Sarah Smith (née Ryland) ǀ CGI

Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy®

Sarah is a highly flexible and outcome focused Business Consultant at CGI (formally Logica), where she joined as a graduate five years ago. She is extremely dependable and organised, with the determination to deliver value as quickly as she can to her clients.

The majority of Sarah’s experience is from the Banking sector where she recently managed the design and delivery of a national communications campaign for the Current Account Switch Service. Facing off to all the major current account providers in the industry, this was a high profile role in a complex stakeholder environment, one which gave Sarah the opportunity to flourish.

Sarah is motivated by not only exceeding expectations, but also creating an enjoyable environment for the people around her. She is open, honest and supportive of colleagues; she enjoys giving her time to help others. Sarah is looking forward to mentoring the 2015 graduate intake.

Sarah was part of a small team who founded the CGI’s women’s network. She proactively took the lead in establishing a communications strategy and plan, and led a team of volunteers to deliver it. She believes her success in this role is attributable to providing clear direction, delineation of responsibilities, motivating the team when they were up against their day jobs and setting the mantra for quality outputs.
She has a structured approach to her development, actively seeking feedback, taking one competence at a time to focus on, learning, and seeking opportunities to practise outside her comfort zone. During her time at CGI she has achieved an Exceeds Expectations performance rating every year, been promoted twice, and this year she has been nominated for the CGI Emerging Talent and Leadership Programme.

Sarah is recently married and she likes nothing more than indulging her enthusiasm for travel, food and fitness.


Julia McColl ǀ Capco

Julia McCollJulia McColl is a Principal Consultant at Capco London, with a proven track record of defining and delivering transformation programmes in Retail and Wealth Management, excelling in customer experience and return on investment. She has a strong track record of defining and delivering digital portfolios of over £30m of annual investment and is passionate about developing propositions that meet customer need whilst delivering business results.

As a leader she is passionate about career development and invests time both in diversity and inclusion initiatives under the #BeYourselfAtWork banner within Capco and in coaching others to support their progression.


Dara Kirton ǀ PwC UK

Dara Kirton

I am a manager at PwC, having started on the Consulting graduate scheme in 2011 and worked my way up in the Operations consulting team. Since being at the firm, I have demonstrated passion for our people, our clients and our communities in the true ethos of PwC – “doing the right thing”.

Our People: I am a people manager, mentor and coach taking an active role in the development of others.

Our Clients: I have delivered large successful transformations for a range of FTSE 100 companies – including disaster turnarounds, relocations and operating model transformations.

Our communities: I have set up a mentoring scheme at the firm to support students from under represented backgrounds (women, ethnic minorities and socially/economically deprived) to get into professional services. We work with a range of universities, charities and social enterprises that help us to identify students that PwC wouldn’t typically target through recruitment. As a result of the mentoring scheme’s successes in the last two years in improving equal access opportunities, this year the team won two awards- PwC Consulting Award for “Doing the Right Thing” and the PwC (Firmwide) Award for Sustainability and Community.

I have a passion for diversity and have been a champion in the firm for gender equality, multiculturalism and social mobility as well as supporting and linking in with our other people networks. I am the chair of the newly relaunched Multicultural Business Network at PwC and am looking forward to developing my network externally around the topic.

Outside of work, I have an active social life, am a massive foodie, love travelling and try to keep up a dwindling skill in street dance.

Life motto: Live. Love. Laugh. (hardly original but pretty much encompasses everything I’m about!)

Jo Sweetland

Jo Sweetland ǀ Green Park Interim & Executive Resourcing

Jo SweetlandI can't tell you that I deserve to be shortlisted for this award and the outcome is not for me to decide, but what I can tell you is what I have learnt and how I try to pass on these lessons to the people I meet.

It's never sat comfortably with me being labelled, for example I've been called an entrepreneur, a strategist, a leader of people. My father was an entrepreneur and I saw the risks and tribulations he had to go through to grow his business and the difficult times he experienced. His journey in the business world taught me a lot and helped me build a really deep respect for business people as individuals as opposed to their title and the roles that they play.

I always try to be true to myself and live through my values and beliefs in all circumstances.

As a mother of two young children, having to juggle a highly pressurised, demanding career while maintaining a consistent and supportive home life for my family, I have developed a great respect for all working mothers. This by far has been my greatest challenge to date!

