Michael Bennett, MCIPR

Divisional Managing Director at Jargon Group & Pelican Communications

An award winning PR consultant and former newspaper editor with over 30 years’ experience in journalism, PR and marketing communications. He founded and ran specialist sustainability consultancy Pelican Communications for 24 years before being acquired by The Jargon Group in 2022.

Michael has advised a range of environmental, packaging and waste management clients including WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), FCC Environment, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Apeal, British Glass and McCain Foods. 

A graduate of the University of Birmingham, he completed a post-graduate Diploma in Journalism at The City University, London. After editing a twice-weekly paper in Australia he returned to the UK, subsequently completing a CIM Diploma in Marketing.

Patrick Cousens

Director and Head of Energy and Sustainability at PLMR

Patrick Cousens is a Board Director at PLMR, a PR Week Top 50 communications agency and Top 10 public affairs firm, where he has led the energy and sustainability practice to rapid growth and frequent national recognition.

Patrick provides political and communications advice for clients ranging from innovative green start-ups to large listed corporates, securing national and international media coverage and engaging with the government around policies to support the net-zero transition.

Before joining PLMR, Patrick worked for the international development NGO Millennium Promise. He holds an MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation from King’s College London. 

Grace Fogarty

Professional Trainer

Over the past ten years I have designed and delivered 100+ international bespoke soft-skill training workshops. for organisations including Uber, HSBC, Marks and Spencers, Clifford Chance, Johnson and Johnson and the Bank of England. I've worked with graduates to senior leaders, for groups from 10 - 200, face-to-face and online. I teach practical tools and techniques that I've seen make a difference to how people feel and perform at work time and time again..

I also do stand-up comedy and am writing a one woman show, so I know how to deliver a memorable story to engage an audience and keep them captivated. I use my creativity and practical approach to deliver memorable experiences that teach people present with confidence, communicate clearly for greater engagement and become more effective, in and out of work.

Suzy Giles

Associate Partner, ESG Communications for ERM

Suzy Giles is an Associate Partner, ESG Communications for ERM, the world’s largest pure play sustainability consultancy. Suzy works with clients globally to deliver ESG communications strategy and branding, supporting senior leaders on their approach to internal and external engagement around their sustainability strategy. Suzy has 20-plus years in communications and marketing, largely within the education sector. Suzy chairs the CIPR’s ESG Expert Panel and is a member of the European Association of Communication Directors. Suzy is originally from the UK but lives and works in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Sheeraz Gulsher

Co-founder of People Like Us

Sheeraz is co-founder of People Like Us, an award winning non-profit that celebrates and supports professionals from underrepresented backgrounds in journalism, PR and the creative industries. Sheeraz is a passionate campaigner for equal pay for ethnically diverse working professionals in the UK. 

Justin Jeffreys

Head of Media Relations at ITV

Justin Jeffreys started his career at Taylor Herring, spending seven years working across consumer brands and entertainment accounts, before leaving as an Account Director to join ITV as a Programme Publicity.

In that time he has helped launch juggernaut brands including Love Island, The Voice UK and Big Brother, and has held senior leadership positions including Head of Press for Commercial and Online and Head of Programme Publicity for Entertainment and Reality. In his current role as Head of Media Relations, he leads all strategy and crisis communications around entertainment output.

Subira Jones

The Corporate Hippie

Subira Jones is a compelling coach on a mission to help us re-think our approach to stress. From completing her degree with her mum in a coma, to being diagnosed with a chronic illness early into her investment career…if there were a pageant for Burnout, Subira Jones, aka The Corporate Hippie, would have been crowned queen for four consecutive years!

Being a former stress addict, Subira Jones aka ‘The Corporate Hippie’ created “The Burnout Free Lifestyle” to regain her health and elevate her life from surviving, to living and now thriving. The Burnout Free Lifestyle allowed her to put an end to the disabling symptoms she had been experiencing for over 2 years with no medical intervention. With a vision to support talented professionals pursue their professional aspirations without sacrificing their health and vitality, she founded MPWRD Consulting. (MPWRD pronounced empowered). As a certified millennial burnout coach, Corporate Burnout Prevention Consultant, and keynote speaker, Subira is on a mission to prevent an epidemic of burnout professionals. As a Burnout Prevention Consultant and certified millennial burnout coach she is on a mission to support firms retain talent and avoid an epidemic of burnout professionals.

Katie King

CEO of AI in Business

Biography of Katie King, MBA – Voted top 10 influencer in AI 
Born in London, UK, Katie King is a published Author, Keynote Speaker and Consultant on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Generative AI, digital, STEM, leadership and business transformation. 

Voted the ‘Leading AI Strategist’ (August 2023) and ‘Top 10 influencer in AI’ (May 2023), Katie has over 30 years of PR consulting experience and has advised many of the world's leading brands and business leaders, including Virgin, Harrods Rolls-Royce, o2 and more.

Katie has delivered two TEDx talks and is a regular speaker worldwide.  Her most recent assignments (March to June 2023) include South Africa, Jordan, Monaco, Holland and Switzerland. 

