Mary Portas

Mary Portas

Retail Influencer

Mary Portas is a leading keynote speaker on retail and brand communication.

Since 1997 she has been running Portas (formerly known as Yellowdoor), a brand agency, producing challenging campaigns and championing brand development for clients including Clarks, Louis Vuitton, Oasis, Swarovski, Dunhill, Boden, Thomas Pink, Patek Philippe and Westfield. With an unrelenting focus on people and the cultural influences that shape their lives, Mary and her diverse team of strategists, designers and creatives have built made to-measure concepts that marry the key tenets of intelligence, instinct and insights.

She is credited with turning Harvey Nichols into a modern fashion brand in the ’90s. She became a member of the company’s board at the age of 30. She previously worked with John Lewis and Topshop.

Inspired by her weekly ‘Shop!’ column in the Telegraph Magazine, Mary’s television career began in 2007 when her efforts to rescue failing independent boutiques were documented in the BBC2 series ‘Mary Queen of Shops’. The show was nominated for two Royal Television Society Awards and a BAFTA. Her show ‘Secret Shopper’ ran for three seasons and is now a firm favourite on Netflix.

Mary is a household name in the UK and Ireland due to her career as TV presenter. Her first book, “Windows: The Art of Retail Display” (1999), was published in five languages. She also writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph magazine. She published ‘Work Like a Woman’ in 2019 and will publish ‘Rebuild-how to do business better’ in 2021.

Helen Dickinson Speaker Photo

Helen Dickinson OBE

Chief Executive, BRC

Helen leads the team and sets the strategic direction of the BRC. She joined in January 2013 and has been working with retailers for over 25 years. In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for Services to Retail.

Helen is passionate about diversity and inclusion in retail, acting as the BRC’s Social Mobility Commission ambassador; participating in the Timewise Innovation Unit, looking to support more flexibility in jobs, particularly at senior levels; supporting the Everywoman Retail Ambassadors Programme; and having previously been the Chair of Working Chance, a charity helping women offenders find employment.

Helen believes retail can make a strong contribution to communities, and is also on the advisory board for Pennies, a charity which offers digital charity boxes to businesses. Helen was previously UK Head of Retail at KPMG, driving and developing the retail practice and leading relationships and audits for many clients.

Sam Mancey (1)

Sam Mancey

Operations Manager, John Lewis Partnership

Emma Cushing (1)

Emma Cushing

Chief of Staff, Centre for Inclusive Leadership

Heiner Evanschitzky (1)

Heiner Evanschitzky

Chair of Marketing, Alliance Manchester Business School

Heiner Evanschitzky is Professor and Chair of Marketing at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (UK). Heiner received his PhD and Habilitation from the University of Muenster (Germany). He held visiting positions in Switzerland, France, Australia and the US.

Heiner's research focus primarily lies in Retail Marketing/Management where he investigates technology in retailing, customer inspiration & store atmospherics, customer participation, relationship marketing, and profit chain models.

Panagiotis Sarantopoulos

Panagiotis Sarantopoulos

Assistant Professor in Marketing, Alliance Manchester Business School

Dr Panagiotis Sarantopoulos is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Marketing at University of Manchester's Alliance Manchester Business School. His research and teaching interests lie in the areas of Marketing Management, Marketing Research and Consumer Behaviour. 

His work appears at the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Business Research. He holds a PhD in Management Science, an MSc in Industrial Engineering, and a BSc in Industrial Management. Prior to joining academia, he worked as analyst in Greece, Spain, and Sweden.

Hongwei He

Hongwei He

Professor of Marketing Director for Social Responsibility, Alliance Manchester Business School

Hongwei He is Chair Professor of Marketing and School Director for Social Responsibility (a member of the School's Senior Leadership Team) at Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester; and a Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Business Research, acting as Editor-in-Chief for a number of tracks incl. Business Ethics and CSR, Strategic Management, OB/HRM.

He served as an Associate Editor for Group & Organization Management in the past. Professor He's key research areas are Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, Branding, Consumer Psychology and Organizational Behaviour (mainly from identity, emotion, and moral perspective), and Leadership.

