The 2019 HERoes Future Female Leaders list celebrates 50 inspirational women who are not yet senior leaders in an organisation but are making a significant contribution to gender diversity at work.
All of the future leaders — who must identify as a woman at work but can be any nationality and based in any country — were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward.
Nominations were then reviewed by the HERoes judging panel who scored each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.
1) Kemi Adetu - Standard Chartered associate - financial and strategic investors group
Read an exclusive Yahoo Finance interview with Kemi Adetu: This future innovator is helping orphans become economic leaders
When she joined Standard Chartered in 2016, Kemi became a member of the Bank’s Gender Engagement Network, a key employee resource group focused on gender issues. As a representative of the international graduate population, she has since played a critical role in discussions with decision-makers and key stakeholders internally, on improving gender balance in Standard Chartered’s internship and graduate programs.
She represented her global graduate class of almost 300 to pitch the benefits of having a more diverse cohort, as well as ideas on how to attract and retain the appropriate female talent pool, to the senior management team, leading to a commitment from the firm to address the imbalance.
Kemi was recently invited to join the Diversity & Inclusion Council for Standard Chartered, Americas to proactively contribute to projects, initiatives and conversations that would create a more inclusive and diverse working environment for all colleagues. In collaboration with other council members, Kemi designs, implements and executes local programmes to help women connect, learn and grow; including: formal and informal mentoring; networking opportunities; panel discussions; training workshops; and roundtable forum sessions.
Externally, Kemi launched two initiatives last year, GLOW UP and Fempire Professional Network. GLOW UP works to empower female orphans and provide children in Africa and the United States with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be economic leaders in their communities. Fempire Professional Network is an international community of female professionals of colour across several professions and sectors, creating a support system and providing a platform of opportunity.
2) Stephanie Matthews - Virgin senior campaign manager
Having joined the gender employee resource network at Virgin, Stephanie has led the launch of inclusive recruitment guides that are used alongside advice the people team give, to ensure that female applicants are on a level playing field.
Recommendations included: checking language, such as using gender neutral terms; removing exaggerated descriptive words and “desirable” skills; highlighting unconscious bias; ensuring a gender balanced shortlist; and stating the salary range. The document has been well received, and hirers confirmed they could see this improving diversity at the company.
Externally, Stephanie is president of women’s network, Bloom UK, which supports the media and marketing industry. Through collective action, Bloom UK’s members champion and encourage realness, vulnerability and honesty to drive genuine change for women. Their “Real Voices” strategy rests on three core pillars: future-proofing women’s careers via training, mentoring and networking; spearheading industry change with events and the “Booth of Truth” — a platform for collecting anonymous truths; and paying it forward for the next generation with a mentoring programme for female rising stars and support for their charity partner Women’s Aid.
Under Stephanie’s leadership in 2019, Bloom UK has brought more male allies into the equation through a partnership with The Book of Man, and a cross-mentoring pilot with senior industry men, The Exchange.
3) Nilufar Anwar - Salesforce corporate counsel
Before joining Salesforce, Nilufar co-led a 900-member strong women’s network at a global energy company, advising on and supporting the company’s policies for attracting, developing and retaining female talent. At Salesforce, she champions the Women’s Network and has supported internal initiatives to discuss and empower employees to redress gender equality challenges inside and outside the organisation.
Nilufar is also a mentor to women inside and outside Salesforce, and showcases her pro bono and trustee work internally to inspire others to likewise use their skillsets to make impactful contribution within charities.
Externally, Nilufar is trustee of Cruse Bereavement, a charity providing bereavement support through a network of 5,000 volunteers. She is also chair of the board for #techmums, an award-winning social enterprise that empowers mums, their families and communities through teaching key technology skills. As chair for the past three years, Nilufar has devised a hyper-growth strategy to reach one million mums by 2020; developed community-based solutions to increase tech skills amongst mums; helped grow the charity from three trustees and a volunteer to an inclusive board of five trustees and three staff; and implemented improved governance standards and processes.
She and the #techmums founder were pivotal in the charity being selected by Nominet Trust to participate in the MUMSCONNECTED initiative, which she and the team successfully rolled out to empower socially and economically disadvantaged young mums nationwide with new-found tech skills and confidence. Nilufar has supported the charity in achieving funding grants and strategic corporate partnerships enabling growth of product reach and staffing. Nilufar is also regular speaker and panellist at diversity and inclusion events, and is also founder and chair of London Legal Ladies, a women’s development programme.
4) Lin Yue - Goldman Sachs executive director
Lin has championed women and diversity throughout her career and has spoken at many events outside of the firm, including for the MuLan Foundation, at the Wo+Men Conference at Cambridge University, firms such as EY and Linklaters, and before the House of Lords.
Lin is currently in the process of establishing a network which aims to connect Chinese and Western women to address her larger goal of breaking the glass and bamboo ceilings. Lin was the winner of the “Excellence in Banking” award at the Chinese Business Leaders Awards 2016 and was recognised in Brummell’s 2017 list as one of the most inspirational women in the City of London. In 2019, she is listed as one of the 50 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders by EMpower.
Lin has authored a widely-acclaimed presentation based on her personal journey growing up in mainland China, highlighting the lives of three generations of Chinese women — from Lin’s grandmother who lived through a Japanese colony to her mother who grew up during the Cultural Revolution, to Lin who is a millennial after the one child policy.
She pioneered a diversity conference, decoding how unconscious bias, in particular cultural influences, can impact behaviour and how to transform existing stereotypes in the workplace. At the Goldman Sachs Young Professional and Future Leaders Conference, Lin shared insights on the uncovered similarities between Western and Chinese millennials.
5) Sarah Rench - Avanade head of intelligent automation EMEA
Over the last 10 years, Sarah has been helping to change the stereotypes of fintechs and AI organisations from being male dominated. She actively encourages women and other minority groups to get into STEM, fintech and consulting through her work on the executive boards of DevelopHer, Cass Global Women's Leaders Programme and through running events and training through EY Women in Tech (EY WIT).
In EY WIT, Sarah helps provide technical bootcamps which train people to code in various languages and software. Sarah has spoken at numerous events to train people on data, AI and ethics, and moderated a panel discussion on the rise of women in AI.
Last year, Sarah trained five EY employees in building virtual agents, who then trained 200 colleagues alongside Sarah. On International Women’s Day 2019, Sarah received the EY Change Maker award for her efforts to support women and champion those in the LGBT+ community.
In her external work on executive boards, Sarah continues to change stereotypes. Through the Cass Global Women’s Leadership Programme, she helps to provide scholarships to women globally for university qualifications, with access to mentoring and networking. With DevelopHer, Sarah runs mentoring, coaching and coding events to help the 12,000+ women in the community into STEM. Sarah is also an advisor for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI, where she promotes diversity and inclusion.
6) Melisa Turano - HSBC Bank Argentina S.A. head of Sales, global liquidity and cash management
Now in her third year as chair of HSBC’s gender employee resource group, BALANCE, Melisa is working hard to support the recruitment, development and engagement of a gender-balanced workforce.
