Alison Challis - Manager, Global Procurement, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Alison is a senior Procurement professional that has transformed the way firms manage their supply chain. Currently at Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer and previously at CMS Cameron McKenna, Citigroup, retail and manufacturing organisations spanning several decades. She focusses her approach as a business partner that brings professionalism and experience to the fore, ensuring firms are risk free, are strategic and meet the business needs. Alison graduated in CIPS in 1982.
Helene Reardon-Bond – Equalities office
Helene, a senior civil servant, works closely with Cabinet Ministers and No10 and has worked in eight departments leading on a number of high profile programs and campaigns, including same sex marriage, violence against women and girls, maternity rights, encouraging diversity in public life and a government enquiry into rape and sexual assault. She currently leads for the UK on gender equality policy and oversees a range of business facing initiatives designed to help women succeed in the workplace, including being an advisor to the Lord Davies and now the Hampton Alexander Women on Boards review and the Women’s Business Council. She is responsible for the new gender pay gap reporting regulations and online abuse. She is also leads on the UK’s EU and international commitments on gender and equality including the The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Outside of the Civil Service, she is a chair of a school governor. Helene was awarded a state honour, OBE, in 2008 for her work in the public and voluntary sector.
Nikki Van der Gaag - Oxfam
Nikki brings over 30 years of experience and a proven track record in shaping the debate on women's rights and gender justice in the UK and globally. She has worked with a wide range of organisations; from UN Women to the corporate sector, small local NGOs, donor organisations and the media.
Nikki has authored many Because I am a Girl reports and co-authored the first State of the World's Fathers.She also held senior editorial and communications posts in the voluntary and non-profit sector and has engaged with a wide variety of audiences through many different channels; from writing books to delivering a Tedx talk and speaking at the United Nations. She is currently on the International Advisory Board of Young Lives, an international research programme on child poverty and a Senior Fellow at Instituto Promundo.
Sarah Conway – EY
Sarah is Senior Manager within EY’s Commercial and Procurement team and has been in consulting for over 10 years during which time she has undertaken a host of global procurement projects spanning the whole range of Procurement Transformation challenges from P2P to Operating Model and Strategy development to implementing BPO. Prior to joining the world of Consultancy Sarah was a buyer in Industry, first with Shanks Waste Services and then within the Group Property and Purchasing Operations team at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Sarah recently came back from Maternity Leave after having twins and juggles working 4 days a week with the challenges of being a mum to a 4 year old and two 16 months old!
Karen Parker – UN Women National Committee UK
Karen is the Vice Chair of UN Women National Committee UK as well as being an executive coach and mentor. In these roles, she utilises her substantive experience as a senior international director with an exceptional track record as a leader and trusted advisor within the Financial Services, Luxury Brands and Pharmaceutical sectors.
Having operated globally, in publicly traded and private companies, Karen has successfully collaborated with CEO’s, executive and non executive teams to lead significant global business transformation programmes. Karen has influenced the successful development of a range of organisations through building exceptional relationships with leadership teams – coaching, advising and guiding on strategy, structure, people and performance. Karen has also consistently championed the role of women in business through her tenure as Chairman of Credit Suisse’s European Women’s Network as well as through sponsorship of a broad range of diversity and inclusion programmes in each of the organisations she has worked within.
Avril Martindale - Freshields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Avril is an internationally recognised IP, IT and commercial lawyer. She led our global IP/IT practice for five years from 2001 and advises clients on various issues including the acquisition, disposal and exploitation of IP rights, outsourcing and data protection.
She is experienced across a number of industry sectors including technology, telecoms, consumer products (including luxury brands), media, pharmaceuticals, energy, investors, infrastructure, real estate and automotive.
Avril is co-head of our London Diversity Leadership Committee and organises the firm’s female partner conferences.
Maggie Berry - Weconnect
Maggie Berry is Executive Director for Europe for WEConnect International, a global organisation championing supplier diversity in procurement and helping majority owned women businesses to connect into the corporate supply chain. She has lead responsibility for the organisation in Europe and her role involves developing corporate and public sector support as well as growing and supporting a network of c1,000 women owned businesses across Europe. WEConnect International’s corporate members represent $1 trillion in annual purchasing power and are true pioneers in inclusive sourcing and global supplier development and in Europe include organisations such as Accenture, EY, IBM, Intel, MSD, Marriott and RBS. Previously, Maggie ran womenintechnology.co.uk – an online job board, recruitment and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She now runs the Women in Technology Network in her spare time, she remains actively involved with championing women in the technology profession and she is a Freeman at the Information Technologists Company.