Our 2023 Judges
Global Purpose Enterprise
Lisa Rodwell is a seasoned business professional with over three decades of experience, specializing in brand building and business development. With a career that began by leading marketing campaigns for globally recognized brands such as AMEX, eBay, and Yahoo!, Lisa has since dedicated the last 15 years to nurturing startup businesses in the UK, holding a range of c-suite positions.
During her tenure as the Chief Revenue Officer at MOO.COM, Lisa played an integral role in driving the early growth of the startup. She then took on the CEO role at Wool & the Gang, successfully guiding the company from initial funding to eventual sale. She later shifted her focus to the fintech sector, assuming the position of Chief Customer Officer at Nutmeg.com, a digital wealth management firm that was subsequently acquired by JP Morgan.
Since 2020, Lisa has applied her expertise to the emerging women's health tech sector. She was the CEO of women's health company, Daye, leading the business as it launched the world's first virtual period pain clinic and at home diagnostics tampon. Additionally, she advised Vira Health, a menopause company dedicated to helping women continue to thrive at work through menopause.
Lisa also is a Non-Executive Director for Pact Coffee and serves on the Advisory Board for the Greater London Investment Fund, managed by MMC Ventures.
Director Consumer Products
I’m a management consultant who advises SMEs and large corporates on entrepreneurial growth. That is developing startup capabilities and culture to supercharge innovation and growth.
Gü and The Coconut Collaborative
James is the founder of Gü and The Coconut Collaborative, two of the fastest growing food brands to be launched in the UK over the last 20 years. His unique talent is spotting a gap in the market and then building successful brands through both a relentless obsession on product quality as well as attracting talent and creating winning teams.
Born in Yorkshire, James was educated at Uppingham School before studying Economics at Durham University. Following University, James joined the graduate programme at strategy consultants Arthur D.Little before moving into the Food industry working for Safeway and then St Ivel in chilled foods.
Eventually the entrepreneurial itch became too great and he decided to roll the dice and start Gü which in a 5 year period became a £25m international business. Following a successful exit, James tried his hand at TV presenting for Sky before starting again, founding the Coconut Collaborative, and building that up to become the largest coconut yogurt business in Europe. He is still at the helm and very much enjoying it.
Impact Director – Campaigns & Content
Neha is the Impact Director for strategy, research & content at Business in the Community; the UK’s largest and most influential responsible business network dedicated to building a fairer and greener world together.
Neha leads several teams that aim to increase the pace and scale of responsible business to tackle the greatest issues facing society and the planet. To achieve this, they equip, inspire, and connect businesses from across Business in the Community’s network and beyond on issues ranging from embedding purpose to ESG measurement and evaluation.
Prior to this, Neha has worked in executive and senior leadership roles across the charity sector driving social change and impact. Neha is passionate about people and wellbeing and has also worked an Integrative coach supporting leaders, teams, and organisations to thrive.
esure Group plc
Elisabeth is an accomplished Product Management and Data Science Leader with over 25 years of experience. She excels at leading teams to commercial success across diverse industries, including some of the world’s largest and most innovative technology companies.
With expertise in B2B SaaS and e-commerce, Elisabeth has held senior leadership positions in VC-backed scale-ups and global giants like PayPal, eBay, and RELX. There, her leadership played a pivotal role in growing a portfolio of AI-enabled B2B products, generating annual revenues exceeding £1 billion.
Elisabeth’s impressive career now spans Product Leadership Coaching, Angel Investing, and Non-Executive Directorships. In 2022, she joined the board of eSure, a leading UK automotive and home insurer fully owned by Bain Capital.
As an authority in artificial intelligence and product innovation, Elisabeth actively contributes to responsible AI initiatives. She was a member of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence & Ethics and currently serves on the AI Ethics Steering Board at Digital Catapult.
In the startup world, Elisabeth has been an avid angel investor since 2011, supporting over 35 startups in various advisory capacities.
She holds an Applied Mathematics MSc from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ParisTech) and an MA in Marketing from ESSEC Business School.”
Non Executive Director, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Change
Lenna’s work focuses on diversity and inclusion strategic change. Over 25yrs she has held operational roles at organisations such as the University of Cambridge, the Royal Society, and sexual health charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust. Her advisory and trustee roles have included the Wellcome Trust, the British Pharmacological Society and as committee chair for communications company Project Everyone raising awareness for the UNs Global Goals.
She is committed to community and volunteers for organisations such as the Windsor Fellowship, as a Patron of Switchboard the LGBT+ helpline, and as a facilitator for anti-bullying charity, Diversity Role Models.
Her non-executive director roles include recruitment firm Goodman Masson, Housing Association Rooftop Group, and the Grace Eyre Foundation supporting people with learning disabilities. She sits on the Ofcom Communications Consumer Panel and Advisory Committee for Older and Disabled People. For the European Commission Lenna audits, reviews and monitors multi-million Euro grant applications and projects as one of their team of experts.
A member of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Lenna is a Toastmaster’s Competent Communicator and Competent Leader. Her speaking engagements have included a keynote at the Portuguese Annual Science Communication Congress, BBC Scotland’s Black History month programme, and Women of the World (WOW) festival.