Membership has tripled over the course of a single year, with a new team structure, working groups and the involvement of men. Melisa is proud of the new opportunities brought about by these changes, including leadership development for those heading up the new working groups and the ability to execute multiple effective initiatives simultaneously.
Some of the group’s more recent initiatives include a “Balance for Better” walk through the city to raise awareness for gender equity on International Women’s Day; a breakfast for employees and their sons and daughters; inspirational meet-ups with senior executive women at HSBC; workshops with women entrepreneurs in low-income neighbourhoods alongside a credit support initiative to support their projects; and a workshop with more than 80 students to discuss the gender pay gap and inclusivity in the workplace.
Melisa is also mentoring and sponsoring a young professional woman at HSBC. Last year’s HERoes recognition encouraged her to help launch “Mujeres al Mundo,” Women to the World, to connect businesswomen with new markets and opportunities, taking advantage of HSBC’s international footprint. Alongside milestone successes with Mujeres al Mundo, Melisa participates in local female networks. In addition, she is involved as a mentor in an international mentoring programme with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
7) Katherine (Katia) Ramo - CMS associate in technology, media, IP and competition
Katherine champions diversity across every channel, leading diversity networks, mentoring, writing and speaking at events. She is called upon both internally and externally by clients and diversity organisations, and by the UN and regulatory bodies, to provide advice regarding diversity issues, particularly surrounding gender and disability.
Katherine is the founder and chair of CMS Enable Disability & Wellbeing Network and is an active member of CMS Women in Business, BAME and an ally to LGBT+ Networks. She has given keynote speeches on International Women’s Day, addressing women across the organisation regarding her journey and promoting gender diversity.
Katherine introduced monthly mindfulness sessions to combat stress at her firm, and participated in the Lord Mayor’s Appeal campaign, “This is Me,” with her Guide Dog for the Blind, to destigmatise mental health as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. In her international development career, Katherine championed women’s career development in the projects she undertook domestically and globally.
Externally, Katherine spoke on diversity and intersectionality at the Women in Law Summit in May 2019, receiving a standing ovation. She was also a panel speaker at The Law Society International Symposium: The power of gender equality to transform the business of law in June 2019. She has participated in the First 100 Years Project, celebrating 100 years of women in law, recorded a podcast for the Law Society’s inspirational women series, a short film for the Solicitors Regulation Authority on “Why a disability inclusive workplace makes a difference,” and is a regular speaker at diversity and inclusion events.
8) Magdalene Pedersen - GSK field vice president
Magdalene has served as head of GSK’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) for the past four years, and has led significant change to build a more balanced organisation within GSK.
During her tenure, WLI’s membership has grown from 1,500 to over 6,500 and from six chapters to 22 with members across over 40 different countries. Annual survey results demonstrate that WLI members overwhelmingly feel that WLI benefits the company overall and helps them perform better in their day jobs.
To supplement WLI’s work at a grassroots level, Magdalene worked with key stakeholders within GSK last year to construct a Global Gender Council, which aims to progress gender diversity at all levels in within the company. Magdalene sits on the Global Gender Council as the voice of WLI. Through WLI, Magdalene’s team was able to persuade GSK to sign on as one of 11 founding companies of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s (HBA) Gender Parity Collaborative.
Independently of GSK, Magdalene has held several board positions within the HBA, a non-profit dedicated to the leadership advancement and impact for women in healthcare. Magdalene drove the HBA’s establishment in the UK and has helped to establish the organisation across Europe. She has also been involved with the UK Government’s Women’s Business Council’s work to support the attraction, retention and promotion of women in to STEM careers in the UK.
9) Shelina Janmohamed - Ogilvy vice president of Islamic marketing
Shelina takes an active role in organisational events, those both directly related to women as well as more general events, in order to ensure there is an upfront presence of women demonstrating leadership, insight and confidence, and is one of the most referenced spokespeople at Ogilvy in the media.
She has written for The Guardian about her experiences as an ethnic minority at Ogilvy, and represented the company at their International Women’s Day event last year. Shelina is part of the Roots diversity group within Ogilvy, and is on the steering committee for WPP Roots, as well as sitting on WPP’s inclusion board and Ogilvy’s inclusion board.
A visible role model, Shelina works to informally mentor upcoming women through the organisation, sharing her own experiences of developing a flexible parent-friendly career. She has pushed for change at her company to accommodate flexible working, and insisted that her daughters travelled with her for business when they were young.
Externally, Shelina has written for numerous publications and appeared in TV and radio to highlight the challenges facing women in business, and to encourage women to step into new spaces, especially in the various sectors of the creative economy. She has served as a D&AD New Blood Award Judge and is working with the BFI to tackle the structural challenges for Muslim women in the industry. She has judged the Young Muslim Writers Awards and written two books about Muslim women’s experiences and representation: Love in a Headscarf and Generation M.
10) Lejla Sehic - Bank of New York Mellon director, digital lead
Lejla has been actively engaged in BNY Mellon’s diversity and inclusion programmes for over 10 years, first as a member, then a mentor, and now a leader at the regional and global levels.
She currently chairs BNY Mellon Pittsburgh IMPACT BRG focused on the recruitment, promotion and retention of multi-cultural employees. She is also the global COO providing executive support and governance for IMPACT globally.
Lejla continues to mentor employees with IMPACT and the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN). She co-created the WIN GROW, a seven month mentoring programme focused on promoting women to leadership positions. Lejla participated as a panellist in BNY Mellon’s WIN 2019 International Women’s Day Pittsburgh event to speak about her experiences and thoughts on how the company can “Balance for Better,” highlighting the importance of gender-balanced boardrooms, politics and education, and the significance of intentional actions. She’s particularly focused on intentionality as it relates to women of colour.
Externally, Lejla mentors middle school refugee girls from Nepal, Thailand and Africa through SHIM, where she is also a board member. She works to encourage girls into the STEM field through innovative exercises, and has organised women speakers from diverse cultures to further inspire the girls. She and the other mentors discuss the challenges of navigating the world as an ethnic minority woman, and many young women who go through the programme end up in higher education.
11) Shilpa Shah - Deloitte director, consulting technology
Shilpa leads Deloitte’s alternative delivery models agenda and programme and is passionate about respect and inclusion.
She leads the award winning Women in Technology (WiT) network at Deloitte and is an active member and supporter of the Multi-Cultural Network (MCN). Shilpa has spoken at many WiT and MCN events to inspire members and clients and those from ethnic minority backgrounds to reach their full potential.
Shilpa has mentored over 100 individuals within Deloitte and externally. She also mentors and speaks with students, including 100 women from India sponsored by the UK British Council to undertake their Masters at UK universities. Shilpa has appeared on BBC Radio London and Radio 4’s Women’s Hour discussing diversity and will be speaking at the upcoming Alpbach forum on ‘Unleashing Europe’s Digital Potential’.
