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Aspire Trailblazing Leadership Conference

12th December 2019 - 13th December 2019

Our best event of the year!

Join us in London to advance your career, transform your leadership, create your goals for 2020 and make the changes you aspire to in your life, work and world.

Meet the women visionaries, pioneers and leaders from across industries, sectors, backgrounds and ages and Dr Sam Collins, named as ‘One of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business and Industry’ by Her Majesty The Queen and ‘A Woman Shaping the World’ by CNN, to rock the status quo and create a new agenda for the future world of work and society.

The Aspire Trailblazing Leadership Conference will reinvigorate, inspire and empower you with the practical tools, network and inspiration to become (or become even more of) a trailblazing leader at home, in the workplace and in your community.

Programme includes:

  • 1 hour webinar to prepare, set goals and network online.
  • 2 day conference to inspire, network and empower you for change.
  • 1 hour post event webinar to support and hold you accountable.
Who attends the Aspire Trailblazing Leadership Conference?

This conference attracts an extremely diverse, supportive and engaging audience from across business industries, not for profit and entrepreneurial sectors. This creates a rich melting pot of ideas, networking, innovation and leading edge thinking.

Both women and men are very welcome.

In addition, those with passions centred in diversity, inclusion, talent, HR, learning and development, social responsibility and community change will find the conference full of new ideas and transformation.

Day 1 – Motivating and Empowering Yourself
  • Unleash your Leadership Edge - Old models of burn out, sacrifice and perfection are out and self care and authenticity are in.
  • Think Bigger, Vision Even Bigger and Go For It - Grow your skills to be visionary, overcome obstacles and take a step up.
  • Get Your Inner House In Order - Grow your confidence, retrain any negative thinking and empower yourself.
  • Leadership Skills for the Future - Share ideas, understand the skills and career journeys different leaders have taken and be inspired by others.
  • Survive or Thrive – Find True Balance without the Guilt - Discussions with real role models who will share their success formula for balance.
Day 2 - Influencing and Inspiring Others
  • The Trailblazing Leadership Movement - Change traditional mindsets and make a visible and significant difference to the new triple bottom line of profits, people and planet.
  • Risk, Reward and Decision Making - Evolve your skills as a change agent by being an intrapreneur (entrepreneurial mindset inside your organisation), entrepreneur (with your own business) or altrupreneur (in a non profit, charity or social business).
  • Powerful Influence - Join with peers from other organisations, sectors and industries to get different perspectives, feedback, tools and tips on the challenges you are looking to address.
  • Sustainability and Change - Skills to be an innovator, pioneer and collaborator to make a difference to personal, workplace, social, economic and global issues.
  • Achieve and Deliver as a Trailblazing Leader - Create your tangible action plans, network, find and offer support and accountability post event.

With every event place you purchase, you make a difference as we donate a scholarship place at one of our events to someone who could not otherwise afford to attend.

We have been leading events and conferences to inspire and empower women for the past 20 years.

Be bold, be brave, be different!

Register now as places are limited and sell out fast!

£995 + VAT

£795 plus VAT for those who are self funding, work in not for profits or in small businesses (fewer than 200 employees). £695 plus VAT for Aspire Reward Trailblazers who have attended multiple Aspire events.

1 day passes are available at £495 plus VAT. Group discounts available too.



Etc Venues County Hall, London, UK
The County Hall, Riverside Building, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK
London, SE1 7PB United Kingdom
+ Google Map

"Personally and professionally, the best investment in training and development that I have made over a 30 year career (which included a medical degree and an MBA!). I have come away with the confidence and tools to make my impact exponentially higher."

Dr Penny Woods

Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation

"What a fabulous, truly international experience the Conference was! I came with three goals (personal development, network extension and new ideas to support women's progression in our firm) and this conference delivered on all three!"

Bev Lockwood

North Region Change Lead, PwC

"One of the most memorable two days of my career, eye opening sessions on liberating women in leadership, self reflection and learning from a hall filled with some of England’s most powerful leaders with such admirable and honest journeys. Wonderful experience"

Samara Alkadhy

Project Manager, Thames Water

“Feeling inspired, energised, on a mission, empowered, grateful and truly wanting to make a difference. I would describe it as an event that nourishes the soul.  I intend to take action and make the change!”

