Women Returners Conference 2021 Speakers, Panellists and Facilitators

Find our more about our fantastic line-up of speakers, panellists and workshop facilitators below

Find out more about the Conference here 


Jane Garvey, Radio Presenter, Podcaster and Journalist

Jane is Co-presenter of the award-winning podcast Fortunately with Fi Glover, presenter of the Radio 4 programme Life Changing and host of the new Radio Times Podcast. She is co-author with Fi of “Did I Say That Out Loud”, in bookshops and audiobook format from 30 September. Jane presented Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 from 2007 to 2020. Born in Liverpool, she studied English at Birmingham University before being sacked from an embryonic career in advertising in 1987. She joined Radio Wyvern in Worcester and later presented the Breakfast Show on BBC Hereford and Worcester. She was the first voice on Radio Five Live when it started in 1994 and presented Breakfast and Drive. On Woman’s Hour, she once interviewed David Cameron and Mary J Blige on the same day and interviewed Hillary Clinton in a surgical boot. Jane has 2 daughters.

Baroness Helena Morrissey DBE, Financier, Campaigner and Author

Helena has over 3 decades’ experience in financial services, including 15 years as CEO of Newton. She is lead NED at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Chair-designate at AJ Bell, the FTSE250 firm. In 2010, Helena founded the 30% Club. Since then, the representation of women on FTSE350 boards has risen from less than 10% to over 30% and there are now eighteen 30% Clubs throughout the world. Helena chairs the Diversity Project, to improve diversity in the investment industry. Helena posts daily ‘dressing for work’ advice on Instagram @helenamorrissey. She is author of “A good time to be a girl” and her second book “Style and Substance, a career guide for women”, is published by Little, Brown Books on 14th October. Helena entered the House of Lords in September 2020 and was appointed a Dame in 2017. She is married with nine children aged between 12 and 29.

Julianne Miles MBE, CEO and Co-Founder, Women Returners

Julianne co-founded Women Returners in 2014 as a purpose-led social business to create supported routes back to work. Partnering with leading employers, she has pioneered the development of the returner programme market in Europe. Julianne retrained as a Chartered Psychologist after a 4-year maternal career break and a first career in corporate strategy and marketing. She has an INSEAD MBA and an MSc in Organisational Psychology. Julianne is a frequent media commentator on returning to work in the media and a strong advocate for returners. She received an MBE for services to business and equality in 2019. Julianne is an empty-nester with two adult children.

Returner Panel Host

Trish Halpin, Co-Host of Postcards from Midlife Podcast and Ex-Editor-in-Chief Marie Claire

Trish is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and coach. She is the founder and co-host of the podcast Postcards From Midlife (postcardsfrommidlife.com), which has achieved more than 1.6 million downloads since it was launched in January 2020. A former editor of women’s glossies Marie Claire, Red and InStyle, she is also a regular contributor to The Daily Mail, Sunday Times Style and The Daily Telegraph. Instagram: @trishoftheday.

Returner Panellists

Amma Bello, Senior Supervisor, PRA, Bank of England

A Senior Supervisor at the Prudential Regulation Authority, a qualified Chartered Accountant with over ten years of audit experience, and a London School of Economics graduate in Accounting and Finance. Amma has experience working within both the public and private sector across various industries, including finance, health and education. Prior to joining the PRA, Amma took a 3-year career break to spend more time at home with her three young boys, who are aged 4, 7 and 10. Returning to work for Amma has been incredibly rewarding, challenging and fulfilling.

Vicki Gurney, Customer Solutions Manager, M&G PLC 

Vicki had a 17-year career in financial services before childcare needs led to a career break.  Over the next 5 years, she looked after family, volunteered, and was self-employed, supporting small businesses with their finances. Ready to get back to her career, Vicki found out about the inaugural ‘Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme’ in early 2018. She was delighted to be offered a 3-month returnship with Prudential UK (now M&G plc) through the programme, with Women Returners providing coaching and support throughout. Vicki has continued to develop her career within M&G plc since, first on a contract and now in a permanent role. She is currently working on a core project for the company as it seeks to make financial advice more accessible, understandable and affordable to all. 

Aliaa Hajjeah, Senior Project Controls Engineer, Skanska

Aliaa graduated as a Civil Engineer and initially worked for Bechtel Corporate in the Middle East. In 2007, She was transferred to London and worked on West Coast Route Modernisation project. After getting married, she moved to the UAE and took a career break for 10 years to raise her children. In 2019, she joined a Returners Program with Turner & Townsend as a Project Controls Engineer on Heathrow Expansion project. However, with the onset of the pandemic she was released after completing her 6-month contractual term. In 2021, she applied for a position on the Skanska Costain STRABAG JV Return to Work Programme as a Senior Project Controls Engineer working for Skanska and was offered a place which has benefited her greatly. 