She is a board member of the Institute of Coding’s Industry Advisory Board, focused on widening participation and improving the industry relevance of computer science degrees. To inspire future BAME STEM talent she has sponsored and driven Deloitte’s participation in “Your Future, Your Ambition” at the Emirates Stadium for six years. She has delivered “People Like Me” training to inspire young girls to consider Physics A Level and has worked with CoderDojo to help children to learn coding skills.
12) Dr Harjinder Kaur - PwC managing consultant
Harjinder leads on PwC’s gender work, including all gender proposals and programmes. She is passionate about gender equality in the workplace, and ensures that gender is integrated and mainstreamed in the business.
She works as an advisor to the PwC and Strategy Gender Balance Network and talent and inclusion team to help position PwC as a lead on gender and diversity. She has delivered numerous training sessions on gender across PwC to increase awareness and understanding, and has produced thought leadership pieces and given presentations on the topic.
Externally, Harjinder has spent over 15 years undertaking mentoring and voluntary work for UK and international women’s organisations. She has volunteered as a board director for two domestic violence organisations, Eaves and the Domestic Violence Intervention Project, and for a further two years a researcher and refuge worker for a domestic violence refuge (North Kent Women’s Aid).
She has also volunteered with organisations such as the GREAT Initiative, which aims to challenge stereotypes of masculinity and to engage men and boys in the movement towards gender equality. Harjinder has spent time working with and advising gender and child-based charities in Asia and Africa. She has also mentored up to fifty young women nationally and internationally, including through the Women of the Future programme.
13) Abisola Barber - Barclays Bank PLC trading business manager
Abisola works as a trading business manager within Barclays’ investment bank, responsible for bespoke trading desks of various expertise. Abisola also co-chairs the “Recruit and Retain” committee of Barclays’ gender network, WIN, which exists to engage all genders across the organisation to attract, develop and retain women at all levels.
Abisola focuses specifically on early recruitment of highly capable and talented women into the bank, engaging them through university outreach events, social media insights, and external co-partner events. Her particular passion is ensuring the next generation are empowered and encouraged to be the best version of themselves, with the appropriate support and guidance they require early in their careers.
Through the bespoke first-year female internship programme Abisola sponsors, to the networking and mentoring offerings her team deliver for full-time interns, and new partnership external events for students and graduates, Abisola has the opportunity to empower and engage young women.
Outside of Barclays, Abisola frequently engages alongside universities, student societies and other organisations to advance female talent. She returns on an annual basis to her two alma mater universities to deliver confidence workshops and private seminars, leaning on her own experience progressing through the Banking industry. She offers follow-up online and in-person coaching sessions with attendees, understanding their motivations and development points, and supporting them through applications and interviews – regardless of industry. She is also involved in the Women of Brummell, Women in Banking & Finance and WeAreTheCity, sitting on a host of conference panels and interviews.
14) Anna Dilku - Aviva internal engagement manager
At the outset of her career, Anna was one of 15 employees selected to work with the chief operating officer to launch AXA’s UK Diversity Forum to promote a culture where women feel supported, respected and valued for their differences — improving their representation in senior roles, attracting more job applications from those with disabilities, and introducing a formal process to request flexible working to support working parents.
She spearheaded the launch campaign for Bristol Women’s Network to drive localised activity for 3,000 employees and stood in a nationwide election to lead Aviva Balance, winning the most votes to chair the UK community. Anna’s steering committee of 10 acts as Aviva’s voice for gender equality and provides qualitative insight into issues affecting women, which she has supported other organisations with and spoken about at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers’ annual conference.
She works closely with Aviva’s other diversity and inclusion networks to ensure an intersectional approach, so women who identify with multiple groups are all represented. On International Day of the Girl, she joined 100 underprivileged schoolgirls and 100 professionals in an event led by June Sarpong and Beyond the Classroom.
Alongside her day job, she was shortlisted as a “Women in Marketing” Changemaker and achieved a Grade A in Marketing Week’s Mini MBA. Whilst on maternity leave, Anna maintained her impact by becoming a “QuinnyCaster,” road-testing baby products and creating content to review them for social media. She now creates opportunities for the next generation of girls to develop less traditional skills, including her daughter becoming a Toy Awards judge and reviewing STEM toys for a leading publication.
15) Mary Agbesanwa - PwC management consultant
Alongside senior leaders, Mary became one of the PwC Gender Balance Network's #PressForProgress champions, being featured due to her work supporting and encouraging women in the workplace. She hosts informal lean-in sessions for peers to discuss careers and workplace challenges, and shared her thoughts on being a woman in the corporate world through her blog, A Millennial’s Diary, discussing topics such as Shine Theory.
Mary mentored four young women in PwC’s women in business programme, a work experience shadowing programme for female university students. She also co-led the relaunch of the PwC Financial Services Next Generation network which provides a fun environment to share knowledge about financial services in a judgement-free zone.
She has used her role as co-chair of the Multicultural Business Network (MBN) to recognise the intersectionality of culture and gender, organising the rollout of #IamRemarkable training for 100+ MBN members, a Google initiative that aims to encourage women to speak openly about their accomplishments.
Externally, Mary founded and runs a millennial women’s community, Now You’re Talking, which now consists of 250+ predominantly ethnic minority women. The group connects like-minded future leaders to opportunities and resources and organises a wide range of events focused on personal and professional development. She also actively mentors students via the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick Women in Consulting mentoring schemes to provide career direction and guidance.
16) Sheree Atcheson - Deloitte UK consulting inclusion lead
Sheree is listed as one of the UK's top most influential women in tech and is an international multi-award winner for her services to diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
She is the UK technology respect and inclusion manager at Deloitte; founder of I Am Lanka; a board-appointed global ambassador for Women Who Code; and a contributor to Forbes.
Leading the respect, diversity and inclusion strategy in the consulting practice at Deloitte, Sheree has rolled out sponsorship programmes for senior women in the firm. She has also created internal and external partnerships, which shift the dial in gender diversity through showcasing the need for women in industry and supporting those organisations which are readily making a difference, delivering specific training to underrepresented groups in the firm to ensure all are aware of the need for their voice being heard, and more. She has spent time across Deloitte North West Europe with many member firms, helping senior leaders develop their diversity and inclusion strategies.
Externally, Sheree is a global tech outreach leader and, as a passionate advocate for gaining/retaining women in the tech industry, launched and led the award-winning UK expansion of Women Who Code. She has spoken at many global events, conferences and leadership sessions, and has built her network from nothing to over 9,000 women across the UK.
17) Jennie Koo - Capital One head of operational risk management
Jennie balances her day job with a mixture of volunteering work — namely Women in Banking & Finance (a not-for-profit, members organisation,) where she founded and now chairs the regional branch in Birmingham. Through this, she supports a far wider audience and multiple organisations with their gender agenda through providing personal development workshops, access to influential senior leaders, and mentoring and networking opportunities.
She is also driving an initiative to bring male ambassadors on board by hosting International Men’s Day to further the agenda of inclusivity and showcase the male ambassadors we have to leverage the support of others.Jennie is also an advisory board member to the Aston University Enactus team, and mentors with the Prince’s Trust where she proactively supports the pipeline development and challenge of social mobility into financial services.
