Samantha Allen
Chief Executive Designate, North East and North Cumbria ICB

Samantha joined the North East and North Cumbria ICB from the South East where she was the chief executive of an NHS mental health and learning disability trust for the last five years.

Prior to this Samantha has worked in a range of operational management and leadership roles across healthcare. She is also chair of the Health and Care Women Leaders Network at the NHS Confederation, a member of The Kings Fund general advisory council and a member of the chartered management institute board of companions.

Sam started work in the NHS in 1996 and has a background in the operational management and leadership of mental health services and health and social care commissioning. Sam has also gained valuable experience working with an international healthcare organisation in the private sector.

As a Leadership Fellow at St. George’s House, Windsor Castle, Sam takes an active role in influencing culture and leadership development across the NHS.



Chief Executives panel discussion

Day 1 – Wednesday 24th April, 15.00 – 15.45


Mo Baines
Chief Executive at Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)

Mo has decades of experience in public policy work and in local government; with a specific interest in service delivery models in local government Mo is passionate about delivering excellence in public services. Mo contributes to research, press articles and creates local government policy events on a wide range of topics including climate change, commercialisation, housing and local government finance. Mo also works closely with trade unions on workforce matters, including carrying out numerous research projects, training workshops and as a guest speaker for events.



APSE overview on workforce matters in local government frontline services

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 11.15 – 12.00


Shonette Bason Wood
Founder Spreading the Happiness

Shonette Bason Wood thinks and acts differently. You’ll notice that from the way she presents herself and you’ll certainly feel it in her energy when you engage with her. She is a refreshing, reviving and realistic professional speaker both on and off the stage.

Shonette started her working life as a primary school teacher and moved into Educational Speaking and Consultancy Work. She has set up her own highly successful business in a very competitive market. Shonette has inspired many of tomorrow’s leaders to make effective changes. Having now made the transition from the classroom to the boardroom she is currently busy bringing her incredible thought processes and business building experiences directly into the conference arena and the corporate world.



PPMA Awards Evening host

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 19.30 – till late

Fringe session

Day 3 – Friday 26th April, 11.00 – 11.45


Dr. Max Blumberg
Expert in AI-Driven Analytics and Organisational Strategy

Dr. Max Blumberg is distinguished for his nuanced understanding of AI and analytics, focusing on their transformative impact on human resources and organisational structures. As the founder of the Blumberg Partnership, he has consulted for various sectors, including targeted projects for public institutions such as the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the UK. Holding a PhD in Psychology from the University of London, Max combines academic rigour with multi-disciplinary strategy, finance, and HR expertise. His consultative approach is geared towards delivering practical, data-driven solutions that optimise workforce operations and inform policy decisions. As a visiting academic and Chartered Psychologist, Max’s work synthesises scholarly depth and pragmatic innovation.



Unlocking the Future: How Local Councils Can Harness AI for Community-Centric Solutions

Day 3 – Friday 26th April, 11.45 – 12.30


Stella Chandler
Director, Focal Point

Stella has worked as a trainer, facilitator and coach at every level in a wide range of organisations, including government departments, private sector and not-for-profit organisations. She draws from a wealth of experience including 15 years in the Metropolitan Police Service, where she was the first civilian HR and Training Manager, and 3 years in the Internal Conduct and Efficiency Branch investigating the full range of misconduct and
performance issues.

She has run Focal Point since 2001, specialising in helping organisations tackle inappropriate behaviour at work. www.focalpointtraining.com

She is a fellow of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal and Development)


HR; are we handling the “bad banter”?”

Day 3 – Friday 26th April, 11.00 – 11.45


Polly Collingridge

Account Manager, the Cultural Intelligence Centre UK

Polly Collingridge is Account Manager at the Cultural Intelligence Centre UK, responsible for consulting with both new and existing clients from the private and public sector about the wide variety of intercultural challenges they’re facing. Polly holds an MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology and is also a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) certified facilitator. She has held sales and service delivery roles within the fields of employee wellbeing and global mobility and earlier in her career she sat on the board of the independent book publisher Canongate, where she ran the translation rights department. The thread that runs throughout these different experiences is her passion for facilitating connections, seeing things from different perspectives, and encouraging others to do the same. She is a firm believer in the role CQ can play in helping us work towards a more equitable society in which we all understand ourselves, and each other, a little better.


