WEConnect International's Europe Conference 2014 - Presenters

More about our keynote speaker and presenters.

Sonia Bate, EDIT Development

Sonia Bate

Website: EditDevelopment.com

Twitter: @EditDevelopment

Sonia is the Managing Director of EDIT Development, a global people agenda partner specialising in leadership development, coaching and diversity and inclusion. She is a leadership development consultant with over 14 years’ experience. She has held senior leadership positions in both retail and the financial services sector allowing her to bring broad commercial and operational experience to the organisations she works with. 

Sonia is a diversity and inclusion expert who works with organisations to build a diverse talent pipeline, as well as with senior teams to build a more inclusive culture. She sits on the UK government’s gender pipeline review committee and works with global businesses to drive organisational change. A keynote speaker, facilitator and executive coach, Sonia is passionate about making a difference to the demographic and performance landscapes of businesses.

Louise Beaumont, Platform Black

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Website: PlatformBlack.com

Twitter: @platformblack

Louise is Co-Founder and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Platform Black – a company operating at the forefront of the alternative finance industry. She started Platform Black with Colin Levins after seeing a gap in the market for supply chain finance and invoice trading services. With 15 years’ experience in product and service development from idea generation through to effective commercialisation, Louise has developed and deployed successful growth strategies for businesses with a focus on the SME market including Microsoft, Adobe and Vodafone. 

Having invented a new type of SME finance by leveraging the capital markets into SMEs via an innovative trading platform which matches businesses that have invoices they want to trade with investors with liquid funds to invest, Louise advises Number 10, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on primary legislation, invoice finance and supply chain finance.

Maggie Berry, WEConnect International

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Website: WEConnectInternational.org

Twitter: @WEConnectEurope

Maggie is the Executive Director for Europe for WEConnect International – a global organisation supporting supplier diversity in procurement and helping majority owned women businesses to connect into the corporate supply chain. She has lead responsibility for the management, leadership and development of WEConnect International’s activity in Europe and her role involves developing corporate and public sector support as well as growing a network of majority owned women’s businesses across the UK and Europe.

Prior to joining WEConnect International, she ran womenintechnology.co.uk – an online job board, recruitment and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She was involved from Women in Technology's inception in the autumn of 2004 and managed all aspects of the website and the networking activities Women in Technology organised. Maggie continues to run the Women in Technology Network on an informal basis.

In March 2012, Maggie was honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and she is currently serving as a Global Agenda Council Member on Employment for the 2012-2014 term. In July 2011 she was listed as one of 15 UK-based TIAW (International Alliance for Women) World of Difference Award winners and she is a Freeman at the Information Technologists' Company.

Linzi Boyd, School of Brand Fame


Website: BrandFamous.com

Twitter: @Linzi_Boyd

A serial entrepreneur, Linzi had set up and sold two businesses by the age of 24. Her second company – a successful footwear brand, championed in the design museum as design classics – was sold to Caterpillar where she then went on to set up her third business, Surgery Group. Over its 15-year history, the company has become renowned for influencing an industry, creating exciting projects, launching brands into the market and helping elevate some of the country’s most famous high-street consumer brands.

After years of working on developing brand DNA, refining product vision, channelling labels to market and developing strategic communication plans there was clearly a big opportunity for Linzi. Right on cue, Midas and the School of Brand Fame were launched. Midas is a business that specialises in creating long-term value for celebrities, brands and business leaders that currently works with A-list entrepreneurs and VIPs. The School of Brand Fame has been created to deliver a more in-depth version of the methodology that Linzi Boyd uses when working with business owners and CEOs taking them on the journey from idea to execution. It will open up its doors in November 2014, offering on and offline courses for SMEs.

Ishreen Bradley, Bizas

Ishreen Bradley.jpg

Website: Bizas.co.uk

Twitter: @bizascoaching

Ishreen coaches senior executives to develop their personal brand and value proposition to be a match for their already high intellect in a way that is consistent with their values and the values of their organisation. Her particular passion is to assist female leaders in innovation driven organisations to reach their highest potential, be inspired by who they are and be fulfilled by their work.

