Aspire - Leadership for the future

The Aspire 2016 M.A.D. Leadership Programme London, UK
22nd and 23rd November, 2016

Join Dr Sam Collins, CEO of Aspire and named as 'One of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business and Industry’ by Her Majesty, The Queen, and 'One of the Top 10 Coaches in the UK' by The Independent, and trailblazing women from across industries, levels and backgrounds to lead, create change and make a transformational difference to your career, workplace, organisation and community.

  • Develop your leadership skills, style and approach.
  • Be inspired by speakers from around the world.
  • Create a new vision and plan for your workplace, organisation and career in 2017.
  • Overcome obstacles, challenges and fears.
  • Grow a new and like-minded external network.
  • Gain tools to deliver, influence and perform as a leader.
  • Leave with a tangible action plan.

Part 1 - M.A.D. Leadership Preparation webinar

Participate in a 60 minute online webinar with Dr Sam Collins. Learn the top tips to be a M.A.D. Leader, define your programme goals, measurements and practical plans. Network with other like minded attendees ahead of the conference.

Part 2 - The M.A.D Leadership Conference
November 22nd and 23rd in London. Part innovation lab, part business change incubator and part career and leadership advice centre, we offer our attendees a unique ecosystem of tools, resources, inspiration and collaboration opportunities to make a difference as a leader at work, at home and in the world.

Part 3 - M.A.D. Leadership Post Event 'No Excuses' Webinar
Participate in a 60 minute follow up ‘No Excuses’ webinar with Dr Sam Collins to provide the inspiration, support network and challenge to achieve your programme goals and increase your return on investment back at work and in real life.


M.A.D. Leadership Conference Agenda

22nd November 2016 - Strategic and Visionary You

Registration, breakfast and informal networking 8am – 9am

Begin the day with a light breakfast and networking.  Exchange ideas, find mentors, role models and supporters for your M.A.D. aspirations, projects and goals.

Conference Opening Session

'Strategic You' - The power and impact of being a ‘M.A.D.’ leader in today’s competitive organisation and global economy.

Learning Objectives: Create your leadership vision for 2017. Learn to think bigger and overcome internal fears and obstacles. Gain a tool kit for being visionary and translate it for use at home, at work or in the wider world.

Dr Sam Collins,
CEO and Founder
Aspire, Trailblazing Women


Session 2

Keynote Speaker:

Challenging Business Leaders to be a Catalyst for Change

Learning Objectives: Whatever your level, age or background, be inspired to think big about your career, life and making a difference (M.A.D.) in the wider world. Determine the passions and strengths you have that will empower you to discover your career direction, lead change and truly make a difference in an ever changing and turbulent world.

Brita Fernandez Schmidt,
Executive Director,
Women for Women International, UK


Networking Lunch plus Optional Session - A Billion Women by 2020

Meet and Greet for Aspire Foundation Mentors and Mentees and those interested in becoming one.  Find out about our movement to empower a billion women by 2020.

Jane Donaldson,
Executive Director,
The Aspire Foundation, USA


Vikki Leach,
Senior Director, Global Corporate Citizenship
at Avanade, UK


Session 3

Turbo Speaker Sessions and Interactive Exercises.

Define Your Leadership Purpose & Increase Your Confidence, Resilience and Impact

Learning objectives: Leadership purpose is the ‘North Star’ that gives us direction. Define your leadership purpose and transform your confidence, gravitas and personal and professional impact.

Olga Miler,
Marketing Director and Intrapreneur,
UBS Wealth Management


Julie Chakraverty,
Founder of rungway and Non-Executive Director
at Aberdeen Asset Management, UK


Sarah Kitakule,
Adviser, Gender and Economic Empowerment,
The Commonwealth Secretariat


Helen Gibbons,
Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya


Natalia Cohen,
Adventurer and team member,
Coxless Crew, UK


Eileen Brewer,
Director, Security Appliance Team,
Symantec, USA


Session 4

Reflection Session: The Power of Quiet Time

Take the time away from your inbox to reflect on your career, life and community. Gain exercises and tools to translate your insights into real life and create your M.A.D. plans for after the conference.

Session 5

Interactive Session: Expanding Your Comfort Zone and Increasing Courage  

Learning objectives: Increase your Courage and Become Fearless to achieve your M.A.D. goals and aspirations.  Learn a tool for eliminating fear and focusing on success.

