Chair, Women on Boards UK
Rowena spent 25 years as an executive in the ICT sector, starting out writing software in Australia; building an IT services business in London; and running international services businesses in the software and hosting industries. Rowena has been a non-executive member of boards in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors since 2006. She has been Chair of Women on Boards in the UK since its launch in 2012 and currently sits on the boards of the Digital Catapult and the Cabinet Office Elections and Registrations Division.
CEO, Women on Boards UK
Fiona is the CEO of Women on Boards UK, Non-Exec Director of Spktral (a technology company that helps organisations simplify the gender pay gap reporting process), advisor to Peel Hunt (mid-cap stockbroker) and Chair of Hanx's Nominations Committee (FMCG start-up). She is an expert in the areas of Governance, Regulation and Talent Management who has sat on both marketing and audit & finance committees. Fiona is also a Patron of Fight for Sight (a medical research charity) and was formerly a director for Hill Samuel Asset Management. She has advised the board of the Thai Euro Fund and is a Judge for the Non Executive Director Awards, sponsored by The Sunday Times. In 2020 Fiona joined King's College London's 'Global Institute for Women's Leadership' Advisory Board.
Executive Director, Women on Boards UK
Rachel is a founding director of Women on Boards UK. She spent 18 years as an international corporate tax consultant working with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. After leaving in 2008 she joined Cardio Direct Ltd, a medical provider of cardiac services. Rachel studied at the University of Birmingham and is a Bachelor of Commerce. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, ATII qualified. In 2017 Rachel joined the board of the Amateur FA as an Independent Non Executive Director and she is also an Independent Panel Member for the Ministry of Justice.
Away from WOB, Rachel is a passionate long distance runner, club tennis player and enjoys long walks with her two Hungarian Vizslas.
Head of Corporate Partnerships, Women on Boards UK
Ancia is a chartered Industrial Psychologist with the South African Health Professions Council. She has worked in both the public and private sectors in finance, engineering and transportation. She is a strong believer in diversity as a cornerstone for growth and development. Ancia is an expert in the areas of leadership, culture and change, who has maximised her experience to influence strategic transformation in the sectors she represented.
Ancia currently holds a trustee role on the board of Kanjanji Orphan Project, a UK based charity in Zambia.
Content and Marketing Manager, Women on Boards UK
Gail is a communications and marketing professional, with a specialism in digital. She has a background in the not-for-profit sector, most recently at Citizens Advice, and supporting start-up and scale-up companies. She spent six years as a trsutee then Chair of Trustees at Lambeth Rathbone Society, an innovative charity supporting people with learning disabilities and young people. Gail joined Women on Boards to ensure everyone in the network gets the most out of their membership.
Events Manager, Women on Boards UK
Ashleigh Frater-Burke joined Women on Boards as our Event Manager to support our expanding programme of events and training. She has an extensive background in taking events from concept to delivery across a range of sectors. Most recently Ashleigh worked in-house in Plaisterers Hall, a prestigious Livery Hall in the City of London, managing their varied events programme.
Managing Director, Women on Boards UK
Madeleine has worked for a number of subscription based businesses including Haymarket Publishing, eMusic.com and The Daily Telegraph. Madeleine is a Chair of governors at a central London school and a coach for Parent Gym, the charity that supports inner-city families. She joined Women on Boards UK to look after the network and help support the growth of the business.
Executive Director and Founder Women on Boards Australia
Claire is a former journalist and public relations manager who uses her high level advocacy skills to lead Women on Boards in Australia. A highly respected speaker on gender diversity and related business issues, Claire became a Churchill Fellow in 2012 for her research into the effect of gender quotas on public listed company boards in Norway and the progress of the policy debate in the UK and France. Her research and introduction to Fiona Hathorn led to the establishment of Women on Boards in the UK. Claire has experience as a director in the small business and not-for-profit sectors.
NED, Women on Boards UK
Fiona Driscoll is an experienced NED and business leader. Her roles currently include UKRI, the bringing together of the UK’s Research Councils with a £7bn budget, Chair of the Wessex Academic Health Science Network for the NHS and Trustee of King Edward VII hospital. She is a Member of HM Treasury’s Major Projects Review Group, and has carried out over 100 reviews for HMG. She has a particular focus on innovation, transformation and commercialisation.
"The business benefits of having more women on boards are clear: more females = better financial performance. But businesses also have responsibilities in the social and sustainability spheres. I believe more women on boards can bring a more thoughtful, inclusive and collaborative approach to developing better corporate citizenship. I’m excited to join WoB and to help them work their practical magic."
