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Women of Influence

Our ‘Women of Influence’ series engages a mix of internal and external guests, chaired by Professor Janice Kay, Provost, and Imelda Rogers, Interim Director of People Services, and run by Shraddha Chaudhary, Communication and Engagement Officer.

The group aims to meet termly, with a guest speaker.

The next event will be featuring our VC, Professor Lisa Roberts, 08 March 2021, 13:30-14:30

The keynote will be followed by a full Q&A session. If you'd like to join the event, please email

The underlying theme of all these events is around inspiring other women and supporting them with their career development, and those identifying as women from across the University are encouraged to get involved.

Past Speakers include: 

Ciara Eastell OBE runs her own consultancy company, supporting organisations – large and small – on transformation and organisation development initiatives. She is currently working at Tate on a range of culture change initiatives. She also works as a Professor of Practice at the University of Exeter, supporting the Business School to connect with the arts and cultural sector around research, teaching and executive education.

Ciara has built her professional career over the past 25 years in the libraries sector. She worked for 10 years in Devon, leading the library service through enormous change as a result of the changing needs of local communities and the impact of austerity. This culminated in the establishment of Libraries Unlimited in 2016, a nationally renowned charity working across Devon to deliver high quality and modern library services at the heart of local communities. Ciara led the establishment and start up phase for the first three years of Libraries Unlimited’s lifetime, during which time the organisation successfully gained National Portfolio Organisation status and secured the contract to run Torbay’s library service.

A record-breaking polar explorer and a renowned international speaker, Ann Daniels is the first woman in history, along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, to reach the North and South Poles as part of all women teams.Ann is a great believer in living life to the full and taking opportunities as they appear. Not letting the fear of failure stop her having a go, with no previous outdoor experience and as a mother of 18 month old triplets, Lucy, Joseph and Rachel, she beat off fierce competition from over 200 other women on a tough Dartmoor selection weekend and was chosen to join the first team, of the McVities Penguin Polar Relay. A unique relay expedition of women sledge hauling to the North Pole. The first team of four women with two guides were tasked with crossing the toughest sections of ice, in the coldest weather, to give this record breaking expedition the best possible start.This unique expedition was the start of a number of world record breaking expeditions that would see Ann rise in the field of Polar Exploration.

Former Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Elizabeth has carried major roles in both the private and public sectors. She currently combines chairing The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, TecSOS and The Independent Advisory Board, Marston Holdings with a non-executive directorship at Driver Group plc.  She also serves on the Vodafone Trust.

Elizabeth was Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, The Revenue Adjudicator, The Independent Advisor to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on the relationship between the media and the police. She was Deputy Chief Executive at the London Docklands Development Authority after promotion from her role as Director of Community Services, and was responsible for delivering a major housing programme and a range of services including schools, colleges and health centres.

Elizabeth has been the non-executive chair of Annington Homes, a non-executive director of Britannia Building Society, HBS, Logica, Jarvis and Hay Management Consultants and an Audit Commissioner. A recording of this event is available to WoI network members. If you would like to join the network, please email Shraddha Chaudhary