Inspirational women: Influencers

For 2017 Brummell’s list of the most inspirational women in the City shines a spotlight on those who are influential industry change-makers

People 2 Oct 2017

Julia Streets: Founder and CEO, Streets Consulting
Sigga Sigurdardottir: Chief Customer and Innovation Officer, Santander
Jacqueline Onalo: FRSA Founder, JOLT International Ltd
Sue Langley OBE: Chairwoman, Arthur J Gallagher UK
Lin Yue: Executive Director, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Suzanne Szczetnikowicz: Senior Associate, Milbank
Sheryl Fofaria: EMEA Head of Philanthropy Advisory, JP Morgan Private Bank

This year, Brummells list of the most inspirational women in the City shines a spotlight on those who are influential industry change-makers. I was delighted to be asked to join the judging panel, and such was the calibre of the nominees, that selecting a final list of just 30 was an incredibly difficult task. We needed to be particularly disciplined in applying the rigorous criteria to achieve this.

It was clear from reviewing the nominations that each nominee would be a true inspiration to other women (and men) throughout the City. While these women come from a diverse range of working backgrounds, from large corporates to entrepreneurial start-ups, all of them are thought leaders in their respective fields, spearheading positive change in the City through their infectious attitude for overcoming challenges, and inspiring others to do the same.

Many congratulations to our final 30. They can be proud of the positive impact they have made within their companies and beyond – proving that determined and dynamic leadership is the key to success in any business. 


Founder, LaiPeters & Co, and one of Brummell‘s 30 Inspirational Women CITY Champions of Diversity (2015)


Bukola Adisa

Head of Europe RC Monitoring and Testing, HSBC

Adisa held senior leadership roles at RBS, JP Morgan and Deloitte, among others, before joining HSBC where she has significantly improved on the organisation’s compliance monitoring standards and execution. She is passionate about the progression of women and BAME professionals in the workplace. In 2015, Adisa founded not-for-profit social enterprise Career Masterclass, which is focused on imparting women and BAME professionals with practical skills they can use to build a successful career.

Niki Beattie

CEO, Market Structure Partners

Beattie has built a career as a thought leader in financial markets at the forefront of technological and regulatory evolution. She was head of market structure at Merrill Lynch, the first role of its kind in the industry, and created a market structure consultancy firm in 2008, advising market participants and government bodies. She has broken through boardroom barriers with a number
of NED board positions that use her market knowledge and help her build insight into how best to govern market infrastructure organisations.

Julia Streets

Founder and CEO, Streets Consulting

Streets runs Streets Consulting, a UK and US business development, marketing and communications consultancy representing a wide range of financial services and technology firms. An acclaimed fintech entrepreneur, she mentors innovation programmes and is passionate about diversity, developing new initiatives to drive debate and change. Streets hosts City awards ceremonies, 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.

Sigga Sigurdardottir

Chief Customer and Innovation Officer, Santander

Sigurdardottir is a digital change agent, driving innovation-led transformation across Santander UK and influencing change across the industry. She is partnering with the start-up, digital and fintech community to lead efforts to design a customer-centric ‘bank of the future’ through mobile-first business models. She sits on the Tech City UK Fintech Delivery Panel, the Foreign Trade and Investment Board Fintech Senior Steering Committee, the CBI Innovation Council and the Business in the Community Race Equality Board.

Fran Boait

Executive Director, Positive Money 

As executive director, Boait has led the UK and international expansion of Positive Money, a non-profit think tank, which campaigns for systemic change of the money and banking system to support a fair, sustainable, and democratic economy. Positive Money Europe will launch in autumn 2017, followed by Positive Money US in early 2018. Committed to wider financial reform, she is also a director of Brussels-based NGO Finance Watch, a senior fellow at the Finance Innovation Lab, and a fellow of the RSA.

Jane Burton

Chair, Lawyers with Disabilities Division, The Law Society

Burton is passionate about her mission to show companies the advantages of employing lawyers with disabilities and having a diverse workforce that is representative of their clients. She has undertaken many initiatives to increase opportunities through work experience, has liaised with global law firms such as Reed Smith, and is currently involved in facilitating a research project with Cardiff University about disability and the legal profession.

Amy Clarke

Co-Founder, Tribe Impact Capital

Clarke has spent her career working at the nexus of sustainability, positive impact and business innovation. Supported through the Innovation Hub at the FCA, she co-founded Tribe Impact Capital, a one-of-a kind impact wealth manager and B Corps dedicated to managing private and institutional wealth for values alignment, positive social impact and sustainable financial growth. She also sits on the board of the Blue Cross, the advisory board of Big Issue Invest, and the Diversity Advisory Committee of Founders4Schools.

