Speaker Profiles


Fiona Roberts AssetAltText

Owner Cox Roberts Consulting

Cox Roberts Consulting was set up in 2016 by Fiona Roberts.

Fiona was until recently Human Resources Director at Volkswagen UK, a role she had held since May 2010. Fiona Roberts has experience across a broad range of commercial business sectors including Automotive, Retail, Services and Manufacturing. Having started her career in Retail Operations she transitioned to Human Resources after completing an MA in HR Management. She has subsequently built a reputation as an exceptional HR professional, able to demonstrate significant business contributions in Strategy development; Operational HR; International talent management; Employee Engagement and Organisational Development.

On leaving Volkswagen after 6 very successful years Fiona has decided to use her skills and experience to support businesses achieve the very best from their people and achieve their business goals and ambitions.

Fiona was HR Director of the Year at the Personnel Today Awards 2014, the same year that Volkswagen Group UK was awarded Top Employer status by the Top Employers Institute for its commitment to developing talent and offering a first-class working environment with high quality training and development opportunities across its five brands. Fiona’s leadership has led to the business being accredited as a Top Employer and achieving “Great Place to Work” status since 2012.

Fiona is a strong business leader who has significant experience at Board level. Her strengths are in leading a commercial HR team and delivering business change.  She has experience across a broad range of commercial business sectors including Automotive, Retail, Services and Manufacturing. Having started her career in Retail Operations she transitioned to Human Resources and subsequently has built a reputation as an exceptional HR professional.

Kate HardcastleAssetAltText

Owner Insight with Passion

Kate Hardcastle & media.  As seen and heard weekly on BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 & as a guest writer for the Guardian & Virgin, Kate has also led the turnaround of British branded businesses, as the Founder of Insight with Passion Business transformation.  She has presented programmes for BBC on retail, and led the Channel 4 charge for Battlefront on Youth Unemployment.

Kat was made Downing Street Point of Light Winner on International Women's Day with her dedication to many vital campaigns and charities supporting women - an award that she adds to over 26 National & International awards.  She is the current Yorkshire Business Woman of the Year. 

She leads an add insight to projects in the UK and Internationally, and has been the keynote speaker at over 200 events including The Business Show, World Congress and Arabian Business Conference alongside Bill Clinton, Sting and many more.

Kate's business - Insight with Passion, donates an impressive 20% back to good causes which has been flagged as a case study by Downing Street.  Kate is also a proud ambassador for Women in Sport and many charities including Trustee of the Diana Awards and is founder of Positive Image Month and The Charity Dreamgirls.

Mark WrightAssetAltText

Managing Director Digital at Jack Wills

Mark Wright, has been the Managing Director for Digital at Jack Wills for 18months where he’s responsible for Global Ecommerce as well as CRM and Customer Services. During this time, in addition to Mark making necessary changes to the website, he has given real focus to the team and led digital transformation at Jack Wills, introducing new ways of working to put the customer and customer insight at the heart of decision-making.

His previous experience includes a wide range of roles at M&S including Head of UK Trading for M&S.com, Store Operations and field positions as both Store and Regional Manager.  Mark sits on the Advisory Board for IMRG and continues to mentor a number of people in the retail industry.

Jack Wills, for more than 16 years, has brought British heritage-inspired wares of the highest quality to the wardrobes of a spirited and inspired youth, epitomising what it is to be British, irreverent and carefree. 



Jill McDonaldAssetAltText

CEO, Halfords

Jill has been the Halfords Group Chief Executive since 11 May 2015. Jill was CEO, UK & President, North West Division Europe for McDonald's Corporation, having originally joined as Chief Marketing Officer UK & Northern Europe in 2006. Jill began her career at Colgate Palmolive and British Airways. McDonald took up her position at Halfords in May just as the business achieved a goal of surpassing £1bn in annual sales. In order to get a true understanding of the business and connect with people early on, she took part in an induction programme over several weeks and worked in-store so she could experience the business from the perspective of employees and customers.

Alan GilesAssetAltText

Non-Executive Director, Perpetual Income Trust

Alan Giles is a non-executive director of Rentokil Initial plc, Perpetual Income & Growth Investment Trust and the Competition & Markets Authority. He is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at Cass Business School and an Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School.

He was Chairman of Fat Face from September 2006 until July 2013. Earlier in his career he formed HMV Group as Chief Executive in 1998 as a leveraged buy-out and led the Group through its London Stock Exchange IPO in 2002 before retiring from the Group in 2006 to develop a portfolio of non-executive and teaching roles. From 1993 to 1998 he was Managing Director of Waterstone’s, having joined WH Smith Group in 1982 and being appointed to their board in November 1995. He also served as Operations and Development Director for Do It All and General Manager (Books) for WH Smith Retail.

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