Meet The Day 1 – Masterclass Speakers
Producer Arise Firebird
Across her 20-year career working in leadership roles with Global Fortune 100 corporations, Jimi Okubanjo has earned a reputation for delivering business transformations worth millions, leading international teams of up to 3,500 staff, serving as COO for a £400M+ division all for multinational market leaders like McKinsey & Co, Atkins Engineering, Amazon, Royal Dutch Shell, and Hitachi Consulting.
Leveraging her deep multi-industry experience and first-hand knowledge of what leaders of color often face in the workplace, she produced the documentary ARISE FIREBIRD to help those going through marginalized at work know they are not alone and there is hope.
CEO Prabhaav Global, CQ Certified Facilitator and a Fellow at the Society of Leadership Fellows, Windsor Castle
Ritika was born and brought up in India. She went on to achieve an MBA in the UK and broke all barriers as a first-generation immigrant to Canada and UK. Ritika has the unique advantage of living, studying and working in 3 continents. She has over 30 years of experience working at Board level with senior stakeholders – within the public and private sector.
Ritika is on a mission to bring inclusion and innovation to the heart of organizations, and she believes that Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a capability which can do that.
Ritika is a CQ Certified Facilitator and a Fellow at the Society of Leadership Fellows, Windsor Castle. She sits on the Strategic Advisory Board member for British Transport Police and is a Trustee and Board Director at the 5% club. Ritika is also a sought after Keynote speaker.
Valerie Todd FCIPD
Human Resources Director at MindWeaver, Fellow of the CIPD, Charity Trustee at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
In June 2022 Valerie Todd joined MindWeaver as a Human Resources Director. Valerie is a Fellow of the CIPD, (the professional body for Human Resources and People Development).
Valerie is also a Charity Trustee at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. She provides advice and support to the Charity on HR and Finance.
Valerie has a track record of 35 years as an HR specialist and since 2001 she has worked at HR Director level in both permanent and interim assignments. Valerie served 10 years as an HR Director at an organisation called Nacro, where she was the lead on all matters related to HR, organisational development, and inclusion. Leading Nacro to be No.1 in the Stonewall Equality Index for 2 consecutive years, and one time winner of the British Diversity Awards.
A conscientious and professional HR Executive with an excellent record of accomplishment across many sectors.
In her role at MindWeaver she brings her vast knowledge and experience gained in a variety of sectors to develop innovative HR systems and processes for our rapidly expanding tech Company. These systems allow MindWeaver to manage and mitigate risk. She has developed a suite of world class HR policies and processes that not only are linked to our company values, but they are scalable, user friendly, inclusive, and commercially driven. She has developed a competence-based appraisal system to be rolled out to all our workforce.
Valerie has an in-depth understanding of strategic HR best practice, and she can practically apply employment Law. She can perform at both strategic and operational level. She is an ACAS trained disciplinary investigator.
She has designed and delivered training courses for Investigators. She is an Accredited trainer in safer recruitment.
A naturally pragmatic and resilient person with well-honed authentic leadership skills. Has led multi-disciplinary dispersed HR teams and dealt with some major sensitive HR issues including restructuring of senior leadership teams. In 2019 Valerie was engaged by a London Borough following an Inadequate OFSTED rating.
She worked alongside the Directorate Management Team advising on the development of a culture of performance management. She was instrumental in developing a project plan, coaching senior managers to have difficult conversations with senior staff to raise performance standards across Children’s Services. She conducted workshops alongside the Director of Children’s Services. She advised on disciplinary investigations, capability, and sickness absence management. The Borough Childrens Services Directorate is now graded as ‘good’.
Whilst employed as HR Director at Oasis Academy Trust (A multi-Academy Trust with 50+ academies across England), Valerie developed a very successful business partnering service across England using the Ulrich model. She was instrumental in implementing the London Living Wage for London based staff.
‘I am guided by my enthusiasm for being part of an inclusive and empowered senior leadership team where they value my HR expertise, have a shared and compelling vision that allows us to set clear direction for the Company in accordance with our values. I have much to offer. I am an experienced HR Director who has been employed
Portfolio NED, CEO and Founder, The Careers Company
Meena is an experienced Human Resources professional. She was latterly the Managing Director and Chief HR Officer for the 30,000 strong Global Business Services arm of Standard Charted Bank.
She currently serves as a Non-executive Director at both CNWL NHS Foundation Trust and Origin Housing. She is also a Trustee for the Community Schools, Multi Academy Trust and a Board Advisor for an HR publication based in Asia. Meena is on the Inspire List (Trustees Unlimited) and has been recognised as one of the 100 Women to watch to be a FTSE 350 NED by Cranfield in 2021.