Melanie Thomas

Head of NYR Business Development, Neal's Yard Remedies

"Whilst Aspire have a strong focus on gender diversity and women leaders, as a man, I feel totally included and equally supported. I have recommended Aspire to many people and will continue to do so."

John Fenech

International Organisational Development, The Bank of New York Mellon

Conference Style and Approach

We are known for being ‘not the usual conference’.

  • A hybrid of conference and workshop, attendees apply learning and share advice and mentoring.
  • Session is facilitated so that attendees translate learning into their own life, work and world.
  • Style is much more relaxed, personal and informal.
  • Focus on the bigger picture of how we can help and support each other and contribute to a better world.

Venue Accessibility

Find out more here.  Complimentary rates are available for carers accompanying those with disabilities.

Complimentary rates for carers accompanying anyone with disabilities.

Group rates are as follows:

10% discount for 2 people
15% discount for 3-5 people
20% discount for 6-9 people
10 people plus – email us for a quote  now to secure your group.

  • This event has passed.


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.

Over 50% of attendees come to Aspire Trailblazing Leadership with others.

10% discount on normal rate for 2 people
15% discount for 3-5 people
20% discount for 6-9 people
10 people plus – email us now on info@aspireforequality.co.uk for a quote and discussion.

Over the past 19 years of Aspire for Equality, we have found that taking the time away from daily life and your organisation provides new inspiration, diverse perspectives, innovative ideas and an escape from ‘business as usual’ that surpasses an internal course or training event where everyone is from the same organisation.

“We had a really positive experience and we’ve received great feedback from our group of female employees who have participated in events to date. Would I recommend Aspire for Equality? Absolutely!” – Laura Howard, Global Lead HR Business Partner, IS, Astrazeneca

“A massive thank you for an incredibly thought provoking workshop….we now have 30+ women empowered to share some messages and learning in our organisation.” – Laura Simarro, HR Business Partner, Thames Water Utilities Limited

“It’s been a pleasure to watch the fantastic impact your work has had on our group, to watch people develop from what they have learnt from you and to see so many of them grow as a result of being part of your sessions. What you do is powerful. I too have learnt a lot, grown in confidence, altered my mindset and picked up some bright ideas along the way.” Kathryn Kennedy, Leadership, Talent & Inclusion, The Home Office

“Over 300 female managers and partners have attended the course over time and the feedback has been incredibly positive. Reports of increased self-confidence, clearer vision in terms of building and progressing careers means a greater chance that these people will stay with us. That is very positive for them as individuals as for us as a business. A win:win.” – Mark Sherfield, Management Executive Partner, BDO LLP

“Great content, fantastic energy and a room full of invigorated, inspired leaders. Thanks for your amazing vision and for taking us all along with you. The vibe though Avtrade has changed since I stumbled across Aspire. Today we’re a force for change, inspiration and encouragement to leaders (whatever gender) and to all staff across the company.” – Tracy Keegan, Director of Contract Management, Avtrade Ltd

“Our group of female leaders are more confident, assertive, better networkers and thriving as a consequence of attending your programme. I am now counting on them to pay that forward by supporting, encouraging and coaching other women who are trying to find their purpose, voice and authentic leadership style in their careers.” – Elizabeth Vega, Global CEO, Informed Solutions

“I left feeling re-energised, re-focused and strong! I have already received feedback from other team members who attended the Aspire workshop who are applying their new-found techniques with positive impact and I am confident they will become a network of trailblazing women within our organisation and beyond.” – Diane Smith, Head of Talent, Learning and Development, Babcock International Group


Sam Collins, Founder and CEO, Aspire for Equality, USA

“Powerful Communication for Personal, Organisational and Social Change”

Sam Collins is a leading international voice on leadership and equality, a social entrepreneur, speaker and author. She founded Aspire nearly 20 years ago when she was just 30 years old, now a globally sought after organisation that empowers and equips women to lead change in life, work and world. She has lived, travelled and worked in the UK, Europe, Canada, Africa, India, Australia and the US.

