Rachael Prasher

Rachael has worked for Haymarket Media for almost 25 years. She joined their graduate scheme in the early 90’s having graduated with a degree in Politics. Her role today sees her leading Haymarket’s biggest consumer market and some of Britain’s best automotive media brands – What Car?, Autocar and Pistonheads. During her time at Haymarket, Rachael has worked across a wide range of media markets including football, music, tech and now automotive. She was the President of the European Car of the Year OC and is the Chair of Great British Women in the Car Industry. Haymarket’s partnership with the Richmond Education Enterprise Campus has seen her join the governing body of a new free school – The Richmond Upon Thames School – as Haymarket’s representative. Originally from Weston-super-Mare, Rachael now lives in London with her husband and three children.

Tom Weldon

Tom Weldon was brought up in London. He studied history at Oxford University, and then was hired as a graduate trainee by Macmillan. After three years as a nonfiction commissioning editor there, he joined William Heinemann, then owned by Reed Elsevier. He spent nine years there as an Executive Editor; American Editorial Director, based in New York; and Publisher of the imprint.
In 1997 he moved to Penguin as Publishing Director of Michael Joseph. In 2001 he became Managing Director of the Penguin General division (then comprising the Michael Joseph, Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Fig Tree, and Penguin Ireland imprints). He was made Deputy CEO of Penguin U.K. in 2009 and CEO in January 2011.
In July 2013, he was appointed the first CEO of Penguin Random House U.K.
Tom has also attended London Business School. From the age of nine, Tom has had a passion for horse racing. In his view, gambling is very important to publishing as well. He does not find it surprising therefore, that he fell in love with publishing on his first day at Macmillan, and that love has never gone away.

Lord Chris Smith

Master of Pembroke College Cambridge, former Culture Secretary and former Chairman of the Environment Agency.

Born in 1951, Chris was educated in Edinburgh and then Pembroke College, Cambridge, achieving a double first in English (and later a PhD on Wordsworth and Coleridge) and was also a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard.

Chris began his political career as a Labour Councillor for Islington Borough, becoming MP for Islington South and Finsbury in 1983. In 1992 he joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Environmental Protection, and two years later moved to Heritage, then Social Security and Health. When Labour came to power in 1997 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Chairman of the Millennium Commission. During his four years as Secretary of State he restored free admission to national museums and galleries, established NESTA, the Film Council, Creative Partnerships for schools, and the Foundation for Youth Music, expanded funding for the arts and sport, championed the creative industries for the first time in Government, and began the switchover process for digital television. He returned to the back benches in 2001, played a leading role in opposing the Iraq war, standing down from the Commons in 2005. Immediately afterwards he was made a life peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in July 2005. He currently sits on the crossbenches as an independent Peer.

In 2003 he became Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, helping to develop the potential of future leaders in the cultural sector; he stepped down in July 2008 to become Chairman of the Environment Agency. He chaired the Environment Agency from 2008 to 2014; from 2007 to 2017 he was also Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority. In 2014 he became Chairman of the Art Fund; he was Chairman of Judges for the Man Booker Prize in 2004; and Chairman of the Donmar Warehouse Theatre until 2014. In 2011-12 he led the Review of Film Policy for the Government. He is also a Non-Executive Director of PPL, and Chairman of the Wordsworth Trust. Since October 2015 he has been Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge.

Nicola Gough

I have worked in Engineering in the Automotive Industry for almost twenty years now. My career started when I joined the Graduate Scheme at Daewoo Motors and I spent 2 years on a tour of different departments around the business learning about what the different departments do and how they do it.

I then moved into the Closures Engineering team at Ford, where I worked for 7 years, including 3 years based in Germany and 2 years in Belgium launching the Ford Galaxy, S Max and Mondeo.

In 2007 I moved to Bentley and into my first management role. Since then I have carried out a number of different management roles before moving into my current role which is the Head of Department for Closures Engineering. Together, my team and I are responsible for delivering all of the Closures systems on every Bentley around the world.

