Our growing list of speakers, mentors and participants

ThinkNation is unique: We empower young people to ask and answer BIG questions by sharing their stories, in their own words, alongside global thought leaders and creatives. Here's just some of the inspirational people we've worked with:

Abby Tomlinson

"Is social Media creating a selfish or selfless generation?"

Abby Tomlinson was one of the main drivers behind the #milifandom phenomenon during 2015 General Election. She writes for The Guardian, Huffington Post and runs her own YouTube channel 'WestminsterAbby'. Oh, and she's tipped to be PM by 2050...

Alejandra Traspas

"Will the discovery of extraterrestrial life change life on earth?"

Astrophysics students Alejandra and Wenna Pei will explore BIG galactic questions around what could be the most significant discovery in human history.

Alessandra Zanetti

Manager - Accenture Strategy

"How far can you go?" mentor

Alessandra works in Products, Consumer Goods industry group in London. An active member of the Strategy Accent on Gender team - a network that promotes gender diversity and equality within the workplace - she leads their Communication agenda.

Alexandra Wajayanti

"How far can you go?"

Using Leonardo De Vinci as inspiration, Alexandra explored what can we learn from the Renaissance and creativity, challenging present education expectations and highlighting the power of learning more than just a few ‘focused’ subjects.

Allan Darter-Bragg

"Will Artificial Intelligence enhance or diminish our humanity?"

Warehouse assistant Allan is fascinated by Artificial Intelligence: from supercomputers such as IBM's Watson to the augmentation of the human body, he discussed the possible advantages AI will bring to the human race.

Amanda Leacy

Accenture Global HR Managing Director – Inclusion and Diversity

"How far can you go?" mentor

Amanda is Global Inclusion and Diversity HR Lead at Accenture. She and her team seek out new, innovative solutions to help create change in Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity journey. 

Ameenah Begum

"How far can you go?"

 Muslim, British, Bengali undergraduate student studying Product Design at the University of Sussex, Ameenah is currently on my industrial placement year working with ENGIE UK in Product Development within the Central Innovation Team

Annie Gardner

Accenture Managing Director

"How far can you go?" mentor

Over her 24 years at Accenture, Annie's role has evolved from coding and testing, to managing large-scale projects that help Accenture clients achieve their goals. She now focuses on client relationships and leads a talented global team of 350 people.

Ashton Peters

"Is space exploration expensive and pointless or the future of our species?"

Why the concept of space exploration is important to inspire everyday people - wherever they are in life.

Ben Towers

Award-winning young entrepreneur

Ben Towers has been making waves since the age of 11 as a multi-award winning young serial entrepreneur. In his inspirational talk he explained why age or background should never be a barrier.

Bethanie Fentiman

"How far can you go?"

Bethanie Fentiman organises Kent Jams. She teaches young people the basics of programming and electronics through making and tinkering. She’s also creator of Raspberry Pi powered ‘Wizard Chess’ which she developed after only 18 months of programming.

Billie JD Porter

ThinkNation host

Billie is a critically acclaimed writer, documentary film maker and presenter (BBC and C4)

Billie Sequeira

"If a robot takes your job, how will you eat?"

Posing the question “are we losing our minds?” Billie will explore to what extent might artificial intelligence replace human intelligence - and if robots replace people in their job roles, what will this mean for all of us?

Brandon Relph

CEO and Founder of goCreative

"Hackers: heroes or zeroes?"

A comical take on how seismic changes seen in 2016 could impact future generations

Calum Chace

Artificial Intelligence commentator

"If a robot takes your job, how will you eat?"

Calum Chace is a futurist who writes and talks about the impact AI has - and could have - on society.

Cara Ellison

"Is screen time helping or hindering us to live in the moment?"

Cara Ellision is a Scottish writer, game critic and video game narrative designer. She co-wrote Charlie Brooker's "How Videogames Changed the World" for C4 and was one of The Guardian's Top Ten Young People in Digital Media 2014.

Carly Maling

"Is screen time helping or hindering us to live in the moment?"

Wha does it mean to be 'in the moment' when you have a phone in your hand?

Caroline Hopkins

Development Director (UK & Ireland) ENGIE

ThinkNation: ENGIE judge

Caroline is responsible for the coordination and development of global energy company, ENGIE, in the UK, increasing brand awareness, spreading best practice and identifying opportunities for innovation.

