The focus of this annual event is to bring together a diverse mix of successful women leaders who, through the discussion of topics relevant to today's issues will educate, inspire and encourage women to reflect on their own goals and status as they strive to advance within their organizations.

Be Fearless: Influence, Innovate, and Inspire



Symposium Panelists

Adeola Ogunwole
Head of Marketing, EMEA, LATAM, and APAC

Melanie Willems
Head of International Arbitration and London Office Managing Partner
Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP

Melissa Geiger
Partner, Head of International Tax

Nicola Phillips
Vice-President & Principal (Education)
King's College London

Dr. Paula Franklin
UK Medical Director

Paula Parfitt
Senior Vice President - Europe Sales & Marketing
Cielo Talent




Sarah Guerra
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
King's College London



Panel Topics






8:30am — 11:30am




King's College London
United Kingdom



Title Sponsor — £5,000


Gold Sponsor — £3,500


Silver Sponsor — £2,000


Bronze Sponsor — £1,250


Half Tables — £500


Individual Registration — £99


A £3 processing fee will be charged to all registrations




Andrews Kurth Kenyon
Direct Energy



For more information on sponsorship or table opportunities, please contact Brandy Berry at



See the 2016 London Women in Leadership Symposium

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Melanie Willems


Melanie Willems


Melanie is Managing Partner of the London office and Head of International Arbitration for Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. She has over 23 years of experience in resolving complex, high-value disputes in international arbitration, litigation, expert determination, mediation or adjudication proceedings.


Melanie’s practice focuses primarily on the energy, engineering and construction industries. She has advised on major international projects in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and India, in relation to offshore drilling operations, exploration and production under JOAs / PSCs, oil refineries, gas sales agreements, power plants, renewable energy (in particular offshore wind farms), desalination plants, petrochemical plants, oil rigs, pipelines, hotels, road/highways, hospitals, transport, foreign investments and other infrastructure projects.


Melanie has arbitrated under all major institutional rules, including LCIA, ICC and ICSID, and also sits as arbitrator (she was most recently appointed in a Nigerian oil and gas case by the LCIA). She regularly appears as advocate both in arbitration proceedings and the English High Court.


Melanie graduated jointly from Kings College, London and Université de Paris 1 (the Sorbonne), and holds an MSc from Kings College in Arbitration and Construction Law. She is the immediate past President of the Society of Construction Arbitrators and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


Paula Franklin


Dr. Paula Franklin


Paula studied medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and worked as a GP before leaving clinical practice to study public health at Johns Hopkins University in the USA. Following this she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund charity in Washington DC on US health policy and legislation. On returning to the UK Paula joined Bupa and between 1996 and 2010 held a number of senior medical roles in both funding and provision businesses. Paula then joined Marie Stopes International where she was Global Medical Director. She returned to Bupa in 2013 to take up the role of UK Medical Director. In addition to her medical degree Paula has a MPH from Johns Hopkins, a MBA from London Business School, a MA in Bioethics and Medical Law and a diploma in counselling. She is a trustee of the Youth Sport Trust.


Paula Parfitt


Paula Parfitt


Paula Parfitt is a highly experienced Senior Vice President with a track record of creating and managing teams across sales, business development and marketing within SMEs and global corporations. With Cielo, Paula now designs customised RPO solutions that deliver real business impact and exceptional talent acquisition results to clients from a broad range of industry sectors and countries. Paula has been instrumental in the creation of Values, Vision and Mission statements as well as employee value propositions for her last three organisations.

Having returned to work twice after maternity leave, and with experience of working full and part-time, office-based and remotely, Paula is passionate about partnering with and advising clients on the benefits of flexible return to work programmes, the positive impact of increasing diversity and social mobility, and how this delivers security of supply in an environment of intense competition for people


Angeles Valenciano


Angeles Valenciano


Angeles Valenciano was recently appointed as chief executive officer of the National Diversity Council (NDC), becoming the first female CEO of this major nonprofit. In this role, she will continue to advance the NDC’s mission of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She will also focus on strenghtening partnerships with businesses, academia and the community at large.

Ms. Valenciano is a seasoned strategist with more than 20 years of experience in human resources, primarily focused on diversity, organizational change, and development. She was previously president of the Healthcare Diversity Council and executive vice president of the NDC. In the latter role, she oversaw the growth of several national markets, including California and Arizona. In addition, she also served as vice president of business development for the Texas Diversity Council (TXDC), one of the NDC state councils.

Ms. Valenciano was the TXDC’s first executive director with responsibility over operations and policy implementation as adopted by the Board of Directors. She directed the agendas of the regional diversity council’s advisory boards in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Under her leadership, the annual Women in Leadership Symposium was created and is now a national and global event held in more than twelve states and several countries including England, Mexico, and Argentina.

Formerly, Ms. Valenciano was the director of diversity and inclusion for 84 Lumber Company. She provided leadership and direction for the infrastructure, design, formulation, implementation and execution of the organization’s overall diversity strategy, which included external communications, public relations, and community engagement. She was also responsible for ensuring the efficacy of these business practices, processes, and procedures. Ms. Valenciano’s role was carried out in the company’s business expansion into Mexico and Canada.

As an assistant vice president and officer at JPMorgan , she served in the capacity of leadership development consultant in Credit Card Services and Organizational Development, and consultant to Customer Services’ clients. Ms. Valenciano also managed the strategic direction and execution of organizational-wide development processes as well as diversity programs and initiatives. She served as subject matter expert on global diversity, overseeing the company’s initiatives in Latin America, Canada and Mumbai, India.

Active in charitable and civic affairs, Ms. Valenciano is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de San Luis Potosí located in the City of San Luis Potosí in Mexico with a degree in business and computer information systems. She holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certificate from University of Villanova. She has completed various leadership and professional development programs across the country and abroad.

Ms. Valenciano is fluent in English and Spanish. She serves on the board of the Science, Engineering and Technology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She is a strong advocate and chairs several committees for people with disabilities in the workplace. She is a proud ally to the LGBT community and is active with several chambers of commerce across the country. Ms. Valenciano lives in San Antonio, TX, with her children Tony, Diego and Mario.