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Inspirational women:

City pioneers

17 SEP 2018

Brummell’s 2018 list of the most inspirational women in the City celebrates the pioneers creating new ways of working and thinking

The City is experiencing considerable positive change, and at the forefront of trailblazing initiatives to tackle issues such as gender equality, there are pioneering women creating new ways of working and thinking. Brummell celebrates 30 of them in this year’s inspirational women in the City listing.

The distinguished judging panel, made up of industry professionals from diverse sectors, had a difficult task applying the rigorous shortlisting criteria. They required each of the women who made the final list to be responsible for ‘firsts’ within their companies and beyond, and to be innovative thought leaders in their respective fields.

While the top 30 women in the listing are from a variety of working backgrounds – from large corporates to entrepreneurial start-ups – each is an outstanding pioneer, inspiring others with their infectious attitude for overcoming challenges, and proving that innovation and determination are at the core of successful leadership.

Anita Karppi
Founder, The Buy-side Trading Community (BTC) by K&K Global Consulting 

Following a successful career at Reuters, Goldman Sachs and FlexTrade, Karppi built the BTC – a unique, private, buy-side trading community that has more than 900 participating senior, heads and global heads of buy-side trading worldwide. Since 2010, she and her husband have built four services for the buy-side trading community, creating a global network leveraged by a capped commercial model to optimise the quality of services and exclusivity to the prestigious client base. She is an Exercise to Music fitness instructor, and teaches dance to women in her home of Weybridge, Surrey. She is also a proud mother to her eight-year-old daughter.

Susan Allen
Head of customer interactions, Santander

Since joining Santander in 2015, Allen has held positions of chief transformation officer and managing director, UK Banking, and her current role encompasses the leadership for all of Santander’s retail contact centres, branches, provision of wealth and private banking and Cater Allen services. Sheis a champion of diversity and inclusivity and is currently the executive sponsor of the Santander LGBT network, which has trebled in membership and been recognised for its progressive achievements. She is also an active sponsor of Santander’s Returnships, Apprenticeships and Traineeships. Allen is a member of the Advisory Board for Women in Banking and Finance.


Abisola Barber
Trading Business Manager, Barclays

Winner of the 2018 Women in Banking & Finance and WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards, and named in the Top 20 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders 2017 by the Financial Times and EMpower, Barber is a pioneering young professional to watch. She partners with bank-wide stakeholders to manage bespoke trading desks with Barclays Investment Bank, and champions Barclays’ efforts within the Diversity and Inclusion space. She established a six-month secondment programme for high-performing individuals in the UK and South Africa, and hosts mentoring and networking huddles to engage the next generation of women in financial services careers. She is also co-chair of the Win Gender Network’s Recruit and Retain committee.


Leigh Hansson
Partner, Global Regulatory Enforcement group, and co-leader, International Trade & National Security team, Reed Smith

Hansson manages 26 lawyers, at partner and associate level, based around the globe to provide round-the-clock support to clients. She and her team were selected to create a bespoke global sanctions programme and provide ongoing sanctions support for Fifa. Hansson pitched a team of all-female lawyers for this work and was selected over a number of magic-circle firms. She has advised more than 1,000 Reed Smith clients in the past three years, and her practice is truly cross-border, making her deep understanding of both the sanctions regime and the key policymakers in Washington DC, London and Europe invaluable for clients.


Inga Beale
CEO, Lloyd’s of London

As the first female CEO of Lloyd’s, Beale has been instrumental in steering it away from the ‘old-school boys’ club’ to a more diverse, modern, digitally powered market. She was previously group chief executive of Canopius, and was group CEO of Swiss reinsurer Converium Ltd, where she led a major turnaround before it was acquired by SCOR in 2007. Beale was president of the UK Chartered Insurance Institute from 2017 to 2018. She is a member of the UK Government’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board, the UK Department for Education’s Business Advisory Group, the London Mayor’s Business Advisory Board and the Geneva Association Board. Beale is also a member of the UK government’s Public Service Leadership Taskforce.


Sharon Blackman
Director, Office of the General Counsel, Citi

English law qualified barrister and New York attorney Blackman has worked for Citi since 2004, heading the EMEA Foreign Exchange and Local Markets (FXLM) legal team. She has represented Citi at a variety of industry level committees, most recently as the legal representative on the Bank of England Joint Foreign Exchange legal subcommittee, sits on Citi’s EMEA Legal Diversity Committee and represents EMEA on Citi’s Global Legal Diversity Council. In 2017 she was a finalist in the Women in Banking Finance Awards, and as chair of the Citi EMEA Pro Bono Committee, she accepted the award for In-House Pro Bono Legal Team of the Year at the Trust Law Awards 2015.


Galina Carroll
Founder, SFE Consulting

A UK Financial Services regulatory expert in regtech, insuretech and lawtech, Carroll is a founding member of the RegTech Council. She worked pro bono on this project to strengthen the wider regulatory community, and was instrumental in providing consumer expertise. She has worked on a number of pioneering projects in regtech, helping to develop cutting-edge new products and providing guidance on the technical development of Open Banking from a consumer perspective.
Her work with regulators, including helping set up the FCA’s regtech capabilities and running their groundbreaking TechSprints, has increased industry collaboration on some of the industry’s most intractable problems, such as financial inclusion.


Jillian Kowalchuk
Founder and CEO, Safe & The City

Despite only operating her London-based tech startup Safe & The City for around one year, Kowalchuk recently won the Commonwealth Businesswoman Award for Most Inspiring Role Model. The Safe & The City app is designed to battle opportunistic crime and sexual harassment on the streets, using GPS technology, crowdsourced information and data from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to chart areas prone to incidents, enable users to report events and track the safety of a given route to improve the city. She is also a member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and a founding member of FemTechTalks, which discusses ways in which women can surmount the challenges they face in entrepreneurship and the technology sector.


