​WiPM conference speakers 2016

View the speakers bios below:

Welcome and introduction

  • Sara Drake - chief executive of the Association for Project Management

Keynote speaker

  • Rt Hon Harriet Harman - Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham
  • Josephine Fairley - Keynote speaker - co-founder of Green & Black’s
  • Peter Cheese -  chief executive of CIPD
  • Teri Okoro - founder and director of TOCA  

Stream chairs

  • Sarah Christie-Rundle - learning director, Minerva Engagement
  • Sarah Coleman - fellow and former non-executive director of the APM
  • Teri Okoro - founder and director of TOCA

Stream speakers

  • Deborah Hulme - director, Minerva Engagement    
  • Emma Smythe - head of learning, BAE Systems   
  • James Thomas - managing director of Seren Partnership Limited
  • Michelle van der Duin - global skillpool manager for Shell’s Project Engineering community
  • Stephanie Fairhurst - psychological skills mentor, Chimp Management
  • Sue Pritchard -  leadership and change consultant, suleis.com
  • Tom Frost - head of Shell Project Academy

Panel Debate

  • Gillian Arnold -  Tectre
  • Sharon de Mascia - director of Cognoscenti Business Psychologists Ltd
  • Russel Jamieson - co-chair of the People SIG and Head of the APM Awards
  • Rod Baker - director of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS)

Deborah Hulme

Deborah is trained in the foundations of neuroleadership and is a practitioner of executive coaching (AoEC) as well as a neuro-linguistic practitioner (NLP). She has over 20 years’ experience in shaping and delivering complex engagement programmes. Deborah has worked with companies such as Siemens, British Gas, HSBC, Barclaycard, SABMiller and National Grid on business transformations to deliver change and improve 

performance through the effective engagement of employees and stakeholders.

Deborah heads up Minerva Engagement which improves business performance from the inside out, working across organisations to agree, develop and implement strategies that impact behaviour, build trust and deliver high performance. The latest research from neuroscience provides insights into the origins of human behaviours and motivations and this thinking underpins Deborah's approach to building negotiation and influencing skills.

Deborah’s session reveals just some of the valuable insights that neuroscience is providing to the business community which are proven to have a positive impact on both personal and business performance


Speaker presentation

Emma Smythe

After graduating with a degree in Law, Emma spent two years working in Italy as area manager for a UK travel company. After moving back to the UK, she joined PepsiCo as an operations manager in logistics.

Her next move was organisation capability manager, first for Walkers Snacks then also incorporating Quaker Oats and Tropicana. Emma was then promoted into the role of Europe L&D manager for all the PepsiCo businesses.

Latterly Emma spent two years at BP as global capability manager with responsibility for leadership development for senior leaders across the globe. Emma joined BAE Systems in July 2015 as UK head of learning. 


Gillian Arnold

Gillian has extensive experience in the IT industry and set up her own IT services company in late 2009. She has had a long involvement with work for women in IT, supporting both industry and academic institutions in their work on diversity. She currently sits on the board of directors for WISE, the UK organisation which supports women in Science, Engineering, Technology, Maths, and is a vice president trustee director for the BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) L&D Group.  

Gillian has been chair of the BCS Women Specialist Group since 2011 and continues to drive UK and European initiatives in support of women in the technology sector. She has just taken on the chair of the CEPIS European Women in IT Taskforce.  

Gillian won the 2012 Cisco/Everywoman in Technology award for 'Technology Inspiration of the Year' and has been listed in the Computer Weekly top 50 most influential women in IT for the last three years. Her company Tectre, provides staffing, unconscious bias training, and consultancy to the IT vendor supply chain, software houses, to some of the UK's largest banks, and to industry.  

Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman QC MP has represented the diverse inner-city constituency of Camberwell and Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark since 1982.

Having obtained a degree in Politics from York University, Harriet qualified as a solicitor. Her first job as a solicitor was at Brent Law Centre in 1974.

When Labour entered government in 1997, Harriet was appointed Secretary of State for Social Security and Minister for Women. She introduced the Minimum Income Guarantee and the National Childcare Strategy.

In 2001, Harriet was appointed Solicitor General and led a drive within Government to make tackling domestic violence a priority. After the 2005 General Election, Harriet was appointed Minister for Justice at the Department for Constitutional Affairs. She also served in Government as Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Equalities and Minister for Women, where she brought forward the Equality Bill, now the Equality Act.

Harriet was the elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 2007-2015, was appointed Shadow Deputy Prime Minister in 2010-2015 and has twice served as Interim Leader of the Labour Party in 2010 and 2015.

