Home Meet the Speakers – Annual Conference 2019

Meet the Speakers – Annual Conference 2019

Chair, Keynote Speaker and Panellists

Keynote Speaker

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

Matthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006.

In July 2017 Matthew published the report ‘Good Work’; an independent review into modern employment, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister.

Matthew’s previous roles include Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to the Prime Minister, and Chief Executive of the ippr the UK’s leading left of centre think tank.
Matthew is a regular media performer, having presented several Radio Four documentaries, and is a panellist on the programme Moral Maze.

He is Senior Editor of the Thames & Hudson Big Ideas series.


Jane van Zyl, CEO, Working Families

Jane van Zyl became CEO of Working Families in September 2018. Jane has 11 years’ experience working in the third sector and has held senior leadership positions at a number of UK charities. She believes in the value of a fulfilling, balanced working life and its transformative power to create social connections, build self-esteem, and impact the wider community. She is a passionate advocate of equal opportunity for all.

Prior to joining Working Families, Jane served as Operations Director at Breast Cancer Haven. She has also served as Acting Chief Executive at SANDS and Head of Operations at Samaritans.

Jane holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town in Industrial Sociology and Industrial Psychology. She is a trustee of the Counselling Partnership, a charity that provides low-cost counselling services to people in need


Ed Bowyer, Employment Partner and Co-Chair of the Working Families Network at Hogan Lovells International LLP 

Awaiting biog


Stephen Allen, Global Head of Legal Operations, Hogan Lovells International LLP

Stephen is a former lawyer who has devoted his career to delivering legal market change. Internationally recognized as a leading innovator, most recently by Legal Business, who named him the 2016 Legal Innovator of the Year, Stephen joined Hogan Lovells just over two years ago from another global firm. At that firm, he created the Service Delivery & Quality Function, and before that he led the legal market advisory practice at PwC. Today, he is focused on delivering quality, efficiency and innovation to our own legal operations, with a particular focus on data science, market disruption, service insight and machine learning and cognitive processing, legal project management, work allocation, legal process reengineering legal service centres and flexible resourcing.

Mary Bright, External Liaison Lead for CEO UK Insurance, Aviva

Mary is External Liaison lead for Andy Briggs, CEO UK Insurance at Aviva and the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers. Mary is responsible for Andy’s public priorities, including the work to meet his goal to have 1 million more people over 50 in good employment by 2022. As a part of the work on age inclusion Mary worked as Specialist Adviser to the UK Government’s Women and Equalities Select Committee to assist with their inquiry into age at work. Within Aviva, Mary is a member of the Global Inclusion Council and leads the work in Aviva UK to increase diversity and promote inclusion. She also set up and is co-chair of the Carers Group. Mary has more than 20 years’ experience in Education, Retail and Financial Services sectors.

Richard Coombes, Partner and Deloitte’s UK Future of Work Lead, Deloitte MCS Limited

Richard is a Partner in Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting Practice, based in London. Richard leads the UK&I HR Advisory Practice and the Financial Services HR Practice.

Richard has many years of HR expertise and specializes in architecting and delivering complex HR Transformation programmes and helping organisations get the most from their people. Richard has extensive experience in HR Strategy, HR Shared Services, HR Applications, Service Delivery Model design, HR Outsourcing, and all areas of HR and Talent Management.

Andy Lake, Director, Flexibility.co.uk

Andy Lake is a specialist in Smart and Flexible Working, and has worked on dozens of implementations and evaluations across the private and public sectors. He is the author of Smart Flexibility (Gower Publishing), It’s Work But Not as We Know It and numerous other publications. Andy has worked with the Cabinet Office in this field and wrote the guidelines for the Civil Service and is also the author of the British Standards’ PAS 3000 – Code of Practice for Smart Working. He has recently been working with the European Commission on their Workplace of the Future programme.

Matthew Percival – Head of Employment Law & Employee Relations

Awaiting biog

Jonathan Swan, Head of Research, Working Families

Jonathan has researched and written on a wide range of work-life integration issues, including: fathers and work, flexible working in senior roles, productivity and performance, organisational culture and active ageing. He is responsible for the annual Top Employers for Working Families benchmark for organisations and the Modern Families Index reports. He is currently part of the ESRC funded research consortium that is examining work-life balance and the effects of austerity.