Speakers

Sam Conniff

Sam’s career began earlier than most. In his teens, he ran nightclubs and managed bands across south London—an occupation that eventually evolved into his first start-up, the now Bafta-winning content agency Don’t Panic. Avoiding death threats and near-bankruptcy in his early twenties, Sam went on to co-found Livity, the first-of-its-kind ethical marketing agency, that today serves as an international youth network. While transforming the lives of thousands of young people, Livity has created award-winning campaigns and content for world-class clients ranging from Netflix to PlayStation.

Along the way, Sam reinvented television when he produced the world’s first multi-platform interactive TV show, Dubplate Drama; repurposed publishing when he created a UK-wide by-young-people-for-young-people publication and platform called Live Magazine; reimagined opportunity when he helped establish a national space-brokering service that matches young people with underused spaces; and re-energised politics when he sparked an overnight movement to give hundreds of thousands of young people a voice in the wake of the 2016 referendum.

Most recently, Sam has become a best-selling author with his first book Be More Pirate, Or How To Take On The World And Win, published by Penguin Random House in the UK, Simon & Schuster in the US and various other publishers around the world. Be More Pirate has grown an international community around Sam’s ethos of “Professional Rule-Breaking” as the next essential 21st Century Skill, and the only way left to “get shit done.”
Today, through his consulting work for Red Bull, Rolex and Mercedes, and proceeds from the Be More Pirate workshops he leads for big brands like Lego, Sony and Lufthansa, Sam helps fund the growing movement of thousands of pirates rewriting the rules of work.

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Dave Coplin

Author, Alchemist, Catalyst, Founder and CEO, The Envisioners. Dave helps organisations and individuals to see the full potential that technology offers to a modern, digital society. He doesn’t focus on the technology itself. But on the humans who use it.

Dave’s thorough approach to tailoring his presentations is reflected in the excellent feedback.

He is invited to speak worldwide for wide range of companies, including in law, finance, banks, engineering, construction, schools and universities, food and drink, tech, and many more.

Dave has a tell-it-as-he-sees-it style, and a light-hearted approach.

He inspires, enthuses and entertains. He helps his audiences to think differently and creatively.

His mission is to make people see how technology can help them work smarter, not harder.

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Pen Hadow

Explorer, Advocate & Visionary. Protecting the North Pole’s ocean wildlife. Pen Hadow is a leading explorer of the Arctic Ocean, and is now dedicated to the United Nations process that will advance protection for the threatened wildlife and ecosystem in the international waters around the North Pole.

Hadow leads the not-for-profit 90ºNorth Unit which advocates for an international agreement to create a protected area for the international waters of the Arctic Ocean; and he is director of the annual scientific research and public engagement programme, Arctic Mission, which supports the Unit’s work.

The 90º North Unit is introducing a significant new perspective on the Arctic’s diminishing sea ice, revealing that the environmental issue is less about the geophysics of a melting layer of frozen sea water, and far more about the potentially catastrophic loss of a globally unique “floating ice-reef ecosystem” which includes some of the world’s most loved species.

In 2017 Arctic Mission sailed two 50’ yachts into the North Pole’s international waters, the first non-icebreaking vessels in history to do so, to demonstrate the increasing accessibility of these waters to surface commercial shipping, fishing, tourism and mining, and therefore the emerging human threat to the wildlife already stressed by its reduced sea-ice cover habitat.

Previously, Hadow led the multi-award-winning £7.5m international scientific research programme, Catlin Arctic Survey (2007-2012) investigating the rates, causes and impacts of the Arctic’s rapidly melting sea ice.

In 2003 Hadow became the first person to trek solo, and without resupply, across the sea ice from Canada to the North Geographic Pole – a feat unrepeated to date, that took three attempts over 15 years to achieve. He is also the first Briton, without resupply, to both the North and South Geographic Poles from their respective continental coastlines.

Hadow has written books, including the best-seller, Solo, self-filmed a TV documentary for National Geographic, presented a series on BBC Radio 4, and contributed to numerous TV documentaries and books about adventure and exploration.

Hadow is an honorary patron of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, British Exploring Society, Scientific Exploration Society, and The Explorers Club (UK Chapter).

In 1977 he became Harrow School’s first recorded pupil to have run its legendary 20-mile Long Ducker, running it solo – an event that went on to become the largest annual event in the school’s calendar.

Hadow’s affinity with the polar regions and its wildlife began through his extraordinary childhood connection with the dying words of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (‘Scott of the Antarctic’) and his son, the world-renown naturalist and WWF founder, Sir Peter Scott.

