WEConnect International Europe Conference 2017 - Speakers


Find out more about our speakers:

Sonia Bate | Maggie Berry | Lynne Copp | Katherine Corich | Miriam Dervan | Kate Donovan | Farida Gibbs | Shelley Hoppe | Rachel Jackson |Justin Lambert | Tamara Littleton |Lisa Lloyd | Lara Morgan | Lynne Parker | Megan Stowe | Charlotte Sweeney OBE | Gill Thorpe | Karen Tracey

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

Sonia Bate

EDIT_Development logo

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

Maggie Berry.jpg
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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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
sysdoc logo
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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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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Kate Donovan
SVP ManpowerGroup Solutions / TAPFIN and Global RPO President

Kate Donovan
manpower group logo
RPO and TAPFIN are market-leading workforce solutions delivered to clients globally. ManpowerGroup™ Solutions delivers outcome-based, talent-driven solutions which capitalize on new thinking and new workforce models. Leveraging an in-depth understanding of global workforce trends, Kate leads an organisation that delivers workforce strategies that are tailored to business strategies being executed on a regional or global basis. More recently, Kate has been spearheading ManpowerGroup’s Total Talent Management offering.

Website: manpowergroupsolutions.com | Twitter: @katemdonovan

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Farida Gibbs

CEO, Gibbs Hybrid – a certified women-owned business

farida gibbs
Gibbs_Hybrid logo

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
Southerly logo
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

rachel jackson
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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Justin Lambert
Head of Procurement, Roche

Justin Lambert

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
The_Social_Element logo
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

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

Megan Stowe
intel logo

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
Charlotte Sweeney Associates Logo
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

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

karen tracey
Dunelm_Business_Consultants logo
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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