Karen McDonagh Reynolds - Cloud Programme Director, Shelina McAlees- Cloud Service Integrator, Dawn Olivas - Global Information Technology Director, Willis Towers Watson

“Becoming your Superpower – How being your strengths can change you and your environment”

Karen, Shelina and Dawn are spearheading a happy, healthy and safe environment for all within Willis Towers Watsons’ IT department. Using strength-based leadership, their shared passion is to advance inclusivity and accessibility through advocacy and authenticity. Karen – “The Ringleader” – has worked predominantly in Cloud for the last 7 years. By day, Shelina – “The Provocateur” – is a Cloud Service Integrator and by night she’s a youth leader. “The Driven Pioneer”, also known as Dawn, is a trained lawyer with expertise in establishing global departments. Together, they strive for a culture where they can all bring their whole selves to work giving everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Dr Zareen Roohi Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Gift Wellness, Pakistan

“How to not just survive, but thrive as an entrepreneur/activist/grandmother and all-round M.A.D. woman!”

Zareen is the Founder & CEO of Gift Wellness Ltd, manufacturing and distributing an award-winning range of natural feminine hygiene products. The GIFT range is currently the fastest growing brand of it’s kind in Europe and is a best seller in Holland & Barrett. Most importantly, due to Zareen’s commitment to helping women in crisis, over 5 million pads have been donated to homeless and refugee women as well as to food banks. This is all part of Zareen’s vision to fulfil the dreams of her daughter who was tragically murdered in 2007.

Jennifer Henderson, Chief Executive and Keeper of the Registers of Scotland

“Do it and Ask for Forgiveness Later”

Jennifer is the Chief Executive and Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, which is the government body responsible for compiling and maintaining 20 public registers in Scotland, including the oldest national Land Register in the world. The proudest moments in her career have included contributing to the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire; leading the delivery of scientific support to front-line military personnel; and receiving a UK Women in Defence Award for her work to promote gender equality.


Caylee O'Neill, Customer Experience Knowledge Manager, AkzoNobel UK Ltd

“Thriving Minds – By saying nothing, you are part of the problem”

Caylee is committed to raising awareness and tackling the stigma around mental health. Combining her experience as a people manager, her own lived experience of mental health issues and further education, Caylee has trailblazed better mental wellbeing across the global organisation at AkzoNobel alongside her day job. She has also represented mental health charities Time to Change and Mind on a number of occasions to support other businesses developing their mental health strategies and is an active Time to Change champion across the UK.


Libby Ferguson, Senior Advisor, The Climate Group

“Climate Trailblazers – Be Yourself and Change the World!”

Libby is passionate about making a difference on climate change through her work supporting people and organisations to take a leadership role. Following a career that spanned business, government, economic development and international relations, she stepped into her dream job in 2013 at The Climate Group leading its global government programme. Working with governments at the forefront of climate action, she led an initiative described by the UN Secretary General as a “game changer” and feels privileged to have been part of the global movement that supported the creation of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Pip Hare, Professional Sailor, Pip Hare Ocean Racing, UK

Weathering the storm – How to deal with a big situation you have no control over”

In 2020 Pip Hare, at the age of 45, will be taking on one of the toughest sporting events on our planet, when she races a 60 ft yacht non-stop, single-handed around the world in the Vendee Globe Race. Only 6 women have ever participated in this event. Pip launched her solo sailing career ten years ago with the express aim of entering the Vendee Globe Race and has progressed through the ranks of offshore sailing with steady determination. Over the intervening years Pip has sailed fifteen times across the Atlantic, seven times alone, and her achievements include setting one British sailing record and a world first in endurance sport.

Maya Hennerkes, Principal Environmental Adviser, ESG Sector Lead Financial Institutions and Equity Funds, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

“Sustainability and Trailblazing the Future of Finance”

Maya leads the EBRD’s environmental and social work with financial institutions and private equity funds. She promotes the integration of climate and broader environmental and social issues in investment decisions and investment management and designs and supervises environmental and social risk management and safeguarding frameworks. Maya is a sustainable finance expert with over 15 years of experience, with previous positions at the Inter-American Development Bank Group in Washington DC and Bloomberg L.P. in London.


Sarah Kitakule, Director, The Kitakule Foundation, Uganda

“Translating Your Ideas and Knowledge into Action”

An accomplished women’s empowerment and private sector development specialist, Sarah has been an active member of the women’s movement in Uganda and globally. She has extensive experience with leading international development organisations including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, International Labour Organisation and the Commonwealth Secretariat. She successfully chaired the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association and served on several global women in business networks. She is currently a trustee of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and a Founder Director of the Kitakule Foundation.

