Our 2017 events and speakers

May’s talk: Understanding our Digital World

Wednesday 31st May 2017: 6:30-8:00pm

As our world becomes increasingly digital and the pace of change driven by technology continues to increase, how do we stay on top of the latest developments and educate ourselves in this new digital world? From educating our children for a world that doesn’t yet exist to teaching the existing population on all things digital, this month’s talks seek to provide some answers. This month’s speakers are:

Danny Windsor, Head Boy & Business Manager at Giant Campus


Danny heads up one of Kent’s newest and most exciting businesses in Giant Campus. With the objective of bridging the gap in digital skills for smaller businesses, Giant Campus delivers a modern approach to digital education and challenges most preconceptions on what professional training is. Danny will be speaking through the rationale behind Giant Campus, the gaps in digital skills in the UK and particularly Kent, and what all businesses can do to bridge that gap.

Donna Comerford, Education Technology Specialist


Donna brings together Creative Computing, Arts, Culture, Heritage, Innovation and Enterprise. With an established career in teaching and youth work, Donna will share how technology does and will affect our future generations. Donna works as a freelance Education Technology Consultant and is currently teaching and running workshops for the National Citizen service (NCS) where she creates and delivers interactive workshops about opportunities available in creative and cultural industries for young people. Donna is also the Education Coordinator for Brighton Digital Festival, is a STEM Ambassador & was a MOZFest 2015 volunteer.

Our previous events and speakers

July 2016: The 21st Century Career

Wednesday 27th July: 6:30-8:00pm

Our first ever event is on the 21st Century Career where we will explore ideas around new ways of working and the move towards a more purpose driven career. Our 2 speakers will share their journey and challenges in defining their 21st century career.

Luke Bicknell, Owner of Luke Bicknell Fitness


After many years in teaching Luke Bicknell decided to follow his passion for health and fitness by launching his own gym in Canterbury. Starting small he has grown his business over the past couple of years and is full of ideas for its future. Luke will share his journey on how he made his passion his career.

Nicola Moss, Career Transition Coach


From advertising in hamburg to island adventures in papua new guinea: After over a decade in advertising, working 24/7 and just about dodging her 2nd burnout Nicola took a year off to pursue a new project and test the lifestyle she always dreamt of. Nicola will share her story of transition and how she conquered her fears & blockers, with tips and advice on how you can too.

August 2016: The Tech Effect

Wednesday 31st August: 6:30-8:00pm

This month’s event will focus on the impact of technology on how we live and work. We have two fantastic speakers offering different perspectives about how technology will drive the global digital society and how it affects young people and the creative community.

Rohan Abey, Senior Manager at Cisco


Rohan has a wealth of experience in understanding the impact of technology. In his talk he will talk about the ‘digital’ society and Cisco’s proposed blueprint on how technology will change our lives, including how to evolve education, utilising open data, the internet of things and the future infrastructure requirements.

Lizzie Hodgson, Founder of ThinkNation


Digital and technology increasingly impacts on every aspect of a young person’s life. ThinkNation gives young people a platform on these issues to be heard alongside organisations, artists and thought leaders. Lizzie will talk about how technology is impacting everyday life & shaping the future of young people and the creative community.

September 2016: Our Environmental Impact

Wednesday 28th Sept: 6:30-8:00pm

This month’s event will focus on our impact on the environment. Our great speakers will discuss that In a world of finite resources what new approaches can be made at both a personal and corporate level that will have a positive impact on our environment.

Daianna Karaian, Founder of Thoughtful


Daianna likes to live well, but knows doing so can have an impact on the world around her, and she doesn’t want to leave a trail of destruction in her wake. But she also doesn’t want to sacrifice the things that make her happy. So Daianna set up Thoughtful to help people live better by connecting them to things that are made better and knows that we as consumers are the biggest force for change.

Julie Rogers, Head of Environmental and Customer Services, Ashford Borough Council


Ashford Borough Council was once the worst recycler in the country. Julie was part of a core team that transformed Ashford’s recycling record and has been integral to Ashford now becoming one of the best recyclers in the country, with DEFRA identifying them as the most improved recycler in the country in November 2014. She will explain how the team delivered the single biggest change to front line service the council has undertake in recent years, what the challenges were and what was required to change people’s behaviour to be more environmentally friendly.

October 2016: Discussing Social Issues

Wednesday 26th Oct 2016: 6:30-8:00pm

This month’s event will focus on social issues within the local area. Our great speakers will discuss what local services are doing in the current environment to help tackle significant social issues that impact those most in need.

Victoria Lawrence, Community Fundraising Manager, Pilgrims Hospice Ashford


Victoria has been a professional fundraiser for over 15 years and specialises in engaging local individuals, groups and companies in charitable support. She will join us to talk about the services provided by Pilgrims Hospices and how funding and volunteers help them to provide free end of life care and other vital family support services.

Chris Norman, Operations Manager, Family Food Bank & FareShare Kent


The Family food bank targets families and single people in need of emergency food support in the Swale, Ashford, Maidstone and Thanet Districts. FareShare Kent is the social enterprise that has been set up to support the Family Food Bank, and operates the Kent and Medway operations of the national FareShare charity which takes surplus but in date food from the food industry and re-directs it to charities and social enterprises supporting vulnerable people.

November 2016: The Health of our Minds

Wednesday 30th November: 6:30-8:00pm

This month’s event will focus on the health of our minds and the growing importance of understanding and dealing with mental health issues. Our great speakers this month will discuss the importance of mindfulness in combating stress and an innovative way to help the increasing number of people suffering with dementia.

