Engage 2023 - Speakers

Find out more about your speakers below.

Your speakers

Kate Bratt-Farrar

CEO, Heart Research UK

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Kate joined Heart Research UK charity in July 2019 from Sue Ryder Wheatsfields Hospice, where she was director. Prior to this, she was CEO of Leeds Women's Aid and has worked in policy and research at Save the Children.

Kate has also acted as a trustee for numerous charities, most recently with the Morrisons Foundation and Day One Trauma.

Kunle Olulode MBE

Director, Voice for Change England

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Kunle has been awarded an MBE for his contributions within the Black and Minoritised sector in 2022. As a trade union activist at Camden Council, from 2002 – 2011, he led the Camden Black Workers staff group. He represented over 500 Black and Asian staff members and founded its award-winning Camden Black History Forum.

Kunle believes that it is time to develop a new narrative around race equality away from deficit models. Working in a sector that, he is acutely aware of how the lack of diversity in thought is crippling serious debate on social policy issues, particularly Race.

Kunle is also a regular on television and radio including Radio London, Al Jazeera, Sky TV, RT on debates relating to politics the arts, diversity and race. With a long-standing interest in arts development particularly in film, he is on the programming board South Bank’s BFI’s African Odyssey.

Enver Solomon

CEO, Refugee Council

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Enver joined the Refugee Council as Chief Executive in December 2020, following nearly three years as CEO of Just for Kids Law, a charity providing youth support and legal representation to children and young people facing adversity.

He holds a wealth of experience in the charitable sector, including senior roles at the National Children’s Bureau, The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Prison Reform Trust. Prior to working in the voluntary sector he was a BBC journalist for ten years.

Enver has been on advisory boards for the Department of Education, HM Inspector of Prisons and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as well as chairing a number of cross sector coalitions including the End Child Poverty Campaign and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice. He has also played a pivotal role initiating sector wide strategic communications and campaigning projects. Enver served for five years as Chair of Trustees at the charity Asylum Aid and was a founding trustee of the charity British Future.

Enver is proud to be the first CEO in the organisation’s 70 year history who is from a black and minority ethnic background. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, camping and generally getting out into the British countryside.

Enver was named Charity CEO of the year at the Charity Times Awards 2023.

Rebecca Young

Policy and Influencing Lead, NCVO

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Rebecca is NCVO policy and influencing lead, managing their work to influence government across a range of policy areas. Rebecca manages the policy function at NCVO, which works to ensure government policy supports charities and volunteers. She has a particular interest in how NCVO can build a movement of charities and volunteers to achieve change.

Rebecca joined in 2017 as a policy officer focusing on commissioning and procurement. Before joining NCVO Rebecca worked on welfare policy for the National Union of Students, and worked at a social enterprise supporting improvement in public service delivery.

Chris Walker

Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NCVO

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Chris is NCVO’s policy and public affairs manager, leading NCVO public affairs work. He is responsible for policy on charity law and campaigning. Chris joined NCVO in June 2015 to lead on public affairs work, and is now policy and public affairs manager.

Chris is a parliamentary specialist who started his career working for a number of MPs, before working in policy and public affairs roles at the Federation of Small Businesses.

Chris is interested in how charities can effectively influence government and parliament, and previously led NCVO's campaigning and influencing training.

Jay Kennedy

Director of Policy and Research, DSC

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Since starting as a Researcher in DSC's Liverpool Office in 2003, Jay has had several roles in research, policy and as a media spokesperson. He loves the buzz of big ideas and debates about policy, public affairs, research, campaigning, politics and social issues generally.

Jay's favourite thing about DSC is connecting with the awesome people in our charity sector, learning about what they do, and building relationships that make things happen. You might come across Jay's quotes in the sector press, his tweeted blogs and opinions, or as a speaker, chair and panellist at events.

Rosemary Forest

Policy Manager – civic space, Bond

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Rosemary is Bond’s Policy Manager – civic space (maternity cover) focusing on civic space in the UK and transparency across the international development sector. She is the main point of contact for the Transparency Working Group and the IATI Community of Practice, and convenes the Civil Society Voice Influencing Group.

Prior to Bond, Rosemary has worked in advocacy on a range of issues including peacebuilding, climate and disaster risk finance, and disaster risk reduction.

Grace Da Costa

Public Affairs and Media Manager, Quakers in Britain

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Grace is Public Affairs and Media Manager at Quakers in Britain. She builds relationships with politicians and other civil society organisations to bring about positive changes in policy and legislation. Prior to joining the Quakers, Grace carried out lobbying, campaigns and engagement for public, private and third-sector organisations for about a decade. She also stood as a parliamentary candidate in the 2015 general election, which enabled her to experience a variety of advocacy methods first-hand. She has a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies.

Henry Swithinbank

Policy and Research Manager, SAS

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Henry originally joined SAS in 2020 and after taking a year out for an extended surf adventure, re-joined in 2023 as Policy and Research Manager. Henry works with a great team to convince politicians all over the UK to deliver research and evidenced policy solutions, to tackle pollution and climate change.

Henry is based up in Scotland and if not surfing, he’ll be up a munro.

Annette Lewis - Conference Chair

Director of Services, DSC

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Annette is the Director of Services at DSC and has over 13 years’ experience of working in the charity sector, in various roles such as learning and development, project development, events and customer service.

Annette also leads on DSC EDI work and is a member of the civil society working group on tackling racism in the sector.