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Learning new skills online during the COVID-19 second lockdown

Convert the COVID-19 pandemic “lockdown” time to personal development time

Featured image: courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This article does not have any basis on paid advertisement, affiliation, or sponsorship by any of the organizations or people mentioned below. This article expresses my opinion based on my personal experience and views.

The second Coronavirus lockdown is happening! Despite the fact that COVID-19 remains a huge threat, we need to stay positive and active and treat this situation as an opportunity for personal development.

Courtesy of Queven from Pixabay

With this in mind, I did some online research and found some interesting resources that may help anyone convert the “lockdown” time to personal development time.

The edX® platform

Courtesy of edX®. EdXis a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX Inc. is a leading MOOC provider. The edX® platform is an online learning destination offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. EdX is the only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source.

Source: edX Inc. EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved

Courses are offered in a plethora of subjects such as Computer Science, Data Science, Engineering, Economics & Finance, Math, Business & Management, Law, Medicine, Humanities, Language, and many more. edX® offerings are: the MicroBachelors® program, the MicroMasters® program, Professional Certificate programs, XSeries programs, the Global Freshman Academy, and online Master’s degrees. Students can attend courses for free or obtain certificates for a small fee. Tuition for attending Master’s degrees is quite affordable.
MicroBachelors is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MicroMasters is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Courtesy of Udacity

For those interested in acquiring unique, cutting edge tech skills form technology experts, Udacity is the only online learning platform that offers nanodegrees such as: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Digital Marketing, Flying Car and Autonomous Flight Engineer, Intro to Self-Driving Cars, Machine Learning Engineer, and Robotics Software Engineer. Additionally, there are numerous other subjects available to study that lead to a nanodegree.

Courtesy of Udacity

Nanodegree courses are interactive, project based and paid (Udacity offers many free courses as well). Projects are real world projects, not toy examples. For instance, when I was attending the Digital Marketing program at Udacity, some modules included Facebook and Google advertising. From my experience working at the Digital Marketing department of an agency, the only difference between the projects at the agency and the projects at Udacity was the amount of money spent by each student on ads. Moreover, Udacity offers one to one mentor support, a personal career coach, and career services to every student. There are numerous examples of successful students that advanced or changed their career completely through Udacity.

Courtesy of Coursera

“Life-transforming learning experiences”

Moreover, Coursera which was founded back in 2012 by Stanford University‘s computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller is also a leading online learning platform, offering numerous courses from top Universities such as Stanford, Penn and many others and organizations such as Google and IBM, and a plethora of others, both free and paid (at an affordable low price). There are several subjects to choose from such as: Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Math and Logic, Business, Health, Arts & Humanities and many more. Potential students may also pursue (full paid) Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in fields such as Computer Science, Data Science and others. Of course there is the option to obtain a verified certificate for a relatively small fee. Since its beginning Coursera’s vision was to provide “life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere.”

Courtesy of Khan Academy

“You can learn anything”

Another amazing resource for free online learning is also Khan Academy. This resource has been quite popular to mathematics students since this is how it originally started back in 2008 by Sal Khan. Today it offers courses in math for school, high school, and college, science, arts & humanities, and reading & language arts. What is amazing about Khan Academy is that it is nonprofit and relies only on donations (I encourage anyone who finds it useful to donate and help this great organization continue existing and growing). Moreover, Khan Academy recently updated its website and now provides Distance learning resources for teachers, districts, and parents to keep everyone learning. I think during the COVID19 crisis this is a huge offering to the global community.

Courtesy of Real Python

If you are a Python lover like me, and you do not already know Real Python, you need to visit at least once this wonderful Pyhon resource. I am confident one visit is enough for you to make you stick with Real Python forever.

At Real Python you’ll learn all things Python from the ground up. Their tutorials, books, and video courses are created, curated, and vetted by a community of expert Pythonistas. With new content published weekly, custom Python learning paths, and interactive code challenges, you’ll always find something to boost your skills. Join 3,000,000+ monthly readers and take your Python skills to the next level at (Source: Real Python)

Please feel free to watch what Mr Dan Bader has to say at the official Real Python YouTube channel about Real Python’s mission in the video below.

