About the Conference

The conference will provide a platform for delegates to participate in keynote sessions, panel discussions and with an opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues in an engaging and professional environment.

Speakers from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the United States of America and further field will provide their views on how women leaders working in equal partnership with men can deliver the best outcomes for our changing world.


Confirmed Speakers to Date

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Christine Aumayr is a Research Manager coordinating the reporting on working life developments for EurWORK, the European observatory of working life. Christine has worked on different aspects of wage setting, including collective bargaining, minimum wages, performance pay and the gender pay gap. 

She works closely with Eurofound’s network of correspondents, thereby generating comparative information across the EU. Before joining Eurofound in June 2009, she was working as a researcher at Joanneum Research, Austria. Christine studied economics in Graz, Vienna and Jönköping and holds a Masters degree and a PhD in economics.

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Dr Michael Wardlow is the Chief Commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a public appointment he has held since March 2012. Before joining the Commission he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education a post he held from 1995. 

Prior to this, following 7 years in commerce, the majority of his work experience, both paid and in a voluntary capacity, was in the area of peace building and reconciliation, interests which have presented opportunities for him to work in almost 40 countries.

In addition to being a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Michael is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute.  Michael is also aVisiting Research Fellow at the George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. 

He is married with two children and two grandchildren and lives in Belfast.

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Ryan is the Client Innovation Officer at The Dock, Accenture’s Global Centre for Innovation - a living, breathing innovation hub acting as an accelerator for Accenture and its clients to unlock value. It researches, incubates, prototypes and pilots new propositions with pioneering clients across multiple industries and sectors. The focus of his career over the past 20 years has been uncovering opportunities at the intersection of talent, business and technology.  

Ryan’s experience ranges from innovation to corporate operating model design to digital culture change and leadership development. 

Ryan has experience across several industries such as telecommunications, software, banking and the public sector. He is a global thought-leader on talent and the future of work who frequently presents at academic, governmental and business events. His recent publications and areas of interest include the future of work, human/robot collaboration and corporate innovation.

He has explored gender diversity issues facing Irish higher education as a member of its 2016 Gender Equality Expert Group and 2018 Gender Equality taskforce. Ryan is originally from the US, and acquired Swedish and Irish citizenship while being based for a number of years in Chicago, Stockholm and Dublin managing projects across North America, Europe and Asia.

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Anne Maglia is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Compliance at UMass Lowell. She provides oversight and direction for the Offices of Research Administration and Institutional Compliance and ensures effective administration of the university’s sponsored research portfolio, including compliance with sponsor terms, university policies, and regulations relating to the conduct of research. She also works with faculty to expand their interdisciplinary research collaborations and improve their extramural funding success rates.

Maglia served at the US National Science Foundation as a science adviser and program director for six years; prior to that she was an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology where her research focused on bioinformatics and biodiversity. She has a B.S. in Zoology from Ohio University, an M.S. in Biology from East Tennessee State University, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas. 

Maglia is a certified project management professional (PMP) and earned MS certificates in both Program and Project Management from the George Washington University School of Business.

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Dr. Holly Yanco is a Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Computer Science, and Director of the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, interface design, robot autonomy, fostering trust of autonomous systems, evaluation methods for human-robot interaction, and the use of robots in K-12 education to broaden participation in computer science. 

Yanco's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), including a CAREER Award, the Army Research Office (ARO), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM), Google, Microsoft, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Yanco was the General Chair of the 2012 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and the served as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the HRI Conference and Journal from 2013-2016. She served on the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) from 2006-2009 and was the Symposium Chair for AAAI from 2002-2005. She is a senior member of AAAI.

Yanco has a PhD and MS in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a BA in Computer Science and Philosophy from Wellesley College.

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Dr Nicola Millard heads up Customer Insight & Futures in BT's Innovation Team.  Despite working for a technology company, Nicola isn't a technologist and combines psychology with futurology to try and anticipate what might be lying around the corner for both customers and organisations (sadly, her crystal ball is broken).

Nicola has been at BT for 27 years. She has done a number of jobs around the BT business, including user interface design, customer service and business consulting. She was involved with a number of BT "firsts", including the first application of intelligent systems into BT's call centres and BT's initial experimentation with home working.

Nicola got her PhD from Lancaster University in 2005, published her first book in 2009 and now spends most of her time doing research, writing blogs, articles and white papers.

