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IoD East Midlands – Diversity in Leadership Convention 2021

23 Apr 2021
IoD East Midlands Online , Online

This event is a continuation of our Annual Women as Leaders Convention. A showcase of female leadership, the importance of women being in leadership roles and the need for increasing women’s presence in top roles within businesses and on boards.

This year we go beyond gender diversity and look at diversity as a whole; the progress made within the workplace and the gaps that still need to be filled.

“Inclusivity isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must-have” - Charlotte Valeur

Key details

Date & time: 23 Apr 2021 13:00 - 16:00
Location: IoD East Midlands Online , Online
CPD Hours:

Prices from

0.00 GBP + VAT - Member
0.00 GBP + VAT - Non Member

Event manager:
Ms Cari Grice
Contact phone:
0115 857 8170
Contact email:

Diversity on boards lead to more creative and varied ideas. As a result organisations with more diversity in decision making roles are more likely to build successful organisations. This convention focuses on the importance of diversity for encouraging innovation and growth, bringing speakers from across the nation with varied backgrounds and inspirational stories

The IoD is committed to increasing the diversity of the boards in the private, public and third sectors; and to supporting those aspiring to senior leadership positions.

This event focuses on the importance of leadership and how to be an effective leader, resulting in better directors and better businesses.

Final speakers are being confirmed so please keep an eye on the website for more speakers being added.

Why attend?

We all sit within an organisational culture whether it is one we create ourselves in our own businesses or one that we work in that’s evolved over time.

But do we make proactive decisions to recruit for diversity and inclusion, understanding that there is strength in varied viewpoints?

You may be yet to employ someone in your business or you may already have a significant workforce so what do you look for in your team?

Do you tend to look for someone just like you or do you appreciate that bringing complementary skills and thought processes builds a stronger business?

At this convention we want to address the opportunities a diverse and creative workforce can bring you and how you can cultivate that as a leader. You will hear from speakers with inspirational stories who have faced adversity but have also broken through the diversity glass ceiling and fought for inclusion.

We want to inspire you to appreciate that leading a diverse team will bring you greater results through both employee engagement, how your customers view you and ultimately your bottom line.


1:00pm - Welcome and Introductions
1:10pm - Keynote one - Sophie Turner, Founder of #YesSheCan
1:30pm - Interactive Workshop - How Well Is Your Organisation Appreciating Diversity and Cultivating Inclusion?
2:10pm - Screen break
2:15pm - Panel Discussions - The hypothesis that diversity is a prerequisite for innovation and growth in organisations.
3:05pm - Keynote two - Ruchi Aggarwal, Director of Business Development at Lincoln International Business School
3:25pm - Summary
3:40pm - Breakout rooms for networking (Optional)
4:00pm - Event Close



Ruchi Aggarwal, Director of Business Development at Lincoln International Business School

Sophie Turner, Founder of #YesSheCan

Sophie is a qualified D&I professional & coach who founded #YesSheCan, an organisation that helps women to break their career glass ceiling and works alongside progressive businesses to positively impact Diversity & Inclusion.

Panel Speakers

Mark Esho, Director of Easy Internet Services; Easy Internet; Dreme.

Mark Esho graduated from De Montfort University in 1994 after obtaining an MBA in Business Administration. Though a Masters degree is a notable achievement for most people, for Mark this marked the culmination of years of hard work battling against the many obstacles that got in his way.

When Mark was five years old, he went from a happy, carefree child to becoming paralysed overnight. He had contracted the poliovirus, which by that point should have been eradicated from the UK. He was initially given a 10% chance of survival but not only did he survive - he thrived.

Mark has overcome what others might perceive as insurmountable obstacles to become the man he is today. His positive, can-do mindset has meant that not only did he finish his studies and graduate from De Montfort, but he went on to become the Founder of several successful businesses - Easy Internet Services, a digital marketing agency, Easy Internet Solutions, a web hosting company, Dreme, a property investment company and in 2019 Access Rating a Community Interest Company (C.I.C).

In 2018 Mark’s autobiography, I Can. I Will. became a number one bestseller on Amazon. He was highly commended in the IoD Director of the Year (SME) 2016, in 2019 winner of the IoD Director of the Year (East Midlands), in 2020 IoD Director of the Year commendation (Midlands) and East Midlands Leadership Awards Winner.

He now spends his time running his businesses and public speaking at events.

Mark will teach you that it doesn’t matter what obstacles life throws at you - it’s how you respond that counts!

