Professor Stuart Croft

Stuart became the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick in February 2016, moving from his previous role as the University’s Provost and prior to this as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (Arts and Social Sciences). Stuart has been part of Warwick’s community since 2007, when he joined the Politics and International Studies department as Professor of International Security.

Working with colleagues, Stuart is responsible for ensuring the University of Warwick delivers excellent education and research within the region, nationally and internationally. Stuart’s work is in the field of security studies for which he has previously held senior posts at the University of Birmingham, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the British International Studies Association.

His research has focused on constructivist and cultural accounts of security. This is reflected in a number of written works which include contributions to the International Relations, International Affairs and Government and Opposition journals. He have published Culture, Crisis and America’s War on Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Securitizing Islam (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and was author, co-author or editor of a further dozen books.

Dr Gregor Smith

Dr Gregor Smith is proud to be a GP and was appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland in October 2015. Prior to this he combined roles as a Senior Medical Officer in the Scottish Government and medical director for Primary Care in NHS Lanarkshire where he spent most of his clinical career as a GP in Larkhall. He is an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow and Fellow of both the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and Salzburg Global.

He is passionate about continuous quality improvement and innovation in healthcare, with a particular interest in person-centred care, shared decision making and working in teams. He is a resolute advocate of the values that define our NHS, of universal healthcare, and of widening access to medical careers to those from all backgrounds. When not working, he tries very hard, but not so successfully, to use his quality improvement skills to improve his cycling, triathlon and guitar.

Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman

Ashok Venkitaraman is the Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge, and directs the Medical Research Council Cancer Unit there. His work has advanced our understanding of how cancer is prevented by genes that maintain the integrity of the information stored in the human genome. He discovered that inherited faults (“mutations”) in the breast cancer gene BRCA2 cause genomic instability, making people who inherit such mutations highly susceptible to cancer. Ashok’s discoveries have provided the scientific foundations for new approaches to cancer treatment and prevention, which are being developed through start-up ventures towards clinical impact. His work has been recognized in numerous awards and prizes, and by his election to national and international scientific academies.

Cindy Rose

Cindy is focused on delivering Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. With the world on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution, driven by technologies such as AI, cloud computing and mixed reality, Cindy is committed to helping people and businesses alike realise the benefits of the new technologies that will have an impact on all our lives in the future.


Cindy believes it is a myth that you need to be a coder, or brilliant at maths, to succeed in technology. Having passion and creativity is key to helping us solve the world’s problems through technology, and there are plenty of routes to a career in tech as well as a great number of opportunities.


As CEO of Microsoft UK, Cindy is responsible for all Microsoft’s product, service and support offerings across the UK, continuing the company’s transformation into the leading productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first era. Prior to joining Microsoft, Cindy has held senior management roles at Vodafone, The Walt Disney Company and Informa.


Cindy is a graduate of Columbia University and New York Law School. She is married with four children, and loves playing tennis, travelling with her family, and good food and wine.

Dr Timothy Weil

Many animals require well coordinated events in the developing egg prior to fertilisation in order to enable the pronucleus to form and early embryogenesis to occur. Control over the cell-cycle, organising of axis determining factors and signalling cascades are among the many functions that prepare the egg for fertilisation. The Weil Lab is interested in how these events are organised and regulated with specific interest in maternal transcripts and calcium release.

More specifically, changes in protein expression underlie cell activity. One way to control protein levels is though post-transcriptional regulation of mRNAs, which can be localised to sub-cellular domains. This conserved mechanism for the spatial regulation of gene expression enables cells to target protein function in space and time. Protein expression is especially crucial at times when cells transitions from one fate or function to another.

Louisa Compton

Louisa Compton is a News and Current Affairs Commissioner at Channel 4 – with responsibility for investigative programme Dispatches amongst others. She joined Channel 4 after a career at the BBC which included launching and creating the BAFTA award-winning Victoria Derbyshire programme which consistently broken significant vaginal mesh scandal. She has also been the Editor of Newsbeat on BBC Radio 1 and news stories including footballers’ abuse, Concentrix’s tax credit problems and the 1Xtra focussing on journalism for 16 – 24 year olds and Editor of BBC Radio 5 live. During her career she has covered the London 2012 Olympics and broadcast from Zimbabwe and Guantanamo Bay amongst others. She did not attend university and has few formal qualifications.

Mark Woods

I am a sports journalist and broadcaster, writing for a variety of national newspapers for the past 20 years and commentating and broadcasting for the likes of the BBC, Sky Sports and Talksport.

My professional work has taken me all over the world, covering Olympic Games, various world championships in different sports as well as Premier League and international football. Currently, I spend most of my time reporting on athletics and basketball in addition to sitting on the board on a sports trust and chairing the British Athletics Writers Association along side my role on the international sports journalists body, AIPS.

My interest in Speakers for Schools stems from my work in professional development as well as an aspiration to give young people an insight into the skills involved in what I do and how they might be transferable in their current and future worlds. I have worked extensively with business people to illustrate how what we do in the media can be applied in other spheres and how it can help them communicate better and configure their work more effectively, something not solely beneficial in adulthood.

As someone who struggled at times in school, I had to acquire the skill of being self-confident and communicative and it came through developing myself in my current job. Additionally, I speak four languages and it has been hugely beneficial, not just in being able to converse with more people worldwide but also in enhancing my ability in English.

From the experience I have gained, and the lessons – good and bad – acquired en route, I hope I would be able to pass on some positive knowledge in an informal but interesting manner.

Sophie Darlington

About Sophie

Victoria Tzortziou-Brown

As joint Honorary Secretary, Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown has responsibility for governance of the RCGP and leads on College consultations and College representation.

Victoria was formerly Chair of RCGP London faculties. She is an East London GP and a board member of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Tower Hamlets where she leads on Integrated Care and Research. In her academic role at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Victoria undertakes research on the design and evaluation of healthcare quality improvement interventions and their impact on professional behaviour and health inequalities.

Victoria has been one of the founding members of the Health Foundation Q initiative which connects people with improvement expertise across the UK. She is a trustee and board member of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and sits on the NIHR Primary Care, Community and Preventive Interventions Panel (PCCPI).

Victoria is also a member of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine and has a clinical and research interest on musculoskeletal medicine and education.

Jonathan Leach

Jonathan is an experienced and senior general practitioner. Originally a Sheffield University medical school graduate, he initially elected to join the Army and worked around the world for 25 years, 17 years of which were overseas including operational tours in Northern Ireland, Former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Roles in the military included as a clinical GP, in senior leadership and management roles and academic where he was GP Dean and the Defence Professor of General Practice in the rank of Colonel. Since returning to the NHS, he has been Medical Director and Director of Primary Care for Worcestershire, he has worked extensively in the urgent and emergency care and poor performance fields and as a salaried GP at Davenal House Surgery in Bromsgrove. In addition to clinical work, current roles outside the RCGP include chairing the NHS England Armed Forces and their Families Clinical Reference Group as well as working the primary care lead in Worcestershire as a governing body general practitioner.

Jonathan lives in Worcestershire and enjoys keeping fit, running their springer spaniel along the local canal and playing the piano. He also enjoys “tinkering” with classic cars and currently has a very old mark 1 MX5 which he and his wife use on warm sunny days…