Gosia Gorna,
Transformational Coach of the Year 2014


Session 6

Evening Panel & Small Group Discussions with Drinks & Networking:

Making Success, Balance and Resilience Possible for M.A.D Leaders

Learning Objectives: "How do they do it?" - Hear their stories and gain new strategies, top tips and inspiration on achieving new definitions of success, work/life integration and RQ (resilience intelligence).

Victoria Boxall-Hunt,
Group Operations Director,


Rishabh Gandhi,
Global Digital Director: Hair Category
Unilever, UK


Sarah Powley,
Full Time Foster Carer


Alison O’Brien,
Commercial Strategy Director for UK & ROI,


Bryony Farmer,
Owner and Founder,
Precious Stars



November 23rd, 2016 - Delivering, Influencing and Performing as a M.A.D. Leader

Registration, breakfast and informal networking 8am – 9am

The day begins with breakfast and networking with the opportunity to meet your new peer group of like minded women from across industries, ages and social backgrounds. Exchange ideas, find mentors, role models and supporters for your M.A.D. aspirations, projects and goals.

Optional Breakfast Session

Mindfulness Practice for a M.A.D. Life, Career and World

Learning Objectives: Self care is a critical skill set of M.A.D. Leaders. Develop your physical, mental and spiritual tool kit for a M.A.D life, work and world.

Gosia Gorna,
Transformational Coach of the Year 2014


Session 7

Learning and Development Session: Leading and Influencing Others

Learning Objective: Gain a specific ‘how to’ tool kit for influencing, communicating and leading others; how to gain buy in and manage people, teams and projects more effectively.

Dr Sam Collins,
CEO and Founder Aspire,
Trailblazing Women


Session 8

Real Model Interviews with Dr Sam Collins:

Translating Your Ideas and Knowledge into Action and Gaining Buy-In from Others

Learning Objectives: Gain an insight into the real life reality of M.A.D. Leaders. How have they achieved what they have? What steps did they take? What strategies did they follow? How did they overcome their fears and obstacles?

Shirine Khoury-Haq,
Director of Operations,
Lloyds of London


Nasreen Sheikh,
Local Women’s Handicrafts, Nepal


Michelle T Davies,
Global Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group,
Eversheds, UK


Optional Lunch Time Session - Aspire Book Club

Join Dr Sam Collins, CEO of Aspire, with your favourite M.A.D. book. Share ideas and trade the books that inspire, empower and lead women to greatness around the world. Dr Collins will share how and why she wrote her own international best seller, “Radio Heaven”, her top tips for how to write a book and do a book signing.

Session 9

Interactive Session: The Power of your Network


Learning Objectives: Improve your networking skills, learn about the critical importance of mentors sponsors and role models.  participate in a session to help others and receive the help you need to achieve your goals.

Session 10

Learning Session - Strategic Thinking & Time Leadership Skills to Make a Difference

Learning Objectives: Learn skills to move from busy and day to day to being a successful strategic leader of your time, life and career.  Gain tools to make sure you follow through on your commitments post event, keep your energy high, say no effectively and take time every day to think and be strategic.

Session 11

Speaker and Interactive Session:

Collaborative Leadership: The Role of M.A.D. Women and Men in Change

Learning Objectives: In order to create tangible change for all, explore the role of M.A.D. men in the empowerment of women and making a difference in life, organisations and the world. Understand the key factors that will influence collaborative change and success in the future.

Adam Warby,
Chief Executive Officer,
Avanade and Global Charity Partner of The Aspire Foundation


Session 12

Interactive Session: The M.A.D. Leadership Finale 

Learning Objectives: Celebrate, connect and collaborate to create your tangible action plans and have the accountability to achieve your goals post the conference. Leave M.A.D. Leadership inspired, empowered and ready!  Drinks, networking and connections time complete the experience.


Bryony Farmer
Owner and Founder, Precious Stars

Bryony is a 19-year-old girl who runs a business selling reusable menstrual products to women and girls all over the world. She started her business after she had to leave school before finishing her GCSEs due to a chronic illness. Her business has been running for over 3 years now and is still going from strength to strength.

Bryony is also a YouTuber who makes videos on periods as well as the products she sells in order to educate and empower girls everywhere. Many girls still don’t fully understand what a period is, or don’t feel that they have someone to go to if they have a question. Bryony provides information on periods that is honest and straight to the point in an effort to get rid of the social stigma that still surrounds this topic.

In the future Bryony hopes to be able to get more involved in the charitable side of her business which involves helping girls from 3rd world countries finish their education by providing them with adequate sanitary protection and menstrual health education.

