IN THIS ROUNDTABLE, SUCCESSFUL NEWNHAM ENTREPRENEURS LOOK BACK ON THEIR CAREERS. WHAT VALUES DID NEWNHAM GIVE THEM? HOW DID THOSE VALUES HELP THEM IN SETTING UP THEIR BUSINESSES? AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD THEY GIVE TO TODAY’S STUDENTS AND RECENT GRADUATES, TO GIVE THEM THE BEST CHANCE TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS IN SUCH UNPRECEDENTED, CHALLENGING TIMES?

Branding expert Rita Clifton CBE (NC 1976) chairs this interactive session with plenty of opportunity to ask questions of the panellists: Pam Alexander OBE (NC 1972), specialist in housing and economic regeneration, with an interest in digital engagement; Mihiri Jayaweera (NC 1985), a banker and financial analyst, who will discuss the links between finance and business; Susanna Kempe (NC 1984), who runs an educational charity and is interested in the intersections between business and values; and Hanlin Xu (NC 2010), a young alumna experienced in start-up culture.

About the Contributors

PAM ALEXANDER OBE (NC 1972) is a former senior civil servant with a portfolio of non-executive director (NED) roles mainly in businesses focused on housing and economic regeneration. She chairs a digital community engagement company, Commonplace, and is a NED of the London Legacy Development Corporation and of the Connected Places Catapult as well as being an advisor to OnePlanet.com and a founder of Equilibrium Network, working for women in the built environment professions. Previously she chaired Covent Garden Market Authority and Peabody, was a NED of Crest Nicholson plc, a FTSE 250 housebuilder, and a Trustee of the Design Council. From 2004 to 2011 Pam was Chief Executive of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) supporting businesses from Oxford to Kent. She was made OBE in 2012 for services to regeneration in the South East.

RITA CLIFTON CBE (NC 1976) is a branding strategist and former senior executive at Saatchi & Saatchi and Interbrand. She now has a portfolio of chairing and non-executive director roles, including ASOS, Ascential plc and Nationwide. She founded and chairs BrandCap, a brand consultancy, and is the author of the best-selling book The Future of Brands. Rita speaks around the world on all aspects of brands, branding and business leadership. She is also a regular columnist and commentator on TV, radio and social channels and was a judge and mentor on CNBC’s award-winning business series ‘Pop Up Start Up’.  

MIHIRI JAYAWEERA (NC 1985) has over 25 years of experience in investment banking and financial analysis. She is a Non-Executive Director of the supply chain company Wincanton. Until October 2019, she was Group Head of Strategy and a member of the group executive committee of TP ICAP Group. She was previously a consultant at Trivedi Capital, and has held positions at Nomura International, Lehman Brothers and UBS Investment Bank.  

SUSANNA KEMPE (NC 1984) is the CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, a charity investing in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented in order to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of leaders. One of her favourite programmes is a partnership with Columbia Business School, where the Foundation has supported over 230 female studentsSusanna is also an advisor to SaaS start-up Zapnito and founder of the marketing and media consultancy Flying Trumpets. Previous roles include Group Content and Marketing Partner for the critical issues advisory firm Brunswick, CEO of WGSN and CMO of Informa plc.   

HANLIN XU (NC 2010) is Lead Insight Analyst at Bloom & Wild. Her role currently focuses on product analytics and customer retention. Prior to this, she worked in both start-up and large companies as an Insight Analyst. At Cambridge, she studied Information & Computer Engineering (MEng), before going on to join the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris to take her MBA, with an internship at Air Liquide.  

Lead Image: “London’s financial district” by #96 is licensed under CC BY 2.0