The Team


Ancia Cronje - Head of Corporate Partnerships
Laura Dabbs - Customer Services Manager
Fiona Driscoll - Chair
Gail Emerson - Content and Marketing Manager
Fiona Hathorn - Founder and CEO
Rowena Ironside - Founder and Non-executive Director
Victoria Kemble - Financial Controller
Madeleine Milne - Managing Director
Maxine Taylor - Non-executive Director
Rachel Tranter - Founder and Executive Director


Extended Team


Nicolina Andall - Ambassador and Presenter
Julie Ashworth - Lead for Scotland, Presenter, Adviser and Ambassador
Louis Cooper - Presenter
Fiona Daniel - Ambassador and Presenter
Sally Duckworth - Presenter
Marian Evans - Presenter
Tanya Gass - Presenter
Sonia Gayle - Presenter
Eiman Hassan - Ambassador for Canada
Ali Harrison - Ambassador and Presenter
Stephanie Hughes - Ambassador and Masterclass Presenter
Lisa Jones - Ambassador, Adviser, Consultant and Presenter
Farhana Mahbub - Ambassador for Canada
Suparna Malhotra - Presenter
Malcolm McGregor - Presenter 
Sarah Perris - Lead for the North West, Ambassador and Presenter
Vanessa Sharp - Ambassador and Presenter
Alison Thorne - Lead for Wales, Ambassador and Presenter
Susan Webster - Ambassador and Presenter

 

Ancia Cronje

Head of Corporate Partnerships
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.

 


Laura Dabbs 

Customer Services Manager

Laura began her career at Merlin Entertainments, leading customer service teams in attractions including Madame Tussaud’s, The London Eye and SEALIFE London Aquarium. She then moved on to manage customer service in digital environments such as Crowdsurge and JUST EAT.

Laura joins Women on Boards from ZSL where she managed customer service and membership across the charity and both zoos.
She is looking forward to engaging with members and providing them with support in their boardroom journey.
 



fiona driscoll

Chair

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. After joining WOB as an NED in 2019, Fiona took over as Chair in October 2020.
 
"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."



Gail Emerson 

Content and Marketing Manager

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 in supporting start-up and scale-up companies. She has recently been co-opted as a trustee to the board of Zetetick Housing Charity and spent six years as a trustee then Chair of Lambeth Rathbone Society, a £1.5m 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. 

 
 


 

Fiona Hathorn

Founder and CEO

Fiona is the CEO of Women on Boards UK alongside advising a number of different boards and organisations. Currently she is an Advisory Panel Member for the FRC (Financial Reporting Council), an Advisory Board Member to 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. 

 



Rowena Ironside

Founder and Non-executive Director

Rowena is a founding director of Women on Boards in the UK.  She 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 was executive Chair of Women on Boards in the UK from its launch in 2012 until October 2020 and currently also sits on the boards of the Digital Catapult and the Steering Committee of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute.

 



Victoria Kemble

Financial Controller


Vicky qualified as a Chartered Global Management Accountant back in 2007 having worked as EMEA Finance Manager for an international business risk consultancy. While there, she was also involved in setting up a joint venture with a US pre-employment screening business.

More recently she worked as Global Financial Director and Company Secretary within a pharmaceutical market research-based brand consultancy where quality research was of the upmost importance. She then separately ran a due diligence project and helped see this business through to sale before taking a career break and then joining Women on Boards.

During her career break Vicky got involved in a local steering committee with a view to opening a free school locally and is now Finance Trustee and Vice Chair of Trustees of a primary academy trust in West London.

 



RUTH MEDD

Founder and Chair of WOB Australia and NED of Women on Boards 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.
 

Madeleine Milne

Managing Director

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.

 

 




Maxine Taylor

Non-executive Director

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
 




Rachel Tranter

Founder and Executive Director

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.
 



Extended Team

Women on Boards is fortunate to be supported by many fabulous women and 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. 



Nicolina Andall

Solicitor, Public Appointee, Trustee, Women on Boards Ambassador and Presenter

Nicolina is an experienced Senior Corporate Commercial Solicitor, having advised corporate business leaders for 20 years on a wide range of business legal issues, regulation and compliance.  Nicolina features on the Cranfield 100 Women to Watch 2020 List and has extensive board level experience at a variety of commercial, government and not for profit organisations.  Over the last few years, she has been an Independent Panel Member for the Ministry of Justice working with Chairs, CEOs and Civil servants on senior level recruitment campaigns recommending NEDs and Judicial Members (Parole Board of England and Wales) to Ministers for Public Appointment.  This led to her own Public Appointment sitting on the London Advisory Committee, Lord Chancellor’s Department with responsibility for the recruitment of Magistrates in the London area.  She is delighted to be a mentor to many and a long standing inspirational speaker for young people.  Nicolina seeks to encourage women and diverse candidates to step up and be an influential voice in society. 
 



