Meet the Team

Meet the Charlotte Sweeney Associates team of D&I specialists.

Charlotte Sweeney

OBE
Charlotte Sweeney

Charlotte Sweeney, OBE has specialised in D&I for over 20 years. Inspired by her global corporate career in the Financial Services sector, she launched Charlotte Sweeney Associates in 2012.

She is a trail blazer in her field and thrives on empowering business leaders and organisations to create inclusive workplaces. The Sweeney Report was produced at the request of Sir Vince Cable and Lord Davies, examining the voluntary code of conduct for executive search firms. She also created the City of London’s Diversity Programme, The Power of Diversity on behalf of the then Lord Mayor of London Dame Fiona Woolf and was previously the Vice-Chair of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Panel.

Charlotte has won many awards for her dedication to diversity. From Harvard, for her work in the D&I field to the International Alliance for Women for advancing the economic empowerment of women.

She is listed in the Northern Power Women Top 50 Power Women, included by The Economist as one of the Top 50 Diversity professionals in the world and is recognised as one of the Top Ten D&I Consultants by The Global Diversity List. In the 2017 New Year’s Honours, she was awarded an OBE for services to Women and Equalities.

Charlotte is co-author of the best-selling book Inclusive Leadership, published by Pearson/The Financial Times, which was shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Management Book of the Year. She also writes regularly for professional publications including Hays, Virgin and CSR. As well as delivering keynote speeches and chairing conferences internationally, she is an expert contributor for BBC Radio, TV and the national press.

Kay Allen

OBE
Kay Allen

Kay currently works as a Special Advisor to several companies working with them to design and implement responsible business, diversity and inclusion strategies. She is an Associate of CSA, working with Charlotte Sweeney to research issues impacting on inclusion and diversity. She also is a qualified performance coach to C Suite executives focusing on supporting leaders to succeed.

Kay’s previous roles include Director of Business Commitment for the UK Prime Minister’s Office, where she examined the impact of responsible business. Her commercial career includes Head of Social Action and Inclusion for Royal Mail Group, Public Affairs for BSkyB and Head of Inclusion for B&Q.

Kay has also held several Non-Executive roles including, Commissioner on both the Disability Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She also served as a Non-Executive Director on the Department for Work and Pensions and currently sits on the Ofcom Consumer Panel in the UK.

Kay is a Fellow of St Georges House Windsor, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. As a qualified performance coach, Kay’s personal vision is to always help others to succeed and facilitating individuals to thrive in their chosen careers.

Mark Fenton

Mark Fenton

Mark supports organisations across all sectors in UK and Europe in designing and delivering sustainable diversity and inclusion strategies to future-proof their success. He is an Associate of CSA, working with Charlotte Sweeney to help clients create a D&I strategy that is right for them as well as support delivery of elements of the strategy.

Mark has over 20 years’ experience in global financial organisations, with a proven track record in finance, audit and business strategy garnered from his time with PwC, Schroders plc, Rothschild & Co, UBS & the AXA Group. Mark is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

Mark has lived and worked in several cities globally. He holds a 1st Class Honours in Executive Coaching from the Irish Management Institute and is an active member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. He sits on the board of Screen Ireland (formerly the Irish Film Board), driving the gender equality and diversity committee and chairing the audit and risk committee.

Gamiel Yafai

Gamiel Yafai

Gamiel is a passionate and seasoned diversity and inclusion expert and has worked on some of the largest inclusion projects in the UK. With twenty years’ experience, he has built a successful diversity and inclusion practice working with companies across many sectors to create D&I strategies, implement change and positive action initiatives. He is an Associate of CSA, working with Charlotte Sweeney to help clients create and deliver a sustainable D&I strategy.

Gamiel spent 15 years in business magazine publishing where he revitalised failing magazines. This is where he developed an interest in diversity as a means of attracting new audiences and giving fresh content to readers. One of his first forays into the world of diversity was when he collaborated with the then Commission for Racial Equality to promote the Amendments to the Race Relations Act which require public bodies to act on Race Equality.

He is an Ambassador for the global poverty charity, The Hunger Project and is on the Board of Trustees for The Parks Trust, The MK Homelessness Partnership and Women Leaders UK. Gamiel proudly received the Global Diversity Leadership Award presented by the Global HRD Congress in 2017.

He is the author of Demystifying Diversity and Yemen Proud, delivers keynote speeches and facilitates the d&I Leaders club members workshops which has a network of over 500 diversity and inclusion professionals.

