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Festival of Learning & Development – Keynotes and Facilitators 2023

Following below are short background bios for all our keynote speakers and session facilitators:

Date: 13, 14 and 15th November 2023
Venue: SDF Zoom and Advance HE Connect


Sarah Hubbard, Advance HE

Sarah HubbardAbout Sarah

Sarah Hubbard is a Senior Consultant in the Leadership, Organisational Development and Research team.  In collaboration, Sarah’s work is focused around designing for, and enabling participation and alignment, wellbeing and inclusion, leading to improved colleague engagement and performance, enhanced decision making and transformation.  Sarah has held different leadership roles and has significant experience enabling and empowering change in several universities in England and Scotland, including in equity and inclusion, delivery of student services and organisational design and development.  

Sarah is currently training in organisational transactional analysis, a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a Lean6Sigma practitioner.  She holds a BACP accredited postgraduate Diploma in Integrative Counselling from the University of Manchester and qualifications in mediation and coaching.  

Fiona Lennoxsmith, Advance HE

Fiona LennoxsmithAbout Fiona

Fiona Lennoxsmith is Lead Consultant, Leadership, Organisational Development and Research at Advance HE, where she leads a team of senior consultants to design and facilitate innovative leadership interventions, programmes and thought leadership for the Higher Education sector.  Fiona brings over 20 years of higher education experience at London Business School, and a passion for designing and delivering programmes and supporting the development of students and staff, from senior executives to recent graduates. 

Fiona holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Anglia Ruskin University, and an MA in Literature, Representation and Modernity from London Metropolitan University.    She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology from Open University and an MA in Consulting and Leading in Organisations:  Psychodynamic and Systems approaches from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.   As a coach, Fiona has a Post-graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching awarded by Henley Business School and has ACC accreditation from the ICF.

Elliott Spaeth, Advance HE

Elliott SpaethAbout Elliott

Dr Elliott Spaeth is a Senior Consultant in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for Advance HE. He works with staff across the Higher Education sector to help them create their own definition of inclusive practice and guide them in creating authentically inclusive environments.

Previous work includes co-founding a university-wide Neurodiversity Network, creating and delivering an Inclusive Learning and Teaching module as part of an MEd in Academic Practice, and co-creating a MOOC on Diversity and Inclusion in Education. He is the 2022 winner of the Education category in the Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100, a list of the most influential disabled people in the UK.

Donald Taylor, Chair, Learning Technologies Conference

Donald TaylorAbout Donald

Donald H Taylor is a veteran in the fields of learning and development and learning technologies, with experience at every level from design and delivery to chairman of the board. 

A recognised commentator and thinker in the fields of workplace learning and supporting technologies, Donald is committed to helping develop the learning and development profession. From 2010 to 2021, he chaired the Learning and Performance Institute.

A core part of Donald’s commitment to the profession is what he calls ‘creating spaces for meaningful conversations’. To support this, he has chaired the Learning Technologies Conference in London since 2000, hosted its bi-weekly webinar programme since 2007, and contributed to conferences world-wide. His annual L&D Global Sentiment Survey, now in its ninth year, attracts responses from thousands of respondents in over 100 countries.

He brings his broad understanding of the field to Emerge Education, an early stage Venture Capital fund, where he chairs the Workforce Development board, and advises several EdTech start-ups as they grow their businesses.

The author of Learning Technologies in the Workplace (Kogan Page, 2017), Donald is a graduate of Oxford University and in 2016 was awarded an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University in recognition of his work developing the L&D profession.

Hank Williams, Continuum

Hank WilliamsAbout Hank

Hank Williams has been a management development consultant since 1982. He joined Huthwaite Research Group in 1987 to help them establish a new Management Skills Division: developing a client base and new products and recruiting and developing a team of consultants. He left Huthwaite in 1991 to set up what became the Learning Curve network. From 1987-2008, he worked closely, as a consultant, facilitator, trainer and mentor, with multi-national companies in the private sector.

In 2009, he set up Continuum to emphasise a shift in working from global to local and from private to public. From 2011-2019, he worked with the British Council to support the development of quality assurance and enhancement in the higher education sectors in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. 

