• Transform magazine
  • April 16, 2024


Transform Conference Europe


Transform Conference Europe

Transform Conference Europe


Phil Batty
director of public engagement and legacy
Hull UK

This year, the eyes of the world are on Hull as it hosts the UK City of Culture 2017. Phil is the director of public engagement and legacy for project. 

Over the course of 365 days, Hull will deliver a programme of transformative culture through a range of diverse events, exhibitions and cultural activities.

In his role, Phil leads on all aspects of marketing and community engagement, including the development of learning and volunteer programmes.

Phil joined the team after a decade working in youth marketing and research agency.

With responsibility for increasing cultural participation and engaging thousands of residents through participation and volunteering, Phil will ensure that all aspects of Hull 2017’s work leave a lasting and tangible legacy for the city.

Andy Biernacki
head of brand
Vauxhall Motors

Andy Biernacki is the head of brand at Vauxhall Motors. Over the past 12 months, he’s led a turnaround in the perception of the brand both for customers and employees. In particular, he’s championed the importance of a distinct voice for the brand, and training over 100 writers and non-writers in using that voice. Before entering the car industry, Andy worked agency side as an account director at Lowe Broadway and Carney Richardson.

Kate Dale
strategic lead, brand and digital
Sport England

Feminist firebrand and former journalist Kate Dale is responsible for delivering This Girl Can, Sport England’s multi-award-winning campaign, which is changing the way millions of people think about exercise and physical activity, and has seen 2.8 million more women get active as a direct result. 

Prior to this, Kate spent 10 years as a trade magazine editor before becoming a brand and content specialist  for major online banking institutions including Barclays.  When time permits, she like to takes part in triathlons as well as performing with immersive theatre group, You Me Bum Bum Train.

Gale Foster
head of design and brand
Southbank Centre

Gale has been working in design and branding for over 15 years. She started her career agency-side for clients such as San Miguel, Virgin and Premier Inn before moving in-house to pursue a more cultured career path! She now heads up Southbank Centre’s in-house design team and has spent the last year working closely with branding agency North to develop and implement an exciting new branding system for the organisation. The new brand turns the communications on their heads: making Southbank Centre’s name the central voice in everything they do. With so many artforms, artists, stakeholders and partners it’s a tough gig, but with an audience-focussed logic and a simple visual strategy it’s already having a powerful effect on the look and feel of the iconic London site.

James Gold
Skinnydip London

James Gold, co-founding Skinnydip with his brother and best friend in 2011 with an idea of building a fashion, lifestyle and accessory brand, has taken the industry by storm. Turning the ‘phone case’ into a must-have accessory, not only has Skinnydip doubled in size year-on-year but now operates 250 retail locations in over 30 countries - including the American and Asian markets. Gold alongside his co-founders have organically grown the business to a team of over 50 people whilst its loyal social media followers of over 500,000 has transformed Skinnydip London into an internationally recognised and religiously followed brand.

Sara Gordon
brand and creative director
Bloom & Wild

Sara has been working in digital design and branding with over 10 years of experience in New York and London. Starting her career in New York City, she led digital FMCG accounts for Unilever and Coca-Cola as well as retailers such as Macy's. In London she focussed on UX and digital design at agencies such as Foolproof, Mary Portas's design agency Portas and Rufus Leonard in Farringdon. Today, she heads up Brand & Creative at Bloom & Wild where she's grown the company over 400% through social, design, PR and creative marketing.

Ruth Henstock
head of communications
British Steel

Ruth leads up the communication team at British Steel. She and her team proactively support the business strategy by delivering inspiring, innovative and effective communications. They do this through a range of traditional, new and emerging channels to help deliver positive engagement and build strong relationships and trust in a company that has an old name but a new brand. Over the past 18 months she has managed the creation and implementation of the new brand – this has resulted in a significant shift in how the company engages with their wide range of stakeholders.