Julie Ashworth 

Senior Governor of The University of Aberdeen, Chair of The IOD Edinburgh, Women on Boards Ambassador, Presenter and Advisor

Julie is CEO of Broadreach, providing specialist leadership consulting services to global blue-chip companies. She began her corporate career with Tesco , leaving her role as a senior executive to compete in the Round the World Yacht race. Julie works extensively as an Executive Mentor and coach with various FTSE 100 companies and has held  Retail Director roles with Liberty of London and Punch Taverns. She was Executive Partner at IBM with responsibility for retail across EMEA and the US  As well as Chairing the IOD in Scotland, Julie is a Governor of George Watson's College, and a Member of the Court for the Royal Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh Where she Chairs the Strategy and Endowments committees   She also spent 3 years as Chair of an award winning retail tech start-up.

Julie is a presenter for WOB's Getting Started, On Track for Success and Board CV workshops and co-leads the Getting to the C-Suite programme. She also works with Rowena and Alison Thorne providing 1-on-1 support to subscribers working on their Board CV.  She lives in Edinburgh and is a point of contact for WOB members in Scotland.
 



Louis Cooper

Chief Executive, Non-Executive Directors' Association (NEDA), WOB Presenter

Louis Cooper is a non-executive director of NEDA, specialising in corporate governance, risk management and internal control training, consulting and advisory services. Louis sits on the Quoted Company Alliance Corporate Governance Committee, is a member of the Institute of Risk Management Special Interest Group on Risk Innovation and is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

 


 



Fiona Daniel

CEO and Founder, FD21, Women on Boards Presenter                                                                                                              


Fiona is the CEO and Founder of FD21, a consultancy company that is all about shifting from diversity to inclusion. To meet Fiona and to listen to her talking about D&I, and why belonging matters, click on this video link.

Fiona has been active in diversity and inclusion for over 20 years, even before the phrase became popular when she was working for HSBC. Her D&I interest started off as a side desk activity but grew over time into her becoming Head of D&I for HSBC UK and Ireland. Fiona is an inspirational speaker who is passionate about the need to embrace her own difference to make a difference.
 



Sally Duckworth

CEO, Portfolio NED and Women on Boards 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.

 



Marian Evans 

Non executive Director, Business Founder, Women on Boards 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. 


 

Tanya Gass 

Legal Trainer and Consultant, Tanya Gass Training, Women on Boards 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.
 



sonia gayle

Non-executive Director and Women on Boards 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.
 



Ali Harrison

Non Executive Director, Trustee, Women on Boards 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.
 



Stephanie Hughes

Founder, Farrier Communication, Women on Boards 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.
 

 




Lisa Jones

Business Angel Investor, NED, Women on Boards Consultant, 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.
 


 

Suparna Malhotra

Executive Coach, Speaker, Trustee and Workshop Presenter

Suparna is an in-demand, professional development executive coach, speaker and facilitator, working with Founders and C-Suite executives.
 
As a leadership specialist, Suparna helps clients to learn and practice tried and tested techniques and to discover valuable, practical tools they can use every day to consistently deliver on their professional and personal mission, as aligned with the organisation’s.
 
She covers all aspects of leadership & career development, including confidence, finding a voice at the table, peer-to-peer relations and Imposter Syndrome, and supports leaders in developing a succession pipeline.
 



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.
 



Sarah Perris                                                                              

Non-Executive Director, Trustee, Women on Boards 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. She is currently Vice Chair of Sharks Community Trust and trustee of the Twins Trust. Previously de-facto Director for Bentley Motors and a school Governor.

 



Vanessa Sharp 

Ned, Women on Boards 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.



 



Alison Thorne

Founder, atconnect, NED, Women on Boards 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 , a Board Member of Sport Wales and the Welsh Government public appointments panel. 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.
 



Susan Webster

Portfolio NED, Business Consultant, Women on Boards 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.

 

Women on Boards Canadian Ambassadors


Eiman Hassan

Director of Operations and Program Management, Alphawave IP, NED and Women on Boards Ambassador

Eiman Hassan, Director of Operations and Program management at Alphawave IP is a PMP and engineer with 20+ years leading change initiatives, program management and consensus building in Russell 3000 companies and start-ups.

Eiman contributes as a NED in her community and has served as a NED for a private school through a major business transition and as a local chapter volunteer and treasurer for Scouts Canada.

She has held leadership positions in large corporate structures as well as in fast paced start-ups, honing her ability to drive customized solutions for organizational success.

 

Farhana Mahbub

Director, RBC Capital Markets and Women on Boards Ambassador

Farhana Mahbub, Director, Strategic Initiatives at RBC Capital Markets, is a delivery-oriented professional who is passionate about transformational change and developing world-class implementation capabilities. Prior to RBC, she worked at CIBC, Canada Life and Teva Pharmaceuticals. In these roles she led large scale programs and change management in risk, regulatory compliance and retail functions. 

Farhana, is passionate about philanthropic work and advancing women in leadership roles. She gives back to the community by volunteering at Women in Leadership Foundation Toronto as Chapter Head and Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation as an Executive Director.