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The Digital Leaders Podcast

The Digital Leaders Podcast

By Digital Leaders
Conversations with key influencers in the UK’s digital transformation community. On season three of the Digital Leaders podcast, we sit down with some of the UK’s most proactive Digital Leaders as they share their views on the importance of digital leadership in an evolving digital workforce and economy. The time is now. The place is the Digital Leaders Podcast, and the future is digital!
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Episode 3: Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change

The Digital Leaders Podcast

Debbie Forster MBE, CEO at Tech Talent Charter
In the fourth episode of this season of the Digital Leaders Podcast, we chat to Debbie Forster MBE. Debbie discusses how leaders can become more inclusive, anti-racist employers, explaining the mission of Tech Talent Charter’s ‘Open Playbook’ and how it can be used to encourage diversity. She also talks about her journey from rural America, to IT teacher, to tech for good entrepreneur.
October 26, 2020
Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President and Managing Director United Kingdom & Ireland, Sage
Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President and Managing Director United Kingdom & Ireland, Sage
September 23, 2020
Professor Adam Beamont, CEO at AQL
In the second episode of Season Five, we sit down with businessman, angel investor, trustee and digital entrepreneur Professor Adam Beaumont. Adam discusses his journey from scientist to digital entrepreneur. He talks about his identity as a 'passionate Yorkshireman' and how he has encouraged innovation in the north of the UK; sharing his experience of transforming a derelict Leeds chapel into a state-of-the-art data centre. Adam also chats about his recent project - the Beaumont Awards - designed to provide a platform and encouragement for young talent.
September 04, 2020
Seyi Akiwowo, Digital Leader of the Year 2019 & Founder of Glitch
In the first episode of season five of the Digital Leaders podcast, we sit down with Seyi Akiwowo. Digital Leaders 100 Winner 2019 and Founder of Glitch, Seyi Akiwowo talks about her journey, the importance of equality, the Black Lives Matters movement and the part that lived experience has to play in making change happen.
August 25, 2020
Emma McGuigan, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Microsoft Business Group at Accenture
In episode five, we sit down with Emma McGuigan, Senior Managing Director for Accenture’s global business with Microsoft.  Based in Seattle, Emma is responsible for Accenture’s combined business with Microsoft, including the industry-leading JV, Avanade, where Emma oversees a strategic alliance of 45,000 Accenture & Avanade employees.  Emma shares her: fascination from an early age to find out how things work; her desire to tackle society’s inequalities; and the need for digital leaders to embrace their own continual learning, curiosity, and openness to new ideas.
March 16, 2020
Heather Savory, Co-Chair of the Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics at the UN
In episode four we sit down with Heather Savoury, Co-Chair of the Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics at the United Nations. Heather shares her journey: from electrical engineering and research at GE, to building the world’s first hardware-accelerated 3D graphics at 3DLabs, followed by the Treasury and ultimately ONS. She also highlights the importance of repurposing data, explaining how looking at it from new angles can help us to better understand how it can be used.
March 09, 2020
Gori Yahaya, Founder & CEO, UpSkill Digital
In episode three of season four, we sit down with Gori Yahaya, Founder, and CEO of UpSkill Digital. Gori shares his entrepreneurial journey: from working at Google, helping organisations grow and prosper through adopting digital; to setting up his own company, UpSkill Digital, helping charities and organisations make the most of technology. Gori also discusses the importance of upskilling the BAME community, enabling individuals in minority groups to become digital leaders; and more broadly the changes that he believes we will see in education moving forwards.
March 02, 2020
Professor Sue Black OBE, award-winning Computer Scientist and Technology Evangelist
In the second episode of Season Four, we sit down with Professor Sue Black OBE, an award-winning Computer Scientist and Technology Evangelist. Sue shares her journey: from setting up the first online network for women in tech; leading the campaign to save Bletchley Park; and TechUP Women the new initiative she is running at Durham University with the Institute of Coding. She also shares her very personal experience of how the power of education and technology transformed her and her family's life.