Al Hussain
senior strategist
Verbal Identity

Al is the senior strategist at Verbal Identity, the world’s leading brand strategy consultancy specialising in the power of language. He helps brands to think, speak and write with a more cohesive voice. You’ve probably seen Verbal Identity’s work if you’ve recently bought a house, a car, a leather jacket, a beauty product or a bottle of beer…or even a £5million piece of jewellery. As a linguist, Al also claims to know the secret to writing the perfect sentence. 

Sylvia Lago
strategy director

Sylvia joined FITCH in 2016, bringing commercial and creative strategic skills built over 20 years of experience in both client and agency roles.

She has worked in a number of senior marketing positions in Europe, South America, and Global HQ. Sylvia also has corporate strategy experience, having managed global strategy re-articulation, resource allocation and corporate planning projects.

On the agency side, Sylvia has been the Strategy lead in several projects covering global brand repositioning, brand architecture, portfolio strategy, market entry and naming generation, amongst others. She was also the assigned Strategist in pitches for global brands in a number of Service and Consumer Goods businesses.

She has an MBA in International Business, and has lived in Brazil, France and the Netherlands before settling in the UK.

At FITCH, Sylvia works closely with the creative and client services teams to extract insights, provide direction to creative output, and support client internal stakeholder engagement.

Nick Liddell
director of consulting
The Clearing

Nick leads the strategy team at The Clearing, an independent brand consultancy in London. With over 16 years’ experience, Nick has guided strategy for many global business and consumer brands including Amex, Guinness, Prada, McLaren and Virgin. A regular conference speaker, Nick is a member of the Superbrands Council, author of the popular book "Business is Beautiful” and has written white papers on branding and innovation. He’s a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management and contributor to the Huffington Post.

Simon Manchipp
executive strategic creative director and founder

Sheona Michie
head of brand marketing
Action for Children

With over 20 years commercial experience as a brand specialist (Identica, WPP, Wham) working for international clients, from Diageo and Aeroflot to Nike and Vodafone, Sheona moved into the charity sector in 2011 to help rebrand CRUK. Constantly curious about finding new ways for brands and people to connect, Sheona views branding as the strategic driver to inspire, improve and deliver results (from big ideas and beautiful creativity, to real brand engagement and activation, inside and out).

Olivia O'Toole
head of leisure marketing and strategic partnerships
London & Partners

Olivia O’Toole is head of leisure marketing and strategic partnerships at London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, which is also the official tourist board for the city and runs visitlondon.com. London & Partners’ purpose is to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London internationally, as the best city in the world in which to invest, work, study and visit.

Olivia’s role is to develop advertising campaigns promoting London as a holiday destination and to partner with companies who share the same strategic goal; driving inbound tourism to London and helping bring record numbers of international and domestic visitors to the city.

The first campaign she delivered, London’s Official Guest of Honour, was the company’s most successful to date, winning four major awards including Best Leisure/Sports Campaign at Brand Republic’s Digital Awards and the Grand Prix Prize at the World Media Awards. Olivia has also run other award-winning campaigns including Fans of London, which featured The Rolling Stones, and London & Partners’ flagship campaign, London’s Autumn Season, now in its fourth year. She secured support and developed partnerships with many global companies, including Hilton, British Airways, United Airlines and Heathrow.

Prior to joining London & Partners, Olivia spent over ten years in the media industry in London and Asia, working for companies including CNN International and BBC Worldwide.

Mari Stevens
director of marketing
Visit Wales

Mari Stevens is director of marketing for Wales as a destination for tourism, inward investment and business growth. Over the last three years she has led the work of developing a new nation brand strategy for the country and delivered award-winning international campaigns that have attracted record numbers of visitors, as well as high-quality investors to Wales.

Mari has also worked as head of marketing at Welsh Water and BBC Cymru Wales, where she had responsibility for promoting all output across TV, radio and digital.

Mari is also a mum of three boys, a published children’s book author, and trying to learn Spanish.

When & where


Date: 19 September 2017

Venue: VSC, 63-79 Seymour Street, London, W2 2HF, United Kingdom


There are several sponsorship opportunities available for the Transform conference in London. Please contact Andrew Thomas if you would like to be involved.

Supporting Partners

If you are interested in being a supporting partner for the Transform conference, please contact Michelle Kibble