Keynote speakers

  • Jamie Clarke

    Jamie Clarke

    Executive Director, Climate Outreach

    Jamie is motivated by the importance of enabling climate change to be something everyone cares about rather than backs away from. He sees deep and effective public engagement as being fundamental to addressing climate change. He has extensive experience working with academics, government departments, international bodies, NGOs, businesses and community groups. Having been an advocate and educator for many years, Jamie understands that traditional climate messages tend to turn people off rather than engage them but that practical interventions based on social research are pivotal to reversing this trend. He is the co-author, with Adam Corner, of ‘Talking Climate: From Research to Practice in Public Engagement’, published in November 2016.

  • Amanda Coleman

    Amanda Coleman

    Head of Corporate Communications, Greater Manchester Police

    Amanda has more than 25 years’ experience both as a journalist and in communication roles. For the past 18 years she has worked in senior communication roles within the police service and is currently responsible for corporate communications at Greater Manchester Police.

    Initially, Amanda worked on local newspapers throughout the north west of England before moving into public relations working for a number of public sector organisations.

    She has led the communication team at Greater Manchester Police during some challenging times including the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017, the murder of two police officers in 2012, August 2011 riots, death of the former chief constable and numerous counter terrorism investigations.

    Amanda has been chair of the national Association of Police Communicators (APComm) since January 2013.

    In July 2017 Amanda became a fellow of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).

  • Alicia Custis

    Alicia Custis

    Head of Communications and Marketing, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

    Alicia Custis is a multi-award-winning communications specialist, with extensive experience working in the NHS. 

    She is Head of Communications at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital and community health services in Stockport. Alicia was asked to lead on communications at the Trust following the saline poisoning murders at Stepping Hill Hospital. She developed and implemented an overall communications strategy for the organisation. The communications team subsequently won three national awards for its approach to reputation handling.

    Alicia was previously Head of Communications at the Christie Cancer Centre for 10 years. She has 20 years’ experience in communications, including 6 years working at PR agencies on a wide range of accounts. 

  • Jenni Field

    Jenni Field

    Chair/Director, CIPR Inside/Redefining Communications

    Jenni Field has over 13 years of experience in the communications industry, working in local government, defence, advertising, retail, hospitality and pharmaceuticals. She has set up communications functions, specialised in media relations and internal communications and has helped companies through major change programmes, digital adoption challenges and streamlining their PR efforts for the best results.

    Jenni is a key member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, sitting on their Council, Professional Membership and Development Committee and chairing the Specialist Internal Communications Group, Inside. 

  • Ed Fitzhugh

    Ed Fitzhugh

    Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team

    Ed is an advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team working on housing and consumer projects, with a focus on BIT's work with social housing organisations. Ed has a background in communications in the Civil Service, private sector and fundraising organisations. He has managed digital channels for the Office of Fair Trading, Department for Communities and Local Government, Ministry of Defence, a national charity, and King’s College London. Before this, Ed worked in advertising and for a marketing consultancy in Tokyo managing quantitative research projects across Asian markets.

  • James Green

    James Green

    Futures Programme Director, National Housing Federation

    James is responsible for the Federation’s work on the Futures programme. Creating our Future taps into the energy and enthusiasm of the entire housing sector to better understand the trends shaping the future and co-create groundbreaking ideas in response. James has a 10-year track record in public affairs. He has worked for a number of MPs, lobbied politicians on a range of issues and led a number of campaigns, including Homes for Britain.

  • Nicola King

    Nicola King

    Associate Director, Teneo Blue Rubicon

    Nicola King is Associate Director of Teneo Blue Rubicon’s issues and crisis management team. She works with some of the world’s largest global companies to help them manage risk, train their teams to deal with crises and to support them if a crisis hits. Nicola has managed a range of crisis and reputation issues, including cyber security incidents, class action lawsuits, supplier disputes, regulatory investigations, consumer campaigns, environmental issues and operational failures.

  • Jennifer Riddell

    Public Relations Director, See Media


  • Tim Abbott

    Tim Abbott

    Head of Corporate Affairs, Sovereign

    A former journalist, Tim has spent the last 10 years helping government agencies and housing associations tell stories and build influence so they can have an even greater positive impact.

    Tim has led teams at the Environment Agency, dealing with major crises such as fires and floods, as well as at the Homes and Communities Agency, supporting billion-pound investment programmes. He’s arranged events for five housing ministers.

    A graduate of the National Housing Federation’s first Influencing Academy, Tim now leads on all things PR and public affairs at Sovereign, one of the largest housing associations in the country.

  • Rebecca Barnes

    Rebecca Barnes

    Head of Change Communications, Sovereign

    Rebecca has worked in property communications for over 10 years.

    In the commercial sector, Rebecca was head of communications for FirstPort, a property services company managing around 200,000 homes across the UK. There she managed the communications for several major crises, a complete rebrand and a transformation programme following a PE acquisition.