Howell DiCocco

Howell DiCocco

Howell has over 25 years’ human resources experience within global financial services, specialising in D&I, talent management, and cross-border HR. She is an Associate of CSA, working with Charlotte Sweeney to help clients create and deliver a sustainable D&I strategy.

Howell’s commitment to creating safe, inclusive cultures began as the Senior HR Business Partner to a line of business operating in 30 countries. She is passionate about this work and brings an abundance of practical experience in facilitating organisational assessment and action planning, council development, employee resource group facilitation, and development and delivery of education and awareness solutions.

Howell is based in the US. She has lived, worked and immersed herself in the local cultures of Hong Kong, Toronto and Zurich. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and was previously a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Network (DIAN) of Community Business Hong Kong.

Liz Pawson-Poon

Liz Pawson-Poon

Liz has over 10 years’ experience in the financial and professional services industries, having trained and qualified as a lawyer at a Magic Circle firm and specialised in the financings of high-value mergers and acquisitions. Her previous clients ranged from global financial institutions, private equity funds and cross-border companies. Her legal studies and practice paved way for her pursuit of a career in DE&I, underpinned by the principles of equality, equity and fairness.

Since joining CSA, Liz has partnered with a range of companies as a DE&I Consultant. Projects include audits on policies and practices from a DE&I perspective, inclusion data collation and analysis, DE&I research focus groups, DE&I strategy and toolkit creation, DE&I training and workshops.

Liz has extensive experience managing projects by virtue of her previous transactional roles. She is also Programme Manager for CSA’s DE&I Professional Leadership Programme.

Having lived in Sydney and Hong Kong and worked in Singapore and London, Liz thrives on meeting and collaborating with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Michelle Mendelsson

Michelle Mendelsson

Michelle is a highly experienced Equity, Diversity and Inclusion expert and Executive Coach. She has spent the last 20 years of her career in the Financial Services sector as a senior leader in the Credit Suisse, Global Diversity and Inclusion practice, focussing on researching, developing, and implementing their EMEA DE&I strategy. Her remit covered all aspects of DE&I including Gender and Gender Identity, Race, Disability, LGBTQ+, Neurodiversity, Social Mobility and Flexible Working.

Prior to working in the Financial Services Sector Michelle spent 15 years in a variety of commercial management and HR positions at Marks and Spencer.

In addition to her strategic DE&I work Michelle also enjoys supporting and developing clients through 1:1 coaching. This includes helping individuals to overcome challenges, build confidence, improve overall performance, and ultimately to thrive in demanding and complex organisations. Areas of focus include identifying values and purpose, developing diverse networks and sponsorship relationships, leading more effectively, managing upwards, enhancing communication, navigating change and organisational politics. Her approach is naturally warm and empathic but also strategic and goal orientated.

Michelle has served on the Conference Board - Diversity and Inclusion in Business Council (Europe) and was a Trustee of the Credit Suisse Foundation for over 10 years. She is currently a Trustee of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice in North London.

Leng Montgomery

Leng Montgomery

Leng Montgomery is a passionate LGBT inclusion and Trans specialist from the UK who actively engages and consults with private and public sector companies. He is a regular speaker within the D&I field and has appeared on BBC radio, he has also written policy and delivered keynote speeches to many organisations for UK and EMEA. He’s worked as a consultant but also in house for companies such as ASOS, BDO, Sainsbury's and Cushman & Wakefield. Prior to this, Leng worked at Stonewall, where notably he worked the Workplace Equality Index and the Trans inclusion guides that were launched in 2016.

In addition to this Leng also has done a lot of work in Disability, Race & Ethnicity and Gender Equality space leading on strategic planning and has a very keen passion for activating allyship and getting all companies to look at people with an intersectional lens.

In 2014 he was the first openly trans contestant on BBC’s Masterchef and for two years running from 2014-2015 he was listed on the Independent’s Rainbow List in the ‘Ones to Watch’ category. He’s also one of the Top 10 2018 LGBT awards Corporate Rising Star category and a TEDx London speaker in 2018.

Sung Hee Han

Sung Hee Han

Sung Hee is a career, leadership, and business coach, with a passion for developing Female and Asian leaders. She has extensive global executive leadership experience with Fortune 500 corporations, across 6 countries in 3 continents, Asia Pacific, the US and Europe. With 25+ years of front-line business experience, in High-Tech and FMCG, including Samsung Electronics, The Coca-Cola Company, Mars Inc., and British American Tobacco, she has been helping corporates and individuals to be at their best.