Sam Dondi-Smith, Social Entreprener & Founder of Interactive Me


Sam is a specialist Occupational Therapist and founder of Interactive Me, a social enterprise supporting organisations to improve their person centred dementia care by utilising new technologies. Sam’s vision is to enhance compassionate care by joining the increasing need for personalisation together with current and new technologies. A passionate speaker and advocate for older people, Sam and is currently leading the development of the country’s first dementia friendly Community Orchard in Ramsgate, Kent.

Lucy Lucas, Yoga teacher & Mindfulness coach


After 14 years of finance in the City, Lucy used her yoga and mindfulness skills to navigate her escape. She has returned to her hometown of Tunbridge Wells, via some time in Ibiza, to set up her business as a yoga and mindfulness teacher and coach. She currently teaches locally and hold online courses, as well as teaching in corporations.

No December Event

Due to many of our members already having work Christmas parties and busy schedules, we have decided to postpone our Christmas drinks until the new year. We will be in contact early in January with all the details, but in the meantime we wish you all a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

January 2017: The Power of Youth

Wednesday 25th January: 6:30-8:00pm

Our first talk of the year focuses on the amazing things young people are up to within the county. Our 2 great speakers are under the age of 25 and have taken the bold step of setting up their own business, and will share with us their journey so far!

Freya Briley, Owner of Jest 4entertainment


Jest 4 Entertainment focus on encouraging the development of interpersonal skills, such as confidence, resilience, team building, public speaking and breaking away inhibitions, in all people, through the implementation of interactive workshops and kinaesthetic activities; all of which have an undertone of drama therapy. Freya will discuss how she came up with the idea for Jest 4entertainment and the challenges she faced.

Jonathan Wood, Founder of Hawk Travel


Jonathan Wood is a 17 yr old young entrepreneur and is the founder of his own business, Hawk Travel, which aims to remove the hassle that comes with booking and organising a holiday or business travel. Jonathan started out in business at the age of only 14 and has been running his business by himself ever since. Jonathan is also keenly interested in politics and hopes to shed some light on what young people can do.

February 2017: Nutrition & Body Positivity

Wednesday 22nd February 2017: 6:30-8:00pm

This talk follows hot on the heels of an often bruising January for many people as they beat themselves up over indulging at Christmas and often put themselves through gruelling new regimes that often end in failure. We want to change this message and pattern with 2 great talks giving advice on how to think about nutrition holistically and how to think and act more positively to boost confidence.

Pip Lawrence, Co-Founder of DayOne Wellness


Pip’s been a personal trainer for over 10 years and has been fascinated with human potential from an early age. She co-founded DayOne Wellness in 2014 after a career in the fitness industry followed by working alongside the NHS delivering childhood obesity initiatives. She believes the solution to the UK’s health and wellbeing epidemic lies in educating about the benefits of a healthy mind and body rather than focusing on scarcity tactics.

Carol Macey, Life Coach & Mental Health Nurse


Carol is a qualified life coach who has worked in the NHS for 20 years and still practices as a part time mental health nurse. Carol supports clients to overcome personal barriers and move forward in their lives, with a particular focus on helping clients regain confidence, self esteem, balance and emotional well being. In addition to talking about her experiences, Carol will share a range of techniques to help you move forward in feeling more positive about yourself.

March 2017: Digital Nomads

Wednesday 29th March 2017: 6:30-8:00pm

As the world becomes more digitally connected and access to online tools becomes easier, it means more people are choosing to work freelance and have the flexibility to work pretty much anywhere so long as it has an internet connection. This is resulting in the rise of a new type of employee: The Freelance Digital Nomad. So whether it is Bali or Bolton, Thailand or Tenterden, as long as you have a good internet connection and a laptop, you can be part of this growing community breaking the rules of traditional work. Our speakers are part of this new way of working and will share their stories to give you some inspiration on how to get there too.

Lorna Morris, Freelance Graphic Designer


Our very own Lorna is a freelance graphic designer who dislikes the weather of February but does like to travel. By taking her work on the road to sunnier climes Lorna has encountered a community dubbed ‘Digital Nomads’ and realised that she falls into the part-time category of this new way of working. But do you need to be abroad to be a Digital Nomad? And what are the tools of the trade? Come along and find out!

Bogdan Alexe, MD & Producer at Corralex Media


Bogdan is a man of many talents – He is a radio presenter, producer & also runs Corralex Media, a small company that creates culture and lifestyle films. Bogdan started his career in the media industry through modelling and acting, but soon found a passion working behind the camera. Bogdan will share his story about how he followed his interests, was able to embrace the new ways of working offered by technology and ultimately run his own freelance business that gives him the ability to work on what he wants, when he wants, where he wants.

April 2017: The Importance of Creativity

Wednesday 26th April 2017: 6:30-8:00pm

In this time of austerity often one of the first things to be cut is the creative arts as it is simple not valued by those holding the purse strings as other activities. We believe this is not only wrong, but also short-sighted and want to celebrate the importance of creativity and the positive impact it can have on society, the local community and individuals.

Nina Clark, Musical Activist, Musician & Teacher


Nina is a professional musician based in Folkestone and her career encompasses many strands, from minstreling in her Musical Walkabout project, private instrumental lessons, live performance and studio recording as a singer-songwriter of original material. Her ethos regarding creativity is one that encourages inclusivity, challenging our comfort boundaries and generating joy and social cohesion through musical engagement in the community

Gordon LaMont, Freelance Content Creator


All of Gordon’s work involves creative engagement including Training and Development for the BBC, National Schools Partnership, Actors Centre, Schools, Houses of Parliament or others; writing books, web material and radio scripts. He also produces radio and provides creative consultancy and facilitation. He will share his wealth of experience, approach to creativity and why it is so important for us all and will provide a mini workshop to share creative practices so you see first hand the value they can bring.