Unlocking Potential with Cultural Intelligence

Day 1 – Wednesday 24th April, 15.45 – 16.30


Dr. Dorian Dugmore
Director, Corporate Wellness

Dr Dorian Dugmore (PhD Cardiovascular Medicine) is internationally recognised as an expert in cardiovascular health, preventative medicine and wellness. His programmes have won World and European Best Practice awards for corporate wellness.

Dorian has been working in Cardiovascular Medicine and Wellness for 30 years and has written extensively on health, exercise and heart disease. His doctoral research conducted within the U.K. specialised in cardiovascular medicine and focused on the rehabilitation of post heart attack patients and was published in the prestigious journal “Heart”.

Dorian is one of the most sought after speakers on his subject of Wellness and speaks all over the World for businesses and organisations that are keen to understand the impact of Corporate Wellness on their performance.

​He has spoken at numerous events around the globe and provides his audiences with thought provoking tools and techniques which they can apply to both their work and home lives to enhance wellness.



Peak performance & resilience

Day 3 – Friday 26th April, 09.30 – 10.20


Alison Griffin
Chief Executive, London Councils

Alison Griffin took up her role as Chief Executive of London Councils – the cross-party organisation which is the collective of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation – in July 2021. She works with the Leaders Committee to deliver their agreed Shared Ambitions; promoting borough and partner collaboration for the benefit of London and Londoners.

Before joining London Councils, Alison was Chief Executive at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council from July 2017- July 2021. She was instrumental in developing Southend 2050, the resident and stakeholder led ambition for the Borough.

Prior to that Alison was director of finance and corporate services at the London Borough of Bexley (2014-2017) and has also worked at the London Borough of Camden (2004-2014) where amongst other roles she was Assistant Director Communities and Deputy Director of Finance. She is a Fellow of the Charted Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).



Keynote speaker

Day 1 – Wednesday 24th April, 16.30 – 17.15


Shokat Lal
Chief Executive, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Shokat joined Sandwell MBC as its Chief Executive in 2023 and will share a Chief Executives perspective on the challenges facing the HR, OD and Transformation community over coming years and how to influence and lead organisational decisions on these, at the top table. Shokat will also share how his personal experiences from his early career in HR have helped shape his approach as a Chief Executive.

Shokat is an experienced Senior Leader having spent much of his career delivering for communities across the Country in a range of top Local Government roles. Prior to joining Sandwell MBC Shokat was Executive Director at Barnsley Council, responsible for all Core Services, IT, Customer Services, HR & Organisational Development, Legal, Elections, Governance Services, Finance, Revenues & Benefits, Audit, Commercial, Communications & Marketing, Performance, Intelligence & Improvement and overseeing the council’s transformation programme. Shokat was previously Assistant Chief Executive at Rotherham Council and has held several Non-Executive Director roles for various NHS boards.



Keynote speaker

Day 1 – Wednesday 24th April, 15.00 – 15.45


Althea Loderick

Chief Executive, Southwark Council

Althea Loderick started as the Southwark council’s permanent chief executive and statutory head of paid service in May 2022. She has a wealth of senior executive level experience, having previously held the Chief Executive position at Newham Council and before that she was the Strategic Director for Resources in Brent Council and Chief Operating Officer in Waltham Forest.

Althea is Southwark Council’s first Black Chief Executive. The borough has one of the largest Black, Asian and minority ethnic populations in the country, and this appointment is another historic advance in the work to ensure that diversity is represented at all levels of decision making in Southwark.

Prior to re-joining local government, Althea held senior executive roles in National Agencies including the National Policing Improvement Agency (the forerunner to the College of Policing) and the National Offender Management Service and started her career in housing management in supported housing organisations. She has also previously been a management development consultant specialising in the not-for-profit sector and is CIPD qualified.

Althea holds a London-wide portfolio in the Chief Executives’ London Committee for crime and community safety and co-sponsors the Large Employers Group in the London wide Tackling Racism, Inequality and Disproportionality programme.

Althea is also a committee member for the RNLI.



Keynote speaker

Day 1 – Wednesday 24th April, 15.00 – 15.45


Prof Anthony Montgomery

Professor of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Northumbria University Newcastle

Anthony Montgomery is the Professor of Occupational and Organisational Psychology at Northumbria University Newcastle (UK). His research focuses on job burnout, organisational culture and healthy workplaces. Prior to this, he held academic positions in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Medical University of Bahrain, University College Cork (Ireland), and the University of Macedonia (Greece). Since 1999, he has successfully combined the roles of organisational consultant and academic. He has published material in both the scientific and popular press. He is actively involved in disseminating his research findings with the public in terms of blogs, podcasts and magazines. His education includes a BA in Psychology from University College Dublin (Ireland), a MLitt from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), and a PhD from Utrecht University (The Netherlands).