Samantha L Fay
Chief Marketing Officer
Sam has over 20 years’ experience marketing high profile entertainment brands including Guinness World Records, LEGO, and Electronic Arts. She is passionate about marketing, often describing it as ‘the best job in the world!’.
During her tenure at Guinness World Records, she took the company from a single book to a global multi-faceted brand and digital IP and opened the first USA office as Managing Director, building a global marketing team and offices across six locations.
Her favourite record-breaking moments over the years have included meeting the Queen and sharing the lawn at the White House with Michelle Obama!
She joined Layered Reality and the world of immersive entertainment in January 2023 as their first Chief Marketing Officer directing the brand, marketing, PR, digital and communications programme for Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds Immersive experience and The Gunpowder Plot in association with Historical Royal Palaces and based at the Tower of London.
Sam is an experienced keynote speaker and has delivered sessions on brand and marketing at various prestigious industry events including Cannes Lions, Festival of Marketing, D&AD Festival, Festival of Media, the China International Advertising Festival and the World Economic Forum in Davos.
She is also a regular on judging panels and sits on the jury for the European Sponsorship Awards, UK Content Awards, WARC Media Awards, Global Trends, PR Moment Awards, PRCA Awards, the Brand Film Festival and of course the Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards 2023.
Group Commercial Director
Andrew has an extensive background leading commercial teams in media and publishing, including News Corp, The Economist and Mail Metro Media, owner of the Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence partners i and metro.
Andrew recently moved to the creative technology company SeenThis as Group Commercial Director. SeenThis is a globally scaling business that provides unique adaptive streaming technology to the global digital advertising marketplace, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of the digital supply chain.
Guy is Consulting Director for the award-winning data management consultancy Amplifi Group and has over 20 years experience in empowering organisations to innovate, grow and succeed through the effective use of their data. His multi-faceted role combines business development and consulting with support for technology and services partnerships and go-to-market propositions.
Guy sits as a lay member on the Scientific Advisory Council for the diabetes charity JDRF and he coaches at his local junior football club.
Saira is CEO at SF Recruitment, a specialist recruitment firm headquartered in the Midlands. Saira joined in 2018 having previously been UK CEO and CFO at Ignata where she played a key role in building the group to over £40m of Turnover today. Her knowledge of recruitment and talent solutions was honed during six years spent in Deloitte’s M&A strategy team, where she was involved in a number of high-profile deals in the recruitment sector.
Saira is passionate about employee engagement and since joining SF has introduced a new people-centric business model which has delivered an increase of over 60% in individual employee performance and reward.
Outside of the boardroom, Saira is also a dedicated adventurer, she previously climbed half of Mount Everest and loves to travel the world to pursue her love of open-water diving.
Martin is CEO of Onecom Group, the UK’s leading provider of B2B mobile & cloud communication solutions. Onecom had grown from £90m- £180m in under three years through strong organic growth supplemented with nine acquisitions in the same period. Prior to becoming CEO at Onecom, Martin ran BGF funded Olive Communications which grew from £10m-£32m during his tenure, following which Olive was sold to LDC backed Onecom in Feb 2021, and Martin taking up post as CEO of the enlarged group, leading a 600+ strong team.
Martin’s first foray into business came in 1998 when he co-founded and self-funded start-up B2B comms provider Axxent Voice & Data, growing to £6m revenue in as many years before disposal to 3i backed buy and build platform Azzurri Communications in 2004.
Martin has vast experience in leading fast growth businesses, raising institutional and growth funding and leading high performing teams, and in his spare time runs a smallholding in Surrey with his wife & family.
Andy founded 10 Yetis in 2005. Prior to starting the agency, he worked in-house on multi-media campaigns for the likes of AXA, Unilever, First Group, Whitbread and Midlands Electricity Board. His talents span effective crisis communications, award-winning media campaigns and creating highly engaging content across video, social media and PR. He has advised the UK’s two largest political parties on digital campaigns and worked with Chinese Government delegations on reviewing their approach to communications.
He regularly speaks at conferences around the world about PR, video, social media, SEO and wider marketing practices and has written for publications such as The Drum, Guardian, Vice and many others about these subjects. He is truly an expert in his field with more than 25 years’ experience. Andy is at the forefront of the changing face of creative digital marketing. The agency has run successful campaigns for the likes of IKEA, Superdry, Water Aid, Confused.com and many, many more.
He has built a team of more than 25 skilled individuals at the agency and dedicates any time that he has to growing the business and delivering great results for clients. Andy has many leather-bound books and his house smells of rich mahogany. 46, Capricorn.
Andy regularly features as a branding, marketing and media commentator for the likes of the BBC, ITV, SkyNews, Channel5 and national and international media outlets.
Author, speaker and executive producer
Sam McAlister is a former barrister and BAFTA-nominated interviews producer who has negotiated with everyone from Buckingham Palace to The White House, Tesla to Facebook. With skills honed over a decade in the BBC’s elite news programmes, notably BBC Newsnight, she is used to persuading reluctant individuals to participate in a news programme renowned for its rigour and bite.
Exclusives include, most famously, that interview with HRH Prince Andrew — but also Sheryl Sandberg, Prime Minister Trudeau, President Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Elon Musk, James Comey, Stormy Daniels, Julian Assange, Trevor Noah, Amy Schumer and Eric Schmidt.
