We are delighted to announce the following speakers for the London 2023 Conference. Details of our other speakers will be added shortly.
Friday 3 November 2023
President Soroptimist International
Maureen is President of Soroptimist International and commenced her 2 year biennium on 1 January 2022. Recognising, the importance of education, empowerment and enablement, Maureen selected “Education” as the theme for the SI President’s Appeal during her biennium.
She believes that education and training is essential to achieving gender equality – empowering women and girls to be change leaders, and contribute to and benefit from an inclusive and sustainable future. Education, a basic human rights for all people, is the one area that is required by all of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all people.
Maureen began her journey as a Soroptimist in 1989 and is a member of SI Portadown, Northern Ireland. Serving at Club, Regional, Federation, and SI levels, (roles too numerous to mention!), Maureen held the role of President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) from 2011 to 2012.
During her professional life, she worked for 38 years within the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services, in the Procurement and Supply, Contracting, Facilities Management, and Primary Care sectors, before setting up her own Consultancy Company.
She has a Master’s Degree in Public Procurement, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Supply Management, and Health Services Management, in addition to being a Trustee and Board member of two organisations: Training for Women Network (TWN), and United Nations Association, Northern Ireland Region.
She has also played an important liaison role with the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland, working on increasing awareness of, and helping to reduce the incidence of Modern Day Slavery.
TV Broadcaster and Marine Biologist
Monty Halls is a British TV broadcaster and marine biologist best known for his BBC Great Escape series Monty Halls’ Great Escape, Monty Halls’ Great Hebridean Escape and Monty Halls’ Great Irish Escape, during which he lived and worked in remote parts of the UK and Ireland with his dog Reuben.
He also presented the multi-award-winning series ‘Great Barrier Reef.’
Monty also participated in a ground-breaking expedition series called ‘Lost Worlds’ for the Discovery Channel.
In 2018, for Channel 4’s ‘My Family and the Galapagos’, Monty and his family moved to the Galapagos Islands to experience the wonders and challenges of his favourite place on earth.
Saturday 4 November 2023
Tracey Horner has dedicated her career to having a positive impact on the world around us. Starting at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Tracey spent over a decade honing her fundraising expertise to help address the greatest threats to life on this planet and to protect our natural resources.
In 1997, Tracey moved from the WWF to CARE International UK, an organisation driven to address the root causes of poverty through its projects. Having held the position of Head of Individual Giving for several years, Tracey was given the opportunity to launch a new platform to help small business owners lift themselves out of poverty through CARE.
Lendwithcare was born in 2010, and Tracey has since held the essential position of Head of Lendwithcare. Her role today oversees the operation of Lendwithcare, which provides life-changing loans to small business owners in 12 low-income countries, from Pakistan to Malawi. To find out more, please visit www.lendwithcare.org
Programme Action Panel Session (10.00 Saturday 4 November) Speakers
To be chaired by Christine Corless, UKPAC
A Soroptimist for 20 years, Chris Corless led the Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts project in the Midlands in 2019-20 and was actively involved in rolling this project out throughout England in 2022. Along with many others who were actively involved in the observations, she hopes that the final report, as well as raising our profile, will result in changes being made to the Criminal Justice system so that the victim experience is less traumatic than at present. She continues to work towards that target with the working group set up to plan our future action in this area.
Chris is extremely enthusiastic about Programme Action and is currently Vice Chair of the UK Programme Action Committee and has been proactive in setting up the Women’s Safety Working Group and working on and promoting potential new projects in this area.
Following a house move to Oxfordshire, Chris is now a member of SI Oxford & District, having spent the first 19 years of her Soroptimist life with SI Lichfield & District.
Speaker 1: Divya Arya, Women’s Affairs Reporter
Divya has been telling people’s stories for two decades now. Navigating video, audio and text mediums across English and Hindi languages, she explores human rights and social justice issues with a gender lens. Divya’s first book, Postbox Kashmir: Two lives in letters, traces the political history of Kashmir and rest of India through conversations between two young girls.
