Leigh Lafever-Ayer

Leigh has been co-chair of Enterprise’s UK/Ireland diversity team since 2007, where she started a ‘Mum and Tots’ group, launched Enterprise’s first women’s networking group, ‘Enterprising Women’, and developed an award-winning, company-wide benchmarking tool. She created the gender diversity magazine ‘DRIVE’, which is distributed to employees, customers and universities. Leigh drives employee awareness through Twitter and has also introduced a number of events, both client and customer facing, to showcase diversity at Enterprise. Under Leigh’s leadership, Enterprise was shortlisted for Corporation of the Year by Women of the Future in 2016, been included in the Times’ Top 50 Companies for Women for the last 12 years and has increased the number of females in senior management positions by 58% and women holding director positions by 83%. Externally, Leigh is a member of the BITC Leadership Team for Gender Diversity. She is a regular speaker at conferences, in the HR press and at events on gender diversity. Enterprise is a sponsor of Women of the Future and the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. Leigh has also held positions on multiple advisory boards and organised International Women’s Day conferences with influential guest speakers.

Runa Alam

Runa Alam is one of the most influential women in private equity, being one of few women CEOs managing over US$1 billion. Within DPI, Runa prides herself on promoting equality across every level of the business. Three of the six partners are women, while a 2015 study from Harvard Business School found that the typical number of women in senior positions in Private Equity is 5%. This diversity is apparent across all levels of DPI – nearly half the professionals are women. Runa believes that the top quartile returns of DPI’s funds are due to the talent and diversity of its team. Externally, Runa played a role in the establishment of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, where she served as the Chair and is currently the Chair of the Sustainability Committee. She is also a Board and Africa Council Member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, a steering committee member of PEWIN, an organisation for women leaders in private equity, as part of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Runa has over 35 years’ experience in private equity, entrepreneurship, investing, investment banking, and is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Julia Muir

Julia founded Gaia Innovation Ltd to build positive links between schools, employers and universities, in order to encourage children to aim high, equip themselves with creativity and technology skills, and seek careers in the growth industries associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These industries tend to be male dominated, and so she uses successful female role models in all activities to demonstrate to both male and female students that women can perform at the highest level in industry and academia. In 2016, Julia founded the UK Automotive 30% Club, a group of progressive CEOs and MDs of the UK automotive industry. The goal she has set is to achieve 30% of key leadership positions in member organisations to be filled with women by 2030, and she has devised a 4 phase “30 by 30′ strategy in order to make this happen. She has also recently launched a “303030” Campaign in collaboration with the charity Speakers for Schools which will see 30 senior automotive executives go into 30 schools to give inspirational speeches, and then provide 30 executive work shadowing placements to girls where they will spend a week with the senior leadership team of that business.

Jill Shedden

Jill has been sponsor of a number of programmes at Centrica, involving many events, networking and online resources to champion gender diversity. She is also the founder and sponsor of the Centrica Women’s Network, which was built around the question ‘how can diversity and inclusion help Centrica achieve its strategy?’ She has also been heavily involved in the launch of pilot returnship programme, to support experienced professionals to get back to work after a career break. Centrica made a pledge to Powerful Women during international women’s day and national apprenticeship week to increase the number of female engineers by supporting at least 50 females on career development and mentoring. Externally, Jill is a member of the Women’s Business Council, set up by the Government in 2012 to advise ministers on how to maximise women’s contribution to the future economic growth of the country. She has spoken at local school events about women and careers based on her own experiences and success, and was awarded an MBE in this year’s New Honours list for her services to women in business.

Siobhan Moriarty

Siobhan has been co-leading on internal D&I initiatives to achieve a goal of 35% female leadership by 2020 and 40% by 2025. Each business unit now has a multi-year talent plan with gender diversity actions and milestones, sponsored by the business head. She is also an active sponsor of the women’s network “Spirited Women” and the LGBT Rainbow Network. In her own legal function, females hold 55% of roles across the team. She also ensures, when reviewing relationships with law firms, that they look at diversity statistics, not just gender, but also ethnic origin, LGBT+ diversity, and social mobility. Siobhan led the initiative for #IWD2017 to make #BeBoldForChange a rallying cry in and outside Diageo. This involved the organisation of panel discussions and events, and the use of internal media to promote her activity. She has spoken on many occasions about the benefits of having an open and inclusive workforce and acts as a senior agent of change in the business. Externally, Siobhan encourages girls to enter the legal profession and young female lawyers to strive to achieve their goals, through talking about her career journey and decision points along the way.

