Annual Conference Speakers

Whitney Simon

Conference Chair

Whitney is an Account Director at Missive, a London-based independent communications & PR consultancy that specialises in technology, where she works with various B2B tech brands that span across enterprise, telecoms, and fintech. 
Whitney is incredibly passionate about telling stories of how technology can be used to create a more equitable world. Over the course of her career, she has worked with various non-profits and social enterprises focused on getting more people from underrepresented backgrounds into the tech sector, including Out & Equal, Code2040, Black Girls Code, and Nex Cubed.
When she’s not working, Whitney spends her time mentoring organisations aimed at empowering those from underrepresented backgrounds, including TERN (The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network), a social enterprise supporting refugee entrepreneurs in the creation and development of their businesses, and OUT in Tech, the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders.
Simon Baugh

Simon became the Chief Executive of the Government Communication Service (GCS) in October 2021. He previously served as a Director of Communication in three government departments - the Home Office, the Department for Exiting the European Union, and the Department for Transport. As Chief Executive of GCS, Simon is responsible for leading the entire communications profession across Government.
GCS is made up of 7,000 professional communicators from across the UK, supporting and promoting the work of 25 ministerial departments, 21 non-ministerial departments, and over 300 agencies and other public bodies.
He is also responsible for making sure the profession is ready for the future. Communication is changing fast with a high level of technological innovation which is creating new opportunities and expectations. Simon is responsible for ensuring GCS can harness these changes for the public good.

Stella Bayles

Stella Bayles is the co-founder of PR reporting tool CoverageBook. An active AMEC and PRCA Innovation member, Stella regularly speaks about PR measurement and innovation through her PR Resolution Podcast, in training sessions, talks and university guest lectures in the UK and US. Prior to working in PR technology, Stella spent 14 years agency-side; first in traditional PR, then specialising in SEO-PR for major European brands. Her unique approach in using SEO to measure PR led to client growth, multiple awards and increased her agency revenue by 85%. Stella shared that strategy through her 2016 book ‘PRs Digital Resolution’ and continues to educate PR teams on this topic today.

Johna Burke

Johna is the Global Managing Director of AMEC. During a career spanning over 25 years, Johna has worked both as a public relations practitioner and a provider of services that are vital to the successful performance of communications professionals. Before leading AMEC, Johna was CMO at BurrellesLuce and previously the director of public and investor relations of a Fortune 500 company. In 2015 she was inducted into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame for her work and leadership in the community.

Peter Cardwell

Peter Cardwell served as a special adviser to the UK Government for three and a half years. He recounted the experience in his book, 'The Secret Life of Special Advisers’, which has recently been published in paperback. Peter was a broadcast journalist for ten years, working for the BBC in London, Washington DC, New York and Belfast, as well as for Sky News, Channel 5 News, UTV and ITV’s Good Morning Britain. He is now Political Editor & Presenter at TalkRadio; consults in senior roles for a number of companies; is a non-executive director at a housing investment fund, and he is an author and frequent national and international media commentator on outlets including BBC radio and television, Sky News, Times Radio and print titles including The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Times and Your Cat magazine.

Sophia Smith Galer

Sophia Smith Galer is a multi-award-winning reporter, author and TikTok creator based in London – making content for over 400,000 followers around the world. Her videos have been viewed over 100 million times and she has been named on the Forbes under 30 list this year as well as a 2022 'Face to Watch' in books by the Evening Standard. Sophia began her career at the BBC where she reported on the complexities of contemporary faith across the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World News as the network's first Visual Journalist in Faith and Ethics. She now works as a Senior News Reporter at VICE World News where she covers everything from gender violence and technology to the climate crisis and Europe's Christian hard right.

Jules Goddard 

Jules Goddard has spent most of his career at London Business School, first as a Professor of Marketing and latterly as an architect of its action learning programmes for corporate clients. He served as the inaugural Gresham Professor of Commerce and is currently on the faculty of CEDEP, Fontainebleau, France. He is a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Sera Holland

A former Drum Marketer of the Year, Sera brings over 20 years experience at agency leadership level, and in 2020 was recognised at the global Women in Marketing Awards with a Highly Commended Special Award for Outstanding Contribution. An active member of industry networks Bloom and WACL, Sera is committed to championing access, diversity and equity for all, founding the BloomND inclusion group, mentoring as part of The Exchange programme, through Brixton Finishing School and in her role as mentor ambassador for the Creative Mentors Network. For 2022-23, Sera is Co-Chair of Campaigning on WACL’s Exec Board. A fierce advocate for women's health, Sera is a Board Trustee of the charity Endometriosis UK.

Catherine Hunt

Catherine is the Head of Analysis at the Government Information Cell, which was set up in February 2022 to tackle disinformation related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Here she leads a blended team that covers threat analysis, research, monitoring and evaluation across a range of countries. Before that, she was Head of Insight and Evaluation for the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Office, leading on developing the communication evaluation programme for HMG's Covid-19 response as well as setting up an extensive programme of research to track public behaviour and develop and deliver policies and communication throughout the crisis. Before joining the Government, she worked in the media and leisure sectors. 