Through consulting with organisations in helping them acquire the kind of talent that will drive their businesses forward, I have learnt that agility and flexibility throughout the partnership is essential for achieving long term outcomes. As a female who aspires to lead in a male dominated industry, my core values of customer centricity, inclusion, good manners and hard graft are central to not just how I work, but how I motivate others around me to work. More than anything, I believe humility is one of the key factors to success within the industry. Through my experience, it is the more challenging of customers that I have had to consult with who have demonstrated consistency and loyalty, and in some cases even becoming friends, as a result of using my softer skills of influencing and helping them come to decisions which are beneficial for their business.

As a Managing Partner and one of the original members of Green Park Interim & Executive Search, I head up the HR Practice consulting with a range of businesses across the Private sector helping them solve some of their most challenging people problems. Being seen as a trusted advisor to my clients is paramount to mine and Green Park's HR brand.

Jacqui Braganza ǀ Accenture

Jacqui BrazangaI joined Accenture as a Technology Consulting Analyst in February last year. I have been working at one of the largest CMT accounts since Day 1, but have had the opportunity to work across a couple of different technology projects – the experience gained here has allowed me to develop not only my business acumen and analytical capability, but also my ability to work with and lead both internal teams and external stakeholders. My interest in Digital has primarily developed from being submersed in the Digital world as I have grown up – the way Digital is shaking up businesses is endlessly interesting. Watching huge corporations reshape, evolve and adapt the way they work means it is an extremely exciting time to be working in the Consulting arena.

Dawn Kelly ǀ Oliver Wyman

Dawn KellyDawn Kelly has cemented herself as a top performer and integral office character at the leading global consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman, since joining as a graduate just two years ago: working with top tier clients on some of their most demanding projects, whilst actively contributing to – and being the driving force behind – a variety of firm initiatives and activities.

Dawn’s most recent consulting accomplishments include redefining a bank’s credit card strategy, contributing to a globally published report and engaging with >15 top Asset Managers on their key concern, conduct risk. At the same time Dawn led the OW Enabling Enterprise community partnership, aiming to inspire children to succeed, developed and implemented the recruiting strategy for an OW target University, and launched the OW Teach First volunteer partnership, running >10 employee-teacher coaching relationships as well as classroom/insight days for students. She also seeks to inspire and develop new talent from all backgrounds through running training sessions, being involved in the internship programme and fully advocating the buddy/mentor system.

Her passion for, and commitment to, inspiring young people to succeed extends beyond the office, mentoring underprivileged 16/17 year olds and female university students, as a Springboard and School-student mentor. This has always been important to Dawn: during school she was a Youth Ambassador, inspiring young people to interact with businesses, organisations and the police to make Essex a better place for themselves; and during University volunteering as National Youth Science Ambassador, guiding young people through investigations, inspiring interest in science and learning.

Dawn’s enthusiasm and passion for collective achievement through inclusion and involvement (of herself and all around her) stems from her unexpected offer to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge University. Working three part time jobs, volunteering 5-10 hours a week, and sporting just as much, she was elated to secure such an opportunity. Dawn propelled herself into all the University had to offer: working with the greatest scientific minds in the world; developing University-wide enterprises through her election to JCR President and holding other CUSU positions; and flourishing in College life, from rowing 1st Boat with LMBC to Captaining the Netball team and running the L’Armor Society. These unimaginable experiences, along with her first class degree, inspired the energy and fervour with which Dawn has entered life at OW, and with which she hopes to inspire many others to do the same.

Fiona Russell ǀ Accenture

Fiona RussellI am a Strategy Consultant in Accenture’s global Digital practice based in London. In this role, I help leading organisations apply digital technologies to disrupt traditional thinking and enable new business models, products and ecosystems.

Currently I am guiding one of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies with their first steps into a new digital world. I am leading a workstream to enable them to sell direct to customers across EMEA through digital channels for the first time.

My previous clients include leading organisations in the Financial Services and Communications, Media & Technology sectors. Within Financial Services I have run a number of projects, covering large scale network infrastructure programmes to deploying cutting edge security solutions to ensure compliance standards are met.