Bryony likes to live her life thinking “I’ll try it” rather than “I can’t do that” because that sort of thought process is unlikely to lead to any real success. Go the full distance and reach for the stars - if you fail, throw on some high heels and try again!

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Gosia Gorna
Transformational Coach of the Year 2014

Gosia Gorna, winner of Transformational Coach of the Year 2014 is one of the most remarkable coaches in the world today. She uses intuitive insight and a range of highly effective techniques to bring about a profound transformation in people’s lives. In the past 20 years she has assisted thousands of people to make outstanding decisions in their lives by helping them to clear their fears and use their intuition with confidence.

Gosia’s specific expertise is in supporting change makers to accomplish their great work with clear mind, peaceful heart and reliable intuition. She has been the personal coach of Dr Collins, Aspire’s founder and CEO for 8 years.

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Eileen Brewer
Director, Security Appliance Team, Symantec, USA

With two decades of technology industry experience, Eileen leads the Security Appliance team for Symantec. Eileen develops the synergy between solving business issues and negotiating the impossible with a mission to execute and transform. She has most recently led the OEM manufacturing project for the newest Symantec products.

Eileen works to empower women and girls globally in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). She is involved with three organisations that leverage technology and mentorship programmes to encourage female empowerment and career development for women in Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East: theTechWomen Programme, Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange (WAKE), and GirlHype South Africa.

She created "Motherboards Basics" and travels around the world with old motherboards stuffed in her suitcase to teach hundreds of young girls about computer components in an easy to learn and fun method. This reduces their fear and increases their confidence.

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Natalia Cohen
Adventurer and team member, Coxless Crew, UK

With 15 years experience of living and working in over 50 countries, Natalia has chosen to follow an unusual and fascinating path. Her broad range of professional experience includes adventure tour leading, operations management, teaching, volunteer and project coordination, as well as working within the Super Yacht industry and Eco-lodge management, running a remote Safari lodge in Tanzania. Natalia is no stranger to being outside of her comfort zone and has made an art of embracing and adapting to change. Her understanding of team dynamics, the importance of a positive mindset and the ability to live in the moment led her to become part of the first all-female team to row unsupported across the Pacific Ocean.

Natalia and the crew completed this challenge in January 2016 setting two world records and gaining an international following. This was a journey of just under 9,000 miles from San Francisco, USA to Cairns, Australia in a 29ft ocean rowing boat. The expedition was not only a challenge of extreme conditions and perseverance but also a journey within to better understand the strength of human spirit, the importance of listening to your inner guide, a positive mindset, the diversity within a team and enjoying the journey.

Natalia’s vision is to empower others to reach their potential, push through their self-limiting mental boundaries and meet and overcome the challenges that life throws at them.

While she may have crossed her literal Pacific, we all have our own Pacific to cross.

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Brita Fernandez Schmidt
Executive Director, Women for Women International, UK

Brita is a leading international advocate for women’s empowerment, gender equality, international aid and human rights. She leads Women for Women International UK and works in eight war-torn and post-conflict countries in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and South Asia. Women are provided with the support and training they need to be economically self-sufficient and become leaders in their communities.

Originally from Germany, Brita grew up in Venezuela and received her Masters in the UK. She has worked with Womankind Worldwide, The European Women’s Lobby, The Gender and Development Network and served as Commissioner to the National Women’s Commission from 2008-2010. Brita is also the Chair of the Network ‘Gender Action for Peace and Security’.

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Helen Gibbons
CEO, Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya

Helen is a single, white female living in Kenya, working in the world of conservation with the Maasai tribe and multi-ethnicity tourism operators, in times of tremendous change. Working towards protecting and conserving the greater Maasai Mara landscape - home to the largest mammal migration on earth, she is working against the clock in an extremely male dominated culture, with modern day development and urbanisation threatening to sweep aside one of the iconic African savannah landscapes. She is the CEO of a regional association, bringing together all the Mara Conservancies, taking on the most important challenges of the 21st century for this landscape and working to influence strong and influential men. The region is a microcosm of regional economic development within the context of one of the most famous ecosystems in Africa. Helen aspires to create sustainability and harmony amongst the various competing claims as the physical space to survive shrinks month by month. Helen is originally British and has lived and worked all around the world, with a number of not-for-profit charitable organisations.