Harriet currently serves as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

James Thomas

James Thomas is a consultant, coach and public speaker on the subject of commercial negotiation. He works across multiple business sectors including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, fmcg, retail, oil & gas and IT, delivering negotiation workshops and consultancy across Europe.

Prior to his consultancy roles, he achieved significant operational success in the pharmaceutical industry in a variety of senior management and marketing roles with Pfizer Inc. One of his key responsibilities during this period was to negotiate market access of new pharmaceutical products with Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities as well as implement a Key Account Management programme across his sales teams.

Speaker presentation

Josephine Fairley

Jo Fairley is co-founder of Green & Black’s. She and her entrepreneur husband set out to market the world’s first organic chocolate, deciding on ‘green’ to represent their environmental ethos and ‘black’ to reflect particularly high-quality cocoa beans.

Jo was among the first to highlight the social responsibility of food producers. Green & Black’s immediately picked up awards for entrepreneurial and ethical achievement, and the fortunes of the Maya Indians in Belize who grow the cocoa have been transformed.

Jo tells how 20,000 young people carrying flaming torches lobbied supermarkets to stock Maya Gold - generating valuable news coverage. But they also had plenty of white knuckle moments. What happens when cocoa beans are stuck in a volatile tropical country, the port blockaded, and your major retailer is threatening de-listing unless the consignment is delivered on time? 

Jo’s presentations show the determination needed and the risks involved in building a business and exploiting a niche market. She also demonstrates the power of branding, how business can be both ethical and highly successful, and why you should never underestimate the intelligence of the consumer.

Jo Fairley is author of more than a dozen books, including the Green Beauty Bible. She has also been contributing editor on YOU Magazine and chair of a Soil Association committee. She now runs an organic bakery and a health centre.

Speaker presentation

Michelle van der Duin

Michelle van der Duin is the Global Skillpool Manager for Shell’s Project Engineering community, maintaining a healthy balance of people in the skillpool and helping individuals across the globe with their development.

She started her career as a process/mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry and next moved to an engineering contractor, where she worked as mechanical lead engineer and construction engineer, later as project engineer and project manager.

Early 2007 she started working for Shell as project manager in non-traditional projects. Later she became delivery manager, accountable for the Downstream projects in EMEA. From 2013 to 2016 she was project development and delivery manager for Integrated Gas projects, managing a team of project engineers and project managers.

Speaker presentation 

Speaker presentation

Peter Cheese

Peter is the chief executive of CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Prior to joining the CIPD in July 2012, he was chairman of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Council of City & Guilds. Up until 2009 he had a long career at Accenture holding various leadership positions and culminating in a seven year spell as global managing director leading the firm’s human capital and organisation consulting practice. He writes and speaks widely on the development of HR, and the broader issues of leadership, culture, people and skills.

Peter is also a member of the Board of BPP University, and the Advisory Board for the Open University Business School. He holds an honorary doctorate from Kingston University, is a Fellow of the CIPD and a Fellow of AHRI, the Australian HR Institute, a Companion of the Institute of Leadership and Management, and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

Speaker presentation

Rod Baker

Rod is a registered project professional (RPP), a Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), a director and trustee of the APM and a member of the APM professional standards & knowledge committee. He is also a non-executive director of the APM Group and a director of the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS).

Rod has had firsthand direct experience in all key project roles, having started as a project planner and then progressed through various roles into project and programme management.  He established his own project management consultancy company many years ago and during this time, he has carried out a variety of assignments for private and public sector clients in financial services, insurance, transport, telecoms, engineering and defence.

Rod has a particular interest in qualifications and competency/performance frameworks, believing that some skills can be taught, but the large majority have to be learned ‘on the job’.  Rationalisation of qualifications throughout the project/programme management profession is a current obsession.


Russel Jamieson

Russel is a registered project professional (RPP), Fellow of APM, co-chair of the People SIG and Head of the APM Awards.

He has been involved with project and programme management for over 20 years and it is an experienced
AIM, APM, PRINCE2 and MSP accredited business projects, portfolio, change and transformation manager with strong business acumen and customer service experience.

Russel has a proven track record of success in regulatory and treating customers fairly (TCF) compliant environments within business2business (B2B), business2consumer (B2C), banking, finance, telecommunications, corporate & commercial market sectors. Developing  people and performance improvement, driving for the realisation of both personal and business benefits.


Sara Drake

Sara Drake was appointed chief executive of the Association for Project Management in 2015. After studying law her early career was spent in the media sector working with publishing and television companies. She moved into the construction and built environment sector in 2005 and has been managing director of the Home Builders Federation and the Royal Town Planning Institute. 

Sara also holds non-executive roles in the media and construction sectors and is a Trustee of Welcare. 



