Benedict Allen

Benedict differs from most explorers in that he lives for months at a time with remote tribes, learning their survival techniques. He takes nothing into these communities - no equipment, maps or compasses - throwing himself on the mercy of the people he encounters. He has come close to death on many occasions.  The BBC series Skeleton Coast brought Benedict’s adventures to a wide audience, documenting his experiences walking the diamond littered coast of Namibia. By the end he had walked 2,000 kilometres, with three very reluctant camels.

For the following series, Ice Dogs, Benedict had to earn the trust of his hardened ten-strong team of huskies. After getting separated in a blizzard, and without any form of communication or back-up, he only narrowly survived crossing the Bering Straits.

He has trekked from the remote wilds of Siberia, through the Mongolian steppe and Altai mountains, ending with a lone crossing of the Gobi desert. He’s been hunted, shot at and left to stitch up his own chest. Benedict admits the challenges are more extreme than anything you’ll find in the business jungle, but there are parallels: both are highly competitive, often confusing and sometimes frightening.

Benedict is also a successful author. His book Into the Abyss weaves his own experience with the likes of Columbus, Stanley and Livingstone. In his gripping conference presentation and after dinner speech, Benedict demonstrates the qualities necessary to succeed and survive - including personal motivation, risk-taking and the ability to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances.


  Kevin Barrow

Kevin is a partner in the advisory team at international law firm Osborne Clarke.  His team advises online platforms and marketplaces for skill-sharing as well as on national and international flexible workforce projects,  and  tax and regulatory advice relating to temporary and contract staff provision (including for the real estate industry).

Kevin is an acknowledged expert in flexible workforce and gig economy and speaks regularly at industry conferences and seminars.  He is regularly involved in consultations with the UK Government (including with the Cabinet Office in 2016) about employment and tax legislation affecting the use of online platforms, and temporary and contract staff. Kevin features in the Staffing Industry Review’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world of work in Europe and has advised Sharing Economy UK on legal issues relating to the gig economy.



Hamish Cameron, London Fire Brigade

Hamish Cameron is Deputy Head of the London Resilience Group which is hosted by London Fire Brigade.  The group is the centre of excellence helping to deliver the work of the London Resilience Partnership.  This includes some 170 separate statutory organisations with duties under the Civil Contingencies Act in the capital. The Partnership works together to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Hamish has been an emergency planner in London since 2005.  He has been involved in the multi-agency response to incidents ranging from the July 2005 bombings to industrial action in the public sector. His areas of particular interest include multi-agency coordination and the communicating with the public.

From 1993 -2005  he was a United Nations Security Field Security Adviser responsible for assessing risks then preparing and implementing security plans in countries such as South Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia and East Timor.  This followed a career as an Army Officer serving on operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf and with the United Nations in the Former Yugoslavia.



Jamie Cole, Executive Partner, Industrial Leader, Cognitive Solutions, Europe

Within IBM Cognitive group, I lead the Industrial Sector in the UKI. My aim is to help Industrial clients understand how cognitive solutions can transform their business processes. These transformations will lead to improvements in existing business processes, enable the introduction of new business models or enhance user engagement. As an Executive Partner in IBM with 20 years experience, I work with organisations to innovate how they optimise their use data, information and analytics. I have shaped deals and executed the delivery of of complex system integration projects with experience of implementing global ERP, business intelligence and data warehouse solutions using local and offshore development resource.



Tom Flatau, MD Teamworking International

Tom  is an international speaker whose clients include names such as Louis Vuitton, American Express, Siemens, HSBC, Emirates, Unilever, and City University. Tom is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management, an executive coach and sales and negotiation trainer.

Tom has a first degree in Information Systems and a Masters degree in Business Analysis & Systems Design.  Tom’s academic career included posts at Universities in London & the US. He used this experience and his later managerial career to develop the accelerated training methods that are unique to TWI Ltd. 

Tom’s work is based on understanding human instincts and behaviour, derived from up-to-the-minute research in the fields of neuroscience and positive psychology.

Tom helps people make positive changes to the beliefs, feelings and approaches that influence their work performance and interactions.  Consequently, individuals become happier and more effective.  Customer interactions are improved, with immediate and lasting benefit to the organisation.



Ingvar Sejr Hansen - Head of Planning Division, Centre for Urban Development, City of Copenhagen

For the past seven years, Ingvar Sejr Hansen has been heading the Planning Division for the City of Copenhagen. His team is responsible for the strategic municipal plan, which regulates the long term urban development of the city. Ingvar is also in charge of planning the new urban development sites in Copenhagen, such as the Carlsberg City district, the Northern Harbour and Ørestad. Ingvar and his team set the framework for a continued urban development in Copenhagen, which has been transformed from a city on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 1990’s to a global frontrunner in sustainable urban development. That entails working with infrastructural, environmental and housing policies to ensure that Copenhagen also in the future will be one of the best cities in the world to live in.

