Inspirational Women 2022: Trailblazers

Meet Brummell's pick of 30 women making their mark in the City

People 13 Sep 2022

Brummell Inspirational Women

Brummell is delighted to resume its annual celebration of 30 Inspirational Women in the City, following a change of format due to the pandemic. With issues such as gender equality and inclusion remaining pressing priorities for City firms to address, for this year’s list, Brummell is honouring trailblazing women who are creating new ways of working and thinking. As well as being responsible for “firsts” in their companies or externally, they are leaders in their respective fields, driving momentum for significant institutional change, and achieving incredible results.

The judging panel, comprising three well-respected industry professionals, reviewed each of the peer-nominated candidates and applied the rigorous shortlisting criteria to select the top 30. The women on the list come from a variety of career backgrounds, but each is an example of how determination, agile thinking and entrepreneurial spirit are at the heart of their success.

Mary Agbesanwa
Fintech Growth Lead, Seccl

Agbesanwa is passionate about how technology is democratising financial services, and supporting millennials to achieve their full potential. She is Fintech Growth Lead at Seccl, the technology provider and custodian behind leading fintechs and advisers democratising access to investments. Outside of work, she blogs on A Millennial’s Diary about careers and personal development, and runs the self-development and entrepreneurial community Now You’re Talking Network. She is a trustee for Girlguiding and is Lead Learning Facilitator for Imperial College Business School’s Fintech Programme. Her accolades include being named on the Innovate Finance Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020 and number 1 on EMpower and Yahoo Finance’s Future Leader List 2020.

Lloydette Bai-Marrow
Founding Partner, Parametric Global Consulting

Bai-Marrow left the civil service in 2017 to build Parametric Global Consulting, a boutique white collar crime investigations practice. A former principal investigative lawyer within the Serious Fraud Office, she provided leadership and legal advice on complex, high-profile cases of fraud, bribery and corruption, and has led anti-corruption work on the FCDO-funded Rule of Law Expertise Programme in Sierra Leone since 2017. She is chair of the board of Spotlight on Corruption, which tracks how the government implements its anti-corruption laws, and serves on the board of trustees for the Unite Foundation, the charitable arm of Unite Group Plc providing accommodation to care-leavers and estranged students at university.

Flavilla Fongang
Flavilla Fongang

Flavilla Fongang 
Founder, GTA Black Women In Tech and 3 Colours Rule

A serial entrepreneur and multilingual keynote speaker, Fongang is a neuroscience brand expert and was named by Computer Weekly in the top 2 most influential women in tech in the UK in 2021. She is the founder of 3 Colours Rule, an award-winning branding and marketing agency, and the author of 99 Strategies to Get Customers. In 2019, she created a non-profit organisation, Global Tech Advocates (GTA) Black Women In Tech, with a vision to normalise black female excellence and inspire generations in technology and beyond. In 2021, she published The Voices in the Shadow, a book featuring stories of black women in tech, distributed free to secondary schools in the UK and Ireland.

Dr Sam Collins
Founder, Aspire For Equality

Dr Collins is a pioneering social entrepreneur, author and thought leader on gender equality and diversity with a specific focus on gender intersectionality (race, age, LGBTQI, neuro-disability). She co-founded Aspire for Equality in the City of London 21 years ago, with the mission to empower individual, organisational and social change at home, in the workplace and in the world. Dr Collins was recognised by the Queen as “One of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry” and she was also featured as one of the Top 10 Coaches in the UK by The Sunday Times. She also served as global ambassador for Women for Women International, empowering women survivors of war in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Nigeria.

Funmi Dele-Giwa
General Counsel & Head of GRC, MFS Africa

A dual-qualified lawyer, a chartered governance professional, and a seasoned executive and board director, Dele-Giwa is the GC and head of GRC at MFS Africa; one of the largest pan-African payments companies, with operations across more than 40 countries. She is passionate about the role of fintechs in driving social change on the African continent; and about supporting, mentoring and guiding African women aspiring to build careers in law, GRC or financial services. She has led change across the Group and has championed growth opportunities, including the establishment of a legal internship in MFS Africa in partnership with a leading South African university that will unlock opportunities for marginalised law students.

Rene Germain
Senior Product Manager, Workday

Germain is a digital product manager, writer and speaker who has worked at leading financial services and technology organisations in a variety of roles. In 2020, she co-created the hashtag #blackintheoffice to enable black British employees to anonymously share their experiences of racism and discrimination in UK workplaces, prompting apologies from well-known organisations and contributions from black employees around the world. In May 2022, Coronet published her debut book, Black and Great: The Essential Workplace Toolkit, billed as one of the first career guides to focus on the black workplace experience, quickly becoming an Amazon best-seller in the e-business category. Germain has also written for multiple online publications including, and HuffPost UK.

