Inspirational women: City innovators

In 2016, Brummell celebrated 30 female innovators spearheading change in workplaces throughout the City

People 19 Aug 2016

Gemma Godfrey wears Red-gold and diamond earrings, bandeau pendant, bangle and fully paved ring, all from the Piaget Possession collection
Diana wears Red-gold and diamond bandeau pendant and fully paved ring, both from the Piaget Possession collection
Anne-Marie wears White-gold and diamond Rose earrings; white-gold and diamond Possession Toi
Elizabeth wears White-gold Altiplano watch; white-gold and diamond Toi & Moi bracelet and bandeau ring, both from the Possession collection
Phoebe wears Red-gold and diamond Possession bandeau pendant; diamond-set pink and rose-gold Altiplano watch; white-gold and diamond, red-gold and diamond, and red-gold bangles, all from the Piaget Possession collection
Amanda wears White-gold and diamond Rose Dentelle pendant; diamond-set rose-gold Altiplano watch; white-gold and diamond, red-gold and diamond, and red-gold bangles, all from the Piaget Possession collection

This year, Brummell’s list of the most inspirational City women turns its attentions to those who have shown an innovative approach to the way they think and work, and I was delighted to be asked to join the judging panel. Such was the calibre of the nominees, we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were restricted to selecting a final list of just 30, so needed to be particularly disciplined in applying the rigorous shortlisting criteria.

The panel received more than 100 nomination packs, which we duly reviewed. Straight away it was clear that every one of the nominees would be a true inspiration to other women (and men) throughout the City. These women came from a diverse range of backgrounds, some working for a large corporate, others running their own business, but all demonstrating how effective their new ideas have been and continue to be.

Our final 30 can be proud of the way they’ve led industry change – and, in the process, proved that innovation is the key to success in every business.

Julia Streets

Founder and CEO of Streets Consulting, and one of Brummell’s 30 Inspirational Women on Boards (2013) and Women Entrepreneurs (2014)


Gemma Godfrey
Founder and CEO,

Quantum physicist Godfrey founded innovative digital wealth manager – a top 10 fintech company to watch – to help people grow their money and take control of their savings and investments. A regular business expert on daytime television, she has been named one of the most Powerful Women in London by City AM and was selected by the BBC as one of the world’s top 100 women striving to make the world a better place. She is also a board advisor to Templars Communications and the CLU School of Management.

Ghela Boskovich
Founder, FemTechGlobal

Boskovich founded FemTechGlobal to bridge the gender gap in fintech and the financial-services industry. Active in London, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Singapore, the network partners with organisations such as Swift Innotribe, Finovate and Next Money to promote diversity and inclusion. It operates on the idea that diverse teams create better solutions and collaboration is more creative when differences are embraced. It is also a connecting platform for female innovators and entrepreneurs. Boskovich also contributes to industry publications and discussions, specialising in dynamic pricing and customer centricity.

Eileen Burbidge MBE
Partner, Passion Capital

Burbidge’s extensive operational investment experience includes business and product roles at Yahoo, Skype and Apple. In addition to her role as partner at early-stage venture fund Passion Capital, she is also chair of Tech City UK, the government-backed organisation supporting the digital economy across Britain, and was appointed by former chancellor George Osborne to serve as HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech. She is also
a tech ambassador for the Mayor of London, and was awarded an MBE for services to business in June 2015.

Diana Paredes
CEO and co-founder, Suade

Following a successful career in investment banking at Barclays and Merrill Lynch, Paredes launched her revolutionary fintech start-up Suade, a regulatory management platform enabling financial institutions across the world to understand and optimise their regulatory requirements. She is a manager of the mentoring programme for Girls in Tech UK, is part of the Innovate Finance Policy Advisory Board, and regularly lobbies on behalf of the tech community on key issues to the government and policy makers. She is also an active fundraiser for Women for Women International.