Sarah Christie-Rundle

Sarah is a training specialist operating within financial services to embed change, improve performance and deliver engaged compliance within highly regulated environments. Knowing how to negotiate and tackle difficult conversations is fundamental to driving business transformation, engaging at all levels across multiple disciplines, developing real behavioural change within complex situations.

Sarah delivers creative approaches designed to foster adoption and encourage mindful engagement, ensuring any change she implements becomes a winning competence rather than a passive policy decision.


Sarah Coleman

Sarah Coleman is a Fellow and former Non-Executive Director of the APM. In 2014, she re-launched the APM national annual conferences for Women in Project Management in recognition of the 21 anniversary of the WiPM SIG.

Sarah has over 25 years’ experience as a project, programme and change professional designing and delivering strategic initiatives up to $50million across professional services, private sectors and government in the UK and internationally.  She started her career in systems engineering, and now specializes in improving the performance of projects, programmes and change in organizations.  She also coaches, mentors and develops project, programme and change professionals.



Sharon de Mascia

Sharon De Mascia, (author of Project Psychology Using Psychological Models and Techniques for Project Success) is the Director of Cognoscenti Business Psychologists Ltd. She is a chartered occupational psychologist, a chartered scientist and an expert in Wellbeing, Leadership and Change Management. She has over 25 years’ experience of delivering change/project management, wellbeing, leadership, entrepreneurship and other organizational initiatives across all sectors e.g. Santander, BBC, the Vita Group, NHS, and ATL etc.

Sharon is an executive coach as well as being a supervisor for the global MBA at the Alliance Manchester Business School. Sharon is Prince2 qualified and is a guest lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University. She has also lectured on ‘The Psychology of Project Leadership’ for the University of Reykjavik, ‘Masters in Project Management’, course She is a member of the British Psychological Society ‘Health and Wellbeing group’ and a committee member of the Association of Business Psychologists. She is also the Organizer for the CIPD ‘Signet’ group for Independent Consultants. 


Stephanie Fairhurst

Stephanie is a psychological skills mentor working with business professionals and companies. She gained her Bachelor’s degree in French and German and her Master’s degree in European Management prior to a fifteen year corporate career in marketing with Arjo Wiggins Appleton, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Reuters, living and working in Germany, France, Argentina, Brazil and New York City.

Stephanie then spent ten years setting up and running companies, both in the UK and Cyprus; in property trading, development and construction, with her focus being primarily on delivering large scale spa resorts.

Her deep interest and experience in different national and corporate cultures is used to help individuals realise their potential and to improve the performance of their teams and companies.


Sue Pritchard

Sue Pritchard is a researcher, writer and consultant in leadership and change, with her consulting practice, suleis.com. In the last ten years or so, Sue has specialised in the leadership and delivery of major and complex projects, recently joining The Bartlett School, at University College, London as an honorary senior research associate.  Sue has held Visiting Fellowships at The Revans Institute, Salford University, University of Leeds and Ashridge Business School.  

Sue has worked with women in leadership for over thirty years, including developing the pioneering Athena Programme for Welsh public service leaders in the 1980s; coaching women executives and aspiring executives; to her present 'action research' (supported by APM) about women in major projects leadership.  A board and executive coach, Sue has also held a number of leadership roles, most recently as Chair of a Welsh health board and as a non executive director of an international education charity.  

Sue lives with her family in Wales, where they run an organic livestock farm and social enterprise, which works with 'disengaged' young people in an 'Alternative Classroom'. This brings a very different perspective on questions of leadership and personal development.  

 Speaker presentation

Tom Frost

Tom Frost is the Head of Shell Project Academy with responsibility for the capability building, assessment and growth of various project communities in Shell. Tom brings his considerable front line project experience into this position through a strong background in project delivery with roles in upstream capital projects ranging from new business development to support to ongoing oil and gas operations. He has worked on projects for / in Gabon, Russia, United Kingdom, South Korea, The Netherlands, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

In his most recent project delivery assignment he was responsible for setting up and running a Brownfield portfolio projects organisation in Iraq. He mentors within Shell and the IMechE.


Speaker presentation


Teri Okoro

Teri Okoro, founder and director of TOCA, has extensive experience of leading and delivering change and projects in UK and Africa. She sits on the Diversity Panel of the Construction Industry Council and is non-executive director at a UK not-for-profit organisation.

A practicing architect and construction programme manager, Teri is past Chair of the Women in Project Management Specific Interest Group (SIG) and has a special interest in gender, diverse talent and inclusive leadership. She  has presented and written widely on these topics both nationally and internationally and consults across sectors.


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