Catie Munnings

Rally Driver

Mentor and planelist

Catie is the UK's leading female Rally Driver, presently competing in the FIA European Rally Championship.

Connor Byrne

Poet

"Will PC Drone be the law enforcer of tomorrow?"

Connor is a poet from Brighton whose work looks at politics, youth and gender identity. Recently performed with Poets Vs MCs in the Edinburgh Fringe, and at Hammer and Tongue. Currently supported by New Writing South to develop his poetry, and playwriting

Dan Simpson

Poet, performer, and producer

"If a robot takes your job, how will you eat?"

Dan Simpson is a poet, performer, and producer. Featured on BBC, he performs around the UK, including at Glastonbury Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. He was Poet-in-Residence at Waterloo Station. His first collection is called "Applied Mathematics".

Dan Thompson

"Is social Media creating a selfish or selfless generation?"

Dan Thompson started #riotcleanup after the 2011 London riots. This inspired #wewillgather, which uses social media for social good. GQ named him ‘100 Most Influential Men In Britain’ and David Cameron said he was an example of great British leadership.

Dani Osaba

Young Person speaker

"Is screen time helping or hindering us to live in the moment?"

While technology, screen time and a plethora of messaging apps aren't necessarily the cause of a lack of being 'present', might it be a good idea to now and again step back, stop, think, be mindful... and live in *the* moment?

Dave Smith

Managing Director Europe at Ricardo plc

ThinkNation Hacks Energy: judge

Dave leads the 1200 person Ricardo Automotive Engineering Consulting businesses based throughout Europe, with sales teams in Japan, India and Korea. He is Chair of the IET Policy Panel on Innovation and Emerging Technologies. 

David Wood

"Should technology help humans live forever?"

David is Chair at London Futurists and Principal at Delta Wisdom. He has a triple first class mathematics degree from Cambridge and in his talk he argued why it's humanity's destiny to conquer ageing. 

Dean Atta

Spoken word poet and writer

"Is screen time helping or hindering us to live in the moment?"

Benjamin Zephaniah described Dean Atta as "one of the UK's finest poets". He's not afraid of tackling tough topics including homophobia in hip hop and challenging the use of the "N" word. Frankly, you're want to hear what he has to say. 

Dr Alan Penny

Honorary Reader and Visiting Scientist in the Astronomy Group of the School of Physics and Astronomy in the University of St Andrews, Secretary European Astrobiology Network & Coordinator UK SETI Research Network.

"Will the discovery of extraterrestrial life change life on earth?"

We have a good chance of deciding if simple life is common outside Earth. If it is, it will thrust the public into thinking about where humankind fits in the Universe, and our future prospects. And the human race will be starting its first day at school.

Dr John Troyer

"Should technology help humans live forever?"

Dr John Troyer is Director of the Centre for Death and Society at University of Bath. His work focuses on the dead body's relationship with technology - and the impact of tech on "death". His talk is explored what living to 300 years of age really means.

Ebenflo

Rapper

"Will PC Drone be the law enforcer of tomorrow?"

Politically conscious teenage rap artist from Brighton. Writes spoken word lyrics which try to incorporate a wide range of political, ethical and philosophical issues. Performed at Edinburgh Fringe, The Concorde 2 and the Brighton Dome.

Elizabeth Parrish

CEO BioViva

CEO of US-based bio-tech company trailblazing the use of gene therapy to beat old age. In 2015, Elizabeth became the first person in the world to take gene therapy to treat ageing

Ella Dorman-Gajic

Spoken word poet

"Will PC Drone be the law enforcer of tomorrow?"

Spoken word poet, theatre maker and actor. Ella's work reflects struggles of real people growing up today. Performed at Edinburgh Festival. Had sell-out show at Brighton Fringe before taking it to London. Performs with Electric Youth Ensemble.

Emma Deacon

"How far can you go?"

Emma has her own hardware technology company through UCL’s accelerator programme. She's also a teacher and curriculum contributor to Code First Girls and a blogger for SheCanCode.

Envy

DJ, music artist and performer

Mentor, planelist and performer

Envy’s debut album ‘Set Yourself on Fire’ was critically acclaimed while her track ‘Normal’ is soundtrack to Adidas "Creating Chaos" global football campaign. Producer and music writer Envy also presents her own radio show on Unity Radio 92.8FM.

Estéban Fourmi

Dancer and performer

"Is screentime helping or hindering us to live in the moment?"