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Timandra Harkness

Timandra Harkness is a science writer, broadcaster and comedian. She has
performed maths standup, presented on Radio 4, and written a book; Big Data:
does size matter?

After performing improvised and standup comedy, hosting cabaret, and touring
with a tented circus, Timandra formed the first comedy science double-act in the
UK with neuroscientist Dr Helen Pilcher.

Now a regular writing and presenting on Radio 4, Timandra has fronted
documentaries such as Data, Data Everywhere, and Personality Politics. She cohosts
FutureProofing, with Leo Johnson, which sees her looking at the future of
everything from language to war, ageing to food. She’s also the resident reporter
on social psychology series The Human Zoo.

Away from the microphone and since winning a competition in the Independent
with a piece on goat-borrowing, she has written for publications including the
Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, Evening Standard, WIRED, Men’s Health and
Significance (the journal of the Royal Statistical Society). Her book Big Data: does
size matter? gives a history of data collection and collation, how it’s changing the
world, and its shortcomings from politics to health to smart cities.

Combining unusual facts with insight and humour, Timandra looks at how the
future will affect business and society. As well as looking at big data, she tackles AI
and robotics, and considers topics around our relationship with science and
technology.

On stage, Timandra has appeared in and co-written Your Days Are Numbered: the
maths of death and Science Burlesque, which brought the Cheltenham Science
Festival its first audience that included a hen party.

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Nigel Risner

Having started his own business in 1983 and becoming one of the youngest CEO’s at the age of 26, Nigel quickly realised that running organisations was not that complicated but working with people and getting the most out of them was the challenge. He did an IPO and having venture capital in his business it occurred to him that understanding people’s personal needs and their communication styles was paramount to their success. He started working with Vistage and other CEO Groups in 1997 and quickly became a sought- after speaker working in many different industries but specialising in peak performance and human development.

In 2001 and 2010 he was awarded Speaker of the Year from The Academy for Chief Executives, in 2005 he was awarded Vistage International Speaker of the Year and in 2009/10 Footdown awarded him Speaker of the Year, thus making him the only speaker in Europe to have won all three awards. Nigel currently speaks approximately 100 times a year. Having spoken to more than 1.5 million people worldwide (40 Countries) he has recognised that most people fall into four categories in communication. Whilst there have been many other models used his method of zoo keeping different animals is now used not only in Police Forces around the Country but also many National Health Trusts. His main philosophies are:

  • If you are in the room – be in the room!
  • If you want success – you must learn the zoo keeping techniques.
  • There is no such thing as difficult customers and staff – there are different customers and staff.
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Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. During his tenure, the Society has substantially increased its output of research and innovation, provided new routes to support the charitable initiatives of its 30,000 fellows, and developed a global profile as a platform for ideas.

In July 2017 Matthew published the report ‘Good Work’; an independent review into modern employment, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister.

In September 2019, Matthew started a new part-time role as the Government’s Director of Labour Market Enforcement and is also a member of its Industrial Strategy Council.

Taylor is a regular media performer having appeared several times on the Today programme, The Daily Politics and Newsnight. He has written and presented several Radio Four documentaries and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze. He has posted more than a thousand times on his RSA blog site and tweets as @RSAMatthew.

He is also Senior Editor of the Thames & Hudson Big Ideas series.

Prior to this appointment, Matthew was Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and he then became Chief Adviser on political strategy to the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Previous roles included, Labour Party Director of Policy, and Assistant General Secretary of The Labour Party.

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Marjorie Wallace

Marjorie Wallace CBE is the Chief Executive of SANE, the mental health charity which she founded in 1986 following her series of articles in The Times, The Forgotten Illness. She created the Prince of Wales International Centre for SANE Research in Oxford and pioneered SANEline, the country’s first national mental health helpline open 365 days a year.

In her journalistic career she twice won Campaigning Journalist of the Year Award in the British Press Awards, Medical Journalist of the Year, and the Snowdon Special Award. In 2016 she was given the Outstanding Campaigner Award in the Women of the Year Awards.

In 2006 she was selected as one of the 16 key achievers who had made a difference to the health of the nation for an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and in 2008 was chosen as one of the 60 most influential people in shaping the history of the National Health Service.

Marjorie is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of University College London, an Honorary Doctor of Science at City University London, and Emeritus Guardian Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. In 2017 she was awarded honorary membership of the World Psychiatric Association and in 2018 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford.

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