Emma McGuigan

Under Emma’s leadership, Accenture were able to make significant progress with the recruitment, progression and retention of women technologists. This success involved implementing a number of programmes to out-perform the estimated c.15% women in the UK talent pool more than two-fold in their recruitment activity. In 2013, Emma was made a fellow of The Chartered Institute for IT. In 2015 and 2016, Emma was named as one of the 50 most influential women in UK IT by Computer Weekly magazine, and was listed in Computer Business Review’s 10 most successful women in UK technology; her other accolades include being the National Women in Business STEM category winner 2016 with Forward Ladies. Emma is regularly in the national media and a regular speaker at industry events from Wonder Women in Tech & the National Digital Conference to most recently appearing at the Salesforce World Tour 2017. Emma is a prominent feature in STEM and she regularly is contacted to act as a mentor within this rapidly growing field. Emma currently serves as a board member of techUK, is an advisory board member of Digital Leaders, and a trustee for the Orchid Project.

Michal Berkner

Michal founded the Skadden Women Attorneys’ Network (SWAN). Having worked at Skadden as an associate for several years, she had recognised the need for an internal forum specifically designed to support women in their professional lives. SWAN was the first such group in the entire Skadden global network. It has evolved into a major force for championing women, both within the Skadden business and externally. Each of the firm’s 22 offices globally participates in the programme, hosting a multitude of events and networking opportunities. The European SWAN group regularly hosts intimate roundtable events for women in the business community. In addition to SWAN, Michal has recently played an active role in the roll-out of a ‘Women in Leadership’ programme at Skadden. Aimed at supporting women in the firm reach senior levels and partnership, the course offers one-on-one training to provide the tools needed to help them become partners. Michal is an active participant in the female business community, regularly participating and speaking at conferences and industry events specifically targeted at women, and mentoring more junior women in the sector. She has also mentored women with ambitions to work in government as well as in business.

Janet Pope

Janet’s work encompasses all aspects of enabling women to achieve their full potential, from women on shortlists to agile working and action on domestic violence. She worked with the CEO to set the first FTSE 100 target for women in senior management (40% by 2020), and is a regular speaker at Lloyds’ Women’s Breakthrough Network, the largest in the FTSE. She mentors four women and has established a ground breaking internal programme to propel the careers of high potential women, tackling issues such as authentic leadership and creating aspirational role models. As a Camden Councillor Janet was heavily involved in equalities issues including the rights of women in employment, housing and education. She has been involved for 20 years with the Camden School for Girls, founded by Suffragettes in 1871, pioneering the drive for girls’ education. The school straightforwardly shows girls what they are capable of achieving and equips them with the skills to get there. She has chaired the governing body for the past five years, having previously chaired the finance committee. She is also a regular contributor to events organised by EY, KPMG, Egon Zehnder and others to promote the role of women in the workplace.

Jay Hunt

Jay has been leading our content strategy at Channel 4 for the past 6 years and has led us to an unprecedented level of creative recognition and audience success. Under her leadership Channel 4 has twice been made Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh TV Festival and has also been recognised in genres as varied as news, documentaries, comedy and drama. Jay is an inspiring leader to both men and women having developed an innovative approach towards peer review at Channel 4. She sets high standards but has also nurtured a new generation of talent both behind and in front of the screen.

Heather Melville

Heather founded the RBS Women’s Network, to support the development, growth and attraction of female talent. The network has since been used to help support the change of culture needed to engage their leaders, peer employers and clients. Through her leadership, RBS engaged an executive sponsor and funding which allowed the creation of a wide range of development programmes and events, which complimented the technical training offered to staff. Heather has also launched the Focused Women’s Awards, which have three key categories recognising men, women, and clients who act as role models for gender diversity. She has mentored, and still supports, the two chairs in an advisory capacity. Externally, Heather is an NED for Enterprise Enfield, is on the board for CMI, and is the Chair of CMI women, which has 16,000 members across industry. She hold various advisory board positions, and is a visiting lecturer at University of Westminster for the Women on Boards programme. For the last 5 years, she has been a guest speaker at Chelmsford Girls High School, where she provides business coaching and mentoring. She also has six female business owners as mentees, and mentors 26 women from school age through to their corporate careers.