Evelina Dzimanaviciute

Evelina Dzimanaviciute

Leadership Trainer, Consultant and Coach

Evelina Dzimanavičiūtė is an Organisational Wellbeing Consultant and speaker providing individuals and organisations with insights and neuroscience-based solutions for Leadership Development, Talent and Wellbeing strategy, Organisational Change, Strategic Alignment, as well as Stress Resilience and Mental Health support.

As a founder of Elite Mind and Elite Mind Academy, Evelina is on a mission to bridge the gap between business performance and individual wellbeing. Her unique approach to personal and professional development is based on therapeutic, neuroscience-based solutions combined with practical applications of performance coaching and organisational development.

Evelina came to England just over a decade ago without even speaking the language, and has built a successful leadership career and several entrepreneurial projects, all while studying for a degree, raising a child, and support suicidal individuals. Her unique journey of adaptation, perseverance, as well as recovery from tumour is an inspiring story often shared on international stages and leadership events.

Louise Stonier

Louise Stonier

Chief People and Culture Officer, Pets at Home

Part of the executive management team, Louise is the chief people and culture officer at Pets at Home and has been with the business since joining in 2004, originally as group legal director and company secretary of the Plc Board before moving into the role of chief people and legal officer in 2017.

In 2019, Louise’s role evolved into the role of group chief people officer placing culture at the heart of all decision making and including responsibility for the group’s social purpose strategy which has been launched as their Better World Pledge and focuses on the pillars of pets, people and planet.

Louise is also the chair and trustee of the Pets at Home Foundation and has been instrumental in growing the charity into one of the largest grant giving organisation to animal rescue centres in the UK supporting charities such as Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, The Cats Protection and the Dogs Trust. Prior to Pets at Home, Louise was a corporate lawyer at DLA Piper LLP and CMS Cameron McKenna.

Louise is passionate about ensuring that progression opportunities exist for all employees and is a huge advocate for ensuring policies are in place to support colleagues with families, having had three children of her own during her career at Pets at Home.

Amy Whidburn

Amy Whidburn

Group Head of Social Value, Pets at Home

Amy is group head of social value and is part of the senior management team at Pets at Home. Amy has been with Pets at Home since October 2019 when she was appointed to support Louise in developing the new ESG strategy, “Our Better World Pledge”. This is a new role at the Group that leads the strategy, governance and stakeholder engagement of the initiatives that fall under the Pet, People and Planet pillars. Previously Amy worked at Sainsbury’s Argos, Mothercare and Home Retail Group as Head of CSR. Before moving into CSR, Amy held commercial roles at Boots, Big W in Australia and most recently was a Trading Director at Homebase, leading the gardening business.

Amy is driven by integrating social value into business’s and demonstrating how it can create value for everyone

Myles Riesborough

Myles Riesborough

Retail Sector Lead, UKI & Amazon EMEA, Google

Myles is currently Retail Sector Lead, UKI & Amazon EMEA, at Google. He has held a number of different Management, Sales, Marketing & Product roles at Google over his 10+ years working for the company, and is currently studying for his MBA. Before Google, Myles held various client management and communications strategy roles at UK based Network and Independent Media Agencies. He lives in St Albans with his wife and two daughters and is a keen musician.

Stephen Hewett (1)

Stephen Hewett

Global Partner, Internal Consulting Group

Stephen is one of the Europe’s leading authorities and business advisors in the field of customer centred business change. Working with C-level leadership teams in both public and private sector organisations, he has delivered award winning customer experience programmes across a wide variety of industry sectors. In previous roles Stephen was Head of Business Consulting for a major UK consultancy, and before that, Development Manager, Research & Expansion at John Lewis. Prior to his retail and consulting career, Stephen enjoyed a career in aviation, where he held both management and flying roles. Stephen is a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting.

Stephen is enabling organisations to increase revenue and margin by applying cutting edge customer data collection and analysis techniques across structured data, social media and voice to deliver better insight into customer’s true experiences and then applying this insight to reduce customer turnover and increase wallet share.

Jean Charles Guinot (1)

Jean Charles Guinot

Business Development Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

JC Guinot is based in London and is the Business Development Manager for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. His role is to engage with the broad business community, and identify opportunities for organisations all around the world to advance the transition to a circular economy.

