Conference Speakers


Key Facilitator - Kate Russell, Journalist, Tech Reporter and Author, BBC CLICK

Kate RussellKate Russell (BBC Click) is a journalist, reporter, and author who has been writing about gaming, technology and the Internet since 1995. Best known for weekly appearances on the BBC’s technology programme she frequently appears on TV radio and in magazines as a technology expert, and also has regular columns in National Geographic Traveller and the BBC’s Focus magazines. She is the author of two books Working the Cloud, a guide to using the internet in business; and Elite: Mostly Harmless, Kate’s debut science fiction novel set in the gaming world of Elite, which achieved over 400 per cent of its funding goal on Kickstarter. In addition, Kate speaks regularly at technology events and conferences, and in schools and universities, inspiring the next generation of technologists. She is also very involved in UK and global policy meetings to help shape the way the internet is governed.

Claire Cockerton, CEO and Founder of Plexal

Claire Cockerton is Founder & CEO of Plexal, Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem based at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. She is a specialist in tech clusters, innovation services and startup eco-systems. She founded ENTIQ, an innovation advisory and delivery firm, responsible for running world-leading innovation programmes for companies such as EY, Euroclear, Dassault Systemes and many more. ENTIQ also designed and delivered Cognicity, a smart city technology pilot programme in Canary Wharf which resulted in job creation, investment, awards, international exposure and client contracts for the participating SMEs.

Claire was founding director and CEO of Innovate Finance (IF), a City of London and Canary Wharf Group-backed movement for a more diverse, resilient, accessible and consumer-centric financial services sector. An Imperial College MBA alumna, specialising in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design, her distinguished thesis explored incubators, tech transfer and accelerator models from around the world. Prior to coming to the UK in 2009, Claire founded, grew and sold Aesthetic Earthworks, a multi-million dollar sustainable architecture firm which pioneered environmentally friendly property development and care, based in Toronto, Canada. Claire is an active member of the Guild of Entrepreneurs, The Mayor of London’s Tech Ambassador Group, Tech London Advocates, Women in Tech and is a fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Julia Streets, Founder & CEO of Streets Consulting

Julia is CEO of Streets Consulting, the UK and US business development, marketing and communications FinTech consultancy. Prior to founding Streets Consulting in 2008, Julia was global head of communications at NYSE Technologies and European head of marketing and sales development at Instinet. In 2013, Brummell Magazine named Julia one of their 30 Inspirational Women on Boards and in 2014 one of their 30 Inspirational Women Entrepreneurs. Last year Innovate Finance listed Julia one of their 100 Women in FinTech and SWIFT named her one of their Power Women in FinTech. Julia is proud to serve as a trustee of the charity ‘Children in Crisis’ and is a Fellow of the British American Project.

Deborah O'Neill, Partner at Oliver Wyman Labs

deborah-oneil-featuredIn her time at global management consultancy Oliver Wyman, Deborah has supported some of the world’s biggest financial institutions and developed a passion around user centricity for business reporting. She recently co-authored an article for the Harvard Business Review entitled “Using Data to Strengthen Your Connections to Customers” and is an alum of Imperial College, London.

Deborah is also engaged in mentoring the next generation of tech experts and is using her role a senior team member in Oliver Wyman Labs to help support the female talent pipeline. The Labs division is focused on making sense of tetrabytes of business data, unearthing the hidden knowledge it contains, and reinventing corporate decision making.

Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Founder of STEMettes

Anne-Marie Imafidon-Founder of STEMettesAnne-Marie Imafidon has always been interested in business, Maths and technology. Her rather unique set of achievements include passing two GCSEs aged ten (Mathematics & ICT), holding the current world record for the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing (aged 11), a Guardian ‘Top 10 women in tech you need to know’ and being one of the youngest to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics and Computer Science by the University of Oxford, aged 20. She was also named the UK IT Industry & British Computer Society’s Young IT Professional of the Year in 2013, Red Magazine’s ‘Woman to Watch’ 2014, won a Points of Light award from the UK Prime Minister in October 2014 and was named the 29th Most Influential woman in IT in 2015. Anne-Marie has also been listed as one of Management Today’s 35 Under 35 and was on the Timewise List of 50 Power Part Timers.