February 24, 2020
Director, Zoe Amar Digital, Chair, Charity Digital Code, Co-author, Charity Digital Skills Report
Welcome to the Digital Leaders Podcast - Season Four. In our first episode, we sit down with Zoe Amar to talk about the Charity Digital Code, why it is needed and what the latest Skills Report is saying about the Charity sector's digital maturity. Zoe shares her appetite for change and how she is still excited when charities are willing to alter the way they operate by embracing digital. Listen as Zoe shares her thoughts on the importance of digital leadership, the latest research from the Lloyds Bank Charity Digital Index and her belief in the importance of giving support to leaders receiving online abuse. Resources mentioned in the podcast include: The Lloyds Charity Digital Index and The Charity Digital Code of Practice. @zoeamar
February 17, 2020
Caron Alexander, Director of Digital Shared Services at the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland
In the final podcast of season three, we sit down with Caron Alexander, Director of Digital Shared Services at the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and Digital Leaders Local Champion 2016. The first girl to take a Computer Science A level in her school, she followed her passion into the public sector rising to Head IT in Government. Now coming to the end of her career, she reflects on leading the Northern Ireland Government’s digital transformation programme, creating an inclusive government approach via nidirect and a new social media led platform called MyNI.
December 16, 2019
Mark Owens, Managing Director at Civica Northern Ireland
Today’s podcast guest is Mark Owens, Managing Director at Civica Northern Ireland and an active contributor to the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. Mark was born in Northern Ireland, but only recently returned, giving him a local versus global perspective on the digital journey of Northern Ireland. Listen as he talks about the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent, the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and their new project SensAI; a platform where data can be captured, analysed in the Cloud and displayed in a GDPR-compliant manner to support Smart City, Retail, Commercial and Industrial applications.
December 09, 2019
Rachel Neaman, Strategy Director of DigitalAgenda
On today’s podcast show we sit down with Rachel Neaman, Strategy Director for DigitalAgenda. Rachel is an influential technology leader with a focus on digital transformation, HealthTech and digital inclusion. A Digital Leader for the Department of Health and then CEO for GoONUK, her early interest in languages and communication resulted in a fascination with digital. Rachel talks about the DigitalAgenda platform that focuses on tech for good and social impact and shares her thoughts on Digital Leadership.
December 02, 2019
Dan Sutch, Director, CAST - Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology
In today’s podcast episode, we sit down with Dan Sutch, Co-Founder and Director at  digital charity CAST. Tune in to learn more about running a virtual charity and Dan’s own journey from primary school teacher to technology start up and his passion for helping people to use digital for social good.  Dan also shares details of The Catalyst, the new collaboration platform set to revolutionise how we tackle social and environmental issues in the UK.
November 25, 2019
Daniel Korski CBE, Co-Founder & CEO of PUBLIC
The Digital Leaders podcast is back for its third season. In the first episode, we sit down with Daniel Korski CBE, former Special Advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Co-Founder and CEO of PUBLIC, a venture capital firm focusing on helping technology startups transform our public services. Listen as Daniel shares his journey from working in the UN and UK government to starting PUBLIC and his interest in building better services for citizens and better tools for public servants. Daniel talks about the opportunity of technologies to improve public services as well as the challenges in adopting them and the importance of creating more digital leaders in the public sector.
November 18, 2019
Alice Webb, Director of BBC North and BBC Children’s and Education
On the final episode of Season 2, we sit down with Alice Webb, Director of BBC North and Children’s and Education to talk leadership, the audience of the future, the role of the BBC in tackling online harm and improving children's safety, hear about the new BBC App “OwnIT” and how to achieve a healthy and happy online life.
May 13, 2019
Linda O’Halloran, Head of MHCLG Digital Collaboration Unit
On today’s show we sit down with Linda O’Halloran, Head of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Digital Collaboration Unit, #SmartLondon Board Member and founder of the NGO Thinking Development. Listen as Linda shares her interesting journey into the London tech scene: from founding an NGO after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake; to working at MHCLG Digital Collaboration Unit - a programme that disrupts local government and re-energises local digital movements, helping authorities and local services overcome problems via common narratives. Linda also talks about the importance of collaboration in all its forms, the unintended consequences of emerging tech and the lessons learned on coping in a high pressure digital transformation role.