Niamh De Niese

Director and Head of EMEA Innovation, BNY Mellon

Following a successful career in financial services at Fidelity, Accenture and Visa Europe, De Niese joined BNY Mellon in 2016. In her current role, she is expanding the innovative solutions delivered via BNY Mellon’s NEXENsm digital platform, driving client engagement and building relationships with the region’s burgeoning fintech and regtech community. Previously she led Visa’s European Collab innovation centre, where she mobilised a delivery methodology for digital payments innovation prototypes.

Ann Francke

CEO, Chartered Management Institute

Francke is a transformational leader with proven ability in increasing impact of management and leadership excellence. An expert on gender balance in the workplace, she authored the Financial Times Guide To Management, and holds an advisory board position at Grant Thornton International. Francke was awarded the MemCom Louis Armstrong Award for Outstanding Leadership of a UK Professional Body in 2016 and has held senior executive positions at Procter and Gamble, Mars, Boots, Yell and BSI.

Victoria Darragh

Founder, Executive & Personal Assistants Association

An award-winning career EA, Darragh founded EPAA in January 2016. She has spent most of her working life raising the profile of EAs and PAs across the UK, promoting the profession as a credible career choice to assistants and employers. She continues to make a significant contribution to the longevity and future role of the EA/PA. She is also leading the first campaign for male EAs and PAs, Not Just a Girl’s Job, dedicated to balancing the number of female and male PAs.

Leonie Fleming

General Counsel, Commercial & Private Banking, RBS

In her role at RBS, Fleming leads the legal support for the comprehensive banking services, which RBS and Natwest provide. She also leads legal support for private banking, wealth management and investment management services to high-net-worth clients through Coutts and Adam & Co. She has worked on various transformation programmes at RBS and is a supporter of the bank’s diversity and inclusion agenda, the RBS female talent programme and the social mobility programme.

Jessica Huie MBE

Director, Kaleidoscope

A dynamic entrepreneur driven by an ethos of using business for good, Huie has spent her career challenging the status quo in retail, journalism and public relations. She has founded numerous companies and nonprofit organisations that deliver positive social impact. Most recently, Kaleidoscope, a communications brand helping senior leaders in the City to find their voice using publicity with integrity. She was awarded an MBE for Services to Entrepreneurship and Influence in 2014, and her first book, Purpose, will be published by Hayhouse in April 2018.

Jacqueline Onalo

FRSA Founder, JOLT International Ltd

A multi-award-winning human rights lawyer, leadership trainer, and diversity and inclusion expert, Onalo devised the holistic JOLT youth leadership and mentorship programme to support talented, yet marginalised, young people to fulfill their potential. She works with NHS trusts on projects targeted at assisting people from ethnic minority backgrounds to break the glass ceiling. Onalo is also part of the Midlands NHS Leadership Academy think tank on equality, diversity and inclusion issues, and chair of Community Development Initiatives.

Sue Langley OBE

Chairwoman, Arthur J Gallagher UK

Following roles including director at Lloyds of London and COO at Hiscox, Langley is now non-executive chairwoman for Arthur J Gallagher UK, senior non-executive director for UKAR, lead non-executive director for the Home Office, and a trustee on the board of Macmillan Cancer. A member of the Women’s Business Council, she has a passion for helping others succeed, and mentors a number of women across industries. In 2015 she was awarded an OBE for services to women in business.

Lin Yue

Executive Director, Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Yue is one of few successful sales professionals working with non-Chinese clients in the UK institutional investors market. She has been an advocate for enhancing understanding between China and the West, speaking on generational gaps, Millennials, and diversity and inclusion. She extends this effort by presenting to a wide range of audiences, from Goldman Sachs’ clients, professional and FTSE100 firms, to universities and related charities. She won the 2016 Excellence in Banking award at the Chinese Business Leaders Awards.

Sarah Jones

Group General Counsel, BBC

Jones is responsible for all legal departments at the BBC, as well as implementing its legal strategy and providing legal advice to senior management. Under her leadership, the BBC has done huge amounts to mentor and develop young lawyers. She was a named lawyer in The Lawyer Hot 100 list in 2013, and was one of the top-ranked general counsels in The GC Powerlist of the Legal Business journal 2016. A supporter of equality, diversity and inclusion, she was a judge for the 2015 UK Diversity Legal Awards.