Courtesy of Real Python

Products offered at Real Python

Professional developers and organizations around the world level up their programming skills with Real Python‘s online Python training resources: (Source: Real Python)

Real Python Membership

Members get unlimited access to Real Python‘s library of 1,600+ expert-made Python tutorials and video lessons. Weekly “Office Hours” virtual workshops and the Real Python Community Slack chat provide hands-on support. (Source: Real Python)

Real Python for Teams

Membership access for groups of learners through a single billing account. Team license management and progress analytics helps new developers get up to speed with Python and keeps them up-to-date with the latest best practices. (Source: Real Python)


All of Real Python‘s materials are created, curated, and vetted by a team of expert Pythonistas. At Real Python, developers get the trusted resources they need on their path to Python mastery. (Source: Real Python)

I am thrilled about Real Python not only for the high quality and vast amount of content it offers, but also because Real Python is one of the most friendly connections on social media. Please feel free to connect them or get in touch. Here are all Real Python social media channels: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, for any other info their email is: The Real Python team will respond in the most friendly manner.

Courtesy of freeCodeCamp

“Learn to code at home, build projects, earn certifications”

Since I started mentioning programming I could not leave behind the freeCodeCamp. This is one of the greatest resources to learn programming. Available subjects are: Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, Algorithms and Data Structures, Front End Libraries, Data Visualization, APIs and Microservices, Quality Assurance, Scientific Computing with Python, Data Analysis with Python, Information Security, and Machine Learning with Python. What makes them unique is that freeCodeCamp offers verified certifications in the aforementioned subjects that the user earns merely by practicing (coding). There are no lectures, each section is presented in small blocks, step by step with examples and exercises. The student starts from a very simple small lesson with an example. To proceed to the next lesson, the student has to submit the answer of the corresponding exercise. What is even more interesting is that there are several freeCodeCamp successful students that advanced or changed their career and achieved their dreams.

Courtesy of Pixabay from Pexels

Those were some available online resources that offer free learning. However, this is not an exaustive list. There are numerous online platforms that offer training in almost any skill one can imagine. We are fortunate enough amid the COVID-19 lockdown to have some time at our disposal. The Coronavirus pandemic soon will be over and the world will return to normality. So, this might be the only opportunity to upgrade your skills or acquire an entirely new skill set or even change your career completely. Therefore, stay safe and happy learning!

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is an exceptional book that may help entrepreneurs and startup owners.

Featured image: courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Rarely a book has such a great impact on business as The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. To understand the great insight it provides, one really has to read the book. Who should read it? Startup owners, startup wannabe owners, entrepreneurs and in general anyone interested in business.

Courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This book is a systematic, hands on approach about building a startup business. We all know that startup businesses are quite particular. They are businesses that tend to grow exponentially if they become successful. There are so many successful startups to look at. Some examples are: AirBnB, Instagram, Pinterest, Angry Birds, Linkedin, Uber, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and so many others. All of those businesses share the same characteristics. They offer a unique product that covers a gap, each in its own market, and they grow exponentially.

Courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

However, things are not quite simple when it comes to creating a startup and making it successful. In fact, things are pretty complicated. This is because startups offer unique products that have never been offered before. Therefore, every effort to predict, measure and calculate the course of the business seems almost impossible. It would be possible if this had been done before but since it had not.. Well we have a problem. This is when The Lean Startup enters the stage, to shed light into the dark horizon and help startup owners understand what is going on. The lean method does not just provide insight, it provides the tools to create and measure the course of the business.

Courtesy of Tumisu from Pixabay

For me it has been a personal experience that made me appreciate this magnificent book. I was called to create a marketing plan for a company, the product of which was very interesting. Unfortunately, I can not give more information with respect to this but I can give you more details about the hardships I came across as the product had never been launched before. It was unique in a sense therefore, I did not have much information about the reaction of the market. You see, if a product or something similar had been distributed in the past, things would have been easier. You would have at least something to expect and base your claims on facts. However, if there is absolutely no information, you are lost. Fortunately, I discovered The Lean Startup!

Courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Reading the book I discovered that the writer was not simply presenting ideas and making suggestions, instead he was speaking about his own experience. In The Lean Startup Eric Ries presents his own business case, his own personal experience. But it is not a mere presentation as alongside the experience comes a series of methodological approaches and calculations to measure and solve most of the problems that come up when you are completely lost and unaware of what to do! Yes, the book is so amazing! Maybe even more..

Courtesy of StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

I would like to make it clear here that I am not sponsored by Mr Eric Ries or by any other company or organization to write this review. This is my opinion which is a result of my personal experience.

