporations. IBM has spent in excess of $2billion 1st tier, annually worldwide with diverse enterprises since 2006.

Under Michael’s leadership, IBM has been recognised for numerous awards including: Corporation of the Year by the NMSDC, one of the Top Corporations by WBENC, USBLN Corporation of the Year and NGLCC Corporation of the Year.

Michael’s IBM experience has spanned various disciplines. His previous positions include: Manufacturing Manager, Procurement and Production Control Manager, Distribution Manager, ECAT Site Procurement Manager, Materials Manager, Business Services Council Chair and Federal Procurement Manager.

He sits on a number of boards including the Clarke-Atlanta University Supply Chain Leadership Advisory Board; the Conference Board Council on Supplier Diversity; Minority Business News National Board of Advisors Committee; Women’s Business Enterprise Board and he is the chair of the WEConnect International global board of directors.

He also received several awards for his work in supplier diversity including the WBENC William J. Alcorn Leadership Award; the US DoC, MBDA Agency, Ronald Brown Leadership Award; NMSDC’s Supplier Diversity Leader of the Year; been named as One of the 50 Powerful Men in Business by Minority Enterprise Executive Council and Champions of Diversity by DiversityPlus.

Website: ibm.com | Twitter: @michaelkrobinso

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Maggie Semple, OBE, FCGI
Founder, Maggie Semple Limited – a certified women-owned business

maggie semple
semple logo
Maggie is a successful business woman and entrepreneur. She owns two companies - The Experience Corps Ltd, an international management consultancy that works with global businesses on leadership development and cultural transformation and Maggie Semple Ltd, a bespoke women’s wear British clothing brand.

Maggie serves on a range of boards. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) where she chairs the Audit and Risk Committee and she is a member of the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel. Maggie is a Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute, one of 500 fellowships awarded since 1878 and she is an Associate Member of the Senior Common Room of Exeter College, Oxford University. Maggie is cited in the World’s Who Who; she was awarded an OBE in 2001.

Website: maggiesemple.com | Twitter: @maggiesempleltd

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Amanda Spencer
Head of Supplier Relationship Management – UKI, EY

Amanda Spencer
EY Logo
Amanda has over 20 years of procurement experience in both global and regional roles working in financial and professional services organisations across all categories. She joined EY over five years ago in the procurement function leading their products and service category for UKI. More recently Amanda commenced a strategic operational role as head of supplier relationship management supporting UKI leadership.

Through engagement with suppliers, business stakeholders and the global procurement function, Amanda has progressed a number of initiatives which aim to challenge current thinking and in fact has just launched a project to identify areas where D&I suppliers find engagement with large firms most challenging such as complex processes and cost prohibitive policies they are expected to align with.

Amanda is also passionate about embracing new technology to facilitate better ways of working and is currently championing crowdsourcing solutions and a supplier ecosystem to meet requirements based on EY’s focus on agility and overall digital disruption in supply chain.

Website: www.ey.com | Twitter: @EYnews

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Megan Stowe
Greater European Region Strategic Sourcing Director & International Supplier Diversity Manager, Intel

Megan Stowe
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Megan has been at Intel for more than 20 years during which she’s worked in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. She started in sales and marketing in Australia working in PR and events management and then moved to Hong Kong to start up their SMG site procurement in Asia. She has covered a variety of roles including sales and marketing, travel, relocation, immigration and HR procurement areas. She has predominantly held global positions setting global strategies, performance metrics and managing global teams.

Currently, Megan works across the indirect services/procurement supply chain working with the different verticals (sales and marketing, HR, travel, IT, logistics, product engineering services etc.) looking at EMEA procurement strategies, performance metrics and the total value chain in this space. Megan is managing supplier diversity initiative strategies for the international markets to ensure Intel are working with an inclusive supply chain. With this initiative, Intel are looking at and have achieved increasing spend with diverse businesses in their supply chain at both the tier 1 and tier 2 levels and developing their pipeline of inclusive sourcing opportunities. Megan is a global board member of WEConnect International, chair of the WEConnect International Europe Advisory Council and she co-chairs the WISE Young Women’s Board. She works closely with schools and universities ensuring STEM is promoted to girls. Megan’s passion is to promote the education of women and girls especially around the STEM subjects.

