Charity People & Culture Conference 2019

19 September 2019 London

This conference is about instilling a positive working culture and putting in place the right strategies, processes and systems to build motivated and effective teams.

This conference is about instilling a positive working culture and putting in place the right strategies, processes and systems to build motivated and effective teams. Whether you manage one individual or a whole team this conference will benefit you.

We are pleased to reveal our overall theme for 2019 is 'Wellbeing & inclusion in modernisation.'

Download the brochure and booking form



19 September 2019

  • 9.00AM - 9.30AM
    Registration, refreshments & networking
    Registration, refreshments & networking
  • 9.30AM - 9.35AM
    Chair's welcome
    Introductions and ice-breakers

    Tania Mason, editor, Governance & Leadership
  • 9.35AM - 10.15AM
    Opening keynote: Power and solidarity in practice – your organisation and you
    Sabah Choudrey is a hairy brown transgender Muslim who co-founded Trans Pride Brighton in 2013 and has worked with queer, trans and non-binary youth since 2014. In this candid and reflective opening keynote, Sabah will share their own experiences working in the third sector of being ‘the only trans/brown person’ in the room, what that = says about power and (in)equality in charities for staff and beneficiaries, and why it’s so necessary to be aware, act transparently and sensitively with their organisational priorities. Sabah will also give simple actions for charities to demonstrate solidarity and be true allies with their LGBTQ and trans colleagues, people of colour and faith.

    Sabah Choudrey, queer and trans writer and speaker, community activist
  • 10.15AM - 10.45AM
    Speed networking or Building personal resilience in a fast-paced world
    Choose between the following interactive sessions:

    Speed networking:
    An early chance to meet fellow delegates and break the ice, moving from one to the other when the bell rings. Use this opportunity to learn about other charities, projects and the requirements of other attendees and swap business cards in a friendly, informal environment.


    Building personal resilience in a fast-paced world
    We live in complex, uncertain and ever-changing times. In order to navigate such times, we need to build resilience. This session gives attendees the opportunity to understand feelings of overwhelm or uncertainty that arise in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. We will explore what resilience means and how it can help us navigate, and thrive in, this modern and complex world. Attendees will learn five tried and tested strategies to take away and implement in their day to day lives.
    Hannah Massarella, founder, Bird
  • 10.45AM - 11.20AM
    Raising the bar for positive mental health in the charity sector
    Thankfully, mental ill health no longer carries the stigma it once did, but this societal shift has placed new responsibilities on organisations. By the nature of their work, charities employ some of the most at-risk personnel, particularly those that are sent overseas. What strategies and processes can organisations develop to minimise the risk to employees’ and volunteers’ mental health, and ensure they receive the right support to help them cope with the challenges they encounter in the course of their work?

    Tim Brangwyn, managing director, Millstream Underwriting and Simon Worrell, global medical director, the Collinson Group
  • 11.20AM - 11.50AM
    Networking and refreshment break
    Networking and refreshment break
  • 11.50AM - 12.20PM
    1A. Translating values into actions to create a happier workplace
    Four years ago, morale and motivation among the workforce at The Advocacy Project was at rock-bottom, with staff turnover above 50 per cent. The implementation of transparent and values-based leadership, along with targeted training and development and a comprehensive mental health and wellbeing programme, has transformed the charity’s culture and people’s relationships with the organisation – as evidenced by a massive improvement in staff survey results.

    Judith Davey, chief executive, The Advocacy Project
  • 11.50AM - 12.20PM
    1B. Live well. Work well: Embedding health and wellbeing in an organisation’s DNA
    • Developing and implementing a health and wellbeing strategy worthy of a world-class health charity
    • Integrating your health and wellbeing strategy into your people strategy
    • Designing campaigns and activities to engage staff and volunteers in a diverse and geographically spread organisation
    • Using employee survey data to create appropriate messages and interventions for different sections of your workforce
    • Changing the culture around mental health

    Kerry Smith, director of people and organisational development, British Heart Foundation
  • 11.50AM - 12.20PM
    1C. Implementing a diverse and inclusive culture through feminist leadership principles
    • Reflecting the mission of the organisation
    • Diversity at the leadership level – governance and management
    • Developing an inclusive culture
    • Providing support and training to all staff on diversity and inclusion
    • Learning and collaborating with external partners on diversity & inclusion
    Girish Menon, chief executive, ActionAid
  • 12.20PM - 12.55PM
    2A. Doubling and tripling organisation size without losing your culture
    • Reviewing the three stages of organisational growth
    • Engineering organisational culture in foundations of individual staff members
    • Mastering the alchemy of people
    • Investing in and valuing people on a shoestring
    • Understanding each member of staff as their whole selves – don’t work with just one part of a person
    • Asking better questions to truly understand staff challenges

