Aspire - Leadership for the future

Session 2

Keynote Speaker:

Challenging Young Leaders to Reach for the Stars.

Learning Objectives: The power is within you - tap into your own self belief, confidence and ability to design your own destiny rather than waiting for anyone else to determine it for you. Be inspired about your role in advancing your career and changing the world.

Victoria Azubuike, aged 21,
The US Programme



Networking Lunch

Meet and network with other attendees over lunch.

Session 3

Small Group Speaker Sessions with Q&A

Join the speakers of your choice to get up close and personal and be inspired by their story and strategies for success.

Learning objectives: Hear from young women role models about how they follow their dreams. Grow your confidence, resilience and personal and professional impact for the future.

Tilly Griffiths, aged 18,
Now or Never


Bryony Farmer, aged 20,
Entrepreneur and Founder,
Precious Stars


Harrie Gillum-Webb, aged 17,
Deputy Head Girl,
Lord Wandsworth College


Persia Holder, aged 17,
Lord Wandsworth College


Sharee Watson, aged 20,
Undergraduate student,
University of Portsmouth


Eniola Edusi, aged 19,
Undergraduate student,
University of Kent


Session 4

Reflection Session: The Power of Quiet Time

Take the time out to reflect on your life, career plans and future direction Gain tools to translate your insights into real life and create your M.A.D. plans for after the conference.

Session 5

Panel Discussion: Courage, Authenticity and Strengths

Hear top tips and ‘how to’ ideas for overcoming fear, being yourself and playing to your strengths to perform at your best at school, work and at home.

Lydia Greatrix, aged 18,
Anti Bullying Ambassador and
undergraduate student, Nottingham Trent University


Tracy Lomanga, aged 20,
Writer, Speaker and Founder,
she is clothed


Emily Jack, aged 17,
St Neots Sixth Form Centre


Grace-Elizabeth Muntu Nkaye, aged 15,
Eastlea Community School


Tasnim Zaman, aged 17,
Community Sports Ambassador and Member,
Girls Circle


Session 6

Aspire M.A.D. Girls Finale, Action Plans, Support and Accountability

Learning Objectives: Create tangible action plans and gain support and accountability from a new network of like-minded young women peers.

Networking Session

Join parents, carers and other attendees to discuss the day, network, relax and have fun.


Tasnim Zaman, aged 17
Community Sports Ambassador and Member, Girls Circle

Tasnim is based in Wales and brings a fresh perspective on being a young woman in Wales from a Bangladeshi Muslim background. 

She has recently spoken alongside Dr Margo Thomas, the recent United Nations Chief of Secretariat to the High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment, where her speech was very well received.

Tasnim is also a sports ambassador within her community, encouraging more girls to get healthy and love their body through enjoying sport and eating well and she has recently joined Girls Circle, which is an organisation based in Cardiff. Girls Circle supports girls and young women to reach their full potential, providing dynamic initiatives to empower, educate and elevate girls. 

Tasnim is known as a high achiever in class, receiving academic awards in her old school for her hard work and results. She is keen to become a doctor and hopes one day to make female success a norm, rather than a novelty.

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Eniola Edusi, aged 19
Undergraduate student, University of Kent

Eniola Edusi is a 2nd Year undergraduate student at the University of Kent studying for a degree in International Business. She holds the role of Careers Officer at the University of Kent,is part of the African-Caribbean Society and also holds two other leadership roles within her university. She has a passion for shedding light on opportunities for the younger generation and equipping them to reach their full capacity.  Her varied interests include business, education and African literature.

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Grace-Elizabeth Muntu Nkaye, aged 15
Student, Eastlea Community School

Grace-Elizabeth attends Eastlea Community School in Canning Town. She enjoy subjects such as History and loves to delve deep into them to discover what the curriculum doesn’t teach her. 

She is a photographer, and enjoys the arts such as painting and sketching, writing and making music and writing poetry. Aside from this she makes time to educate her peers on matters such as women’s rights, racism and discrimination against all marginalised communities in our society. 

She believes it's vital for everyone to have self confidence and that girls shouldn't allow exterior factors to affect their attitudes and behaviours, which finally affect their self esteem.

