Conversations with key influencers in the UK’s digital transformation community. On season one 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!
Each episode features an in-depth conversation with a Digital Leader, highlighting how they got into the digital space, their passion for why they do what they do, the impact digital has had on their sector and their thoughts on what the digital future will look like in the next 5 – 10 years.
Episode One: Paul van Zyl
[Listen time: 27 mins, 24 secs] Paul van Zyl grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era. He spent many years actively opposing apartheid, and served as the Executive Secretary of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1995 to 1998.
Paul’s latest project launching in September 2018 is the Conduit, a new London Club for the business, creative and non-profit sectors ranging from youth activists to grassroots social entrepreneurs, from critically acclaimed authors to CEOs, from innovative policy makers to tech entrepreneurs, from scientists to civil society leaders. The Club through the power of this community, will seek to facilitate positive change in a stimulating environment conducive to collaboration and new ways of thinking.
[Listen time: 31 mins] Sherry Coutu CBE Sherry Coutu is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor who serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. She chairs Founders4Schools and the Scaleup Institute and also serves as a non-executive member of Cambridge University (Finance Board), Zoopla plc. and the London Stock Exchange plc.
Perhaps best known for her work connecting business into schools to help secure the next generation of skilled young people the economy needs and with a particular focus on encouraging young women into STEM careers, in 2018 she was voted DL London Local Champion.
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.
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 organisation, her most recent being that of President, Expedia Partner Solutions.
In this episode, Ariane shares 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.
Jacqueline de Rojas, President techUK, is passionate about the UK, the technology industry and championing women in business. She is especially proud to support the technology transformation of the Girlguiding Association.
Jacqueline has been employed throughout her career by global blue-chip software companies and is recognised as a leading figure in the UK’s tech industry. In 2016 she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame as the most influential woman in UK IT; and was listed on Debretts 2016 500 People of Influence – Digital.
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.
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.
On today’s show we sit down with the Executive Director of Change.org in the UK, Kajal Odedra.
Listen to find out how Change.org is helping minority groups and young people have a voice, how government and politicians can leverage the Change.org 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.
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.
On this episode, 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.
On the final episode of series one, we sit down with BBC Tomorrow’s World alumni 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.
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!
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.
On this episode of The Digital Leaders podcast, we sit down with Gillian Docherty, 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.
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:
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.
On the final podcast of Season 2, we sit down with Alice Webb, Director of BBC North and BBC 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.