Paul Polman


Under Paul’s leadership, Unilever has made significant strides in moving to a gender balanced and inclusive organisation. Today, 45% of Unilever’s non-executive directors are female and 47% of all Unilever managers are female, up from 38% when Paul joined as CEO in 2009. Unilever’s world leading policies on recruitment, development and retention of women have helped to achieve this. A global maternity leave policy of 16 weeks and global paternity leave standard of three weeks have significantly helped employees transitioning to parenthood, leading to a 24% reduction in women leaving the organisation after having a child. The global “Unstereotype” campaign is a key initiative to support women’s empowerment and gender equality. As an important part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company is making steady progress in its aim to empower five million women throughout the value chain, including improving the livelihoods of 800,000 women smallholder farmers. Unilever has begun to roll-out a financial inclusion programme with a goal to help empower up to 1.5 million female small-scale retailers, and Unilever’s Last mile distribution models are creating entrepreneurship opportunities for over 150,000 women through skills development and training. Externally, Paul is a HeforShe Impact Champion, and supported the Women Rising 2030 initiative. He is part of the UN Women Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council and a member of the 30% Club, for which he gave a speech at the launch of the new gender diversity index from FTSE Russell at the London Stock Exchange.

Peter T Grauer

Executive Chairman

Peter has been the leading force and champion of diversity and inclusion efforts at Bloomberg, holding the company's business leaders accountable for the development and execution of business-specific diversity and inclusion plans. Under this leadership, Bloomberg expanded its Financial Services Gender-Equality Index to launch its first sector-neutral Gender-Equality Index in 2018. Peter also co-hosted Bloomberg's inaugural Business of Equality Summit in April, part of the company's cross-platform editorial initiative focused on supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workforce. Externally, Peter is the Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club, and serves as a mentor with Catalyst's Women On Board program. Peter is also a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on its Media, Entertainment and Information, Financial Services and Gender Parity Board of Governors. He is founding Chairman of the Community of Chairmen at the World Economic Forum.

Marc Benioff


Marc Benioff is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Under his leadership, Salesforce is the fastest-growing top-five enterprise software company and the #1 provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software globally. Marc was named “Innovator of the Decade” by Forbes, ranked #3 on Fortune's 2017 "Businessperson of the Year" list, and recognized as one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders by Fortune and 15 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review. For his leadership on equality, he has been honoured by GLAAD, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and Variety Magazine with its EmPOWerment Award. A member of the World Economic Forum ("WEF") Board of Trustees, Marc serves as the inaugural Chair of WEF's Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. He also serves as Chair of, which redefined corporate philanthropy by donating 1% of Salesforce's equity, product and time to its communities. Additionally, Marc received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, where he is on its Board of Trustees.

Vittorio Colao


Vittorio is driving Vodafone’s ambition to become the best employer of women in the world by 2025. He has championed a number of programmes across Vodafone, including placing targets on the number of women in senior roles, pioneering a new maternity policy and launching the world’s largest recruitment programme to bring women back to work who have taken career breaks last year. Externally, as a UN Women HeforShe Impact Champion, he is one of 10 CEOs actively supporting gender equality externally and working on bold commitments to support gender equality. He signed up to the #MentorHer programme led by LeanIn and sponsored Vodafone’s membership of the Womens Business Council and worked with the UK Government to shape its Returner programme.

Michael Cole-Fontayn


In April 2017, BNY Mellon was named to The Times “Top 50 Employers for Women” list, an achievement that would not have been possible without Michael’s allyship and engagement in the company’s efforts to progress women in the workplace. He oversees BNY Mellon’s EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Council, playing a key role in shaping the regional strategy and supporting groups to ensure diversity and inclusion priorities are relevant and culturally appropriate to each office. Through his support, BNY Mellon proactively signed the HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter in July 2016 to make the company’s workforce commitments public and inspire others to openly share their own strategies. Since retiring from BNY Mellon, Michael continues to champion Inclusion and Diversity, mentoring under the 30% Club programme, joining the steering committee of MissionInclude and mentoring under the MissionInclude programme. He is actively involved in opening the conversation around women’s workforce equality, LGBT rights, mental health, and is an active supporter of City Mental Health Alliance. Additionally, he has spoken at external events such as the Women’s Forum of British American Business, the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme and The Economists’ Pride and Prejudice Conference, and is joining Women in Banking and Finance as a Patron.

Steve Varley

UK Chairman

Earlier this year Steve made the decision, with the support of his leadership team, to go beyond the UK Gender Pay Gap Regulations and publish EY’s Partner pay gap. The decision was recognised by the Financial Times and set best practice across the industry. EY has a firm focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) and increasing the representation of women and ethnic minorities at all levels, with many initiatives in place. These include, setting public diversity targets, developing a returnship programme, and focusing on supporting high potential female talent through their careers. They have also delivered inclusive leadership training to over 2,000 business leaders in the UK to help drive cultural change in the organisation. Steve chairs EY’s UK D&I Steering Group that brings together EY’s four business units based in the UK, to ensure that they focus collectively on the D&I outcomes that matter. He also actively sponsors a number of women within the organisation to counsel and advise them on their careers. Externally, he has been an active supporter of the 30% Club since its inception.