He is now semi-retired and works primarily with UK universities as a mentor to senior managers and leaders. 

He has written four books:
Active Learning: A Trainer’s Guide (Blackwell, 1987)
The Essence of Managing People (Prentice Hall, 1994)
The Essence of Managing Groups and Teams (Prentice Hall, 1996)
The Ability to Choose (self-published, 2023)

and six papers:
Effective Mentoring (Learning Curve, 1996)
Effective Consultancy: Managing Entry (Learning Curve, 1997)
Effective Facilitation: The Locus of Responsibility (Learning Curve, 1998)
Effective Training: Keeping it Simple (Learning Curve, 1999)
Organising Mentoring Frameworks (Learning Curve, 2000)
Managing HR Transition (Learning Curve, 2001)


Ann Allcock, Marshall E-Learning Consultancy

Ann AllcockAbout Ann

Ann is Head of Diversity at Marshall E-Learning Consultancy.  In this role her aim is to support clients with their strategy and actions to increase employee knowledge and understanding of diversity and inclusion, and to encourage everyone to play their part in creating workplaces where all can thrive.  She also helps those who lead organisations to understand the corporate culture and what this means for the everyday experiences of staff.  

Ann has spent her career in equality, diversity and inclusion.  Over the past 30 years she has held in-house diversity roles at several public sector organisations and universities, and has more recently advised some of the UK’s largest employers and brands on EDI through her role at Prince’s charity Business in the Community, where she led the team of Diversity and Inclusion Advisors.  Ann also ran her own successful EDI consultancy for several years.  

Ann enjoys living by the sea in Brighton and Hove.  She is a keen runner and on sunny, calm days is a sea swimmer.

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Andry Anastasis-McFarlane, The Learning Moment

Andry Anastasis McFarlaneAbout Andry:

Meet Andry Anastasis McFarlane an accredited Executive Coach, facilitator, consultant, Coach Supervisor, and Author with a passion for supporting people, teams and organisations. Imagine having access to a learning space that sparks innovative thinking, fosters new habits, and drives continuous improvement.
That’s precisely what Andry offers – the opportunity to learn, succeed, and thrive in your workplace.
Andry’s expertise extends to guiding teams through innovation frameworks and embarking on transformative innovation journeys.

Her journey into innovation began with MIT’s ground-breaking MOOC u.lab, where she honed her skills and went on to collaborate on a local project addressing food poverty. This endeavour gained positive national and global attention, leading to a European-wide project focused on innovation and collaboration with one of MIT’s learning partners.

In addition to innovation, Andry is passionate about cultivating resilience, coaching, and wellbeing within organisations. Her book on "The Really Resilient Guide – a comprehensive guide to resilience at work – has earned recognition on BBC Radio and iMagazine.

Charlotte Axon, Tailored Thinking

Charlotte AxonAbout Charlotte

Charlotte is Lead People Scientist at Tailored Thinking, a positive psychology, wellbeing and HR consultancy striving to make better work and make better work. Before joining Tailored Thinking, Charlotte worked in a variety of HR, inclusion and organisation development roles across the Higher Education sector, having led and supported projects relating to culture, change, inclusion and recruitment. 

Charlotte has a specialist interest in inclusion and belonging, which she has applied in different contexts, including the world of education, both internally and as an external consultant. Charlotte often draws on her experience of gathering and applying people analytics to generate positive change within organisations.

Charlotte is passionate about making work better for everyone, in particular, through finding opportunities for personalisation of the employee experience and what this means for engagement, leadership and culture.

Harriet Boatwright, University of Leeds

Harriet-BoatwrightAbout Harriet

Harriet Boatwright is a Learning and Development Adviser at the University of Leeds.

During her 18 months in post Harriet has crafted a flexible and continually evolving learning and development provision for colleagues that operate in the Grade 2 – Grade 5 role structure at the University. There is a range of roles within this staff community including cleaning operatives, security officers, front and back of house administrative staff as well as technicians

Harriet took a significant ‘squiggle’ in her career in 2022 and moved from a senior commercial sales and marketing role where she had curated a career in the events and Higher Education sector for over 20 years.  The move was driven by a decision to follow her passion and purpose which is to help people find and live their best lives through building self-awareness and personal insights.