    Sandra Schembri, CEO, The House of Barnabas

  • 12.20PM - 12.55PM
    2B. Practical means to tackle the charity sector’s mental health crisis
    • Understanding why supporting employees mental health is essential
    • Spotting and responding to signs of mental illness
    • Training and application of mental health first aiders

    Deborah Adwent, operations manager and Wendy Fielding, lead verification and standards officer for mental health and wellbeing, St John Ambulance
  • 12.20PM - 12.55PM
    2C. Closing the pay gaps
    • Assessing gender pay gaps in the charity sector
    • Understanding that pay equality is not about doing the same job, but about doing a job of equal value
    • Pay benchmarking
    • Developing a pay strategy to redress pay gaps

    Susan Cordingley, director of planning & resources, NCVO

  • 12.55PM - 2.00PM
    Lunch and networking break
    Lunch and networking break
  • 2.00PM - 2.30PM
    3A. The role of the HR department in upholding high standards
    A key responsibility of the HR function is to take a strategic lead to improve organisational performance. However, HR is also responsible for building and upholding the charity’s ethical reputation. This means that HR must not simply carry out management’s bidding, but should challenge proposals and actions which are unethical and, importantly, lead by example. Join this session to learn how an HR team can contribute to building a culture that empowers managers to effectively and fairly manage their staff, in ways that exemplify the organisation’s values and protect its reputation.

    Lorraine Robinson, senior people business partner and Emily Davis, organisational development manager, Mencap
  • 2.00PM - 2.30PM
    3B. Understanding and tackling bullying in the workplace
    • Why bullying occurs
    • Why bullying can go unchecked
    • Bullying’s effect on individuals
    • Developing a zero tolerance approach to bullying
    • Building firm policies which set out standards of behaviour
    • Investigating impartially and fairly
    Siobhan Endean, national officer, Unite the Union
  • 2.00PM - 2.30PM
    3C. Attracting, recruiting and retaining the best talent
    • Employer brand – how do we present ourselves to potential candidates?
    • Recruitment channels – how do we reach the widest possible pool of talent in a time & cost-effective way?
    • Application & selection – how do we ensure that our processes are accessible, streamlined and positive for all?
    • Onboarding & induction – how do we ensure that successful candidates have a warm & engaging experience between job offer and start date and into their first weeks?
    Sarah Broad, chief operating officer, NPC
  • 2.30PM - 3.05PM
    4A. Modernising the culture of a 195-year-old charity
    In recent years the RSPCA has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons – outdated governance, allegations of bullying, inconsistent leadership. But its new CEO is determined to put people and culture at the heart of its future as it approaches it’s 200th anniversary; he has bolstered the HR expertise, invested in management training and made clear that building a positive working culture is a top strategic priority. Join this session to hear the story of the RSPCA’s transition from an organisation rooted in tradition and old habits to a modern, forward-looking charity that cares as much about its people as it does about animals.

    Chris Sherwood, chief executive, RSPCA
  • 2.30PM - 3.05PM
    4B. Challenging attitudes to disability: How to be a disability-inclusive employer

    New research by Leonard Cheshire found that seven in ten disabled workers have had to drop out of work because of their disability or a health condition, even though employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to support individuals into and at work. What steps can charities take to make their organisations welcoming and inclusive places, and seize the opportunity of this untapped talent pool?

    Daniel Wiles, training and consultancy manager & Verity Ayling-Smith, training and consultancy advisor, Leonard Cheshire

  • 2.30PM - 3.05PM
    4C. Innovation in leadership, performance management and pay
    In the past few years, a transformation in RSPB’s people directorate led by Ann Kiceluk has covered everything from health, safety and wellbeing to diversity to volunteer management. More than half the workforce have now taken part in Developing One Team, a leadership programme delivered to line managers and cascaded to their teams which is changing behaviours and ways of working. But perhaps the most fundamental shift has been the overhaul of performance assessment and pay structures, to create a transparent and equitable new model and which links individual performance with charity strategy.

    Ann Kiceluk, executive director of people, RSPB
  • 3.05PM - 3.30PM
    Networking and refreshment break
    Networking and refreshment break
  • 3.30PM - 4.00PM
    5A. Taking people with you when you radically change course
    The National Lottery Community Fund has not only undergone a recent rebrand, it has transformed itself from a centralised, desk-based operation into a place-based funder that is rooted in local communities, both literally and figuratively. But this has required more than just new premises and systems; it has meant the workforce has had to adopt a whole new mindset
    – often easier said than done. Join this session to hear how Europe’s biggest
    community funder has carried out the biggest restructure in its history, and how it is effecting the culture change essential to make it a success.