Sam’s book Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews was released in 2022. The book details the secrets of a former BBC producer who found her way to Buckingham Palace, giving a backstage pass to the most unforgettable journalism of our times.
The book was optioned for a documentary for Channel 4, which will aired in May. It has also been optioned for a Netflix film, with the acclaimed screen writer Peter Moffat (Your Honor, Silks and Criminal Justice). Sam will be played by Billie Piper with Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk, his private secretary. The film is scheduled for 2023.
Not On The High Street
Francesca Pittaway is the Commercial Director of curated online marketplace Not On The High Street which brings together 5.2 million customers with over 5,500 small businesses selling more than 300,000 products, joining the business in 2015.
She is passionate about ensuring small businesses can fulfil their potential and add authenticity to the UK’s retail landscape. During her 8 years with Not On The High Street she has been instrumental in significant range and Partner growth on the platform and has led on an innumerable amount of commercial efforts to drive growth by broadening the marketplace’s appeal, attracting a wider audience base and ultimately championing and supporting small businesses.
Prior to joining Not On The High Street, Francesca started her career in legal and business affairs at BBC Worldwide before moving into buying and corporate partnerships at BBC Children in Need where she grew corporate donations from retailers such as Asda, Boots and Debenhams by 400%, established the charity’s own product development cycle and implemented their first official e-commerce platform during her time there.
Most recently, the company was shortlisted on The Sunday Times 100, Britain’s fastest-growing private companies in 2023, and won ‘Most Innovative Company of the Year’ at the Logistics UK Awards in December 2022.
Ed is passionate about aviation and disruptive technology and used to be a commercial airline pilot for easyJet.
Sales and Marketing Director
Mark joined Littlefish as Sales & Marketing Director and co-owner in January 2017, responsible for spearheading their growth objectives, growing Littlefish organically from £6m to £45m in just 6 years, attracting investment from LDC and latterly Bowmark. Prior to Littlefish, Mark served on the UK board of NextiraOne and then SLT of Dimension Data as Managed Services Director, winning several individual awards and accolades including the coveted IoD Director of the Year Award.
A Husband and father of two boys and a keen follower of football, Mark is an avid supporter of Manchester United and loves being at Old Trafford. Mark is a huge believer in giving back and enjoys the challenge of mentoring students and executives alike and raising money for charitable causes.
Founder & MD
Award-winning entrepreneur and bestselling author, Donna O’Toole, is the founder of August Recognition - a global awards agency and part of the Dent Global group, which helps entrepreneurs to stand out, scale up and make a positive impact in the world.
Named one of the world’s Top 25 Customer Experience Influencers and an award-winning national and international awards judge, Donna has helped hundreds of businesses from start-ups to FTSE 100 organisations, brands, entrepreneurs, and leaders across the world to raise their profile by achieving valuable awards and recognition for their achievements.
Renowned for achieving an outstanding success rate in the most highly regarded awards such as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, and bestselling author of WIN! the ultimate guide to winning awards.
Roma Bhowmick FCMI
Business 360 Ltd
Roma has supported, advised, and mentored individuals at Main Board level in both SME and larger enterprises (£1m - £45m t/o) as well as “Blue Chip”. Currently, her focus is working with established businesses supporting them through growth and strategic change. All share the common goal of accelerating growth as a result of taking advantage of specific market sector opportunities, particularly post Covid.
In addition to her role as strategic adviser and consultant, Roma sits on the Board of Trustees of a Social Enterprise (The Blue Tangerine Federation – a federation of specialist & special education schools), is also a Trustee for a City of London Educational Trust (The Norwegian Scholars Trust) Roma also sits on Governing Body for a City of London Membership organisation (The United Wards Club).
She is immediate past Chairman of another City membership organisation (The Bridge Ward Club) and Senior Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire Business School, lecturing in Strategy on the MBA programme.
In 2006 she was nominated for and awarded Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her ‘services to Management Consultancy’.
Lloyds Banking Group
Managing Director, Business Support
As Managing Director of Business Support, Adam is responsible for the onboarding and servicing of Lloyds Banking Group’s Business and Commercial Banking customers, as well as supporting small businesses in financial difficulty.
Adam’s previous role was Managing Director of Business Banking, leading an end-to-end business responsible for supporting more than 1 million small British businesses.
Adam has held a variety of leadership roles supporting businesses of all sizes across the UK, including Commercial Director for Business Banking and Regional Managing Director for SME and Mid Corporates.
Adam lives in Bristol with his wife Carly and their two young sons and is a keen rugby player.
Mitchell is the 2022 Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards, New Entrepreneur of the Year, and Founder of the UMATR Group, a collective of specialist recruitment companies designed to be a one-stop hub for all technology hiring needs and provide bespoke services to both clients and software engineers. Their growth has led to the creation of several brands, including Scala Matters, Rust Matters, and acquisition of Digital Gurus & Enchiper Technology.
The UMATR Group was born out of the desire of putting people back at the centre. To inspire confidence and spark creativity. Since our founding in early 2021, UMATR has expanded to offices in the UK and Dubai, and we now work across 25 countries with a yearly gross profit expected to hit 4 million by the end of 2024. UMATR has been awarded Best Start-Up Agency, and ranked 41st on the Elite Business Top 100 SMEs.