Gina Miller
Founder, SCM Private

Miller founded SCM Private in 2009, an innovative challenger brand offering smart, modern investment management underpinned by ethics and transparency. In 2014, she launched three direct-to-consumer online investment brands: SCM Direct, SCM 50 and MoneyShe, which use technology to offer access to smaller clients. A passionate philanthropist, she founded the True and Fair Foundation, and, in 2012, launched the True and Fair Campaign, calling for investment transparency, and the True and Fair Calculator, a free online tool measuring real costs of investment.

Grace Cassy
Co-founder, Cyber London (CyLon)

Following a 10-year career in the UK Diplomatic Service, Cassy co-founded CyLon, Europe’s first cyber-security accelerator programme, to support entrepreneurs who are building cyber solutions. Since its inception in 2014,
23 young companies have benefited from CyLon’s mentoring by raising capital, growing their businesses and securing contracts with corporate clients. Large banks that have engaged with the programme include RBS, Citi and HSBC. Cassy has also been a TEDx speaker on the topic of balancing privacy concerns with the potential social impact of big data.

Susanne Chishti
CEO, Fintech Circle

A serial entrepreneur and investor with extensive fintech expertise, Chishti is CEO of Fintech Circle, Europe’s first angel network focused on opportunities in the industry, leading a global community of more than 15,000. She is chairwoman of Fintech Circle Innovate and its Wealth Tech Platform, co-editor of The Fintech Book, and was recognised in the European Digital Financial Services ‘Power 50’ list 2015. She is a judge and coach at events and competitions such as Swift Innotribe, the Cambridge Judge Business School Accelerator and Fintech Startupbootcamp, and is an international conference speaker.

Emma Davies
Senior portfolio manager, Marylebone Partners

Davies’ City career began in research
at JP Morgan. She then joined Perry Capital, where she was made a partner and head of the London office. In her current role at wealth-management firm Marylebone Partners, she focuses on driving investment performance as well as team and business development. Passionate about social investment, Davies was the founding CIO at Big Society Capital, and remains an investment committee member for social funds at Bridges Ventures. She is also a board member of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.

Melissa Di Donato
Area vice-president of analytics, EMEA, Salesforce

Following an extensive career at firms including PwC, IBM and Oracle Corporate, Di Donato joined Salesforce in 2010. She mentors women in business as a Stemette Godmother, and is also a board member at Rewired State and an advisor to Astuta, a fund dedicated to powering and growing entrepreneurs. She has received numerous accolades for her work in technology leadership and innovation, including being named Business Role Model of the Year at the Women in IT Awards, and one of Computer Weekly’s top 10 most influential women in UK technology.

Emma Davidson
Founder and director, Affinity Capital Ltd

A published author and thought leader in the field of structured investments, Davidson spent the first 12 years of her career working on the trading floors of some of the world’s most renowned investment banks before founding Affinity Capital Limited in 2011. The firm specialises in bringing bespoke structured investments to professional clients through a combination of a groundbreaking fintech administration platform and in-house independent pricing models. Affinity’s clients have invested hundreds of millions of pounds since the company’s inception.

Julie Chakraverty
Founder, Rungway

During her executive career, Chakraverty was a board member of UBS Investment Bank and chaired the UBS women’s network, All Bar None. She won awards for innovation every year between 2001 and 2009 for her CreditDelta technology product, and in 2013, aged 41, was recognised in The Times as the youngest female director of a FTSE 100 company. She currently serves as a non-executive director for Aberdeen Asset Management, where she is chairman of the Innovation Committee, and founded the mentoring app Rungway, a platform for sharing work and life advice.

Anne-Marie Imafidon
CEO & Head Stemette, Stemettes

Following roles at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers, Imafidon co-founded social enterprise business Stemettes to inspire young women in the UK to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Since February 2013, 10,000 girls have attended Stemette events. Imafidon also co- founded Outbox Incubator, the world’s first tech incubator for teenage girls. She graduated with a master’s degree in maths and computer science from Oxford at the age of 20, and was voted the eighth most influential woman in IT by Computer Weekly in 2016.