Brian Cornell


The representation of female and diverse leaders across the business is a source of pride for Brian. His desire for a diverse team extends all the way up to the Leadership Team and Board of Directors. One of the areas where Target has focused on engaging and advancing women is STEM. Programs for the team include Target Women in Science and Technology, which helps foster connections, inspiration and knowledge sharing. The Engineering Management Immersion Program is a 12-month global leadership development program that offers immersive and personalized experiences to increase participants’ leadership ability. Externally, Brian signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge, which aims to create a more inclusive society where all perspectives and experiences are welcome. He is the co-chair of NEW’s Future Fund, which provides meaningful tools and training that women can use to advance their careers in the retail and consumer packaged goods industries. He also recently joined Catalyst’s board of directors, to play an active role in accelerating the progress of women’s inclusion in the workforce.

Andrew Penn


Under Andrew’s leadership, Telstra sets clear targets for gender representation, with the current Telstra CEO Leadership Team being 50% female. There is also a huge focus on gender pay equity, and comparing like-for-like roles, the gender gap as at 30 June 2017 is 2%. In March 2017 they also introduced a requirement that interview shortlists include at least 50% female representation. Tesltra encourages different ways of thinking about gender equality through ‘Brilliant Connected Women’, a network of almost 3,000 Telstra women and men who champion gender diversity and equality. Andrew is a passionate advocate for women in business through Australia's longest running women's awards program – the Telstra Business Women's Awards. Externally, he is a member of Male Champions of Change, an initiative for male CEOs to step up beside women to ensure a sustained increase in the representation of women in leadership. This year their major project is an examination of the Future of Work, Technology and Implications for Gender Equity. He gave a keynote speech for AustCham in Hong Kong focussed on the role of diversity and inclusion in corporates and recently participated in a panel session for the Women in Rotary Breakfast celebrating International Women’s Day.

Peter Harrison

Group Chief Executive

Shortly after joining Schroders, Peter introduced an initial target of at least 30% female representation in senior management roles. The firm made strong progress and has now increased its target to at least 33% by the end of next year, and 33% at Board level by 2020. He is a founding member of the Diversity Project, an initiative by a group of senior leaders to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture across the investment and savings industry. Peter is overseeing initiatives to address the issue of fewer job applications from women, including introducing a 50/50 gender split at the entry-level assessment centres; reviewing maternity, parental leave and flexible working policies; and pairing the top 10% of female talent with a senior sponsor. Schroders was the first FTSE 100 firm to publish its gender pay gap data, almost a full year ahead of most firms. He has led the firm’s move to become one of the first signatories to the Women in Finance Charter and was nominated a leading executive LGBT+ ally by OUTstanding, the professional network for LGBT+ executives, leaders and allies. He continues to drive improvements across the firm, including measures to increase black and minority ethnic job applications.

Paul Rawlinson

Global Chair
Baker & McKenzie

As global chair of Baker McKenzie, Paul leads the charge on the conversation around gender attrition, pay, and overall satisfaction of women in the workplace. In his previous role, as London Managing Partner, he appointed the firm’s first ever Diversity & Inclusion Partner, a role unique to city law firms at that time. He recently launched the global commitment to the UN's HeForShe movement on International Women's Day 2018, and is about to launch a second sponsorship program to help elevate and give access to the tools women need to progress into leadership roles. Externally, Paul has actively supported a number of external bodies which champion women in business. At the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos he attended a celebration of Forbes 100 most powerful women, and represented the private sector at a United Nations event in New York, to talk about the role that the industry can play in bridging the gap in equal pay. Last year, he also became an ambassador for the International Trade Centre's #shetrades campaign; to highlight women's economic empowerment. Closer to home, he actively supports the 30% Club UK, and spoke on the Panel at the 30% Club's Shifting the Needle Leadership Forum.

Les Matheson

CEO, Personal & Business Banking

As executive sponsor for gender, Les has worked with the Bank’s Executive Committee members to introduce a formal target to have >30% women in their most senior roles by 2020, and to have full gender balance at all levels by 2030. The targets are supported by a positive action approach, tailored by business area, according to the specific challenges they face. Externally, Les is a great ambassador for gender equality and regularly speaks and participates as a panellist at external events to help facilitate change. He was a keynote speaker at the London Women's Forum in Whitehall; the Global Banking Alliance (GBA) Women Summit and a panellist at the Citi Women Event, on International Men’s Day. Later this year, Les will host an external roundtable with fellow CEOs, ministerial representatives, analysts and academics, to broaden the discussion on how to create a sustainable culture across UK plc, that supports gender equality, by allowing participants to share their own or their organisation’s stories, experiences, outcomes and practices so that others can benefit from them. He also leads the women in business initiative, where they have over 400 trained Women in Business specialists who nurture and support the business women of tomorrow.