    Neil Harris, head of people, National Lottery Community Fund
  • 3.30PM - 4.00PM
    5B. Creating an LGBT culture for both staff and clients

    St Mungo’s has appeared in Stonewall’s list of top 100 LGBT employers for the last six years, and this year was also one of 14 organisations named as a Top Trans Employer. Inclusion is one of St Mungo’s five core values and the charity makes sure LGBT awareness and inclusion are a key pillar of the organisation’s culture.

    In this session, Addison Barnett of Inclusive Employers will outline how organisations like St Mungo’s can utilise EDI networks and trans policies to create a trans-inclusive environment for both staff and beneficiaries. Addison Barnett worked for St Mungo’s as a project manager and LGBTQIA+ network coordinator before joining Inclusive Employers as a consultant and trans inclusion specialist.

    Addison Barnett, Inclusion and Diversity Consultant, St Mungo’s
  • 3.30PM - 4.00PM
    5C. Safeguarding reality check: Where are we and where should we be?
    Join this session to hear from the co-chairs of the Bond/DfID working groups
    on safeguarding on:
    Instilling employees, volunteers, consultants and service users with the confidence to come forward if they witness or experience bad practice
    The role of trustees, managers and individuals in ensuring everyone
    connected with the organisation is kept safe
    Adopting a survivor-centred approach to investigations and complaints

    Kathryn Gordon, executive director, people & organisation development, VSO; Clare Conaghan, executive director of HR and Frances Longley, executive director for programmes and policy, CARE International UK
  • 4.00PM - 4.50PM
    Panel debate: #AtWhatCost: Tackling sexual harassment and misconduct in the charity sector
    The Presidents Club, Oxfam, Save the Children, “handsy” fundraising gurus, #AidToo - the last couple of years has seen a steady stream of stories exposing sexual misconduct in charities at home and abroad. Join our expert panel who will consider the extent and severity of the problem, advise how to create a robust sexual misconduct policy, and explore how to change the individual attitudes and power imbalances which contribute to sexual harassment in the sector.

    Ruby Bayley-Pratt, policy and research manager (fundraising), British Red Cross; Peter Reeve, chair, Charities HR Network; Diane Chilangwa Farmer, trustee, Concern Worldwide; Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, founder & editor-in-chief of the Women in Leadership publication; Caoileann Appleby, project leader, Rogare Gender in Fundraising task group
  • 4.50PM - 4.55PM
    Chair's closing remarks
    Tania Mason, editor, Governance & Leadership
  • 4.55PM - 5.00PM
    Networking drinks reception
    Networking drinks reception

Speakers at Charity People & Culture 2019


Girish Menon, chief executive, ActionAid

Girish Menon, Chief Executive of ActionAid UK, has worked in social development for three decades. He started his career with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, an Indian NGO, and followed this with stints at ActionAid, Plan India and DfID India.

Prior to his current appointment, Girish worked for WaterAid, in London, for ten years. As WaterAid’s deputy CEO and Director of International Programmes, he held responsibility of supporting their work in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Girish was trustee on the boards of Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor (WSUP) and People in Aid.  He is currently Trustee of the Disaster and Emergency Committee (DEC) and on the Board of ActionAid Netherlands. 


Ruby Bayley-Pratt, policy and research manager (fundraising), British Red Cross

Ruby works in the Fundraising Strategy Team at the British Red Cross enabling the organisation to adapt to changes in the policy environment for fundraising and the wider charity sector, managing fundraising ethics, and delivering research projects for fundraising teams. She is also a Trustee of period poverty charity Bloody Good Period.

Previously, she worked at Amnesty International UK managing and supporting strategic fundraising projects and at the MS Society to deliver a fundraising change programme and a £107m capital appeal.  Ruby can't help but bring her feminism to her work; she led a Women and Non-Binary Group at Amnesty and is a founding member of the Gender Equality Network at the British Red Cross.


Sabah Choudrey, queer and trans writer and speaker, community activist

Sabah describes themselves as 'a hairy brown transgender Muslim' who likes talking, writing and feelings. Sabah co-founded Trans Pride Brighton in 2013 and made The Rainbow List in 2015, celebrating 101 of the most influential LGBT people in Britain. Sabah has published ‘Inclusivity: Supporting Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) Trans People’ and has worked with queer, trans and non-binary youth and charities for over five years. Since then, Sabah has been building a presence across UK and Europe, speaking at TEDx Brixton 2015, ILGA Europe 2016, IDAHOT Brussels 2017, and Malmö Pride 2017/18 about intersectionality, identity and inclusion. Psychotherapist in training. Social justice fighter in training. Top three passions right now: carving out spaces for queer and trans people of colour, making friends with cats, and taking selfies from bad angles. 


