Have recent media frenzies over prejudice done more to damage the cause of women in business than support it?  

Can small businesses achieve the same diversity aspirations as corporate giants?

How can the gender pay gap be rectified?

This second annual summit brought together the phenomenal First Women network to debate these crucial issues and more. With a programme created by First Women Awards alumni, this day educated and inspired more than 300 attendees.


2016 speakers included:

  • Caroline Dinenage MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Women and Equalities and Family Justice
  • Charlotte Proudman – the barrister that caused a media furore when she challenged sexist behaviour on LinkedIn
  • Newton boss and mother of nine Helena Morrissey
  • Naeema Choudry – top employment lawyer and the first Asian woman partner at magic circle law firm Eversheds
  • Dr. Pete Jones – A psychologist specialising in unconscious bias

View photos from 2016

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The 2016 programme






The big debate

The motion: It is sometimes necessary to turn a blind eye to prejudice or inappropriate behaviour in order to further the cause of women in business and the professions.


Charlotte Proudman

Charlotte Proudman

barrister, The Chambers of Michael Mansfield Q.C.


Kate Lester

founder & CEO, Diamond Logistics


Mandeep Rai

CEO, Creative Visions Global

Katherine Ryan - Comedian

Katherine Ryan



Mind the Gap

Why does a gender pay gap persist and what can be done to rectify it?


Marguerite Ulrich

HR director, Veolia UK

Caroline Dinenage

Caroline Dinenage MP

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Women and Equalities and Family Justice

Naeema Choudry

Naeema Choudry

partner, Eversheds

Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones

advisory board member, Women on Boards


In practice – A case study interview with Bupa




Overcoming unconscious bias

Is it possible to re-programme a generation?

Ruth Sacks DBA

business development director & principal lecturer, Westminster Business School

pete jones

Dr. Pete Jones

chartered psychologist & chartered scientist, Shire Professional Chartered Psychologists

Wendy Hall 2

Wendy Hall

senior HR business partner, Schneider Electric


Lessons from abroad

The UK has a lot to learn from international diversity best practice

Damian Grimshaw

professor of employment studies, Manchester Business School

Ingrid Devin

Ingrid Devin

EMEA diversity & inclusion, Dell

Hilde Hukkelberg copy

Hilde Hukkelberg

director, Innovation Norway UK & Ireland


Tracey Groves

partner, forensic services business ethics and compliance, PwC


My Journey

A First Women interview

Helena Morrissey CBE

CEO, Newton Investment Management




Making it as a female comedian

An interview with Katherine Ryan
Katherine Ryan - Comedian

Katherine Ryan



Tomorrow’s Women

How do we support the next generation of female leaders in business? 
ybaker 2

Yvonne Baker

chief executive, MyScience

Grace Boswood

Grace Boswood

COO, BBC Digital & Engineering

Helen Fraser

Helen Fraser CBE

chief executive, Girls' Day School Trust

Lucy Haynes 3

Lucy Haynes

director, member relations, CBI


Achieving gender diversity in an SME

Ambitious diversity aspirations are all well and good in corporate giants, but the implications can sometimes be punishing for smaller companies

