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Join us for the largest virtual event

For Women To Date


Join us for what will be the largest online conference for women in business to date.

The FL Summit 2020 is set to be one of the most innovative platforms, bringing together women from all levels, in different organisations, to tackle what will be the biggest discussion on the advancement of gender in business.

This year’s theme “Balanced Leadership” has carefully curated industry speakers and panels of experts to share their thoughts on how we can create a safer, healthier and more gender-balanced working environment for all.

Taking place on Thursday 16th July 2020
10am – 4pm
Online – Zoom
Free admission

The Agenda

10am – 11am

Small Business : Pivoting your small business post-covid

Richelle Schuster (Grant Thornton)
Sahar Hashemi OBE (Founder, Coffee Republic)
Charlotte Valeur (Chair, Institute of Directors)
Pippa Murray (Founder, Pip and Nut)

11am – 12pm

Finance : The Future of Finance – levelling the playing field

Rachael Hannan (Angel Investor)
Karen Finlayson (Partner, PWC)
Sue Barnard (British Business Bank)

12pm – 1pm
1pm – 2pm

Engineering & Technology : The future work force

Maila Reeves (Director, FDI Europe)
Bontle Senne (Executive Director, Virgin Media)
Sabah Khan Carter (CIO, News Corp)
Daryn Edgar (Vice-President, Global Alliances)

2pm – 3pm

BAME Leaders : Is BLM a trend for the season?

Griselda Togobo (CEO, Forward Ladies)
Kendi Guantai (Senior Lecturer, Leeds University)
Abigail Marshall-Katung (Councillor, Leeds Council)
Lara Oyesanya (Chief Risk Officer, Contis)

3pm – 4pm

Leadership: Championing Cultural Change

Arti Halai (TV Presenter)
Griselda Togobo (CEO, Forward Ladies)
Matt Turner (CEO, Taste Card)
Helen Aboah (CEO Urban Zen)


We have curated an excellent array of expert panels and industry leaders to engage in thorough discussions on gender balance and balanced leadership.


Daryn is an energetic and accomplished executive whose progressive career in the technology sector has been developed internationally within global enterprises as well as emerging businesses and key industries. Recognised by Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in UK IT and the Women in Technology Awards, Daryn speaks on a range of topics in digital technology, business development and diversity. As an active startup mentor, Board member and angel investor, Daryn is skilled at building relationships to produce value and influence direction.

Daryn is highly skilled in building relationships at senior levels within organisations to ensure customer satisfaction, maximise future business potential and develop multiple business channels. This has included the development of new business models within existing operations in order to respond to volatile global market conditions and changing industry imperatives. Commercially driven with achievements in turnarounds and mergers and acquisitions, Daryn excels at developing international teams within a culture of trust and inspiration.

Bontle Senne is an Agilist, author, executive, coach, and speaker. Bontle leads Virgin Media UK's Transformation Office in her role as Executive Director of Transformation and oversees the execution, prioritisation, and value assurance of all major transformation programs in VM.

Before that, she led Deutsche Bank's global Agile transformation in Corporate and Investment Banking Tech, co-led the Africa Agile practice at McKinsey and Company, led an NGO focused on bridging the digital divide in African children's literature, provided edtech advisory on the leadership team at Africa4Tech, and published five Afro-fantasy novels for 9 - 12 year olds.

Sue Barnard is the Senior Manager for the UK Network team at the British Business Bank and her role is to obtain a greater understanding of  the North West of England and gather  detailed insights in to the North West’s characteristics, strengths, issues and strategic priorities, along with intel on the features, players, strengths and weaknesses of the SME access to finance eco-system in your region.

Sue also develops working-level relationships and partnerships with key organisations involved in helping SMEs grow (across the private, public and SME member organisation sectors) within your region and at the same time raising awareness of BBB and its services amongst these regional organisations. One of Sue’s passions is to champion the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund which she has been involved in since the launch back in 2017 and continues to support the NW Fund Managers.Sue has held similar positions for over 25 years with the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub and the North West Development Agency promoting a range of programmes from the North West Fund, The Manufacturing Advisory Service and through to North West Business Angels and the Start Up Loans Programme.


