Conference 2018

People at the

Heart of Business

Thursday 22 March 2018

9.00am - 5.00pm 

The event will convene Business & HR leaders to debate and discuss the barriers to implementation of a successful employee engagement strategy and talk through key steps to enable organisations to put people at the heart of business.

Inspiring Speakers...

Matthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. During this time the Society has substantially increased its output of research and innovation, has provided new routes to support charitable initiatives of its 29,000 Fellows and has developed a global profile as a platform for ideas.  In July 2017 Matthew published the report ‘Good Work’; an independent review into modern employment, which was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister.

Prior to this appointment, Matthew was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister. Previous roles include Labour Party Director of Policy and Deputy General Secretary and Chief Executive of the ippr the UK’s leading left of centre think tank.

Matthew is a regular media performer having appeared several times on the Today Programme, The Daily Politics and Newsnight. He had written and presented several Radio Four documentaries and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze.  He has posted over a thousand times on his RSA blog site and tweets as @RSAMatthew.

Matthew Taylor

Chief Executive, RSA

matthew taylor
tony danker

Tony Danker

Chief Executive, Productivity Leadership Group

Tony Danker is Chief Executive of the Productivity Leadership Group, a new business-led organisation created to close the UK’s productivity gap.

Tony was previously the Chief Strategy Officer at Guardian News & Media (GNM), where he had responsibility for the Guardian’s strategy, business development and analytics functions. Prior to this role he was International Director, responsible for GNM’s international expansion.

Before joining GNM, Tony spent two years in public policy and was a Special Adviser in HM Treasury. He previously spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, with expertise in government and organisational consulting.

In 2004 he completed the mid-career Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Katie McSweeney

Head of Mumsnet Work

Katie McSweeney has worked in Publishing and Media for 18 years, firstly on B2B Architectural and Construction titles at Emap and secondly at IPC Media and Timeinc. as Head of Fashion advertising for Marie Claire and Instyle.

Katie is now Head of Mumsnet Work which seeks to be the first choice for parents seeking family friendly work and a market leading talent solution for family friendly employers.

Katie McSweeney studied Egyptology at Liverpool University and was an Honorary Midshipman with the Royal Navy Reserves. She lives in Wimbledon with her husband and 6 year old daughter.

katie mcsweeney

Dame Carol Black

Principal of Newnham College Cambridge

dame carol black

Professor Dame Carol Black DBE, FRCP, FMedSci is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge and Expert Adviser on Health and Work to NHS England and Public Health England.   She chairs the Board of Think Ahead, the Government’s new fast-stream training programme for Mental Health Social Workers.    She is a member of the Welsh Government’s Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales and Bevan Commission on health in Wales, the board of UK Active,  Rand Europe’s Council of Advisers, PwC’s Health Industries Oversight Board, and the Advisory Board of Step up to Serve.   As Principal of Newnham she is on several committees in Cambridge University, for example the Advisory Board of the Centre for Science and Public Policy, and is one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors. 

In November 2011 when National Director for Health and Work she completed as Co-Chair an independent review for the UK Government of sickness absence in Britain.   The recommendations of this report are now being put in place, with for example a national Fit for Work Service.   She is now finishing a further independent review for the Government, of employment outcomes of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or obesity, and the benefits system.  

Professor Black is a past-President of the Royal College of Physicians, of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and of the British Lung Foundation, and past-Chair of the Nuffield Trust for health policy. She is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, of the Work Foundation, and of Uppingham School.  

Sir Eric Peacock is the Chairman of Buckley Jewellery Ltd the holding company for the Buckley brands.

He is formerly the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Babygro which he took to a full listing and currently chairs other businesses in Packaging, E-Learning, Men’s Grooming, Fintech and Luxury Leisure businesses.

He has just finalised a 6.5 year term as a Non-Executive Director at UKEF (United Kingdom Export Finance) supporting UK export focussed businesses and has previously been a Non-Executive at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, BIS (Business Innovation and Skills) and UKTI (United Kingdom Trade & Industry) government departments/agencies.

He has considerable international experience and focus on growing businesses throughout the UK and internationally.

Sir Eric is also focussed on philanthropy and the charity scene and is Chairman of The Peacock Foundation, Uniqueness, The AB Trust, and Zoological Society of Hertfordshire and is a Trustee of The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent.  These charities in the first instance the charities are for disadvantaged young person’s learning and in the case of the animal charities conservation, Education, breeding and return to the wild.

