Writer, Poet & Thinker
Ali is a writer, poet and thinker who has spent her life asking questions, and discussing life, the universe and everything in it. She’s the author of ‘soul survival guide’, a book that explores common ideas and approaches from the spiritual and psychological worlds, such as kindness and positive thinking.
During the pandemic, Ali wrote the ‘soul survival guide: pandemic a-z’, which led on to a pocketbook of poetry, ‘we’re all new to this – words of comfort & encouragement during the pandemic’. She shared the poems on railings and shop windows around Northenden in Wythenshawe, Manchester as part of an ‘Up Your Street’ event.
In December 2021, Ali created Connection Fest - a month-long online festival – with the support of the Camerados, to bring people together to explore and celebrate connection and what it means to us. Ali shared her second collection of poetry, ‘Days of Grace’, in January 2022. She describes it as soulcraft for uncertain times.
CEO, The River Reeves Foundation
Ben is the Secondary School Lead at Islington Borough Council, responsible for developing partnership working across the Borough’s 11-19 education sector. Ex-secondary headteacher, Ben, works with local authorities to support leaders to bring about transformational change through stronger partnership working within a system-led, school-to-school model.
Ben is founder and CEO of the River Reeves Foundation, a charity set up by Ben and his wife Sharon, when his son, River Reeves, was tragically killed in an accident in Sweden in 2016 along with his Viola Beach bandmates and manager.
The Foundation provides bursaries to disadvantaged young people who need support to develop their artistic talents and achieve big goals within the performing and visual arts. The annual RivFest Weekender music festival and the charity’s Vintage Viola pre-loved store both raise vital funds for the Foundation. Ben also set up Warrington Youth Rowing to open up the sport of rowing to disadvantaged pupils.
Director of Conservation Education
Charlotte is Director of Conservation Education at Chester Zoo. She has spent 20 years leading environmental and social justice education programmes in cultural organisations. She believes passionately in the role of well-planned education interventions in empowering people to fulfil their potential and shape the world for the better. Whether working on local grass root initiatives or large international campaigns, Charlotte enjoys collaborating with people, sharing ideas and building capacity in others.
For the last five years she has been working with talented colleagues, pedagogical experts and schools across the North West, to empower young people to take action for wildlife as part of their school based education. She is looking forward to sharing her findings on the TEDxWarrington stage.
Director, Shared Harmonies CIC
In 2013, Emma founded Shared Harmonies CIC, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in creative development services for companies and communities, with the aim of improving connection, confidence and wellbeing through inspirational singing.
Shared Harmonies helps organisations explore leadership, team work and wellbeing, guiding participants through an experiential journey, applying learning to their own practice and developing clear actions. All profits are reinvested to support health and wellbeing community programmes, including COPD, mental health, cancer, Parkinson’s and dementia.
During the pandemic, Emma expanded Shared Harmonies by developing creative ways to reach more people that needed support, connecting hundreds through co-producing songs. They won awards and came runner-up in the Song for Yorkshire competition. Emma was awarded a Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award for services to communities and was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Illustrator and improviser
John is an illustrator and an improviser comedian. He believes in the power of improvisation skills to create conversation, help us make decisions, and navigate through life.
Since 2020, John has been focusing on building his reputation as an illustrator and teaching the benefits of improvisation for teams. If you know where to look, you can find him at comedy clubs in the guise of his character act, Danny Pensive.
John’s proudest achievement is successfully running a kickstarter campaign to publish his graphic novel ‘Distance’. The book is an illustrated diary of his life during the pandemic and lockdowns as it happened. He is an ambassador for Manchester Road Runners, an amazing bunch of folks who support social running for everyone.
Creative Executive Coach
Research Scientist turned award-winning business leader and now Executive Coach – Kate Jenkinson knows a thing or two about personal and professional transitions! Having worked at the most senior levels of executive leadership in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, Kate has a values-driven coaching style that complements her evidence-based professional practice.
Executive coach by day and a performance poet by night, Kate is one of a handful of LinkedIn Business Poets (coining the term herself in 2016). She crafts ‘pecha kucha’ style keynotes where ‘Poetry is Leadership’, as well as spontaneous spoken word finales for charity awards ceremonies and leadership conferences.
During the pandemic, Kate re-evaluated her priorities and decided to focus on personal happiness. For her this meant putting family first, helping others find their flow and giving back to those who have nothing. She achieves this through conversations, coaching and poetry - and has never been happier.
Development Consultant and Leadership Coach
Kate Trafford is a Master Coach and speaker on the subject of authentic, enjoyable and sustainable success. She helps busy professionals, and their organisations, to drive for their dreams, and love the journey! Her clients include emerging leaders in organisations such as Google, Turner & Townsend, Serco and BEIS.
Kate is also a Master Hypnotherapist, an avid fan of musical theatre, and loves long walks and nourishing conversations with friends. She is currently writing her first book.
Learning and Performance Improvement Expert
Kerry is a learning and performance improvement expert with 25 years’ experience of delivering exceptional results. She is fascinated by understanding what makes people tick and helping them to unlock their potential.
After a very successful career in Learning and Development, Kerry is now the Managing Director of Oomph Learning and Development Ltd. She loves to use Insights and Clarity4D colour profiling tools to help people understand themselves to build meaningful connections. She’s passionate about supporting young people and has worked both in education and with adults transitioning out of the care system.
Whilst her children were younger, Kerry was always actively involved in the local community as a member of various school PTAs, as well as being a Rainbow and Brownie Leader. She supported her husband and their friends when they co-founded Sandymoor School under the Government’s Free Schools programme and is now proud to be a mentor for The Girls Network.
Founder, The Wheelchair Skills College
Pete has been a wheelchair user for 15 years and has worked in third sector disability organisations for more than a decade. Pete has a wealth of experience working at local, national and global charities to empower disabled people through skills development, advocacy and campaigning for a more inclusive society.
Whether it’s taking a 71-hour train journey across the Kazakh step, driving through the mountains of Kurdish Iraq or struggling to get on the 344 bus to work because the wheelchair space is full of prams, the challenges of physical disability have given Pete resilience and a unique insight into a world where 1 in 5 people has a disability.
With goals of making societal change happen, Pete aims to empower the disabled community while challenging the antiquated structures that are there to support. This motivated him to form The Wheelchair Skills College with the vision of ensuring that every wheelchair user has access to essential life skills.
Rachel runs her own neurodiversity consultancy. She trains companies on how to reach, recruit and develop neurodiverse staff. She also helps people build on their strengths whilst overcoming their challenges.
She’s autistic, mildly dyspraxic, and has ADHD. Rachel has authored a booklet, ‘How to Treat Autistic People’, produced an award-winning poster on autism, and is co-founder of the Neurodiversity Association. She plays football, loves nature, and is obsessed with food.
Russell has been practising mindfulness and meditation since his early thirties and started to teach in 2013, with a Diploma (Distinction) in Teaching Meditation and a certificate in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
Recent and current clients include Cheshire Police, Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhino’s and Widnes Vikings professional rugby players, The Alzheimers Society, The Imperial War Museum and various local Councils. He enjoys working in prisons, schools, men’s mental health groups and with the Rugby Football League.
Russell is also a Mentor for the charity Treasure Your Wellbeing, which delivers outreach mindfulness, and a coach with the Rugby League Foundations OFFLOAD programme for men.