So what was the outcome of my marketing plan? Well, I think it is one of the most successful projects I have ever been involved with. Although this has happened some years ago, I still see online the results of my marketing plan and feel so grateful. I think writing this small article is the least I can do to give back something, which I feel is an indication of appreciation. Therefore, I advise anyone who is thinking about creating a startup to read this book carefully. I am confident The Lean Startup will become a business bible to them. During my MBA studies I came across so many scientific papers and books that described and analyzed complicated concepts in business and finance. This book is a true gem, one of the most (if not the most) useful tools for any entrepreneur.

Courtesy of Tumisu from Pixabay

Please click the following links to learn more about The Lean Startup book and The Lean Startup methodology. If you are familiar with The Lean Startup and you are interested in joining others with the similar interest, you can find some regional groups according to your area of residence here.

Why a non executive director (NED) role is good for your career

According to OECD the percentage of female share of seats on boards of the largest publicly listed companies remains relatively low in many countries. In the UK, the percentage of female leaders raised from 13.3 in 2010 to 32.6 in 2019, whereas the global OECD average was 25.5 in 2019. This indicates that there is still a lot of ground to be gained and a lot of potential for female leaders in the boardroom.

Women, Business, Attractive, Dynamic, Young, Career
Courtesy of

A very interesting Women on Boards article titled: “The seven reasons why being a director is good for your career” by Claire Braund and Rowena Ironside outlines seven reasons why a directorship is good for an aspiring board member’s career. Differentiation, new skills, indication of management capability, career resilience, are some of the traits that can be added to your CV and act as differentiation points that can boost your career. Read the full article here.

Courtesy of Christina Morillo of Pexels

Women on BoardsClaire Braund and Rowena Ironside claim that:

Adding a board appointment or directorship to your CV is a sure way of drawing attention and validating your capabilities whilst catapulting your career up the ladder of success. 

Women on Boards
Becoming a non executive director (NED) might act as a huge stepstone to your career
Courtesy of Christina Morillo of Pexels

My most recent experience at the Chartered Management Institute’s West Midlands and North-West boards in the UK does not leave me any doubt that this is the case. From my personal experience I can say that being a board member teaches you so many new skills and gives you the opportunity to expand your business and personal network.

What is Business Process Management (BPM)? via Salesforce

What is Business Process Management (BPM) via Salesforce

Click To Enlarge

What is Business Process Management (BPM)

Via Salesforce

The Better Managers Manual by CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has been fighting the COVID-19 crisis since its beginning by supporting managers and leaders. With this in mind CMI has “assembled a set of tried-and-tested tools and resources brought together through five key themes: flexible working; crisis management; mental health and wellbeing; the new employment landscape; and good governance.”

To download the #BetterManagers manual please click the following link or the image below.

To access more tools and resources by CMI please click the following link.

Get involved on social media by using the #BetterManagers hashtag.

How is CMI addressing the COVID-19 crisis?

Featured image: courtesy of CMI Undoubtedly, the times we are facing are challenging. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the socioeconomic landscape globally. Now, more than ever, great management is of utmost importance. In these unprecedented times, CMI provides the resources to managers of all levels to cope with the crisis. Useful resources CMI is providing … Continue reading “How is CMI addressing the COVID-19 crisis?”

Featured image: courtesy of CMI

Undoubtedly, the times we are facing are challenging. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the socioeconomic landscape globally. Now, more than ever, great management is of utmost importance. In these unprecedented times, CMI provides the resources to managers of all levels to cope with the crisis.

Useful resources

CMI is providing tools and resources to deal with the Coronavirus crisis for managers at the webpage titled “Leading through the crisis.” The web page is updated on a constant basis. Existing members can benefit from, ManagementDirect the resource containing “tools, guidance and checklists to support workplace activity.” In addition the Career Development Hub provides the tools to boost career performance. End Point Assessment partners can get relevant information on the EPA web page and in the CMI Partner Portal.


Every week CMI CEO, Ann Francke OBE, is delivering a CMI #BetterManagers Briefing webinar to support the CMI family and wider community. Below you can find the briefing delivered on Friday the 17th of April 2020.

Briefng: Friday 17 April 13:15 GMT ¦ Courtesy of CMI

Further resources

CMI is offering a series of helpful articles with respect to flexible working, crisis management, mental health and wellbeing, the new employment landscape and the new good governance. Please follow this link to view al.
In addition CMI offers advice about managing change and a redundancy support package. Finally, CMI has launched “the Better Managers Manual, a practical, go-to guide full of resources and advice for managers and leaders to help navigate through the impacts of COVID-19.” To download the manual please follow this link.