Harriet’s recent initiative focussing on Digital literacy won a Partnership Award from the University of Leeds in the category of Equality and Inclusion. As a newbie to the learning and development profession Harriet looks forward to broadening and deepening the love for her work by sharing it with others.

Mark Crabtree, Mark Stephen Crabtree Consulting

Mark CrabtreeAbout Mark

Mark is an Associate at Tailored Thinking and has worked with Charlotte and the team on a number of exciting initiatives across the HE Sector.

As a qualified coach, mediator and facilitator, Mark has over 35 years’ experience of leading the development, management, implementation and delivery/facilitation of engaging learning and organisation development strategies and initiatives. Between September 2002 and October 2018 Mark had a senior HR/OD Role in the Higher Education Sector, before setting up his own consultancy in April 2019.

Mark works with a variety of clients in the public, HE and private sectors. He was a lead facilitator in the Advance HE UKIERI Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for senior leaders at universities across India. The programme, sponsored by the British Council and the Indian University Grants Commission, focused on developing leadership and governance capacity and transformational change. He has worked with Advance HE and the British Council in Ukraine to help scope out a Leadership Development Programme for the Ukrainian HE sector.

With Professor Juliue Hodges from Durham Business School, Mark co-authored the book Reshaping HR (ISBN 978-0-367-64213-6) which focuses on the transformational change capabilities of HR teams across the globe.

Ishanki Anjana De Mel, University of London

Ishanki De MelAbout Ishanki

Ishanki is a Learning and Development Advisor at the University of London.

Prior to this role, she was a Postgraduate Researcher in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey, where she completed a PhD and developed computational models for a variety of internal and external stakeholders. She was also an Associate Tutor on Personal Awareness and Development at the same university.

Having joined the University of London in October 2022, she has led the design and delivery of the “Digital Skills for Collaboration” training programme, for which she has also co-facilitated training to over 600 staff members. She is also involved in designing programmes to support the development of academic and research staff.

Ishanki enjoys combining her deep interest in continuous learning and development with her analytical skills to create meaningful, humanistic learning experiences. 

Isabel Frazer-Veli, University of Bristol

Isabel Frazer VeliAbout Isabel

Isabel is a Senior People Development Partner at the University of Bristol, with a focus on career and skills development, leadership and management, and digital and blended learning.

Isabel led the university’s Professional Services Career Development Programme, which aimed to enhance career mobility and empower staff to achieve their career potential via a wide range of blended resources and programmes, skills development initiatives, and mentoring and peer learning. She is also Programme Director for the university’s internal Female Leadership Initiative (FLi). 

She has a background in career development, having managed careers and employability services supporting students, graduates and staff in HE, alongside career coaching for clients across a range of sectors. 

She is passionate about changing the way we talk and think about careers – celebrating that our careers move in many different directions, and that ‘upwards’ is not the only way forwards! 

Martin Galpin, Work Positive

About Martin

Chartered PsychologMartin Galpinist & Co-creator of the At My Best® tools

Martin is a founding director of business psychology consultancy Work Positive and an expert in applying positive psychology within organisations. He is also the co-creator of a number of practical products and tools, such as the At My Best® cards, Deckhive and Woohooyoo. Martin is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Registered Occupational Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council and a founding member of both the Association of Business

Psychologists and the International Positive Psychology Association. He lives in Woodstock, just a few miles outside Oxford.

You can connect with Martin on LinkedIn or via email at

Rachel Hogg, University of Bristol 

Rachel HoggAbout Rachel

Rachel is a Staff Development Officer and University of Bristol. She shares the responsibility for designing and delivering workshops, short courses, and resources for all professional services staff.

In addition, she is the team lead for technical staff development activities. Her work includes providing advice and guidance on projects, programmes, and initiatives.