John Bailey is a co-founder of Contego 360, a prominent full-service talent agency. Over the past decade, he has played a pivotal role in building and nurturing some of the most successful influencer talents in the country. His efforts have resulted in the generation of more than £15 million in brand sponsorships, establishing enduring partnerships with global giants such as Google, Amazon, Gucci, Microsoft, McDonald's, and Nike, among others.
In addition to his role at Contego 360, John serves as the co-founder and CEO of Revive Collagen, Europe's fastest-growing collagen brand. Alongside his client Samantha Faiers, he spearheaded the launch of the business in 2020, and within a remarkably short span of three years, it has achieved unprecedented success. Garnering numerous prestigious awards, Revive Collagen products are now stocked in over 2,000 stores across the UK, including renowned retailers like Harrods, Boots, and Holland & Barrett. Remarkably, the brand now has an impressive record of selling one box every 1.5 minutes.
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Cecil is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the award-winning Social Enterprise Foundervine. He began his career by troubleshooting issues with hospital database software and later transitioned to management consulting, start-up creation, business intelligence, and strategy.
Cecil has held management consulting positions at prominent firms, including Accenture, EY, and Slalom. He has contributed his expertise to a wide range of projects, spanning from significant digital transformation initiatives to small-scale technology strategy projects across various industries such as finance, consumer retail, and media.
Recognized for his innovative contributions, Cecil has been nominated for the Black Tech Awards as Entrepreneur of the Year and honored by Yahoo Finance and EMPower as a top business executive. Additionally, he has been listed by the Financial Times as one of the top 100 most influential BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) Leaders in the UK Tech sector.
With his significant achievements and commitment to social enterprise, Cecil continues to make a positive impact in the technology and business landscape, particularly in promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry.
Jill provides the strategic drive and direction for t-three but is also hands-on with clients getting involved in the challenges and opportunities they face. Much of her current focus is upon designing and driving major transformations with clients around their ambitions, customer focus and ability to keep on transforming and getting better.
- Design and delivery of leadership development and behavioural change programmes
- Expert in Neurolinguistic Programming and Transactional Analysis
- Designing and implementing culture change programmes for multi-nationals, across countries
- Coaching senior executives in situ, either within the context of a new role or when facing major transformation or change and needing to create capacity and resilience in themselves and their teams
- Working with London Underground on their customer transformation programme which spans all leaders, refocusing them on the value they add to customer rather than the tube infrastructure.
- Running a major leadership programme for Toyota which equips them to deliver ion their collective ambition and do business the way their customers want.
- Designing and delivering a significantly improved customer experience though working with diverse teams in the Bank of England.
- Working alongside Avios, to build customer loyalty and centricity though work with leaders and staff on the Superskills of great customer experience.
- BA (Hons), Dip. BIM and TEFL
- Accredited in Facet5 psychometric tool
- Practitioner in Transactional Analysis
- Accredited in Thinking Styles psychometric tool
- Accredited in 360 degree feedback and executive coaching
- N.L.P. practitioner
City of London Corporation
Alexandra (Alex) Leader is the SME Lead at the City of London Corporation and is responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of services for Small and Medium Enterprises across the square mile.
In her 8 years at the City of London Corporation, she has developed and expanded the support services for SMEs, most recently leading the move of the Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre to a new location with better facilities and accessibility. She is continuously striving to find new ways to support small businesses, and has a strong career background in entrepreneurship, employability, and skills development.
Alex is particularly passionate about supporting founders from diverse backgrounds and driving social mobility. She wants everyone, regardless of their background, to feel empowered to start their own business and achieve economic freedom.
Global Communications Director
Ollie Winters heads up Fever-Tree’s global communications and ESG team, working closely with colleagues around the world to support new market entries and brand building as well as local and national government relationships.
Partner and Director
Miles started his career as a financial journalist, working for the Investors Chronicle as a staff writer before moving to the position of Smaller Companies Editor. He later moved on to be the Editor of Growth Company Investor.
He has worked as an analyst and fund manager and held the role of Head of Communications for a wealth manager and has also spent time in Investor Relations.
His current role is as a Partner and Director at Sterling Investments which runs a UCITS fund focused on small to mid-cap companies. He is also a Judge at the Small Cap Awards.
Abdul R Shiil
Sahan Cares CIC
Co-Founder and Director
Abdul R Shiil is the Co-Founder and Director of Sahan Cares CIC, a pioneering social enterprise that empowers refugees in West London to secure qualifications and meaningful employment within the healthcare sector. In addition to his doctoral studies, he serves as a trustee for ActionAid UK.
Vanessa Valley OBE
Vanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on a variety of career related topics for over 500 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance
and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent. Vanessa was awarded her OBE in June 2018 for her services to women and the economy.
At the height of her successful 25 year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award winning WeAreTheCity.com in 2008 as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. WeAreTheCity.com now has over 120,000 members and provides resources/conferences/awards/jobs to women across the UK. Vanessa is the also the -founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from 85 cross
sector firms to share best practice on a quarterly basis.
Vanessa is also the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares 13 chapters of tips to succeed in the workplace.