Eric is a passionate advocate of the engagement agenda having travelled the world looking for the best engagement practice in USA, mainland Europe and the Far East as well as what’s currently happening in the UK.

Sir Eric Peacock

Chairman, Buckley Jewellery Ltd

sir eric peacock

Paula Vennells

Group Chief Executive, Post Office

paula vennells

Paula Vennells is Group Chief Executive of the Post Office. Joining in 2007, appointed Managing Director in 2010 and Chief Executive in 2012, she led its separation from Royal Mail Group in 2012 to establish an independent retail network of 11,600 branches, the largest in Europe.

Owned by the taxpayer, the Post Office is a vital part of the UK’s infrastructure.  As well as handling 260 million of the nation’s parcels every year, the Post Office is the UK’s fastest growing provider of banking services, its leading bureau-de-change, and a major source of footfall and income for more than 10,000 independent business-people and retailers who run its branches around the country.  Since 2012, over 7000 branches have been modernized: the Post Office network is now at its most stable for 25 years, with new branches opening once again.

In 2017 the Group moved from operating loss to profit for the first time in 15 years.  The Post Office takes diversity and inclusion seriously (Gender, Prism, Bame, Access) and was recognized for a second time in 2017 as one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women and as a Disability Confident Leader.

Previously Paula spent five years with Whitbread.  She began her career with Unilever and L’Oreal and held directorships in sales and marketing with a number of major retailers including Argos where she was instrumental in creating one of the UK’s first profitable e-commerce businesses. 

Paula is currently a Non-Executive Director of Morrisons Plc.  She is Chairman of First Rate Exchange Services Ltd., a Trustee of Hymns Ancient and Modern and a Governor of Bedford School. 

Paula holds a BA (Hons) in Russian, French and Economics from the University of Bradford and a Diploma in Theology from Oxford University.  She is an ordained minister within the Church of England. Paula is married to John and they have two sons.


Neil Carberry

CMD of People and Infrastructure, CBI

“Neil Carberry is Managing Director of People and Infrastructure at the CBI.

He leads the work of the UK’s leading business organisation on employment law and relations, the labour market, education and skills, energy, climate and infrastructure.

He has spent the last decade working with businesses across the UK on key issues.

He is a member of the Council of Acas, Chair of Business Europe's Employment Working Group and a Fellow of the CIPD.”

neil carberry

Anna Malmhake

Chairman & CEO, The Absolut Company

anna malmhake

Anna Malmhake is Chairman and CEO of The Absolut Company since July 2016. Previously, Anna held a number of senior management roles within Pernod Ricard. She joined the Absolut Company in 2007 as Global Brand Director, Absolut Vodka, and was appointed Vice President Global Marketing in September 2009.

In 2011, Anna moved to Dublin and joined Irish Distillers as Chairman & CEO. With her strategic management and marketing skills, as well as her commercial understanding, she continued the rapid development of Jameson Irish Whiskey as an icon of the global spirits industry.

Anna holds a Bachelor degree of Social Science, Business and Law from the University of Stockholm. She started her career in 1991 at Procter & Gamble in Sweden and then joined the Coca-Cola

From 2001 to 2003, Anna worked for Motorola in Sweden, London and Chicago. Returning to Sweden at the end of 2003, she became Managing Director of Temo AB, a Swedish market research firm and then took up the position of Marketing Director of the Coca Cola Swedish bottler.

Anna Malmhake received the title of CEO of The Year at IMAGE Businesswoman Awards 2015 for her work with Irish Distillers. She is member of the Executive Committee for Pernod Ricard, and sits on the Board of Directors for Oriflame, a beauty company selling direct, founded in Sweden.

Anna enjoys a well-made cocktail and visiting new bars and restaurants. Outside of work Anna enjoys spending time with her family and partner, and an active lifestyle. Some favourites include computer gaming, history, especially vikings, film and fashion.

Caroline joined the HM Land Registry in December 2013 following a career in Local Government.

Previously she was Human Resources Director for the London Borough of Hackney.