Jennie’s recent move to Capital One was partly driven by its internal diversity and inclusion programme and their proactive presence through Women in Tech alongside its corporate and social responsibility programmes. Since joining Capital One, Jennie has supported in the continued development of the company’s inclusion agenda with an intersectionality lens. She hosted an inclusion session for her leadership team to start a wider consideration of inclusion such as culture and age crossed with gender, enabling leaders to think differently about potential biases. She has also recently been appointed as the UK lead for its Women’s Resource Group, EmpowHer.
18) Charlotte Adamson - Cicero Group senior account manager
Charlotte is a vocal champion for gender equality at Cicero, regularly reminding senior leadership of the need to do better in terms of the gender balance of the team and pointing out examples of unconscious bias.
She has challenged all-male panels at events and actively participated in efforts to improve the recruitment process, working with HR to improve the language in job adverts and descriptions, and pressing for more gender balanced shortlists and interview panels. This has led to a more balanced selection of candidates and a more diverse range of hires.
Charlotte has used her position as a Women in Public Affairs (WiPA) Committee member to encourage Cicero to host more events specifically on issues of gender equality and has been involved in planning broader events on this issue — for example, a successful panel event on equality in the workplace to coincide with 2017’s International Women’s Day. She has taken a leading role in organising social events specifically for women in the business including company-wide networking events. She also mentors junior women within Cicero.
As part of the WiPA committee, Charlotte has helped to deliver a full range of events from networking to training for members. She also acted as a mentor for WiPA’s recent speed mentoring session. Beyond WiPA, Charlotte is involved in numerous other initiatives to support diversity and inclusion across the financial services sector.
19) Kam Dhillon - Fujitsu head of services marketing EMEIA
Kam Dhillon is head of services marketing EMEIA at Fujitsu. She has over 18 years of global experience in key leadership roles, developing go-to-market strategies focused on accelerating revenue growth and driving customer value.
Throughout her career, Kam has been a champion for gender equality. As co-chair of Fujitsu’s Women’s Business Network (WBN), Kam supports the recruitment, development and empowerment of over 1,500 women within Fujitsu UK. Her role involves developing and creating plans with customers, partners and diversity and inclusion networks (internally and externally) for short- and long-term initiatives that will have a positive impact for women.
Kam conducted research with members of the WBN to understand what the network needed to do to support members. From this, the WBN launched mentoring and development programmes for women at different stages within their careers. For example, “Future Me,” a programme helping to develop women in the early stages of their careers. Kam supported Fujitsu’s gender pay gap initiative by influencing the action plan, resulting in an improvement of 1.5% within a year and continues to advocate and support the eradication of the Gender Pay Gap.
WBN also run events for young girls, encouraging them to build STEM skills and consider STEM careers. Kam is also a role model to women from ethnically diverse backgrounds and has been involved with numerous initiatives to champion women beyond Fujitsu on the topic of “The Power of Diversity.”
20) Lola Olaore - AND Digital product analyst
Having recently joined AND Digital, Lola founded AND She Can, an initiative to raise awareness, inspire, support, educate and facilitate the transition of young girls into a career in technology.
Since founding this initiative, she has hosted an education discovery workshop with education specialists who have provided their input into how AND She Can could be successful. She has been able to attract 17+ AND Digital employees to gain STEM ambassador training and this year defined a roadmap for 2019/2020 to ensure that the initiative is engaging and building long term relationships with schools. Additionally, the initiative has joined the Tech She Can chapter founded by PwC to ensure girls are at the top of the agenda.
Beyond AND, Lola founded thinkHER ambition, an organisation aiming to upskill 14-19 year old girls. Since its founding last year, thinkHER ambition has impacted over 500 young women and partnered with organisations such as Google, YouTube, Accenture, EY and IBM. thinkHER ambition curates workshops and events to ensure that every girl who walks through the door has an actionable takeaway and has been provided opportunities that they may not otherwise have had due to circumstances, such as their location, their school or even their social capital.
The organisation raised £5,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, and aims to use this to launch upskilling academies in London. Lola also co-leads Now You’re Talking, a millennial women’s community connecting like-minded future leaders to opportunities and resources.
21) Kenesa Ahmad - Aleada Consulting co-founder and partner
Kenesa Ahmad is an attorney and risk advisor, widely recognised as a leading expert in privacy, data protection and information security.
In 2017, Kenesa co-founded Aleada, a boutique information privacy and security consulting firm based in San Francisco. She started the company with two fellow co-founders of Women in Security and Privacy (WISP), a non-profit organisation established in 2014.
Kenesa’s objective with Aleada is to put into practice the WISP mission: to advance women in the converging fields of privacy and security. Aleada has made a commitment to recruit and hire diverse individuals seeking to enter or transition into the privacy field.
Aleada specifically focuses on providing career opportunities for individuals re-entering the workforce from caretaking or family rearing roles, second career job seekers, and new graduates.
22) Karen Coppens - Dechert LLP national partner
Karen spearheaded the efforts of the Dechert Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) in London in order to create an internal support network for women at all levels at the firm.
This involved organising events that enable female lawyers and business service professionals to meet and interact with more experienced colleagues. She organised a number of speaking events in London to showcase female talent, and devised a monthly training programme for female professionals at Dechert. Karen has also organised a number of sessions to develop lawyers’ and business service professionals’ technical skills and soft skills to provide women with the tools to develop and progress within the ranks of the firm.
Throughout her career, Karen has provided mentoring services to more junior women to encourage people from different backgrounds to pursue professional careers. Pro bono matters have remained high on Karen’s agenda since the start of her career. She is currently supporting an NGO to analyse sexual offences laws in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to advocate for legislative changes to improve the rights of the LGBT community. She drafted a report for the Centre for Reproductive Rights to supplement the report of the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo scheduled for review by the Human Rights Council.
She also volunteered with the Advocates for Human Rights to assess the implementation of domestic violence laws in Serbia and has worked with Oxfam on a similar project in Kenya, which was commended by the Financial Times in 2014.
23) Laura Tynan - EY associate director, EMEIA restructuring
Since arriving in London three years ago, Laura has made a significant impact in advancing women in business. She has worked alongside senior executives to influence mindsets and behaviours and has become a visible role model for changing the environment for women in finance.
She has spoken regularly on the importance of gender parity and has been featured in several global campaigns at her firm. Her experiences have provided valuable guidance to support the advancement of younger women, including one of her mentees, who recently spoke at the Houses of Parliament. Among other forms of recognition, Laura has received EY’s “Inclusion Ally” award for her work on improving the diversity of project staffing.
Outside of work, Laura is active in supporting women through social and business organisations. She mentors sixth-form students through the ThinkForward volunteer programme, providing insights into career opportunities and helping them instil self-confidence and belief. She is a frequent public speaker who has delivered personal development talks focused on the intersection of personal empowerment and achieving gender equality. In 2019. Laura was a featured guest speaker at the business seminar, Power to Achieve, where she shared her experiences as a woman in finance with an audience of over 1,000 professionals.