Since she set up her own coaching practice in 2019, she has had 500+ workshops and coaching sessions for clients from 7 countries, across 9 industry sectors. 70% of her clients are female, and 65% are senior managers and above level.

Her specialties include:

  • Asian leadership
  • Female leadership
  • Cross-cultural effectiveness
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging
  • Self-confidence and Self-advocacy
  • Creating impact and influence
  • Business communication skills, esp. operating in English as a second language
  • Career transition planning

Coen Tan

Coen Tan

Growing up Coen has his own share of challenges, agonising pains, and tribulations in life. He was able to turn his adversaries into strength and took it as an opportunity to inspire people with his own stories.

Coen has over 12 years’ experience of being:

  • A keynote speaker
  • Trainer
  • Coach, and
  • Strategic Communications Consultant

Coen has spoken to and trained over 42,000 individuals and professionals in Singapore, China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, USA, Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia to name a few. His clients come from various sectors with notable names such as PayPal American Express Citibank. Siemens, Nestle, Prudential, AXA, Roche, Merck, AstraZeneca and Coca-Cola, among others. Coen desires to help professionals, business leaders, trainers, and educators to discover their true potentials as they face their major challenges in their professional and personal lives.

Rodrigo Lolato

Rodrigo Lolato

Rodrigo is a business leader with more than 15 years of international experience as business executive, executive coach, and facilitator. As an Industrial Engineer, with MBA in Leadership & Specialisation in Psychology (Psychosynthesis), he is motivated to support leaders to grow and achieve their most important goals.

Rodrigo is known for his wide and deep knowledge, combining a practical approach with a profound understanding of human behaviour and motivations. Clients experience Rodrigo as a warm and challenging coach that truly believes in their potential and does everything he can in order to support them.

Topics he teachers (both workshops as well as MBA classes):

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Effective Leadership
  • Productivity and Personal Effectiveness
  • People Management
  • Change Management
  • Influencing others
  • Strategic Agility
  • Coaching
  • Non-Violent Communication

He is also a Master Trainer (trainer of trainers) on many internationally known workshops such as ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, ‘Crucial Conversations’ and many others.

Partner of WYSE International (NGO from UK, affiliated to the UN) on international leadership programs aiming to empower young leaders for global change (working as coordinator, trainer and coach for those programmes).

Pia Kähärä

Pia Kähärä

A Finn with more than 25 years’ broad experience in domestic and international business in managerial positions. After graduation Pia led Finnish company’s Russian and CIS business, also establishing, and managing its representative office in Moscow. She later was responsible for export and international business development, managing and developing sales and marketing functions, consulting, and training.

Core strengths: broad business experience in international setting, ability to see the bigger picture and convert theory into practice, easily connects with different people, team player who is used to working internationally. Speaks several languages including Finnish (native), English & Russian (fluent) and Swedish, German and French (basic).

Since 2008, she has also worked as intercultural management (ICM) as a trainer for various international companies, specialising mainly in training their Western managers to improve their soft skills in operating in the Russian culture (leadership, negotiations, sales, partnership building etc), but also Russian managers to work in some European cultures.

She has a MBA in European Management, London South Bank University and a MA in Russian Translation and Interpretation, University of Eastern Finland.

Joanna Smit

Joanna Smit

Jo supports clients across 4 continents on delivering on their diversity and inclusion objectives. Her focus areas include designing and delivering inclusive cultures that translate cohesively across multiple geographical locations. She is an Associate of CSA, working with Charlotte Sweeney helping clients deliver on their international D&I strategy.

Jo brings over 10 years’ experience in the financial and banking industries, having worked for a bulge bracket investment bank in a number of countries. Her previous clients ranged from financial institutions, pension funds, hedge funds, government institutions and supranational bodies.

Jo is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion and guest lecturers on the topic at several universities and business schools. She is a mentor with HERA (Her Equality Rights & Autonomy), supporting women survivors of human trafficking pursue a better life through entrepreneurship. Jo has lived and worked in several cities globally and is fluent in English, German & French.

Sara Crawford

Sara Crawford

Sara’s career has been within organisational and management roles across multiple sectors and industries and predominantly within early-stage businesses or those scaling up. She has over 30 years’ experience, managing projects and teams and covering all aspects of strategic change - business growth, business improvement, processes and procedures, communication, and sales and marketing.

