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Charity Technology Breakfast Briefing. Digital transformation: a question of culture?

14 February 2019

Interactive breakfast seminars which provide a unique forum for open debate and an opportunity to connect with your peers.

This event is now sold-out. We are running our next event 'Digital transformation: a question of technology? on the 26 March. Click here to book your place

We are delighted to announce the return of our Charity Technology Breakfast Briefings for 2019, a series of morning events which tackle the key issues facing charity IT leaders. The first of these events will focus on digital transformation and will take place on 14 February at the CIWEM Building, London.

The concept of digital transformation is in danger of becoming muddied due to overuse and misinterpretation. However, at its core it signifies a fundamental change in the way organisations are using technology, people and processes to deliver impact. In this seminar we intend to drill down into the cultural challenges facing many leaders trying to scale up their organisation’s digital capabilities

The event is run in partnership with Charity IT Leaders 

This event is designed to provide space for charities to debate with other charities. As a result, there are no corporate spaces available and we will withdraw places booked by non-charity delegates. We will issue a refund minus an administration fee of 15%.  


14 February 2019

  • 8.30AM - 9.10AM
    Morning coffee and networking
    Morning coffee and networking
  • 9.10AM - 9.15AM
    Chair's welcome
    Dan Hall, director of information technology services, Girls’ Day School Trust and chair, Charity IT Leaders 
  • 9.15AM - 9.45AM
    De-centralising digital: Putting technology at the heart of the organisation’s strategy
    One of the biggest challenges facing charity digital teams is the struggle to embed technology as a strategic part of the organisation and resisting the temptation to put digital in a silo. Cancer Research UK has recently tackled this head-on by uniting the IT and digital teams and enhancing tech skills at board level to elevate the role that technology plays in helping the charity to achieve its mission. Anne Bienia will share from behind the scenes what they have achieved so far, lessons learnt and a vision for the future. 

    Anne Bienia, senior strategy manager and change lead, technology, Cancer Research UK 
  • 9.45AM - 10.15AM
    Digital as a mind-set, not a skill-set

    Overseeing a digital team of thirty at Age UK, Lara Burns will argue that organisational culture is the most crucial component to digital transformation. Drawing on her personal experience and challenges, she will focus on championing collaboration and creativity, effectively stating a case for investment in technology, and avoiding the temptation for digital to be placed in a silo. In this talk, she will share what attributes she looks for and values most in her team and explore what kind of organisational culture best supports transformation and growth, as well as the role of charity digital leaders in helping to lay the foundations for change. 

    Lara Burns, chief digital and technology officer, Age UK 

  • 10.15AM - 10.45AM
    Networking and refreshment break
    Networking and refreshment break
  • 10.45AM - 11.15AM
    Xledger case study: Building a digital finance function for the future

    At the heart of any digital transformation are people, processes and systems. Xledger will share how they are working with a number of different charities to increase efficiency and digital capacity with a focus on keeping up with the rapid pace of change. Referring to practical examples including adopting a cloud based multi-tenant approach, this session will shine a light on the role that financials can play in streamlining your organisation's activities and increasing effectiveness on a shared system platform.

    Tim Hooper, sales and marketing director, Xledger

  • 11.15AM - 12.00PM
    Panel discussion: What happens when digital ambitions conflict with traditional objectives?

    Our panel will discuss some of the unique cultural challenges facing charity leaders championing change in traditional organisations. From achieving buy-in from the top down through to challenging funding models and organisational structures, what can we do to ensure our organisations keep up with the pace of change? 

    Chair - Tris Lumley, director of innovation & development, NPC
    Panellists - Lara Burns, chief digital and technology officer, Age UK, Polly Cook, digital service transformation lead, Parkinson’s UK, Lynn Roberts, head of digital and innovation, Action for Children and Michael Wilkinson, head of digital change, Clic Sargent 


  • Lara Burns

    chief digital and technology officer , Age UK

    Lara has worked in the world of digital for over 25 years. Her career has spanned working for digital publishers, consultancies, charities, government and leading digital agencies. At the Royal Horticultural Society she led innovative projects, including the successful RHS Grow Your Own app and the RHS podcasts. She has led Digital and Technology at Age UK for 5 years where her team focus not only on creating technology building blocks but also at creating change through digital innovation. This work has been recognised across the sector where Age UK have won 6 awards for their innovative digital projects. Lara was also named Digital Charity Leader of the Awards 2017 by #Social CEOS and Age UK won Digital Charity of the Year 2018 at Digital Leaders100 for its organisation-wide  digital transformation work. 

  • Lynn Roberts

    Head of digital and innovation , Action for Children

    Lynn Roberts is Head of Digital at Action for Children. With over 600 services, Action for Children supports 370,000 children, young people and families a year. The digital team works across fundraising, campaigning and digital services and recently established product development and innovation capacity. 

  • Anne Bienia

    Acting Head of Technology Products , Cancer Research UK

    Anne is currently the Acting Head of Technology Products at Cancer Research UK and leads a team of product managers who look after many of the charity’s digital products. 

    She recently led the development of a new technology strategy for the organisation taking an iterative and collaborative approach to the work to make sure it’s done with people, not to them. The team has set out an ambitious new vision for the role that technology and digital can play to help CRUK become an adaptive, resilient and innovative organisation. 

    Anne's work means that leaders at CRUK are now making digital a priority, embedding it into their operational plans, and are challenging themselves, their teams and third parties to adopt a test & learn approach and agile and lean ways of working. In 2018 she was shortlisted for a Woman in IT Excellence Award. 

    Before joining CRUK she spent a number of years in various digital publishing and content strategy roles at global organisations in the B2B and consumer goods sectors. 

  • Polly Cook

    Digital service transformation lead , Parkinson's UK
  • Tim Hooper

    Sales and Marketing Director , Xledger UK

    A sales professional with over 25 years' experience in sales and consulting from working within Start-Ups to large IT and Telecommunications companies. Tim has a wealth of knowledge of Charity and not for profit, helping them provide strategic transformation change into their organisations through the introduction of new emerging technologies.

  • Michael Wilkinson

    Head of digital change , Clic Sargent

    Michael Wilkinson is currently Head of Digital Change at CLIC Sargent, the UK’s largest children and young people’s cancer charity, where he is a key player in an ambitious programme of digital development. He was previously part of the digital transformation team at the Daily Telegraph where he was an online editor and political correspondent.


106-109 Saffron Hill

Location map and further information 



Early bird by 11 January

Standard fee (after 11 January)  

*All prices exc VAT  This event is designed to provide space for charities to debate with other charities. As a result, there are no corporate spaces available and we will withdraw places booked by non-charity delegates. We will issue a refund minus an administration fee of 15%

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).


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