Her second book was published by Kogan Page in January 2022: AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing: Connecting marketing, sales and customer experience.  Her first book, Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing: How to Harness AI and Maintain the Competitive Edge, was translated into Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese & other languages. It was also listed as a reference source in the 'Brand Strategy' section of the World Economic Forum's Empowering AI Leadership AI toolkit for corporate boards.

In 2020, she launched a school AI programme in London, the Leaders of Tomorrow, to close the skills gap in education and show young people, especially girls, how STEM and AI will reshape their future careers: https://www.aiinbusiness.co.uk  It is now in its third year and has been expanded in 2023 to include US and South African schools.

Katie is a member of the UK Government All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) task force for the adoption of AI.  She is also an Editorial Board Member for the AI and Ethics Journal (Springer Nature – global publisher).

Diana Verde Nieto

Co-Founder at Positive Luxury
Author 'Reimagining Luxury - Building a Sustainable Future for Your Brand'

Argentinean-born Diana Verde Nieto has over 20+ years of experience working with companies on ESG, sustainability and innovation. In 2002, Diana founded one of the first dedicated sustainability communications consultancies in the world, breaking new ground in the field of ESG and sustainability. Diana successfully scaled its operations globally and subsequently sold the company in 2008. In 2011 she co-founded Positive Luxury, a sustainability organisation that helps luxury companies adapt and transition to a new climate economy. 

Diana’s work is based on first-hand business experience, having worked with luxury companies of all sizes and industries ranging from beauty, travel and fashion to drinks, jewellery and more. She also works alongside other consultancies' such as Bain & Co as part of their Advisory Network in projects such as NEOM.

In 2020, after 10 years at the helm of Positive Luxury, Diana hired a CEO enabling her to focus on other endeavours. Diana holds a degree in Global Leadership & Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. Furthermore, she been trained by Former USA Vice President, Al Gore at the Alliance of Climate Protection and was subsequently honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. She is an advisor to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Alex Partridge

 Founder of UNILAD and LADBible

Alex Partridge is one of the pioneers of social media content the way we know it today. At age 21, he founded UNILAD and LADBible, two of the most popular social news and entertainment Internet companies in the world with an astonishing following of 100 million people around the globe.

Alex has spoken over 200 times for various brands, conferences and events including for Formula 1, BBC, Drapers, TED, Experian, The Business Show and British Airways.

Amanda Powell-Smith

CEO at Forster Communications

Amanda has been working at the forefront of the sustainability movement for over 20 years, helping progressive organisations from all sectors to successfully combine commercial and social change agendas. She is an experienced leader with a background in strategic consultancy and corporate PR, and a successful track record of working with senior teams to address complex communications challenges both within and beyond their organisation. 

Working across a range of sectors with clients such as BMW Group, WRAP, KPMG and Nuffield Health, she firmly believes in the power of partnerships and collaboration. She is proud to have developed high impact initiatives including Standard Chartered’s Seeing is Believing programme and the multi-award winning Action on Fistula for Astellas Pharma Europe. 

Amanda is an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business Programme, a B Corp CEO ambassador, a member of the Steering Group for UKSSD, helping to drive action around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and currently sits on the Ethics Advisory Board for Ninety, a Community Investment Company. She writes and speaks extensively about sustainability and social change issues and recently published the Bold Thinking, Brave Action report in partnership with CAF and run workshops to help tackle the massive set of challenges that lie ahead.

In 2015, Forster became a founding UK B Corporation and since then it has won nine Best for the World awards for progressive business behaviour. In January 2020, it became the first communications agency to publish a Climate Positive Plan and is now actively sharing this with others to inspire change.

Jay Richards

Co-Founder of Imagen Insights

Generation Alpha is the first generation to grow up with parents as influencers, we conducted research with our global Gen Z community to see what they thought of this phenomenon as they're the closest generation to Alpha. Jay will deep dive into what this research shows us and give his predictions for what this means for Generation Alpha and their Millennial parents. 

Mark Shayler

Owner at Ape

Mark helps big companies think like small ones and small companies think like big ones. He works on the creativity and innovation of products, services and business models; he works on sustainability and company purpose; and he coaches businesses and individuals. He has saved his clients in excess of £140 million per annum through environmental improvements, has increased sales of products by 8000% by introducing circular economy business models and trained over 2000 people in sustainability.  

He has worked for Nike, SC Johnson, Schweppes, Papa Johns, Heinz, Patagonia, EE/BT, Sportsshoes, Interface, Coca-Cola, Seedlip, Unilever, Hotpoint, Samsung, John Lewis, Fenwick, Teapigs, Bacardi, Diageo, Mars, Thorntons, 3M, Amazon, Panasonic and hundreds of funky little businesses like Propercorn, Teapigs, Black Horse Lane, Hiut Denim, and Ugly Drinks. He was a lead for the RSA Great Recovery programme on Circular Economy and was once the Head of Environment for ASDA.