Get involved on social media using the hashtag #BetterManagers

The most successful digital marketing campaign of all times!

“One small step for man, one giant step for energy drink marketing” – Felix Baumgartner

Featured image: courtesy of Arek Socha from Pixabay

Back in 1984, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz and Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya created the company Red Bull GmbH. The company’s product was inspired by the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng (Red Bull in English). The energy drink’s superpowers (high performance, increased power and reflex response time) became the focal point of the brand.

Red Bull Logo | Courtesy of Red Bull

During the following years Red Bull became something more than an energy drink, it became part of everyday life. The slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” was now synonymous of activities that required high performance. Red Bull became the protagonist sponsor for sports and extreme sports such as: football, Soapbox racing, rallycross, motocross, MTB, ice hockey, ice cross downhill, skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, freefall, air race, and F1 racing. The Red Bull logo was constantly accompanying the most exciting moments of extreme sports.

Tom Cruise test drives Red Bull Racing F1 car | Courtesy of Red Bull

Suddenly, on Sunday the 14th of October 2012 Red Bull Stratos mission dominated the media on planet earth. That day, millions of people across the globe, saw Felix Baumgartner at the edge of space, performing the greatest skydive in human history, reaching a speed of Mach 1.25, managing to surpass the speed of sound “without being an aircraft”, breaking three skydive records and many marketing records. Red Bull used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, +Google, Foursquare, YouTube, their own dedicated website, 280 digital partners and 80 television stations in 50 countries to broadcast Stratos live. According to AdAge, Red Bull made an investment of approximately $73 million in the U.S. on “measured media” (the brand was an early adopter of social media).

Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k’ | Courtesy of Red Bull

Engagement results were stunning! YouTube reported that “at peak” there were “more than 8 million concurrent livestreams” on Red Bull’s YouTube channel (broke the record of London Olympics livestreams by 500 thousand). SBJdaily reported the channel had 350 million views prior to the jump. Generally on social media, there were 22,000 pictures on Instagram, over 1 million likes on a Facebook photo, 820,000 pieces of positive content created, 400% increase over average length of consumer engagement, 50,000 distinct links shared, and 61,634,000 trusted impressions generated across social channels (per-validated-earned media).

Red Bull Stratos – World Record Freefall | Courtesy of Red Bull

The effect on sales was equally spectacular! According to the research firm IRI, sales rose up in the months immediately following Stratos by 7% to $1.6billion in the U.S. while the sales percentage for the year 2012 jumped to 17%. Worldwide, Red Bull sold 5.2billion cans in 2012, a 13% increase over the year prior.

Supersonic Freefall – Red Bull Stratos CGI | Courtesy of RedBull

Until Stratos mission, no other brand had managed to achieve such a high volume of audience engagement during a single event. The impact of this campaign not only changed the traditional content and marketing landscape but also contributed significantly to science. Red Bull redefined everything, including itself.

GoPro and Red Bull Announce Global Partnership | Courtesy of GoPro

Ever since Stratos Red Bull became the paradigm of engagement with audience. The exclusive collaboration with GoPro in 2016 boosted engagement to the point of Red Bull being in the 71st position of the Forbes list and a brand value of 9.9 billions in 2018.

I would like to thank Corine Blaire for the Case Study: Red Bull Stratos – Transmedia Marketing Through Storytelling. UCI Extension – Nov. 2013 which I used to collect information about the Stratos marketing campaign.

CMI Manifesto 2019: It is time to eliminate the Accidental Manager

To power the UK’s success, it’s time to eliminate the Accidental Manager

Featured image: courtesy of CMI

CMI has just announced its new Manifesto that outlines priorities for the next government.

” To power the UK’s success
it’s time to eliminate the
Accidental Manager”
Source: CMI

CMI Manifesto 2019

One of the focal points of the Manifesto is that Brexit creates an uncertainty of Britains future relationship with the EU. As witnessed during the last three years of this particular uncertainty, there has been a lot of damage caused to “business confidence” and “cooling of investment decisions.”

To read the CMI manifesto for more information with respect to policies, and their benefits please click here.

Download CMI Manifesto 2019 |Courtesy of CMI

Therefore, CMI is calling the next UK government to take action and use every resource available ” to maximise the UK’s productivity and weather a slow-growth future. ” CMI is emerging the Upskilling of UK managers as this is “a key way of generating tangible economic benefit.”

