Memona Mohammad | BT

Memona MohammadI value being an ambassador for the technology community, demonstrating female contribution and innovation to the industry. I started my career as an apprentice in BT Technology, Service & Operations, helping to build the virtual network connections for business end-users and even for the Olympics!

Now aged 22, I recently moved to BT Global Services, working as part of a team on contracts to deliver communications and IT services to organisations, providing the best possible solutions for our customers. It’s exciting being part of a diverse workforce and at the heart of telecoms and technology.

As well as studying part time for a degree in Information and Communication Technology, I have achieved professional registration as an Engineering Technician and ICT Technician through the Institute of Engineering and Technology. I have also attended the 2014 One Young World summit, collaborating with representatives from over 180 countries and leading multinationals, working on building global partnerships for the future.

Through participation in the Inspiring Women Campaign I have volunteered at local schools, career fairs and mentoring events, educating females of all backgrounds on the opportunities and careers in STEM. I have also hosted students for work experience at BT to provide true insight and encouragement. Spreading the message of women in technology, I have taken part in live TV discussions and been featured in publications.

My aspiration is to continually be a positive role model for current and future generations of young people, supporting them to confidently enter the world of work and to explore and build on my own journey within the industry.


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.


Melanie Ogden | Transport for London

Melanie OgdenI am a Chartered Civil Engineer and “Project Manager for Tunnels and Shafts” on the prestigious £1bn Northern Line Extension project in the heart of the capital. All eyes are upon us, as this is a project spanning three borough councils, uniquely funded and employing some of the latest technologies available to deliver value to the public purse.

It is my role to ensure the steady and successful progress of the project, and whilst that requires technical knowledge, the key skill is to actively manage the stakeholder interface with project’s many third parties. These include the Battersea Power Station Developers, Network Rail and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – plus our project delivery partners who have a large and mature project management architecture of their own. To achieve this, I lead a talented multi-disciplinary team of Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Planners, Graduates and other key stakeholders.

I am responsible for the design and construction of 3.2km of twin-bored and SCL tunnels and shafts. I also have responsibility for the £40m design and build work package for two new step plate junctions and four new cross passages at Kennington Station, connecting the new extension to the existing Northern line railway and managing the subsequent increase in passenger flows through the station. I act as the seamless link between railways systems engineering, mechanical engineering and civil engineering for these works, ensuring all aspects have been considered from design through to operation and maintenance. I am responsible for establishing an acceptable closure strategy to undertake the work, balancing the needs of the project with those of the travelling public. I have consulted with stakeholders throughout the business alongside the Principal Contractor and project team to establish the most effective way of completing this. It is my options paper which has been presented to the business.

As a young woman who has come from a small town in the country to work in Engineering in our incredible city, I am inspired every day by engineering around me which most people take for granted and the fantastic engineers with whom I have the privilege of working every single day. My passion and enthusiasm for the built environment means that I have always wanted to get out from behind my desk and see society transformed – and I feel that is a much more tangible and inspiring message for young people considering engineering.

I try to live my life with integrity and make the best decisions for my project within my professional abilities. I am keen to show young women and men that they have a world of choices open to them in engineering, that there are many routes into the industry and that their dreams can be fulfilled. I had a relatively tough start to my time in senior school and struggled academically, not always getting the best grades, but sheer determination has brought me ample success and the respect of my peers.

I love speaking in public and I love seeing children’s faces light up when I explain the possibilities offered by an engineering career: a career where you have freedom, the chance to work internationally, to join fantastic professional teams which feel like your family and to leave a built legacy which you would be proud to show your grandchildren.

My passion for my trade shines through in all I do, including the work I have done this year as an IET ambassador for their ‘Engineer a Better World’ campaign. This included giving media interviews, something I absolutely love. Equally, I am not afraid to let my professional mask drop in the name of engineering, appearing in the ICE “Engineering Happiness” film dancing under the Hammersmith Flyover, (one of my first projects after graduation).