Kerrin Wilson QPM, Assistant Chief Constable Lincolnshire Police

Kerrin has been Assistant Chief Constable with Lincolnshire Police for more than two years. Prior to this, she headed Cleveland & Durham (Police) Special Operations Unit, the culmination of 27 years’ service across four North East Forces. During her career she has also worked overseas in a policing capacity in Iraq, Australia and USA. 

Her background includes operational uniform, CID and specialist roles. Kerrin has also worked in hostage negotiating across the world and is a strong advocate for BAME and women’s aspirations.

She is currently the IoD Greater Lincolnshire & Rutland Ambassador for Policing & Criminal Justice.

Debra Charles, CEO & Founder of Novacroft

Debra Charles is CEO and Founder of Novacroft, a 450 strong ‘people first’ team of specialists in smart technology and customer care.

An expert in integrating people, processes and technology to help transform organisations to be fit today to thrive tomorrow, Debra is passionate about harnessing technology to make a meaningful impact on society. Today, 32m people use Novacroft’s products and services.

As a visionary, Debra sees both the global opportunities and perils that will evolve as we move toward and go beyond 2030.

Debra’s ‘People First’ mission shines a light on the future of humanity and work. Debra provides practical support and promotes diversity, social, emotional, and technological skills that will be increasingly essential differentiators between humans, robots, and artificial intelligence systems of the fast-approaching Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Debra and her team at Novacroft founded the CharityForum to help the charity sector survive snd thrive the pandemic. Running bi-weekly practical support sessions throughout the pandemic proved very successful.

Debra is a trustee of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, a co-founder of The Kindness Movement who encourages kindness in school children worldwide. A Cranfield University Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year and a University’s Advisory Board member.

In 2019, Debra was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Cranfield University for her work in shaping UK business.

Joe Fitzsimons, Head of Education and Skills Policy at the IoD

Joe joined the IoD in September 2015 as a graduate executive at IoD Student, before proceeding to lead the department. In this role, he oversaw the Institute's university partnerships and student engagement across the UK. He supported over 20 educational institutions to improve their student engagement and development through training, events and mentorship.

Joe joined the Policy Unit in December 2019 as the Head of Education and Skills Policy, before becoming a Senior Policy Advisor in October 2020. In addition to Education & Skills, and Future of the Workforce, Joe now leads the IoD’s Sustainability, and Diversity & Inclusion policy work.

Joe is passionate about supporting organisations and their leaders to improve on these policy areas. In his role he also seeks to promote higher standards in education, as well as a skill system that genuinely prepares people to meet the needs of the business community.

Joe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from London South Bank University and an Executive MBA from Nottingham Trent University. He also sits on the curriculum advisory board for the school of Business and Enterprise at London South Bank University.

Kingsley Johnson, Managing Director, Kinetic People Development

Kingsley Johnson is the founder and managing director of Kinetic PD, a training and consultancy company that helps organisations embed the psychology of elite sport in their teams, supporting leaders to develop high-performance cultures and drive behaviour change.

Kingsley has always been fascinated by the self-awareness and discipline required to be an elite athlete. He has found his calling with a team that includes Olympians and World Champions, who love applying lessons learned through sport such as confidence, resilience, teamwork and high performing mindsets.

Previously, Kingsley held consulting and management positions with leading professional service firms and an independent training business.

David Gordon, Associate Professor of Marketing, Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University

David started running his first business when he was a student and went on to invest in Leicester’s Luxor nightclub. He returned to university to gain an MSc in Strategic Marketing. He then worked for Sage plc, Pegasus plc, and spent 15 years at IBM in marketing management roles.

In addition to a full-time commercial role, David spent 19 years lecturing at De Montfort University, in a part-time (evenings and weekends) capacity, leading a variety of modules. David left IBM five years ago to take a full-time position at De Montfort University, and is now an associate Professor of marketing, and heads the marketing team. In addition, he is programme leader for the three postgraduate marketing qualifications, and head of employability for marketing students.

David says he has a passion to give back to society and describes it as an ‘emotional journey’ to teach and inspire his students. “Part of the satisfaction of my role comes from watching them grow and develop and helping them find jobs”.

David was involved in the diversity groups at IBM, and presented at the Disability group meetings. In addition, David is active with the De Montfort University diversity groups and is the marketing student diversity contact. “We live in a world where thank heavens everyone is different, and we need to embrace this uniqueness”.



Prices from

0.00 GBP + VAT - Member
0.00 GBP + VAT - Non Member


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