Elizabeth Varley
Founder and CEO, TechHub

A serial entrepreneur, Varley founded TechHub, the global community for tech entrepreneurs that works with more than 750 tech companies to help them scale. TechHub also helps corporates access innovation culture and works with start-ups to solve business challenges or develop new products. Varley’s accolades include selection for Computer Weekly’s UKtech50 top influencers, the Evening Standard’s Silicon 60, the Debrett’s 500 and Vogue’s Generation Tech. She also sits on the board of the Digital City Exchange programme at Imperial College London.

Leda Glyptis
Digital transformation specialist, Sapient

Considered a thought leader on how the world of fintech is changing, Glyptis advises financial-services firms around defining and delivering the right mix of business strategy and technology. She examines, and writes extensively on, emergent technology, changing value chains and the shifting cultural dynamics of the digital era. Prior to joining business and technology consulting firm Sapient, she served as head of innovation in EMEA at BNY Mellon. She acts as a mentor to fintech entrepreneurs, as well as women in financial services.

Jenny Garrett
Founder, Reflexion Associates, and author, Rocking Your Role

Garrett’s mission is to empower professional women, and she has reached more than 30,000 of them through speaking engagements, coaching and a TEDx Talk. She developed the Happenista Project, an online coaching programme based on research in conjunction with Nivea. She designed the Happenista Leadership programme, equipping female middle-tier leaders with skills and confidence to progress their careers. Her social enterprise Rocking Ur Teens, sponsored by NatWest and Thomson Reuters, connects teens to create positive social change.

Phoebe Hugh
Co-founder and CEO of Brolly

Previously at Aviva, Hugh worked in many roles across commercial, HNW and personal lines before founding Brolly, an insurance tech start-up that uses artificial intelligence to advise insurance customers through a mobile app. A game-changer for the insurance sector, Brolly stores customers’ insurance information in one place, identifies where they are underinsured, and automatically searches the market to find the best products. Hugh also co-founded Ambition First, a diversity and inclusion initiative that supports emerging talent from grass roots up.

Liz Hughes
Founder and managing director, ionStar

Passionate about flexible working and gender diversity, Hughes founded ionStar in 2012, as a platform to retain and re-engage talented compliance professionals. The company illustrates the benefits of flexible working and has quickly grown to a team of 30, who work remotely and flexibly on projects across financial services. Hughes is on the board of Women in Banking and Finance and has been nominated for a number of industry innovation awards. She supports gender diversity and has signed HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.

Sharan Jaswal
Education director, MyBnk

A founding staff member of youth charity MyBnk, Jaswal initiated and led the design and delivery of its unique suite of award-winning and globally renowned financial and enterprise education programmes. These include the Digital Money Works project (seed-funded by Lloyds) – the UK’s
first education programme to combine financial and digital skills, and Mind Your Own Business (supported by Blackstone). This is an immersive programme that builds bridges between vulnerable young people and opportunities in the City, challenging corporate perceptions of what ‘dropouts’ are capable of achieving.

Karen Kerrigan
Chief Legal Officer, Seedrs

In her role at Seedrs, Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, Kerrigan collaborates with the FCA on the development of crowdfunding regulation and ‘reg tech’. She is focused on pushing inclusiveness of the Innovative Finance ISA and working with HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs on changes to regulation. She also lobbies the European Commission on supporting cross-border capital raising for start-ups as part of the Capital Markets Union. Through national and international events, she promotes crowdfunding on behalf of Seedrs
and the UK Crowdfunding Association.

Karen Mattison MBE
Co-founder and joint CEO, Timewise

Mattison is co-founder of Timewise, a multi-award-winning business that brings part-time or flexible hiring to the UK recruitment market, and runs
a national jobs board, consultancy and training services. Together with Timewise co-founder Emma Stewart, Mattison has been named one of the country’s most radical thinkers and leading social entrepreneurs. Five years ago she launched the Power Part Time List, an annual roll-call of senior people working less than full time, and has recently launched Hire Me My Way, a national campaign to grow the UK’s flexible jobs market.