Jean Charles has lived and worked in eight different countries and has ten years of experience in business development and commercial management across the UK/Europe, US, and South America. He holds a BSc in International Business from the ESC Rouen, France. He is fluent in French, Spanish, and English, and possesses an excellent knowledge of Portuguese.

Paul Anderson Walsh

Paul Anderson-Walsh

Co-founder of The Centre for Inclusive Leadership

Paul is a Learning & Development Practitioner, Author, Broadcaster, Inspirational Speaker, Life Coach and Mediator. The common thread through his work is his ability to help people and organisations realise their full potential.

Paul is ITN Productions (Independent Television News) resident leadership expert for their Amazon Audible series “How to OutPerform” He is also a BBC contributor and has a regular show on Premier Radio called "Ask Paul"  

Paul is the former CEO of The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and continues to work with various social justice projects and is also founder and director of The Grace Project a charity dedicated to working with people helping them discover their identity and resolve issues of self-worth and self-esteem. Paul has written three books on the subject.

Jon White (1)

Jon White

International Motivational Speaker & Coach

Jon White is a Leadership Consultant who has experience delivering talks, training and coaching internationally and across the private, public and third sectors. He draws on his personal experience from over a decade’s service as a commissioned Officer in the Royal Marines and overcoming the injuries he sustained in Afghanistan.

Jon has a Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching and has trained in Generative Coaching. Jon’s passion is about instilling belief and developing the confidence to lead in others.  

Bianca Foley (2)

Bianca Foley

Retail Influencer

Bianca is a sustainability & style content creator, whose journey began in 2012. She has worked with many brands, including Kitri, NIKE, Lily & Lionel and Label/Mix.

Over the years, her love of fashion has evolved into a mission to encourage others to shop more ethically. She co-hosts the podcast Sustainably Influenced with close friend and business woman, Charlotte Williams where they discuss how to make ethical lifestyle choices and encourage their listeners to be more sustainable in all aspects of daily life.

Andrea Woodside

Andrea Woodside

Wellbeing Consultant at retailTRUST

Andrea began her career in wellbeing at work 25 years ago, and has worked with a wide range of industries to support employers to tackle mental health stigma in the workplace, create sustainable solutions for safeguarding their people’s wellbeing, and design programmes which encourage recovery from emotional distress.

Andrea has provided wellbeing consultancy to retailTRUST customers since 2012, and is well positioned to understand the unique needs and challenges of today’s retailers. She served as a Trustee of Mind England and Wales for seven years, and regularly appears in the media to discuss ways in which all employers can create workplaces which promote best practice.

Adrian Watson (1)

Adrian Watson

Head of the Graduate School at Centre for Alternative Technology

Following work in the chemical industry and a PhD in Instrumentation from University of Manchester, Adrian has worked in environmental education since 1992. At Manchester Metropolitan University he taught and researched on various aspects of environmental sustainability and pollution, particularly air pollution and health before moving into academic management. 

Over the last 10 years he has led a number of university academic divisions, overseeing a variety of pedagogical approaches to education from the social sciences of human and social geography, to the physical science approach of chemistry. His research in the UK and overseas covered many aspects of the environment and sustainability, primarily the links between Environment and Health. 

He has worked with and advised groups as diverse as the Social Change and Development (SCAD) organisation in Southern India, Manchester City Football Club, Renew Wales, (a community climate change and sustainability organisation), North West Film Archive, the NHS Transport Working Group and the Wales COVID technical Advisory Group.

Amanda Smith (1)

Amanda Smith

Training Manager for the Zero Carbon Hub, Centre for Alternative Technology

Amanda Smith is the Training Manager for the Zero Carbon (ZCB) Hub and brings a passion and belief in the power of education and learning to both change lives and bring the understanding that the choices made as individuals, policymakers or business people are important at a global level.

Paul Allen

Paul Allen

External Relations Officer, Centre for Alternative Technology

Paul has lived with and worked with renewable energy technologies for over 30 years. His background and training is as an electrical and electronic engineer. Paul joined the Centre for Alternative Technology in 1988, helping develop a wide range of renewable energy systems including solar medical systems for use overseas. Paul has led the ground-breaking Zero Carbon Britain research for over 12 years; liaising directly with Government, business, public sector, and the arts.

