Our expert Advisory Board brings together respected leaders, chosen for their knowledge, achievements, and passion, from across public, voluntary, and private sectors.

The purpose of the Advisory Board is to advise on content, this ensures that our events are as useful and impactful as possible for our audiences.

Cutting across our diverse sectors to work together at the highest level, our Advisory Board will facilitate the sharing of ideas, innovation, and information.

The work of the Advisory Board is collaborative, complementary and through it, we will champion diversity, highlight cutting-edge policy issues, and drive positive change.

Lord Deben

Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben

Founder and Chairman

Sancroft International

The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, is the founder and Chairman of Sancroft International, a consultancy that advises both businesses and investors on all areas of Sustainability and ESG. Between 2012 and 2023 he was Chairman of the UK’s Independent Climate Change Committee. Lord Deben was also the UK’s longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment (1993-97) having previously been Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. His sixteen years of top-level ministerial experience also include Minister for London, Employment Minister, and Paymaster General in HM Treasury. Lord Deben is currently Chairman of Valpak Ltd and of PIMFA, the trade body representing financial advisers and wealth managers. Throughout his political, business, and personal life Lord Deben has consistently championed an accord between sustainability and business sense.

Alison Heydari

Dr Alison Heydari BSc (Hons), MSc, PGCE, PhD

T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Programme Director, Police Race Action Plan

Dr Alison Heydari joined Hampshire Constabulary in 2000. As a student officer, Alison successfully applied for the Home Office Accelerated Promotion Scheme for Graduates.

Alison’s varied career includes working in detective roles in the Criminal Investigations Department and in uniform roles, including in Public Protection, response policing and as geographic commander.   Alison has driven the force wide strategic response to hate crime and harmful practices and practiced as a trained Negotiator for eight years. Alison has had a long-standing interest in the partnership response to and impact of Domestic Abuse.

Secondment to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue and teaching at John Jay Exchange College of Criminal Justice, New York have enhanced Alison’s policing experience.  She has also carried out work in San Paulo, Brazil supporting victims of people trafficking.

Alison left Hampshire Constabulary in June 2020 on promotion to join the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as a Frontline Policing Commander with additional pan London responsibility for a number of portfolios including neighbourhood policing.

Her appointment as Director for the Police Race Action Plan in August 2023 sees Alison driving a national programme of work necessary to respond to critically low levels of trust and confidence in Black communities. Alison collaborates with strategic partners including chief officer groups across the country to produce plans that improve policing for black communities with wider benefits to all communities. This role links well with her other national portfolio as Chief Officer lead for Out of Court Resolutions.  Alison is also a Gold Public Order Public Safety Commander for the MPS.

The thread that runs through her career is her support for equity, equality, diversity and inclusion.   Her passion centres on utilising the tenets of Procedural Justice to build community trust, confidence and legitimacy in policing. Her published papers include those on Domestic Abuse and applying the pillars of Procedural Justice to community engagement.

Professor Eithne Hughes OBE

Professor Eithne Hughes OBE, FRSA

ASCL Cymru Director

Chair of the Education Workforce Council

Eithne has over 27 years’ of experience in senior leadership in schools including 11 years as a headteacher.

For several years, Eithne had been an advisor to the Welsh Government on Initial Teacher Education, teacher recruitment and retention and was influential in the development of self-improving school systems at national policy level.

She brings with her a wealth of experience from across the education sector having been a long serving headteacher of a large secondary school in north Wales, and is the current Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru. Eithne is also the Chair of the Education Workforce Council. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and is an invited member of the Oxford All Souls Group.

Alongside her vast experience, Eithne is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including an Honorary Professorship with Bangor University, the Teaching Award for Leadership for Wales, the Pearson award for Leadership, and the Cymru Professional Award for promoting school collaboration. In 2013, she was awarded an OBE for services to secondary education in Wales.

Jackie Irvine

Jackie Irvine

Chief Executive

Care Inspectorate

Jackie was appointed as the Chief Executive at the Care Inspectorate in September 2022.

Jackie qualified in Scotland before starting her career in London, moving back to Scotland in 1991.

Jackie has been a Chief Social Work Officer for over 10 years and comes to the Care Inspectorate
from her current post as Service Director, Children and Families and Justice Services within the City
of Edinburgh Council.

Jackie has over 30 years’ experience of working in the public sector and has also managed
community health services for children.

As Chief Social Work Officer Jackie had overall governance responsibility for the quality and
provision of social work services both within the Council structure and within a fully integrated
Health and Social Care Partnership as well as an adult’s only partnership. In these roles she has
provided professional advice as it relates to the provision of social work services.

Jackie’s previous positions were predominantly in children’s services but not exclusively, as she has
had strategic and management responsibility for community justice, community-based health
services, hospital-based social work, homelessness and refugee and migration services. Jackie spent
two years as an Inspector in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education in the Child Protection team
and was an advisor for the Scottish Executive on a part time basis for four years. Jackie also has
extensive experience working in key strategic planning and performance roles.