Over the past twelve years, she has accumulated over 20 industry awards, including Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally & Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs. In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.
Vanessa is also the Pearly Queen of The City of London, a tradition that has been in her family for over 100 years. She is an avid charity worker and sits on the board for Cancer Research UK as one of its Women of Influence. Vanessa also sits on the Centenary Action Group founded by Dr Helen Pankhurst CBE.
Keynotes and workshops include The Power of Profile, The Power of Mentoring, Speed Networking, Speed Mentoring, plus her Planning and Goals career workshop. Vanessa is also available as a panelist, facilitator and leadership development programme host. All talks can be tailored towards specific audiences.
Carmina Lees is a Managing Director at Accenture within Financial Services, joining in September 2017. Carmina is part of the UKI Board and leads one of the biggest financial clients, leading a team of 550. Prior to joining Accenture, she spent 19 years at IBM, leading and growing Technology and Consulting businesses cross Industry.
The last 4 years of her IBM career she was the Vice President of the Cyber Security Business for UKI, Carmina was leading an end-to-end business from setting the strategy, growing market share, leading Sales, Delivery, and technical teams. Driving a high-performance culture with the objective to grow market share and become the leading security provider in UKI.
Carmina is recognised internally and externally for STEM, people development, and as a Technology leader with a passion for I&D. Computer Weekly has named her on the top 50 most influential women in IT for the last 3 years, she was a Finalist in the "Women in IT awards”.
Carmina is passionate about technology and has always been an active supporter and ambassador for promoting the presence of women in IT, talking on panels externally and at Schools. Carmina led the Inclusion and Diversity agenda for IBM and for Accenture Security globally. Carmina actively drives initiatives to help retain and attract more women into the Technology sector.
Outside of Accenture, she has 2 daughters, who keep her very busy.
General Manager Europe
Maja Gedosev is the General Manager Europe for JetBlue Airways, responsible for sales, marketing, communications, government and regulatory affairs. Based in the UK, Maja was instrumental for the successful launch of the JetBlue’s first ever transatlantic flights between New York and London Heathrow in August 2021 and New York and Gatwick Airport in September 2021. In summer 2022, Maja supported further JetBlue growth across the Atlantic with daily flights launching between Boston and both London Gatwick and Heathrow airports. These were followed by additional daily flight between New York and London Gatwick in October 2022, taking JetBlue to a total of 5 daily flights across the Atlantic. Maja is currently busy working on the launch of Paris to New York flights in June 2023 and Amsterdam to New York and Boston flights in August and September 2023 respectively.
Maja joined JetBlue from a U.K. regional carrier Flybe where she was Director of Communications, responsible for government affairs, consumer PR, sponsorships and brand building.
Prior to moving to the U.K, Maja was the General Manager Commercial and Corporate Affairs at Air Seychelles and before that Head of Corporate Affairs for Air Serbia, both airlines part of the Etihad aviation Group. Her aviation career started as a ground handling agent for Lufthansa. Outside the industry she has also worked in a range of pharmaceutical and financial consulting roles.
Maja is very active in diversity efforts and is a member of the Women in Aviation Charter initiative, frequently speaking to young girls about pursuing careers in aviation.
Maja is a proud mom of two daughters, Mia (18) and Sofija (14). She has two Westies called Jet and Blu and is a passionate runner.
Alex Evans is Managing Director of TALiNT Partners, which brings together a global network of HR, Staffing, Talent Solutions & HR Tech leaders to learn, share and connect through a year-round programme of events, awards, benchmarking, advisory, research and digital content. Alex has specialised in B2B media, events, awards, and executive networks to raise
industry standards and inspire innovation for over 25 years. Alex heads up the membership programme for Staffing, RPO & Talent Tech leaders, curating insights from global TIARA awards campaigns and providing access to leading industry experts and business advisers to help them make better strategic decisions.
Global Purpose Enterprise
André Spence is a social entrepreneur, author, and mentor, who has been in the
entertainment industry for over 10 years. Finding youth fame on a reality show on MTV,
he presented and blogged for MOBO and organised events, bringing together global
brands, and world-class talent in support of charity
Finding the power of mentorship on his journey, in 2017 he founded Global Purpose
Enterprise, which exists to level up young black people and help them walk in
purpose through events and mentorship. His organisation has worked with top-tier
firms from EY to the highly sought-after private members’ club, Soho House.
Now Andre and his team are on a mission to impact the lives of 1 million young Black
and underserved people in the next 5 years through their upcoming app PRGRSS that
connects mentees to mentors through 12-minute video calls to help them navigate their
Sophie Milliken MBE
Sophie Milliken MBE is founder and CEO at Moja Group. Moja work with entrepreneurs and senior executives to amplify their personal profiles and become known authorities in their industries.
In her first business, Sophie led recruitment and employability experts, SRS, to become the leading provider of assessment-centre simulations for universities and trained over 30,000 students at these events. Sophie also worked with employers such as M&S, JP Morgan, Expedia and AXA to design and deliver their graduate recruitment campaigns. Sophie was awarded an MBE for services to Business and to Education in the 2023 New Year honours list.
