EVENT | Spotlight on Women in Finance - Cambridge

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  • Start Date: 3 Jul 2024
  • Start Time: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Location: The Royal Suite, Cambridge Country Club, Toft Road, Bourn, Cambridge CB23 2TT

​Join us, for our first Cambridge Spotlight on Women in Finance event in the elegant Royal Suite at the Cambridge Country Club and enjoy a relaxed environment with discussions, breakfast, and networking.

We can all agree that diversifying our workplace and creating more opportunities is a good thing; but, how do we do it? How can we tackle the barriers women experience in entering the financial workforce, adding to their skillset, and progressing with their careers and into leadership?

Our exciting panel will be discussing what the World of Accountancy & Finance has to offer women and how we can learn from each other in the pursuit of equity, and discuss the realities of being women in their chosen careers.

Our Speaker

Join us for an insightful discussion led by Jo Boyd, as we delve into the multifaceted challenges that women encounter when re-entering the workforce after taking time to raise a family, as well as the often overlooked hurdles faced by women of a certain age as they navigate the journey of menopause.

Returning to work after a career break can be daunting for anyone, but for women who have taken time off to focus on family, the transition can come with unique obstacles. From outdated stereotypes to the struggle of regaining confidence and re-establishing professional networks, Jo will shed light on the strategies and support systems necessary to successfully reintegrate into the workforce.

In addition, we will explore the intersection of menopause and the workplace, addressing the taboos and stigmas surrounding this natural phase of life. From managing symptoms that impact productivity to advocating for accommodations and understanding the importance of inclusive policies, this discussion will provide valuable insights for both employers and employees alike.

Our Panellist

We are pleased to announce our esteemed panel of women from the World of Accountancy & Finance.

Kirsty Fuller – Divisional Finance Director, MCorp Telecoms Services

"As a busy mum of three, I have first-hand experience in navigating the pitfalls of balancing maternity leave, family priorities and career progression as a senior female; and I am passionate about supporting workplace diversity, inclusion and equality evolution for this and the next generation so that everyone can follow their dreams; “you can’t be what you can’t see.”

Background in finance:

Kirsty is currently Division Finance Director for the M Group Services Telecom Division, having held several senior finance positions in the Cambridge area where she qualified with KPMG. M Group Services is a large private equity-owned group, with c £2.2bn annual turnover; the Telecom Division combines the activities of 4 trading subsidiaries with a combined annual turnover in excess of £0.5bn across the Telecoms sector, serving major Telecom providers such as Openreach, VMO2, EE Ericsson, Nokia and also clients in the Energy and Water sectors where Telecom networks are operated by utility providers required outsourced specialist capability.

Helen Bull – COO, Birdlife International

"It’s a pleasure to participate in this event. I have been supported by some phenomenal managers over my career, both men and women, and I believe that creating the right environment and providing the right support makes a huge difference to success."

Background in finance:

I qualified in Tax at Arthur Andersen. Moving into industry post-qualification, I worked for Bass Brewers but then moved location closer to home and started as Tax and Treasury Manager at PPD, a clinical trials company.  Thanks to a hugely supportive manager, it was the first job I truly enjoyed and after six months was given the accounting to manage as well. My career took off and ultimately, I was responsible for the International Finance team and FP&A function. After 12 years, it was time to move on and I worked for Broadcom also responsible for the International Finance team. This move afforded me the opportunity to work in Singapore for a couple of years, a positive experience which will stay with me forever. After 9 years and 11 acquisitions, Broadcom itself was acquired and I was made redundant in 2017. I took some time to reflect on the next stages of my career and chose to move into the Charity sector, initially at a small mental health charity then in my current role at BirdLife International as COO.

Katie Bent - Director and Portfolio CFO, Green and Purple

"75% of my team are female and empowering women in finance is at the heart of everything I’ve tried to build. It’s an honour to be invited to speak at this event which is very much needed as there is still lots of work to do!"

Background in finance:

I had a relatively straightforward start to my career. Leaving school after A-levels I was an apprentice before “apprenticeships” were a thing. Training at a Cambridge-based practice where I qualified and joined another Cambridge practice. Both are fairly traditional in their approach; I thought, there must be another way to do this! After being invited by a client of mine to join him and help set up and grow Green and Purple, I leapt at the chance and from the start have tried to ensure that Green and Purple is built to be the place I really wanted to work. Flexible, supportive working environments with clients who are passionate entrepreneurs and I get to help them achieve their goals as well as doing the same for the goals of my own team.