Sally Tanner, People Programme Leader, IBM

“Braving the Wilderness: Moving the Dial in a Large Organisation”

Working within a major global organisation, Sally’s passion for growing and developing people has seen her lead a series of transformation initiatives increasing employee engagement. Sally’s experience spans the employee lifecycle, from start date through to exit interview, and her passion for building capability and potential and for making each moment meaningful creates the platform for trailblazing leadership inspiring others to join and lead the change. Sally is also a Steering Group member at Engage for Success, a movement to drive engagement and ‘good work’ across the UK; a governor at Dame Alice Owen’s School and one of IBM’s first Mental Health First Aiders.


Katy Styles, Full-time carer and We Care Campaign Founder

“Plan B – When You Never Know What is Around the Corner”

Katy is a full-time unpaid carer to her husband Mark, who is living with motor neurone disease. She also frequently looks after her mother who lives 30 miles away. Previously a secondary school teacher, Katy has transferred her teaching skills to campaigning. She is a respected advocate on health and social care issues, gaining national recognition for her work from the British Parliament. A firm believer in creating positive change whatever life throws at you, Katy is proof that you can take an alternative route to the one planned, and make a difference. In 2018 she set up the award winning We Care Campaign.


Claire Stephens, Senior Director Global Programme Management, BCD Travel

“We can all Make a Difference – Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking”

Claire currently working for a travel management company as a Senior Director. Following 6 years working in the Performing Arts, Claire returned to higher education and graduated as a Computer Programmer which in turn saw her start her varied corporate career, firstly in IT & Project Management, then on into Procurement and Travel. Last year Claire volunteered to lead a project focused on raising awareness of human trafficking in the travel industry. Driven by an increasing passion for respect and value of human life, she is now on a mission to broaden this opportunity and feels strongly that we can all play a part and in some small way make a difference.


Brian Ballantyne, Senior Programme Manager - Inclusion & Diversity, Amazon, Luxembourg

“From Shielding to Shining – Stepping into your Power”

Brian is the author of “Confessions of a Working Father”. This book is an experiment to bring more men into the conversation on inclusion at work and in support of the broader aim of women’s economic advancement. Brian works as a senior programme manager for inclusion & diversity at Amazon, he is a board member of the Luxembourg non-profit “Women in Digital Empowerment” and he is part of the board composition working group at ILA (Institut Luxembourgeois des Administrateurs).

Dr Yvette Coldicott, Former Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Anywhere

Panel discussion – “Survive or Thrive – Find True Balance without the Guilt”

After following a traditional path in medicine for 20 years, Yvette left her career as a Consultant in Anaesthetics and Pain Management to bring together a number of passions as Chief Medical Officer in a fast-growing digital health provider. Combining career change, start-up life, a young family and staying true to herself and her values has taken Yvette on a journey that she never believed she would embark upon but is so pleased that she did! She is committed to helping people discover the tools they need to achieve their goals, whether this be managing their long-term condition or reaching the next step in their personal or working life.


Deborah Saffer, Head of EMEA Information Security and Risk Management, Cushman & Wakefield 

Panel discussion – “Survive or Thrive – Find True Balance without the Guilt”

Starting out over three decades ago with Apple Computers, back in 1984, as a computer demonstrator for the first Apple Macintosh, her career has taken many turns, initially as a freelance software trainer, whilst her family of two daughters and a son were growing up. Then what began as a three-month contract with Halifax Plc, ended up as 18 years continuous service across multiple business lines in the bank. Deborah then led a team at Royal Mail Group for four years, implementing a programme of work ensuring technical and organisational measures of security were in place and effective. For the past six months, she has been making an impact as Head of EMEA Information Security and Risk Management for the global commercial real estate company, Cushman & Wakefield.


Ibtissam Al-Farah, Director, Lavender International Consultancy, Ethiopia & Yemen

“Risk, Reward and Decision Making”

Ibtissam is the Founder and Director of Lavender International Consultancy and also a Co-Founder of The Development and Empowerment of Women’s Advancement Project. She was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Yemen. From arriving in England in 2004 as a single woman and refugee, she created a life with no family support, no recognised work experience and no English language. She has since worked her way up to PhD level and is involved in projects for women asylum seekers and refugees. She has spoken at various academic conferences as a political analyst and delivered seminars for the United Nations Human Rights meeting in Geneva about women and children in war zones.