Chair of WOB Australia and NED of WOB UK
Ruth is a Certified Practising Accountant and former IT professional who has been pursuing a career as a Non-Executive-Director since 2000. She was the founding chair of Women on Boards and in this capacity has been instrumental in the growth of the business and supported many thousands of women to become board members. She maintains wide interests outside of WOB, including in the start-up sector and angel investing as well as her other board and committee roles. Ruth was previously the chair of Australian Ethical Superannuation, a member of the NSW Casino Control Authority and a director of the Infants Home at Ashfield. Prior executive roles include executive director of the Australian Association of National Advertisers and senior positions with Telstra, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and the Federal Government.
NED, Women on Boards UK
Maxine has spent the majority of her career navigating complex regulatory landscapes at board level. She has operated at the centre of government, at the Cabinet Office, formulating policy across the UK and the civil service. As a member of global pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly’s UK main board she drove market access for new products and pricing. As a member of Nationwide’s executive team she successfully led the protection and defence of the brand through the financial crisis. In her current role at King’s College London (c £1bn turnover), she has led on growth and efficiency, transforming student numbers and the digital offering.
Alongside her role at King’s College London Maxine has a coaching firm focused on helping senior corporate executives reach board / executive committee level. She is passionate about culture, music and the arts, and holds an MA from Clare College, Cambridge University.
Commenting on her appointment as Non-Executive Director to Women on Boards, Maxine said: "I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with this wonderful organisation as a Non-Exec as the organisation is doing such critically important work and I love the ethos of warmth, mutual support and real know-how that it is bringing to so many people"
WOB UK is fortunate to be supported by many fabulous women and a few men. Below we list members of our extended team who each support us in different ways in our mission to build a sustainable organisation to support women who need information and advice on their way to the boardroom.
Chair, Clear Returns, Chair, Institute of Directors Edinburgh, WOB Ambassador, Presenter and Advisor
Julie is Chair of Clear Returns, one of the UK’s most exciting technology start-ups. She is also CEO of Broadreach and provides specialist leadership consulting services to global blue-chip companies. Beginning her career with Tesco where she built a formidable reputation for delivering excellence in operations, Julie works extensively as an Executive Coach with various FTSE 100 companies and has held Interim Retail Director roles with Liberty and Punch Taverns. She also spent time as a retail specialist and Executive Partner EMEA with IBM.
Julie is a presenter for WOB's Getting Started and On Track for Success workshops and co-leads the Getting to the C-Suite programme. She also works with Rowena providing 1-on-1 support to subscribers working on their Board CV. She lives in Edinburgh and, along with Tanya, is a point of contact for WOB members in Scotland.
Non-Executive Director and WOB Ambassador and Presenter
A serial entrepreneur, Lynne has over 20 years’ investment experience, investing in, mentoring and nurturing a range of early stage technology and retail companies throughout the UK. She has worked with a wide portfolio of technology companies, from pharmaceuticals and polymers, to prosthetics and optics and has also managed two early stage technology venture capital funds, served on over 30 boards and started up a number of her own companies.
Currently Lynne is involved with several early stage technology companies as director and investor, mainly in the fields of cyber security, artificial intelligence and emotional management. She is a key influencer on the Leadership in Board Governance Programme at Edinburgh Napier University and in 2017 the University awarded her the prestigious title of Visiting Professor in Governance and Enterprise.
Lynne is a long-standing member of two Edinburgh Napier University Boards, a member of Technology Scotland Advisory Board, Chairman of UNICEF Scotland Advisory Board and Chairman of Women's Enterprise Scotland.
Tanya Castell MBE
Non-Executive Director and WOB Ambassador and Presenter
Tanya is a non-executive director of the Faster Payments Scheme (a core part of the UK's financial market infrastructure), Societe Generale Newedge (a major global derivatives brokerage firm) and Vice Chair of Scottish Canals (which owns, operates and transforms the canals in Scotland). She is also the Lay Chair of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries new Quality Assurance Scheme and on the board of Soirbheas, a community charity in the Highlands (which she chaired for 3 1/2 years) and Fettes College, a leading UK independent boarding school in Edinburgh. Tanya chairs the Risk and Audit Committees of Newedge, the Audit and Risk Committee of Scottish Canals and the Audit and Finance and Remuneration Committees of Faster Payments.
Tanya is a regular presenter on WOB's Getting Started workshops in Edinburgh and Glasgow and is a point of contact for WOB members in Scotland.
Non Executive Director, Trustee and WOB Presenter
Mary is a non-executive director and trustee of both Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby and The Complete Works Limited, an independent school incorporated as a charity and based in East London that enables young people in difficult circumstances to engage in education. Mary previously was non -executive director and vice-chair of Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust and chief executive of Birmingham Forward. Prior to her non- executive career Mary was a leading real estate lawyer heading teams at firms including Eversheds and Andersen Legal before becoming a consultant at law firm Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP.
Mary is a regular workshop presenter for WOB UK in Birmingham.
