Our Speakers

Dr Heather Melville, OBE

Specialist Advisor, Teneo; Chancellor, University Of York; CEO & Founder, Clarke Smith Advisory

A speaker, facilitator and campaigner for inclusion, Heather helps boards and executive teams navigate all areas of DEI. With a career spanning over 40 years, Heather brings a wealth of experience across corporate and international banking, technology, and most recently in professional services, which positions her to advise leaders on both the challenges and opportunities in building commercially strong and inclusive businesses. She has a proven track record of helping companies to attract, develop and retain the very best talent whilst ensuring they create inclusive cultures that nurture innovation.

Peju Adebajo

NED Wolseley & Ibstock Plc

A CEO and Board Director with expertise across multiple sectors, from Industrials to Renewable Energy and Agriculture, including high-growth start-ups, multinational corporations, PE backed companies and private companies. Her experience includes B2B and consumer-businesses. She sits on the Board of Wolseley (PE backed) and Ibstock (FTSE listed) and was CEO of Lafarge Africa (French/ Swiss listed multinational), Mouka (UK PE backed), Lumos (HK VC backed). She has extensive experience of working in Africa and is well networked across the region. Her early experience was in consulting with BCG and in finance with Citicorp. She holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College and a Harvard MBA.

In 2023, she was shortlisted for the “NED to watch category” for the UK NED awards and recognized in the Business Leader magazine February 2023 edition – Top 33 business influencers list. Other recognitions include Cranfield University’s 2021 “100 Women to Watch” list, LinkedIn’s 2021 “UK Top 10 Green Voices, 2015 CNBC Africa Businesswoman of the Year, and the 2013 Harvard Business School Nigeria Leadership Award

Sara Ellison

Co-Head of Mid-Market Value Creation (PE), KPMG

Sara focuses on the value creation agenda of mid-cap Private Equity funds to identify business issues and provide suitable solutions by leveraging the breadth and depth of KPMG’s Mid-Market consulting, legal and tax services.

A generalist with experience in two start-up sports media companies before joining KPMG’s Transaction Services practice in New York City, Sara supported buy-side and sell-side clients with commercial and operational due diligence. She also worked with a number of PE houses on portfolio spend synergies before pivoting to support two of KPMG’s centres of excellence, for whom she has led business development around FS Regulation and ESG and supply chain due diligence. Sara joined the UK firm after developing a coverage model for KPMG’s ECB office in Frankfurt, and covered some of KPMG’s top global clients in banking and capital markets.

B.S. in Business from Samford University, Alabama USA

Tanya Tracey

CEO, GAIN – Girls Are INvestors

Tanya is the CEO at GAIN following a career in investment banking, investor relations and running a diversity and inclusion programme. She is passionate about increasing the number of women in investment management and is a member of the CFA UK Inclusion & Diversity Network committee.

Tanya studied German and European Studies at University College London and loves travelling, cooking, gardening, yoga & walking her dog.

Corinne Sawers

Principal, KKR Capstone

Corinne Sawers joined KKR in 2022 as a member of KKR Capstone, driving operational ESG for Europe with a focus on ERM and supporting EMEA ESG performance. Prior to joining KKR, Ms. Sawers was a junior partner at McKinsey and Company, where she focused on sustainability and decarbonisation strategy and implementation across a number of sectors, including consumer goods, financial services and industrials.

She has previously worked at SYSTEMIQ, a boutique sustainability advisory firm and fund, and has co-founded a social enterprise focused on improving diversity in the technology sector. Ms. Sawers holds an MBA from INSEAD, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. She is the co-author of Supercharge Me: Net Zero Faster.

Séverine de Wulf

Managing Director, Portfolio Performance Group, PAI Partners

Séverine joined PAI in 2019 as a member of the Portfolio Performance Group with a specific focus on talent, leadership and culture.

She has extensive experience in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting helping leaders make the right decisions about the recruitment, assessment and development of talents, the constitution of efficient management teams and corporate governance.

She spent the early part of her career in M&A and Corporate Finance at Goldman Sachs and as an investment professional at Vestar Capital Partners and Candover.

She is a graduate from the Solvay Business School and holds an MBA from INSEAD. She is also a certified Executive Coach. She is fluent in French and English, and conversational in Dutch.

Cécile Dutheil

Head of Leadership and Culture – Portfolio, Triton

Cécile joins us from APTIV plc, formerly known as DELPHI Automotive plc, where she most recently held the position of Vice President Global HR for the Engineered Component Group (ECG) and EMEA Corporate HR Lead based in Wuppertal, Germany.

Prior to that she was Vice President Corporate Human Resources EMEA at Eaton Industries Manufacturing GmbH in Morges, Switzerland and Divisional Director Human Resources EMEA Electrical Sector at Eaton Industries GmbH in Bonn, Germany.

In her previous career, Cécile held various leading roles within Human Resources at Kennametal Inc., CT Consulting, WWL Internet and Tomey AG in Germany. Cécile is a French national, and holds a M.B.A. in Global Management, a degree in Law and Political Sciences of the University XIII in Paris, France and is a Certified Psychological Coach

Maggie Alphonsi, MBE

Guest Speaker

The face of international women’s rugby, Maggie Alphonsi MBE was key to the team’s first World Cup victory in 20 years in 2014. As a motivational speaker, She shares her passion for leadership, diversity and equality, understanding pressure, the psychology of winning, transferring skills, pressure management, working in a male environment and challenging perceptions.

Kathleen Van Aerden

Head of research, Actum Group

Kathleen has over 15 years’ experience in M&A and Private Equity data research. She started her career joining the Mergermarket EMEA Research team which she later headed for longer than eight years before shifting her focus to support the product and data development from the Technology department for a few years. Meanwhile Kathleen completed an Executive MBA at the Cranfield School of Management in 2019 and obtained the ESG Investing Certificate from CFA UK in 2021. She joined Actum at its creation early 2021 to start a Research Department.