Creating Healthy Workplaces: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 12.00 – 13.00


Chris Twigg

Co-Founder & Director of Inner Circle

Chris Twigg is Co-Founder & Director of Inner Circle and sits on the MCA Board and Council.

Inner Circle are an award-winning project and management consultancy specialising in programme management, leadership and delivery in the public and private sectors.

They believe that the best solutions are yet to be discovered and the best outcomes yet to be delivered. That is why they work with senior leaders to prepare organisations for growth and help them deliver. Inner circle do this through an intimate understanding of your business, a relentless focus on delivery, and the use of techniques that challenge the status quo and bridge traditional disciplines.

They pride and differentiate themselves on the quality of their staff: their ability to understand problems, to lead multidisciplinary teams, to intelligently challenge, and to act flexibly, creatively and with integrity. Inner circle all have an intolerance for inertia and a desire to help their clients progress rapidly toward their goals; delivering progress.



What makes a great and successful recruitment campaign

Day 3 – Friday 26th April, 11.00 – 11.45


Kirk Vallis

Creative leader, coach and innovation skills trainer

Kirk helps leaders, teams and organisations use creativity to solve problems.

At Google, he does this in two ways – by partnering on projects where the team recognises they need to disrupt their thinking to develop new options, and also by training Googlers on the techniques and approaches that help us be even more creative on demand, when it’s needed most. Kirk Built Google’s Magic Academy, a revered program to help make creativity as valued a part of Googlers’ toolkit as knowledge and technical based skills. Where time permits, Kirk acts as an advisor, mentor and public speaker. He partners with organisations non-conflicting to Google, to help them develop creative capability at all levels in their organisations. This currently includes global organisations such as Adidas, Mastercard and ING. He also leads a module on creative problem solving for both the English Football Association UEFA Pro coaching licence and their Technical Director program. He recently supported England Rugby’s senior men’s team in preparation for the successful Summer 2022 tour of Australia. He is also an ambassador for Moving Ahead, a social enterprise focussed on helping drive greater inclusion and belonging to businesses all over the world.

Kirk has been a mentor to The Hope Fund for Cancer Research, helping some of the world’s most respected biologists, geneticists and Nobel prize winners, to disrupt traditional thinking. He has also led workshops at Wharton business school and Stanford, to help senior executives unlock even more creativity in themselves and their teams.

[email protected]


Disrupt or be Disrupted!

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 10.00 – 10.45


Helio Vogas

Leadership & Motivational speaker

You can see videos of him in action at www.heliovogas.com and raving reviews from people like the CIO at Unicef UK, an IBM Champion for Analytics, the president of the Polish Data Community, and more.

Hélio has spoken from local business breakfast groups to TEDx and the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria. From student assemblies to audiences of C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies. From data professionals to agile and scrum leaders.

He uses eye-catching demonstrations, humorous interactions with the audience and high-energy moments to drive the message home and make it memorable and inspire action.

With science-backed and business-proven tips and strategies explained in an interactive and engaging way, Hélio will give you the tools and strategies you need to become a more effective leader, especially under extreme stress.



Leadership in Crisis

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 14.00 – 15.00


Ritika Wadhwa

Chief Executive Officer, Prabhaav Global

Ritika was born and brought up in India. She went on to achieve an MBA in the UK and broke all barriers as an immigrant to Canada and the UK. Ritika has over 30 years of experience working at Board level across 3 continents, with senior stakeholders – within the public and private sector.

Ritika is on a mission to bring inclusion and innovation to the heart of organizations, and she believes that Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is a capability which can do that. Following her recent role as COO at the Cultural Intelligence Centre, Ritika is now the Founder and CEO of Prabhaav Global. Prabhaav means impact in Hindi and organization’s mission is to apply the transformational power of Cultural
Intelligence for impactful leadership.

Ritika is a CQ Certified Facilitator and a Fellow at the Society of Leadership Fellows, Windsor Castle. She sits on the Strategic Advisory Board member for British Transport Police and is a Trustee and Board Director at the 5% club. Ritika is also a sought-after Keynote speaker.



CQ Master Class

Day 2 – Thursday 25th April, 12.00 – 13.00