Caroline Graham

Caroline Graham | Barclays

Caroline Graham

Caroline has responsibility for Barclays Legal external relationships with a primary focus on law firms, alternative legal services providers and active management of the Barclays legal panel.

Her relationship management and delivery teams work with external legal suppliers to ensure they deliver an effective and commercially efficient service across all interactions with the bank.

Caroline has been at Barclays since 2007 and has held a number of roles in operations, change management and transformation in both London and India. She joined the Legal function in 2017 as Head of Business Change Delivery managing a range of regulatory change programmes including Brexit and Libor before moving on to her current role.

Before joining Barclays, Caroline was Sales and Services Manager at financial services company Fiserv in London and prior to that was Marketing Director at Oceans Connect, an Indian-based outsourcer. Caroline also has experience in running her own business having founded her own PR agency.

Caroline is passionate about the Diversity and Inclusion agenda and uses her project management and communications experience to establish and manage diversity networks. Within Barclays she is Co-Chair of the Win UK Gender Network and founder of Barclays Win India. Externally, Caroline is co-founder of WeAreTheCity India, an associate board member of Gender Networks and Corporate Ambassador for the charity Smart Works which helps vulnerable women back into work.

Frances Scott

Frances Scott | 50:50 Parliament

Frances Scott

Frances Scott, founder and director of 50:50 Parliament, is a passionate advocate for gender equality of representation.

She launched 50:50 in November 2013 with the 50:50 Parliament petition. In 2016, 50:50 initiated “Ask Her To Stand” to inspire, encourage and support women along the way to Westminster. This has had a major impact with women signing up to stand on a daily basis. 50:50 are now taking action to help women get selected and elected.

Frances has a background in operations analysis, marketing and economic feasibility studies. She had an international career in the Hotel and Tourism industry. She has also been an antenatal teacher and has helped thousands of new parents prepare for birth and babycare. She sat on the Maternity Services Liaison Committee at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington giving input into provision of services for several years. She was named as one of the Evening Standard’s #Progress1000 most influential political changemakers in 2018. In October 2019 she was invited to present at TedX Brighton on what had been her “Turning Point” and why she started 50:50. In March 2020 and March 2021 Frances was included in the list of “Women in Westminster: The 100” which was a way to celebrate the achievements of those women who are changing the conversation, challenging the approach to policy making and providing a female perspective to the important political issues of the day.

Soumya Parulekar

Soumya Parulekar | PwC

Soumya Parulekar

When I look back upon my career, the moment that I recall most distinctly was when I learned that I got my first job in technology.

I was a third year university student pursuing my bachelors degree in engineering and had just read my name on the pre-placement list outside the university office. As someone who grew up in a small town in central India, I remember feeling excited and nervous at the same time imagining what it would like to work in the big city, a big office and wondering if I will the find opportunities to shape my career and to make a difference?. Looking back over the last 12 years I am incredibly happy to say, I did!

I started at Cognizant Technology Solutions as a test analyst where I spent the formative years of my career learning about insurance technology and later learning about insurance consulting at EY. At PWC, I work with some of the largest insurers in the UK on technology enabled transformations programmes, supporting clients in the adoption of leading practises in test and quality management. I am currently leading test and quality management on one of the largest FS programmes within PwC, in parallel to being the testing and quality assurance SME for the team. I have successfully delivered several complex transformation programmes to insurance clients in UK, Europe and North America by advocating the use of technology to serve customers through improvements in customer experience, solution design and intelligent automation.

Being a technology consultant allows me to conceptualise ideas, innovate, re-invent and challenge the status quo to deliver technology led change. There is never a dull moment!

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest and inspiring individuals who never cease to amaze me with their passion to deliver value to our clients and our teams. I am forever grateful to the incredible mentors who given me invaluable advise and my teams who cheered for me throughout my journey. I am also passionate about coaching others and supporting the technology careers of many team members, by being a mentor and delivering training sessions in insurance industry digital technologies and testing methodologies. I enjoy working with new graduate entrants in our team and having the opportunity to share some of own experiences to help develop the future leaders of technology.

Joanna Wales

Joanna Wales | Ascot Racecourse

Joanna Wales

In 2020, I lead the operational delivery of Royal Ascot Behind Closed Doors - the first international televised sporting event during a global pandemic.

The handbook for this event became the template for the racing industry operating under Covid safe protocols.

In 2021 Royal Ascot was selected by the DCMS to be part of the Event Research Programme, along with Wimbledon, FA Cup, etc. I led the build and delivery of this "Royal Ascot in miniature" under the watchful gaze of the industry, government and public, both on and off site, whilst still under partial lockdown rules.

I was integral to the concept, design and delivery of The Village Enclosure at Royal Ascot, a festival vibe enclosure holding 10,000 customers; the first new enclosure at Ascot in over 100 years.

As part of my security focus, I changed the customer behavioural profile of racedays by introducing new policies, documents and training for our 1,500 strong event security staff. Researching environmental and behavioural studies on shopping centres, crowded places, riots and Urban centres and implementing these changes into the venue to create a more harmonious atmosphere where people behaved with more respect to each other.

Over the last decade, my creative skills and operational expertise have played a key role, as part of a truly amazing team, in shifting Ascot from a national horse racing venue to an internationally recognised brand.