Selina Sagayam
Head of Transactional Practice Development, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

One of the UK’s leading public M&A advisers, international corporate finance lawyer Sagayam is a dual-qualified barrister and solicitor, who has been in practice for nearly 25 years. She has been named in the London Top 50 Women section of Super Lawyers, and is a regular speaker on takeovers and cross-border M&A. Passionate about diversity and innovation, she chairs her firm’s Diversity, Talent & Inclusion Committee and CSR Committee in the UK, co-chairs NetworkforKnowledge, an external networking organisation for senior women in law and compliance, and sits on the Advisory Board of Diversity UK. Sagayam is also a non-executive director on the board of a FTSE 250 company.


Zoë Chowney

A qualified accountant and technology entrepreneur, Chowney runs and is non-executive director to a number of technology companies. She began her career with Allianz and AIG, before founding a number of internet ventures and selling a digital media agency to WPP. A passionate campaigner for the LGBTQ+ community, she serves as the first openly transgendered woman co-chair of Gay Women’s Network – a group of 1,500 LGBTQ+ professional women in London. She is also founder and co-chair of Pride in Business, promoting and supporting diversity in the SME sector. She writes for Gay Times and has run events funded by the Institute of Directors, with prominent speakers such as John Bercow.


Sam Day
Partner, KPMG

Leading a team of 500 professional advisers at KPMG, Day’s mission is to help every person within her team to do their best work. She encourages new, flexible ways of thinking and working, and collaborates with leading psychologists and well-being experts to bring fresh thought and innovative practices into KPMG. Outside of the firm, Day also spends time working with communities on initiatives with a social-mobility ethos, believing everyone deserves the chance to develop the skills they need to reach and maintain top performance and remain mentally healthy. Day made it to partner as a single mum with three children – a journey which gave her some insight into how to help other working parents to become successful.


Abby Ghafoor
Managing Director, arc Management Consulting Ltd

With more than 20 years of experience in marketing and management consulting, Ghafoor’s network is extensive across various industries and platforms. She is an official ambassador to London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the committee member of the Asian Business Association at LCCI. She is also a fellow at the Institute of Consulting and the Chartered Management Institute. She is the ambassador to the Path to Success charity supporting women athletes in disability sports for Tokyo Paralympics 2020, and has been secretary on the executive committee for the charity organisation HMWC (Hackney Women’s Organisation) for the past two decades.


Abigail Herron
Global Head of Responsible Investment, Aviva Investors

Herron brings her passion for sustainable business practices to her job at Aviva Investors, where she leads conversations on environmental, social and governance topics with the companies Aviva Investors invests in. With Herron’s efforts, Aviva Investors has taken a leadership role as the investor voice pushing antibiotic resistance up the agenda. She sits on the 30% Club Investor’s Steering Committee, ICAEW’s Corporate Governance Committee, is a technical adviser to the Zoological Society of London’s palm oil and forestry group, an adviser to the new Fish Tracker initiative and a trustee of the Chartered Secretaries’ Charitable Trust.


Sara Siegel 
Head of healthcare, Deloitte

Siegel leads Deloitte’s Health Practice in the UK, supporting the NHS to do more with the resources at its disposal. Her work includes the introduction of robotic and cognitive automation to improve the speed and quality of NHS services and to release time for direct patient care. Siegel enjoys the complexity of improving healthcare. Every global economy is struggling with a similar issue: caring for an increasingly complex panoply of healthcare issues within a finite budget and using the introduction of new technologies to increase the quality of care. Siegel is a trustee of the Peter Sowerby Foundation, which supports healthcare causes, particularly with grants for out-of-hospital services and better technology use. She has two young sons and lives in west London.


Alexandra Haggard
Managing Director and Strategic Product Management, BlackRock

Haggard’s role is to drive product strategy for BlackRock’s equity business, which is in excess of $3 trillion in assets under management. Before BlackRock, she was the first official CEO of Stamford Associates, a boutique investment consulting firm serving institutional investors and wealth-management firms. At BlackRock she is a diversity leader and a founder of the Diversity Project, aiming to improve inclusion of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, degree discipline, sexual orientation, age and disability in savings and investments. She is a board member of the CFA Society of the UK and was one of Financial News’ top 100 women for 2015 and 2016. Also a passionate equestrian, she rides competitively at international level.


Nadya Hijazi
Global Head of GLCM Digital, HSBC

Hijazi is a trailblazer in the digital channels space, driving innovation-led transformation and steering HSBC to achieve more than $256 billion in mobile payments authorisations for corporate customers. Nadya manages all the day-to-day activities to deliver new initiatives through these platforms. She also leads the bank’s Digital Business Banking transformation, improving business banking customers’ end-to-end digital experience. She is a strong advocate for diversity, actively supporting gender balance in her own leadership team in line with the bank’s goals, as well as being passionate about people development, ensuring those who work in her teams have the support and guidance required to be their best.


Pamela Jones
Operational change manager, TP ICAP PLC

In more than 15 years’ managing teams at UBS, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse in London and New York, Jones was often the only BME woman on the trading floor. She joined ICAP Plc in its Global Broking Division to drive efficiencies, innovation and change. Instrumental in forming ICAP’s Women’s Network, which she co-chairs, Jones is a member of TP ICAP’s global ‘Connect’ employee network, formed this year. In 2013 she joined the board of WILD London (Women in Listed Derivatives) and chairs the mentoring committee. She is a corporate brand ambassador and advisory board member for Dress for Success London and a mentor at Central Foundation Girls’ School in Bow, London.



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