Anabel Fielding

CEO, Quintessentially Events


Sarah Hunt

founder, EquityFD


Claire Edmunds

founder & CEO, Clarify


Sadie Morgan

director & founding partner, dRMM Architects


In practice – a case study interview with Elegant Resorts

Sally Booth copy

Sally Booth

head of brand, Elegant Resorts




My Journey

A First Women interview
Safia Minney

Safia Minney MBE

founder & CEO, People Tree


Man up

How do we get men involved in the gender diversity debate?
Mark Mclane 2

Mark McLane

global head of diversity & inclusion, Barclays

Richard Chapman-Harris

Richard Chapman-Harris

equality, diversity and inclusion manager, Mott MacDonald


Hilary Thomas

partner, KPMG

Dawn OHLSON Thales

Dawn Ohlson

UK director of systems, Thales UK


My biggest achievement, my biggest regret

Fast paced presentations from four First Women

Poppy Mardall

founder, Poppy's Funerals

Karen Hester

Karen Hester

chief operating officer, Adnams

Jan Flawn

Jan Flawn CBE

chair, PJ Care


Anne Minors

design principal, Sound Space Vision


Close and networking drinks reception

  • Firms who attended in 2016 include

  • Adnams
  • Aman Foundation UK
  • Angela Mortimer
  • Anthena Business Psychologists
  • Arriva
  • BBC
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BNP Paribas
  • BVCA
  • Balance Recruitment
  • Barclays
  • Bennetts Associates
  • Blackstone Solicitors
  • Bloomberg
  • Blue Acorns
  • Bluebox
  • Bosom Buddies UK
  • Boult Wade Tennant
  • Bristol Thali Company
  • British Business Bank
  • Browne Jacobson
  • Bupa
  • BuroHappold Engineering
  • CBI
  • CBM
  • CTI
  • Centrica
  • Chwarae Teg
  • City Women's Network
  • Claire Lea Associates
  • Clarify
  • ClearScore
  • Cooley
  • Corporate Traveller
  • Creative Visions Global
  • DRMM Architects
  • Dell
  • Dentons
  • Dephna
  • DevaniSoft
  • Diamond Logistics
  • Digital UK
  • EMC
  • Elegant Resorts
  • EquityFD
  • Eversheds
  • First Mile
  • Flowers by Neeva Jay
  • Fly Research
  • Freeformers
  • GE Capital
  • Global Woman
  • Goodfellow Cambridge
  • Grace Belgravia
  • Gravity Planning & Research
  • Green Gourmet
  • Happy Bodies Gym
  • Hardwicke
  • Harvest Digital
  • HerbTality
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Hoare Lea
  • Innovation Norway UK & Ireland
  • Investec Bank
  • Jeanius Consulting
  • KM Media Group
  • KPMG
  • Keens Shay Keens MK
  • Knockhall Academy
  • L.E.K Consulting
  • LV=
  • Liz Wood HR Services
  • MASECO Private Wealth
  • MK Community Foundation
  • MK Dons
  • Manchester Business School
  • MasterCard
  • Miller UK
  • MircoLoan Foundation
  • Mishcon de Reya
  • Mott MacDonald
  • National Energy Foundation
  • Natwest Bank
  • New Horizons London
  • Newcross Healthcare Solutions
  • Newton Investment Management
  • Nicole Farhi
  • OneMK
  • Onion Academy
  • OpenMarket
  • P&O Ferries
  • PJ Care
  • Pagefield
  • People Tree
  • Pertemps
  • Poppy's Funerals
  • Poyry Management Consulting
  • PwC My Financepartner
  • Quintessentially Events
  • RBS
  • RSM International
  • Redington
  • Rettig UK
  • RhysJones Consultants
  • Saïd Business School University of Oxford
  • Schneider Electric
  • Sheridan & Co
  • Shire Professional Chartered Psychologists
  • Skyscanner
  • Sound Space Vision
  • Splash Damage
  • St Richard's CE First School
  • Start Up Loans
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Stephens Scown
  • TSB
  • Talarius
  • Tanglewood Healthcare
  • Th1ng
  • Thales
  • The Alphabet Collective
  • The Business Magazine
  • The Chambers of Michael Mansfield Q.C.
  • The Harefield Academy
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Oil and Pipelines Agency
  • The Stables
  • Tinder Foundation
  • Treadgold Executive Development
  • Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions
  • UKTI
  • University of Oxford
  • ValiRx
  • Veolia UK
  • Virgo Health
  • Vodafone
  • We Are The City
  • Westminster Business School
  • Westward Consultants
  • Wilson James
  • Winton Capital
  • Women In Business
  • Women on Boards

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