Seven Hills hosted its flagship annual Change Makers summit in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in London on Thursday, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, business leaders that are realising the positive potential of business.
Change Makers 2019 spotlighted the partnerships delivering real societal change, and was opened by the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom, Robert Wood Johnson, who called on the room to “think big”.
The first session featured panels on ‘The Campaigners’, opening with a spotlight on philanthropy with Salesforce CEO Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia and ASTRiiD chairman Steve Shutts.
Cephas Williams, founder of the 56 Black Men campaign spoke with Seven Hills co-founder Nick Giles about tackling unfair perceptions of black men, alongside Clear Channel UK representatives Caroline Forbes and Richard Bon. Caroline Casey then made the case for businesses to take disability inclusion as seriously as they take other issues of diversity and inclusion as she spoke with moderator Oli Barrett about her campaign, The Valuable 500.
In the second session, ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, co-founder of H Robotics and former U.S. presidential adviser, Dr Pippa Malmgren, sat on a panel hosted by Seven Hills co-founder Michael Hayman MBE DL with contemporary historian and author, Sir Anthony Seldon. They were followed by conversations on funding and driving business growth with business leaders including CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch, BGF CEO Stephen Welton, Passion Capital partner Eileen Burbidge MBE, and Peter Flavel, CEO of Coutts.
Bejay Mulenga later wowed guests with an inspirational poem on recognising diverse talent, before One Young World managing director Ella Robertson made a rousing keynote, saying: “We can all be change makers, and we should all do it with joy.”
The third session of the day covered four panels looking at urban regeneration, the UK as a tech nation, creating an inclusive economy, and the growth of the wellbeing industry.
Speakers included Here East CEO Gavin Poole, Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw, Merian Ventures partner Priya Guha, M Squared CEO and founder Dr Graeme Malcolm, Accenture UK & Ireland managing director and Inclusive Economy Partnership advisory group member Olly Benzecry, Planet Organic founder Renee Elliott, and Unmind co-founder Ry Morgan.
CBI vice-president and Cobra Beer founder, Lord Bilimoria, spoke on the day’s final panel about the qualities of entrepreneurs – ambition, attitude and action: “The one word you come across more than any other is ‘no’, and you’ve got to turn that no into a yes and obstacles into opportunity.”
The event closed with the Change Maker 2019 award presented to Dr Nigel Wilson, group chief executive of Legal & General, for his work in leading the firm’s efforts to foster a more inclusive capitalism. In his closing keynote, he concluded: “Business has to provide both an economic and social value. Profit and purpose are not in competition: they are conjoined and mutually increasing.”
Seven Hills would like to thank Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson and the whole team at the U.S. Embassy, London, for hosting the summit and to all speakers and guests for taking part.