She has substantial experience of operating at Board level including advising Board Chairs, Chief Executives, Directors, senior managers and politicians in a range of highly complex, politically sensitive and fast moving environments. Extensive experience of leading and delivering organisation and cultural change, transformation programmes, service redesign and the development and implementation of HR&OD infrastructure (polices, processes and systems).

A keen advocate for staff engagement, succession planning and personal development, she led on the introduction of the first Apprenticeship programme at HMLR which initially resulted in the recruitment of 80 apprentices in 2014. Since then 465 apprentices have started their careers with HMLR.

Married with 2 grown up children Caroline’s newly rediscovered pleasures include holidays taken during term time to locations her children would hate and eating in restaurants that do not have a kids menu or high chairs!

Caroline Anderson

Director of HR & OD, HM Land Registry

caroline anderson

Peter Cheese


peter cheese

Peter is the chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for more than 140,000 HR and people development professionals around the world. He writes and speaks widely on the development of HR, the future of work, and the key issues of leadership, culture and organisation, people and skills.

Peter is a visiting Professor at the University of Lancaster, a member of the Board of BPP University, and sits on the Advisory Board for the Open University Business School. He holds an honorary doctorate from Kingston University, and is a Fellow of the CIPD, AHRI (the Australian HR Institute) and the Academy of Social Sciences. He’s also a Companion of the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Chartered Management Institute, and the British Academy of Management.

Prior to joining the CIPD in July 2012, he was Chairman of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Council of City&Guilds. Up until 2009 he had a long career at Accenture holding various leadership positions and culminating in a seven year spell as Global Managing Director, leading the firm’s human capital and organisation consulting practice.

Phil Wilson is a professional drummer and percussionist. He has worked in many parts of the world and is currently touring the UK and Europe with three major theatre shows. Professional since 1985, venues have included festivals, national arenas and the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Phil holds two drumming related world records.

Inspirational Rhythms was launched in 2014. Phil had a stammer since the age of five and following years of speech therapy and counselling he had more or less given up. After being told about the TV show Educating Yorkshire and witnessing a young boy being helped by techniques from the film The King’s Speech. Phil looked into the methods used. Small improvements started to appear. This helped him grow in confidence. In 2014 he met a hypnotherapist and tried hypnotherapy. After two sessions he was 99% clear of his impediment.

Being aware of drum circles in the United States and within church groups, he started to take his new voice and drums into schools to give pupils group drumming experiences. This has developed into Inspirational Rhythms as it is today. Phil presents in schools, special schools, corporate seminars and conferences. Phil combines rhythm with talks about changing long held beliefs that hold people back. Group rhythm is proven to improve general wellness, it builds confidence and breaks down barriers. Inspirational Rhythm events can be a short five minute energizer to a full day workshops.

Phil now speaks on behalf of a major UK cancer charity, he has given live radio and TV interviews and visits Parliament to talk about cancer issues to his MP. Phil is writing a book about public speaking along with a drum circle manual for school teachers.

Phil Wilson


Inspirational Rhythms

phil wilson
chieu cao

Chieu Cao

CMO & Co-Founder, Perkbox

Before co-founding Perkbox, the UK’s fastest-growing employee engagement platform, Chieu established himself as a tech marketing force to be reckoned with, leading initiatives for brands including Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo.

A consultant turned CMO, Chieu's repertoire spans both B2C and B2B, from SEO to social strategy.

Francis is Chief Commercial Officer at AHC, a leading pension and employee benefits communication consultancy working for organisations including Vodafone, Lloyds and British Airways.

Francis advises organisations on the implementation of technology and tools to help engage employees with their benefits, with a specific focus on pensions and financial wellbeing. 

Prior to joining AHC in 2016, Francis was a Director and Head of Employee Engagement at Grass Roots. In his nine years at Grass Roots, Francis led on the deployment of employee engagement solutions including peer-to-peer recognition, tax efficient benefits and employee surveys. 

Francis has addressed the House of Commons HR Leadership team on “engaging employees in times of austerity” and recently contributed towards the DWP’s Auto Enrolment review published in December 2017. He is passionate about employee engagement and financial wellbeing and helping employees to navigate through the jungle of financial jargon. 

Francis holds an honours degree in Law and began his career as a graduate trainee at British Airways. He is a keen rower and won the UK National Championships Masters with Marlow Rowing Club in 2016. 