Clients engage Ishreen when they want to increase their strategic impact and influence, progress their careers, expand their effectiveness in leading large-scale initiatives or deliver specific results for themselves and their teams. Known for assisting clients to achieve results they never thought possible, Ishreen combines more than 25 years’ experience as an executive in global blue chip firms with academic knowledge from a London Business School MBA and a Masters in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School.

Ishreen enjoys contributing her experience to the community through a range of non-profit organisations, including being: a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors; a Mosaic Associate; a Director of a social enterprise, Women on Purpose; and co-founder of a community organisation, Women Engaged in Building Bridges. Her contribution to these communities was recognised through an award from The International Alliance of Women in 2013 and being chosen as a finalist in the 2014 Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards.

Katie Day, High-heeled Leader

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Website: TheHighheeledLeader.com

Twitter: @KatieDayAuthor

Katie started her training and motivational speaking career in 1989 and earned her training accreditation in 1995 delivering self-development programmes to empower women to reach their full potential. She worked for The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development running programmes for female staff from all countries of operation and headed up the task force to look at gender diversity. From there, she worked for Business in the Community working with FTSE companies on their gender diversity agenda.

In 2004 she set up The High-heeled Leader company for professional women whether corporate or running their own businesses. Her clients include: Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Atkins Global, Citibank, Northern Trust, Kent Police, AXA, Kimberley Clark, Willis and AIG. She has also been a guest lecturer at Warwick Business School on their MBA programme and regularly writes for the Huffington Post, Prowess, Project Eve and Women Unlimited.

Katie was the winner of WEConnect International Global Pitch Competition in Philadelphia in June this year. She is speaking at WEConnect International in India in September and trained WEConnect International women-owned businesses in Nigeria in October. Her book, The High-heeled Leader, is available on Amazon.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein, REAL Thought Leaders

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Website: MindyGK.com

Twitter: @MindyGK

Mindy is an international speaker and executive coach specialising in turning experts into thought leaders and published authors. She has been called ‘practical and inspiring’ by leading business thinkers. Mindy has authored and co-authored seven books and her latest book, 24 Carat BOLD outlines the four attributes found in REAL Thought Leaders. A native New Yorker, Mindy currently resides in the UK where she operates two businesses. She is Founder & CEO of The Book Midwife® and Founder and CEO of Panoma Press, a cooperative publishing house for business and personal development authors. She has an enviable list of more than 1,000 published clients.

Mindy has an MBA in international business and has taught the post-graduate diploma course for the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK. She has been an international speaker for more than 15 years and has presented to over 10,000 business executives and entrepreneurs in more than 10 countries. As a regular media contributor, Mindy has been featured in national and specialist press over the past 10 plus years. Mindy also runs coaching, consultancy and training sessions based on the REAL Thought Leaders methodology, helping executives and business leaders raise their profile and reputation through speaking and writing.

Baroness Mary Goudie


Website: BaronessGoudie.com

Twitter: @BaronessGoudie

Mary is a senior member of the British House of Lords and a global advocate for the rights of women and children. In the UK she is a founding member of the 30% Club steering committee which aims to influence chairmen into bringing more women onto UK corporate boards. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Vital Voices Global Partnership. She is also a trustee of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation, based in the US, whose aims are to foster interfaith dialogue and to establish common ground and solutions to global challenges affecting mankind. Furthermore, she is a member of the Board of Directors of EuropEFE – the European Mission of the Education for Employment Foundation based in Spain (Fundacion Educacion para el Empleo) – and she is a member of the UK Board of Directors for the Center for Talent Innovation, a non-profit think tank that focuses on challenges and issues pertaining to the workplace. Mary recently took part in the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Deauville and contributed to ‘Policing for a Better Britain’, a report of the Independent Police Commission in the UK.

