From education to employment

Inspiring the next generation of female business leaders

Social mobility champion from HMRC, Archana Rao Dannamaneni

Female business leaders are preparing to share their expertise and inspirational career stories with students in Leeds.

University Centre Leeds (UC Leeds) has lined up some impressive speakers, including two social mobility champions from the Civil Service, for its 2023 Women in Leadership programme.

The four-week event will see the guests delivering motivational lunchtime presentations, on Wednesdays, covering everything from embracing new challenges to interview and CV tips.

Victoria Jablonski and Lisa Essuman, from Flutter UK & Ireland, will kick proceedings off on Wednesday 1 March when a free lunch – paid for by Flutter, and produced by Shine – will be provided. They will be bringing along a panel of women to talk about their achievements in digital and directorship roles in the entertainment industry, and the challenges they have faced.

Bolstering self-belief through guest speakers’ stories

Deputy Head of Business at UC Leeds, Sarah Cook, said: “We have a great line-up for this year’s Women in Leadership programme, which is all about inspiring our students to reach for the top.

“Our first speakers will be exploring themes such as inclusion in the workplace, imposter syndrome and recognising transferable skills. It promises to be a fantastic session, followed by three more! 

“We know that this programme makes a real difference, helping to boost students’ self-belief while inspiring them to forge ahead with their own careers.”

The programme’s second event, on 8 March, will see social mobility champions from HMRC, Archana (Archie) Rao Dannamaneni – pictured – and Ismail Ahmad, share their career stories while shining a light on inclusion and diversity. 

The rewards of embracing new challenges

Ismail said: “I’m very passionate about social mobility as I believe in giving back to the community.

“I’d like to give students from all levels of education the opportunities to explore their options and build confidence in themselves. 

“I’m delighted to be involved in the Women in Leadership programme because I want to show everyone attending how to embrace new challenges, seize opportunities for further advancement, and build resilience.”

Archie added: “I am a mentor both in and outside HMRC, and passionate to make a difference and support students.

“I am looking forward to taking part as I want to highlight the importance of taking up opportunities, taking risks and learning from mistakes.”

Personal branding and networking opportunities, meanwhile, will be the focus of the programme’s third event on 15 March, when the speakers will come from audit, tax and consulting services provider RSM.

UC Leeds is set to announce exciting details about Women in Leadership’s final session, which takes place on March 22, soon. Visit to check on updates and find out more.

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