Francis Goss

Chief Commercial Officer, AHC

francis goss

Nita Clarke OBE

Co-Founder EFS

Nita Clarke is the director of the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA). She is author of the report ‘The Way Ahead: trade unions and the third sector’, commissioned by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (2008), ‘Rethinking Voice for Sustainable Business Success’ (2011), and ‘Releasing Voice for Sustainable Business Success’ (2013).

Nita was appointed Vice-President (Employment Relations) by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) in January 2012. Nita is a visiting Fellow at Kingston University Business School. She is also a member of the Mutuals Task Force established by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in 2011.

Nita was the vice chair of the MacLeod Review on employee engagement and co-author of the report Engaging for Success (also known as the MacLeod Report), and continues to work with David Macleod and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on implementing the report’s findings. She is co-chair of the Employee Engagement Task Force which was launched by the Prime Minister in March 2011.

Nita has a BA in History and Politics and an MA in Labour History from Warwick university. She was press and campaigns officer for the health service union COHSE from 1976 to 1981, and press officer for the leaders of the GLC and ILEA from 1983 to 1990. She was Ken Livingstone’s press officer during the Save the GLC campaign years, and is the author of London for Beginners, (published by Writers and Readers 1984, republished 2001).

Nita worked for the Government of Jamaica, representing their interests in the UK and Europe, 1990-92, She then became the Political Officer for UNISON, with responsibility for liaison with the Labour Party and its policy making machinery. From January 2001 to June 2007 she advised the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on trade unions, working as assistant political secretary in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street. Her role included liaison with individual unions and the TUC, developing national policy in areas such as the two-tier workforce and work-life balance, supporting ministers by trouble-shooting in industrial disputes, and helping to manage relations with MPs and the Labour Party. She was one of the key architects of the 2004 Warwick Agreement.

David is co-founder of the Employee Engagement Task Force launched by the Prime Minister at Number 10 in 2011. He is a visiting Professor of the Cass Business School, a Fellow of the Ashridge Business School, the Institute of Marketing, the RSA and a companion member of the CMI. He co-authored the book entitled ‘The Extra Mile’ published by Pearson on the topic of Employee Engagement.

David is co-author, with Nita Clarke, of the ‘Engage for Success’ (also known as the MacLeod report) commissioned by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, described by the CMI as the definitive work on this subject.

This follows an early career in marketing followed by becoming a CEO of a global business formed through the merger of an ICI and a Unilever business. He has worked at senior levels in manufacturing, (both business to business and business to consumer) and in the services sectors. He has been an NED of three Government Departments and has worked for a year and a half in the Cabinet Office.

David was awarded an OBE for services to Employee Engagement and Business in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2013.

David MacLeod OBE

Co-Founder EFS

david macleod

Will you book for o​ur Masterclass too?

David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, co-Founders and Cathy Brown, Exec Director of Engage for Success and Louise Beardmore, Customer Service Director, United Utilities are holding an exclusive Employee Engagement Masterclass on Friday 23 March, the day after the conference.

cathy brown
david macleod
louise beardmore

You will take away with you solid, actionable ideas to transform engagement within your workplace culture, drawn from the years of experience of the UK’s acknowledged experts in this field. 

Working with Engage for Success and your masterclass colleagues, interactive sessions will allow us to dig deep into what truly transforms an organisation into a healthy, sustainable, engaging and successful place to be.

You will learn:

  • Why employee engagement is vital for business success, and how to start looking at your organisation in a people-centric way
    What does an engaging culture look like, and how does it benefit people and individuals?
    How does the physical workspace influence engagement and wellbeing?
    What really makes a difference in creating that business culture?
    What organisations are already doing this, and what are they doing?
    What is the evidence that works?

You can attend the Annual Conference (March 22nd), the masterclass (March 23rd) or both. If you buy a joint ticket, you will receive a discount on the masterclass price. Numbers are strictly limited forthis event and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The masterclass venue will be central London.

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre,

Westminster, London SW1P 3EE

09.00 am - 5.00pm

Registration Closes in:


Don't Miss Out!

Book now - we've made it affordable for all!

For group booking rates please email

Headline Sponsor

Expert Partner Sponsors


Registration Sponsor

Bag Sponsor

real world group

Exhibitors & Supporters

crossing threshholds

If you do need any further information, please contact: 

Event Team 020 8421 7556