Saire Jones, Westminster University

Saaire JonesAbout Saire

I have worked in the UK Further and Higher Education sector for over 30 years and am a qualified teacher, coach, action learning set facilitator  and experienced staff developer. 

In 2012 I moved to a specialist staff learning and development role in the Organisation Development team at Westminster University, providing a professional development support service for academic and research staff and since 2017 I have been the Education Development Partner in, and Manager of, the Centre for Education and Teaching Innovation (CETI) at Westminster – supporting the strategic leadership of professional academic development, embedding and expanding the provision of professional and career development for the University’s academic community and coordinating the operational management and governance of CETI.

I love networks and networking! I am an active member of the Women of Westminster Network (WOW) acting as Co-Chair for WOW’s Working Group for Equality and Progression 2020 to 2022 and Co-led the design and development of a semi-informal mentoring scheme for WOW members, which has grown into the mentoring scheme for our Aurora participants and alumni. Some of you will know me in my role as Co-Chair of the London Region SDF Network.

Professionally I have Fellowship of the HEA, am a member of the CIPD, an ILM accredited facilitator, ILM accredited action learning set facilitator and ILM Coach. 

Jo Keeler, Belbin

Jo KeelerAbout Jo

Jo Keeler is the Managing Director at Belbin Ltd, an employee ownership trust. At Belbin, the mission is to help teams and organisations to recognise – and capitalise upon – their strengths, and to work more effectively together. 

Jo is responsible for spearheading strategic and operational activities whilst working closely with Belbin’s patron, Dr Meredith Belbin, to ensure that innovation is in line with the company’s ethos.

 Jo is also a speaker and facilitator, bringing the Belbin message to international audiences, inspiring action to achieve lasting team and business performance improvements.

Jo’s global speaking engagements have taken her to conferences from Auckland to Hangzhou to Saint Louis, via universities in Estonia and Poland, to name but a few.

In the UK, Jo has been a guest lecturer at various universities, including Cranfield, Goldsmiths and Liverpool. She has spoken regularly for the Institute of Leadership, the Association of Coaching, WBECS /, the Staff Development Forum and the CIPD.

Jo has been a guest on a myriad of podcasts ranging from Management Today’s ‘Workplace Evolution Podcast’ and ‘HR UpRising’ to ‘There’s No ‘I’ in Podcast’ and the ‘VetChat’ podcast.

During the pandemic, Jo launched (and hosts) the popular and thought-provoking Belbin webinar series, which draws in a large and engaged audience from across the globe.

In a nutshell, Jo and the team at Belbin truly believe that everyone can make a valuable contribution at work, by identifying and using the strengths they have, in a team setting. 

Belbin helps teams and organisations globally to make the most of their talent, through the Belbin reports, team building activities, bespoke workshops, recruitment and much more.

Eszter Molnar-Mills, Formium Development

Eszter Molnar MillsAbout Eszter

Eszter Molnar Mills, founder of Formium Development, is a management and organisational development specialist, who helps organisations and individuals reach enhanced performance by reflecting on what works, and developing skills and strategies for improvement.

In her corporate career Eszter held a number of Learning and Development and HRD roles, including as Head of Organisational Development for the University of London. In recent years she has delivered coaching, training and development for many universities, central government departments, NHS bodies, charities and multinational companies – as well as being a visiting lecturer on multiple management and leadership courses at the University of Debrecen, Hungary.

Eszter’s particular interests involve the impact of positive psychology and strength-based approaches on the individual and organisational development necessary to meet the challenges of the future workplace. 

Kate Rowland, Manchester Metropolitan University

Kate Rowloand About Kate

Kate started her career in the NHS, running a multi-organisational mentoring scheme and then working as an OD Manager in a hospital trust before joining Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008. 

In her time at Manchester Metropolitan, she has developed a Leadership and Management Framework, Leading the Way, co-led the embedding of a coaching and mentoring culture and reviewed the University’s PDR process. 

In October of last year, she became Talent Management Lead for the University and is committed to implementing the University’s Career Strategy for professional services staff, Shape your career, your way.  

