We were proud to host the following speakers at our 2018 conference.

Abdullah Al-Shakarchi  | Iraq During Sanctions: A Tale of Survival

abdullah head shotHow do individuals survive the hardships of conflict and a trade embargo? London Business School Masters in Management student, Abdullah Al-Shakarchi, grew up in the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1990. He tells the story of Iraq’s people uniting under the slogan “Screw the Impossible” to defy the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny and international sanctions, reflecting on the decade’s lasting impact on Iraqis today. Iraq’s secret to resilience was having the correct resources and a timeless spirit of adaptation and innovation.

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Richard Barker | What the Abolition of Slavery tells us about Climate Change

IMG_0043.JPG – Version 2Climate Change is today’s defining global moral issue. Our collective response to it will not only define the kind of planet on which future generations will live, but also how they will judge this current generation. By exploring another historical moral movement, the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire, Richard not only opens a door on a poorly understood era of British history, but also provides insights into the development of the Climate Change movement and its possible future trajectory.

Richard Barker is an Adviser and Investment Committee Member at Iona Capital, a specialist environmental infrastructure investor. He has been active in the low carbon space for over a decade having previously been CEO of the UK’s leading biogas company and also CEO of France’s largest aluminium recycling company. He is passionate about Climate Change and is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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Steve Barron| What Hempen Homespuns Have We Swaggering Here? 

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BAFTA and Emmy-nominated director and producer Steve Barron describes his transition from film to farming to create a cleaner and more sustainable world. In conjunction with the University of Cambridge, Steve has established Margent Farm to explore the ability of industrial hemp to revolutionise construction with its adaptable and highly efficient properties. From film cameras to houses, Steve reveals the enormous opportunity for hemp to redefine our environment.

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Cath Bishop | From the Olympics to Basra, Lessons in Building Resilience

Cath BishopCath is an experienced leadership speaker, consultant and researcher and draws on her unique combination of experiences as an Olympic rower and former senior diplomat. In her rowing career, Cath competed at three Olympic Games – Atlanta, Sydney and Athens – with highlights including winning the World Championships in 2003 and an Olympic silver medal in 2004. As a diplomat specialising in conflict stabilisation, Cath was posted to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Basra, Iraq, as well as working in Whitehall, leading on the UK civilian contribution to stabilising conflicts around the world.

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Jess Butcher & Claire Fox | How Offence Culture Stifles Progress

Jess Butcher interviews Claire Fox about her recent book ‘I Find that Offensive’ exploring Fox’s concerns that offence culture has become the dominant ideology of modern society, damaging debate, intellectual progress and affecting the resilience and mental health of our young.  Together they explore some of the reasons for it and also potential solutions for how to reverse this dangerous societal tide.

Claire Fox

Claire Fox.jpgDirector of the Academy of Ideas, which she established to create a public space where ideas can be contested without constraint.  She is a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze and is regularly invited to comment on developments in culture, education, media and free speech issues on TV and radio programmes in the UK such as Newsnight and Any Questions?  Claire is a columnist for TES (Times Educational Supplement) and MJ (Municipal Journal). She is author of a recent book on free speech, I Find That Offensive (Biteback, 2016), and No Strings Attached! Why arts funding should say no to instrumentalism (Arts&Business, 2007).

Jessica Butcher MBE

Jess Butcher 4 sq.jpgEntrepreneur, Non-Exec Director and Angel investor. Co-Founder of Blippar, one of Britain’s best-funded technology scale-ups and one of the world’s leading computer vision and augmented reality technology platforms.  She is the recipient of numerous female entrepreneur and tech awards including BBC’s Top 100 Women and Fortune’s Most Powerful female entrepreneurs and is a passionate start-up mentor, public speaker and writer on subjects as diverse as women in technology, female entrepreneurialism, digital innovation, digital detox and work-life balance.  She received an MBE in the 2018 New Years Honours List for her services to technology and entrepreneurship.

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Dan Cable| Best-Self Activation

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What is a “best self” and can it be turned on and made chronically accessible? Dan explores the notions of best self activation and signature strengths, examining how both people’s lives and organizational performance can be improved when people’s best selves are activated at work. Dan introduces the seeking system, the part of the brain that urges us to explore what is possible based on our personal strengths, and explains how leaders can tap into enthusiasm and energy when they activate the best self.  

Dan Cable is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School and has been ranked among the top 25 most influential management scholars in the world. His most recent research has recently been featured on Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to name a few, and was published on Harvard Business Review and the Academy of Management Journal.

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Ann Cairns| Lessons from Lehman Brothers

Ann-Cairns 15.49.40Ann Cairns, President of International Markets for Mastercard and Chair of ICE Clear Europe, reflects on her time as acting CEO of Lehman Brothers in the aftermath of the 2008 crash. She tells us what she learned of Resilience from the employees of Lehman, and offers thoughts on how to ensure the Resilience of the financial system in years to come.

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Lucy Choi | Bridging Modern Society and Opera

wai_0921.jpgAs a classically trained pianist and singer living and working in Hong Kong, Masters in Business Administration student Lucy Choi noticed a gap between the traditional art form of Western opera and the modern world. Lucy describes her efforts to build a bridge between these two worlds to make opera more accessible and relevant to a 21st century audience. Lucy shares her passion for opera, its impact on her life, and how opera can find its place in modern society.

