Women in Leadership online conference - Speakers

Find out more about your speakers below. More will be confirmed soon.

Your speakers

Debra Allcock Tyler


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Debra has worked in the charitable and voluntary sector for over 30 years. Amongst numerous other roles, she is Vice President of the Soldiering On Through Life Trust Awards and co-chairs the judging panel with General the Lord Dannatt. She is a Trustee of In Kind Direct, one of the Prince's Foundation Charities, and a trustee of the Berkshire Community Foundation. She is also an Africa Advocacy Foundation Ambassador for women and girls at risk of or affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

She has served as a trustee of several charities including being the co-founder of the Small Charities Coalition and was its first Chair. She served on the Charity Commission's SORP committee for over 7 years and was the Vice-Chair of Governors of Whiteknights primary school for 6 years.

She is a renowned public speaker with many years' experience of training and coaching and internationally published author of several books on management and leadership including It's Tough at the Top; The Pleasure and the Pain; It's Murder in Management and It's a Battle on the Board. Debra has a regular monthly column in Third Sector magazine and has appeared on Radio 4's The Moral Maze.

Cathy Shimmin

Training Consultant, DSC

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Cathy has worked in the voluntary and charity sector in the UK and Ireland for 25 years. As learning and development specialist, her career has focused on supporting individuals and organisations in the sector to be the best they can be for their beneficiaries.

In her role at DSC, Cathy designs and delivers training for our public courses, events and in-house training customers. She also provides coaching and mentoring support to senior managers and CEOs.

Aside from specialising in management and leadership topics, Cathy is particularly interested in how to have the best relationships at work, as well as our own personal effectiveness in performance at work. She strongly advocates that collaboration is a happier, more creative and sustainable way of working and enjoys helping individuals and organisations find ways to do this more often.

Cathy was on the DSC Leadership Team for 13 years where she gained all sorts of insights into the financial and practical challenges that charities face in the modern world. Previous roles as trustee, volunteer, project manager and PA to a charity CEO, give her an experiential understanding of working at all levels within an organisation.

Eileen Browne

Training Consultant, DSC

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Eileen joined DSC in January 2018, and having worked within the commercial teams in charities and social enterprises brought a wealth of experience of generating income and delivering high quality services into the DSC Sales team.

Eileen’s many years’ experience as a trainer in both the commercial and 3rd sectors was then employed as she became a member of the Training team, designing, updating, producing, retailing and delivering courses and workshops.

Eileen enjoys being part of a team that is genuine, professional and totally committed to building sustainable charities with well trained, confident trustees, employees and volunteers.

Annette Lewis

Director of Services and Training, DSC

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Annette joined DSC in 2007 and has held a number of positions in Customer Service, Training, Events and Development. Annette has overall responsibility for Training and Events, Customer Service and Sales,

Her favourite thing about working at DSC is "supporting my direct reports to be the best managers they can be".

Deborah Layde

CEO, The Seafarers’ Charity

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Deborah was appointed to the role of Chief Executive in July 2022, after successfully leading The Seafarers’ Charity’s grant-making programme for 9 years.

She describes herself as passionate about seafarers and about Equality, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

She has led the charity’s approach to EEDI which started with establishing a staff-led EEDI working group in 2020 and recently saw The Seafarers’ Charity become the first maritime welfare charity to commit to join Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime Charter.

This commits organisations from across the maritime sector to take a proactive approach to close the diversity and inclusion gaps within their workforce.
Deborah has also led the Charity’s involvement in the 2027 Programme – a 10-year initiative aimed at supporting diversification of grant-makers to ensure the inclusion of lived experience and addressing class imbalance in funding organisations.

She is also a member of the Merchant Navy Honours Committee and Chair of the Seafarers International Relief Fund stakeholder group.

Deborah has a very personal commitment to supporting and improving the welfare of seafarers, arising from growing up near Newlyn’s fishing community and her father’s Royal Navy career.

Prior to joining The Seafarers’ Charity, Deborah held senior roles at The Industrial Society and Childbase and was the Fundraising and Business Development Manager at the Small Charities Coalition.