Marie Heracleous

Marie Heracelous

Marie Heracleous

Health and Welfare Chief Operating Officer,
Capita Group Plc

South East Leadership Board

Marie Heracleous is the Chief Operating Officer of the Health and Welfare Sector at Capita. She joined Capita in 2012 and has had several roles leading operations and delivering change within a variety of businesses. Marie has a lot of experience in motivating multi-disciplinary teams to transform services. She has worked in a variety of sectors but is particularly passionate about delivering excellent services that are important to the public.

Marie is delighted to have joined Business in the Community’s (BITC’s) South East Leadership Board, working with others to support businesses and communities to drive change that will make a difference to people’s lives. She is excited about finding ways to work collaboratively with others to solve issues and to deliver lasting change.

Marie was born in London but has spent a lot of time living in the South East. She is passionate about physical activity, whether that be long distance cycling, running, or walking. At weekends you will find Marie out enjoying the fresh air. She believes that physical activity is great for your mental wellbeing and in her spare time is a yoga instructor and a committee member of the Long Distance Walking Association.

Suzanne Scott

Suzanne Scott

Suzanne Scott

Human Resources Director,

London Leadership Board

Suzanne Scott is the Human Resources (HR) Director for AXA Health, a business of 3,800 employees and nearly 2 million customers. She has responsibility for HR, Wellbeing and Internal Communications. A member of the Executive team, she is part of shaping an exciting transformation agenda to ensure it achieves the next phase of its ambitions. The company is one of the UK’s leading health insurers and provider of employee support and occupational health services but has an ambition to support even more people, more often with a wider range of services, including health maintenance and disease prevention.

Prior to this role Suzanne was the HR Director for AXA Wealth and previously was in banking, general and life insurance. Her time in finance was during the banking crisis and therefore she learnt a lot about cultural transformation, resilience and supporting people through tough times. She has delivered a series of major transformations throughout her career and been the partner to several successful and inspirational chief executive officers (CEOs). In insurance she has been part of mergers and acquisitions, disposals, digital transformation and organisation effectiveness strategies. She chooses to be in highly commercial HR roles, getting satisfaction knowing her and her team have played a direct and valued part in the achievement of the business strategy.

Suzanne has lived in London for over 15 years. She has joined the London Leadership Board as she wants to walk the talk on businesses adding societal value and to the communities they are part of.

For relaxation Suzanne likes cooking and spending time with family and friends. Over recent years fitness has become a new hobby with weight training, Peloton, Pilates and yoga all featuring. Music is also a large part of her and her husband’s life, attending frequent live gigs. She is also learning to play the piano.

Richard Aylard

Richard Aylard

Richard Aylard

External Affairs and Sustainability Director,
Thames Water

London Leadership Board

Richard Aylard joined Thames Water in 2002 as their Corporate Responsibility Director and led the company’s engagement with external stakeholders, including councils, MPs, community groups and environmental organisations from 2005 to 2019. As Sustainability Director, Richard now focuses on the company’s strategic aim of generating public value, which includes key issues of the environment, sustainability and climate change, working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders and local community groups.

Richard graduated with a degree in biological science from Reading University and served in the Royal Navy for 16 years. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management and Chair of the Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) Charity.

Richard is excited to be part of the Business in the Community (BITC) London Leadership Board and is very much looking forward to helping local business and communities to become more sustainable and resilient to new challenges.

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

Senior Advisor to the Mayor,
Greater London Authority

London Leadership Board

Ben Johnson advises the Mayor of London on matters relating to business, economic development, and technology. As well as providing support in the development of Mayoral strategies and policy, he works extensively with business organisations across London to support stronger partnerships between the private and public sector. He chairs the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) steering group on economic fairness, and works with the Mayor, Deputy Mayors and senior GLA officials to support and promote the positive impacts that business can have within the wider community. He hopes through the Business in the Community (BITC) London Leadership Board to play a useful role in joining up the work of BITC and London government in this area. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Living Wage Foundation.

Before joining the Mayor’s team at City Hall, Ben worked on Sadiq Khan’s campaign to become Mayor of London, and prior to that as Head of Policy Development at The Labour Party. He has previously served as a local councillor in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Alexandra Beidas

Alexandra Beidas

Alexandra Beidas

Linklaters LLP

London Leadership Board

Alexandra Beidas is a Partner at the global law firm Linklaters LLP. She heads up the Incentives team whose clients include around one third of the FTSE 100, two thirds of the top 20 global banks and half the top 20 global asset managers. She specialises in advising global corporations, including their boards, on corporate governance, accountability and remuneration, often in the context of significant corporate transactions, crisis management and regulatory investigations.

She also has extensive experience of working with lawmakers, regulators and industry bodies on the development of new legislation and regulation.

Alongside her legal career Alex is on the Board of Trustees at St Mungo’s, the UK homelessness charity, chair of its People and Governance Committee and chair of two of its subsidiaries delivering social impact bonds in London and Brighton. She also chairs Linklaters’ London Social Impact Committee. She has joined the London Leadership Board because she believes strongly that to have the maximum impact on the communities in which we work it’s vital that businesses coordinate their efforts.