CMI is calling on the next government to drive forward three key policy priorities:
Embed employability at every stage of UK Education
Drive-up management and leadership skills
Make the UK No.1 for Inclusive Workplaces

Source : CMI

Watch CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke, explaining the reasons she thinks that now is the time for the next government to transform management and leadership in the UK.

CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke, explains why she thinks that now is the time for the next government to transform management and leadership in the UK. | Courtesy of CMI

To power the UK’s success, it’s time to eliminate the Accidental Manager

Ann Francke, CEO CMI

“The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) works with business and education to inspire people to unleash their potential and become skilled, confident and successful managers and leaders..With a wealth of practical qualifications, events and networking opportunities on offer throughout the UK and Asia-Pacific, CMI helps people boost their career prospects and connect them with other ambitious professionals in any industry and sector. In fact, CMI has more than 79,000 people training to be better managers right now.
Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation allowed to award Chartered Manager status – the ultimate management accolade.
CMI’s thought leadership, research and online resources provide practical insight on critical issues for a 132,000 plus membership community and anyone looking to improve their skills, nurture high-performing teams and help pave the way for the next generation of managers and leaders.
For more information, please visit Chartered Management Institute on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
Source: CMI Manifesto 2019

CMI CEO Ann Francke: keynote speaker at the Midlands Conference 2019

The Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Ann Francke a keynote speaker at the Midlands Conference 2019.

Featured image: courtesy of CMI

Ann Francke will be a keynote speaker at the the CMI Annual Midlands Conference 2019, that will be held in Birmingham on Friday the 4th of October 2019 at the Birmingham International Conference Centre.

Ann Francke, CEO of Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Winner of the Louis Armstrong Award for outstanding leadership of a UK professional body 2016 and Author of: Financial Times Guide to Management: How to Make a Difference and Get Results.

Source: CMI

CMI describes Ann Francke as “a transformational leader with vision, pace and proven ability to deliver profitable growth and build organisational capability.”

Anne Francke. Courtesy of AnnFrancke

Ann Francke is Strategic Advisor at Tongal and a Non-Exec at Grant Thornton International additionally she is a member of the CRUK Women of Influence Board, WACL, MGGB and an Advisory Board member of Lancaster Management, Nottingham Trent and the Open University Business Schools. 

At CMI, she uses her experience in leading organisations to promote best practices in management and leadership, and improve management standards across the UK and beyond. Ann has been named in the top 100 women to watch in the 2015 Female FTSE report from Cranfield and is an expert on current challenges facing women in the workplace.

Source: CMI
Ann Francke on Sky news – Men-only charity gala

Ann speaks constantly in the media and at conferences about management best practice, gender equality in the workplace. 

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, interview at UWE Bristol

Before CMI Ann Francke held roles such as ‘Global General Manager at the British Standards Institution’, member of the executive board at Boots and Yell and ‘European Vice President’ at Mars. Ann started her career at Procter & Gamble where Ann managed numerous international brands such as Pampers, Always and Olay.

Ann holds a BA with Distinction from Stanford, an MBA/MS from Columbia; Honorary Doctorates in Business Administration from UWE and Nottingham Trent Universities and a Doctor of the University from Oxford Brookes.

Source: CMI

Her book Create a Gender-Balanced Workplace will be available on the 26th of September. To get a copy of the book please visit this link.

Courtesy of Penguin

In the Penguin Experts: Create a Gender-Balanced Workplace, Ann Francke, the CEO of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), introduces her solution to combating the problems at the heart of the continued imbalance and offers clear, actionable strategies for making a positive change in your organisation.

Source: Penguin

Ann will be a keynote speaker at the the CMI Annual Midlands Conference 2019, that will be held in Birmingham on Friday the 4th of October 2019 at the Birmingham International Conference Centre.

Interested in the conference? Please use the button below to book your place:

Meet the keynote speakers of the Midlands Conference 2019

Meet the keynote speakers at the Midlands Conference 2019

Featured image: courtesy of CMI

The CMI Annual Midlands Conference 2019 will take place on Friday 4th October at the Birmingham International Conference Centre. The focal point of the conference will be the discussion subject of the national campaign Management 4.0 as announced earlier this year. The event will explore Management 4.0 themes through high-profile keynote speakers, and engaging workshops.

Who are the CMI Annual Midlands Conference 2019 keynote speakers?