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Dr Sam Collins
CEO and Founder Aspire, Trailblazing Women

Sam founded Aspire in 2001 when she was just 30 years old and it is now a globally sought-after organisation that enables women leaders to thrive through leadership development, coaching and events. The Aspire Foundation, the not-for-profit arm launched in 2010, is integral to Aspire’s way of doing business. Its pro-bono mentoring programme works in 80 countries and has already made a positive difference to the lives of over 9 million women and girls across the world.

Sam is an expert in the fields of women’s leadership and gender diversity within the business world and is also an active campaigner on the role of business in solving world economic and social issues, supporting families after suicide, the developing world orphan crisis and empowering women as business leaders in developing and emerging economies. Originally from the UK and passionate about family and life balance, Sam now lives in Southern California with her family.

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Michelle T Davies
Global Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group, Eversheds, UK

Michelle is Global Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group. The Group has advised on over 30GW of renewable energy projects globally. She advises across all technologies including offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar, hydro and biofuels. Michelle's focus is on corporate strategy including M&A, equity raising and investment and exit mechanisms. Clients include utilities, IPPs, private equity and infrastructure funds, institutional investors, banks and governments.

Michelle is actively involved in policy and regulation in the sector both in the UK and globally. Michelle is on the Board of the Middle East Solar Association and the policy committee of the Saudi Solar Industry Association. She is also on the Board of the BPVA, the Advisory Board of the Climate Bonds Initiative, the REA Finance Strategy Group and is Deputy Chair of the RUK Offshore Wind Strategy Group. She founded and is Deputy Chair of the Climate Change Committee Advisory Group.

Michelle was listed as "a leader in renewables" by 'The Lawyer Hot 100 Lawyers 2012' and has been named for the last 3 years as being one of the top 100 people in global wind power by 'A Word About Wind'. Michelle has also been named Solar Woman of the Year 2014 and 2015 and more recently became a member of the DECC’s POWERful Women Group and winner of the Energy & Natural Resources Global Awards 2016.

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Nasreen Sheikh
President, Local Women’s Handicrafts, Nepal

Nasreen is approximately 25 years old – she does not know her real birthdate. She grew up in a very corrupt and conservative village in the northern state of Bihar, India where women have absolutely no rights. She left her village when she was around 12 years old and moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, where at a very early age she started to learn different handicraft skills. She was a child labourer in a sweat shop producing goods for export for few years. Her family started to arrange her marriage when she was around 18. Nasreen was able to escape from this forced marriage with the help of her teacher and friends.

She has spent years working and putting her focus on the women who needed help most and has been continuously working to educate as many women as possible. Nasreen opened a store in Nepal called Local Women’s Handicrafts and started building a training center for women in 2014. The work of Local Women’s Handicrafts has been written about in many different publications such as Forbes, the Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan. Nasreen’s dream is to bring peace and love to our world.

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Alison O’Brien
Commercial Strategy Director for UK & ROI, Kellogg’s

Alison is currently the Commercial Strategy Director for UK & ROI at Kellogg’s and has been in her current position for 3 years, having been at Kellogg’s for 14 years altogether.

She is a BA Graduate in History and Economics from Durham University and her first commercial sales role, which was as a Sales Representative for Pepsico, involved selling crisps from the back of a car! Amazingly, she found this experience to be interesting, challenging, different, rewarding and it fired her passion for learning and development.

Alison worked her way up at Pepsico in various Field Sales roles, but when a move to Head Office in Reading loomed, she decided to change companies as family reasons meant she wanted to remain in the North West of England

Whilst at Kellogg’s, Alison has managed all of the major Multiple, Convenience and Specialty customers, from Nisa and Budgens, through to Morrisons, Iceland and Tesco, and has also worked in Customer Marketing and managed the Field Sales Team. Prior to her current role on the Board, she was the Account Director for Tesco and ASDA.

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Gosia Gorna
Transformational Coach of the Year 2014

Gosia Gorna, winner of Transformational Coach of the Year 2014 is one of the most remarkable coaches in the world today. She uses intuitive insight and a range of highly effective techniques to bring about a profound transformation in people’s lives. In the past 20 years she has assisted thousands of people to make outstanding decisions in their lives by helping them to clear their fears and use their intuition with confidence.

Gosia’s specific expertise is in supporting change makers to accomplish their great work with clear mind, peaceful heart and reliable intuition. She has been the personal coach of Dr Collins, Aspire’s founder and CEO for 8 years.

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Vikki Leach
Senior Director, Global Corporate Citizenship at Avanade, UK

Vikki Leach is the Senior Director of Global Corporate Citizenship at Avanade Inc., a leading global technology firm and The Aspire Foundation’s Global Charity partner.