He is a Founding Partner of the Do Lectures and author of two books Do Disrupt, change the status quo or become it and Do Present, how to give a talk and be heard.  

His third book “You Can’t Make Money From a Dead Planet: The sustainable method for driving profits” is to be published by Kogan Page on 3rd October. He is a coach, workshop facilitator and Qi gong teacher.  Mark is also part of the Reasons to be Cheerful team, which he co-founded in in 2020.

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Fatima Banglawala

Communications & Public Affairs Manager at Johnson & Johnson 

Recently shortlisted as Rising PR Star of the Year by the Pros Awards, Fatima has over 6 years of industry experience working in roles both agency-side and in-house. She has a background that spans several industries, including finance, healthcare and FMCG. She joined the Communications & Public Affairs team at Johnson & Johnson MedTech in UK & Ireland as Specialist and has recently been promoted to Manager, continuing her work in supporting the business to develop and execute internal and external communication strategies that drive business growth and help the organisation in its mission to transform healthcare for patients.

Natalie Diepstraten

Consultant at Blurred

Nathalie joined Blurred in January 2022 and since then has delivered strategies and campaigns for some of the world’s most notable brands, including Coca-Cola, Jimmy Choo and Versace. She has a specific interest in purpose-led work, including brand-building, tone of voice development, creative strategy and campaigns, and communications, applying this knowledge across a breadth of Blurred’s clients.  Prior to her current role, Nathalie interned at Blurred, Lloyd’s Banking Group and at Apella Advisors. Nathalie is a University of Bristol graduate with a degree in Politics and International Relations. In her spare time, Nathalie is a listening volunteer for the Samaritans.

Deepak Kumar

Press Officer at Transport for London

Deepak is currently a Press Officer at Transport for London, where he handles communications regarding ULEZ and the ongoing roll-out of zero-emission buses across the capital. Before this, Deepak played an integral role in the launch campaign for the Elizabeth line. Deepak cut his teeth in the industry through a competitive traineeship with Brunswick Group and the Taylor Bennett Foundation, followed by roles at Pembroke and Rye and Edelman UK. Outside of work, Deepak is a middling squash player and an average yet keen runner. He is also a proud governor of a school based in Newham. 

Chris Maho

Senior Account Executive at The Romans

Chris is an Afro-Spanish comms professional who has made waves in the PR industry in a short space of time. An expert in media relations, his experience has been built working on some of the biggest consumer brands in the industry - Deliveroo, Snapchat, Candy Crush and Pernod Ricard (to name a few). 

A culture enthusiast and fierce publicist, Chris was shortlisted in this year’s BME Pros Awards, where he was highly recommended as one of the Rising Stars in the industry. Outside of his day to day, Chris has taken part in multiple opinion pieces for PR Week as well as carried out industry lectures at UEL (where he is an alumni) to Level 6 PR media students, plus trained students at the Taylor Bennet Foundation.

Son Pham

Manager, Integrated Campaigns

Being featured in PR Week 30 Under 30 2023, Son’s working on a variety of clients at Manifest, from FTSE100 companies to global non-profits, including Reckitt Benckiser, Chivas Brothers, Gousto, Popeyes and Hotels.com. Prior to this, Son specialised in healthcare comms where his work ranged from biotech, mental health to public sector, improving lives and creating positive social impacts for Steba biotech, Roche, the NHS, InsideOut and GBT. 

 Son tackles the industry’s DE&I problem head-on by shining a spotlight on expat PR and comms pros, highlighting inspirational career paths and encouraging entry into the industry with his series The Nomad.

Charlotte Wilkins MCIPR

Internal Communications Manager at Birketts LLP

Charlotte has established herself as a trusted internal communications advisor throughout her career, successfully enhancing employee engagement through innovative campaigns and initiatives and implementing crisis communications when needed. Charlotte was awarded the Mark of Excellence award in the Young Communicator of the Year category at the 2023 CIPR Excellence Awards and qualified with a Level 7 Diploma in Internal Communications in 2021.

Leila Willingham Chart .PR MCIPR

Associate Business and Account Director at Liz Lean PR

Leila has over six years’ experience in the PR industry and gained Chartership status in October 2022. Leila is the CIPR’s youngest ever individual to gain the top accreditation, demonstrating her commitment to and abilities within the industry.  
As Associate Business & Account Director of Liz Lean PR (LLPR), Leila has represented high stakes, large scale brands such as Nuffield Health, Pukka Pads, Paultons Park, Hall & Woodhouse, Sarah Raven, and Legal & General (LGIM).

Her cross-sector experience has given her strategic knowledge across multiple PR and communications disciplines including stakeholder engagement, internal communications, corproate communications, brand messaging, consumer and B2B PR, influencer management, and event management.  
Leila’s deep-rooted understanding of LLPR and its values comes from joining the family business after A-Levels, developing her skills through practical experience and formal training, including the attainment of the CIPR’s Professional PR Diploma. 
Leila is responsible for managing a variety of client accounts and supporting the leadership team on matters such as company vision, culture, forward planning and new business.



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