Tracy Jordan

Program Director, Credit Suisse

Jordan founded the Credit Suisse Modern Muse programme in 2012 to engage and inspire the next generation of female banking and finance business leaders. She won the Champion for Women award at the 2017 Women in Banking and Finance Awards, and is also a board director and trustee of a secondary school, leveraging this role to improve career opportunities for girls. She played a pivotal role in establishing a Brentwood-based rugby club, which is currently developing its talent pipeline of female players.

Cathryn Lyall

Co-Founder, Seismic Foundry

Leveraging a 30-year career in financial services, Lyall co-founded Seismic Foundry, a discretionary fund business, which invests in SEIS and EIS-eligible capital markets in fintech. She has spent ten years developing networking, mentoring and educational opportunities for women in derivatives markets through her board role for Women In Listed Derivatives, and has won multiple awards, including the Financial News 100 Most Influential Women, 100 Women in Fintech and Cranfield’s FTSE Index 100 Women to Watch.

Fabiola Marin

Events Manager and Co-chair of MixCity Network, BNP Paribas

A true ‘intrapreneur’ spearheading positive change, Marin creates partnerships in the space of diversity and inclusion. She is launching a ‘Positive Male Role Models’ series, and is an advocate for the Marylebone Project, a women’s centre delivering employment, education, and training opportunities. She is also driving a volunteering ESOL employability workshop, a paid job placement with BNP Paribas Global Markets, and is an ambassador for HubDot.

Justine Lutterodt

Director and Leadership Consultant, Centre for Synchronous Leadership

Lutterodt founded CSL to redefine leadership in the corporate sector, aligning business and societal interests. She has led senior teams, boards, and entire divisions through cultural transformation and is recognised as an authority on systemic change. CSL’s Walk the Tightrope programme continues to facilitate career breakthroughs for senior managers and its Mindful Exclusion initiative includes the largest qualitative study of employee network leaders.

Polly Mackenzie

Director, Money and Mental Health

Mackenzie is director of Money and Mental Health, an independent charity committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems, conducting research, developing practical policy solutions and working in partnership with service providers and those using them to find what really works. Prior to this, she was director of policy for the Deputy Prime Minister, working in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office from 2010-2015. She is also a visiting fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s College London.

Anne McArthur

General Counsel & Company Secretary, Financial Reporting Council (FRC)

McArthur leads an in-house legal and secretariat team and plays a key role in the FRC’s leadership, governance and regulation. In 2016, she drove a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking change programme to enable the FRC to adapt to its new status and responsibilities as the Competent Authority for audit. She was named as one of The Lawyer’s Hot 100 for 2017 in recognition of her work as one of the UK’s leading and most influential lawyers.

Suzanne Szczetnikowicz 

Senior Associate, Milbank

A senior associate in the Project, Energy and Infrastructure Finance Group at Milbank, Szczetnikowicz advises project sponsors and lenders in the development and financing of significant international projects. Passionate about promoting gender equality, inclusion and change in the legal profession, she co-founded Women in Law London in 2014, which she now chairs with almost 2,500 members from over 350 law firms and City organisations. She has won a We Are The City Rising Star in Law award and is on the board of trustees for the London-based Aurora Orchestra.

Sheryl Fofaria

EMEA Head of Philanthropy Advisory, JP Morgan Private Bank

Fofaria’s roots in Kenya and India compelled her to pursue strategic philanthropy and social entrepreneurship after a successful investment banking career. At JP Morgan Private Bank, she advises wealthy individuals and families on deploying philanthropic capital. She also drives the bank’s efforts in Sustainable and Impact Investment and contributes to the ecosystem through roles on the Ashoka Venture Board and the advisory boards of BeyondMe and UnLtd India and a family foundation.

Alicia Millar

Senior Learning and Development Manager EMEA, Reed Smith

In addition to designing award-winning organisational development programmes, Millar sits on the Reed Smith Diversity Committee and the Responsible Business Committee and serves as a NED of MyGWork – the only LGBT-dedicated professional networking and recruitment platform. She also co-chairs the LGBT chapter of The Network of Networks, a cross-sector forum for LGBT network chairs and champions to share best practice, and has a pro-bono coaching practice.