Wim Dejonghe

Senior Partner
Allen & Overy

Wim was elected to Senior Partner in 2016 and immediately introduced diversity as one of 5 strategic priorities for the firm. He established the Gender Advisory Committee and is heavily involved with supporting the firm’s women’s network, WiN. Under his leadership the firm has developed and launched a refreshed gender strategy in 2018. The strategy focuses on partner accountability, allocation of opportunities, alternative career paths, parental support and a supportive work environment. In all their initiatives, Wim is keen that the firm “thinks outside the box” to ensure actions stretch the boundaries and make visible changes. He has overseen the introduction of initiatives such as piloting a hub office in Vauxhall to help people balance the demands of work with their personal responsibilities and interests. Wim advocates for better gender diversity externally in the industry press and at events to ensure that Allen & Overy is part of the debate on gender diversity. He also regularly takes part in panel discussions which include questions on diversity. Two examples from this year are a State of the Global Legal Industry panel at the Asia Pacific Legal Executive Briefing in Hong Kong and an IBA Law Firm Leaders panel.

Iain Anderson

Executive Chairman
Cicero Group

Iain sponsored Cicero to become the first communications company to join the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and set ambitions targets for a 50 50 gender balance in thier first year of recruitment, which has been surpassed. He is a key part of the Diverse City initiative working with Dame Helena Morrissey to support diversity charities, with a special emphasis on women in work. He has also worked with the 10 Downing Street business liaison team to drive the Prime Minister's support for the initiative. Additionally, he sponsored and hosted an investor breakfast at Cicero Group with the Home Secretary to champion women in business across the Commonwealth as part of CHOGM 2018. As one of the few SMEs to become part of the 30% Club, Iain acts as a mentor to several women in business. Cicero now hosts the regular Women in Public Affairs events and his team members are part of the decision making structure and governance. He has also personally supported the Diversity Project on a pro bono basis with strategic communications advice, designed to bring more women into the asset management sector.

Ajay Banga

President & CEO

At Mastercard, they are investing in people and creating an inclusive environment where the best people choose to be. It is Ajay’s goal to hire and retain the best and brightest talent, and ensure they feel valued and respected. His commitment to gender equality is ongoing, continuing to listen to employees and to take actions aligned with Mastercard’s commitment. The three pillars of their efforts include, creating opportunities for teams by expanding their skills and experiences; working to support the development of future leaders through programs like thier Women in Technology effort and Girls4Tech STEM education program; and bringing balance and equal access to products and solutions. Externally, Ajay and Mastercard are involved in a number of external partnerships and programs designed to facilitate gender diversity. For example, the Board Chairman and other Mastercard management are members of the 30% Club and 25% of the board of directors are female. Among many accolades, Ajay was recently listed among the best-performing CEOs in the world by Harvard Business Review, and awarded 'Business Leader of the Year' at the 7th Annual Asian Awards.

Ivan Menezes

Chief Executive

Under Ivan’s leadership, women currently make up 50% of the Board and 40% of the Executive Committee at Diageo. In the last year Diageo has been recognised by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, ranked fifth in the Thomson Reuters Global Diversity and Inclusion Index, named third in the Hampton-Alexander review and named joint first for FTSE 100 companies with female executive directors by Cranfield School of Management. Externally, Ivan became a signatory of the 30% Club, aiming to develop a diverse pool of talent and commit to better gender balance at all levels of his organisation. He is an active speaker on the importance of diversity in the workplace, recently appearing at the Confederation of British Industry Inclusive Workplace Conference. On International Women’s Day Ivan was ranked by Management Today as one of their top male Agents of Change pushing for parity in the workplace. Additionally, he is Chairman of Movement to Work, which offers opportunities to thousands of unemployed young people, allowing them to develop the skills and confidence they need to find a job.

Chris Wei

Global Chairman Aviva Digital, Executive

Christopher is the group sponsor of Aviva Balance, which focuses on gender diversity and promotes opportunities for women across the group. He is a mentor to several senior executive women at Aviva, actively sponsors Aviva’s global leadership development program for women and spends time with students to help them understand career choices across gender boundaries.. He is also a vocal advocate of “inclusive diversity”, across all dimensions of identity, which vary across the multiple geographies in which Aviva operates. Through corporate participation and personal sponsorships, he has influenced corporates, think tanks and interest groups on the importance of diverse workforces. Externally, Christopher has spoken at multiple industry and business events on the importance of inclusive diversity and how it impacts business favourably, and has published articles on the topic on LinkedIn. He sponsors the “Woman Leader of the Year” at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards, a new category for 2018, and was named“Personality of the Year” at the 2017 Asia insurance Industry Awards.

Ron O’Hanley

President & COO
State Street

Starting his early career at McKinsey, Ron became very involved in various programs to develop, mentor, and retain women, and championed several women who went on to become senior partners at his firm. At State Street, he has led the corporate governance activities of State Street Global Advisors. State Street’s corporate governance research demonstrates that companies with gender diverse leadership deliver better long-term results. Therefore, in 2017 State Street issued additional principles on board gender diversity. For 2017 International Women’s Day, Ron’s team placed the Fearless Girl statue in the center of Wall Street as a symbolic call for more women on boards. Since the Fearless Girl’s placement, 152 US companies identified as lacking a single woman director have added a woman to their board and another 34 have pledged to do so. This year, State Street’s call for increased board diversity has been expanded to Canada and Japan. Fearless Girl’s phenomenal success is catalysing discussions and actions on gender diversity. Externally, Ron is a frequent speaker at important corporate governance/gender diversity events, and is actively involved in the 30% Club. He is also on The Boston Foundation Board of Directors, a leading community foundation committed to diversity and inclusion.