Anne-Marie is Head Stemette and Co-Founder of Stemettes – an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics roles via a series of events and opportunities. In three years 7,000 girls across the UK, Ireland and Europe have had attended Stemette experiences. As part of the initiative she has also Co-Founded Outbox Incubator: the worlds first tech incubator for teenage girls. She sits on the boards of Redfield Asset Management, Urban Development Music Foundation and Inspirational YOU. She has previously worked at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers.

Dr Sue Black OBE, Author of Saving Bletchley Park and Government Digital Services Advisor

Dr Sue Black left home and school at 16, married at 20 and had three children by the age of 23. A single parent at 25 she went to university, gained a degree in computing then a PhD in software engineering. She set up the UK’s first online network for women in tech BCSWomen and led the campaign to save Bletchley Park.

Sue is now a Social Entrepreneur, Writer and Public Speaker who has won numerous awards including being one of the “50 most inspiring women in European tech’. Her current startup #techmums teaches mums tech skills enabling them to become tech savvy. Sue now has four children and has recently become a grandmother. Her first book Saving Bletchley Park is published by Unbound.

Francine Stevens, Innovation Programme Manager at Plexal

Francine’s global experience spans almost 20 years with a variety of roles in enterprise telecommunications and technology, focussed on driving growth and added value for customers. Bringing together her experience across the various functions of the business to foster and enable innovation she is continually refining the Innovation practices using lean and agile methodologies, developing tools and approaches to support a culture of change and transformation.

Ghela Boskovich, works with Streets Consulting and is Head of Fintech Partnerships at Rainmaking, home of StartupBootCamp


Ghela is active in the fintech industry, having spent the last ten years focused on business development for core insurance and banking system solutions, the last half of which has centered on financial services pricing governance functionality. Ghela also founded FemTechGlobal to bridge the gender gap in fintech and the financial services industry and was named one of Brummell Magazine’s 2016 ‘30 Inspirational Women Innovators’, and included in Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist 2016. She is a regular contributor to fintech publications and discussions, specializing in dynamic pricing and customer centricity.

Lauren Riley, Entrepreneur, Qualified Solicitor and Founder of The Link App


Lauren Riley is an entrepreneur, qualified solicitor, and the proud founder of The Link App. She developed the technology as a lawyer, for lawyers. Simply put, The Link App’s technology is redefining client communication in this industry. Lauren understands the day-to-day problems faced by law firms and their clients alike – particularly in today’s fast-paced world – and is passionate about solving them through the innovative use of technology.

Lauren graduated from Lancaster University with an Honours Degree in Law in 2006 and completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from the College of Law, Manchester, achieving a distinction. Lauren’s appearance on The BBC’s The Apprentice in 2014 was an opportunity not only to get backing for her business idea, The Link App but to discuss her belief that women can have it all-a successful career without compromising things they hold dear. Lauren is also a prominent blogger and more recently vlogger too. Her blogs appear on and the Huffington Post. Since her venture into technology Lauren has become known for her business endeavours there and in 2016 has been ranked in the top ten LinkedIn profiles in technology out of their 20 million UK users.

Tunji Akintokun, Director at Cisco Systems


Tunji is a Director at Cisco covering mid-market customers and partnership for Africa. Based in London he has held several leadership positions across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia and CIS during his 17 year career at the company. Passionate about diversity in the workplace and encouraging more diverse talent in pursuing careers in Science and Technology, Tunji sits on several boards and councils including the education charity Teach First, the women’s council of techUK, which represents over 900 companies, Grant Thornton (Vibrant Economy Commissioner) and Raise Tech (co-chair) a professional network for people of colour in the UK tech sector.

He is the founder of the award winning social enterprise “Your Future, Your Ambition” which aims to inspire, excite and engage diverse talent in pursuing careers in Science & Technology (STEM). Tunji holds an MSc in Software Engineering from London Southbank University and completed his executive education at both Wharton and Stanford Business schools.