In addition to her Board work, Meena recently founded The Careers Company a career development company focused on the career success of diverse employee groups.
Business Support Manager, HSBC/JLL at ISS Facility Services UK & Deputy Co-Chair of UK & Ireland Culture, Race and Ethnicity ERG
Charlotte is an experienced Business Support professional working in the FM industry, with much of her career based in the Banking Industry.
Having worked in Operations, Business Continuity, Workplace Experience and much more Charlotte prides herself as a keen supporter and co-chair of the ISS UK & Ireland Employee Resource Group on Culture, Race and Ethnicity.
In her free time Charlotte enjoys Crochet and creating hand crafted gifts as well as spending time with the family.
Head of Workplace – EY UK & Ireland at ISS Facility Services UK & Co-Chair of UK & Ireland Culture, Race and Ethnicity ERG
Heading up the Workplace team, delivering Workplace Services and Facilities Management focusing on the Future of Workplace and user experience.
A dynamic and experience professional with extensive strategic and operational skills within the facilities services sector.
A graduate of Greenwich University, married with 2 daughters, 8 and a 6 years old.
Certified Executive & Career Coach and founder of Career Coaching Matters
Yvonne Akinmodun is a certified Executive & Career Coach and founder of Career Coaching Matters and her passion is working with people to help them realise their full potential. Prior to becoming a career coach in 2017, She was a full time HR consultant from 2009. Prior to 2009, She worked as a HR Director for a large housing organisation in London and has also held several senior HR roles within a range of organisations.
As an executive career coach and author, she has appeared in career podcasts, been interviewed on radio and written articles about leadership and career coaching. Yvonne is also a tutor for the professional HR body, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
She coaches professionals and executives to take charge and manage their careers which often includes developing their career confidence on a one to one or group basis.
She helps her clients strike the balance between empowering their own job search while motivating them to follow their true vocation.
Her career coaching involves using the proprietary Authentic Vocation™ system. With the system, she is able to help her clients turn confusion into clarity and find the career they were born to do and help them make a successful transition from one career or job to another in the shortest time possible.
Founder of We are HR
Natasia has been an avid member of the HR community since 2007. She holds a BA (Hons) in Business Communication, an MA in International Human Resource Management and a PGCE in Education and is a Chartered Member of the CIPD.
She has over 15 years’ of experience working within Human Resources as a Generalist with a focus on Recruitment and Learning and Development. She has taught on the CIPD and HR Apprenticeship Programme since 2009 as an accredited CIPD Tutor , Programme Lead and Internal Verifier.
Natasia is fortunate to have worked with a number of credible Institutions developing, authoring and Internally Verifying content.
In her spare time Natasia enjoys reading thrillers, running and HIT training
Co-founder and MD of Atkinson HR
Graham is the co-founder and MD of Atkinson HR, a strategic HR Consultancy that was set up in 2017 and won a prestigious CIPD award for HR / L&D Consultant of the Year in 2019. Atkinson HR is a trusted HR supplier for NCVO and work with over 100 clients across the UK.
Graham has spent most of his career in the Voluntary and Higher Education sectors and his last in-house job was as HR Director for the National Union of Students. He loves getting to work with new organisations in different sectors and helping them be even better employers, and enjoys thinking (and talking) about the future of work, AI in the workplace, inclusive cultures and how HR can add value.
Founder of Inclucive DEI Consultancy, Allyship Community, Book Club and Diversity Advocate.
Chikere is an experienced Executive Recruiter, Trainer, Facilitator, and advocate for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB). Her unwavering passion lies in educating employees, fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces, and empowering individuals to become catalysts for change.
As the founder of Inclucive, a EDIB Consultancy, Chikere is dedicated to helping organisations establish inclusion as a core foundation. She values long-term partnerships and collaborates with clients who are committed to building a solid and sustainable framework of diversity and inclusion. Chikere believes that lasting change requires a strong starting point.
In addition to her consultancy work, Chikere is the founder of Allyship.co.uk, a safe and supportive community where Allies can come together to learn and grow. She also spearheads the Allyship Book Club, a vibrant community of over 350 members and counting.
Chikere’s personal background has shaped her passion for equality, equity, social justice, and amplifying underrepresented voices. Born in Southampton, England, she comes from a diverse heritage with a Trinidadian mother who is part of the Windrush generation and a Nigerian father.
