Learn and network with these inspirational speakers.
adi Group – James Sopwith, Group Sales and Marketing Director
The New Optimists – Kate Cooper, Chair of the CSR Showcase 2015
We are pleased to welcome back our outstanding Chair from 2014, Kate Cooper, who leads The New Optimists. Kate can tell you about herself better than us…
The New Optimists began when I asked regional scientists to write something in response to the simple question: What are you optimistic about?
Much to my delight and surprise, over 80 scientists responded, two-thirds Professors, one a Vice Chancellor, and with disciplines ranging from stem cells to fuel cells.
So I set up a not-for-profit publishing company, asked Jenny Uglow to write a Foreword and published what the scientists had to say in The New Optimists: Scientists View Tomorrow’s World & What It Means To Us, a book launched by the BBC’s Science Correspondent, David Shukman, on the first day of the 2010 British Science Festival.
Now, three and a half years later and some 3,000 copies in circulation, The New Optimists is more than a publishing venture. It’s also a forum for regional scientists, now over 110-strong. They’re helping make our world a better place, shape our socio-political decision-making to respond better to the huge challenges we’re all facing — climate change, resource depletion and population pressures.
But how have we done this? Human cognition after all is poor at dealing with huge issues over vast geographies and time-scales. Hence we engaged the minds of these scientists on a scenario-planning project with a focus closer to home, namely possible food futures for Birmingham in 2050. It has proved timely, influential and huge fun.
Plus there are several important spin-off activities already: being asked by Defra to organise Birmingham as a case study for a UK city’s response to the draft Elliott Review recommendations; the setting up of a Birmingham Food Council, the scoping of Birmingham’s second bioenergy plant by EBRI at Aston University; the setting up of growingbirmingham.org to celebrate and promote urban food growing (worth less than diddly-squat in terms of feeding our population, but a great community builder, and with startlingly brilliant impact on public health); an Arts Council bid with mac birmingham to work with young creatives to generate a multi-media ‘stories from the future’ performance based on the scientists’ work . . . and there’s more in the pipeline.
NFU Mutual – Rob Jones, CSR Manager
After joining NFU Mutual as a professional trainee in the Life division, Rob has held a number of roles within NFU Mutual over a period of over 20 years. In 2002 he joined the corporate communications team and it is within that team that he operates in his current role as CSR Manager, a role which he has held for the past 5 years.
“People say the organisation’s changed; we’ve had to change. Communications and CSR are almost unrecognisable from what they were, say, 10 years ago. I think they’re becoming even more important too. We work with Macmillan Cancer Support, our official corporate charity, as well as looking after our environmental programme and our community work. I think people can be proud of working for a company like this; we do lots of work within the communities in which we operate and we hope to launch our employee volunteering programme in 2013. Seriously, I think I’ve got one of the best jobs in the company. I’ve read somewhere that these days potential employees really look at companies from a CSR perspective. As a mutual, we’re run for the benefit of our members – it’s in our DNA – and so we’ve got a great story to tell!”
Phoenix Group – Lucy Symonds, CSR Manager
Lucy is Corporate Responsibility Manager at Phoenix Group, working within the Engagement and Development team. She oversees the CR strategy for the Group, and has been instrumental in developing the CR programme that is in place today. Lucy manages the ongoing implementation of the programme, bringing together teams from across the Group to deliver the agreed goals.
Lucy manages the production of the annual CR report, working with stakeholders from across the Group, and this is now an important addition to the published Annual Report and Accounts. She chairs the CR Steering Group which is attended by members of the Executive Committee.
She joined the Group in 2003 and held roles in the Finance, Risk Management, Customer and Communications teams, before moving into the world of Corporate Responsibility in 2010.
KPMG – Helen Cuthill, Associate Director, Health Regulation
Being a responsible business is central to life at KPMG in the UK. It’s an approach that dates right back to the days of our founding fathers – Klynveld, Peat, Marwick and Goerdeler – who built the firm upon the foundations of truth and transparency. Today, this heritage has been distilled into our values and our purpose, to inspire confidence and empower change.
Everything we do at KPMG is about unlocking potential, whether it’s for our clients, our people, our suppliers or wider society. It’s clear to us that these issues require business, government and civil society organisations to collaborate to find viable long-term solutions.
Helen will talk about what this looks like in practice. What the firm offers employees in terms of encouragement, flexibility and opportunities. Discussing how she has been able to make this work alongside busy work and client commitments, and what the firm has done to support. Finally, how this is important not just to the UK practice but overseas as well, bringing a global corporation closer together.
National Grid – David Tilley, Distribution Networks Control Centre Manager
Dave is the manager of the Control Centre at National Grid that operates the gas distribution network. He makes sure that gas is supplied safely and reliably so that 11 million customers can keep warm.
Along with partners from schools for young people with special needs, Dave will be talking about EmployAbility – a scheme to generate life changing opportunities from supported internships. The scheme is in its second year of full operation at National Grid and is expanding to build on early success in creating employment for young people that as a group have only a 7% chance of finding a job. You will hear first hand from someone that has completed the scheme and is now in employment and you will hopefully be inspired to think about whether your business could be involved in the future.
Caterpillar – Jane Petcher, Talent Development Consultant