Nicola’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and her school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

She is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Tracy Crump

Tracy’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and her school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

She is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Darren Jennings

As Brand Director for the Mercedes-Benz, smart and Harley Davidson Division, Darren joined the group to help the turnaround for an under-performing division within the Group.

The focus on staff and customer experience through “Team Lancaster” and “Customer First” initiatives has now seen the division win multiple awards and be consistently an upper quartile performer with our staff, the brands and our customers.

Darren has extensive motor retail experience having progressed from trainee accountant to Director level, which he has now been operating at for the past 10 years.

Prior to this Darren worked for 14 years for Sytner Group as divisional financial controller and Brand Director with responsibility for multiple brands including Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda, Volvo, Mazda, Toyota, Lexus, Saab and specialist used operations. Before this was 10 years spent with the manufacturer and retail arm of Porsche Cars also looking after Audi and V.W.

Turnaround of under-performing business areas through the realization of staff potential is a business strength as well as balancing short term change management for immediate results with longer term strategic goals to achieve sustainable strong business performance.

Darren’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and his school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

He is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Matt Wrigley

Matt’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and his school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

He is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Clare Martin

Clare has more than 20 years’ senior management experience working across multiple industry sectors, but has always worked in fast paced environments and with organisations undertaking transformation and change including M&A activity. Before joining Jardine Motors Group she worked as Global HR Director for eFront, a niche global software provider. Prior to this she worked at Home Retail Group supporting the Argos commercial division with their digital retailer leader journey.

As a result of this experience Clare is recognised as a leading figure in retail HR and was asked to speak at the CIPD conference in 2012 due to the work she carried out at Daisy Communications (Lancashire), a B2B telecoms business that undertook 10 acquisitions in 12 months. Her career also allows her to give an expert analysis of organisational development, change, strategic planning and executing customer experience programmes.

Clare holds a post graduate diploma in HR Management, is a Fellow member of the CIPD and has a Masters certificate with the Financial Times in Non-Executive Directorship. She is passionate about bringing a greater gender balance into the UK workplace and has recently become a member of the 30% Club which is an alliance of progressive Presidents, CEOs and MDs from automotive manufacturers, retailers and supplier organisations, who are working towards the aspirational aim of filling 30% of key leadership positions in their organisations with women by 2030 in a “30 by 30” strategy. One of Clare’s chief objectives is to show the UK that automotive retail is an enjoyable and satisfying career for talented people, regardless of their gender. She also strongly believes that women who currently work in more traditional clothing retail have the transferable skills to make a switch to automotive retail with great success.

Career landmarks:
• Clare was born in Manchester, educated in Manchester and now lives in London
• 2004 – Group Head of Commercial HR & Change for Shop Direct Group – lead a HR change programme
• 2010 – 2012 – Group HR Director at Daisy Communications. During her last 12 months at Daisy she was seconded into the Customer Experience Director role.
• 2012 – 2013 – HR Consultant at Home Retail Group PLC
• 2015 – Present – Group HR Director at Jardine Motors Group

Clare’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and her school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

She is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Simon Hetherington

Simon’s participation has been made possible through Speakers for Schools partnership with the UK Automotive 30% Club and his school talks will include a focus on inspiring girls to consider opportunities in the automotive sector and encouraging all students to aim high.

He is also supporting the UK Automotive 30% Club 30/30/30 campaign.

Gennaro Castaldo

Gennaro Castaldo joined the BPI in June 2013 as its Director of Communications, and is responsible for the music body’s media relations and communications strategy across all channels – corporate and consumer – and covering key areas including copyright protection, market reporting and label reputation. Gennaro previously worked with entertainment retailer HMV, and during a 28-year career managed much of the company’s consumer press activity and event PR, including high profile in-store artist performances and product signings as well as corporate PR and CSR/community engagement whilst also contributing to key brand marketing initiatives.