Jacqueline Taiwo
Jacqueline Taiwo

Jacqueline Taiwo 
Co-Founder And CEO, Black Women In Asset Management (BWAM)

As co-founder and CEO of non-profit organisation BWAM, Taiwo supports the advancement of black women in asset management. BWAM’s 900+ members receive opportunities to network, gain mentorship and participate in the Leadership Accelerator for aspirational black women in asset management. In May 2022, BWAM announced the first-of-its-kind 40 under 40 list recognising black women shaping asset management. A private equity lawyer and compliance professional with over 10 years’ legal experience, Taiwo speaks as an advocate for diversity in the finance sector and was named as one of PER and Real Deals’ Future 40: Diversity & Inclusion Leaders of 2020.

Ella Goldner
Co-Founder, Zinc and Alma Angels

After working in the innovation ecosystem in Israel with a BSc in engineering, Goldner moved to London in 2008 for her MBA at LBS, where she co-chaired the Women in Business Club and set up a programme to support women in Sierra Leone. She joined forces with Paul Kirby and Saul Klein to co-found Zinc, a talent investor helping to build new mission-driven commercial ventures from scratch, and since 2018 Zinc has backed more than 220 founders and helped build over 60 new ventures. Half of the founders Zinc has backed are women, 40% are non-white and 50% are non-UK nationals. Goldner also co-founded Alma Angels, a community of 300+ angel investors, which has backed over 120 female-founded ventures with a total of more than $5.5m to date.

Natasha Harrison
Founder & Managing Partner, Pallas Partners LLP

A leading international disputes lawyer, Harrison launched Pallas Partners in February 2022, the largest launch of a UK law firm in the past decade, with a second office announced for New York. Re-defining the blueprint for the modern law firm with an ambitious responsibility and sustainability strategy to drive positive change throughout the industry, she has created an empowering culture that promotes innovation and collaboration, as well as flexibility around fees, moving away from the billable hour. She has established a DEI team, headed by a diversity lead, with a pledge to achieve diversity parity by 2025 and is aiming to be carbon neutral by the same year. Harrison has also appointed a lead to foster pro-bono partnerships.

Sarah Hay
Managing Director, Global Head Of Commission Management and EMEA Head of Client Office, UBS Investment Bank

Hay is responsible for the strategic and commercial vision of UBS’s commission management business globally and driving the EMEA Global Markets client strategy (Equities and Fixed Income) within Global Markets Distribution. She has nurtured junior talent, including recruiting apprentices into Global Markets. In October 2020, she was awarded Excellence in Banking at the European Women in Finance Awards. As a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee from 2016-2020, Hay supported the set-up of a number of initiatives and events to drive education and engagement, including participating in the Mentoring and Maternity buddy schemes.

Laura Bottega
Laura Bottega

Laura Bottega
COO and Head Of Client Experience, International Equity, Morgan Stanley Investment Management

During her 24 years in the industry, Bottega’s ability to build teams and lead assertively has established her as a pioneer of positive change for diversity. Having honed her messaging skills at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, she manages a team of portfolio specialists based in London, New York and Tokyo, representing some of Europe’s most widely held quality equity funds, including MSIM’s Global Franchise. She helped to launch the low-carbon Global Sustain Fund in 2018, and she led MSIM EMEA’s diversity efforts in 2019. Today, she captains Morgan Stanley’s Step In, Step Up team in west London schools, motivating girls to consider careers in finance.

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy
CEO and Founder, Tapoly

Named Insurance Woman of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards 2021 and listed by Forbes as number 6 of the Top 100 Women Founders to Watch, Kaenprakhamroy is CEO and founder of Tapoly, an award-winning digital managing general agent providing tailored commercial lines insurance to micro SMEs and freelancers. She has mentored many women and provides advice and support for the next generation of leaders as a member of the Women’s Network. As a former internal audit director at investment banks, she was chairman of UBS “Cultural Awareness Network” and steering committee member of Deutsche Bank Advance Employee Network, supporting cultural diversity within the bank, and supporting the network in a rebranding initiative during DB’s Diversity week.