Angie Livingstone, Group Director, Global Operations, Kinesso

After completing her Psychology degree, majoring in Artificial Intelligence, Angie started her career in the Marketing Industry working for customer consultancy dunnhumby.  After an impressive 15-year career, she became a Chief Data Officer for a start-up. Unfortunately, her brother committed suicide and her world came to an abrupt end. On the first-year anniversary of his passing, Angie was rushed to hospital with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia which left her isolated in hospital receiving chemotherapy for the next year. In the following two years both her father and mother passed away. After some time, Angie decided to re-join the working world slowly by taking interim and short-term consultancy contracts. Post the pandemic isolation, Angie decided she was ready to take on a full-time role. She discovered Women Returners through her network, paid for return to work coaching, and has now found a full-time role at Kinesso that she loves.

Siobhan Murphy, International Expansion Lead, Merchant Services, J.P. Morgan

Siobhán joined J.P Morgan in March 2020, as part as their Return to Work Program and hasn’t looked back since. In 2019, Siobhán chose to take a career break so she could fulfil her lifelong ambition of achieving her Masters from the Smurfit School of Business in Dublin. Prior to her career break, Siobhán had worked in Banking for over 15 years but recognised that the industry was changing and felt that she needed to adapt her skill set in order to stay relevant in the sector she loved. Never in her wildest dreams did she believe that the J.P Morgan programme  would present her with two amazing opportunities, to enter the exciting and ever evolving world of payments and also to continue to challenge and development herself further within a supportive environment. In her spare time, Siobhán continues with her studies, is a qualified yoga teacher and Executive Coach and is very much looking forward to spending more time with her family in Ireland. 

Emma Noble, Associate Solicitor, Clinical Risk Team, DAC Beachcroft LLP (DACB)

Emma read Law at University College London and qualified as a solicitor in 2005. She worked in private practice in the City for 13 years, and was a Senior Lawyer for the Government Legal Department for a short time, before deciding to have a career break to focus on her young family. After two years away, Emma missed the law and joined DAC Beachcroft’s Reconnect programme, supported by Women Returners, to reignite her legal career. She is now an Associate in DACB’s Clinical Risk team and feels she benefitted hugely from the guidance and coaching provided by Women Returners as she embarked on the new phase of her career, especially during a pandemic.

Tina Sharp, Co-Head Credit Monitoring Team, MV Credit

In 2015 Tina joined as a senior member of the Credit Monitoring team at MV Credit, a firm specialising in the provision of private credit to the LBO space. In 2018 she was appointed Co-Head in a job share with a fellow returner, and now has responsibility for monitoring the performance of the borrowers in the portfolio and for reporting to investors. Tina has a degree from the University of Oxford and spent 20 years in the finance industry before scaling back for 13 years to look after her family. She served as a non-executive director, provided advice to the pub and leisure industry and was Chair of Governors for her children’s primary school. She found the supported hiring role at MV Credit via Women Returners after hearing Julianne on Woman’s Hour.

Ann Songco, Software Analyst, Cystic Fibrosis Trust

Ann worked in the finance sector for over 15 years, primarily in IT as an analyst-developer. When her children were young, she decided to focus on looking after them. Years later, she attempted to go back to work but due to circumstances, it was never the right time. In 2018, as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, she was determined to pursue her job search more ardently. She found Women Returners and sought the help of a career coach. Her Women Returners coach gave her much-needed focus, direction, and confidence. Now, she is happily working at Cystic Fibrosis Trust. 

Employer Panel Hosts

Sarah Jackson OBE, Expert on Women at Work and Flexible Working

Sarah is one of the UK’s leading experts on work-life balance and family friendly working in the UK. She led the work-life charity Working Families for twenty-four years, was appointed OBE for services to quality of life issues in 2007, and is also currently Chair of Parents in Performing Arts, a Trustee of ROSA The UK Fund for Women and Girls, and a Visiting Professor at Cranfield School of Management. Her fresh thinking about the UK’s work-life challenges has included the creation of Go Home On Time Day, the Happy to Talk Flexible Working recruitment initiative, and the employer campaign Family Friendly Working Scotland.