The following content (text and images) belongs to CMI. Other elements (images) have been attributed to their original source.


Courtesy of Ann Francke

Ann Francke is Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute.


She started her career at Procter & Gamble and has held senior executive positions at Mars, Boots, Yell and BSI.
Ann is an expert on gender balance in the workplace and speaks frequently in the media and conferences on this and other management topics. Her book on gender balance publishes on 26th September 2019. Ann also authored the ‘Financial Times Guide to Management’ and has been named in the top 100 women to watch in the 2015 Female FTSE Cranfield report. She was awarded the MemCom award for outstanding leadership of a UK professional body’ in 2016.Ann holds several Board positions and five Honorary Doctorates for her work in management and leadership. Ann and her husband live in West London; she has one daughter.


Courtesy of CMI

Dilshad Sheikh is Chair of the CMI West Midlands Regional Board

Dilshad has over 20 years of teaching experience in the Higher Education sector and is currently the Dean of the Business School at University College Birmingham (UCB).

Her academic career commenced with her appointment as a Business & Marketing Lecturer, she progressed to middle management to become the Associate Dean of the Business School and then later progressed to Senior Management, when she became Dean of School. In addition to overseeing the strategic management of the Business School at UCB, Dilshad also oversees the effective management of the Business Incubator (Enterprise Hive) at UCB whereby business start-ups are supported in a variety of ways to ensure their success.

Dilshad’s previous appointments have included Retail Manager for a leading supermarket in the UK and International Marketing Manager for a multinational confectionary organisation where she was based in the south of France for two years.

The move into teaching and the Higher Education sector came as a result of Dilshad wanting to combine her academic knowledge with her industry experience and as such she successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. Dilshad completed her BSc. (Hons) in International Business Management (with French), and MSc. specialising in Marketing Management, at Aston University. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

Being of Asian origin herself, Dilshad’s most recent research interests have focused on the diversity in leadership and management across the Higher Education sector. She has delivered several keynote presentations both locally and nationally advocating the benefits of a diverse leadership and management team, is a mentor for the 30% Club and continues to engage with audiences across a variety of sectors in her endeavours to encourage more females, especially from minority ethnic backgrounds, attaining senior leadership roles.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Photographer: Jason Alden Photographer: Jason Aldenwww.jasonalden.com0781 063 1642

Simon Blake is Chief Executive at Mental Health First Aid England

Simon has dedicated his career to working with young people and has a long track record of championing difference and creating platforms for people’s voices to be heard. In doing this, Simon has worked on some of the most talked about and complex social issues of today; sex and relationships education, sexual and reproductive rights, volatile substance abuse, Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship and LGBTQ rights. He is driven by a passion for a better, more inclusive society where everyone can be themselves.

With over 20 years working with young people Simon has been involved in several projects and initiatives to promote positive wellbeing and mental health. He has written over 40 publications on all aspects of PSHE and Citizenship.


Courtesy of CMI

Pavita Cooper is the Founder of More Difference

Pavita is recognised as a leading talent and diversity expert; she has over 25 years’ experience as an executive talent leader across a range of multi-sector global blue-chip organisations, including Shell, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group. Pavita has acted as an advisor to CEOs, executive teams and business leaders across sectors that include financial services, energy, consumer, professional services and luxury goods.

Having led in-house Board level appointments and promotion processes, she understands that organisations need fresh and innovative thinking for their ongoing talent challenges. Pavita combines her deep technical expertise with an ability to frame insights in a direct but compelling style.


Courtesy of Dr. Marcell Vollmer

Dr. Marcell Vollmer is Chief Innovation Officer at Celonis

Marcell is responsible for defining and driving innovations and digital transformation for customers globally.

A thought leader in procurement, supply chain, finance and shared services, Marcell’s expertise

lies in defining digital transformation strategy and to make‚ “Run Simple” a reality for global customers and consumers by delivering transformation success and process productivity gains.

Previously, he was Chief Digital Officer In SAP’s Cloud Business Group and Chief Operating Officer for SAP Ariba where he successfully developed and led global business development, procurement, go to market, sales operations, and enablement. And prior to that Marcell was Chief Procurement Officer of SAP and was responsible for the reorganization and process optimization for and end-to-end source-to-pay organization. Since joining SAP in 2005 he has held various leadership roles involving restructuring, improving project efficiency and execution of global programs in finance, procurement, sales, human resources and post-merger integrations.

Interested in the conference? Please use the button below to book your place:

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