Laura’s work was recently profiled in The Bold Woman Guide, a book showcasing 20 women who are making a contribution to gender parity in business, cultural and civic organisations. She is currently pioneering a personal development programme to help women navigate the personal and professional challenges of succeeding in business.
24) Ana Battung - Hyatt Hotel Corporation global director
Over the past two years, with her involvement on the executive team for the Women@Hyatt West DBRG, Ana has facilitated training topics such as “owning your seat at the table” and “caregiving for others while caring for yourself.”
She led the Women@Hyatt West Mentorship Matchup, bringing together 60 associates to create organic connections, and assisted in planning a “Rejuvenate” event to help members focus on mindful leadership and wellbeing. Most recently she co-coordinated a three-day Women’s leadership development and wellness forum in San Diego with over 330 associates from all brands within the Hyatt portfolio, focusing on the power of storytelling, networking and personal as well as professional development.
Externally, Ana has recently been asked to appear as a panellist for a Women's Empowerment Series in Washington DC aimed to guide young women professionals, and she continues to mentor young professionals outside of Hyatt and the hospitality industry.
She also participated in Grant Thornton’s annual Women in Business campaign this year, which is focused on creating a global conversation to drive change for women in senior leadership. With this goal in mind, Grant Thornton identified “champions for action” to provide input about this topic and what can be done to elevate women in leadership roles. Grant Thornton approached Hyatt with the opportunity for Ana to lend her voice to the campaign which was featured during International Women's Day.
25) Frances Brooks Taplett - Boston Consulting Group partner
As BCG’s global people senior director from 2013 through 2018, Frances spearheaded an agenda that included the Women@BCG program, work sustainability, and engagement topics. She developed priorities and set, implemented, and tracked BCG’s HR strategy across more than 90 offices around the world.
As a result, the number of women partners at the firm increased at three times the rate of male partners, while men and women were both retained at the same rate. Frances was recently promoted to principal, and is using experiences from the US and Saudi Arabia, to Germany and Latin America to collaborate with clients in the -people and organisation practice to refine diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies.
Frances regularly presents BCG’s gender diversity research on the firm’s recruiting, retention, and advancement rates for women at the firm’s women’s conferences, annual partner meetings, and client meetings, as well as to BCG’s executive and operating committees. She has also co-authored numerous articles for the press focused on D&I research and initiatives.
Externally, Frances has worked with clients around the world in driving an increase in their D&I (from Saudi Arabia, to Latin America and the US) and has presented workshops and shared BCG’s research at TEDWomen, MassChallenge, the International Bar Association, and G-7 events. She also works with women in business schools at various universities, sponsoring or mentoring them and sharing knowledge and research.
26) Niamh Carty - AIG UK multinational client executive
Niamh works in AIG’s multinational and global fronting department. She is also a committee member and charity collaborations partner of GEM — Gender Equality Matters — a UK-based employee resource group within AIG, which advocates a gender-balanced approach in the workplace.
Her role involves identifying and pursuing partnerships with various charities in order to coordinate specific fundraising or volunteer events, longer term schemes and support opportunities.
In 2018-19, she has worked to organise events such as SheCanBe (in association with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal), International Women’s Day, mixed-gender sporting events, professional-wear clothing drives and mentorship programs designed to make opportunities in the professional environment available to students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Externally, Niamh informally mentors and has a reputation for helping others to drive their own career progression. She has personally supported several charities, aimed at promoting the wellbeing of young females in developing countries.
27) Emma Summerfield - Aviva data science delivery lead
Emma champions diversity and inclusion at Aviva, leading a number of high-profile initiatives primarily focused on technology and gender.
Creator of “Tech Talks,” covering all aspects of diversity, Emma brought to attention toxic masculinity for International Men’s Day and balance of the home for international women’s day.
Emma was also co-lead for #Iamremarkable UK-wide pilot, working with Google and volunteers across the country to help women and underrepresented groups better self-promote.
Beyond Aviva, Emma advocates and volunteers for Smartworks, supporting women that are less fortunate into work by giving them confidence, coaching and a professional wardrobe.
28) Emily Kucharski - Wunderman Thompson associate business director
Following a gender pay gap announcement, Emily compiled a business case for the creation of a women’s network at her organisation and its partner agencies. In it, she outlined her vision for the network to be a platform for inspiration, support, encouragement and an opportunity to make new and more meaningful connections.
The Women’s Network hosted six events in the first seven months, including workshops, speed networking, coaching training and talks. In 2016, Emily also helped launch a new consultancy within her organisation called Female Tribes, looking to change the way the world works for women, starting with more diverse representation in the media.
Since launching, Female Tribes has raised awareness and facilitated change within many client corporations around how they communicate to women. Emily and the Female Tribes team are now working with tech company Connectt to launch Female Tribes as a social network: a place for women to create, connect and be inspired.
In 2018, Emily won the WACL Future Leaders Award, and has since supported other women across the organisation to apply too. She also helps to organise NPP Women in Marketing, a word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer network with a diverse mix of women from both agency and client side, providing greater insight into the challenges faced by women across the industry.
29) Charlie Leech - Bloomberg Media Group project manager
Charlie Leech is a project manager within Bloomberg Media Group. Across the business she is an advocate for diversity, proactively sharing knowledge and insight on company initiatives with her peers, such as the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index.
Charlie is an active lead of the media diversity and inclusion SWAT team in EMEA, leading showcase events to engage media executives in topical conversations. Charlie also makes a significant contribution to the business as leadership development lead for the EMEA Women’s Community delivering a range of programming for members. This includes: inspirational talks; group mentoring sessions; networking events; and skill training workshops.
On International Women’s Day, for the last three years, Charlie has volunteered for Media Trust as a communications expert, advising charities on their marketing strategies. Charlie is a millennial coach for the Thrive Career Mentoring scheme at the University of Reading, which was awarded the AGCAS Research Informed Practice Excellence Award in 2018. She has directly mentored undergraduates over the last four academic years and regularly speaks at the University as a guest lecturer for The Professional Track, advising the next generation of leaders.
Due to her ongoing voluntary commitment to the University, she was selected by the vice chancellor as a senior ambassador for the IMAGINE programme, focused on creating solutions to real-world problems. Charlie was also recognised as a Rising Star in Media and Journalism by WeAreTheCity in 2018.
30) Samantha Nelson - Marsh vice president of risk engineering
Prior to becoming VP of risk engineering at Marsh, Samantha worked in the offshore oil and gas industry for over 20 years, actively and vocally advocating for women in a heavily male-dominated environment.
Now at Marsh, Samantha developed and delivered the concept of the Marsh & McLennan Companies “#InThisTogether,” an intersectional diversity event aimed at engagement, education and empowerment and focused on diversity including gender, ethnicity, disability, and mental health.
She is passionate about inclusion within all aspects of diversity no matter where in the world she travels with work, being a visible senior woman role model in places such as South America, Africa, India, Middle East, Far East and countries where diversity is limited and visibility is low.