Natalie Pinon

Director of Impact, Social & Sustainable Capital

Pinon’s career has focused on influencing private capital to create positive social impact through investment management and social impact assessment. As director of impact at Social and Sustainable Capital, an impact investment fund manager, she works with UK charities and social enterprises to help deliver better outcomes for the most vulnerable in UK society. She is also a trustee of Womanity Foundation UK, a nonprofit organisation working to empower women and girls in developing countries.

Amanda Rowland

Partner, Asset Management Regulation, PwC

A financial services partner with PwC, Rowland has continued her career despite suffering a life-changing deterioration to her sight. She is a champion for improving the position of disabled people in the workplace, and is the lead partner for PwC’s disability and wellbeing network, a community dedicated to raising awareness, providing information and support. She also works closely with the charity Blind in Business to help sight-impaired undergraduates achieve a successful City career.

Ama Ocansey

Legal Counsel, BNP Paribas

Ocansey is a senior lawyer at BNP Paribas with vast experience in emerging markets. She co-chairs the Parents & Carers Network on a voluntary basis, providing support and raising awareness of issues faced by working parents, and is also on the steering committee of the Multicultural Network of the bank. Outside work she is a board member of the Financial Inclusion Forum, lending her expertise to the promotion and understanding of micro finance and inclusion, and also mentors junior lawyers in the City.

Faith Reynolds

Independent Consumer Expert

A 2010 Clore Social Leadership Fellow, since joining the Financial Services Consumer Panel in 2011, Reynolds has championed the needs of consumers at the FCA and at the PSR as a member of the Payments Strategy Forum. Recently her work has focused on bringing a consumer perspective to fintech. She is a member of the Regtech Council. Recently, she authored the influential report Open Banking: A Consumer Perspective, sits on the Open Banking Implementation Entity Steering Group and chairs its consumer forum.

Lindsay Smart

Head of Impact, Research, and Innovation, ClearlySo

With more than ten years’ experience in the finance industry, Smart has spoken around the world on the topic of impact and sustainable business. She developed ClearlySo ATLAS, the award-winning platform for private equity and venture capital investors to assess their portfolios’ impact, and previously worked at Vigeo, delivering solutions for sustainability-focused investors in the UK and the US, including leading DC Water’s 2014 Green Bond assessment that went on to win The Bond Buyer’s Regional Deal of the Year award.


Meet our esteemed panel of judges who, with their combined knowledge of the industry teamed with a range of expertise, selected our 30 Inspirational Women 2017

Ghela Boskovich

Founder, FemTechGlobal, and Head of Fintech & Regtech, Rainmaking Innovations

Boskovich is active in the fintech industry, having spent the last ten years focused on business development for core insurance and banking system solutions, with the last five centred on financial services pricing governance functionality. She founded FemTechGlobal to bridge the gender gap in fintech and was named one of Brummell Magazine’s 2016 30 Inspirational Women Innovators, and was included in Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist 2016. She is head of Fintech/Regtech Partnerships at Rainmaking, home of Startupbootcamp.

Mei Sim Lai OBE

Founder, LaiPeters & Co

Lai has championed diversity for more than three decades through her extensive work with various networks, charities and government initiatives addressing race, gender and inclusion. As chair of numerous groups over the years, including the City Women Network and International Women’s Forum (IWF UK), Mulan Foundation Network for top Chinese women, and Women in the Livery, she is passionate about encouraging more women and those from a range of backgrounds to be involved in the civic City. Her accolades include an OBE for services to equal opportunities in 2004, and in 2012, she won the Asian Women of Achievement Award for her contribution to public service.

Madeline Newman

Independent Financial Services Consultant

Newman has spent more than 15 years shaping and delivering new financial services including programmes of work that introduce new opportunities; ways to operationalise new technologies; and design and delivery across organisations such as banks, fintech, insurance, and UK financial services regulators. Most recently she was with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) helping to shape and implement their strategic response to regtech. In 2017 she has continued working with the wider regtech ecosystem as one of the founders of the Regtech Council while working with a number of smaller start-ups.

Kaushalya Somasundaram

Head of Fintech Partnership & Strategy, HSBC

Somasundaram leads the partnership and corporate venturing for HSBC’s core businesses including Global Liquidity and Cash Management, Global Trade and Receivables Finance, Custody and Global Markets. She has led HSBC investments in fintech companies of strategic importance and the bank’s forays into the world of distributed ledgers. She has held a variety of senior roles across HSBC including Strategy & Planning, Corporate Development and Group Audit. She was recognised as one of Brummell’s 30 Inspirational Women Innovators in 2016.