She is a senior professional with extensive experience in engaging business leaders and delivering cross country change programmes in diversity and inclusion, culture and engagement, communications and corporate citizenship. Based in the UK, Vikki is currently responsible for Avanade’s Global Corporate Citizenship Approach.

Vikki has over 15 years of experience in the technology industry driving change programmes with diverse and complex challenges, taking into consideration the local business needs and the company’s global vision, to produce diverse mixes of people with different backgrounds and experiences.  

Her passion in life is equality, both in her professional career and personal sporting career, and she believes everyone has a talent that can be unleashed in a supportive, inclusive and equal environment. Vikki knows teams that work together outperform those that don’t and that success feels better when it’s shared with others.    

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Sarah Powley
Full Time Foster Carer

Sarah has a background working for 13 years at KPMG, London in Audit, Mergers & Acquisitions and the CSR Team as an Associate Director. In 2004 following a trip to Brazil, she set up and chaired for five years a UK charity, Rainbow Farm, to support orphaned and abandoned children in Brazil and in 2006 went on a six month secondment to Tearfund, the Christian international aid charity to help on their strategic review. In 2007, she joined World Vision UK, the Christian international children’s charity as Finance Director, attended the London School of Theology for a year in 2012 and joined The Fostering Network as Finance Director in 2013. In March 2016, she became a full-time foster carer with Hounslow Borough Council. In her spare time, she is a trustee for the international children’s charity Viva and a champion for Home for Good, the charity that supports fostering and adoption in the UK.

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Rishabh Gandhi
Global Digital Director: Hair Category Unilever, UK

Rishabh is known for his creative and challenging the norms attitude. His passion and expertise is in developing powerful strategic brands and developing teams through people focused leadership. His global experience spans Unilever, Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited and education in California and Mumbai. He is an advocate for women leaders, authenticity and human rights and strongly believes in the right of everyone to be themselves. Rishabh is an aspiring leading voice for Lesbian, Gay, Transsexual and Bisexual rights in the workplace.

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Dr Sam Collins
CEO and Founder Aspire, Trailblazing Women

Award-winning leadership expert, social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, coach and author, Dr Sam Collins is synonymous with M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Women Leaders and is a leading global voice on women as leaders and change agents for workplaces, organisational culture and community impact. Sam has been named one of the 'Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry' by Her Majesty, The Queen, one of the 'Top 10 Coaches' by The Independent and 'Leader in the Workplace' in the Ogûnte Women's Social Leadership Awards.

She has worked with over 25,000 women leaders from global corporations, small business, government and non profits over the past 14 years and has contributed to The Financial Times, The Guardian, CNN, The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times and the BBC. She has contributed to 'Focus on Africa' on the BBC World Service and was a 'Micro Genius' for Psychologies Magazine.

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Sarah Kitakule
Adviser, Gender and Economic Empowerment, The Commonwealth Secretariat

Sarah is a strong advocate for women’s economic empowerment and girls’ education. Her recent professional life is centered on advocating for gender equality. She has been a board member of several women’s networks, has provided leadership to private sector associations and, most specifically, was the elected Chairperson of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association for three years. She has mentored young professionals and her contribution was recognised when she was nominated for the British Council Woman Professional of the Year Award.

Sarah has over 25 years’ experience working with several international organisations: the World Bank/International Finance Corporation, United States Agency for International Development and the International Labour Organisation.

She credits her success to her parents who believed in educating their girls in spite of opposition from friends and family. She is an aspiring entrepreneur who believes in not giving up in spite of the many obstacles. She has co-authored a book on the resilience of women entrepreneurs in Uganda titled ‘Above the Odds: A Decade of Change for Ugandan Women Entrepreneurs’.

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Julie Chakraverty
Founder of rungway and Non-Executive Director at Aberdeen Asset Management, UK

Julie Chakraverty is the founder of rungway, a new mentoring app recognised by Forbes Magazine where anyone can offer and receive advice about work life challenges. She also serves as a non-executive director for Aberdeen Asset Management where she is Chairman of the Innovation Committee and for the insurance company Amlin where she is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee. Additionally, she is a Trustee for the Girls Day School Trust in the UK.

During her executive career Julie was a Board Member of UBS Investment Bank where she held a number of global leadership positions. She chaired the UBS Women’s Network, “All Bar None” and won industry awards for innovation every year between 2001-2009 for her “CreditDelta” portfolio product.