She has spoken at MMC’s global colleague resource group leadership summit in New York and at the Dive In festival in London. She attended Out & Equal in Orlando, Philadelphia and Seattle and OutLeadership events in London as a champion for all elements of diversity. She has presented at events on diversity and inclusion, gender equality, LGBT+ and trans women’s issues for: the Vanguard Network; GLOW “Gender Identity and Trans Inclusion;” Mercer’s “Unbundling Gender Identity & Sexuality;” the Royal Society’s very first Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) event; AIG's “Bring your whole self” event; the Financial Times “How to be an Ally” event; and EY’s “Making It Real: Driving inclusion,” to name but a few.
31) Margarita Economides - Oliver Wyman management consultant
Margarita joined Oliver Wyman as a management consultant in 2016, having previously worked at BlackRock and Morgan Stanley. She leads high impact engagements, focusing primarily on clients in the public policy and wealth and asset management domains.
Margarita also serves as the global co-chair and London lead for the Women at Oliver Wyman (WOW) network. Since taking on the role of London lead in March 2018, committee membership has grown by 50% and network membership by 25%.
She has launched training initiatives to help women self-evaluate in order to overcome stereotypes and embed confidence; led internal and external events at Oliver Wyman to help coach others and build their professional networks; launched sessions with career coaches; and organised panel discussions. As global co-chair, Margarita is launching “Men4Change,” a global initiative engaging men and other allies to encourage awareness, dialogue, and action to decrease gender disparities.
Beyond these roles, Margarita is a role model with a high profile at Oliver Wyman, hosting diversity and inclusion sessions, publishing research in the World Economic Forum on increasing the agility of company boards and presenting at conferences. She will be going back to her school in the autumn to discuss her career path with students. While studying part-time for a Masters in Finance at LBS, Margarita served as treasurer of the Women in Business Club.
32) Amy Whitelaw - BlackRock managing director, head of Americas equity iShares portfolio engineering
Amy has been committed to helping and supporting women throughout her career, serving as a mentor and sponsor to many women at BlackRock.
Over the last 10 years, she has also developed influential programming for women at BlackRock and has been co-head of BlackRock’s Women’s Initiative on the west coast since 2018 year, providing programming to well over 560 members across four locations.
The programming includes 14 discrete committees, which promote engagement, connection, and aims to empower and inspire members. Six years ago, Amy co-developed a program called Women in Focus, which created a framework for direct dialogue with senior men across BlackRock and helps to provide insight into the challenges that women face in advancing their careers. Women in Focus is currently developing a video to scale and share the content with managers and employees globally.
Externally, Amy is a member of 100 Women in Finance and Women in ETF's, participating in several panel events on diversity and inclusion.
33) MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto - Allen & Overy LLP senior associate
MaameYaa acts as a reverse mentor for the global managing partner of Allen & Overy, a relationship she uses to submit recommendations to the board of A&O on changes that can be made to increase the number of women at senior levels.
She presented 10 ideas to the board and received overwhelming support for these ideas to be implemented. She uses reverse mentoring to improve conditions for those who might not be able to have a voice in such forums. MaameYaa offers mentoring to younger women in the profession and regularly hosts lunches for new parents at A&O.
Externally, she has assisted a number of Saudi organisations in recruiting women into positions of influence. She regularly conducts interviews and reviews CVs, and holds bi-annual dinners for Saudi women professionals in Riyadh. She also holds bi-weekly catch-up calls with a number of Saudi females with the aim of pushing and progressing talent.
Additionally, she established a programme in London called Raising Aspirations, aiming to inspire young talented deprived BAME women and men in Tower Hamlets and beyond.
34) Lucie Goulet - The Inclusive Branding Agency founder
In January, Lucie launched her own advertising and branding agency, The Inclusive Branding Agency, with a mission to help brands be more inclusive and representative in their workforce and marketing. She selects clients based on the company’s gender make-up and on the inclusivity impact of the projects.
Prior to this, she spent two years working for Brides do Good, a social enterprise that sells wedding dresses to fund charities fighting child marriage, where she was in charge of marketing and also worked on recruitment. At Brides do Good, Lucie cast ethnic minority models and ensured there was LGBT+ representation in online and social media assets in an industry which typically lacks diversity. She developed language to be inclusive of all sexual orientations, and she implemented a fair process of intern recruitment.
Five years ago, while working at Burberry, Lucie founded Women in Foreign Policy, an organisation that provides career advice and access to girls and women who want to pursue and develop a career in foreign policy, which she still runs today. As of 2018, the organisation has helped at least 500 women find jobs in foreign policy, including graduates from underrepresented backgrounds. The community has grown to over 100,000 since expanding to cities including Washington, Delhi, Toronto and Sydney.
Additionally, Lucie works as En Marche’s representative in Northern Europe. She is also part of an internal working group on strategies to encourage women to run for office and devises ways to support them once they are campaigning.
35) Rachel Welch-Phillips - Bird & Bird LLP associate
As a trainee and the only black female fee-earner at the firm at the time, Rachel quickly targeted ethnic minority women’s representation as a need she was going to address at Bird & Bird.
Rachel founded Bird & Bird’s first ethnic minority network, Embrace, which she now chairs. Since its founding, Embrace has hosted workshops, community events, film screenings, a book signing client event on diversity and inclusion, and several social media campaigns showcasing diversity, with an emphasis on intersectionality across diverse strands.
Through this role, Rachel began collaborating with several partners and HR on improving gender representation at the firm with an intersectional approach to also tackle improved ethnic minority, LGBT+, disability and social mobility representation.
Externally, Rachel dedicates time to engaging with those who aspire to a career in law. She mentors university students and is a professional ambassador in the Aspiring Solicitors programme, while also actively engaging in informal mentorship with students and trainees. Rachel is also a regular volunteer at the South Westminster Legal Advice Clinic, a free legal drop-in advice service helping those on low incomes many of whom are ethnic minority women.
36) Samantha Bethune & Dizziana Gosney - HSBC (former) joint heads of content planning
Sam and Dee operated a job share arrangement as head of content planning, digital communications and employer brand, within HSBC’s global communications function. Having both successfully worked for many years in an ambitious team at HSBC, Sam and Dee became mothers and decided to enter a professional job sharing arrangement in order to be successful employees and the best possible carers for their children.
To overcome the challenges of job sharing, Dee and Sam sought out other flexible working colleagues, a large but invisible community. Over 600 colleagues responded, with over 90% expressing an interest in joining a flexible working network to promote and raise the visibility of the issue inside of HSBC UK, giving rise to HSBC Flex.
Since its inception, HSBC Flex has amassed over 1,300 members, gained senior sponsorship at group management Bbard level and recruited a team of champions to lead its events and activities.
Externally, Sam is the communications consultant to Leaders Plus, which runs a fellowship programme designed to support leaders with babies to progress in their careers and to tackle one of the root-causes of the gender pay gap. She gained backing from HSBC for any member of communications interested in participating. Now, as they approach their second year of the programme, HSBC has also offered mentors to the programme to help support mothers develop in their leadership careers.