At work, I set up the Accessibility Working Group to deliver a more user friendly event to those with physical and mental challenges. In the first year we delivered 16 improvements to site creating better experiences for disabled customers. One of these was the introduction of the sunflower lanyard for hidden disabilities with associated training to temporary staff. This initiative was adopted across the racing industry following its success at Ascot.

I also established the Staff Engagement and Motivation Working Group to address the rising deficit in event staff by making Ascot Racecourse a leading place to work for Gig economy staff. Both of these are on-going projects but we have seen rising engagement across both groups of people.

I am a trained Mental Health First Aider as well as a First Aider ensuring that hopefully I can help any people either in work or outside who maybe in a crisis.

At home, I am a mentor for young people helping them into further education, work or training programmes. I work as a career coaching providing interview and CV help with year 11's.

Volunteering during 2020 lockdown, I ran the driver initiative providing a taxi service for nursing staff to get to their new hospitals; I was a companion to the blind providing phone support during lock down, as well as attempting to contact all 250 of my event staff many of whom were in the vulnerable category as they are over 65. I also oversee the Sebastian's Action Trust annual event at Ascot, supporting families with terminally ill children with a Christmas party. I might add that I was not furloughed at all during lockdown and was doing this alongside picking up work for the rest of my department, who were.

I am hoping to be accepted as a Samaritans volunteer next year.

Rhianna Dineen

Rhianna Dineen | Ashton Gate Limited

Rhianna Dineen

Whilst in school, I knew I wanted to get into work as soon as possible and a family friend who ran a restaurant on a match-day at Ashton Gate Stadium let me know that they were always hiring waiting staff.

I applied for a job whilst still studying my GCSEs with the full intention of studying my A-Levels and working towards becoming an aerospace engineer. Having achieved 2 A*s, 4 As and 4 Bs, I went on to study Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A-level. Unfortunately, I developed severe anxiety and found it difficult to attend classes so started distance learning and eventually had a break with the intention of starting again the following September. In the meantime, I still felt confident at work and had switched from working in the restaurant to working in the bars around the stadium. I've never particularly been interested in the football or the rugby but I fell in love with the matchday atmosphere and the passion shared by the fans. As my confidence grew, I requested more hours and picked up some casual work in the cash office at the stadium. Our cash controller at the time moved roles and I took on her job as a part-time role at the age of 17; whilst managing one of our busiest bars on a match-day. September soon came round and I realised I was already working towards a career I loved; so I asked our HR department if they would let me do an apprenticeship in accounting. They agreed, and I attained my assistant accountant qualifications. Timing was again in my favour; and an opening came up in our finance department as purchase ledger clerk for the stadium; so I applied for it and was successful but had to give up working the match-days to focus my time on the new job. Once settled, I signed up to do agency work and picked up shifts in various pubs & bars around Bristol, meeting some wonderful people along the way. Since then, I've taken on a lot more in the accounts department and currently look after credit control, purchase invoices and daily transactions; and am currently studying my level 4 professional diploma in accounting with a view to study CIMA and become a chartered accountant in the future. I also work between 20 and 35 hours at a local pub and love socialising with the locals and feeling part of a community.

Sarah Zarywacz

Sarah Zarywacz | ECI Partners

Sarah Zarywacz

Sarah is a self-motivated, adaptable and goal-driven event professional and marketer, holding a degree in French and German, diplomas in event management and professional marketing via the CIM, plus six years of corporate experience.

While starting out her professional career as a driven executive assistant supporting global leadership executives in the property and consulting sectors, Sarah simultaneously built her portfolio of event experience from socials through to international meetings and offsites. In 2019, Sarah moved into a full-time events/hospitality role at Oliver Wyman where she led the UK & Ireland events programme, in addition to delivering EMEA and global events for up to 750 delegates. Alongside Sarah’s events role at Oliver Wyman, Sarah was the Global Co-Lead for IntrOW, their neurodiversity ERG, strengthening the DE&I pillar at the firm. Sarah was also one of the global leads of event sustainability at Oliver Wyman, spearheading and implementing event sustainability best practices.

In May 2021, Sarah secured a place as one of 15 mentees in the 2021 Fast Forward 15 cohort, a highly competitive and leading event industry mentoring programme founded by Fay Sharpe OBE. Fast Forward 15 empowers and supports 15 female event professionals each year to drive their careers forward via mentoring and professional development.

Later in 2021, Sarah moved into the finance sector and joined ECI Partners LLP, a UK leading mid-market private equity firm, as their Event Executive. As the only event-specific role at the firm, Sarah delivers the B2B event strategy, corporate hospitality and marketing support for the investor, advisor and portfolio community. In this role, Sarah brings her wealth of experience from Oliver Wyman to innovate and strengthen ECI’s event programme.

Alongside her role at ECI, Sarah is also an industry thought-leader and speaker. Her most recent speaking engagements include International Confex 2022, C&IT Corporate Forum 2022, The BNC Show 2021 and podcasts including Events for Breakfast and Desert Island Events. Sarah also has an industry blog: Sarah Z Marketing Events.

Most recently, Sarah was listed in the Conference News 30underThirty class of 2021.