Alia Cooper, Strategy, Engagement & Governance, HSBC and Helen Needham, Transformation Programme Manager, Capco

“Change Agents for Invisible Difference”

Alia and Helen met working together on a project at HSBC in 2011. At the time neither would have suspected the other of being ‘different’ or that they were secretly struggling. This isn’t surprising as both have ‘invisible differences’. Alia has experienced depression and anxiety since she was a teenager, but only started to talk about this in the workplace in the last year. Meanwhile, Helen had struggled with feeling like she didn’t quite fit in and was often viewed as abrasive. Three years ago Helen was diagnosed as autistic, a few years after her son, and has realised that she is different, not difficult. Helen and Alia hold senior management roles in demanding industries and have realised that being different can bring a new perspective, which is much needed in the workplace.


Jane Dawson, Communications and Public Engagement, Jane Dawson Consulting

“Leading beyond authority: Collaborative decision making in an ever more connected world”

Throughout her career Jane has worked to champion innovation and bring about long term change. With a track record of influencing decision makers in politics and the media, she enjoys leveraging opportunities and relishes public engagement as a way to connect with people. She thrives on understanding and tackling the root causes of conflict and injustice to create a fairer and more peaceful world. No stranger to taking a radical stance on social issues, Jane has experience of the isolating effect of being ahead of the curve. As Head of External Communications for Quakers in Britain, Jane is responsible for the Quaker political and media voice, as well as their print and online presence.


Andrew Armes, Head of Talent Acquisition, Roche UK

Panel Discussion – “How do we truly collaborate as men to make a difference?”

Prior to co-founding the Leadership and Personal Development social enterprise The Spring Project in 2009, Andrew had thirteen years of large blue chip HR experience. His corporate roles included Vice President for Talent Management and HR Strategy for the engineering conglomerate Invensys and Head of Resourcing and Talent Management at AstraZeneca UK. He has also been a director at the Leadership Development charity Common Purpose. He has been voted twice in the top 100 most influential HR professionals by HR Magazine. Since 2015 Andrew has been the UK Head of Talent Acquisition at Roche, a major global Bio-Technology company with 95,000 employees across 150 countries.


Simon Gallow, UK Development Director, UN Women

Panel Discussion – “How do we truly collaborate as men to make a difference?”

Simon is a young man who joined UN Women UK as a Development Director, having worked for UN Women’s Economic Empowerment division in New York. He passionately believes that, as a man, it is his duty to stand up for the rights of mothers, sisters and daughters – of all backgrounds, ethnicities and sexualities – in the UK and across the world. Too often gender inequality is framed as a women’s problem, when in reality it is a human one. Equality for women is progress for all, and men, and all genders, need to take a proactive role in making this change happen.

Tristram Southgate, Managing Director, Majorlift Hydraulic Engineering

Panel Discussion – “How do we truly collaborate as men to make a difference?”

Tris is Managing Director of Majorlift Hydraulic Equipment Limited and has built on a wide range of manufacturing experience gained over more than 30 years in a variety of industries, particularly engineering and electronics. He specialises in delivering change, building & leading teams, creating systems and delivering customer service. Equality, egality and meritocracy at work are important drivers to him. As a long time sufferer of Imposter Syndrome, he spends most of the working day waiting to be found out. His spare time is spent raising a family, wrestling with too many dogs and restoring a 1964 Series 2a Land Rover.


Humail Moubean, Ruqaya Din, Simrah Abbas and Zehna Abdul-Ghani, Hodge Hill College Students

“Solutions for the Planet  #SaveOurCity #Determination #Nevergiveup”

The Hodge Hill students are a group of girls from Hodge Hill College, a school in Birmingham, who are working to get their fellow pupils (and community) engaged with caring for our environment. Their speaker topic stemmed from their participation in the Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas competition and although the team didn’t make it through to the national finals, they are still determined to ensure their idea is realised and to make a difference. The girls are passionate believers in young people having the opportunity to be leaders, particularly in terms of environmental issues, and they want to encourage others to take action too. They are also hugely passionate about empowering young women as they attend a secondary school where over 70% of the cohort are boys.

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