Christopher Stirling

Global Chair, KPMG Life Sciences

Christopher has been driving KPMG’s Exceptional Women in Life Sciences initiative to promote female talent and gender parity internally and in the industry. He has supported the development of women’s networks within KPMG, and recently sponsored a global study to explore innovative solutions to the barriers to progression women are facing. This enabled the women in the Life Sciences sector to engage with Leadership, and he has since observed an increase from 13% to 35% of women in leadership roles in the Life Sciences practice in the past year. Externally, Christopher set up an advisory board to discuss gender diversity and inclusion issues with Global Life Sciences companies and academia. He is an annual sponsor of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Woman of the Year award, and encourages HBA membership across KPMG and industry contacts. With Christopher’s encouragement, the HBA has become a platform for leadership development at KPMG, as women colleagues have adopted volunteer HBA leadership roles that have raised their visibility and influence at KPMG.

Jim Cowles


Jim is global co-chair for the Citi Women’s Affinity. In this capacity, he has set a new strategy and direction in order to drive greater gender parity across Citi. The strategy focuses on: hiring, promoting, and retaining more women; creating an inclusive work environment; leveraging Citi’s diversity of thought to drive value for clients; and embedding the value of diversity into business practices. Jim has been instrumental in driving this change for all employees and firmly communicating to senior leaders that they are accountable for achieving gender results. The focus has included initiatives such as implicit bias education and tools, actions around male advocacy and engagement, and reverse mentoring, all underpinned by a strong communications strategy which Jim is personally involved in. He was instrumental in Citi’s signing of the UK Women in Finance Charter, which sets a target of at least 30% of women in senior roles by 2025. Jim regularly lends his voice to an external audience via leading media outlets pushing the agenda of gender parity. He has also contributed to the Financial Times diversity series discussing a variety of topics in the gender diversity space.

David Liao

President & CEO
HSBC Bank China

David has established gender balance data and monitoring of work force at all levels, and regularly reviews progress as a standing item in the People's Committee. Under his leadership, HSBC China provide extra care for female employees including a dedicated nursing room, and a half day on International Women’s Day. They also host lectures organized to address women leadership, wellbeing, etc, and ensure female candidates in the shortlist of recruitment and internal promotion for senior leader roles. David advocates for gender equality in client meetings and in membership forums, and is externally a member of the Beijing CPPCC, and the Young President Organization. Additionally, HSBC has won multiple awards under David’s leadership, including Asiamoney’s Best international Bank in China, and 51Job’s Top Graduate Employer.

David Sproul

Senior Partner & Chief Executive

As part of David’s ongoing focus on ensuring Deloitte provide a truly inclusive culture, he has rolled out innovative agile working and return-to-work initiatives, targeted career development training, and reviewed all recruitment processes to ensure they are free from bias. They have also created development programmes for high-potential female practitioners; including each member of his Executive team sponsoring a female senior manager. David has taken personal ownership of progress towards achieving the target of having 25% female partners by 2020 in the UK, rising to 40% by 2030. He has also been a keen advocate of increasing pay gap transparency: Deloitte was one of the first large companies to voluntarily report their gender pay gap in the UK in 2015 before it was mandatory, and has reported it annually ever since. Externally, he is an active supporter of the Women’s Business Council and was included in its Agents for Change list earlier this year. Two years ago he also received the United Nations 2016 Women’s Empowerment Principles award for his commitment to gender equality.

Oliver Benzecry

UKI Chairman and Country Director

Under Oliver’s (Olly’s) leadership Accenture has embedded diversity across all HR processes; recruitment, development and performance. He is a coach and mentor to several senior women and in recent years has overseen many initiatives to support women’s development in the workplace. These include refocusing Accenture’s Women’s network to an inclusive Gender network, resulting in greater engagement from men in Accenture-run programmes, and normalising their market-leading Shared Parental Leave (SPL) provision in 2015, which has seen 250+ applicants this financial year. This year alone, Accenture has been named again in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women, received a Gender Game Changer Award in recognition of their SPL provision, was a finalist for the BITC Responsible Business Award for Gender Diversity and has seen several senior women business leaders recognised in individual external awards. Accenture continues to focus on the STEM agenda and leads Europe’s largest STEM event annually for girls aged 11-14. They also sponsor 14 University Women’s Societies and 46 school events, mentor 80+ SME women CEOs through business mentoring programmes and introduced their Tech ‘Breakthrough’ Returners programme this year. Olly is also a passionate champion of Accenture’s goal to have a 50/50 gender-balanced workforce by 2025.