Sophie has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development since 2013 and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in 2019. Her first book, From Learner To Earner was published in August 2019, becoming a best seller in October. Sophie’s best-selling second book, The Ambition Accelerator was published in February 2021 and includes advice from Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies MBE and The Apprentice’s Linda Plant. A podcast accompanies The Ambition Accelerator and includes interviews with the women included in the book.
A multi award-winning businesswoman and proud mum, Sophie also enjoys supporting the North East region. Sophie is a supporter of Northern Power Women and co-founder of City Ladies Networking. She is Chair of Smart Works Newcastle and has achieved huge success delivering the aim of doubling the number of unemployed women supported with interview clothing and coaching across the North East and securing Sara Davies MBE as the charity’s ambassador. In June 2021, Sophie became a Founding Ambassador for Every Child Needs a Mentor.
When Lizzie Carter, founder of Only Curls, was looking for the perfect solution for her own curly hair back in 2016, she quickly realised there was a huge gap in the market and that curly hair had largely been neglected in the beauty sector, especially in the UK. Lizzie created onlycurls.com, a London-based, direct to consumer, haircare line made specifically to help people manage curly hair. Their business has grown incredibly rapidly, and with a large dedicated following on Instagram and Tiktok, Only Curls is set to become one of the most disruptive haircare brands in the curly haircare market.
Jonathan is responsible for identifying management teams across the South that would benefit from the support of a private equity partner in realising their business’ growth ambitions.
Since joining LDC in 2001, Jonathan has originated more than 20 investment partnerships across the Thames Valley and the South. This has included a number of well-known businesses such as Comdirect, Airclaims, Motorclean, United Legal Services, Iris, Equiom, Property Software Group and Clifford Thames.
Most recently, he originated LDC’s investments in Ashtons Hospital Pharmacy Services, Lucid Group, Paladone and Aquavista – all of which have benefitted significantly from the strategic and financial support of LDC.
Prior to joining LDC, Jonathan spent five years in corporate banking and business development at Lloyds Banking Group after graduating from Nottingham University.
Regional Development Director - Midlands
With over a decade in the Financial Banking Industry, Rebekah has built her career across several client facing sectors. Her former role was supporting SME Corporate Businesses as a Relationship Director. Today Rebekah works for Lloyds Bank, appointed as the Midlands Regional Development Director, with the goal of creating a more sustainable and inclusive future for people and businesses specifically in the Midlands.
Rebekah is also a proud member of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Council, appointed early this year and supports the diversity and inclusion agenda across the UK with a passion for paving the way for the future generation.
Responsible Business & Strategy Director
Alastair Loasby is the Responsible Business & Strategy Director at Business in the Community; the UK’s largest and most influential responsible business network dedicated to building a fairer and greener world together.
Alastair leads a team who aim to increase the pace and scale of responsible business to tackle the greatest issues facing society and the planet. To achieve this, they equip, inspire, and connect businesses from across Business in the Community’s network and beyond on issues ranging from embedding purpose to ESG measurement and evaluation. Prior to this, Alastair led Business in the Community’s responsible digital technology work, and has advised and supported businesses, from multinationals to start-ups, to become more responsible and a force for good in the world.
Steve founded and oversees the Global Executive Headhunt business 360xec. The company places and advises C-suite executives across a diverse range of business verticals with specialisation within Commercial Marketing, Sustainability, Communications and Technology globally. Steve is an investor/Director at DNApal.me, Remote Coach.fit, MVB/Future Kings, Rocket Thinking and Megs Menopause. He is Chairman at Hubly (preventing online abuse) and a Board Advisor to Tensei (Second Harvest pioneers). He is also NED at DTLX Drone services.
Steve was Chairman of IOTG – now Silver Bullet Data Services Group Plc. He led a PLC Group flotation onto AIM in 2008 whilst purchasing one of the most regarded Publishing recruiters, and was Chairman of the REC Recruitment Trade body for Marketing, Media and Creative; the MMC.
In his agency years, Steve was a member of the founding team that launched what became the largest media agency in the world; Zenith Media and was Head of Strategy on the UK Board serving clients that included B.A. Land Rover, Saab, News International, Mars and Mondelez. His full-service agency days were at Saatchi & Saatchi and at FCB prior to this.
Scott is an entrepreneur, investor and speaker in the entrepreneur media industry for the last 20 years. Has founded and co-founded national media companies, offline and online digital publishing and national conferences, awards and exhibitions. Has trained 1,000’s executives in multiple industries and provides regular business consultancy for fast-track start-ups. Currently Brand Director at CEMG the combined publishing and events brand behind Elite Business, Elite Business Live and Elite Franchise, expanding it’s purview includes a range of content for supporting SME fast-track growth companies and digital marketing solutions He’s an experienced host and speaker and known face in entrepreneurial circles.
Thomson & Scott Noughty
CEO & Founder
Entrepreneur Amanda Thomson foresaw a huge shift in drinking culture away from the reliance on alcohol and decided to create the world’s first premium non-alcoholic portfolio of wines to be the alcohol-free alternative to Champagne and fine wine.
Noughty, her game changer brand, is becoming a worldwide hit; premium alcohol-free sparkling and still wine that tastes delicious and avoids unnecessary sugar and additives. Her company is also B Corp certified, putting ethical purpose alongside profit.