CEO, Portfolio NED and WOB Ambassador and Workshop Presenter
Sally is an experienced, successful Director, in both Executive and Non Executive roles for early and development stage technology companies, with a focus on fintech and software. Her passion is to taking new products and services to market and helping existing businesses restructure to accelerate growth. Sally is Chair of Stormagic Limited and a Non Executive Director of Mobeus Income and Growth 2 VCT and has recently stepped down as Chair of BeyondTheStory.
Sally is a regular presenter on WOB's London Getting Started Workshop.
Non executive Director, Business Founder, WOB Ambassador and Presenter
Marian is the founder and Director of Elevate BC Ltd and was recently awarded ‘UK Mentor of the Year 2018 (Women in Financial Advice Awards). A qualified Executive Coach, a Chartered Insurance Broker and Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Marian is also one of only 5 individuals in Wales to be awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Leadership and Management, the highest level awarded by the Institute.
Now a multiple business owner Marian was previously executive director at Thomas Carroll Group leading the Special Risks division. And prior to this Marian had worked her way up from the grass roots at NFU Mutual where she was one of the youngest and first women in the history of the organisation to hold a number of positions as she climbed the ranks.
Marian is currently a Non-Executive Director on the Cirencester Friendly Society Ltd Board a school governor and Executive and NED Coach.
Legal Trainer and Consultant, Tanya Gass Training, WOB Presenter
Tanya Gass is a legal trainer and consultant at Tanya Gass Training. She has a reputation for bringing much-needed clarity to legal and regulatory issues with her practical, visual and interactive style of training. Tanya qualified as a corporate finance solicitor at Clifford Chance. During her career as a solicitor, she also worked at Collins Stewart Stockbrokers, Gouldens (now Jones Day) solicitors and in‐house at (then FTSE 100) company Hanson plc. Since 2003, Tanya has been teaching and training covering a range of topics including company law, corporate governance, corporate finance, equity capital markets and negotiation skills. She is a recommended member of the Legal Education and Training Group.
Tanya’s extensive client list includes boards of directors (SMEs, large private companies, listed companies, banks and charitable associations), individual directors, law firms, accountants, company secretaries and other business professionals, as well as training organisations, universities and Companies House. She also runs workshops on board decision‐making, facilitates difficult board meetings, is a consultant professional support lawyer and a frequent speaker at corporate governance conferences on topics such as persons of significant control, directors’ duties, board diversity and stakeholder reporting. See www.tanyagass.com for more information on training courses and for impressive testimonials.
Non-executive Director and WoB Presenter
Sonia Gayle is a charity trustee and Risk and Governance Committee Chair. In her spare time, she mentors’ executives and emerging talent, and is also a community volunteer for the British Red Cross. Sonia is an MBA graduate and Chartered Banker and previously worked in the financial services sector for over 25 years in various senior roles including: regulatory policy (FSA), consultancy services (EY), and risk management advisory (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and AEGON). She is a Fellow of the International Compliance Association, FT NED Diploma holder and is also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Policy Manager, Co-Lead, DeepMind Ethics and Society
Verity joined Google in 2013, initially as Public Policy Manager for Google UK, and most recently joint head of the DeepMind Ethics & Society unit (DMES). Prior to joining Google, Verity was Special Adviser to the Deputy Prime
Minister, Nick Clegg, where she led on Home Affairs, Justice and Equality issues - such as the Equal Marriage Act, Human Rights and Rehabilitation Revolution. She is a graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford, and a recipient of the Michael Von Clemm Fellowship for graduate study at Harvard University.
Non Executive Director, Trustee, WOB Ambassador and Workshop Presenter
Ali is a non Executive Director with experience of the UK National health Service as a Board member, Trustee & Chair of several committees. She is also Board Trustee for the Alzheimer's Society and a member of their external digital advisory group. Ali is an experienced global regulatory leader with significant expertise in Europe. China and the Emerging markets working for a top 10 global pharmaceutical company. She has chaired the European Industry Association European and International Regulatory Affairs Committees and is a Fellow of the global regulatory professionals organisation, TOPRA.
Ali connected with WOB at one of the first regional 'Getting Started' workshops in the North West and is now a presenter and active advocate of the work of WOB.
Founder, Farrier Communication, WOB Ambassador and Masterclass Presenter
Stephanie was a presenter with the BBC for 18 years, communicating her insights and passions from the most intimate radio programmes to flag-waving international broadcasts. She brought her extensive experience to the world of corporate communcations in 2005. Her clients range from Heads of Finance & Development to senior management in corporate finance, legal, engineering and architect/property firms. Her learning and therefore her advice and courses don’t come from a book; they come from practical life experience.