Nelly Kostadinova, Lingua-World

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Website: Lingua-World.co.uk

Nelly is the founder and managing director of Lingua-World. The company has 14 branches in Germany, one office in Johannesburg, SA, and a recently opened branch in London. Lingua-World offers translations, interpreting services and localisations in all subject areas and industries. Around 180 languages and dialects from all over the world – from Arabic to Zulu – are included in their language spectrum. The worldwide operating company guarantees a year-round 24-hour service, employing approximately 10,000 freelance translators and interpreters.

Nelly, a journalist in her own right, has long been campaigning for the interests of women entrepreneurs. As of 2013, she has been a member of the VdU Executive Federal Board (VdU, the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs), representing the association’s international interests. Her aim is to promote a closer international collaboration of women entrepreneurs and women in leading positions.

Nelly is also very involved in community projects, specifically supporting projects for children – language always playing an important role. She is currently involved with “Die Kapito! Kinder”, a project for primary school children with migrant backgrounds. After opening a branch in South Africa, she has been able to extend this support. Together with the Christian youth organisation Youth Alive Ministries (YAM), she opened a computer school in Dube for socially disadvantaged children in the townships of Soweto. The trainers who educate the children in how to use new technology and the necessary technology are provided by Lingua-World.

Lara Morgan, Company Shortcuts Ltd


Website: LaraMorgan.co.uk

Twitter: @iamlaramorgan

Lara began to develop the skills of an entrepreneur at an early age. Her parents lived and worked in Hong Kong, whilst she and her brother would travel halfway around the world to school in Scotland. Her independent childhood and her parents being wonderful ‘leaders by example’ all contributed to her understanding of business today.

She finished school at the age of 18 fully expecting to attend university. However, that same year her father was declared bankrupt. As a result, she found herself borrowing her first business clothes from a mate of her mothers and went for an interview. At 18 she taught herself the art of sales, and by 21 she was managing a Yellow Pages sales team in six countries. In 1991, at the age of 23, she started her first business, Pacific Direct Ltd, which manufactured and sold brand licensed toiletries and amenities to the hotel industry.

Seventeen years later, she sold her majority share (99%) in 2008 for the sum of £20million. Since then, she spends quality time with her husband and three lively daughters.

Lara is the Founder of CompanyShortcuts.com, a source of practical advice and frameworks to enable businesses leaders to achieve accelerated growth. She is passionate about leadership, business growth, and self and employee motivation. Company Shortcuts has been founded to build a legacy trust that will sponsor ambitious enterprise leaders up to 50% of course costs to support enterprise growth acceleration courses. 

Lara has investment interests in the following businesses: The Luxury Slipper Company Ltd; Gate8 luggage; Functional Fragrances; The Sandpit. She is also mentoring a young entrepreneur with the start-up, WellHeeled. She also gives a great deal of time as ambassador for UKTI for export. She has been an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur finalist three times and in 2005 she was a Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award finalist. Taking it all in her stride, Lara regularly competes as an Elite Triathlete.

Marcela Navarro, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBSg)


Website: RBS.com

Twitter: @navarro_marcela

Marcela is the Head of Customer Innovation Chief Executive Office within the Corporate Banking Division at RBS. She reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Banking Division (CBD) of RBSg – 28% of RBSg revenue, globally. She is responsible for customer innovation for CBD, identifying, prioritising and mobilising key transformation programmes to ensure the bank’s relevance over time. Marcela progressed from local, to regional, to global responsibilities and has a first class track record in flow business and international customer experience, strengthened by operating and residing in Latin America, the US and the UK. She joined RBS in her current role in 2010, where she has driven a large number of initiatives to promote access to cash, resource efficiency and inclusion of minorities in the supply chain. 

Marcela has strong credentials in defining and executing new developments and change agendas at the international and local levels, for major corporates and non-profit organisations. She has considerable international and multicultural experience evidenced in her ability to develop new markets and business propositions, driving the execution of strategic agendas. She also serves on the boards of numerous companies and charities. 

Marcela chairs the advisory board of the Global Banking Alliance for Women as well as the advisory board of WEConnect International in Europe. She is a board member of the APPG for Women and Enterprise in the UK and the National Equality Standard.

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