Specialties: Building & Maintaining Key Strategic Relationships, Key Account Management, Contract Management, Foreign direct investment, Inward Investment, Investor Development, Public and Private Sector Finance, Proposition Development, Research & Development & Process Management.

Over the last 15 years, Charlotte has been a director of 7 public companies, including three appointments as chair. During that period she has taken part in a complete restructuring of NTR Plc, the sale of Renewable Energy Generation Plc to BlackRock and, as Chair, overseen a $8bln Merger of FTSE250 Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc with its US NYSE listed parent. Charlotte also has board experience with a range of unlisted companies including international engineering firm Laing O’Rourke, BT Pension Fund and as the Chair of Institute of Directors U.K.

Charlotte is a corporate governance expert and a keen advocate for diversity in the boardroom, underpinning this advocacy with action by founding Board Apprentice. This not-for-profit organisation provides individuals hands-on experience at the very top of business, and has been cited in the U.K. Government’s recent reviews on ethnic and gender diversity in UK boardrooms as a resource for bringing about real change.

Before entering the field of governance, Charlotte worked in finance, where she has over 30 years’ experience. Her career included stints with Societe Generale, BNP-Paribas, and S.G. Warburg.

Abigail is an elected member of the Leeds City Council and the first African to be elected onto the Council in May 2019.  Abigail represents Little London, Woodhouse & the City Centre.  Abigail is the Lead member for BAME in the council.  She also Chairs the board of 16-25yrs FE/Strategic partnership in the city. 

Abigail Marshall is the founder and Managing Director of 1st Resource Ltd, a multi faceted Recruitment Agency specialising in Medical and International Education recruitment in Leeds.  Abigail is a Masters degree graduate from the University of Leeds. Abigail is an England Athletics coach and coaches U15 Boys and Girls.  She specialises in sprinting at the Leeds City Athletics club.  She is currently the U15 Girls team manager for the Northern Youth Development League.  She enjoys running and raising funds for the Twins and Multiple Birth Association a Charity very close to her heart. Abigail is a Mentor for HRH Princes Trust Mosaic. Mentoring young people in entrepreneurship. Giving talks in schools on behalf of Mosaic. 

Abigail achieved the Inspirational Success Award in 2007 by the European Trust Fund & LSC.  Abigail was amongst the three shortlisted nominees for the best female entrepreneur at the first Yorkshire Black & Ethnic Convention (YBEC) in 2007. Abigail’s journey to starting her own business came with the birth of her twin boys.  They continue to remain a strong drive to her success.

Dr Kendi Guantai is an academic at the Leeds University Business School (LUBS), where she designs and delivers postgraduate courses in Corporate Communication and Public Relations. She is also a trainer on the Goldman Sachs 10K women’s projects and is involved in designing courses for the Executive Education Program at the Business School. Her passion for teaching is evident, and she was voted the Most Inspiring Tutor in 2018, and in 2019, received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Prior Joining LUBS in 2005, Dr. Guantai worked as a Marketing and Communication Professional in her home country of Kenya. Starting in Horticulture, she worked in a variety of other sectors, including NGO, Hospitality and Government/Civil service. Her commitment to making a remarkable contribution to the growth of the Communication profession continues, and she is currently the Vice President of the International Association for Business Communicators (IABC) - EMENA region. She also sits on the advisory board of Archetypical, the company behind the simulation game ‘Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders’.

Finally, Dr. Guantai is the President and co-founding trustee for the Leeds African Communities Trust, as well as the Lead on Education and Training for the Leeds City Council BAME Hub.

An experienced solicitor with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services sector that is skilled in regulatory, payments, enterprise risk management, consumer protection, small medium enterprise, offshore, and commercial banking.

The external Member, Committee on Benefactions External and Legal Affairs (CBELA), University of Cambridge and a non-Executive Director, Plan International UK. A Contributing Editor, Lexis Nexis Encyclopaedia of Banking Law and, a Member of the Consulting Editorial Board, LexisPSL©.