Jenny Tester, GatenbySanderson

Jenny TesterAbout Jenny

Jenny is a Senior Consultant, Leadership and Talent Consultancy within Education. She brings over 10 years’ experience working with Higher Education institutions across areas including board diversity and inclusion, equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership development and inclusive research cultures.

She joined GatenbySanderson from Advance HE where she held a number of roles, most recently as Head of Membership working with universities in the UK and internationally.  Her work included supporting Higher Education institutions to navigate challenges and adopt best practice in equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, governance and teaching and learning.

Prior to this, Jenny spent five years at an executive search firm, first as a Researcher, and subsequently supporting clients as a Consultant and Senior Consultant. Her specialism focused on academic and research roles in Higher Education, and roles internationally including in Europe and Central Asia.

Jenny holds BSc in Psychology from University of Bristol, MSc in Occupational Psychology from Birkbeck, University of London and is currently working towards a Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.

Wayne Trevor, The Learning Moment

Wayne TrevorAbout Wayne: 

Wayne Trevor is  an  innovation facilitator and innovation coach at The Learning Moment. With over a decade of experience in facilitating innovation, Wayne’s journey began when he discovered a powerful framework on MIT’s renowned global u.lab program.

Through his expertise, Wayne has led and co-led numerous urban innovations, including the impactful projects “Participation City” and “Grow Your Own Leaders.” Additionally, he played a vital role in a global initiative to create a library of facilitator materials, enabling collaborative change in  urban environments.

As a skilled facilitator and recently accredited ICF coach, Wayne brings a unique blend of knowledge and practical experience to the table. His Director/Head of Service level expertise, along with working closely with trustees and board members, ensures that he understands the challenges faced by organisations and how to address them effectively.

Join Wayne and embark on an innovation journey that will transform and deepen your approach to innovation in your HEI.

Kathryn Waddington, Westminster University

Kathryn WaddingtonKathryn Waddington

Kathryn is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and emerita fellow in work and organisational psychology at the University of Westminster.

She has held academic leadership roles at Westminster and at City, University of London.

Kathryn’s talk ‘Speak for Yourself’ featured as part of the launch of the SDF’s AWLSIG (Advancing Women’s Leadership Special Interest Group) and critically reflects on her experience as a woman in leadership – and followership – roles, and the need for women to ‘speak for themselves’ in situations where their voice/s may have been unheard, or silenced.

Paul Walsh, Manchester Metropolitan University

APaul Walshbout Paul

Paul is People Development Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, having worked in the sector for 15 years.

He has L&D experience from travel, digital and public sectors and his professional interests include group facilitation, team development and coaching.


Tracy West, GatenbySanderson

Tracy WestTracy West

Tracy’s experience as a Business Psychologist is wide and varied, spanning 25 years, and covering not only the technical aspects of assessment and people leadership but also the more strategic, to include commercial understanding, building positive cultures and creating successful transformation programmes. 


  • Design and implementation of assessment processes and development programmes that deliver learning with a blended approach to senior leaders.
  • Design, implementation, and project management of several emerging/Future leader’s programmes. 
  • Acting as a Coach for senior executives promoted into senior roles within a wide variety of organisations. 
  • Running team facilitation sessions to establish better working relationships and more effective decision-making processes. 
  • Conducting senior executive assessments and development centres to drive talent profiling and succession planning. 
  • Creating clear and appropriate behavioural frameworks across organisations. 
  • Design and delivery of change management/continuous improvement/transformation programmes 

Client experience 

Her career to date has included working with major blue-chip organisations to design and implement leadership assessment processes and talent management initiatives that are rolled out at apprenticeship level as well as for middle managers and senior executives. 

She has designed, led and implemented high-profile programmes always ensuring that they are fit for purpose and focus on Return on Investment measures to evaluate the success of such programmes or initiatives. This has allowed her to establish the position of trusted advisor for a wide range of customers and stakeholders. 

In addition, Tracy has worked as an Associate Lecturer at The University of Warwick (both in the UK and overseas) since 1996 – leading modules such as Organisations, People & Performance (OPP), Managing & Leading Change and Leadership Excellence.