Matt Elliott

People Director
Virgin Money

Matt leads the company approach to D&I and is responsible for delivery of the plan and achieving their ambitions. VM has led from the top, with a 50/50 Board and the only all female Chair/CEO Team. Under Matt’s leadership, they adopted the Women in Finance recommendations established by HMT. He has driven a plan based on equality in hiring & progression, and removing barriers through greater flexible working, capability of managers, and enabling technology. VM’s first Returners Programme enabled experienced women who have been out of the workplace to update their skills and knowledge and transition back into the workplace. Matt introduced equalising parental leave pay with maternity pay 3 years ago, and led VM’s approach to Gender Pay Gap reporting, which has led the way in the UK. Having introduced maternity mentoring to VM, Matt was the first mentor, and continues to mentor a number of women both within and outside of VM. Externally, he has spoken about building careers at all women events, has spoken at various events supporting gender equality, and supported the Government’s roll out of gender pay gap by speaking at their Welsh roadshow.

Dominic Christian

Global Chairman Aon
Aon Benfield

Dominic has personally signed up to the 30% Club, signed Aon’s Gender Pay Gap Report, and signed Aon up to the Women In Finance Charter. They have also signed up to The Diversity Project, which drives gender parity in the investment sector, and are keenly involved in the programme. Dominic is the overall executive sponsor of all seven Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and the lead of the Diversity Council at Aon, and they have an extremely active Women’s Group (Women’s International Network). Passionate about engaging men in the gender debate, he mentors eight women, and as part of the Sponsorship Programme he sponsors three senior females on a regular and engaged basis. Aon also hosted a HeForShe event with high profile speakers, where Dominic made his personal HeForShe Pledge. Externally, he is the chairman of Inclusion@Lloyds, which is a committed group of senior individuals from across the insurance industry who champion diversity and inclusion. He was instrumental in the launch of the Dive In Festival – an annual celebration of diversity which in 2017 saw 80 events take place in 17 countries and 32 cities. On International Women’s Day, Dominic hosted various events at Aon ands an industry-wide one, with Inclusion@Lloyds.

Mark Read

Wunderman & WPP

Mark has become a prominent voice on the need to improve gender balance within the communications services industry. Addressing a packed Girls’ Lounge session at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, he spoke about how vital it is for WPP to attract talent that reflects the society in which we live, and he has written to all 130,000 of WPP’s people on the importance of respectful, inclusive workplaces. Within Wunderman he has championed programmes like “Pass It On”, a global initiative to get more women into senior leadership roles, and led the expansion of the company’s Parental Leave policy. His ambition for WPP and beyond was made clear at a recent Wunderman town hall meeting, where employees were invited to submit questions during a live webcast. When asked to fill in the blank, “Advertising needs more _____”, Mark replied simply, “Women”. Since judging, Mark has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, WPP.

Rakesh Kapoor

Chief Executive Officer

Rakesh is the Board sponsor for RB’s DARE programme, which was launched in 2015 and is focussed on Developing, Attracting, Retaining and Engaging talented women at RB. Their ambition is to double the number of women in senior management positions, a key strategic objective for him and his management team. In 2017, 24% of their senior managers were female, up from 20% in 2016. A series of DARE initiatives are already contributing to this change and include an RB Parental leave policy, a ‘Working From Home’ policy, and also a ‘Stay In Touch’ policy, so that mums can keep in touch with the company during maternity should they wish. 400+ mothers joined RB’s Maternity Webinars in 2017, a support network which was Rakesh’s original idea. He has sponsored a mentoring program, and champions Lean-In circles for women, where they can share and grow together. This year he is launching the ‘HE Dares, SHE Dares’ RB initiative, which encourages RB males to be allies for their female colleagues and champion women’s development.

Andrew Pearce

Managing Director-Operations

Andrew has been a prominent feature in promoting Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity initiatives throughout United Kingdom and Ireland. Globally he is one of Accenture’s Cross-cultural leads, tasked with educating and setting best practice examples for working across cultures. With most Accenture Operations employees based in India, this is an integral role when dealing with women in the workplace. Andrew is a member of the Executive Leadership Council and has been actively engaged in a number of the events and initiatives that the UK chapter are running. He often speaks on diversity, and encourages senior managers to support coaching and volunteering efforts with local communities. He is committed to offering a platform for female leaders to thrive within a business environment and currently mentors three professional women outside Accenture, providing career guidance and helping them to maximise their potential within the challenges of their diverse organisations.

Johan Lungren


Since joining easyJet Johan has renewed the airline’s commitment to being a company in which women are supported to fulfil their full potential. One of his first actions was to establish a project to develop the diversity and inclusion strategy, including a focus on women at easyJet. This strategy will build on the existing initiatives that focus on championing women at easyJet, such as the Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more women to become pilots. As a result of the initiative, last year easyJet recruited 49 female new entrant co-pilots. That's a 48% increase on the previous year and takes the proportion of easyJet new entrant female pilots to 13%. Earlier this year, as a way to show his personal commitment to equal pay and equal opportunity for women and men, he asked the easyJet Board to reduce his pay to match that of easyJet’s former CEO, Carolyn McCall, when she was at easyJet.