37) Janine Chamberlin - LinkedIn director of talent solutions
With over 26 million members in the UK and 645+ million members globally, LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. As director of LinkedIn’s UK talent solutions leadership team, Janine is focused on helping businesses attract, find and develop the talent they need to succeed and grow.
Janine has over ten years’ experience building and leading diverse teams at LinkedIn, having joined the company in its infancy in 2008 when she helped to grow its marketing solutions business.
Passionate about technology, diversity and talent, Janine has led LinkedIn's global women's employee resource group focusing on creating an inclusive community that empowers women to advance their careers and is currently leading a women’s investment program for high potential women leaders at LinkedIn.
As a vocal advocate for gender parity and equality, Janine champions diversity, inclusion and belonging both internally and externally through hiring and performance management practices and in speaking engagements. In 2017, she completed a master’s degree in consulting and coaching for change at INSEAD.
38) Plaxedes Makura - Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa ILDP manager, disputes
Plaxedes is proud to work in both a firm and practice group that places a great emphasis on diversity, inclusivity and equality in the workplace.
Being in the management team has enabled her to have an active role in establishing committees and networks that strive to make the practice group more welcoming and inclusive, not only for women but for all employees. This includes the establishment of the ALT Johannesburg Diversity Committee and the ALT Johannesburg Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
Plaxedes strives to foster an inclusive business culture by championing individual uniqueness. As a member of the interview panel for her team, Plaxedes is mindful of unconscious biases and is always sure to circumvent them. Recently, she was appointed to the firm’s pro-bono committee.
Externally, Plaxedes is a powerful advocate for breast cancer awareness and treatment funding. She recently hosted a fitness day, Pink Power, to raise funds for a breast cancer patient who could not afford treatment.
39) Nikki Wells - RBS International head of liabilities and balance sheet management
For the past three years, Nikki has been the global co-chair for the RBS Women’s Network, which now has around 13,000 members from across the bank. She brought together a multitude of gender networks across the bank to form RBS Women, setting a clear strategy which helps drive positive cultural change, as well as launching Male Allies.
Nikki’s focus on strategic alignment across the network and across the bank is based on close collaboration with the bank’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) team and with senior leaders. She provides regular updates to the bank’s executive committee on the work that the network undertakes.
Initiatives led and supported by Nikki include annual International Women’s Day celebrations, including an internal awards programme; the launch of a global development programme; development of a mentor matching tool; and hundreds of events. She has also instigated, coordinated and participated in various graduate schemes, returners programmes, and career days.
Externally, Nikki is a community governor at her local primary school and a volunteer for NatWest Moneysense, which supports financial education offerings in schools. Additionally, she mentors university students on the Springboard Mentor programme and has attended and spoken at various D&I events organised by industry associations.
40) Kirsty McDermott - National Grid senior engineer - welding
Within National Grid, Kirsty supports the Women in National Grid (WiNG) employee resource group.
For last year’s International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), she organised an internal event with attendance from women and men, engineers and non-engineers from across the business. This event brought together a new network of colleagues to share stories on their routes into engineering, barriers they have faced and how they have overcome them. This year, Kirsty has a team of event organisers to make INWED even better, and she has engaged with technical institutes to support the day to help engineers become professionally registered with the engineering council.
Externally, Kirsty has been on the Young Members Board for the Women’s Engineering Society, who reach out to young people through working with schools and universities to encourage more girls into Engineering careers. One project she was involved in was #LottieTour which worked with Lottie Dolls on a social media campaign showing a Lottie Doll in an engineering role to broaden the thinking of young girls and allow them to understand engineering isn’t a ‘men’s job’.
Kirsty has also presented at a number of sessions, such as an all girls school in Manchester at a “challenging stereotypes” event, explaining her career route and how anyone can do her type of role if they choose to.
41) Sam Price - Morson Group head of client engagement
Across a group of historically male-oriented businesses, operating in traditionally white-male sectors, Sam has successfully embedded diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the company’s DNA, ensuring it remains top of the agenda and is driven by passionate people, at all levels, who embrace it and learn from it.
She has been instrumental in establishing the Morson Group’s commitment to double the number of female engineering contractors by 2020. Sam has achieved significant success in helping to reduce unconscious bias in recruitment decisions, delivering on-site training together with blind auditioning and CV anonymisation.
Male-oriented language has been eliminated and recruiters work more closely with candidates to ensure CVs fully reflect skills, suitability and attitudes. Sam has also been instrumental in introducing gender-balanced panels, increasing gender balanced representation and breaking down stereotypes.
Externally, Sam helped to launch The Girls’ Network’s Salford division, where she is also a mentor and role model. Bridging the gap between education and business, Sam organised a group of year 10 and 12 Girls’ Network mentees from St Ambrose Barlow RC High & 6th Form in Manchester to get a taste of what a career in rail and engineering can offer them. The #CareersOnTrack event aimed to address skills shortages and the lack of diversity in the industry by shining a spotlight on the exciting careers and pathways, whilst breaking down the stereotypes that prevent women from entering.
42) Anna Somaiya - KPMG UK IT transformation director, solutions and digital
Anna established and leads the ITs Her Future (IHF) programme at KPMG, which tackles gender diversity in technology by transforming how KPMG attracts, recruits, promotes and retains women. 34% of the women on the IHF mentoring scheme have secured promotion since joining, and the attrition of women in tech consulting has dropped by 10%. The scheme has been adopted by KPMG Global firms, and recently the scheme has been taken to clients, driving a wider change and impact.
Within KPMG, Anna mentors and sponsors several women and leads schemes serving a wide community of women. The mentoring programme she founded now supports 300 women in developing and enhancing their careers, including the opportunity to serve on Boards.
She is also supporting the wider community through the Future Leaders Technology Programme for Girls targeting Years 5-10. The programme has seen great results such as 95% of the girls seeing themselves working in tech in the future in comparison to 30% at the beginning.
She is developing a white paper focused on how children can best be equipped for the technology-centric workplaces of the future, and how we can make sure girls are fully engaged at every education stage. Anna is also passionate about community volunteering, and regularly dedicates time to mentoring children from challenging socio-economic backgrounds.
43) Ana Perez - Oracle Consulting senior director
Three years ago, Ana became UK chairperson for Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) programme, an internal network for women to support the growth and development of current and emerging women leaders. OWL runs around eight events a year, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Ana has increased OWL’s membership from 100 to 500 members due to a much improved communications programme.
She has created a peer network for senior female leaders by establishing a program of women-only dinners for senior female executives from Oracle and their customers and partners. She has also improved the gender diversity of the consulting team by insisting on gender-equal candidate lists for the graduate assessment days resulting in more gender balanced intakes.
Additionally, Ana expanded the Oracle Women Network program to include participation in the 30% Club cross-company Mentoring Scheme, and promoted Oracle’s corporate membership of Women on Boards to provide Oracle women with access to external opportunities.
