Digital Leader of the Year

The Digital Leaders programme recognises the importance of Leadership in driving forward digital transformation in the UK. This award is for an individual whose actions in the past year have made them standout as a Digital Leader in the transformation of their sector.

Sponsored by

Mark Layzell

CEO of WebWorksWell
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Sue Griffin

Mark Layzell has created www.WebWorksWell.com to provide the UK’s first national provider of effective websites that generate more value for SME’s whilst reducing a company’s marketing costs. A UK wide network of branches will serve local businesses across the UK, transforming the market. Visit free web test below to test your site today!

The UK’s digital service provision for SME’s has been hit and miss for too long. Poor quality digital service provision stifles innovation, destroys the viability of many start-up businesses, ruins lives and holds back the UK economy. Mark Layzell has created www.WebWorksWell.com to become the UK’s first national provider of effective websites that generate more value for SME’s whilst reducing a company’s marketing costs. 5.5 million (96%) UK businesses were micro-businesses – employing 0-9 people. Microbusinesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover. Yet 80% of these die every year. By delivering effective digital services to this market, WebWorksWell aims to help SME’s to be more effective, profitable and drivers of the UK economy. A UK wide network of branches will serve local businesses across the UK, transforming the market. WWW has started in Cambridge, is opening a London office and has plans to open branches in every UK University City in the next 5 to 10 years. WebWorksWell provide a full range of cost-effective digital services including; planning and strategy, website, app and graphic design, digital and video marketing, social media, SEO and PPC. This comprehensive, joined up, customer-focused process-driven approach allows WebWorksWell to deliver consistently high services to its clients time and time again. WebWorksWell regularly gathers feedback and improves the processes to make them even more effective, scoring 84.6% in customer satisfaction surveys. In 5 years, the WebWorksWell model will be the new normal for the UK digital market.

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Michael Docherty

Cancer Research Director of Digital
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Michael Docherty

Michael Docherty is Cancer Research UK’s Director of Digital and Supporter Experience has been a trailblazing leader for a decade. He has brought great vision, disruption, capability building and driven a fast pace of change to lead the digital transformation of the organisation, with a cutting-edge approach. Leading a team of over 250 people he has delivered a suite of innovative, consumer facing technology products.

Across 2017 I completed rebuilding Cancer Research UK’s portfolio of mass fundraising propositions through our Hub and Spoke model onto the digital platform we have been creating for ourselves. The digital platform covers event and activity management (similar to EventBrite), payments, online fundraising (similar to JustGiving), ecommerce, GiftAid, content lifecycle management and front-end. This means Race for Life, Stand up to Cancer, Dryathlon and all other ways people support CRUK are enabled by technology solutions we have created and operate ourselves which give us 100% ownership of data, ownership of digital experience and the ability to test, learn and iterate, and removal of 3rd party platform fees, 3rd party managed services, and, reduction in payment processing fees. Through Hub and Spoke, we’ve up-skilled a large number of fundraisers, marketers and events people in the organisation so they are able to own their own digital customer journeys, and apply a test and learn approach so they can continuously improve and keep increasing value using their newly acquired skills and the digital platform. Walk All Over Cancer (WAOC) is a great example of impact. This new fundraising proposition went from idea stage to live experiment in under 3 weeks, and was delivered by marketers who’d been upskilled through a spoke. WAOC has remained live since the experiment, more features have been added, and marketing investment has taken it above the line. So far it has contributed more than £2.5 million. The CRUK digital platform has taken over 1.7 million transactions worth more than £38 million from 24.6 million user sessions in its first year.