Keith Weed

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Keith has been a champion of women’s empowerment and diversity throughout his whole career. Since becoming CMO of Unilever in 2010, he led the creation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), pioneering new ways of integrating sustainability into the business and increasing Unilever’s positive social impact. The USLP includes a commitment to empower 5 million women by 2020 as Keith is a strong believer that a world where women are economically empowered will be a fairer, happier and more prosperous place to live – and that society and business will flourish in it. To achieve this Keith has been a strong advocate for building a gender-balanced organisation – including mentoring Unilever’s top female executives, promoting safety for women in communities where Unilever operates, enhancing access to training and skills for women and expanding opportunities within Unilever’s retail value chain. Keith is also passionately committed to tackling stereotypes in advertising – gender and beyond – through Unilever’s #Unstereotype initiative and is the architect behind the #Unstereotype Alliance, co-created with UN Women, bringing together 24 companies to remove the portrayal of unhelpful stereotypes from their advertising by 2020. His commitment to UN Women also extends to other programmes such as HeforShe.

Murtaza Ahmed

Managing Director
Artistic Milliners

Since joining the company in 2008, Murtaza has set out to use his factory floors as agents of social change. Under the umbrella of the campaign Women at Milliners, he has led projects such as HERhealth, Adult Literacy program, Micro-finance Literacy and Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. Program (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) for worker women. Murtaza has encouraged women in his company to Lean In and currently, 50% of the top management at Artistic Milliners is female- the highest in any manufacturing sector of Pakistan. Externally, he is a vocal supporter of women’s economic participation and has worked with UNDP on a Youth Employability program. Through this venture, women who have never worked before were taught employability skills by UNDP staff in Artistic Milliners’ factories and subsequently the women were hired by the company as full time employees. In March 2018,Sportswear International, a leading media brand, cited Artistic Milliners as an example for the global denim industry on women empowerment. Murtaza has also spoken at forums of Pakistan Business Council and IFC, World Bank on issues of gender equity and is a #HeforShe advocate and a signatory of UN Women Empowerment Principles.

Richard Robinson

Managing Partner

Richard believes in positive, direct action led by empowered individuals. He was named one of thirty 'Male Agents of Change' challenging gender inequality by the Women’s Business Council & Management Today. He actively motivates his team to directly impact diversity through pro-bono work across fifteen diversity & inclusivity organisations including: managing the ‘Be Awesome Night School’ for women; helping scale up the Women’s Sport Trust; and supporting Creative Equals many events for female professionals. Externally, Richard creates time to champion women, with pioneering networks such as Creative Equals, Token Man, and as an advisor to the Women’s Sports Trust and BAME2020. SheSays, the ground-breaking global network for women in creativity & tech invited him to become their first male SuperMomma, and he is an Ambassador for The Marketing Academy Foundation. Richard speaks at industry-leading conferences to champion women such as Creative Equals Leaders and both Management Today’s Inspiring Women conferences in Edinburgh and London. He mentors over a dozen people at any one time through WhosYourMomma, NABS, SheSays and Magnificent Generation, while further afield he champions and upskills creatively gifted school students struggling in mainstream education as Vice-Chair and Trustee of the award-winning Ideas Foundation.

Josh Graff

EMEA Vice-President of Marketing Solutions and UK Country Manager at LinkedIn

Josh has led the way in creating not only awareness and focus on the need for diversity at his leadership team, but he took action and held all his managers accountability for ensuring that women were hired, promoted and developed into management. He mentors a number of female leaders in LinkedIn, supporting them in various developmental areas such as executive presence, prioritisation, communicating to executives as well as helping them figure out how to develop their professional brands. Outside of LinkedIn, Josh regularly talks about the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the press and at conferences as well as sharing specific actions that companies can take, including at the ISBA conference, at the launch of Evolve, The Institute of Directors annual conference and frequently in the broader press.

Sir Roger Carr

BAE Sysytems

Sir Roger Carr is Chairman of BAE Systems plc, where he has set a corporate board policy of gender diversity, and promotes gender diversity through various speaking engagements, mentoring schemes and board appointments. Roger has deliberately instructed his search firm to look at varied sources to find a broader pool of experienced female candidates.He is a founder member of 30% Club and was major advocate for diversity whilst President of the CBI. Throughout his career he has served on a number of external committees including the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group, the Manufacturing Council of the CBI, The Higgs Committee on Corporate Governance and Business for New Europe.  He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce, a Companion of the Institute of Management, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He was knighted for Services to Business in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2011.

Rob Mukherjee

North West Regional Chair

Rob inspired the creation of Vodafone UK’s first-of-a-kind “ReConnect” event, helping women on a career break get back to work. He also drove the introduction of a Northern Women’s Network, engaging that network to support local communities of women and girls. He regularly mentors, and actively seeks out female talent to guide through their career. Rob has spoken passionately about diversity and inclusion at events such as “Northern Power Women Live”, “Guys That Get It” and “The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit” at the Great Exhibition Of The North.  In recognition of his work in this area, Rob is the current holder of the Women In Sales Awards (Europe) “Best Male Mentor” Award and the Northern Power Women “Agent Of Change” Award.