Jackie was appointed as Vice President of Social Work Scotland in 2017 and then as President in
2018 and has served on the Social Work Scotland Board.

Ifti Majid

Ifti Majid

Chief Executive,Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Chair of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Network, and Co-Chair of their BME Leadership Network

Ifti took up his position as Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare on Thursday 1 December 2022.

He joined the Trust from Derbyshire Healthcare where he had held the position of Chief Executive for over five years, with an additional two years preceding this as Acting Chief Executive.

A mental health nurse by background, Ifti qualified in 1988 after training at St George’s Hospital in London.  He has held a range of clinical posts in adult mental health services, both in acute inpatient and community settings.

Ifti also has significant experience of effective leadership holding several nursing management roles before being promoted through senior management and executive roles.

He also holds a number of national positions, including Chair of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Network, and Co-Chair of their BME Leadership Network.

Heather Melville

Dr Heather Melville, OBE CMgr CCMI

CEO & Founder

Clarke Smith Advisory Senior Advisor of Teneo Chancellor of York University

Dr Heather Melville, OBE CMgr CCMI CEO & Founder, Clarke Smith Advisory Senior Advisor of Teneo Chancellor of York University Heather’s career spans over 40 years across financial, professional & technology services, with a specific focus on international trade, entrepreneurship and corporate banking. Heather is a business thought-leader and an innovator with a notable track record of building high performing diverse teams.

Heather has acted in an advisory capacity to FTSE CEOs across a multitude of industries and sectors. She is a highly respected and sought after public speaker, having addressed C-Suite leaders, senates, royalty, and global business audiences worldwide.

Heather has won many accolades, including being listed on the Black Powerlist, as one of the 100 most influential black people in the UK. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), whose purpose is to open channels of opportunity for black executives to positively impact business and communities, and the CFO’s Diversity Forum for Business in the Community (FTSE100).

Heather has worked in partnership with HRH the Duchess of Edinburgh as part of her role as the Chair CMI Women. Heather also provided special advisory assistance to Queen Maximus of the Netherlands for her women in entrepreneurship programme.

Heather received her OBE for services to business in 2017 and has recently been appointed as the Chancellor of the University of York. Heather is also the Patron of Women in Banking and Finance.

Heather is a Senior Advisor to Teneo, a Global Consultancy, as well as a Trustee on the Board of Enfield Enterprise and until recently (following a 7-year tenure) was a Trustee on the Board for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). She now sits on the committee for Companions and has recently been elected to join the Everyone Economy Committee.

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP

Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North

Caroline is the Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North and the current Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee in Parliament. Since her election in 2010 she has served as a Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office and was Minister of State for Immigration in Theresa May’s Cabinet.

Immediately prior to becoming an MP she was the Chief Executive of an animal welfare charity.

Caroline is currently the co-chair of the APPG for Muslim Women, Vice Chair of “Show Racism the Red Card”.

As Chair of the Select Committee Caroline has headed up inquiries into the gendered economic impact of covid, menopause in the work place and reform of the Gender Recognition Act. The current focus of the Committee is on the cultures underpinning misogyny and abuse against

women and girls, tackling so called honour based abuse, and discrimination in the UK asylum process.

Mark Vickers

Mark Vickers MBE

Chief Executive Officer, Olive Academies

Chair, National MAT CEO Network for Alternative Provision and SEND

Mark’s work in education is rooted in his belief that schools have the potential to break historic cycles of social disadvantage and to prevent the marginalisation of vulnerable young people. Mark has been a headteacher of a secondary school, an Ofsted inspector, a school leadership consultant and was a founding trustee of the PSHE Association. He continues to support numerous mainstream schools, PRUs and alternative providers across the country, offering strategic advice to help them secure rapid and sustained improvement.

Mark is Chair of The National MAT CEO Network for Alternative Provision and SEND. He is also one of the founding members of the Suffolk CEO Network. Both these forums were established with Mark’s support to help the sharing of ideas, innovations and best practice. Mark’s determined approach to improving alternative provision for vulnerable young people in England is linked to this partnership work – successfully bringing together alternative provision with mainstream schools and engaging local authority, DfE and voluntary sector leaders to improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in our country’s education system.

In 2021 Mark was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s New Year Honours List for his services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Claire Leigh

Associate Director of Policy

Save the Children

Claire is Associate Director of Policy at Save the Children, having previously been the charity’s Director of Global Policy, Advocacy and Research. Prior to Save the Children, Claire worked in senior roles in a variety of organisations including the United Nations in New York, the Overseas Development Institute in London, and as an advisor to the Presidents of Rwanda and Liberia. Claire started her career working for the British government, first as a senior policy advisor in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Gordon Brown and subsequently in the Policy Planning Staff of the Foreign Office. She is on the Board of a range of organisations, including the Meningitis Research Foundation where she is Chair of Trustees. Claire holds degrees in History from Cambridge and in International Relations from Oxford.