In 2006 she was named in Management Today’s ‘Top 35 Women Under 35’. In 2013 she was recognised in The Times newspaper as the youngest female director of a FTSE-100 company, aged 41.

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Adam Warby
Chief Executive Officer, Avanade and Global Charity Partner of The Aspire Foundation

Avanade was formed in April 2000 as a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft. 

Adam works closely with the Avanade Board of Directors and his leadership team to realise the mission of making a genuine impact on our clients and their customers through solutions based on the Microsoft platform.

Adam joined Avanade at its inception in April, 2000, and as one of the founding members, was instrumental in building the company and shaping its culture. A senior leader, Adam has significant experience managing and growing Avanade’s business operations, having served as General Manager and Senior Vice President for the company’s North American and European operations during his tenure. As Executive Vice President, he has also led Avanade’s worldwide sales and marketing teams, and set the vision and direction for Avanade solutions.

A true global citizen, Adam has lived in both Europe and North America and has frequently traveled the globe visiting Avanade clients and regional offices.

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Shirine Khoury-Haq
Director of Operations, Lloyds of London

Lloyd’s of London, generally known as Lloyd’s, is an insurance market originating in the 17th century located in London’s primary financial district, the City of London. Shirine joined Lloyd’s in July 2014 as Director of Operations and part of the executive team, with responsibility for market operations, information technology and property services. She joined Lloyd’s from Catlin, where she was Group Head of Operations and UK Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this, Shirine was an Associate Partner at IBM, specialising in large systems and business transformation projects as well as post merger/acquisition integration. Shirine also had responsibility for Finance and Operations for several regions while employed at McDonald’s Corporation.

Shirine holds an MBA from Ohio State University and is a US Certified Public Accountant.

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Olga Miler
Marketing Director and Intrapreneur, UBS Wealth Management

Innovator. Intrapreneur. Change maker. Just three of the marketing industry’s plaudits for Olga Miler, global marketing expert and winner of UBS’s Intrapreneur of the Year 2015 Award.

Olga has driven growth in three international bluechip organizations: UBS, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Nestlé. She works on the edge of innovation, maximising results through new areas of marketing including client experience and agile organisational forms.

Olga’s career has embraced leadership roles in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Her transformational achievements reflect Olga’s experience in delivering innovative marketing and organisational change for the financial, luxury and consumer packaged goods sectors.

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Victoria Boxall-Hunt
Group Operations Director, Marcol

Victoria leads operations and HR at Marcol, a successful 40 year old equity investor and asset manager company with an extensive multibillion pound active portfolio of real estate, healthcare businesses and other venture capital investments.

Victoria has been described as efficient, strong, decisive, approachable, resourceful, empathetic and emotionally intelligent. She brings humanity to what she does, thinking about people and families as well as profits.

She believes in the value of personal and professional development, surrounding yourself with positive people and things and achieving general well-being through quality sleep, meditation, yoga, travel, good food and fun.

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Jane Donaldson
Executive Director, The Aspire Foundation, USA

Jane has over 25 years of experience in the not for profit world that combines a dedication and commitment to children, arts and women’s rights.

Beginning her career at South Island Children’s Art Center for at-risk children in South London, she then went on to run a small business designing and creating an arts and craft kit system marketing to community groups, Museums and City Councils. After moving to California in 1992, she worked for Resurrection Interiors and Deborah Castro Events in San Francisco, coordinating the largest Women's Craft Fair in America. After the birth of her daughter she moved to Los Angeles and became a volunteer and then worked at the J. P. Getty Museum, at very special time in the Getty History, the opening of the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

In 2000, Jane joined City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts where she deepened her dedication and commitment to serving underserved children, as Director of Programs and Services and then Executive Director. During this time, Jane created and produced "Fresh Focus" a photography exhibit and event as a fundraiser for City Hearts. Jane also founded “Sew Topanga”, a community-based program of textile art and sewing workshops for children and adults, now in its 10th year, and is a member of the Modern Quilt Guild.

In 2014, Jane became a Mentee with The Aspire Foundation and last year after attending the Aspire Trailblazing Leadership Conference, she signed on to become an Aspire Mentor. In 2016, Jane became the first Executive Director of The Aspire Foundation.

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7 Ways to Help You Move Forward

Feeling stuck? Sometimes all it takes to move forward, even take gentle baby steps, is an encouraging word in your ear. Aspire’s CEO, Dr Sam Collins, offers seven simple pieces of wisdom to help you move to the next level.