Tom Casteleyn

Managing Director, Global Head of Custody Product Management
BNY Mellon

Tom has been at the forefront of BNY Mellon’s regional efforts to drive greater gender parity, using his position of influence to garner the support of fellow leaders and significantly, BNY Mellon’s male employees. As well as acting as regional co-chair for our internal Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), BNY Mellon’s largest employee resource group, Tom has proactively championed gender parity across digital platforms, through participation in panel events and through the production of information resources. His blog on the importance of male support in gender parity was viewed more than 600 times which is a testament of his bold commitment and influence in moving the needle around this crucial topic.

David Hynam

Bupa UK

David champion’s strong female representation at all levels. During his time with Bupa, he’s led the launch of a new Code of Conduct in the UK, helping ensure Bupa is an inclusive organisation that welcomes everyone and nobody is treated differently. David has overseen Bupa’s initiatives to support women, including the mums’ returners’ network and Tommy’s pregnancy membership as standard in our maternity offer. David has also encouraged participation in the cross-company Women Ahead mentoring scheme which aims to develop and retain women. Under David’s leadership, Bupa UK also partnered with Business in the Community on the 'Same but Different' project to celebrate women from different teams and backgrounds.

Matt Hammerstein

Head of Barclaycard UK & Retail Lending

A huge advocate of supporting and promoting women within Barclays UK, Matt annually sponsors a progression coaching programme designed to create our future female leadership talent. He regularly and actively engages with all participants, with over 50% having since been promoted to new roles, a direct impact of his passion and dedication. He understands the benefits of a diverse workforce, making sure half of the seats around his leadership table are filled by females. A true advocate for women, he regularly attends external events so that as a thought leader he can bring an alternative perspective back into the business.

Daniel Kramer

Executive Vice President, Chief Client Experience Officer, Asset Servicing
BNY Mellon

Dan Kramer is an Executive Committee member of BNY Mellon’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and has been instrumental in the establishment of WIN’s Male Allies Program. Dan has shown tremendous commitment as an ally, advocate and sponsor for the firm’s efforts towards gender-parity and the advancement of women at the organization. At the top of the list of things Dan values as a champion are “to listen to women’s concerns, perspectives and ideas, shine a light on women’s talents and achievements, foster an environment of respect for all and inspire and enlist colleagues to do the same.”

Matthew Krentz

Senior Partner and Managing Director, Global People Chair

Matthew leads the Women@BCG program, which aims to improve women’s recruiting, retention and advancement at BCG. He is involved in a number of organizations that promote women in business including Catalyst’s Board of Advisors, and The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. In 2016 and 2017, Matthew led TEDWomen workshops focused on promoting women’s inclusion and men’s role in advancing gender diversity, and frequently sits on panels on the topic. He has also authored many publications which have been shared in the press, with clients and in women’s forums including Measuring What Matters in Gender Diversity (April 2018), How Millennial Men Can Help Break The Glass Ceiling (November 2017), and Getting the Most from Your Diversity Dollars (June 2017), among others.

Osman Faiz

Chief Information Officer, Singapore
Standard Chartered Bank

Osman is a key sponsor of the Women’s Network and the HeForShe network at Standard Chartered Bank Singapore. HeForShe network connects senior leaders in the bank to support women in their pursuit of professional and personal development at work and in life. Osman currently mentors 10 high potential women at Standard Chartered Singapore to prepare them for future leadership roles. Externally, Osman mentors 3 high potential women, and champions the "Girls in Tech" initiative by sponsoring educational visits to Standard Chartered for university students.

Joerg Ambrosius

Executive Vice President
State Street Bank

Jörg is co-chair of State Street’s EMEA Diversity Council, and has been instrumental in creating and supporting the regional inclusive and diversity strategy, helping to drive local activity aligned with local challenges. He engages with leaders across the region to actively drive positive change. He has served on the Global Advisory Board of State Street’s Professional Women’s Network and was recently invited to join the organisation’s Leading Women group to support initiatives designed to create a more inclusive culture.

Omar Ali

UK Financial Services Managing Partner

In his role of Managing Partner, Omar has made the establishment of a truly inclusive culture the number one priority for EY. As part of this focus, Omar has put gender equality at the forefront of UK firm’s agenda, and set the ambitious target of achieving 30% female partners and 50% female graduate recruitment. In the last few years EY FS has launched various programmes to support women (and BME talent) in the workplace, such as the launch of EY’s Return to Work, EY Reconnect, and Career Watch, aimed at female and BME Managers. In 2018, EY was the first of the Big Four firms to publish its gender pay gap, including their Partners, voluntarily. Omar is an active supporter of the Her Majesties Treasury Women in Finance Charter and was one of the first signatories to make a commitment to women in the workforce.