Business Angel Investor, NED, WOB Ambassador and Presenter
Lisa's business life has been spent in marketing communications agencies, working on business-to-business clients across Europe. Lisa is well known in the industry for being passionate and capable. She is skilled at challenging and inspiring others which is why she was also the Board Director responsible for implementing agency personal performance training alongside her client relationship responsibilities. In addition to supporting WOB UK Ltd, Lisa is an active business angel investor. Lisa is also trustee, and Chair, for the London based charity Regenerate which helps to transform deprived communities from the inside and a NED on a start up CIC called The Feel Good Bakery.
The Hon Ros Kelly AO
Non-Executive Director and WOB UK Advisor
Ros Kelly moved to the Australian Federal Parliament in 1980 after being elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in
1974. She held several ministerial portfolios from 1987 through to 1994 including Minister for Defence, Science and Personnel; Minister for the Arts, Sport the Environment and Tourism and Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories. She left politics in 1995 and worked as an environmental consultant.
Ros was a Non-Executive Director of Thiess for 15 years, a leading Australian construction, mining and services
contractor and a former member of the International Advisory Council for Normandy Mining Ltd and Chair of the Minerals Council of Australia's External Advisory Group on Sustainability. Ros joined the Board of Trustees of the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) in 2002 and was Chair from 2005 to 2010. Ros is currently Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves. Ros was awarded an Order of Australia in 2004 for her service to women's health, to the community through corporate environmental responsibility and fostering dialogue between business and conservation groups and to the Australian parliament.
Dr Malcolm Mcgregor
Facilitator, Coach and Presenter. Co-founder of Broadreach.
Following a successful career with a leading UK FTSE Retailer, Malcolm realised a lifetime ambition to sail around the world before commencing a new career as an International Leadership Consultant. As a Director of Broadreach, he works as a professional facilitator, Executive coach, and program designer to deliver impactful, measurable and sustainable capability growth. Malcolm is currently working domestically in the UK with Sainsbury’s; the Coop Group: Vodafone and Capita, and internationally with Dubai Airports and the Melbourne Business School.
Malcolm co-leads the Getting to the C-Suite programme.
Non-Executive Director, Trustee, WOB Ambassador and Workshop Presenter
Sarah is Managing Partner of Perris-Myatt, which helps individuals and organisations from grass-roots to global to build their brands and to enhance their reputation by communicating more productively with internal and external audiences. She is an experienced executive and non-executive director, trustee and board advisor in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Currently a Trustee for the Twin & Multiple Birth Association and for the Eifion Trust. Previously de-facto Director for Bentley Motors and a school Governor.
Ned, WOB Ambassador and Workshop Presenter
Vanessa is a non-executive director and risk, legal, compliance and governance professional. She has a background in the regulated professional and financial services industries. Formerly Vanessa was General Counsel and Partner of KPMG where she created the General Counsel function in the UK and Europe and played a critical role in the structuring, governance and risk management of the firm throughout extensive changes nationally and internationally.
Founder, atconnect, NED, WOB Ambassador and Masterclass Presenter
Alison held executive board and leadership positions at Mothercare, Lego Retail, George at Asda, Kingfisher and Otto UK and has a range of non-executive and committee roles. She spent over two years as a partner in an executive search firm, set up a business that supports companies to deliver through their people and now also combines this experience to mentor individuals at transition points in their careers. Alison is Chair of the leading equality charity Chwarae Teg and a Board Member of Sport Wales. Alison is a presenter for WOB's Board CV Masterclass and also provides the follow up one-on-one support. She is based in Cardiff and is WOB's Lead for members in Wales.
Founder, Caspia Consultancy, WOB Marketing & PR Advisor and Ambassador
Pam spent 18 years as a Regional Group Account Director at global ad agency Leo Burnett before moving to Hertz Europe as European Marketing Director, where she was responsible for marketing across 9 corporate European markets. She was headhunted in 1999 to become Global Marketing Director of StepStone.com, then an online recruitment start-up, which subsequently expanded into 18 countries, IPO’d and was acquired by Axel Springer in 2009. Pam set up Caspia Consultancy in 2001 and works as an outsourced marketing department to SME’s and start-ups across many sectors including financial and professional services, design, media, technology, retail, not for profit, leisure and FMCG. Pam has given Women on Boards marketing support for many years.
Portfolio NED, Business Consultant, WOB Ambassador and Workshop Presenter
Susan is an experienced NED. Her focus is strategy and change with a passion for considering how to meet challenges faced by complex, customer-facing organizations. Her career has spanned financial and consultancy roles, culminating with British Telecom where she was a member of its NW Regional Board and as a Programme Director led cross company strategic change programmes. Susan is currently a trustee of Greater Manchester Arts Centre (HOME), director of Manchester Communication Academy, public governor of Central Manchester University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust and non-executive director of The Transformation Unit, a new internal consultancy organization for the NHS.
Susan is a regular presenter on WOB's Getting Started Workshop in Manchester and Leeds.