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Gillian Docherty

Chief Executive of The Data Lab
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Gillian Docherty

Gillian Docherty is chief executive of The Data Lab, one of the eight innovation centres set up by the Scottish Government to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship across Scotland's key economic sectors. Already, under Gillian's tenure The Data Lab supports 52 data projects predicted to contribute £70m to the Scottish economy and create 250 jobs. Integral to delivering this is facilitating partnerships between industry and academia, supporting budding data science businesses and projects as well as funding first class, ground-breaking education programmes. Gillian Docherty is chief executive of The Data Lab, one of the eight innovation centres set up by the Scottish Government to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship across Scotland's key economic sectors. Integral to delivering this is facilitating partnerships between industry and academia, supporting budding data science businesses and projects as well as funding first class, ground-breaking education programmes. In March 2017 Gillian spearheaded Scotland's first ever DataFest which saw world-renowned international experts in data science descend on Edinburgh to share cutting edge practices to over 2,000 attendees. DataFest18 will deliver an even bigger series of activity across Scotland. The Data Lab helps organisations innovate using data science and artificial intelligence, it has supported over 66 projects with Industry and Academia with predictions from Industry collaborators that revenue will increase by over £80m and these projects will help create 280 jobs. The Data Lab runs programmes to help create and fund skills and talent programmes for the future including MScs, Industrial Doctorates, Online learning, CPD and Executive Education. Formerly of IBM, she's recently been named CEO of the year at the Digital Technology Awards 2017 and is also one of the UK's top ten most influential people in data according to DataIQ. Gillian spoke at TEDx Glasgow 2017, with an audience of over 1800 this is one of the largest TEDx events in the world. Gillian is an Industry Advisor to Previse and is also a Board member of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

At the Data Lab we imagine a future where fundamental data reveals vital new knowledge and unleashes unprecedented innovation. The Data Lab has been involved in many innovative projects over the last 12 months including using algorithms to help identify patients at risk of delayed discharge, these algorithms predicted these patients with 97% accuracy. Alongside Albyn Housing, NHS Highland and Carbon Dynamic, The Data Lab is supporting a project to utilise data from sensors to identify increased risk of falling in the tenants of 15 new Fit Homes in Inverness. A big part of the work of Gillian and The Data Lab is the creation and support of new talent programmes and with 130 students supported by The Data Lab's MSc programme attending 11 universities across Scotland gaining new skills including MSc in Data Science and MSc's in Artificial Intelligence. The work Gillian and her team do are far reaching and critical to the success of Scotland in order maximise value from data.

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Sue Griffin

Head of User Support Services at DWP Digital
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Sue Griffin

Sue is Head of User Support Services at DWP Digital, responsible for providing IT support to 84,000 colleagues across the Department for Work and Pensions. She’s also chair of the Women in Technology group which aims to attract more women into digital roles and provide opportunities for females to progress.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is undergoing one of the biggest digital transformations in Europe. As both Head of User Support Services and Head of the Service Management practice in DWP Digital, I’m focused on delivering one of the department’s key objectives; maximising operational performance and transforming the IT support we provide for colleagues. My 450-strong User Support team is accountable for providing high-quality first-line support and resolution of IT issues for the whole of DWP. We handle over 600K incidents and 800K requests every year through multiple channels. To maximise operational performance I’ve driven: over 20% reduction in incident volumes around a 30% increase in usage of our online self-service channel 25% savings in the cost of our outsourced service desk, as we’ve moved from phone to online support over 40% increase in user satisfaction

I also have almost 700 people in my Service Management practice community, which I aim to grow capability of by over 40% by the end of 2018/19, to bring new expertise in and to develop existing employees’ careers.I’ve overseen an investment over £150k on professional development in 2017/18. I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion and I chair the Women in Technology group. I believe that a diverse workforce is key to achieve the scale of digital transformation in DWP Digital. I’ve set an ambitious goal of achieving a 50% increase in female representation across DWP Digital by 2020.

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Jacky Wright

HMRC Chief Digital and Information Officer
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Jacky Wright

Well known in the industry as a transformational global leader, Jacky Wright joined HMRC last year as Chief Digital and Information Officer. An innovative technologist, Jacky is passionate about the impact innovation can have in transforming services for people and businesses, and is proud to represent women and BAME in technology.

Jacky’s role – it’s big! As HMRC’s Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) Jacky is responsible for all of the technology powering one of the biggest digitally-enabled transformations anywhere in Europe. She leads HMRC’s digital and data strategies and has significant involvement in the cross-government agenda. She is responsible for running one of the biggest and most complex IT estates in the UK, and implementing HMRC’s pioneering IT Sourcing Strategy. Jacky is also the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) which covers all aspects of protective, physical, personnel and information security.