Thomson is the company’s CEO and Founder. She was voted one of the world’s Top 100 Coolest People in Food & Drink in 2019 by Business Insider Magazine. She is a Department of Trade Export Champion and an EY Winning Women. She won the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2017 and is the only non-American on the board of the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association in the U.S.
Forging her early career as an arts broadcaster on national TV and radio, Thomson wasn't a stranger to her favourite glass - Champagne - and delicious food served by chefs and restaurant owners in London looking to get some exposure. Raised on a plant-based, no sugar diet by her health-conscious mother, Amanda has always had a keen interest in what’s in her food. She left her career in entertainment behind and upped sticks to Paris where she studied wine at the Cordon Bleu School. This then led her to start her ground-breaking business and Noughty was born.
Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir is a prominent LGBTQ+ activist and founder of Moonlight Experiences; an award-winning experiences & events organization dedicated to the celebration of diverse queer culture and belonging. Through harnessing the economic power of tourism and nightlife Moonlight Experiences is decolonizing travel to uplift marginalized voices whilst supporting queer women, LGBTQ+ spaces, and creatives. Since launching in London, Moonlight Experiences has expanded to other cities in Europe, Africa, and the USA.
Head of Sustainability and Responsible Business, Business & Commercial Banking.
I joined the Group in 1986 as a management trainee and spent my early years in a variety of customer facing roles in retail and business banking around the South West of England. I’ve worked in Business & Commercial Banking (BCB) for most of the last 23 years, with leadership roles covering proposition development, marketing, and strategy, before setting up the Sustainability & Responsible Business team in 2016.
I lead the BCB sustainability strategy which is focused on our ambitions to be a leader in supporting our clients to transition to a sustainable, inclusive, low carbon economy, and ultimately Net Zero. I’m also passionate about inclusion and equality and lead a broader range of Responsible Business activities including our highly-commended programme to better support black entrepreneurs and help break down the barriers and challenges to success across the whole ecosystem.
I live in Somerset with my wife and daughter, and like to keep fit through running and gym sessions. I’m also an experienced charity Board Trustee.
Department for Business and Trade
Midlands Director for International Trade & Investment
The UK Government’s Department for Business & Trade (DBT) English Regions works to increase the number of UK exporters and support the UK to attract inward investment.
We directly support businesses to export and match high profile investment opportunities with foreign investors. Our work covers the majority of England - the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and the Southern England.
As International Trade & Investment Director (SCS1) for the Midlands, I lead the delivery of these export support services to businesses across the Midlands using a network of International Trade Advisors (ITAs) and I lead the DBT Midlands Investment Hub, which is a focal point for Foreign Direct Investment in the Midlands.
We do this by directly providing export and investment services, forming partnerships with key partners, business representative organisations & stakeholders. We build the exporting capability of high growth potential businesses through one:many and one:one upskilling, help and support to businesses through our Exporting Academy and our regional ITAs, directly connecting them with opportunities across through the world, breaking down barriers to trade, market diagnosis, trade missions and so much more.
With a career spanning over 25+ years in the public and private sector where I have successfully led and managed large, national teams for major digital organisations and UK Government departments; delivering key strategy, policy, change and transformation to help and support businesses of all sizes and complexity. Successfully delivering policy, building advocacy and influencing notable business boards, forums and international stakeholders. Alongside building critical business capability to meet the needs of now and the future. My roles have been high profile and demanding in the best sense possible, where my passion for building teams and meaningful partnerships has been stimulating for growth and prosperity.
Having lived and worked in the Midlands for majority of life, it means a great deal for me to represent the best of the Midlands and help showcase that to the rest of the world.
I am a firm believer in the value of collaboration, partnering and inclusivity to help drive the Midlands to exceed our export and investment ambitions and ensure we work toward our ‘race to a trillion’ worth of exports by 2030.
Regional Director, South West Region, SME & MC Banking Lloyds Banking Group
Amanda has enjoyed 35 years with Lloyds Group Banking with 25 years’ experience within the SME&MC Division of the Business in various including Relationship Management and Leadership positions.
For the last 4 years, Amanda has been a Regional Director, formally in Midlands and South Wales and more latterly in the South West.
Amanda leads a team of locally based relationship managers spread from Bristol to Cornwall The Teams role is to support and work with local businesses ranging from £3m to £100m turnover to help the business owners deliver on their goals and aspirations.
In addition, Amanda is the Head of Inclusion and Diversity for the Business and is committed to ensuring that the division is an inclusive place for all Colleagues to work in.
International Marketing Partners
Allyson Stewart-Allen is an international marketing advisor, broadcaster, award-winning educator and author of both editions of the best-selling book Working with Americans.
Originally from Los Angeles and now based in London for over 30 years, she has advised over 260 businesses across 27 countries including BAE Systems, Burberry, Chanel, HSBC, Lufthansa, Ricoh, the UK’s Department for Business & Trade and more.
Besides her work with C-suite leaders to develop their leadership brands, she is a regular TV, radio and print contributor including for Al Jazeera, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Financial Times, France 24, and The Wall Street Journal. She is also the creator of the recently-launched LinkedIn Learning course Leading International Growth.