May 03, 2019
Jack Parsons, CEO of Big Youth Group
On today’s podcast episode, we sit down with young entrepreneur Jack Parsons, CEO of Big Youth Group, Young Digital Leader 2017 and 'The most connected young entrepreneur' in Europe 2018. Listen as Jack explains Big Youth Group’s mission to empower and change the odds for young people by building an ecosystem of opportunities, networks and mentors as well as his latest venture in New Zealand and his Digital Embassy project, a new place for young people to learn the digital skills businesses needs. Jack also shares in explicit detail the very personal journey that has shaped him including touching on his upbringing and ongoing mental health issues despite his obvious business success. He shares what these experiences have taught him about mental health and the importance of those who support him. Listen with caution: This episode contains frank discussions about depression, and suicide. If you've been affected by any of the topics in this episode, please talk to someone! There are some amazing resources and lovely people out there ready to help you. Here are some options: Mind UK: Samaritans: Helpline: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
April 29, 2019
Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab
On this episode of The Digital Leaders podcast, we sit down with Gillian Docherty, CEO at The Data Lab, Digital Leader of the Year 2018 and one of the UK’s Top 10 influential people in Data. Listen as Gillian shares what led her to a career in data, what Scotland is doing with data at a national level, how she became a leader in the industry and why it is important to democratise data. She explains why tackling unconscious bias in data is a must and why diversity of thought is the key.
April 15, 2019
Professor Mark Thompson, Strategy Director at Methods
On today’s show, we sit down with, Professor Mark Thompson, Strategy Director, Methods, and Professor in Digital Economy at the University of Exeter. Listen as Mark shares how he got involved with changing the digital landscape in the public sector and governmental space, focusing on the importance of redesigning businesses models, culture and creating a model that delivers value in the age of the internet. He explains how emerging technology is the next big step in transforming public services.
April 08, 2019
Karen Dolva, Co-Founder and CEO at No Isolation
The Digital Leaders podcast is back for its second season. In the first episode of season two, we sit down with Karen Dolva, Co-Founder and CEO of No Isolation, Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech and winner of the EU commission prize for rising innovator. Listen as Karen shares the series of events that led to her being a leading women in Tech and founder of her business, No Isolation. She talks about: tackling loneliness amongst the most vulnerable groups in society; her AV1 robot that connects sick children back into the classroom; and new ways to help older people fight loneliness. She explains the challenges of being an entrepreneur, her views on leadership and diversity and make sure you listen to the end, when Karen shares the one thing about her you least expected!
April 01, 2019
Episode 10: Maggie Philbin, Founder & CEO of TeenTech.
On today’s show, we sit down with BBC Tomorrow’s World alum and Founder and CEO of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin. Listen as Maggie shares the impact working on Tomorrow’s World had on her own beliefs about careers in science and technology, how teen tech is empowering the next generation of Digital Leaders in the UK and why she believes that despite shows like Tomorrow’s World being a thing of the past, it is imperative that we make understanding the future both accessible and exciting for the next generation.
November 26, 2018
Episode 9: Nick Williams, Managing Director, Commercial Transformation, Lloyds Banking Group
Today on the show, we are joined by Managing Director, Commercial Transformation, Lloyds Banking Group - Nick Williams. Listen as Nick shares how Lloyds has evolved their offerings and services to meet the demands of their growing digital customer base, what Lloyds is doing to help the 21% of people in the UK who do not have the five Basic Digital Skills according to the 2018 Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index and why he believes that as digital leaders we need to educate individuals at the local level about the benefits of digital adoption if we want to ensure both digital literacy and equal opportunity for all citizens in the UK.
November 19, 2018
Episode 8: Leni Zneimer, GM of UK and Ireland at WeWork
On today’s show we sit down with the GM of UK and Ireland at WeWork, Leni Zneimer. Listen as Leni shares the catalyst behind WeWorks rapid growth, why WeWork believe everyone should be equipped for the future world of work and what they are doing to make that happen a why they define themselves as a movement towards a new way of working and what that looks like.
November 12, 2018
Episode 7: Kajal Odedra, Executive Director at UK
On today's show we sit down with the Executive Director of in the UK, Kajal Odedra. Listen to find out how is helping minority groups and young people have a voice, how government and politicians can leverage the platform to understand the issues that matter most to their constituents and why it is true what they say, one person really can change the world.
November 05, 2018
Episode 6: Russell Haworth, Chief Executive Officer at Nominet
On this episode of The Digital leaders podcast we sit down with the CEO of Nominet, Russell Haworth. Listen to learn the three things that drew Russell to the opportunity at Nominet, why and how Nominet is diversifying its business solutions in the cyber security, registry and spectrum management space, their recent partnership with Microsoft and what that means for connecting millions of people in both the US and the UK and his plans in his new role and Chair of Digital Leaders.
October 29, 2018
Episode 5: Jacqueline de Rojas, President of Digital Leaders
On this episode of The Digital Leaders Podcast, we sit down with President of Digital Leaders, Jacqueline de Rojas. Listen as Jacqueline shares what initiatives techUK has undergone to increase diversity and inclusion in the tech sector, how organisations with at least one woman on their board can reduce their risk of bankruptcy and how technologies like AI can improve gender diversity in the workplace.