Melissa Janvier, Legal Counsel, Bank of England

Melissa has been an attorney practicing law for 20 years with a concentration in financial services and litigation. She began her career as a prosecutor in the state of Florida and in New York, where she appeared in over 50 trials. In 2007, as the financial crisis was unfolding, Melissa successfully transitioned into the financial sector where she worked as in-house counsel for J.P. Morgan Chase’s Litigation Department. Melissa then incorporated and opened the Janvier Law Group, P.C. where she was the Managing Attorney until she relocated to the UK with her family in 2014. This move across the pond led to a 5-year career break as she settled her family into life in London. In 2019, Melissa joined the Bank of England’s Legal Directorate, through the Bank’s Career Returners programme, where she currently works as Legal Counsel focusing on Banks and Insurers.

Employer Panellists

Antonia Brown, Interim Head of Talent Acquisition & Development, Bank of England

Antonia leads the Bank of England’s Experienced Hires, Future Talent, Talent & Engagement and Learning & Organisational Development Teams. She has worked at the Bank of England since 2008 across a wide range of business areas – in banking supervision, financial stability, credit risk and crisis management banking operations during the financial crisis. She also worked in the House of Commons for the Treasury Select Committee on secondment. Outside work, she lives in Ipswich with her partner and three children who are 8, 6 and 4 and has taken time out of work on maternity leave with each of them.

Helena Fernandes, EMEA Head of Campus and Channel Management, Credit Suisse

In her current role, Helena works with candidates across the career spectrum from entry level through to senior level candidates. She has 20+ years of experience in the banking sector, both in finance and in HR, and led the set up the inaugural Credit Suisse UK Real Returns programme in 2014. Her career path has included investment banking in New York and Brazil with Credit Suisse, Iberian debt capital markets at Merrill Lynch London, Career Services at London Business School and HR at Credit Suisse. Helena has a BA from Oxford University in PPE and a MA from SAIS Johns Hopkins in European Studies and International Economics. She is the mother of two teenagers.

Brett Hemmerling, EMEA Talent Acquisition Manager, Moody’s Corporation

Brett is responsible for the strategy and delivery of the firm’s campus recruiting efforts across the region as well as RE-IGNITE, Moody’s return to work program, in the U.K. and the U.S.  He has been with Moody’s for 18 years, previously leading campus recruitment in the U.S., co-chairing Moody’s first LGBTA Employee Resource Group and managing client events.  Brett is originally from Nebraska but spent many years in New York City before relocating to London. He holds a BFA from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Tace Heuston, Head of Asset and Wealth Management Talent Institute International, J. P. Morgan

Tace is a passionate and creative Learning and Development Executive with over 20 years’ experience in developing talent within the Financial Services sector. She is Global Lead on the J.P. Morgan ReEntry Program and an accomplished leader, coach and facilitator. As the Head of AWM Talent Institute, Tace is responsible for all aspects of the people development agenda: Talent, Diversity & Inclusion, Executive & Organisational Development and New Hires. Tace is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an accredited EMCC Executive Coach.

Claire Ladwa, UK HR Director, Convex Insurance

Claire helps to lead the people strategy at Convex to create an environment in which Convexians can learn, grow, have fun and do great work with people they like, trust and respect.  Prior to joining Convex, with over 20 years experience, Claire has held a number of HR roles with Zurich Insurance, Aspen Insurance, Threadneedle Investments and BT. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics. In her spare time she can be found building lego, watching dance routines, playing dinosaurs or watching Harry Potter on repeat with her family.  

Sarah Mavius, Head of the Returners Programme, FDM Group

Sarah is Head of the Returners Programme at FDM Group, which focuses on supporting professionals on their journey back into the workplace following a career break. She joined FDM as a Returner herself after a 10-year career break and went through the programme to refresh her knowledge and gain new skills. Her love for the initiative and her desire to help others step back into a rewarding career led her to join the team internally 4 years ago, and since then she has been working on building an inclusive and supportive environment for other returners. Prior to leading the FDM Returners Programme, Sarah worked for over 18 years with some leading organisations in the financial services sector across China, Japan and the UK.

Jo Nisbett, Human Resources Director, DAC Beachcroft LLP (DACB)

Jo is an experienced senior HR leader with deep expertise within the legal sector. As an Executive Board member at DAC Beachcroft, Jo’s focus is on ensuring that their people decisions align with the business strategy, values and culture of the organisation. Jo enjoys collaborating with talented colleagues to collectively provide an environment where talented people want to work and where they can do brilliant work for the benefit of their clients and business. Jo’s experience as a Non Executive Director gave fresh insights through a client lens, working closely with a highly successful boutique tech company from start-up through to acquisition.