Jacky is an inspiring leader and in great demand as a speaker. Recent engagements include a media interview with Government Computing speaking at a Forbes – Ascent of the CIO event, and Government ICT 2.0 event. Yet Jacky still finds time to do lower key events like the upcoming Girl Talk. Organised by Inspirational You at the House of Commons it’s aimed at teenage girls to encourage them to consider STEM subjects. Jacky is particularly keen to encourage girls from BAME. Jacky has also taken on the role of HMRC Disability Champion. She is an advocate for colleagues across the whole organisation and working to ensure all views are heard and valued and continually pushes to remove any stigma surrounding disabilities. Jacky was recently recognised as one of the UK’s most influential black people in the 2018 Powerlist.

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Melissa Phillips

Programme Producer BAFTA
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Melissa Phillips

Melissa is the programme producer for BAFTA UK Game Events. Part of her role sees her manage The BAFTA Young Game Designers - a competition for 10-18 year olds aimed at encouraging young people to consider a career in the games industry. The 2017 YGD Competition reached 2161 individual young people and supports finalists and winners through mentoring. She also runs workshops around the UK for 10-14 years, 15-18 years and Teacher/Parent workshops using the YGD educational resources, aimed and making digital skills more accessible for all.

One of my proudest moments so far has been to lead the development of our BAFTA YGD resources - a series of lesson plans, videos, group activities and worksheets that can all be downloaded for free via the website. Alongside these resources I developed a card game which I use in our workshops around the UK to challenge our Young Game Designers to create non-violent PEGI12 games suitable to enter into the competition. The Workshops travel around various locations in the UK. This year I have launched The BAFTA YGD School Resource Network which aims to get comprehensive secondary schools signed up so that we can begin working more closely with schools who need support in digital skills and could really benefit from having BAFTA engage with them (e.g. bringing in local studios or workshops to areas with low digital skills). I am a big believer in the 'See it, Be it' line of thinking - this is particularly important when it comes to encouraging women to consider a role in technology or games. We always ensure there are female role models at our workshops, represented in our interviews, jury and videos.

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Priya Lakhani

Founder CEO CENTURY Tech
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Priya Lakhani

Priya Lakhani OBE has a strong desire to drive positive social change. She founded CENTURY Tech, an Education Technology company, which is recognised as an innovative, leading educational platform. CENTURY implements neural network artificial intelligence to improve learning outcomes. She has built a positive, focused company culture to transform education.

Priya identified two key problems in education: the one-size-fits-all method of teaching, resulting in disengaged and demotivated students, and the huge administrative and data entry workload faced by teachers, leading to 74% considering leaving the profession. Priya founded CENTURY, an Education Technology company, to harness groundbreaking technology to tackle these issues in education. CENTURY leverages recent advances in big data, combining artificial intelligence, data science and cognitive neuroscience. The first online learning platform that learns how you learn, CENTURY tracks students interactions on the platform to generate a personalised learning experience for each student. CENTURY provides educators with real-time deep learning insights into every student, whilst reducing their administrative, planning and data management workload. In the last twelve months, CENTURY has expanded its AI offering, generating more nuanced recommendations for all users and developed the data dashboards funded by InnovateUK. Students can use ‘my dashboard’ to view learner analytics, including their strengths and areas for improvement, with suggestions for both stretch and focus for improvement. This increases learners’ self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, enabling independent learning. Parents and guardians can also view their child’s learner analytics; they can track their child’s upcoming homework and view past assignment results, enabling parents to support their children to improve student outcomes. Teachers can use their dashboard to view learner analytics, students’ strengths and weaknesses, to identify whole class trends and areas where individual students are succeeding or struggling; this enables teachers to make evidence based decisions in the classroom.

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Ella Goldner

Co Founder and General Manager of Zinc
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Ella Goldner

Ella is one of the Co-founders of Zinc, a new Social Innovation programme aimed at building scalable and commercial businesses that help solve the developed world biggest social problems. She's also the Co-founder of NewCo UK, an innovation festival that provides a behind-the-curtain-view into the most exciting, innovative and mission-led organisations in a city. As a marketing strategist Ella worked with leading global brands such as Unilever, Wimbledon and EY. Ella is a London Business School alumna and studied engineering in Tel Aviv. In her past she also operated drones!