Sandra Schembri, CEO, The House of Barnabas

Sandra has been CEO of the House of St Barnabas since 2011. The House of St Barnabas is a charity that helps London's homeless back into work, including a social enterprise members’ club and an Employment Academy that exist to break the cycle of homelessness.

Sandra is an experienced chief executive officer with a demonstrated history of working within the social enterprise and not-for-profit sector and leading on transformational change. She is a Charity Bank Change Maker of the year, was named as a top WISE 100 (Women in Social Enterprise), a Nesta new Radical and a Grant Thornton Face of the Vibrant Economy.


Sarah Broad, COO, NPC

Sarah joined NPC as Chief Operating Officer in 2017 and is responsible for all aspects of NPC’s internal working environment. Sarah is a qualified Chartered Accountant and completed her training with PricewaterhouseCoopers before taking on a variety of roles in both the private and charity sector including Computershare, STA Travel and Leonard Cheshire.

Sarah is also a trustee of PLUS, an adult learning disability charity in London, and board advisor to Mosaik Education, a charity that works with communities and technology to support refugees into higher education.

Other confirmed speakers include: 

  • Chris Sherwood, chief executive, RSPCA
  • Deborah Adwent, operations manager and mental health first aid, St John Ambulance
  • Siobhan Endean, national officer, Unite the Union
  • Susan Cordingley, director of planning & resources, NCVO 
  • Lara Burns, chief digital and technology officer, Age UK 
  • Peter Reeve, chair/head of HR, Charities HR Network/Motor Neurone Disease Association 

Sponsors & Exhibitors

Headline Sponsor 

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With thanks to our exhibitors


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  • Thought provoking, fun, stimulating, good to step back from the everyday to really think about what matters both professionally, morally and personally – Andrea Metcalf, ActionAid UK
  • Very useful mix of content and case studies. Plenty of time to meet and talk with others from the sector – Margaret Davies, The Glass Lift
  • This conference is one I really make time to attend each year, it’s so inspirational and a great chance to meet and chat with likeminded people – Jane Gurney, EHAAT
  • Interesting and innovative approach to the programme; wide range of speakers and topics – Katy Amberley, BSH
  • Thought provoking, challenging and affirming – Elaine Floodgate, Catch 22
  • Networking and shared learning both of best practice and of lessons learnt the hard way – Natalia Lester-Bush, Tearfund
  • Well organised, excellent speakers, perfect venue, well done! – Roopa Vyas-Smith, Barnet Carers Centre
  • Civil Society Media sets the bar high again. Excellent venue, well considered theme and I was honoured to be included in a list of high calibre speakers - Sarah Pryce, Cornwall Air Ambulance
  • Really well organised – great venue and an interesting range of speakers (particularly keynote speaker and final panel) – Laura Hines, Birmingham Diocesan Trust
  • Informative, well-structured day. Loved the honesty and openness from the speakers – Jane Watkins-Shore, St Giles Hospice
  • Excellent event whereby learning has been exceptional value – Tracey Elvin, Changing Lives
  • Good to hear the experiences of other organisations – Debbie Reed, Royal Mencap Society
  • Very informative – Amanda Walford, St Richard’s Hospice


Phone 020 7819 1208

Great ways to save!

  1. Be an early bird!
    Book your place by 12 July to save up to £100 off the ticket price.
  2. Attend with your team!
    Ensure your whole team benefits from a great day's learning. With the Charity Team Ticket you can send up to four people for less than £150 each, saving your charity 40% on the booking fee.
Ticket type Early bird
(booking made by 12 July)
Booking after 12 July

Small charity
(income <250k)

Charity delegate £259 £309 £199
Charity Team Ticket £639 £769
Non-charity delegate £699 £749  

Terms & Conditions

Please note that speakers and topics were confirmed at the time of publishing, however, circumstances beyond the control of the organisers may necessitate substitutions, alterations or cancellations of the speakers and/or topics. As such Civil Society Media Ltd reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or topics if necessary. Any substitutions or alterations will be updated on our web page as soon as possible.

Substitution and cancellation policy: On receipt of your booking form, your place is confirmed. Delegate substitutions are allowed. Refunds on cancellations will only be issued (less a 15% administration charge) up to and including 14 days prior to the event. Refunds will not be issued after this date. Confirmation of cancellations MUST be in writing and sent or faxed to Civil Society Media at 15 Prescott Place, London, SW4 6BS 020 7819 1200 (fax: 020 7819 1210).