I want children to see engineering as an enjoyable career with plenty of support: I always tell children that going to work is like visiting my second family. In my first year in London, I mentored a young student; this experience taught me so much, in particular that younger people often just need the confidence to tackle a profession; confidence which may not exist in the family home. I want to be the person who bridges that gap and inspires them into our profession.

Sarah Gerken

Sarah Gerken | Willis

Sarah GerkenI have been in the insurance industry for over three and a half years, joining the Willis graduate scheme after my degree in European Studies and Spanish at the University of Manchester. I began my career as a kidnap-for-ransom broker, transitioning to work on some of the most prestigious accounts at Willis after 18 months. I speak fluent Spanish as I have lived in Chile, Cuba, Spain and Colombia. My hobbies include surfing, bouldering and yoga and I have a green belt in kung fu.

Alice Powell

Alice Powell ǀ Alice Powell Racing

Alice PowellAlice started karting when she was 8 years old and has been a motorsport fan all her life. At 22 years old, she has had some stand out career highlights, which include becoming the first ever female to win the Formula Renault BARC UK Championship. She is the first and only female to get in the points in the GP3 Series and last year, she was Champion in the Formula Renault Asia Championship. Alice is also a BRDC Rising Star, which means she is part of the prestigious British Racing Drivers Club. As well as this, she is also an Athlete Supporter for the Women Sports Trust, promoting women’s sport and raising awareness.

This year, Alice is running an all-female kart team in the Formula Kart Stars Championship, which is supported by Bernie Ecclestone. As well as this, Alice is coaching other young female kart racers.

Her racing highlight for the year so far was racing in the 24hr Silverstone with Aston Martin, alongside their CEO, Andy Palmer.

Alice works hard to get females into Motorsport, and to coach and help guide them to their

Sacha Grimm

Sascha Grimm ǀ Cooley

Sascha Grimm is an associate solicitor at the London office of Cooley, sitting in the commercial litigation department. Sascha is also the Chair of a women’s legal network called Women In Law London (WILL), which aims to tackle the poor retention rate of women in law.

Having always been passionate about diversity within the legal profession, Sascha became involved early on in her previous firm’s internal women’s group. This experience made her appreciate the complexity of the issues behind the huge loss of female talent in the legal profession and she became determined to be part of the movement to drive change.

At the end of 2013, after unsuccessfully trying to find an external women’s network focused on associate-level women (the very demographic leaving the profession), Sascha pulled together a group of lawyers and together they set up WILL – a young, dynamic, grassroots network aimed at pre-partnership and senior management female lawyers in London.

WILL launched online in July 2014, with the official launch event in October 2014. Since then WILL has acquired over 1,700 members representing more than 350 different law firms and companies in London. WILL holds frequent events and has set up a number of initiatives, working with members as well as with firms and companies directly, to drive positive change in the legal profession.

Sascha is extremely passionate about encouraging law firms and companies to invest in and pull up their female talent. She is an energetic and committed Chair of WILL, balancing this role with her day job, as well as sitting on her current firm’s internal Women’s Initiative. She regularly speaks at public events about women in law and also sits on the Executive Committee of the Equal Justices Initiative, which promotes greater diversity within the Judiciary.


Gemma Lodge ǀ DLA Piper

GemmaLodgeWith tremendous hard work and talent, Gemma has built a career for herself in the Real Estate team at DLA Piper and is now a highly regarded associate in the London-office.

When Gemma first joined DLA Piper as an office assistant almost 19 years ago she had no inkling as to the opportunities that might lie ahead. After some challenging periods early in life - including a brief spell in local authority care - before leaving home at 16, Gemma admits that it just did not occur to her that a career in such a highly regarded profession as the law would be open to her.

After years of combining full-time work as a legal assistant with part-time study, she proudly qualified as a legal executive (in 2007) before re-qualifying as a solicitor in 2011. Gemma handles a wide range of commercial property transactions, primarily dealing with sales and purchases for institutional investors and high-value commercial lettings.

Gemma is keen to use her personal experiences to help champion the talents of others who have never even considered a career in law or who might have disregarded traditional routes to qualification due to the financial burden and risk involved. She is convinced that the ability to "learn while you earn" is the key to improving diversity in the workplace.