Nicola regularly pops up on radio and TV around the world, including appearances on 'Woman's Hour', 'Tech Tent', 'The Genius of Invention' and 'Back in Time for the Weekend' for the BBC. She has done 2 TED talks and is also a judge on a number of award panels, including the Institute of Customer Service, the CCMA and the Association of Business Psychology awards. In 2014, she was the recipient of the 'Outstanding Industry Contribution' award from the UK Contact Centre Forum.

When she's not doing all that, Nicola travels around the world presenting at conferences and running workshops with an assortment of BT's large multinational corporate clients including banks, government, airlines and retailers, to name but a few.

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Yvonne Galligan is Professor of Comparative Politics in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast. She is also Director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics and is Director of the Queen’s Gender Initiative. Professor Galligan has published extensively on gender equality issues in public life. Her recent publications include the books  Politics and Gender in Ireland: the quest for political agency (contributing co-editor with F. Buckley, 2015) and States of Democracy: Gender and politics in the European Union (contributing editor, 2015). 

She is expert in the political, legislative and legal aspects of national and European policy relating to gender equality, and is regularly commissioned by European institutions and agencies to provide comparative research reports. She was a member of the UK Independent Commission of Inquiry on The Consequences of Devolution for the UK House of Commons (the McKay Commission), in 2013.

She was also independent chairperson of the Irish Fianna Fail Markievicz Commission in 2015 on measures to implement the candidate gender quota of 30% that came into effect in the 2016 Irish general election. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. In 2014 she received an OBE for services to higher education, and in 2017 received an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from the University of Edinburgh.

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John joined Allstate NI in January 2016 as Managing Director responsible for over 2,200 employees based in Allstate NI's three locations in Belfast, Derry and Strabane. 

John joined Allstate Northern Ireland from Citi where he recently served as Head of their Belfast Service Center providing IT, operations, HR, legal, finance and risk services to the broader Citi group as one of 27 global delivery centers.

Before serving in this position, John held senior management roles as head of technology and as a business unit manager for Citi. John also has extensive experience in leading teams to set strategic goals and deliver practical solutions to address business and technology issues. These capabilities were built over many years working in senior leadership roles at Grafton Recruitment, Liberty IT, J P Morgan Chase, St George Bank Treasury and Merrill Lynch. 

John has strong relationships across a variety of industry, university and community settings including the board of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, the Employers’ Forum at Queen's University Belfast and the MATRIX technology foresight panel to name but a few. 

John earned his bachelors and masters degrees in Engineering and Computer Science from Queen's University Belfast.

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YouthAction Northern Ireland

Annette Feldman

Annette Feldmann is originally from Dinslaken, Germany. After completing her Social Work (B.A.) degree in Münster, Germany, she went abroad to complete her International Master of Peace, Conflict and Development (M.Phil.) in Castellón, Spain.

In her final thesis she explored the concept of Queer Pedagogy as a future model of formal and informal education that aims at transgressing norms of the heteropatricarchal society. 

Annette’s career started off at Northern Ireland’s oldest Peace and Reconciliation Centre, Corrymeela in Ballycastle, where she worked as a programme facilitator with community groups.

The focus of her work was to enable young marginalised women to develop positive relationships with themselves and others. From there, Annette moved on to first work at Girl Guiding Ulster, and then took a position as Programmes Coordinator at the Youth Hostel Association Northern Ireland.

Since January 2018, she also has been employed at YouthAction Northern Ireland running the Out&About programme, within the organisation’s Gender Equality Unit. Out&About specifically addresses young women aged 16 to 25 that are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Participants meet on a weekly basis at YouthAction for team building, fun activities and advocacy work. Additionally, the program offers one-on-one mentoring and seeks to create better LGBTQ+ awareness. In doing this, she develops resources, conducts research and delivers trainings within the social sector.

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General Manager of Red Hat Mobile

Clare Grant

Clare Grant GM of Red Hat Mobile has over 20 years of experience in mobile software, telecommunications and hi-tech electronics markets and is responsible for Red Hat’s global business strategy for Telecommunications and Financial Services. Clare joined Red Hat in October 2014 as part of the acquisition of FeedHenry, an Irish tech start up based in Waterford where she was VP of Marketing.

Prior to FeedHenry Clare held senior leadership positions in fast growing pre-IPO companies and large corporates including Antenna Software (acquired by Pegasystems, Virgin Media and Sony. Clare holds an MSc from Manchester University. Clare has held board positions for the Mobile Marketing Association and Women in Mobile Data.

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Belfast and Boston

Working together

Following the inaugural launch in Belfast future conferences are held in alternate years in Boston and Belfast.

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