Leanne Kemp
Founder & CEO, Everledger

Combining her wealth of experience in emerging technologies, business, jewellery and insurance, Kemp founded digital ledger Everledger to track and protect valuable luxury goods. She is working towards ensuring global transparency by constructing a digitally encrypted certification system that assists in the reduction of fraud, black markets and trafficking. Everledger has won multiple awards, including a Meffys award for Innovation in fintech in 2015, BBVA Open Talent 2015, FinTech Finals 2016 for Best in Show and European Financial Technology Awards 2016 for Best Blockchain Company.

Angela Lloyd-Jones

Following 12 years delivering major strategic change and operational improvement at Barclays, Lloyd-Jones joined dynamic fintech firm R5FX in 2014. R5FX brings new technology to emerging-market foreign exchange with an innovative credit model at the leading edge of regulatory change. She heads a growing global team and is accountable for strategy, legal and regulatory obligations, corporate governance and ensuring the financial viability of the business. A mother of three, outside work she strives to improve support for parents of children with special educational needs in her local area.

Helen Mitchell
CEO, Blukudu

Passionate about creative problem-solving in young technology firms, Mitchell founded Blukudu to work with governments and corporates seeking innovation through start-up engagement. She advises established firms and matches them to tech companies to create trade and internationalisation opportunities for UK and overseas firms. This year, Blukudu was invited by the Ontario government to facilitate a UK fintech trade mission, and generated CA$10million-plus of UK business in three days – the government’s most successful trade mission ever. Clients include the Canadian government and Ernst & Young.

Madeline Newman
Independent consultant, Financial Conduct Authority

For the past 15 years, Newman has been redesigning the way City organisations operate in banking and insurance. Recently, her role has been to respond to disruptive new technologies, helping organisations capitalise on opportunities. Her work with the FCA includes building its reg tech capability, encouraging the development of technology to improve the interface between the FCA and the firms it regulates. This includes bringing together financial organisations to develop tangible products that address problems faced by consumers in accessing the right financial services.

Charlotte Ransom
Co-founder and CEO, Netwealth

After being a partner, then co-head,
of private wealth management at Goldman Sachs, Ransom co-founded Netwealth in 2015. Netwealth offers an innovative approach to discretionary wealth management for affluent and HNW clients by providing a team that can be accessed purely online or in conjunction with professional advisors. Ransom is also a vice president of Save the Children UK and was instrumental in developing a new approach to raising funds from the financial sector, which has resulted in millions of pounds in additional fundraising.

Kaushalya Somasundaram
Head of Fintech Partnerships & Strategy, HSBC

Somasundaram has executed several ‘firsts’ for HSBC, such as investments and partnerships with Fintech companies of strategic importance and exploration of distributed ledger technologies. Notably, she has led the transformation of HSBC’s Trade Finance business, where she spearheaded one of the bank’s most significant technology investments in Tradeshift. She also leads many internal efforts around the use of Blockchain technology and has been at the forefront of HSBC’s participation in R3 DLG – the first and largest bank consortium to explore distributed ledger technologies.

Alexandra Stanton
Finance lawyer, BNP Paribas

A mother of three, Stanton co-founded the BNP Paribas Parents & Carers network, which she runs on a voluntary basis alongside her role as a senior lawyer. Nominated as one of the inaugural Awesome Networks by Inclusive Networks in 2015, the network has enhanced BNP Paribas’ benefits package to include better maternity pay, training for maternity returners and emergency care. Stanton is currently working to improve the uptake of shared parental leave, and organises popular monthly lunchtime talks to raise awareness of the issues faced by working parents.