A Fellow of The RSA and 'Business Woman of the Year' & 'Corporate Leader', 2018 FL National Awards.

Maila Reeves is a former lawyer and an experienced angel investor in disruptive technology-based businesses, Maila was named as one of the top 100 Tech people in the UK (Tech City Insider). She is a mentor and strategy consultant to numerous start-ups and social enterprises and is a frequent speaker and panellist at business conferences and networking events.

Rachel Hannan started with a successful career with one of the big 4 accountancy firms, working in tax, corporate finance and consulting.

In late 2002 she co-founded a leadership and executive search consultancy that became a multi-million market leader in under 8 years, before her successful exit in 2010.

Since then she has been instrumental in the success of a range of high growth businesses as an active Angel Investor, Chairman, Non-Executive Director and Board advisor.

Helen Aboah is no stranger to change. Born in Eritrea, Africa and raised in Sonoma County, CA, she moved to NYC to study at Columbia University in NYC. She first achieved success in television and film where she learned the importance of storytelling, before pivoting to the retail industry where she mastered the art of combining product & design narratives with technology to create innovative digital experiences. She is currently the CEO of Urban Zen, a design vision and philosophy created by Donna Karan that defines the space where creativity, culture, and collaboration converge with retail, technology, wellness/healthcare, and social impact. Aboah oversees the brand’s operations including the Urban Zen Collection and artisanal partnerships, Urban Zen retail stores, Urban Zen Center, and the Urban Zen Foundation.

She also leads the groundbreaking Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program that integrates eastern healing modalities with western science. UZIT has trained over 900 integrative therapists who operate in UCLA Hospital, Motion Picture and Television Hospital, Northwell Hospital, Ohio State, and Stanford Medical Center to name a few. Prior to this, Aboah was a member of the executive team at the global luxury brand LVMH/Donna Karan International, where she was an early adopter to the increasingly important role technology was beginning to play and one of the first in the industry to embrace and adapt in order to maintain and future-proof the company’s position in the market. She moved on to Alexander Wang, where her interest and involvement in technology deepened as she partnered on the in-house rebuild of the brand’s e-commerce site. Now, as CEO of Urban Zen, she combines her past and present experience to seamlessly integrate and connect industries -- retail, healthcare, philanthropic organizations, etc. She leads multiple disciplines from design, digital / web marketing, content marketing, sales, and product. Aboah is an innovative and analytical leader, with experience driving growth and expanding businesses. She is dedicated to leading her team with a thoughtful and clear strategy and serving the customer by its deft execution.

Richelle leads an innovative service called Growth 365 for Grant Thornton.

A service designed to support CEOs and their management teams to think differently about how to accelerate growth, adapt and innovate.

A background in design has given her a valuable tool-kit to manage change for others.

Arti Halai is a broadcaster, entrepreneur, public speaker, and author. She has more than fifteen years experience working in the media industry as a Television presenter, producer and reporter.

She is Co-founder of the Fleet Street Group.


Linda Plant

The Apprentice Judge

Lara Oyesanya

FRSA - General Counsel
& Chief Risk Officer at Contis

Anna Keeling

MD Boeing Defence

Ian Stuart


Jo Fairley

Co-Founder of Green and Blacks

Gina Miller

Business Women
and Political Activist

Sahar Hashemi

Founder of Coffee Republic


Gender Diversity in Business

To join FL in the journey towards gender diversity in business is one of the best decisions you can make as an individual or organisation. You will partner as one of the forward thinkers in closing the gender gap in business.

Some of our previous sponsors/partners:
London North Eastern Railway (LNER)
Leeds Business School
LCF – Law Fair + Square
Real world Group
Murray Harcourt
PRATAP partnership

Read to become a sponsor?
Download the sponsorship pack here.


For the 2020 FL Leadership summit, we will be raising funds and putting a charitable donation towards You Women’s Trust charity.

Young Women’s Trust is a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for your women. To support this, you can purchase an ‘Admission and Charity Donation Ticket’ on Eventbrite.

Charity of choice: https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/

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