Externally, Ana is a founding trustee and company secretary for Smart Works Reading, a charity that supports women to return to employment, having helped over 400 women to date. She has also run a fundraising project to take professional headshots of men and women in exchange for a charitable donation, and is a member of the TechUK Skills and diversity council focused on diversity initiatives.
44) KR Liu - Amazon Lab126 principle accessibility marketing lead
KR has been a fierce advocate and leader for connecting underrepresented groups with disabilities throughout the technology industry. At Amazon, her passion is to continue to drive inclusion and awareness for people of all backgrounds with disabilities to have a voice to create change.
Prior to Amazon, KR advised Google on several projects that focused on tech innovation in accessibility. Her main project, Live Caption was announced at Google I/O 2019 by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
KR is on several boards, such as: The Consumer Technology Association Foundation; Deaf Kids Code; the World Wide Hearing Foundation; and SXSW, to drive disability inclusion in product design and culture.
She has been awarded a U.S. Congressional award; Silicon Valley's Top 40 Under 40; 2017 Women of Influence; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women's Business Journal for her advocacy and accessibility work in technology and policy.
45) Margaret Gribben - Irish Life talent and performance manager
Since May last year, Margaret has delivered a flagship female leadership development programme, focused on equipping women with the skills to take centre stage in their careers and progress to leadership. The programme has resulted in numerous promotions, expanded and more varied roles, and more involvement in senior leadership teams, boards, and networking groups. An alumni group has been formed to foster learnings and Margaret has mentored women leaders to deliver the programme going forward.
In partnership with INSEAD, Margaret undertook a programme to drive gender balance, developing a business case, researching hidden challenges for women, conducting diagnostics and working with senior leadership teams to implement solutions.
She is a founding partner and inaugural speaker for the Female Networking Group, and has led the rollout of Breaking Bias training for over 1,000 staff over 6 months. As part of this training rollout, Margaret initiated and managed a research project with Dublin City University to conduct rigorous academic assessment to measure programme outcomes. She also developed the company’s inaugural mentoring programme, exceeding gender balance targets.
Externally, Margaret spreads the gender diversity message during speaking engagements at key events, sharing her experiences establishing various initiatives and programmes focused on gender diversity. She is beginning a journey with the Women ReBOOT programme, an innovative initiative that supports women with technology sector skills and experience to return to work after a career break.
46) Shruthi Rao - Adapt Ready CEO
Shruthi has established diversity and inclusion among the baseline values for Adapt Ready. Despite being a startup, she believes that establishing such values at the beginning will blend into the culture of the company.
Last year, Shruthi’s team made a conscious decision to have women represent 50% — not only on the board, but also among employees. The board goal has been met and the organisation is close to reaching the same ratio among employees. She believes that no matter how good the policies and governance are within companies, in order for them to effectively work, every organisation has a responsibility to go further — and hence, at Adapt Ready, Shruthi also established a system of governance to constantly challenge biases towards gender, race, even functional roles among other diverse characteristics to influence change beyond the company.
Adapt Ready is designing workforce policies to simplify the hiring and retaining of such talent, such as flexible hours and 50% remote work. In addition to championing these within the organisation, Shruthi took the initiative in sharing best practices with a community of startup founders and other organisations and communicating it to Adapt Ready’s advisors and board to create a ripple effect and close the gender gap.
As a thought leader, Shruthi is frequently invited to speak on diversity and inclusion. She regularly mentors other women, particularly those thinking of starting their own business, and was recently named “Champion for Action” by Grant Thornton International.
47) Rebecca Drew - LinkedIn sales leader
A sales leader within LinkedIn’s talent solutions business, Rebecca also leads Women@LinkedIn in London, an employee resource group aimed at engaging, inspiring and empowering women and allies in the workplace.
She has hosted a series of events to celebrate both International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day to ensure LinkedIn is as inclusive as possible. She is also a member of GenderNetworks.com which brings together the heads of gender networks in the UK.
She has mentored young women through LinkedIn’s mentoring programme, and often speaks at events on diversity in the workplace to drive positive change.
Rebecca has been instrumental in hiring diverse talent into LinkedIn and advising companies on how they can attract and retain diverse talent within their own organisations. She actively creates and curates content on LinkedIn on all things related to diversity and inclusion.
48) Christina Monaco - Moët Hennessy USA corporate communications director
Christina co-leads Women @ MHUSA, Moet Hennessy USA’s internal initiative and the most celebrated pillar of MHUSA’s diversity and inclusion strategy. The programme is based on three pillars: personal and professional development; creating meaningful connections —both internally and externally — and giving back to the community.
In 2018, Women @ MHUSA organised and hosted 350+ participants at over 30 events and programmes in New York and across the United States. They also launched a Women in Leadership speaker series and created monthly author and panel discussions and networking events with best-selling authors in conversation with a diverse group of panellists about poignant and relevant topics.
They have elevated their partnership with Women of the Vine and Spirits, and continued to foster Dress for Success corporate partnership for eight professional women’s group events.
Christina is an active member of the nationally recognised Dress for Success organisation, and has participated in annual clothing drive collections as well as served as mentor during its Professional Women’s Group meetings, sharing insights and learnings about her own career to benefit the women who are part of the Dress for Success network.
49) Justine Zwerling - London Stock Exchange Group head of primary markets, Israel
Justine is the head of primary markets, Israel and a proud mum.
She founded the Jewish Women's Business Network, which is part of the London Stock Exchange Group’s Women’s Inspired Network (WIN), connecting over 250 women globally from the UK, Israel, Gibraltar, Europe, the USA and South Africa. The network has positively contributed to developing job prospects, mentoring opportunities, business connections, communities and philanthropic efforts for its members.
She is also on the board of directors for Vibe Israel, which support sprofessionals globally to understand and share Israel’s brand. She is part of the SAHI Youth Organisation, who work to support neglected youth, and is an executive board member and mentor for parents with autistic children.
Additionally, Justine volunteers for the Forum of Jewish Leadership, supporting university students to be placed in corporates and tech companies for summer internship programmes in the UK and Israel.
50) Joanne Borrett - IBM UK senior project manager
Joanne is the diversity and inclusion lead for the IBM UK & Ireland laboratories. She and her team run special gender diversity programmes supporting women’s career and skills advancement.
She runs internal events involving mentorship programmes where women share experience and inspire others. That includes "Women in Technology Interconnects,” a twice-year event that brings together women from all over the UK and Ireland with themes covering “press for progress” and “be equal.” Attendees hear from a range of inspiring IBM and external role models, which provide participants with an insight into the technologies that are transforming businesses today, inclusion in society, and career hurdles and how to overcome them.
Joanne also co-developed a course called “developing your technical career,” aimed at encouraging female employees on a technical career path through engaging role models and recognising that sometimes technical people face unique challenges. She runs internal lunch and learn sessions for the ConnectingWomen@IBM initiative, among many others.
Externally, Joanne empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM through IBM’s educational outreach events and programmes. She also runs women in technology days for university women to highlight IBM’s work and its diversity credentials.