Brian Stanislas MBE, Product Manager, Civil Service HR

Brian works within the Civil Service Human Resources (CSHR) team in the Cabinet Office. He was Product Manager of the multi award-winning Civil Service Job Share Finder website from April 2014 to July 2021. He also took on the role of Product Manager of the Civil Service Careers website which launched in July 2018. Brian began working for the Civil Service in 1996 in DWP and subsequently worked in the Home Office and HMRC before joining the Cabinet Office. He has progressed through a variety of job roles over the years including Employer Engagement Executive, Learning Consultant, Account Manager, Career Consultant, Project Manager and Product Manager. In May 2020 he was appointed Co-Chair of the Cross Government Flexible Working Network and in 2020 he was awarded an MBE for Services to Flexible Working and Equality.

Sona Wintle, Head of Financial Crime Operations, Fidelity International

Sona leads a global team of approximately 70 people across the UK and India who are the 1st line of defence for all AML/KYC activities under Workplace & Personal Financial Health (WPFH).  Prior to this role, Sona led the UK Workplace Investment Operations team.  She was appointed the Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Global Personal Investing & Advisory (GPI&A) Operations in 2020, and co-leads the Women in WPFH network. Before joining Fidelity in 2019, Sona worked for American Express for 16 years in the US and UK, in roles ranging from Finance to Network Operations. Throughout her 24 year career, Sona has been passionate about driving an increased focus on people leadership as well as diversity, as critical elements for success in the workplace. She championed Fidelity UK Returners Programme for GPI&A Operations and was instrumental in recruiting 3 of the 8 roles hired in 2021.  

Workshop Facilitators

Karen Danker, Head of Coaching, Women Returners

Karen is the Head of Coaching at Women Returners and has extensive experience in supporting returners back to work. A former lawyer with 2 teenage sons, Karen went on to work in recruitment, L&D, and leadership development across the corporate and charity sectors. She has a particular interest in supporting professional women to flourish and fulfil their potential in line with their skills and values. Karen re-qualified as a career coach a few years ago and now enjoys delivering coaching workshops and 121s alongside working with Women Returners’ brilliant coaching team to continually evolve its coaching offering to organisations and returners.

Sylvie Garvey Cotton, IT Director, BBD

Sylvie is passionate about ensuring IT is there to help, not hinder, our lives. She is Director of BBD, a software development company and runs their operations across Europe. She also advises foreign technology companies looking to establish themselves in the UK. In 2009 Sylvie founded Computer Fitness, an IT support and training company. She previously spent 15 years working for Accenture, a Global IT Consultancy, specialising in large-scale transformation projects and project management. During that time, she worked full time, abroad, part time and had 3 children. Sylvie has a  Masters in Management  from ESCP and a Business & Economics degree from Trinity College, Dublin.

Kate Mansfield, Senior Coach, Women Returners

Kate is a Senior Coach with Women Returners and has specialised in working with women returners since 2013. A former Executive Recruiter with 2 young children, she took a career break following the birth of her first child, and took the chance to re-train, inspired by her long-term passion for careers. She is particularly passionate about challenging individual and organisational beliefs that it is not possible to return to a fulfilling career after a break. Kate is an accredited Career Coach with an MSc in Organisational Behaviour and a Postgraduate Diploma in Career & Talent Management.

Victoria McLean, Founder and CEO, City CV

As Founder and CEO of award-winning, international career consultancy City CV, Victoria has devoted her career to guiding organisations and professionals through career transition, development and management. Following a career as a headhunter, and roles at Goldman Sachs and then Merrill Lynch, where she oversaw recruitment, she established City CV in 2009. City CV is now part of the Hanover Group, where she sits on the global group board. Featured in leading media, Victoria is an international speaker on D&I and all things career related. With a particular passion for supporting women in their careers, she has been a key partner of Women Returners for several years. She works with boards and HR leaders, advising on talent, redundancy, retention, engagement, DEI, and employer branding, while supporting individuals via bespoke programmes and City CV’s Career Refinery Portal & App.

Stephanie Rix, Coach, Women Returners

Stephanie is a registered professional career coach with an MA in Career Development and Coaching from Warwick  University, and  a  Board  Director for the Career Development Institute. She combines over 15 years’ commercial marketing experience with L’Oréal and Avon with a creative and results-orientated approach to coaching and career development. During her own career break following the arrival of her second child, Stephanie started a career coaching qualification and then returned to work to lead the marketing training programme, and coach senior leaders across UK, Europe and Latin America. She later left the corporate world to specialise in the career development of professional women, including those returning to work after a career break.