Mali Marafini, Corporate Senior Executive Fintech Banker Technologist and CEO-Founder of Interruptiv


Mali has recently been shortlisted for the Woman of the Year 2017 Women in Finance Awards sponsored by HMTreasury. Mali is a Global Fintech and futuristic Emerging Tech Social Media Influencer and Thought Leader – >100k corporate followers and connections Globally in High Technology and Fintech related to Blockchain, Digital, Social Media, Mobile, Cybersecurity, Quantum Computing and related arenas.

Mali is a global banker, keynote speaker, panellist judge to Banking, Fund management and Capital markets ecosystems throughout Europe and worldwide including at the Singapore IMF World bank conference, World Futures Summit in Washington DC and to Investment and Fund management, Financial Services and Banking communities in Europe, Russia, US, Canada, Middle East.

She is the CEO-Founder of, a Fintech Venture and Tech Fund platform to scale Corporate Ventures as Utilities, Platforms,Products suites with Corporate and institutional partners. The ventures also focus on Fintech Social Enterprise, Emerging and Frontier Markets and Fintech financial inclusion.

Mali is one of the few Women from a diversity background globally – in progress raising a Global challenger Fintech global fund initiative, nominated finalist for a number of Women in IT Awards,Start-up of the Year & Innovator of the Year awards, is a Advisor/mentor to several Start-up Accelerators and companies globally, operating at a Senior level within the Fintech Corporate arena and is a Global advocate for a Women in Tech empowerment in Fintech and emerging technologies.

She is also Nominated to be a Femtech Leader by a US and and Asian tech entrepreneur media organisations. Mali has operated at C-Level Executive and Managing Program Director at Major Global Tier one institutions with extensive leadership experience in building Corporate Unicorn platforms and businesses in trading, risk, finance, regulatory and technology functions.

Michelle Hua, Co-Founder of Women of Wearables

Kate RussellMichelle Hua is a public speaker, writer, Founder & CEO of Made With Glove Ltd, a UK wearable tech start-up designing fashionable heated gloves for women based in Manchester. She is also the co-founder of Women of Wearables, an organisation that supports, inspires and connects women in wearable tech, fashion tech, the IoT and AR/VR through events and wearable tech workshops in Manchester and London. Michelle delivers the WoW wearable tech workshops with Rachael Yeung. In 2014 Michelle led Made with Glove to being in the Top 150 Most Influential Brands in Wearable Tech and in 2015, received the highly commended blogger award at the UK Blog Awards in London for her Wearable Tech Fashion blog series. In 2016 Michelle was the recipient of the UK TechNation Exceptional Talent Visa for her significant entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector and her work in promoting, mentoring and supporting Women in Tech.

Michelle worked as a commercial solicitor in private practice, in- house and the Western Australian Government in Australia and New Zealand for eight years prior to starting her wearable technology company. Michelle holds Bachelor degrees in Commerce (Curtin University) and Laws (Murdoch University) from Perth, Western Australia.

Marija Butkovic, Co-Founder of Women of Wearables

Kate RussellMarija Butkovic is a business, PR and marketing consultant and startup mentor who has worked across a range of projects in different industry sectors, including legal, journalism, IoT, tech and fashion.

She is a co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella – a wearable tech startup behind the world’s smartest fashion tech umbrella, and Women of Wearables. As PR strategist and journalist Marija has worked with and been profiled by some of the world’s leading tech and business magazines and portals (Wired UK, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Huffington Post, Financial Times, Forbes, Business Insider, London Evening Standard, etc.). She is member of Tech London Advocates – an organisation aiming to support technology startups in finding new investment, new talent and achieving high growth and Women Techmakers – Google’s global program providing visibility, community and resources for women in technology.

Prior to working in the tech industry, Marija was a corporate lawyer and consultant for legal trade journals. She holds a Master of Laws degree (Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka, Croatia) and was also awarded a diploma from the Startup Institute in London.

Jacqueline de Rojas, President techUK, NED Rightmove plc, Board Advisor Digital Leaders


An inspirational leader, Jacqueline is passionate about the UK, the technology industry and championing business.