His background is in political science at University of Copenhagen and New School University in New York. He worked at the Ministry of Finance and at the Lord Mayor’s Office before becoming the Head of Planning for the City of Copenhagen. Ingvar lives in the centre of Copenhagen with his wife and two kids.



Jonathan Hope - Barclays Eagle Labs Strategy and Programme Transformation Lead

Jon has worked for Barclays for 13 years, joining after completing his Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a winter season in Switzerland, working and leaning to ski.

Since starting with Barclays, Jon has spent periods working in India, London and Cheshire, which he considers home. Over this time he's taken lead roles involving: Process reengineering, Regulatory change, Corporate Communications, Marketing strategy, Corporate Strategy and Transformational Change.

Jon is currently Programme lead for Eagle Labs, responsible for the strategy, client proposition and future roll-out.  Jon lives in Knutsford with his wife and son.



Clare Melhuish, Senior Research Associate/ Co-Director, UCL Urban Laboratory

Clare is a writer and Senior Research Associate/ Co-Director in the UCL Urban Laboratory since 2013, where she has been working on the role of university spatial development projects in urban regeneration in the UK and abroad. Her background lies in architectural history and criticism, anthropology, and cultural geography. Her particular areas of interest and expertise include Modern Movement and contemporary architecture, postcolonial urban aesthetics and heritage, and urban regeneration policy and practice, with specific area specialisations in the architecture and planning of the UK, France, Gulf and Caribbean. She works both within and beyond the academic context, drawing on many years experience as a journalist, author, and curator in architecture and design.



Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman and Executive Creative Director of advertising at the media company Ogilvy Group

After a spell teaching at a grammar school (and finding his colleagues far more challenging than the pupils), Rory applied to a number of advertising and marketing agencies and was offered a planning role by Ogilvy & Mather. He was asked to leave the Planning Department and moved to the Creative Department instead as a junior copywriter. He worked on accounts including American Express, Royal Mail, and the relatively obscure software company Microsoft.  Despite approaching Microsoft with the idea of a system whereby people could share Office documents over the nascent internet and being roundly rejected, Rory went on to help found OgilvyOne, the group’s dedicated digital and direct agency, and he remains an advocate of so called ‘360 Degree Branding’ ensuring brands have a coherent, joined-up presence in all relevant media areas.  Rory was appointed Head of Copy, and shortly afterwards Creative Director of Ogilvy. He has also served as the president of the Institute of Practioners in Advertising (IPA) - the first ‘creative’ to do so. Ogilvy is now part of the massive WPP ad and media group and count Ford, Unilever, IBM, American Express, BP, and British Airways amongst their top accounts.

With characteristic wit and erudition Rory looks at the successes, the failures and the outright bizarre from the ad world. He analyses what branding means, what creativity is, and the value of persuasion over compulsion. He considers how the potato was rebranded by Friedrich the Great of Prussia, the mysteries behind advertising, why the media is like food and why cheap, imaginative answers can often be better than expensive ones.



Stefano Tresca, Founding Member – Level 39

Stefano L. Tresca was employee #8 at Wind, a telecom startup company sold for $12.1 billion. Bestselling author and passionate about travelling, he worked in over 20 countries, until he quit the corporate life in 2011. Founding member of Level39—Europe’s largest technology accelerator for finance and future cities —and StartupHome—coliving for entrepreneurs. Many years ago, he felt in love with the city of London, and that's where he lives now when he's not travelling


Neil Usher, Workplace Director, Sky 

Neil Usher is Workplace Director at Sky, blogger at workessence.com and regular speaker and commentator. He has been in the property industry for 25 years, originally starting in FM, and latterly as global property head for Rio Tinto, passing through the music, film and engineering sectors on the way. He recently completed Sky Central on Sky’s campus in west London, one of Europe’s largest agile workplaces. He is committed to simplifying the profession through what he calls the #elementalworkplace, making it possible for everyone to enjoy working in a great environment.



Felicity Yates, IBM

Felicity manages the Resiliency Services Sales team for IBM in the UK and Ireland. She manages a large team whose mission it is to help organisations across all industries leverage true business resiliency, ensuring they are always available for their clients, suppliers, partners and employees in our "always on" world.

Felicity is passionate about technology and its role in supporting and driving business and society. She is a champion of the importance of developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills as well as supporting more women and diversity into the industry

Felicity plays a key role in championing diversity across the business and is an active advocate of the importance of gender diversity. She is a keen sponsor of the IBM graduate, student and apprenticeship programmes and a very active mentor across the IBM business. Felicity is also the management lead for mental health in the workplace for the thousands of employees across IBM's Global Technology Services business in the UK.

Felicity is married to David and has one son, Harry. They live in Hampshire with their 3 golden retrievers and 9 motorbikes