Her experiences have fuelled her dedication to understanding and addressing issues of gender, recruitment, retaining diverse talent, racial dynamics (including anti-racism), and allyship. Having travelled extensively, Chikere currently resides in Lewisham, London, with her loving family, including her supportive husband and two teenage sons.
With her extensive expertise and commitment to creating inclusive environments, Chikere is an invaluable subject matter expert in the field of EDIB.
Her mission is to effect positive change, empower organisations, and amplify the voices of those who have been traditionally marginalised.
Founder, and Professional Coach of Alula Coaching
Jessica-Leigh Suffolk, Founder, and Professional Coach of Alula Coaching has successfully developed professional development programmes, workplace coaching and training, and speaking events.
Jess started her company following a 10-year career in recruiting, executive search, and management consulting. With a background in clowning and comedy, she brings a unique and entertaining approach to the coaching world.
Jess is an Accredited Business and Personal Coach (ICF) and a Team Coaching Practitioner Certified by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) who brings a perfect mix of fun, humour, and professionalism to the table.
Jess’s company was founded with the mission of transforming perspectives on career development by encouraging senior and emerging leaders to explore their aspirations and feel empowered on a relatable level of continued learning and discovery.
Jess is a firm believer in personal and professional development and in empowering both employees and employers in one of the most competitive job markets in a generation. Jess has delivered group coaching and training programmes, speaking engagements and bespoke workshops for companies such as Enterprise Holdings, Oakleaf Partnership, and Iconic London, as well as customised growth programmes for professionals at the likes of National Grid, Monzo, Ineos Inovyn, Virgin Atlantic, and more.
Recently, Jess launched The Emerging Leaders Club, a community for future leaders to upskill, learn about successful leadership, and receive coaching and mentorship in a fun atmosphere, all while creating a network of like-minded individuals.
Regional HR leader for UK and Europe at Mott MacDonald
Jen Ross is a senior HR leader with significant HR experience working across a wide range of different industries.
She is currently the regional HR leader for the UK and Europe at Mott MacDonald with responsibility for aligning the HR strategy to business strategy and delivery across areas such as Talent Acquisition, Early Careers Recruitment and Development, Talent Management, Learning and Development, EDI, Reward, Wellbeing and operational HR.
Jen has a passion for developing talent, leading and delivering on strategy, organisational development and transformation along with providing a great employee experience.
Founder of Women in Digital Business Online Business Coach and Digital Marketing Expert
Natalia Nicholson is a wife, proud mother of 3 children and has been a serial entrepreneur for over 20 years.
She started with an onlinen multi-culture bookstore that went bankrupt. It was horrible, but she tried again and started a cleaning business which was successful, but it was through this that she realised that she still wasn’t content with just making money.
She needed a purpose to go with her success. She then got into corporate training to suit her new lifestyle of having children and her love for talking, however, she soon realised her passion was business.
She loved being an entrepreneur. So, she went to China and designed her own range of candles and then learned how to sell online. That’s what took her everywhere from reading books, taking courses and attending summits worldwide.
All that education brought her into digital marketing. As a result, NN Inspirational Candles lit up the way into her teaching others how to set up and sell online successfully with her straight talk attitude.
Co-founder and CEO of Happiworkers
Ngozi Cadmus, Co-founder and CEO of Happiworkers is a mental health and leadership expert and a leading voice championing the mental health needs of the black and minority ethnic community.
Ngozi is a Non-Executive Director and CEO of a multi-six-figure company: a Psychotherapist, Social Worker, and TEDx Speaker.
Community-Focused People & Culture Leader
Tanya Sinclair is a community-focused people & culture leader who has worked in healthcare, public libraries, the tech sector, and in academia providing strategy, policy, and advocacy with a focus on well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Tanya holds the Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation along with the Distinguished HR Professional (DHRP) award of distinction. Tanya is a Harry Jerome Leadership Awardee who is an active community volunteer and has served on several boards and diversity advisory committees. She is the founder and board member of a not-for-profit network called Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada www.blackhrpc.org which she founded through her desire to connect, support, and empower the unique needs of all Black HR professionals.
Tanya has a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Royal Roads University in B.C. In her current role, Tanya is the Senior Director, Culture & Employee Experience at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare (SE Health) where she supports a vision of hope and happiness for all employees and their clients. When Tanya isn’t working, she can be found on the volleyball court. Tanya’s leadership philosophy is lead, learn, laugh.