Allyson earned her MBA with Dr. Peter Drucker and learned her craft working for PwC, PA Consulting Group and Hay Management Consultants.
Allyson is CEO of International Marketing Partners and an Associate Fellow at Said Business School Oxford University, Churchill College Cambridge University, Member of the Advisory Board of the British Business Excellence Awards and recently served as a Non-Executive Director for the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Code First Girls
Anna Brailsford is the CEO of Code First Girls (CFG) and a Board Member for the Institute of Coding.
Prior to joining Code First Girls, Anna co-founded her own EdTech startup and was the Commercial Director of Lynda.com. Anna oversaw LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, becoming part of the fourth-largest acquisition in social media history; a deal she says, on paper, is her greatest business achievement to date.
She joined Code First Girls in June 2019, and leads the team on its mission to close the gender gap in the tech industry by providing employment through free education globally. She creates life-changing economic opportunities for Code First Girls’s community of learners, using data to match candidates and employers to ensure both parties benefit from CFG’s courses.
Anna's passion for this mission has brought the world's biggest brands on side - including Nike, Rolls-Royce, Goldman Sachs and BAE Systems. Her vision, married with helping the industry tackle a major skills gap and recruitment shortage, is helping turn the industry's recruitment on its head.
CEO and Co-founder
At 12 in my home country of Nepal, I was banished bleeding and had to use unreliable and uncomfortable period products, it turns out these period stigmas and poorly designed period products exist all around the world.
This is Why I created WUKA. WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass, we make period pants that completely replaces the need for disposable tampons and pads. We created the worlds first one size period pants that fit everyone too. Over half a million women and girls have already benefited from switching to WUKA and we’ve prevented billions of plastic disposables from polluting the planet.
Join me in smashing taboos, ending the period stigma, and building a waste-free world at Wuka.co.uk.
UK&I Education Lead
Based in London Paul is a recognised education technology leader and a promoter of inclusion and diversity. He serves as the UK&I Education Lead for Zoom and the interim co-chair of Zoom Soul UK Employee Resource Group. This has led Paul to oversee many initiatives such as Zoom's UK Black History Month events, including an engaging fireside chats with The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE and Dr Delroy Hall, a counsellor, dynamic trainer and EDI leadership specialist, to a global Zoom internal audience. Marking Paul’s first year at Zoom, he was awarded Zoom UK Most Valuable Player for Public Sector as a great testament of Paul's ongoing outstanding contributions to the team.
Passionate about empowering and raising the aspirations of under-represented young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, Paul serves as the Chair of the Professional Advisory Board at the University of the West of Scotland. The Board provides practical advice and supports the new London campus to meet its strategic objectives and to provide links with businesses and the community. Paul is also the founder of Idare2inspire, A programme used to impact the lives of many thousands of young people. This includes being the sponsor of Portsmouth's biggest Anti-bullying Conference with an attendance of over 1500 students and arranging tours of the Houses of Lords for boys attending schools in London. This has led Paul to win a global recognition award which was presented to him by Rev Jesse Jackson, The civil rights activist.
Paul also offers leadership and transformational coaching to professionals including a former Special Advisor to the Prime Minister. He recently worked with a small group of business leaders in No.10 Downing Street to drive change for the better, for boosting mental health, enhancing wellbeing and debugging the stigma around mental illness.
Chief Empowerment Officer
Paul Hargreaves is a B Corp Ambassador and is one of the leading voices in the UK encouraging and inspiring businesses to make a positive impact on the world; this was the subject of his first book, Forces for Good, published in 2019. Paul’s main role is as CEO of Cotswold Fayre, a large speciality food and drink wholesale business supplying over 2,000 retail sites in the UK. The company diversified in June 2021 by opening Flourish, its first foodhall, restaurant and home and lifestyle store.
Cotswold Fayre was one of the UK’s founding B Corps in 2015 and the company has recently certified for the third time with a score in the top 5% of FMCG businesses in the UK. The company was named as Elite Business’s No 1 in The SME Top 100 and won the Lloyd’s Bank ‘Purpose before Profit Award in 2022. Paul’s team of over a hundred are constantly looking for ways to be generous and compassionate by putting people and planet before profit and this is what they determine to be success.
Paul believes that to bring the radical and systemic change required to reverse climate change and the growing inequality in the world a new compassionate, loving and servant-hearted leadership is required and that is what he calls The Fourth Bottom Line, and the name of his second book published in May 2021.
Judes Ice Cream
James is CEO at Jude’s. Jude’s is recognised as one of Britain’s most sustainable ice cream companies, with over 100 Great Taste Awards and supplying top restaurants, chefs, and retailers. Jude’s are a certified B Corp committed to being a Force for Good and with a driving purpose to Bring Life to People and Planet.
With over 15 years working in climate and sustainability in commercial, consultancy and NGO leadership, Ellie has implemented meaningful change and impact which brings together profit and purpose across sectors.
Ellie brings international experience from education, hospitality, food systems, environment, transport and impact investing and has recently started with Xynteo as an Associate Partner.
Prior to Xynteo, Ellie was been based in the US with restaurant group Hawksmoor, where she led their sustainability, community and B Corp workstreams internationally – working with teams across the business to become industry pioneers.
Ellie is chair of Foundation for Change and a school governor.