Green and Purple has grown significantly in the 11 years most notably in the last 4 years alone, from 13 team members in June 2020 to 52 today, so I think we’re on to something…

Jane WhitrowFinance & Business Consultant

"I'm delighted to be invited to this event to show that there are opportunities in a wide range of companies and this is a wonderful and flexible profession for women."

Background in finance: 

I trained with KPMG who luckily were very interested in people with unusual backgrounds – I had a PhD and had completed one, three-year post-doctoral contract. Post qualification, I moved to a biotech Venture Capitalist and learnt so much about the sector and scientific companies. I have worked with a large number of companies, often taking a flexible role responsible for finance, HR, IT, legal, facilities and Health & Safety. I see my role as one that allows the scientists to focus on the clever science, whilst I make sure the G&A functions are scalable and due diligence ready. I’ve been involved in many fundraisings, listings and a sale. I’ve worked with incredible scientists and often in the rare disease space where there is a huge unmet need many with no treatment or cure at present. I feel incredibly lucky to work in a sector where we have the potential to change lives and contribute to the business’s strategic direction and culture. This was such an invaluable experience but then when the opportunity at British Sugar came up, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss to move into the ABF Group and I am having lots of fun and learning lots in a completely different industry and how to make sugar!

Debbie Toms – Chief of Staff

"I am very touched to be asked to be a part of this event as it amazes me that anyone thinks I'd have anything to say that is worth sharing. I really don't like the fact that we need to focus on being a woman but the reality is the difference is real - the gender pay gap is real, women putting their careers on hold to have children is real, the perception that women in business must act in a certain way is real. I've been lucky enough to have hugely supportive managers and mentors in my career who've made a big difference to me and I want to do the same for others."

Background in finance:

I started my career in Tax at Deloitte in Cambridge in 2007. Getting a "proper" job was purely a way for me to earn enough money to pay my parents back for a 3-month tour of Southern Africa and to earn enough for a third gap year. However, it was the best decision I ever made. I qualified ACA and CTA within three years and, after taking that third gap year, joined the newly created private business tax team in Cambridge. This provided me with a very varied skill set and allowed me to work with hugely exciting companies and their owners across the region and into London. We worked long hours, living to work, on some of the region's biggest deals and IPOs. I loved it and learned A LOT. However, I found myself struggling with work-life balance in, what felt to me, a very competitive culture. Looking back, I was certainly struggling with burn-out but I didn't recognise that at the time and just couldn't understand why everyone else seemed to thrive when I was finding things so hard. I took too long to make the decision to leave, and again, haven't looked back.

I joined Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, as it was then, and spent the next 8 years doing 6 different roles. I joined as the first tax specialist the business had had in over 100 years of its history. This gave me a soft landing in the business as I was the technical expert, and could lean on my technical expertise, whilst I learnt about the business and started to understand how very different the culture was! I very shortly realised I wanted to be more involved in the commercial/business area, with the end goal of being a senior business leader, and was lucky enough to have a hugely supportive manager who gave me the opportunity to move into general finance as the Head of Reporting and Control. Not long after this I was invited to join the senior leadership team. I used this to get as much experience as I could in every area of the business. I then took some time out to have my beautiful little boy who is now 4 - born just before COVID.

My last role at Marshall was as the Finance Director of the Land Systems business. This was another very big learning curve as it was my first statutory Director role and I underestimated how much being responsible for 500 livelihoods would weigh on me; particularly when the business was loss-making and the impact of Brexit, the Ukraine war and the cost of living crisis was being felt every day. I took redundancy in February and was planning to take some of this year out. However, a chance meeting at a child's birthday party found me taking on an even broader step by joining a start-up. My title is Chief of Staff but my role (as the only employee who isn't one of the founders) is to get the company set-up! This feels like a complete rounding off of my career to date as I'm able to use the skills and knowledge I have built across my career to help build a business which will do great things for the world. I'm very excited about what we can achieve and am grateful that my career to date has provided me with the background to support this.


  • 9 am: Arrival

  • 9 am - 9.30 am: Breakfast and Networking

  • 9.30 am – 12.00: Guest Speaker, Women in Finance Panel and Questions

  • 12.00: Networking

  • 12.30 pm: Finish

Breakfast is included and there is plenty of parking available.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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