HR Leader, Executive Coach and Author
Dayo Olomu, Chair, Black on Board Community UK; Board Member at Southwark Diocesan Board of Education, and Immediate Past Chair, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) South London is a an Organisation Development Consultant, an international motivational speaker, human capital development expert, corporate trainer, business mentor, executive coach, award winning event host, bestselling author, workshop facilitator, mindfulness enthusiast, mental health champion and keynote speaker on leadership and career progression. He is a strong advocate for mental health, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
He is also a people professional with specialist experience and expertise in employee relations, organisational development, learning and development, performance management and EDI.
Dayo Olomu is also a certified First Aider at Work, Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and Fire Marshall/Controller.
A holder of 177 awards and honours in 30 categories, he holds an honours degree in Business Information Systems, MSc in Human Resources, and an honorary doctorate. He has a Diploma in Life Coaching, a Certificate in Executive Coaching, an Advance Certificate in Public Relations, and Strategic Leadership. He also holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Further Education.
He is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (MCIPD) and a Fellow of the Institute of Information Management Africa (FIIM) and Member, International Leadership Association.
His purpose in life is to inspire people to raise and achieve their aspirations; impact the community through his charitable endeavours; influence change in the society through his expertise and improve performance and productivity. This are what gets him out of bed every morning at 6.30am.
His passion is raising transformational leaders, mentoring professionals, empowering youths, feeding the homeless, supporting the less privileged especially women and children, and encouraging more black people to become board members.
Dayo Olomu also firmly believes in the diamond rule that you treat others as they wish YOU to treat them.
A long suffering Arsenal fan, his varied outside interests apart from faith, family, fitness and work, include running the marathon, fire walking, board-breaking, bar-bending, mountain climbing, skydiving, long distance walking and sleeping rough in the stadium to raise funds for different charities.
Sophie Louise Hodgson
VP of People and Talent at iGaming scale up, Blexr
Sophie is a woman on a mission to drive the future of the People function. She’s a strategic thinker, dynamic implementer, commercial driver and good vibes change maker.
She has several years experience as a People leader and specialist consultant working in Defence, Cyber and iGaming sectors from huge XL corporates to small scrappy start ups across multiple international locations.
She is currently lucky enough to be the VP of People and Talent at iGaming scale up, Blexr. Where She focuses on leading an amazing team in alignment with the business.
Empowering the people around her and giving them an unstoppable confidence to succeed is what leadership means to her. Putting the same development, support and focus on ourselves as a function is critical to prioritise yet often overlooked.
Who is supporting those who support everyone else?
Capital Markets Strategy and Transaction specialist; avid advocate and advisor on innovation, impact and inclusive leadership. Partner, Strategy & Transactions Capital Markets APAC Leader, Ernst & Young Parthenon. Founder of ‘Fully Bossed’.
Strategy and transactions advisor; led 50+ wide scale complex merger/acquisition/divestment/strategic change programs. Leads Ernst & Young’s Strategy & Transactions Capital Markets Capability for APAC. Previously built and led Accenture’s business restructuring unit in the UK for Capital Markets and made Partner in just over 10 years since graduating. Focussed on innovation, impact and inclusive leadership, with a strong personal brand following having built products and businesses from scratch to help clients.
A vocal advocate, blogger (30+), regular panelist (150+) speaking to audiences of over 4,000 people, and multiple business award winner (10+). Notably featuring as Management Today’s 35 Women under 35, UK, 2019 and twice featuring within the ‘Include People – Ethnic Minority Top 100 Leaders list’ – making the top 10 in 2023. Board member for Business in the Community (BITC) London, focused on inclusive entrepreneurship.
Founder of ‘Fully Bossed’ and ‘Bouncyn; platforms helping to advance careers using soft skills or bring entrepreneurs together, respectively. Produced content for Stanford Graduate Business School on the importance of inclusive leadership. Stanford Business School graduate, (LEAD) 2022.
A devoted wife and mother who is an avid latin dancer and enjoys travelling, yoga and learning new things. English native speaker, conversational in Italian.”
Dr Helen Hughes C.Psychol., AFBPsS
Chartered Occupational Psychologist, and Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School
Dr Helen Hughes is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, and Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School. She specialises in the social dynamics of workplace relationships, as well as graduate employability and early career transitions to the workplace.
She is passionate about translating high quality research into usable insights and strategies, working with partners such as Rolls-Royce, Jaguar-Land-Rover, The National Health Service, Leeds City Council, Atkins, and KPMG.
Currently, she is an Investigator on the ESRC-funded project: “Adapting Offices for the Future of Work” project. Her research has been published in international journals and edited books, and has been featured by media outlets including the BBC, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Telegraph, as well as radio and podcasts.
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