What happens when the 'reality of the performance' collides with the 'virtual' world?

Fatima Traore

"How far can you go?"

A Technology Apprentice at Accenture, Fatima came to the UK in 2012, unaccompanied and a non-English speaker. She learned English in under six months, studied hard and is now committed to inspire young women to go wherever their determination takes them.

Gavin Young

Senior Manager – Accenture Communications, Media & Technology

"How far can you go?" mentor

Gavin works in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology (CMT) Sales Team. He focuses on leading and negotiating high-value, complex projects. He's also the deputy lead for Accenture’s African and Caribbean Network, with over 250 members.

Gemma Styles

Writer and online commentator

Gemma is a writer and online influencer with a following of millions on Twitter and Instagram.

Gen Ashley

Director of Women Who Code London

"How far can you go?" panelist

Gen a Lead for Google Women Techmakers, NASA Space Apps Challenge and Twitter Developer Community London. She is also part of the leadership committee for Ada's List (a network for women in technology).

Hollie-Mai Simmonds

Young Person Community Speaker

"Will the discovery of extraterrestrial life change life on earth?"

There are so many questions and theories about life on other planets. These questions not only open doors to the people who study science - but also extend the knowledge of what goes on outside of our own planet to all of us.

Jade Emmons

"How far can you go?"

Jade Emmons currently works in a marketing role for a data science and marketing services company Profusion

Jake Davis

Ex-Anonymous member

"Hackers: heroes or zeroes?"

Former Anonymous and LulzSec hacker, Jake was arrested aged 18 and banned from the Internet for two years. Now works legitimately in information security as writer and consultant. Keen interest in prison reform and creating opportunities for young people.

Jessica Dick

"How far can you go?" mentor

An investment manager for an angel investment fund Synergy Growth, Jess also mentors entrepreneurs via incubators and accelerators including Google Launchpad. 

Jim Waterson

Politics editor for BuzzFeed News

Jim is the Deputy Editor at BuzzFeed where he reports and writes on national UK news as well as international politics, breaking big stories at the heart of Parliament.

Josh Allwood

"How do we make ‘gas to power vehicles’ a cost-efficient reality?"

Tackling the BIG question, Josh conceived a solution that converted food waste into gas energy.

Julius Brinkworth

Technical Director

ThinkNation Hacks Energy: judge

Julius is Technical Director for ENGIE UK. ENGIE is the global leader in energy, employing over 154k people across 70 countries.

Justin Pringle

CEO DroneOps

"Will PC Drone be the law enforcer of tomorrow?"

Justin is a drone designer with experience of the film and media industry. He frequently uses drones for humanitarian de-mining and radiological sensors - including Chernobyl for 3D radiological surveys.

Kenneth Cukier

Data Editor, The Economist

"Hackers: heroes or zeroes?"

Kenneth Cukier is an author and Data Editor at The Economist. Previously Kenn was the technology editor of the Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong and worked at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. 

Lara Longhurst

Managing Director, Technology – SuccessFactors UKI Lead, Accenture

"How far can you go?" mentor

Lara works on technology projects for clients across multiple industries. She's involved with Accenture’s Accent on Women's Programme which is focused on supporting the development and advancement of women in the workplace.

Laura Fairfax

"Is social media creating a selfish or selfless generation?"

Why do so many young people create 'alter- egos' online? And can the drive for 'likes' fuel an obsession with how online 'selve's are perceived, ironically creating toxically 'unsocial' outcomes?

Leigh Walters-James

UKI Communications, Media & Technology Managing Director, Accenture

"How far can you go?" mentor

Leigh works in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology (CMT) Sales Team. He helps companies connect with digital consumers to launch innovative products and services. In addition, Leigh teaches negotiation skills to executives across Accenture. 

Lord Jim Knight

Chief Education Adviser at TES Global

Jim is a member of the House of Lords and a visiting Professor at the Knowledge Lab of the UCL Institute of Education.

Mark Insch

Managing Director, Energy, Utilities, Chemicals and Natural Resources, Accenture

"How far can you go?" mentor

Mark works with clients to help them transform their businesses, focusing on Energy, Utilities, Chemicals and Natural Resources companies

Mark Murphy

Director, writer and creative lead

Mark Murphy conceives and creates world class theatre, outdoor spectacle and international ceremonies. He's generated some of the most striking theatre and large scale events including Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony.