Tracy Jones

Tracy Jones is Head of External Affairs at The National Gallery, responsible for Press, PR, and Public Affairs. She has worked at the Gallery in various Press and Media roles for the past 16 years. Tracy combines her National Gallery role with co-managing the highly respected arts and culture consultancy Brera PR, with a regional, national, and international client portfolio covering visual arts, opera, museums, and galleries. Previous to her PR career Tracy worked as a radio journalist for more than a decade, working for organisations such as ITN Radio.

David Lewis

David Lewis has 35 years of experience in business and academia. He is a consultant and sought-after speaker working with global business leaders. In 2019, David was cited on Thinkers 50 Radar of top global management thinkers. David's research with co-author Alison Reynolds focuses on diversity and performance - the ability of teams and organizations to thrive in the face of new, uncertain and complex situations. With Alison, David developed the Qi Index, a tool to help leaders understand and enhance the quality of interaction between people to better formulate and execute ground-breaking strategies.

Dev Mistry

With over 8 years experience across a range of industries, Dev is a communications professional specialising in relationship management and stakeholder engagement. Currently Global Internal Communications Manager at DICE, Dev has worked for the likes of Virgin Media O2, Honda and Subaru over his career - managing PR, CSR, Social Media and Internal Communications.
People focused communications are at the heart of Dev's approach, which is coupled with his proactive stance on inclusivity and equity within business and communications, both from a personal and professional point of view. Outside of work, Dev also has a keen interest in initiatives supporting LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people respectively, through volunteer projects and mentoring schemes

Carrie Rose

Carrie Rose, 29 year old co-founder and CEO of leading search-first creative agency Rise at Seven.
Carrie co-founded Rise at Seven alongside Stephen Kenwright in June 2019 taking a lead on our creative content marketing offering, Digital PR and social media strategy. Having worked in SEO for over 7 years and won multiple awards for her creative campaigns and digital PR executions – Carrie spotted an opportunity and a gap to make creative work for search. Not only that but Carrie vlogs her journey building a global agency in public over on YouTube.

Nina Schick

Nina helps organisations and businesses understand and navigate the exponential technological changes of our age. She is an expert in deepfakes and synthetic media, cybersecurity and the geopolitics of technology. Nina has advised global leaders including Joe Biden, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Secretary General of NATO. She also advises private companies, government agencies and NGOs. 
Nina’s debut book, ‘Deepfakes,’ was released in 2020. She has been published in the MIT Tech Review, The Times, UnHerd and TIME. In 2021, Nina will be appearing at TedX, CogX and WebSummit.
Nina speaks seven languages and calls London, Berlin and Kathmandu home.

Alicia Solanki

Alicia is the Managing Director of Client Experience at Ketchum UK. She is passionate about the art and science of client excellence and in this role, works across the agency to ensure Ketchum has a relentless focus on innovation and operational rigour. She also leads one of the agency’s marquee tech clients Samsung, working across multiple business divisions in an integrated fashion to deliver on product launch priorities as well as corporate comms, B2B marketing and issues and crisis management. Passionate about working on ‘big brands,’ clients Alicia has led at Ketchum include Nissan Europe, FedEx Express, Hertz and P&G Professional. Away from work, Alicia is married and adores being a mum to Ella (8) and Ethan (5). With an Indian and East African heritage, she can often be found cooking up a storm in the kitchen. 

Darryl Sparey 

Darryl is MD and Co-Founder of Hard Numbers, the AMEC, PR Moment, PRCA DARE, CIPR and UK Agency of the Year Award winning, performance-driven communications consultancy. Hard Numbers marries killer creative with commercial acumen to create campaigns that drive a demonstrable return on investment. Unlike many agency founders, Darryl spent much of his career in business development. After ten years running sales and marketing for Precise (now Kantar Media), he moved into digital marketing, running the London office of a Search Engine Marketing agency. He then moved into PR as a board director of Hotwire. Darryl is a Fellow of the PRCA, a CIPR Chartered Practitioner and member of AMEC, but his most important job is that of father to his children, Hudson and Halia. 

Kevin Taylor

A respected writer and experienced communications consultant, Kevin will be the Chair of Iprovision, the CIPR’s Benevolent Fund, in 2023. He is a Chartered PR practitioner, Fellow and former President of the Institute. 
Kevin has been a board-level adviser on reputation and communications to global brand names and listed companies, as well as to smaller businesses and start-ups. His career spans leadership roles in-house and in consultancies, and he is currently the Non-Executive Chair of the Jargon Group. 
In 2017, he was awarded the Institute’s Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for his services to the PR profession and for his role in mentoring and developing PR practitioners. 

Solitaire Townsend

Solitaire is a renowned sustainability expert and solutionist. From Google to the United Nations, Ikea to WWF, Solitaire works with the most influential organisations to activate social justice and environmental restoration. Over two decades she has led the movement towards solutions, hope and optimism with numerous publications and keynotes at the UN, MIT, Ted and many more. She is Co-founder & Chief Solutionist at Futerra and Trustee of the Solutions Union.

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