    Rebecca joined Spectrum Housing Group in 2015 to set up a communications function and worked on the merger with Sovereign Housing Association with Sovereign’s communications director, Claire Sims. Following Claire’s appointment as Director of Communications for Sovereign, Rebecca was appointed as head of change communications to lead on transformation communications at Sovereign.

  • Andrew Davis

    Andrew Davis

    Social Media Strategist

    As one of Britain’s foremost social media experts, Andrew Davis has trained teams at organisations as diverse as Saatchi & Saatchi, KPMG, Barnardo’s, the London Fire Bridge and the Premier League. He helps businesses of all types transform, disrupt and prepare through strategy advice and training.

    Andrew started his career by running chat rooms for Pop Idol in the early days of reality TV talent shows. He also worked on Friends Reunited, before joining the BBC to help launch the digital urban music station, Radio 1Xtra. He then joined Myspace.com as Marketing Manager and played a leading role in propelling the site from one to ten million UK users in under a year; Andrew was responsible for building the brand - including community development, content and digital marketing.

    A visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths College, Andrew Davis also designed the first social media course linked to GCSE English. He sits on Ofcom’s advisory committee and has featured in Media Week’s 30 Under 30 and The Guardian’s report on the top ethnic minority contributors to British media.

  • Tricia Grierson

    Tricia Grierson

    Head of Independent Living, Johnnie Johnson Housing

    Tricia Grierson has worked at Johnnie Johnson Housing for 15 years, gaining a broad range of housing experience, working across the north of England in housing management, regeneration, sales and leasehold management posts. Her current position is head of independent living, a strategic role developing homes and services for older people. With a BA Honours degree from Hull University, Tricia is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and a past chair of the north west regional board. She is a board member of WISH (Women in Social Housing) North West, supporting the development of women in the sector and a trustee of Age UK Cheshire East.

  • Penny Haslam

    Penny Haslam

    Former BBC journalist and award-winning inspirational speaker and visibility coach

    Penny started her career at the BBC as a secretary, working her way up to become a senior business journalist and producer on BBC Radio 4. She presented the BBC’s Panorama programme between 2010–2011, and then became BBC Breakfast’s business news presenter, also presenting on the news channel and Radio 5 Live.

    Penny now works as a professional speaker, focusing on visibility for organisations, and as a conference moderator.

    She has presented a TEDx Talk on the power of visibility and was awarded Speaker of the Year in 2016 by her professional body, the Professional Speaking Association.

  • Alex Hunter

    Alex Hunter

    Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Clarion Housing Group

    Alex has worked in communications for over 20 years. He has held varied positions including director of communications at the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and led communications at the Independent Police Complaints Commission following the London riots.

    In the commercial sector Alex was corporate affairs director at Rockwool, a leading manufacturer of fire resistant insulation and cladding materials, where he was responsible for supporting local authorities and housing associations to make the most of eco funding for large scale retrofit projects. Alex joined Affinity Sutton in September 2015 to support the organisation in its merger with Circle Housing. He was appointed director of corporate affairs and communications for Clarion Housing Group following the merger in November 2016.

  • Joey Jones

    Head of Public Affairs, Weber Shandwick

  • Jo Parkinson

    Jo Parkinson

    Head of Internal Communications, Macmillan Cancer Support

    Jo Parkinson is the Head of Internal Communications at Macmillan Cancer Support. Over the past 10 years, Jo has accrued extensive experience working across internal, external, regional and national levels within communications. Jo originally trained as a journalist and has also spent time working outside the charity sector, in media companies including Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press.

  • Claire Sims

    Claire Sims

    Communications Director, Sovereign

    A chartered and accredited PR practitioner, Claire has worked in communications for the best part of 20 years. Leading sales, marketing and customer relationship teams at Securicor, she became Director Cf communications within the G4S care and justice services, following the merger between Securicor and Group 4. She’s experienced at managing a crisis or two.

    Joining Sovereign Housing Association in 2012 as Director of Communications, Claire was part of the pilot group for voluntary right to buy and is now chair of the National Housing Federation communication and influencing group.

    Appointed Communications Director for Sovereign in October 2016, following the merger between Spectrum Housing Group and Sovereign Housing Association, Claire is a member of Sovereign’s integration and transformation board and leads on all things communication.

  • John Straw

    John Straw

    Author, iDisrupted

    John is a serial entrepreneur with four start-ups and four exits behind him. He was chair of Thomas Cook’s digital advisory board to 2013, author on a book on disrupted technology, ‘iDisrupted, and is an active investor in early stage start-ups. He is a non-executive director for Provident Financial since Jan 2017 and a current senior advisor to Mckinsey and Company.

  • Rae Watson

    Marketing and Communications Manager, Tpas

    Rae Watson is the marketing and communication manager for Tpas England, the tenant engagement organisation. Rae leads on maintaining and developing Tpas England’s reputation, from content creation and brand management to public relations. Before joining Tpas, Rae worked in a communications role for the police, a local authority and a regional membership organisation.