I am keen to make a difference, not only for my clients, but also for the community. I lead Accenture’s relationship people engagement with The Prince’s Trust, providing support for disadvantaged young people across the UK with employment, education and training opportunities. I am also an active member of the Young Tiffany Circle which is part of the British Red Cross – running fundraising events for the Red Cross, and as a group we have raised over £20k for the Red Cross in the last year.

In 2011 I graduated from Durham University with a BA in Anthropology and History. On graduation I worked for a social enterprise helping start-ups and early stage businesses. During my time there, I worked with the UK government, DFID, and European development organisations to run training programmes to help and support entrepreneurs and small business owners in the UK, Nigeria and Romania.

Outside of work I enjoy travelling, having spent a gap year in Malawi volunteering as primary school teacher and travelling extensively around East Africa.

Dawn Riley ǀ Aon Hewitt

Dawn RileyAs one of Aon Hewitt's brightest young consultants, Dawn is equally comfortable taking complicated pension proposals to financial directors as she is running the consulting skills training day on our graduate induction course. In an industry where age and experience are seen as key qualities, Dawn has already established herself as a lead advisor to several of the UK's most familiar companies.

Away from consulting, Dawn is passionate about creating an environment where people feel valued and their talents are fully recognised through her work as Training & Development co-ordinator for the Women's International Network within Aon. Dawn is an active member of the Women in Leadership group within Aon Hewitt and a member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' Diversity Advisory Group. She is also a keen advocate in giving back to the community and has organised volunteering events where she and her colleagues in Epsom have worked with Mencap to transform the garden and interior of one of their residences.

In short, Dawn is a well-rounded and personable consultant with excellent technical and consulting skills. However, it is her courage and integrity that really set her apart. She always does what she believes is right, even when it is difficult and is not afraid to challenge the status quo to help push the business in new directions. Dawn really is a great ambassador for Aon and both clients and colleagues appreciate her authenticity and quick wit.

emily-Thorpe-Rising Star 2015

Emily Thorpe ǀ Happy Working Mum

© Pete Jones

Emily, is an author, coach and inspirational speaker, who is passionate about transforming the lives of career or business mums, helping them go from tired, stressed, overwhelmed and feeling guilty to relaxed, calm, balanced and in control.

Author of the book “The Working Mums 5-step Solution To Having It All”, Emily also offers talks, transformational workshops and programmes, which all help women to unlock the secrets to successfully combining professional success with being the mum they truly want to be. Ditching the plate spinning, juggling and guilt and instead enjoying quality time with their children and becoming a 'memory maker'.

As a devoted Mother to two boys, and a highly successful air-traffic controller working in a high-pressure environment, whilst also running her own successful coaching business, Emily knows exactly what it takes to “have it all”, helping women to enjoy the journey and those precious family years with a sense of balance, ease, serenity and fun!

Rosie Batty ǀ Oliver Wyman

Rosie BattyRosie started at Oliver Wyman in January 2012 having done an internship with the company in 2010 and having graduated from Oxford University with a first in Physics (MPhys).

Since starting work, Rosie has worked with many top tier clients across a range of different industries including Aviation, Financial Services, Retail and Healthcare. Last year, she worked in the project management office for the European Central Bank as they performed the AQR (Asset Quality Review) that Oliver Wyman supported. Since then, she has chosen to specialise in Healthcare Consulting and has worked across both private and public healthcare provision as well as doing some life sciences work.

Rosie is currently working for an NHS client to support the development of new models of care that aim to improve outcomes and experience for patients whilst simultaneously reducing cost within the local health economy. She also supports business development opportunities for the HLS practice within Oliver Wyman, inputting her acquired expertise into proposals and contributing to pitches with senior clients as required.

Alongside her project work, Rosie is a very active member of the office. Right from the start she has taken a prominent role in recruiting and recently supported a project to review the recruiting process and the impact the different stages have on the diversity of candidates receiving an entry-level offer. As well as her involvement in the design of the recruitment process, she attends and presents at many recruiting events, has acted as a mentor for women interested in joining the industry and regularly does interviews for entry level positions. She also acts as a ‘buddy’ for more junior female consultants, providing support as required and generally offering mentorship and advice. Each year since she started, Rosie has received a ‘Firm Contribution’ award each year in recognition of her involvement and contribution to the firm.