Jacqueline’s techUK presidency focuses on the UK leveraging its digital opportunity and skills, and embracing diversity to help the UK’s technology industry to reach its potential. She believes that to achieve this all geographies and demographics across the UK must be included and we must strive to equip our country with the very best infrastructure and supportive business legislation possible. Above all, none of the above can be achieved unless the UK tech industry demonstrates that it is open for business to global markets.

Prior to her presidency, Jacqueline held the role of deputy president techUK and board champion for women. She has used this role to leverage resources in the technology industry to support her manifesto to increase diversity of skills and talent in the tech industry. This has gathered increasing momentum through techUK’s Women in Tech Council, which continues to bring industry together to drive for inclusion, diversity & gender equality.

Jacqueline has been employed throughout her career by global blue-chip software companies to accelerate growth by pulling amazing teams together who can operate under pressure and extend their reach through smart partnerships.

Jacqueline is also: a Non-Executive Director of Rightmove plc, the UK’s number one property website, from 30 December 2016; was previously a Non-Executive Director at Home Retail Group plc; is a board advisor at Digital Leaders; and lends her support to everywoman and the technology group of the 30% Club.

Jacqueline is recognised as a leading figure in the UK’s tech industry. In 2016 she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame as the most influential woman in UK IT; she was voted Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Woman in IT 2015; and was listed on Debretts 2016 500 People of Influence – Digital.

Jimmy Nilsson, Managing Director of Verizon Professional Security Services


A Senior International Business Manager with more than 15 years’ experience in internal IT and Customer-facing roles with Strong Business leadership qualities and the ability to manage, coach and develop – small and large, local and international – high performing teams.

Strong analytical skills, ability to clearly structure complex situations, develop and deliver solutions. Energetic and enthusiastic Can-Do attitude with focus on getting things done, with business common sense discipline of delivering through solutions on the strategic promise. Hands-on experience meeting and managing Sales Funnel, Revenue, Margin, Profit & Loss targets.

Currently Global Professional Services Lead at Verizon, responsible for the overall management, strategic direction and planning for several Security Practices from Sales to Delivery across Americas, Europe-Middle-East-Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Jimmy was Head of Global IT Security at Sony Ericsson where he headed a Security Team responsible for global Operations of IT Security.

In 2014 Jimmy relocated from Sweden to Ashburn, VA, USA.

Holly Mesrobian, Director of Engineering for Amazon Video, Head of Amazon’s London Development Centre


Holly Mesrobian is Director of Engineering for Amazon Video, heading up Amazon’s London Development Centre. The Development Centre is a digital media design and engineering hub with a global remit to work on digital media products that will benefit Amazon customers all over the world. In her role Holly leads a team of hundreds of software development engineers, user-interface experts and graphic designers who are focused on developing interactive digital services supporting the growth of Amazon Instant Video for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs. and exciting new technologies that support the growth of Amazon’s Prime Video service.

Holly has two masters degrees – one in Computer Science from the University of Washington and another in Software Engineering from Seattle University. She started her career in technology more than 20 years ago as a developer and since has held numerous technology leadership roles including General Manager of internet streaming company Real Networks’ Platform Engineering team and CTO of Cozi, a company offering mobile and digital family organising tools for families that was later acquired by Time Inc. She then joined Amazon in the U.S. as Director, Engineering for the retailers fast-growing fashion business before moving to the UK for her current role. Holly has been a long-time passionate advocate for women in technology, helping to inspire and encourage others to pursue careers in the field.

In Seattle she helped develop a curriculum for a non-profit organization called Ada which focused on moving women into careers in engineering. This commitment has continued in London where she recently spoke at Women of Silicon Roundabout on how to juggle a busy work and family life. Despite her demanding role Holly devotes time in her schedule to mentoring a number of colleagues across Amazon, both male and female. Her mentees include those in both senior roles and those in more junior positions, keen to emulate Holly’s success.

Holly lives with her husband, also a technologist, and four children in London. Outside of her busy work and family life Holly loves to run and has completed marathons in a number of cities including London, New York and Boston.