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Herminia Ibarra | The Authenticity Paradox

Herminia photo - USE THIS VERSIONWho doesn’t want to be authentic? But, a simplistic understanding of what authenticity means hinders growth and limits our impact. Learning, by definition, starts with unnatural and often superficial behaviors that can make us feel calculating, instead of genuine and spontaneous, and we latch onto authenticity as an excuse for sticking with what’s comfortable. But, the moments that most challenge our sense of self are also the ones that can teach us the most. By viewing ourselves as works in progress and evolving our professional identities through trial and error, we can develop in ways that both feel right to us and suit our changing circumstances.

Herminia Ibarra is the Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School. Prior to joining LBS, she served on the INSEAD and Harvard Business School faculties. An authority on leadership and career development, Thinkers 50 ranks Ibarra among the most influential management thinkers in the world. Her most recent book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader (Harvard Business, 2015), explains how to step up to a bigger leadership role.  She received her Ph.D. from Yale University, where she was a National Science Fellow.

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Jennifer Lynch | Why You’re More Creative Than You Think You Are

Jennifer Lynch-2What can be done in the face of the growing loneliness epidemic? London Business School PhD student, Jennifer Lynch, builds on principles of creativity research to offer a fresh perspective. Her talk outlines a new way to think about creativity, extending it beyond the traditional domains of the arts and the intellect. She illuminates a third domain of creativity, creativity in the relational sense, as a way of being that results in meaningful human connection.

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Chris Moore | Changing Attitudes and Transforming Lives

Chris photoThere are 86k adults in prison in England & Wales. Sadly, 44% of them return to prison within the first year of release. Chris will explore how the Clink Charity breaks this cycle of crime, by training and equipping serving prisoners to gain their City and Guild level 2 qualifications in Food Service, Food Preparation and Horticulture. The training programme reduces the chances of a prisoner reoffending by 50%, and at the same time, supports the hospitality industry that has a major skills shortage.

Chris has been CEO of the Clink Charity since 2010, and currently serves as Vice Chair for the Institute of Hospitality, and as an external director for Westminster Abbey Enterprises. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including as Head of Group Restaurants at Fenwick Ltd, and Restaurants General Manager for Harrods.

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Paddy Scott | Humanity’s effect on our planet’s “permanent” landscapes

Headshot_Paddy ScottWhat effect is humanity having on our planet’s most “permanent” landscapes? Paddy relates his experiences as an award-winning landscape photographer being witness to the dichotomy of landscapes appearing untouchable and yet truly changing at an alarming pace. We pay the effects little mind because to us, they appear quite slow, when truly in geological terms they are happening in the blink of an eye. Paddy explores the landscapes of Antarctica, Patagonia, and the Himalayas through the photographer’s lens and talks about the challenges these landscapes are facing in light of growing human pressures and global warming.

A member of the Royal Photographic Society and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Paddy Scott is a photographer, cameraman and filmmaker. Paddy is adept at working in hostile places, having twice reached the South Pole, filmed climbing expeditions in the Himalayas, and paddled up the Amazon. Paddy’s photography has been credited with numerous awards, including most recently a finalist in the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Natural History Museum.


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Rick Wheatley | Reimagining Resilience

Colour Rick Wheatley 2016 (2) (1)The current global growth model is broken, helping the few, not many; working against, not with nature; contributing to short-term gains while compromising on long-term impact. We need future-fit leaders who can reinvent this growth model, not through philanthropy, but through ideas that sit at the intersection of commercial opportunity and societal needs. Rick discusses a new leadership model to address the leadership deficit and help emerging leaders take this journey, and incubate ideas that use commercial muscle to address human problems.

Rick Wheatley is currently working at Xynteo to develop the leadership and innovation methods while designing and leading strategic client engagements with Fortune 50 companies in the areas of climate, renewable energy, oil and gas, logistics and more. Rick was also one of the architects of what has become the Leadership Vanguard – a programme where senior leaders from across industry collaborate over the course of a year to incubate interventions at the intersection of real human need and commercial opportunity.

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Jasmine Whitbread | Brexit and London’s Resilience as a Global Capital

Jasmine Whitbread

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, London is facing a moment of real jeopardy. Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group, London First, sets out the key challenges facing the capital and what needs to happen to keep London top of the global charts – from staying open to talented people to building the homes and transport links they need.

With a background in business and a decade leading change for the world’s poorest children, Jasmine believes in the power of business leadership to make a positive difference. She’ll draw on her experience to explore how to bring people together to bring about change, including how she’s convening major employers to keep London thriving in a time of uncertainty.

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Avivah Wittenberg-Cox| Conscious Coupling: Managing Dual Careers 

Avivah photo 2Our careers are lengthening; transforming from sprints into marathons, and we need to think strategically about how we position ourselves to thrive in this new world. Avivah explores the most crucial career choice that we each make – our life partners. Paradoxically, this is also often the team that we spend the least time on. Avivah suggests that we should bring leadership skills home, and that we should think more consciously about the dual career model that we each wish to adopt.

 Avivah is CEO of 20-first, a leading international gender-balance consultancy. 20-first works with top management at some of the world’s best-known companies to identify the business opportunities of gender balance and how to achieve them. She has written a number of best-sellers in the field, including Seven Steps to Leading a Gender Balanced Business, published by Harvard Business Review.

Watch it here.