Amandeep Khasriya
Senior Associate, Moore Barlow

Alongside her day job as a senior associate at Moore Barlow working exclusively for claimants in serious injury and major trauma cases, Khasriyais the founder of Women Back to Law and a committee member at the Law Society Women Lawyers Division. She founded and chairs Moore Barlow’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and was recognised as a Future Leader in the INvolve HERoes Women Role Model List 2020 and 2021. She has presented to more than 2,000 people to promote the importance of gender diversity. In addition, she volunteers at the Hillingdon Women’s Centre – where women experiencing domestic violence seek urgent refuge – and is a mentor with the Law Society’s Reignite programme, which is designed to support women returning to work.

Keeley Lengthorn
Partner, Taylor Rose MW

A family law partner heading up the Bexleyheath office for Taylor Rose MW, Keeley Lengthorn was shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2019 and her team were shortlisted in the Family Law Awards 2021. Alongside her day job as a lawyer, she is currently campaigning for a change in legislation in the workplace in the event of baby loss occurring under 24 weeks, and has started a national campaign to call on all employers to enact a baby-loss policy. Lengthorn has also setup an employment baby-loss hub within her firm whereby people who have suffered a grievance in the workplace through baby loss can access help and assistance from specialist employment solicitors and barristers, all of which will be offered in the strictest of confidence.

Dr Grace Lordan
Founding Director of The Inclusion Initiative and Associate Professor in Behavioural Science, London School Of Economics

Dr Lordan is founding director of The Inclusion Initiative, a global project working to drive inclusion across the professional world by creating inclusive leaders, through research and executive education. She has collaborations with Women in Banking & Finance, 30% Club and Level 20 and has written for the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review and Fortune. She served the UK government on its skills and productivity board, and sits on the Women in Finance Charter’s advisory board. Dr Lordan is a regular speaker and advisor to blue chip finance and technology firms. Think Big: Take Small Steps and Build the Future You Want is her first book.

Lois Day
Lois Day

Lois Day
Investment Director, IP Group Plc

Before moving into venture capital, Day had a decade-long investment banking career, predominantly at Goldman Sachs and Rothschild. In her career, Day has shown commitment to impact, gender equality and diversity and inclusion. Currently an investment director at investor and FTSE 250 company IP Group, Day also chairs the D&I committee, is an ESG committee member, and led the formation of the women’s network. Additionally, Day co-founded 3SV (“3 Sisters Ventures”) collective, which invests in companies solving women’s unmet needs, that are helping to close gender gaps. Day holds multiple technology company board roles, is an award-winning mentor, and is head of strategy at social enterprise Humans in Finance.

Vivienne Mackay
Head of Recruitment, Diversity & Inclusion, Aviva Investors

Mackay leads recruitment for Aviva’s front office teams and is extremely passionate about her role and how it intersects with D&I. She co-leads the company’s ethnicity workstream following the BLM protests, and is an important ally for that cause. She is also key in coordinating the Women Returners programme, with last year’s programme seeing a very high retention rate due to her efforts to find permanent roles for the participants. Because of her commitment to D&I, Mackay ended up having a D&I role carved out for her in addition to her existing role and has subsequently been promoted to the Head of Recruitment, Diversity and Inclusion. She co-chairs the Inclusion SteerCo with the head of ESG and is the de facto Inclusion lead at Aviva Investors.

Mary Macleod
Chair, Board & CEO Practice, August Leadership

After a career in technology, consulting and investment banking, Macleod was an adviser to the Queen, and, as an MP, was Commissioner on social integration and the Prime Minister’s Small Business Ambassador for London. She established the Women and Equalities Select Committee, founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament and chaired the Improving Parliament inquiry. She continues to advise government as a member of the Women’s Business Council and G20 EMPOWER Alliance, and has led campaigns on violence against women. She is a trustee of social mobility charity Career Ready, sits on auticon’s advisory board championing neurodiversity, and is an ambassador for the London Women’s Forum.

Melanie Aimer
Melanie Aimer

Melanie Aimer
Global Head of Client Experience, Head of International Banking, Barclays Private Bank

Aimer joined Barclays Private Bank’s leadership team in 2020 as managing director to head up Global Client Experience. She has since built new teams, including digital channels for clients and client reporting. Her role was extended to manage Barclays International Banking, providing specialist investment, banking, credit and wealth advisory solutions to more than 45,000 clients globally. She is driving new client acquisition, particularly in Africa and Asia. She heads both the Private Bank’s LGBTQ+ and Recognition agendas to help transform the colleague experience and is actively engaged in her local community supporting social projects.