Colin Passmore

Senior Partner
Simmons & Simmons

During his tenure as Senior Partner, Colin has made gender diversity a priority business issue, leading the firm to greater positive action to progress more women through to the partnership and into senior management positions. Under Colin’s leadership the percentage of female partners has increased from 12% to 18%, and 33% of the elected members on Simmons & Simmons’ Board are female. He is also championing the roll out of firm wide, mandatory Inclusive Leadership & Unconscious Bias training. Colin is the partner sponsor for 3 female partners and mentors 2 trainees. Externally, in March, Colin spoke on a panel at the 2nd annual Women in Finance conference. The session was entitled: “What next? …practices to effectively engage men in implementation of your gender diversity programmes.”, where he used the platform to discuss steps that Simmons & Simmons have taken towards gender balance.

Karl Edge

Midlands Regional Chair

Since Karl’s return to the Midlands and promotion to Senior Partner, he has personally led the way in championing female talent and crucially has brought the wider partner group along with him. His ‘What Shadow Do We Cast ?’ program has inspired all of the partner and director group to implement new techniques for inspiring and leading their teams. His focus on creating an environment where females can be successful including personal mentoring of female partner candidates has already led to 3 female partner appointments in Watford/Milton Keynes and the strong positioning where by the end of 2019 the Midlands partnership will move from 4 to 10 females. He has led on the female partner mentoring programme as well as driving an external network of senior females in the region to drive opportunities from our Women In Business forum.

Matthew Norris

Global Head, Standard Chartered Global Business Services
Standard Chartered Bank

Matthew’s passion for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has  led to the launch of the Women’s Network at Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS).  He has personally mentored talented female leaders in 2017 as part of the organisation’s Women Mentorship Initiative.  Through his leadership, GBS has witnessed effective roll-outs of Group-level policies that significantly improve gender balance and maximise the potential and retention of female employees.  This included flexible working hours, prolonged maternity leave, Return-to-Work programme amongst others.  Matthew sits on the Standard Chartered Global Diversity & Inclusion Council and is also the chairperson of the D&I Council for the Bank’s Information, Technology  and Operations function.  He is now spearheading the Unconscious Biasness Training Programme in GBS, making GBS the first area of the Bank to pilot this programme.

Alex Atzberger

President, SAP Customer Experience

Under Alex’s leadership, a D&I council was created to shape the diversity agenda for SAP. The purpose of the council is to build and execute diversity and inclusion programs and priorities within the organization. Comprised of five individuals from around the globe, representing diverse geographies and ethnicities, the council advises his leadership team and him on how to further drive and promote diversity in the workplace. In addition, he is the executive sponsor for the SAP Business Women’s Network, which helps women advance their careers by sharing best practices, education and experience. Lastly, Alex is committed to filling 50% of all new leadership positions with women and minority candidates, and has actively set strategic goals to do this. Externally, he is also an active sponsor of Planned Parenthood.

Seamus Smith

Executive Vice President, Global Payments & Banking
Sage plc

Throughout the past year, Seamus has been a key mentor in the Women@Sage Mentoring Program , with both mentees assuming new roles during this period. As a mentor, Seamus offers advice, insights and perspectives to female executives to help them develop their careers. As well as this, half of his senior team in the payments, banking and technology area is made up of women – when historically these have been sectors dominated by men. Externally, Seamus has been a strong diversity champion as part of his role as Trustee of leadership development organisation Windsor Leadership over the last 6 years. He also actively addresses issues of diversity and equality regularly on social media.

Mark Burgess

Deputy Global Chief Investment Officer
Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Mark is responsible for the execution of Columbia Threadneedle’s “Gender Action Plan”, a plan which aims to drive improvement in gender balance across the business through a combination of advocacy, training and development, new recruitment policies and flexible working guidelines and support. Mark personally act as a mentor to the female graduates that he hires in the Investments team through Columbia Threadneedle’s partnership with Investment 2020. This early intervention in their careers provides them with the necessary platform and support to set them up for success and opens up a range of opportunities to gain knowledge and experience.

Simon Linares

Group Human Resources Director
Direct Line Group

Simon joined the Executive Committee of DLG in 2014 as HR Director, and set about developing the people strategy which would support the company's mission to make insurance easier and better value for customers. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Simon saw this as a key part of making the strategy sustainable for the future, and he was instrumental in raising the debate around this to the top table over the last 2 1/2 years, while also accelerating a range of tactical activity to drive immediate benefit, and which built on the organisations pre-existing Diversity Network Alliance activity. In 2016, Direct Line Insurance Group was the first insurer to sign up to the Government’s Women in Finance Charter, underpinned by further investment in their female talent through a series of specific development programmes designed to support the growth and promotion of our female leaders throughout the organisation.

Mark Heighton

Head of UK Real Estate Team

As supporter of CMS’ gender initiatives, Mark encourages and supports the development of female lawyers (mentoring and supporting a number of female colleagues), encouraging an inclusive culture and involving clients to support gender initiatives, including organising clients to participate in gender initiatives including the firm’s annual International Women’s Day Master Class for female students delivered in partnership with Career Ready. He advocates for flexible working and maternity coaching and in nearly 8 years of managing the Group, two thirds of Partners appointed were female. Externally, Mark is also a CMS Real Estate representative for Real Estate Balance.