Speaker abstracts


Adi Latif, Accessibility and Usability Consultant, AbilityNet
Bad design disables 

The move to digital holds a promise to remove many of the traditional barriers which would get in the way of disabled students learning and participating in education. However if Accessibility is not front and centre in IT strategy from process and system design, to procurement, new ‘digital’ barriers are created in their place, impacting the student experience.

Inclusive design creates a richer learning environment for everyone. With student expectations on the rise in terms of anticipatory approach to inclusion for them personally but also for their peers, Universities need to ensure they are living up to these expectations and the legal requirements associated with them. Adi Latif, Accessibility and Usability Consultant at AbilityNet will talk about his own experiences as a screenreader user and demonstrate some examples of good and bad design and the real life impact this has for users.  


Nicky Moffat
Leadership is everyone's business

A company’s success is defined by its leaders. Whilst the executive team set the agenda, it’s the collective leadership capability of individuals at every level of the business, that can improve output, profitability and employee engagement, to give the company its competitive edge.
Whilst leadership styles should always be authentic and personal, individuals can hone impact and effectiveness by developing greater insight into the techniques and tools which can enable them to lead intuitively, with assurance - and by example - across a range of different scenarios. 
Good leadership involves inspiring and motivating others to achieve clear and realisable goals. Using her coaching and mentoring skills, alongside experience, knowledge and practical insight as a senior military leader, Nicky will share planning techniques and tools which defined her leadership as the most senior woman in the British Army.
Come prepared to engage, to reflect and to challenge yourself - to think about your personal style of leadership and that of others, and to reflect on how, by leading differently or better, you might more adeptly achieve your outputs.   
Expect to leave armed with practical techniques and tools that you can apply directly within your institution…better equipped to direct, motivate, inspire, empower and develop the teams and individuals for whom you’re responsible.


Student voice

New for 2020 and based on your feedback we have decided to bring the student voice to our leadership conference. In this session three students will share their very personal journeys and experiences of higher education and provide insight into the challenges they have faced and the obstacles they have overcome, demonstrating first- hand the transformational impact of higher education.

Penny Hindle
After studying Maths and Computing at A-Level, Penny went on to study Computer Science with Industrial Placement at the University of Leeds in 2015. Having taken a traditional route into tech, she has dedicated a lot of free time to encouraging those who may not have taken the same route to pursue a career in tech, through organisations such as Code First: Girls and STEM ambassadors. Her talk will be on her experiences as woman in a male dominated degree subject, and the importance of relatable role models. 

Abdi Hassan
Abdi's talk will focus on his journey to IT industry through education. Failing at school and college level, he secured university place in UCAS clearing at 2013. HE graduated with a BSc Honours Degree in Business Information Technology with Sandwich year from Leeds Beckett University and currently completing a master’s degree in IT Management at Sheffield Hallam University. However, the journey was difficult along the way from going through clearing to failing numerous times in undergraduate studies to finding placement year, whilst dealing and overcoming their studies with multiple disabilities during his time in higher education.

Building Cloud Communities: A people centric view on a technological journey.

Sarah Christen, Director of IT Infrastructure, Cornell University

Since 2014, New York’s Cornell University has developed a highly effective cloud-first policy and retired 60% of on-premises systems. Now in 2020, Cornell University is upskilling its workforce in cloud operations, while learning to accommodate those preferring a legacy approach.  Sarah Christen, director of IT infrastructure at Cornell University explains their ambitious and disruptive cloud journey, including the many people-centric challenges around pace of change, recruitment, mixed skillsets and communicating up.

Closing keynote
Bouncing back
We are living in uncertain times with increasing pressures to perform. Out guest speaker is no stranger to uncertainty and adversity. He was brought up in poverty, on the at-risk register before spending time with fosters families. At the age of 5 tragedy struck which sent him on a downward spiral. Growing up he experienced violence, substance abuse and domestic violence. He had thoughts of suicide as young as ten years old, left school with no qualification and ended up on a psychiatric ward aged 20. Soon after he was involved in criminality and the future looked bleak. But after a failed suicide pact he decided there had to be another way. He decided to turn his life around. He then wrote a No1 Bestselling book about his journey which sold close to 1/2 million copies. He’s now shared his story of transformation around the globe as far and wide as Iran, Germany, Canada, South Africa and few more in between. In this presentation he will share how we can all deal with the challenges we get in life but also how instrumental certain leaders have been in that process. We guarantee you will remember this presentation for years to come.