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Emily Jack, aged 17
Student, St Neots Sixth Form Centre

Emily is a final year A level student at St Neots Sixth Form Centre, Cambridgeshire. She is an Arkwright Scholar and STEM ambassador, promoting STEM subjects within her school. She is a maths and reading leader and is also a qualified swimming teacher. 

Through her work within STEM and also from managing health restrictions in her daily life (she developed ME/chronic fatigue syndrome in year 9), Emily has developed skills to approach difficult situations with a positive attitude. 

She is planning to study Electronic Engineering at university, a subject which has had historically low numbers of women entering the profession.

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Tracy Lomanga, aged 20
Writer, Speaker and Founder, she is clothed

Tracy is currently a 3rd year student studying acting and performance. She is a freelance writer for protectED, a public speaker for 3FFs and has also spoken for The Change Foundation at the Houses of Parliament on female empowerment and surrounding yourself with positive influences as a young woman.

Tracy is the Founder of the brand she is clothed, which is a platform that focuses on self-development, self-care and self-love for young women with the hope of inspiring each individual to become the very best version of themselves they can be.

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Lydia Greatrix, aged 18
Anti Bullying Ambassador and undergraduate student, Nottingham Trent University

Lydia is an award winning Anti Bullying Campaigner from Shropshire. After experiencing bullying at school, Lydia became an Anti Bullying Ambassador with The Diana Award and a National Anti Bullying Youth Board member. Since becoming an Ambassador she has spoken at several events around the world - most recently at a Global Youth Summit in California. Lydia has worked with Facebook on their safety features and met Nick Gibb MP to push the government to do more about bullying, as well as being on the Youth Panel for the 'Stop Speak Support' campaign with The Royal Foundation. She also has a YouTube channel where she talks about issues affecting students and young people. You can find her on Twitter @LydiaGreatrix.  

She is a Broadcast Journalism student at Nottingham Trent University.

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Sharee Watson, aged 20
Undergraduate student, University of Portsmouth

Sharee is an undergraduate student at University of Portsmouth studying for a BSc in Forensic Psychology.

Born in South East London, Sharee was adopted when she was young and raised by her adoptive father after her adoptive mother died. She suffered from mental health issues and underwent treatment for these while still managing to complete her GCSEs and A levels. During this time Sharee worked with charities such as B-Eat in order to raise awareness for those with eating disorders and for her work was awarded the Princess Diana Award.

She developed a chronic illness around the time of her A levels but still managed to obtain the required grades, making her the first person in both her birth family and adoptive family to go to university. She has struggled at university with more chronic illness diagnoses but continues to work hard and seize every opportunity and is averaging a 2:1 in her studies.

Sharee is extremely proud of how far she's come and has a strong belief that we can all make a real difference by sharing our stories and finding strength within ourselves.

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Persia Holder, aged 17
Student, Lord Wandsworth College

Persia is in her final year at Lord Wandsworth College studying English, Biology and Chemistry. She enjoys singing and occasionally performs at gigs in London which she hopes to able to continue after leaving school and loves sport, particularly netball.  She lives in Surrey with her mother, twin brother and dog

Persia will be speaking with Harrie Gillum-Webb on the topic of 'Popularity over Morality' and is passionate about equal rights for all and the importance of speaking up for what you believe in, even if it’s not the easiest course to take.

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Harrie Gillum-Webb, aged 17
Deputy Head Girl, Lord Wandsworth College

Harrie joined Lord Wandsworth College in year 9 and from the very beginning was a star in her year, being sociable, hard-working, principled, sporty and keen to be an active part of the school community. She is now Deputy Head Girl.

Harrie spoke up against racist bullying she witnessed at great personal cost including intense social exclusion and unpopularity. Despite this, she continues to work tirelessly for inclusivity, supports other girls and is creating a programme for better integration and community values. Despite the consequences of speaking up, Harrie would do the same thing again. She is strong, articulate, principled and genuinely champions those who need a voice - a true leader who walks the talk.

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Bryony Farmer, aged 20
Entrepreneur and Founder, Precious Stars

Bryony Farmer is a young entrepreneur who started her business 5 years ago at the age of 15, from her sick bed. She suffers from Lyme disease, a chronic illness, and has built her successful business around her health.