Stephanie Maier
Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investment, GAM Investments

A respected voice in asset management, Maier spearheads the sustainability and impact investment team at GAM Investments, an independent asset manager managing CHF100bn. She helped establish, and is the investor representative for Europe on the Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee, and has led GAM’s participation in joining the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. She previously held the role of vice-chair of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, currently sits on the board of the environmental alliance Aldersgate Group and is a trustee of the Friends Provident Foundation. She is also a member of the FCA Climate Financial Risk Forum and spoke at the House of Commons on the COP26 climate summit.

Nina Mohanty
Founder & CEO, Bloom Money

Passionate about financial inclusion and providing fair and sustainable financial services to people in vulnerable situations, Mohanty is the founder and CEO of Bloom Money, a fintech company empowering diaspora communities with tools to build generational wealth. She previously worked at Klarna and open banking start-up Bud to build out a financial marketplace and rethink the way we interact with financial services. She advises the non-profit Talent Beyond Boundaries and volunteers for several charities including First Love Foundation and Migrant Action. A believer in delivering technology that can better customers’ financial lives and financial literacy, she has won the TechWomen 100 award and sits on the Innovate Finance Women in FinTech Powerlist.

Ijeoma Okoli
Co-Founder and Co-Director, Digital Economy Institute

Okoli is an award-winning executive and lawyer with a background ranging from investment banking to asset management to cryptocurrencies. She is a founding member of Impact X Capital, a VC fund investing in diverse founders, and co-founder and co-director of the Digital Economy Institute, a cryptocurrency think-tank. She speaks regularly at conferences and institutions in the US and UK on cryptocurrencies to increase understanding of the sector and associated regulatory landscape. An advocate for diversity, she was previously co-chair of JPMorgan’s EMEA Black Leadership Forum and led the creation of the JPMorgan-sponsored Stories of Black Leadership multi-year photographic series chronicling contemporary black female leaders.

Cynthia V Davis
Cynthia V Davis

Cynthia V Davis 
Founder & CEO, Diversifying Group

Following a career in the City, Davis founded Diversifying Group (formally BAME Recruitment) in 2015, and co-founded pro-diversity career platform in 2019, with a focus on social change and creating equal access to opportunities. Davis is committed to inclusive recruitment, consultancy and D&I solution services, and helping organisations to reach more qualified candidates from diverse communities. She is a fellow of St George’s College, Windsor Leadership; a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; chair of the board for literary social enterprise Pop Up; and trustee at Over The Wall, supporting children with serious illnesses and disabilities in discovering fun through camps. She is also a board adviser for meditation tool Headspace.

Candice Pressinger
Director Customer Data Security, Elavon Merchant Services/US Bancorp

Pressinger is the payment security consulting lead for 700 of Europe’s largest clients, including Ikea, Delta Airlines, BP, ExxonMobil and Inditex, and has introduced several award-winning data security and fraud products. Elected chair of the UK Finance Acquirers committee, she contributes to the development of international standards and speaks at global industry events. She mentors for the Women in Payments global mentorship programme and Elavon, and was the 2022 Women in Payments EMEA Innovation winner, and the 2022 Merchant Payment Ecosystem Influencer of the Year award winner. Outside of work she is heavily involved with fundraising activities for St Luke’s Hospice.

Benedicta Sadoh
Digital Product Owner, Vice President, Barclays Bank

Sadoh is a digital product owner with Barclays Bank, overseeing Private Banking non-personal channels. In 2017, as a manager with Sterling Bank, she developed the first end-to-end consumer lending platform in Nigeria – – selling over 40bn naira (around £80m) worth of loans in 18 months. She then spearheaded the automation of the business-lending process and developed the business ecosystem “SME Xclusive – The Business Hub’’ in response to Covid-19. Sterling Bank rose to number 1 from number 7 for business customer satisfaction (KPMG Banking Customer Satisfaction Survey 2020) and Sadoh’s segment also won at the Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards in 2020 for outstanding response to Covid-19-SME loans.

Sharon Sharples
Director, Operational Risk Business Management, Strategy & Governance, Barclays

With 25 years’ experience in financial services, Sharples has thrived on seizing the opportunity to be a role model for inclusion in Barclays and beyond. Her relentless focus and drive to make the working environment as positive and inclusive as possible was recognised earlier in 2022, when she won the Women in Payments Award for Female Advocacy for EMEA. As co-chair for her regional Women’s Network (Win) she strives daily to create opportunity that has reach outside the finance sector, working with local charities to mentor females and under-privileged youth. She has also recently taken on the role as chair of the Women in the Community workstream for the UK at Barclays.