I am the Co Founder of Zinc, which we founded just less than a year ago. Zinc builds new tech companies that solve the developed world’s toughest social issues. Learning from the successful innovation systems in computer and life sciences, Zinc combines insights from social sciences with top entrepreneurial talent and venture capital to build new, scalable, tech-enables and mission-led businesses. The Zinc Programme brings together 50+ bright minds for 6 months to find their co-founders and build new commercial businesses from scratch. Each programme has a single mission, to solve a social problem which affects at least 100m people. Our first Mission is to “Transforming the mental and emotional health of 650m women and girls in the developed world”, and it was launched in October 2017. Over the past 6 months we built 20 companies that are designed to help women improve their mental and emotional health. 75% of the businesses have a female co-founder, they are ranging from fintech, through transportation, to personalised medicine all the way to sex education. To deliver the programme we have been bringing together a unique eco system of experts ranging across academia, charities, Government, VCs, Tech entrepreneurs, Corporates, brands, and so forth. We try to keep an open house culture, inviting people from our network to meet the companies, offer help and get involved.

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Alison Galvin

HR Director Invotra
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Alison Galvin

Alison has done more than anyone to champion apprentices in our industry and attract our future digital leaders. She has created a nationally recognised apprenticeship programme and secured prominent awards. She champions Women in Tech and digital accessibility for all software users, encouraging apprentices to thrive in their work.

HR Director Alison has created and led Invotra’s nationally recognised apprenticeship programme in 2017.

Early in 2017, Invotra was named a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer and again in January 2018. Invotra has gone on to win the South East and London Regional Apprentice Employer of the Year. Andrew Doyle, Product manager at Invotra was awarded SME National Apprentice of the Year, notably for his work on promoting digital accessibility for all software users. Invotra was highly commended and in joint second place in the medium employer category at the 2017 National Apprentice Awards. Alison is part of the Apprentice Ambassador Network and has encouraged one of her team to also join the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network. She champions women to achieve in (perhaps) non-traditional roles such as cyber security. At Invotra apprentices get to work in all areas of the company, gaining responsibility and experience from the start. Apprentices are supported to finish their studies, with quick career progression. Several apprentice graduates are now leading their own teams at Invotra, and offer mentoring support Nearly one third of all Invotra’s employees are current or former apprentices. Alison has extended her search for talent to support the company’s expansion plans. In November she recruited three new apprentices in Newcastle, doubling the size of the company’s NE operations. Alison’s shares her knowledge with apprentices and employers and is a prominent champion of digital apprentices. She supported initiatives, such as National Apprentice Week, by hosting events and encouraging apprentices to do the same.

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Kate Russell

Technology Reporter & Author BBC Click
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Kate Russell

Journalist, reporter and author writing about technology since 1995. Reporting for BBC Click she speaks at conferences and digital policy meetings and lectures in schools and universities. Her website has won multiple awards and she’s been voted in the top 50 most influential woman in UK IT for 2 years.

As well as being a regular panel host for DEMOS, leading the discussion around internet governance, the thing I am most proud of is my work campaigning for diversity in tech. An example is my work with TeenTech, a charity founded by Maggie Philbin that exists to inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider a career in tech. I fully believe that digital transformation will come from true diversity, and this has to start at the grass roots end of the pipeline. The feedback is amazing, demonstrating real impact on both students and teachers. Here's one example (this class was filled with special education needs kids who are usually disruptive and the teachers were amazed by their engagement on the day): The year 9 students that participated in the teentech day before Christmas thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They provided very positive feedback on the structure and content of the day. The positive feedback included: They had done something different. They had an opportunity to work with experts. It broadened their experience and understanding of technology. They enjoyed it. It was great to have Kate Russell speaking and leading the session, she is very engaging and has a real passion for what she delivers. What was great for us was the engagement of the school staff that joined the workshops, such that one of our NQTs is supporting a team to enter the teentech competition. We look forward to your next visit..

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