She now sells reusable menstrual products online via her website, Precious Stars, and exports all over the world.

She also runs the number one YouTube channel for menstrual health and alternative menstrual product tips. Despite her age, she is considered an expert in her field and has helped many companies develop and improve their products. 

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Victoria Azubuike, aged 21
Founder, The US Programme

Victoria Azubuike is a second year BSc Management student, who is the founder of the US Programme - a project with the mission to help educate and inspire young females from disadvantaged backgrounds to break boundaries and achieve their goals.

The programme was launched in 2016 and since then has reached hundreds of young women across London with its ‘She Who’ initiatives and has partnered with global businesses. The US Programme has been featured in both local and national newspapers, including The Guardian.

Victoria’s work has been recognised with the undergraduate being voted one of the UK’s top 10 black students at the Rare Rising Stars 2017 awards. She is a board member of London Youth and The Mayor's Fund for London. She was selected to meet the Duke of Edinburgh as London Youth celebrated its 130th anniversary at Buckingham Palace and she has also been featured in the Google and Female Quotient Initiative ‘Women Voyagers: Breaking Boundaries’ Initiative as the representative for the United Kingdom. 

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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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Tilly Griffiths, aged 18
Founder, Now or Never

Shortly following Tilly’s first birthday, she was diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and was given only six years to live. She has never been able to walk, stand or even crawl and is a full-time electric wheelchair user. Today at 18 years old, she proudly accepted her place in the Stanford University Class of 2022.

Tilly has sailed solo using specialist fingertip controls, ice-skated with Torvil and Dean and climbed mountains (both physical and metaphorical) in order to achieve her ambitions. All this has been made possible thanks to a fantastic network of support around her, but also as a result of her determination to do whatever it takes to fly beyond her dreams. Through volunteering for a number of local and national charities, she has taken part in everything from political campaigning to dealings with national press, but it is through this desire to give something back that her journey has been so wonderfully enriched. She has also published her first book, 'Tilly Smiles', which shines a positive light onto the world of disability for the families of newly diagnosed children and is the Founder of the charity Now or Never which will provide families and their children who have received a terminal diagnosis with a trip to California to create final memories before time, all too soon, runs out.

Tilly's message is simple: dream, commit, engage and believe.

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Jane Howson
CEO, Autism East Midlands

Jane has worked across the public and third sectors for over 25 years, has a masters degree from York University and four sons, including a 23 year old with autism. Jane took up her post as Chief Executive with Autism East Midlands (formerly Norsaca) in September 2013. Since then the organisation has been undergoing a period of significant change aimed at improving financial viability and quality of services-in addition to the name change.

Jane is a Trustee and Chair of the Autism Alliance UK. This is a national alliance of charities providing services for people with autism. The Alliance aims to improve both choice and quality of the support and services available. The Alliance works with government agencies and other bodies of influence, to ensure that Autistic people have an effective voice. As part of this work Jane co-chairs the Cross Sector Partnership with Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society.

Jane’s previous roles include managing investigations at the Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and leading a General Medicine Department in a District General Hospital. Immediately prior to joining Autism East Midlands Jane was Business Development Director at Linkage Community Trust.

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Elizabeth Vega
CEO, Informed Solutions

A highly experienced Board director, programme director and digital transformation expert, Elizabeth has over 25 years’ experience working at executive leadership level, heading and advising on complex change, digital transformation and enterprise IT programmes.

In her early career, Elizabeth worked internationally for blue chip companies including Unilever, Oracle and Hawker Siddeley before establishing Australian based technology consultancy, InfoTechnics. She founded Informed Solutions in the UK in 1992, expanding and developing the Company into a multi award winning market leader with clients in over 50 countries and offices in the UK and Australia.

Elizabeth is trusted and respected as an advisor to government, as well as public and private sector clients. She is a key industry thought leader and has served on the UK's Cabinet Office SME Panel since 2012.

Elizabeth is the first person to be an elected Director of both techUK's Main Board and the National Board of the AIIA. As a recognised expert and influential Digital Leader, she is also a Governor of Media City UK's University Technical College.

Committed to sustainable business and corporate responsibility, Elizabeth champions important economic issues such as facilitating the growth & export ambitions of SMEs, government spend with SMEs and the equitable commercial treatment of SMEs delivering innovation and high value specialist skills within supply chains.