Danny And Tenesia Pascal (1)

Danny and Tenesia Pascal

Founders of Earth to Earth Organics

Danny and Tenesia Pascal, are a husband and wife team who have been causing havoc together since 2007 and founded Earth to Earth Organics in 2016.

To them, the Earth to Earth philosophy has always and will always be about health and happiness. They aim to inspire a more back to basics, natural and healthier way of living through whichever means possible.

Through Danny and Tenesia’s skin care line they intend to not only give you the best and richest blends of soothing, moisturising skin care that will feed your body like no other, they also aim to push forward their global domination plans to spread hope and happiness wherever Earth to Earth lands.

Elizabeth (Liz) Cook

Elizabeth (Liz) Cook

Associate Coach, Retail Trust

Liz draws on her 30+ years’ experience in business to achieve results, demonstrating excellent coaching and facilitation skills. She believes strongly in aligning individuals’ and teams’ goals with those of their organizations. Her focus is on coaching, creating, and delivering training to enable individuals to unlock their potential and continue to develop and grow to be the best that they can be. 

For over 10 years Liz has supported retailers in developing their talent, as a Group Director and Senior Trainer at the Oxford Summer School (OSS Retail), the industry recognised centres of excellence, whose alumni are found in senior leadership roles across the retail industry in the UK and beyond.

Liz has recently joined the Seventh Wave Community as an accredited trainer and the Retail Trust as an associate coach and facilitator. Since April 2020 Liz has been an associate career coach with Right Management, Liz has been supporting clients in considering their options, along with some practical hands-on support with internal applications e.g., Suitable Alternative Employment / preference forms or CV submission and interviews or presentation preparation. Liz also provides independent, confidential advice and guidance, helping individuals think about their career goals. Whether providing expert support to help build their skills, develop strategies to network or providing motivational focus, Liz’s role is to provide career-focused coaching that will enable colleagues to develop and deliver a plan that is right for them.

Prior to this she had a wide-ranging background in HR and Learning and Development at a senior level in the retail sector. She has held several senior roles including Head of Learning & Development and Group HR Manager and has always been an active member of the Leadership team, working collaboratively both across a multi -store retail business and the wider retail industry.

Liz has a proven expertise in coaching, customer service, performance management, people development, and leadership & management training

Jack Cousens1

Jack Cousens

Head of Brand Development, The Brand Stable

Jack’s accomplished career spans 8 years working with numerous high-profile fashion retailers. Growing partnerships with ASOS, Arcadia, River Island and Zalando in roles at DCK Group and The Brand Stable, he has managed categories across owned brands, concession and wholesale capacities, working in a notoriously fast paced, high-pressured and often dynamic retail environment. 

From starting in admin roles and developing to management positions, Jack has seen noticeable culture shifts which have informed his open working approach. By leading business efforts in improving sustainable practices, combined with the expectation of always growing profit, Jack is aware of the challenges of balancing strategies that do not naturally align.

With a personal passion for encouraging conversations of equality, diversity and inclusivity, and as an active member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Jack joined OSS Retail in 2019 supporting as an Academy Director, as well as volunteering as a student mentor for the Fashion Retail Academy. Now, as Head of Brand Development at The Brand Stable, Jack is focused on propelling business development and brand opportunity in an ever-competitive retail landscape.

Rod Saxby (1)

Rod Saxby

Managing Partner, True Place Consulting

Rod’s corporate career has covered many industries including brewing, FMCG, construction and engineering. From entry level to main board, he has remained a sales and marketing man at heart, albeit one who is obsessed with using data to identify the most promising plan of attack.

His many assignments have seen him work in more than 30 countries with a diverse range of organisations. More recently, Rod has been introducing the Elecctrify Business Simulation to Universities and Business Schools to help MBA students build their commercial acumen.

Rob Sutton (1)

Rob Sutton

Strategy Partner, True Place Consulting

True Place Consulting is a training partner of BRC Learning, specialising in strategic and creative thinking. Rob was a founding partner of the company in 2013, following a 20-year career in category management and sales with General Electric, Novartis, Kerry Group and Coca-Cola. 

His recent work includes a blend of training and consultancy assignments for many well-known brands, including Travis Perkins, Sainsburys Argos and Heineken. Rob is a passionate believer in the power of storytelling as the key to a successful business career.