October 22, 2018
Episode 4: Ariane Gorin, President of Expedia Partner Solutions
On today’s show we are joined by the President of Expedia Partner Solutions, Ariane, Gorin. Half American, Half French, and the youngest of three girls, Ariane spent most of her early childhood growing up in California. She received her undergrad in Economics at the University of Berkley and an MBA from Northwestern University, graduating in the top 5%. After graduating she eventually moved to Paris, working her way up to Director at Microsoft before leaving to join Expedia as their VP of Europe, Middle East and Asia Market Management. In her 5 years at Expedia she has held various roles in the organization, her most recent being that of President, Expedia Partner Solutions. On today’s show Ariane share's how Expedia is leveraging the cloud to improve the customer experience, the impact travel has had on her own life and what it has taught her and how Expedia looks for the next big thing in travel and what it is. Find out more:
October 15, 2018
Episode 3: Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change
On today’s episode we sit down with Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change and former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Tony Blair. In a wide ranging interview from the impacts of Brexit to Artificial Intelligence, Tony Blair, talking to Tarah Ferguson, expresses concern that Government officials have yet to find an effective way to connect with those driving the technological revolution saying “the change makers, the people engaged in making these huge changes with such impact on how we live, work and think; and the policy makers, those who are going to have to produce the governance and regulation and work out the impact of it all, are not in a proper dialogue together.” Calling for a Department of Digital and Technology, he says it should be staffed and run in a very different way to traditional government departments. It should bring together experts in technology and government and create a faster interchange between the private/tech sector and government, getting rid of old rules that don’t apply today and will help overcome the lack of understanding of the tech sector amongst policy-makers, which is predominantly a generational issue. In November 2017, the Tony Blair Institute, published a paper entitled Technology for the many: A public policy platform for a better, fairer future. The premise of the paper was to set out the challenges and the opportunities for governments in the face of rapid technological change and to highlight the numerous ways in which government can use technology for good, resulting in positive outcomes for the many. On today’s episode, I sit down with Tony, to learn more about the catalyst for the paper, why he believes government needs to start adopting technology now more than ever, and his thoughts on the biggest risks facing people in the tech sector and what that could mean for public policy in the UK.
October 08, 2018
Episode 2: Sherry Coutu, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Founders4Schools
On this week's episode of the Digital Leaders podcast, we sit down with Sherry Coutu, CBE, Executive Chair and Founder of Founders4Schools, a free online platform, connecting educators and students with business leaders, to help solve the private sectors biggest challenge, a lack of talent. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Sherry graduated from UBC, with her BA before making her way to the UK where she received a Master’s in Economics from the London School of Economics. A natural entrepreneur and problem solver, she furthered her education at Harvard’s prestigious Business School. and founded her second company Interactive Investor in 1994, which she eventually sold in 2001. An avid investor and board advisor, Sherry currently sits on the board of Zoopla and The London Stock Exchange. On today’s show, Sherry shares why she transitioned from a future in psychology to computer science, why she believes that role-models and work experience is critical for career development and what things parents and educators can do right now to help cultivate a skilled digitally savvy workforce in the UK. Find out more:
October 01, 2018
Episode 1: Paul van Zyl, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at The Conduit
On today's episode we are joined by international human rights lawyer, social impact entrepreneur, and Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Conduit, Paul van Zyl. Paul grew up during the apartheid in South Africa and has spent a majority of his career advocating for those with no voice. As a result, Paul has been recognized as a global leader for his work in social impact and transitional justice, and was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008. On today’s episode, Paul shares the impact growing up during the apartheid had on his career, how he is leveraging technology for social change and how he has been able to recruit some all star-guests for his latest project, The Conduit. Find out more about this episode here:
September 24, 2018
Digital Leaders Podcast - Teaser for Series One
The Digital Leaders Podcast is a bi-weekly podcast of interviews with influencers in the UK’s digital transformation space. Join host Tarah Ferguson as she sits down with some of the UK’s most accomplished leaders as they share their views on the importance of digital leadership in an evolving digital workforce and economy. Guests this season include former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of Expedia Partner Solutions Ariane Gorin, Executive Chair of the Board of Founders4Schools, Sherry Coutu CBE and Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Conduit, Paul Van Zyl. The Time is Now. The Place is The Digital Leaders Podcast and The Future is Digital.
September 10, 2018