She is also personally committed to addressing the Digital Skills Gap and sees the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) into national study curricula as key to increasing national productivity, competitiveness and economic growth.

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Sophia Zahra, age 19
Support Worker and Business Administration Apprentice, YMCA Swansea

Sophia works as a Support Worker and Business Administrator at the YMCA and has just finished self-studying Maths and Biology as a part-time A Level student. She is also passionate about mental health and so volunteers as a Young Champion to raise awareness and battle stigma as part of the Time to Change charity.Sophia is 19 years old and lives in Swansea, Wales.

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Sara Fernandez Schmidt, age 15
Student, St Francis College

Sara is a 15-year-old student from London, England. She currently attends St. Francis College. Her father and mother are of Spanish and German descent and Sara is therefore fluent in both languages. Her interests include fitness, travel, charity work, reading and cooking. In 2015, she travelled to Bosnia, taking part in the annual march commemorating the Genocide that took place in 1995. This summer she visited Rwanda and learned more about the country’s recent history as well as meeting women enrolled in the Women for Women International programme.

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Rachel Wibberley, age 18
Student, King's College, London

Making a difference motivates Rachel. She wants to have a role in shaping the world for others and has recently had the opportunity to represent the National Council for Women at the 61st Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

Whilst volunteering in a women's empowerment centre and girls’ orphanage in India, Rachel gained a deeper understanding of the inequality of the status of women. Rachel has spoken in national debates in the House of Commons and she is able to listen to the voices of young people from each constituency of the UK and represent their voices on a national scale. Her current experiences, enthusiasm and desire to promote women's rights inspire Rachel to put words into action and work towards a brighter future for women across the world.

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Jenny Raw, age 18
Human Rights Activist, National Council of Women Great Britain

Jenny was Head Girl at Nottingham Girls’ High School, where she led a team of 12 Prefects to organise regular events in school and in the local community. This empowered Jenny to take on a leading role in the National Council of Young Women at school and she was recently invited to join their Management Committee. She is now the first ever Youth Representative to this non-governmental organisation; she works to increase youth engagement in human rights by visiting schools around the country and using social media platforms. She takes a leading role in organising seminars and conferences and is often asked to attend national and international events. In March, Jenny was accredited to attend the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women 61 in New York, where she gave a speech about ‘leaving no one behind’ when implementing Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 8. She received a grant from the Girls’ Day School Trust to attend and was interviewed by The Metro about what feminism means to young people. She is now a regular blogger for the Huffington Post UK’s ‘Youth Voices’ section, where she writes about issues affecting young people today. Jenny was also selected to work on a Cabinet Office initiative, where she became a Young Community Leader, selecting exceptional volunteers in the East Midlands to be nominated for a national award. The team she led at the Girls' Day School Trust Young Leaders' Conference campaigned for the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust and won their charity’s category, where she learnt about the important work of charities and NGOs internationally. She also received Second Prize in their Human Rights Essay Competition. Jenny hopes to spend her gap year before university, and her career, advocating the human rights of others and inspiring young people to understand the importance of gender equality.

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Destiny Manning-Wong, age 17
Student, Loreto Sixth Form College

Destiny is 17 years old and in her first year of college. She was formerly Deputy Head Girl of Stockport Academy High School where she also held a lot of other titles such as Gold Tie - Senior Prefect, Peer Mentor, Anti Bullying Ambassador, GLAM (Girl Leadership And Marketing) Squad, Hospitality Team Member, Form and Netball Captain to name but a few. She has also won a number of awards: two Princess Diana Awards for Anti Bullying and Being a Good Role Model, a James Conaway award - for caring for others and Sports Woman of the Year. Destiny has achieved all of this since losing her mother half way through her 1st year of high school. Destiny loves helping others and is keen to become a better version of herself. Destiny has aspirations to become an accountant and eventually open her own accountancy firm.

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Building Blocks for the Girls

We have to believe inside that we deserve to be where we are, and to achieve what we have achieved. But we also have to understand that we cannot hold a belief that society owes us anything and instead make our own destinies, and likewise complain that nothing will ever change without understanding that we can control our own reality.