Website: intel.com | Twitter: @meganstowe

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Charlotte Sweeney OBE

Founder and Managing Director, Charlotte Sweeney Associates – a certified women-owned business


Charlotte Sweeney
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Charlotte has specialised in diversity & inclusion (D&I) for nearly 20 years and was recognised by The Economist as one of the Top 50 D&I Professionals in the world. She currently runs a consultancy specialising in D&I strategy and its effective and sustainable implementation - her clients include many global companies. Charlotte gained much of her global experience leading D&I in a number of companies including both retail and investment banking - Barclays, Barclays Capital, HBOS and Nomura. 



Charlotte authored an independent review for the UK Government Secretary of State, Dr Vince Cable, about Women on Boards and Executive Search Firms and she created ‘The Power of Diversity’ programme for the second female Lord Mayor of London in history, Dame Fiona Woolf. Charlotte is the co-author of the recent Financial Times published book ‘Inclusive Leadership – the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful diversity and inclusion strategy, locally and globally'.



Charlotte was named as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List, in recognition of her contribution to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Website: charlottesweeney.com | Twitter: @charlottesweene

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Gill Thorpe FCIPS
CEO, The Sourcing Team – a certified women-owned business


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Gill’s background extends to nearly three decades: as a buyer in a major London Agency 28 years ago to founding her own business in 1996. Gill’s blend of procurement expertise together with her love for marketing, passion for ethicability and sustainability - truly bring unique value and insights to her clients and international network of partners.



She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)and a Lifetime Fellow of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), where she previously served as chair, president and board member.  She currently sits on the CIPS Fellows Committee – supporting the committee with “amazing events for amazing people” in procurement.



Gill serves as Chair of the WBE Council, supporting WEConnect International, and is also involved in the first ever UK Economic Blueprint, a national framework which has UK Parliamentary backing and which will provide women owned businesses with access to markets, finance, research and training.



Led by Gill and her equally passionate executive team, The Sourcing Team is one of the few promotional marketing firms in the industry to hold accreditations to Gold standard in both EcoVadis and the CIPS Sustainability Index in sustainability. The Sourcing Team is recognised as a leader and driver in ethical and sustainable sourcing of promotional products and has been awarded an EcoVadis Category Award for Best CSR performance in Wholesale/Tertiary Services. The Sourcing Team is also a signatory to the UN Global Compact and the ETI international code of labour practice.

Website: sourcing.co.uk | Twitter: @thesourcingteam

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Karen Tracey

Owner, Dunelm Business Consultants – a certified women-owned business


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Karen is respected across a number of sectors and has run her own coaching and training consultancy based in Staffordshire since 2010 – Dunelm Business Consultants Ltd. Starting with a career in the RAF where she saw active service in 1990, Karen then followed this with 20 years in the corporate world within learning, development and leadership change programmes, demanding the effective development and engagement of people. Her skills lay in the ability to influence and progress leaders and teams as well as deal with the external customer population where she was known as an outstanding deliverer of quality provision. Karen now offers diverse coaching and leadership training and development in her own business as well as previously being an accredited coach on programmes designed for high growth businesses helping CEOs, MDs and senior Executives focusing on leadership development.



Board and Executive positions include: Chair for the Women Presidents’ Organization; Honorary Consul to Latvia for the West Midlands Business; Board Member of the South Staffordshire Sub Group of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership; Business Board Member of the Women in Enterprise All Party Parliamentary Group and Trustee of Lichfield Garrick.

Website: dunelmbusinessconsultants.com | Twitter: @karenmtracey

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Elizabeth Vazquez

CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International

Elizabeth Vazquez
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Elizabeth is the CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, a corporate led non-profit that helps to empower women business owners to succeed in global markets. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women's business enterprises based in 100 countries and then connects them with member buyers representing over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power.

She is the co-author of the book, “Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change Our World.” She sits on the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is a W20 and B20 Representative. She sits on the Walmart Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative’s International Advisory Council, the Procter & Gamble Supplier Diversity Advisory Council and the Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE Girls’ and Women’s Committee. She was born in Mexico and has a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Website: weconnectinternational.org | Twitter: @CEOVazquez

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