Mary Firth

Accenture UK Content and Marketing Services Lead

"How far can you go?" mentor

As Content and Marketing Services Lead for Accenture Interactive, Mary helps clients use digital to transform, grow and innovate. These are usually large global organisations with complex marketing functions.

Mat Newton

Superintendent, Kent Police

"Will PC Drone be the law enforcer of tomorrow?"

There are many ways police will use drones to save life or prevent and detect crime and future drones may have permanent flying and recording capabilities. Will society want to be constantly watched? How could it impact communities and emergency services?

Meri Williams

Head of Technology for M&S Digital

"Women quotas in tech: positive or patronising?"

Diversity isn’t just about the numbers. Do we need the “stick” of quotas, as has been somewhat successful in the Nordics? Or do we hope the best talent floats to the top?

Naomi Trickey

Chief People Officer at Brandwatch

"Women quotas in tech: positive or patronising?"

Gender equality is complex, which is why 'blunt instruments' won't necessarily help.

Niall Miller

"Is space exploration expensive and pointless or the future of our species?"

As most humans have left the evolutionary path, do we no longer need to fight for survival? Instead, to further ourselves as a species, does our future lie in space exploration?

Olivia Graham

"How far can you go?"

Olivia works as a full-stack web developer, graduating from Nottingham University in Computer Science. She got her passion for technology from her father, and from the potential to use it to change the world and make it a better place.

Olivia Thorne

"Women quotas in tech: positive or patronising?"

Focusing on the 'against-quotas' viewpoint, Olivia, a computer science graduate, considers other routes to increase diversity in technology

Parveen Downer

Head of Programmes and Data at Harley Academy

"How far can you go?" mentor

Parveen's work is focused on applying tech solutions to traditional education from enrolment through to assessment. She has a keen interest in Data Science and bringing creativity to the workplace.

Patrick Cantellow

Founder & MD Swale Young People CIC

Patrick represents youth organisations from across the UK, notably, NSPCC, Youth Employment UK, The Office of The Children's Commissioner and National Children's Bureau

Professor Ruth Blakeley

Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

One of UK's youngest female professors of International Relations, Ruth's research on CIA's rendition programme has been used in high profile cases in European Court of Human Rights in defence of torture victims.

Punk Science from Science Museum

"Is space exploration expensive and pointless or the future of our species?"

Punk Science is made up of comedians and scientists Jon Milton and Sam Furniss. Using live on-stage experiments and videos, they got to grips with why space exploration is a critical part of human endeavour... in their own special way!

Rick Edwards

ThinkNation host

Rick began his career on the standup circuit after graduating with a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. He now works as a journalist, presenter and screenwriter.

Saffron Parker

"Will Artificial Intelligence enhance or diminish our humanity?"

Saffron Parker is a conceptual artist who's worked with brands including Adidas and Island Records. Drawing on her project with the Science Musem, Saffron explored what it means to be 'creative'. Is it distinctly human, or can machines ever match it? 

Shajida Akthar

"How far can you go?"

Shajida is a technology apprentice at Accenture working on a Digital project while providing internal and external clients with DevOps and Tech-Arch solutions. Alongside full-time work, she is studying for a BSc in Digital and Technology Solutions.

Sjoukji Ijistra

"How far can you go?"

A mathematics student at the University of St Andrews, Sjoukji also works with Code First: Girls to teach women how to code. She also volunteers at local schools as an ambassador for She++ to inspire and empower school girls to pursue degrees and careers.

Sue Robinson

Senior Manager, Accenture

"How far can you go?" panelist

Sue is a Senior Manager in Accenture’s Consumer Goods Strategy practice and is a member of Accenture's IGNITE programme, which fosters leadership skills for female executives. Recognised as ‘one to watch’ in Management Today’s Power Part Timers 2017.

Wenna Pei

"Will the discovery of extraterrestrial life change life on earth?"

In a potential future scenario of intergalactic co-existence, currents governing everyday lives on Earth could branch out or dry up altogether. What are our future prospects?

Yen-Sze Soon

UKI Resources Managing Director and UKI Accent on Gender Network

"How far can you go?" mentor

Yen-Sze looks after global clients to improve their processes, save them money and increase their productivity using the technology. She's also Accenture’s UK Accent on Gender Executive Sponsor and provides recommendations and feedback on Accenture’s gend