Vicky Sanders
Co-founder and co-CEO, RSRCHXchange

In 2014, Sanders co-founded disruptive markets-focused technology company RSRCHXchange, an online aggregator and marketplace for institutional research. Changing research procurement and distribution, the company has infused technology to improve the user experience and has built a new and MiFID II-compliant distribution channel. Sanders launched the RSRCHX platform in 2015, catering exclusively to the asset management industry. It features reports from more than 140 providers, including banks and specialist firms, available to hundreds of buy-side firms.

Laura Parker
Director, Growth Builder

Having helped design and implement RBS’s award-winning entrepreneur strategy, supporting thousands of UK entrepreneurs, Parker also launched
an early-career Future Leaders programme, which is to be rolled out bank-wide. She is now working externally to launch Growth Builder, an innovative new support programme for ambitious high-growth businesses, backed by the government, corporates, universities and entrepreneurs. A semifinalist in the Deloitte Young Banker of the Year 2014 competition, she is currently on the RBS female talent programme and an ambassador for Startup Grind.

Amanda Feldman
Director, Bridges Impact+

Feldman’s career has focused on shaping social innovation and investment strategy with multinational businesses, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs. At Volans, she led research into how corporations integrate the community and environment into their business futures. Now, as director of Impact+ at Bridges Ventures, she advises investors on how to allocate capital for financial return and positive impact. She is also a trustee at Future First Global, a member of the B Lab UK Standards Advisory Council, and a mentor for Bethnal Green Ventures.

Our panel

With their diverse backgrounds and impressive accomplishments, our panel of expert judges are well qualified to shortlist our City innovators – the women who are making waves and shaping things to come, both in the workplace and beyond

Miranda Brawn
Barrister and founder

An award-winning business and diversity leader with a background in finance and law, Brawn founded the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation to provide future British black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) leaders with opportunities for success. She also co-founded Color In Tech to increase race and gender diversity in the technology sector. Brawn is on the boards for Cancer Research UK Women of Influence, City Women Network, Black Cultural Archives and Thomson Reuters Business Law Advisory Board.

Charlotte Crosswell
Strategic advisor, Nasdaq

After starting her financial-services career at Goldman Sachs in European equity sales, Crosswell is now a strategic advisor for Nasdaq and sits on the boards of LCH Ltd and The City UK. She was most recently chief executive officer for Nasdaq NLX, a London-based derivatives market trading the full European interest curve on a single market. Prior to setting up NLX, Crosswell held several management positions at Nasdaq and London Stock Exchange covering international capital markets, and equity, fixed income and OTC derivatives trading and clearing.

Mike Mompi
Director, early growth ventures, ClearlySo

Working with companies that have a positive impact on society and the environment, Mompi has led transactions for more than 40 of ClearlySo’s nearly 100 client businesses, leading to capital-raising activity exceeding £100m in values-aligned investment. He also led the UK Business Angels Association’s Social Impact Investment Deal of the Year from 2013 to 2015. He currently sits on the European Business Angel Network’s Impact Investment Committee, is a Trustee at MyBnk, and co-founded and sits on the board of MakeSense UK.

Nikki Short
Associate director, RBS

Short has spent the past eight years in client relationship management at RBS, working with a wide range of the bank’s clients, from business start-ups to large corporates. Passionate about encouraging her colleagues to aim higher, she acts as co-chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, a voluntary network that aims to attract, retain and develop female talent within the bank. Outside work, she is keen to ensure young females have role models to aspire to, and as a result takes part in the Springboard Mentor programme, mentoring university undergraduates.

Julia Streets
Founder and CEO, Streets Consulting

Streets is founder and CEO of Streets Consulting, a business development, marketing and communications consultancy representing a wide range of financial services and technology firms in both the UK and United States. An acclaimed fintech entrepreneur, she serves as a mentor for a number of industry accelerator programmes. Streets regularly hosts events such as awards ceremonies, industry panels and conferences, drawing on her experience as a stand-up comedian and auctioneer. She is also a trustee of the charity Children in Crisis.