She has a track record of building effective relationships with stakeholders and peers and strives to ensure the right culture within businesses is successfully delivered against this objective. Sara has ILM Certificate Levels 3 & 5 in Leadership and Management, C&G Award in Education & Training and is a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner.

She is also an experienced mentor, and has mentored individuals on both a professional and personal level.

Elizabeth Pollitt

Elizabeth Pollitt

Lizzie is CSA’s Insights Analyst and is passionate about exploring the links between DE&I, society, and our workplaces. Having graduated university with a First-Class honours degree in Sociology, she’s expanding on her existing research into the impact Covid-19 has had on working mothers, identifying ways organisations can mitigate further disparities to benefit DE&I and our clients.

Prior to starting university, she spent three years working in a HR People Team within Financial Services, participating in their Diversity and Inclusion agenda alongside her role in their People Programme Team.

Lizzie supports CSA with research and data-driven insights for our clients throughout the delivery processes, from supporting with listening exercises to help uncover lived experiences, to analysing post-delivery data to help our clients with their next steps. Lizzie also takes a lead on CSA’s bespoke eLearning solution to help clients deliver against their DE&I learning ambitions at an organisational level, covering key theories and concepts to help advance understanding.

Zoe McIntosh

Zoe McIntosh

Zoe is a Graphic Designer with a specialism in branding design and supports CSA with all things design and marketing. As a creative, she has always appreciated how every seemingly minute detail tells a bigger story, this fuels her desires as a designer to pinpoint and encapsulate branding essences via bespoke visuals. Through her extensive marketing, branding and design knowledge, she facilitates the elevation of brands that best resonates to consumers.

Having studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at Nottingham Trent University, Zoe found herself engaging in conversation and interest around the lack of diversity in the creative industry which lead her into the world of DE&I.

Zoe is also-founder of Arise Creatives, a platform and podcast that exists to host pragmatic dialogue championing the unheard truths within the creative industry from black female perspectives.

Ali Boyes

Ali Boyes

Ali specialises in designing and delivering global sourcing strategies; adding value with best practice processes, clear policies, improved product and service offerings. She influences C-suite executives to introduce and accelerate supplier diversity initiatives, and build team capability, inclusivity and credibility. She is an Associate of CSA, focussed on driving forward change in the area of Inclusive Procurement.

Ali has over 20 years experience working in leading global retailers. Having worked up from an in-store manager to a senior Procurement leader, ensures Ali truly understands the challenges clients face to stay customer-centric. Ali's empathetic nature, and strong interpersonal skills bring practical, meaningful and tangible solutions.

Ali's key achievements include:

  • Influencing main boards to adopt and launch Group wide policies and processes, including Procurement and Travel & Expense policies, delivering inclusive and equal experiences for colleagues and suppliers
  • Overhaul in ways of working in Asian based sourcing teams within global organisations, embedding robust, sustainable and ethical processes along with inclusive cultures between Asian and European colleagues
  • Speaker at Procurement conferences, such as Procurecon, bringing together Procurement leaders from across the globe for sharing of and benchmarking of best practices
  • Extensive stakeholder mapping and engagement, including design and delivery of communication frameworks, leading to step change of Procurement within organisations and ensuring a seat at the table

Ali has lived and worked in several cities globally, including various European cities, Tokyo and Hong Kong and has a real passion for international travel and experiences. Ali truly understands the benefits and successes from bringing together people from different backgrounds and strives to partner with and foster relationships across all cultures.

Brigitte Opel

Brigitte Opel

Brigitte Opel was born and raised in Germany. She studied and worked in the US, Japan, Russia, Australia and various countries in Europe before settling in the Netherlands. In all these places, she experienced cultures and cultural differences first hand.

She studied the impact of cultural patterns on doing business in the global marketplace during her Masters study at Thunderbird School of International Management in USA and Japan. During her career at IBM in Germany and the Netherlands, she worked in international project teams for 17 years and managed teams across Europe. For more than 8 years, Brigitte has been using her international experience, in combination with professional models to help global organisations to work with the differences in cultures and perspectives and to generate synergies from these differences.

Besides consulting on cultural awareness in general, she has helped clients prepare for negotiations with international partners, improve the communication in a virtual team, develop sales presentations to foreign customers and gain sensitivity on different communication styles. In individual coaching sessions, she also helped expats to learn about the country culture of their next assignment. She has lectured at many Dutch universities on various aspects of National Culture (Communication, advertising, teamwork, sports, Brexit etc).