Gemma says "Hard work and determination aside, the only reason I am where I now am is because a woman I whole-heartedly respected in her professional capacity as a senior partner at DLA Piper took me aside one day and told me one day that I could. I can only hope to encourage others in the same fashion".

Alicia Millar

Alicia Millar ǀ Reed Smith LLP

Alicia Millar is the EME Learning and Development Manager based in the Reed Smith London office. She joined the firm in April 2014 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where she was a manager in the global L&D team. Prior to this she worked as a Training Officer for Christie’s, the international auction house.

Alicia’s responsibilities in the London office include designing and delivering the firm’s Management Development Programme and Senior Associate Business Development programme; working as a business partner with practice group leaders to deliver bespoke development initiatives; and driving the firms programme of coaching. She also has responsibility for learning and people development in the Paris and Munich offices. Outside of L&D, Alicia is co-chair of PRISM, the Reed Smith LGBT forum, and she works closely with the leadership team of WINRS - the firm's women’s initiative.

Alicia has a BA Hons in Marketing and a diploma in International Business Management from Staffordshire University. She is a qualified MBTI® step I and II practitioner, and Firo-B®, she is also an EMCC certified coach.


Debbie Grimshaw ǀ Brother UK

debbie grimshawMy name is Debbie Grimshaw and I am Executive Assistant to Phil Jones, Managing Director of Brother UK, the Information, Communication and Technology Company.

During a 25-year career with the business, I have provided EA and PA support to the senior leadership team at Brother UK and Brother International Europe. In my current role, I manage the complex and demanding diary of Phil Jones, one of the North West’s prominent business leaders.

Alongside my day-to-day duties, I also have a leading role in Brother UK’s corporate responsibility and community engagement projects. These include a role in a Year 10 student mentoring programme at Copley Academy in Tameside and involvement with the Hallé Impresarios Project, a scheme which introduces students at Denton Community College, near Manchester, to classical music and how to run a business.

I continually invest in my own personal development and expand my horizons by flexing myself in all areas of the business to ensure I have a thorough knowledge of the organisation, including the induction of new people. This gives me an insight of how it feels to be new to the business and allows me to demonstrate our company values.

I am an active member of the Manchester PA Network and the CityCo PA Network as I love to promote our profession. I also encourage colleagues to attend, to grow their network and confidence.

My attendance of Office Show is a key event in my diary each year and in 2014 I was proud to be announced as a runner-up in the PA Contributor of the Year award on National PA Day.

My passion to promote the role drives me to coach and mentor key colleagues in my peer group, creating a strong sense of togetherness amongst the team. I share best practice and strive to be the best possible role model I can be. Recently I acquired an assistant who came to us as an apprentice. Sharing all my experience and knowledge with her and watching her grow has brought great mutual benefit.

Outside of work, I volunteer as Charity Secretary for the Convoy of Happiness Children’s Charity, which provides day trips to sick, disabled and terminally ill children and their families. I also manage the charity’s social media channels.

I have two daughters, two dogs and I live in Tameside.

Joy Adams

Joy Adams | Deutsche Bank

Joy works across the Compliance and Legal divisions of DB and focuses on issues related to culture, communication, and conduct. Prior to this, she worked in the Government and Regulatory Affairs Department as well as the Group Finance Communications and Engagement team, where she was responsible for the global launch of a Group Finance culture change project. This began the strategic communications campaign for the Group Financial culture initiative.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS) where she focused on political and economic development. During this time she was also the recipient of a Cultural Bridge Fellowship, which saw her travel to Sudan for research, and participated in the Harvard Square to Oval Office program to train future political leaders. Prior to her role at Deutsche Bank, Joy was based in a local council economic development office in San Francisco where she was responsible for a multimillion dollar grant fund and launched a local Green Job Corps project. Joy is the co-chair of the HKS Alumni Club in London and has volunteered with the club for three years. She also cares deeply about the arts and is a young patron for the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, a charity that provides arts programmes in low income schools and for children who are in hospice care.