An award-winning journalist with the BBC she has also presented the global news programme OS on BBC World Service Radio from its London newsroom and the chat show WorklifeIndia on BBC World News TV from Delhi.
Divya is the first journalist from India to be Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. Her research was published in the book of essays, Breaching the Citadel.
Speaker 2: Louisa Rolfe OBE, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service
Louisa Rolfe has over 30 years’ experience in policing working for a number of police forces across the country. In June 2020 she joined the Metropolitan Police Service as Assistant Commissioner where she now heads Frontline Policing with responsibility for Boroughs and Specialist Crime. She was appointed to lead on the MPS’s response to Violence against Women and Girls and is the MPS Talent lead.
Louisa Rolfe has been the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) lead for Domestic Abuse since 2013. She led the UK police response to HMIC’s report Everyone’s Business – focused on improving the response to domestic abuse – urging forces to prioritise domestic abuse and securing substantial improvements across the service. Her work in this area was recognised in the 2019 New Year’s Honours being awarded an OBE. Louisa Rolfe has now taken on the role of the NPCC Lead for National Crime Coordination Committee.
Speaker 3: Hasina Safi
She is a professional leader, well known civil society & women rights activist. She is an expert with considerable and proven experience of over 20 years in development practices focused on organizational development, development of policies & programs, women economic empowerment, capacity building, advocacy for women’s rights, civil society, peace building and human rights.
She started her first formal struggle at the age of 15 teaching English as a second language to Afghan Refugee women. During the past two decades she has worked in different national and international organizations at the leadership levels i.e. International Rescue Committee, Danish Committee for Aide to Afghan Refugees, International Organization on Migration, Afghan Women’s Educational Center, United Nations Development Program, Afghan Women’s Network, High Peace Council, member of peace negotiation team (2018), Acting Minister of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and lastly serving as Acting Minister of Women Affairs Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Ms. Safi has been one of the strategic advocators for women’s rights, representing Afghan women and civil society in several National, Regional, and International events, conferences, symposiums on Afghan Women such as peace consultation jirga, traditional jirga, London conference, Kabul conference and senior official meetings, peace Jirga etc.
She has been nominated for the N-Peace Award and has received Bibi Khadija Awards, prior to many other awards over her various positions.
She is a great supporter of education; she believes quality education is the key solution towards the sustainability of a nation with commitments to transfer skills, experience and expertise gained through practice. Her journey towards success never lacked challenges – not something to doubt about an Afghan woman’s life. She also believes in a balanced professional and personal life and is a mother of three children.
Hasina is a member of SI Weybridge & District and said, ‘it is absolutely an honour to be a member of SI Weybridge as each member I have known and talked to is a symbol of solidarity and kindness.’
Saturday 4 November 2023 Closing Ceremony Entertainment
Tashara is a multi award winning, charismatic and dynamic singer, songwriter and Entertainer. She is the founder and managing director of Sleeke Entertainment, a thriving live music entertainment company and the highly successful female vocal group, Sleeke Chix. Tashara brings a sassy, soulful songstress style that has taken the live music entertainment industry by storm, injecting her sparkle wherever and whenever she performs.
Tashara is currently touring with the legendary Odyssey and has also toured with music legends such as Soul II Soul, including Jazzie B and Caron Wheeler. Tashara has also worked with Paloma Faith and the Faithettes, Jools Holland, X Factor stars James Arthur, Bupsi and Leona Lewis and to name a few.
Tashara also featured on Television, Musical Theatre and film including her recent feature on the song ‘Christmas Time with You’ from the 2022 multi award winning film ‘In from the Side.’ Tashara also released her 6th independent single ‘I’m That Girl’ in the spring of 2023.
With an exquisite vocal range, versatile repertoire, dynamic performance style, and this level of experience under her belt there is no doubt that she will deliver a world class performance for your special event.