WEConnect International's Europe Conference 2013 - Keynote Speaker and Presenters

More about our keynote speaker and presenters.

Laura Tenison

Founder & MD of JoJo Maman Bébé
Laura Tenison
JoJo Maman Bebe logo

As the founder and Managing Director of JoJo Maman Bébé, Laura has grown the company organically from its start-up in 1993 to become the UK’s foremost niche multi-channel specialist in the pregnancy and baby market.

With start-up capital of just £50,000 and only two part time members of staff, Laura has grown the company to a forecast gross turnover of £43M in the current financial year and employs over 500 people. The company, now with 60 stores nationwide, continues to expand both organically in the UK and via trade sales to over 60 countries across the world.

The business ethos is based on a strong code of ethical business practice, where people and the planet are ranked higher on the agenda than bottom line profit. The company prides itself on its long standing employees with the majority of the founding members still part of the team. Emphasis is placed upon the service offered to customers and the value for money in the product.

Laura is also a trustee of the company charity, Nema, based in Mozambique.

Laura has been fortunate in receiving many honours and awards over the years, including:

  • Women in Public Life Awards, Business Woman of the Year, 2011
  • Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, 2010
  • Honourary Doctorate of Business, University of East London, 2010
  • Leading Wales Awards, Business Woman of the Year, 2009
  • Fast Growth Business, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, 2008
  • MBE for services to business in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, 2004

Laura has two sons (Toby and Ben) and divides her time between London (where the JoJo design studio and marketing office is based), the company’s headquarters in Newport, South Wales (where her family are from) and her cottage in Brittany, France where the idea for JoJo was first conceived.

Heather White

Founder of Smarter Networking
Heather White
Smarter Networking logo

Heather White is the founder of Smarter Networking which is a niche organisation specialising in networking for business success. Over the last 15 years Heather has built an enviable list of clients from ground zero and has worked with scientists to sales people, business owners to senior management and entrepreneurs to employees. Her clients include organisations such as KPMG, EY, Accenture, Metropolitan Police Service, Moody’s, London Business School, Cambridge University, BT, Harrods, Symantec, Universities UK, HMRC, Nomura to name but a few.

She is an international speaker, trainer, coach and published author. Her two books are called ‘Networking for Business Success’ and ‘How to Work a Room’. She has a You Tube (HeatherWhiteNetworks) channel giving short tips on how to network, has created the world first online tool to help people understand what their networking style is and in 2012, everywomen, a leading women’s network, commissioned Smarter Networking to create another first with an online workbook on how to network (published in 2013), with more work planned on developing your personal brand. Later this year she has also been invited to speak at TEDx Oxford.

Laura Haynes

Founder and Chair of Appetite
Laura Haynes
Appetite logo

Laura is the founder and Chair of Appetite, the leading strategic brand and communications consultancy. She has been the driving force that has brought the company international recognition as creators of powerful brand solutions and communications across a diverse portfolio of clients in Europe and North America. These include major corporations, many well-known consumer brands, public sector bodies, not for profits, education and arts organisations.

An American, Laura was educated at McGill University in Canada, and the Courtauld Institute, University of London, UK. Although she has made the UK her permanent home, Laura has lived for periods in the US, Canada, France and Tunisia and is currently residing in London.

Laura’s experience includes over 25 years helping organisations to embrace change, build and enhance culture and expand potential through a unique approach that fuses strategic planning, innovation and intelligent design. This has led her to develop a new brand-led approach to building sustainability in every organisation through “Business Made Better”, an Appetite initiative. The results are sustainable brands that deliver their core purpose and nurture loyalty, thus making sure that they endure today and tomorrow.

A passionate advocate of the power of the brand and a dynamic, motivational presenter, Laura plays an active and contributory role in the industry itself and speaks regularly at conferences and seminars in the UK, Europe and USA on all aspects of brands, culture, communications and change. As President of the Design Business Association, Laura’s focus has been on industry strategy, advocacy, collaboration with other allied organisations and the effectiveness agenda. In addition to her work with the DBA, Laura is a member of the Parliamentary Design Commission, a Trustee Board Director of UN Women, UK, the United Nations organisation focused on gender equality, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and the Marketing Society (UK). She is also a Board Director and past Chair of Alberta Ballet (Canada), and a Board Director of the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, chairing the Arts Centre Transformation Project - a major city-centre building program.

Dr Yvonne Foster

Director of Lotus Human Resource
Yvonne Foster
Lotus HR logo

Yvonne started Lotus HR in 2010 following the completion of a doctorate in the area of human resource management. With a passion to provide HR expertise to smaller businesses, the team at Lotus dedicate 100% of energy to supporting business navigate the employee relations minefield.

Lotus HR specialises in helping organisations through the difficulties of dealing with people at every stage of employment. This includes developing recruitment strategies that bring good people into the business, personnel processes that help people to grow and succeed and the systems that ensure organisations are compliant and competent when issues arise.

The company acts as an outsourced HR service, a provider of training for internal HR staff or as a consultant on a wide range of HR issues. Yvonne gets enormous satisfaction from seeing her clients develop teams of motivated people who help the company to grow.
“You can’t treat people all the same – everyone is different and we find ourselves helping both the managers and staff when there are challenges to resolve. However, there is good practice – and that should be applied in every case if companies want to really get the most from their employees.”

Denise Nurse

CEO of Halebury
Denise Nurse
Halebury logo

Denise is CEO of Halebury. She is also one of the co-founders of the business and a qualified solicitor. In terms of her legal background, Denise studied law at Liverpool University and qualified in 2000 with London City firm Charles Russell, joining their corporate commercial team. She then made the move in-house to work as a legal adviser for BSkyB before establishing Halebury with business partner Janvi Patel in 2007, the aim being to provide clients with a highly experienced, flexible, cost efficient in-house resource. Whilst at BSkyB she advised on technology and outsourcing contracts with a particular focus on new media.

In her role as CEO for Halebury, Denise focuses on strategy, management and client service. Together with Janvi she has built a team of first class legal consultants and an excellent operational team. Having attracted a leading commercial TMT and employment team her continued focus is on supporting and leading that team and ensuring the best customer service for clients.

Denise is also a broadcaster who has presented for Sky News, Sky Travel and hosts Escape to the Country for the BBC. She hosts and speaks at corporate events on subjects relating to intellectual property and entrepreneurship.

To book your ticket, please click here!

Back to conference page.