Melanie Pittas
Melanie Pittas

Melanie Pittas 
Partner, Co-Head of Financial Services, haysmacintyre

Joining haysmacintyre as a trainee in 2007, Pittas became a partner in 2016. Five years later, she became co-head of its financial services sector, leading people management and playing an integral role in mentoring. Pittas regularly features on panels and contributes to publications on topics that impact the sector. She has been involved in the Alternative Investment Management Association’s Holding Strong: Investments in a Volatile Market project and haysmacintyre’s International Women’s Day campaign. She was ranked in the Top 10 Most Influential People in Service Provision for the Investment Space by 2&20, and is a director and treasurer of HFC Help for Children UK.

Lubna Shuja
Vice President, Law Society of England And Wales, Solicitor and Mediator

On 12 October 2022, Shuja will become the first Asian, first Muslim and the seventh female President of the Law Society of England and Wales, which represents more than 200,000 solicitors. Currently Vice President of the Law Society, she has been a member of the Law Society Board since 2018 and opened her own firm, Legal Swan Solicitors, in 2007. Shuja also sits as chair dealing with misconduct cases for professional regulators including the Health and Care Professions Tribunal, Social Work England and the General Pharmaceutical Council. She uses her position at the Law Society to highlight inequalities and has given innumerable amounts of free legal advice to those in need.

Julie Simpson
Co-Founder of TC4RE, CEO of ResourceiT

Simpson is founder and CEO of Resource iTConsulting Ltd, a channel marketing agency that supports technology businesses with profitable growth. Delivering resources as a complement to in-house teams or as a fully-managed out-sourced service, ResourceiT has delivered over 5,000 projects since 2003, generating an estimated £5bn for clients including Microsoft Lumen and Logitech. In 2017, Simpson co-founded The WIT (Women in Technology) Network, which now has 8,000 members in over 50 countries. Last year, with Microsoft, Simpson helped to create the trailblazing Technology Community 4 Racial Equality (TC4RE) community, which is dedicated to increasing racial representation across the technology sector.

Duygu Yenidogan-schmidt
Vice President, Global Head of Product and Marketing, American Express Network Services

As a Turkish immigrant, Yenidogan-Schmidt has worked hard to overcome stereotypes, and now advocates for women and under-represented minorities as a senior leader at American Express. She has held numerous roles across AXP and spearheaded AXP’s international strategy over the past decade as chief of staff to the president of AXP – subsequently as head of strategy for international consumer markets, and now as head of product and marketing for global network services. For the past two years, Yenidogan-Schmidt has been the chair of AXP’s Executive Women’s Network in EMEA and she has mentored 100+ colleagues and sponsored 20+ talented juniors from underprivileged backgrounds.

The panel

We would like to thank our expert panel of judges who, using their extensive knowledge and wealth of experience in the City, selected this year’s Inspirational Women from an impressive longlist

Sabrina Boanu-Williams MBE
Associate Banker, Barclays International Corporates

With 20 years’ experience in the banking sector, in 2013 Boanu-Williams was instrumental in launching a diversity and inclusion network at Barclays and was the lead for Black History Month within the bank for fi ve years. Her experience of being homeless at a young age has given her a passion for mentoring young people and working with charities, and after becoming a Barclays Citizenship Ambassador, in 2016 she developed an employability programme that made the Barclays Global Citizenship fi nals in 2018. This is now a social enterprise called Skills4Reform, and in recognition of her e  orts, Boanu-Williams was awarded an MBE in 2019’s New Year Honours list.

Zoë Chowney
Founder & CEO,
Broadcaster, Public Speaker, Writer and Activist

Chowney is a qualifi ed accountant, technology entrepreneur and trans woman. She founded the fi ntech to revolutionise the R&D tax claim industry; and is non-executive director to a number of other companies. She began her career with Allianz and AIG, before founding several internet ventures and completing funding rounds, IPO process and a trade sale. She later became European managing director of Israeli technology company Kenshoo. A frequent public speaker, broadcaster and writer, she serves as co-chair of Gay Women’s Network, founder and co-chair of Pride in Business, non-executive director of Series Q and is a member of the Tech London Advocates LGBTQ+ committee. She has been granted Freedom of the City of London and is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers.

Yasmin Sheikh
Founder, Diverse Matters

Sheikh is the founder of Diverse Matters, a training consultancy that helps organisations empower their workforce to be diversity-confi dent. A speaker, coach and trainer, she specialises in disability inclusion in the workplace, through her consultancy services, workshops, coaching and diversityfocused events. Previously she worked as a lawyer in the City for 12 years before setting up her own consultancy. Sheikh is also vice-chair of the Lawyers with Disabilities Division at the Law Society, as well as a multi-award-winning international speaker on diversity, including being a TEDx speaker.