Alex is married to Martin, a renewable energy lawyer by day, and amateur boxing coach by night, and they have three boys, Henry, William and Frankie, aged 12, 10 and 4.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women

is now open for entries.

Organisations listed in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women are committed to gender equality in the
workplace and have each taken action to make this happen. The list celebrates outstanding progress and examples of best practice, impact, innovation, and individual achievement. 

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2021 application process

To reflect the extra pressure and changed attitudes caused by COVID-19, this year sees the implementation of a streamlined application process and question design. We have worked hard to make The Times Top 50 as accessible as possible to showcase, celebrate and share the key learnings from businesses that are supporting women in this new reality. 


The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2020


Allen & OveryFinancial Conduct AuthorityPageGroup
AtosFujitsuPepsiCo UK and Ireland
AVIVA PLCGlaxoSmithKlinePinsent Masons LLP
BarclaysHachette UKPwC
British ArmyHogan Lovells International LLPRoyal Mail Group
Capgemini UKIrwin MitchellRoyal Navy
CentricaITVSantander UK
CMS Cameron McKenna
Olswang LLP
Costain GroupLinklatersShell UK
Credit SuisseLloyds Banking GroupSimmons & Simmons
Deloitte LLPMarks & SpencerSky plc
Department for Work & PensionsMcKinseySodexo
Deutsche Bank AG LondonMercer LimitedSurrey Police and
Sussex Police
DWF LLPMorgan Stanley InternationalVodafone
Enterprise Rent-A-CarNational Assembly for WalesWillmott Dixon
Eversheds SutherlandNatWest Group

Learn more about the Business in the Community campaign for gender equality


Dame Vivian Hunt

Dame Vivian is a senior partner of McKinsey & Company. She served as managing partner of the company’s United Kingdom and Ireland offices from 2013-2020.

She previously led the firm’s Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products Practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and continues to advise a diverse range of corporate, public, and third sector clients on topics of performance improvement, productivity growth, and leadership. She has served on the firm’s global board of directors, its Values Committee, and several personnel committees.

In addition to her client responsibilities, Dame Vivian is a leader within the firm on productivity, leadership, and diversity. She frequently speaks on McKinsey’s flagship research on these topics and has co-authored publications, such as The Power of Parity (2016), Solving the United Kingdom’s productivity puzzle in a digital age (2018)Delivering through Diversity (2018) and Diversity Wins: how inclusion matters (2020)Most recently, Vivian has written Diversity still matters, which highlights the importance of inclusion and diversity during a pandemic, and COVID-19 in the United Kingdom: Assessing Jobs at Risk and the impact on people and places.

She was previously named as one of the top ten ‘most influential black people in Britain’ by the Powerlist Foundation, and The Financial Times identified her both as one of the ‘European Women to Watch’ and ‘one of the 30 most influential people in the City of London’.

She is active in a variety of business settings, including the CBI, UK’s Industrial Strategy Council, Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Council, the Trilateral Commission and is the former chair of British American Business. She is a trustee of The British Museum, chairs the HRH Prince of Wales’ Seeing is Believingprogramme, and sits on the boards of the Southbank Centre, as well as Business in the Community, where she is a National Ambassador.

Dame Vivian is an alumna of Harvard College and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Warwick, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York and an Honorary Fellowship from University College London (UCL).

In 2018, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the economy and women in business.

Dame Vivian holds both British and American citizenship, and is married with two children.

List of Business in the Community Members


Jeremy Darroch, CEO, Sky and President, Business in the Community


Updated: October 2020
AccentureEYNottingham Trent University
ACT TrainingFacebook IncNottingham University Business School
Addo Food GroupFCO ServicesNovus Property Solutions
ADI GroupFederated HermesNPTC Group of Colleges
AEGON (UK)Financial Services Compensation SchemeNRS Healthcare
AF Blakemore & Son LtdFinning Group (UK)Oliver Wyman
Aldi UK & IrelandFitch GroupOracle Corporation UK
Allianz (UK)FordOrbit Group Ltd
Alun Griffiths Contractors LtdFreesat (UK) LimitedParagon Banking Group
AmazonFreshfields Bruckhaus DeringerPennon Group
AmeyFujitsuPepsiCo UK and Ireland
Anglo AmericanFutures Housing GroupPfizer
Anthesis Consulting Group plcGamesys GroupPhilip Morris International
ArmGeneral Medical CouncilPhoenix Group
ASDA Stores LtdGilbert-Ash LimitedPinsent Masons LLP
Associated British FoodsGlasgow Caledonian UniversityPOLYMATERIA LIMITED
Association of Accounting TechniciansGlaxoSmithKlinePost Office
AssurantGlenmorangie CompanyPremier Oil
AstraZenecaGoldman Sachs InternationalPrincipality Building Society
Avara FoodsGoogleProject One Consulting Limited
AVIVA PLCGower CollegeProwrap Group - Wrapex Ltd / Procare UK Ltd
AWEGowling WLG (Wragge)Public Health England
AXAGrant ThorntonPunter Southall Aspire
AXIS Capital HoldingsGreater London AuthorityPwC
Bain & CompanyGreggsReckitt Benckiser
Baker McKenzieGresham Technologies plcReward Gateway
Bank of AmericaGreys Matter LtdRHA Wales
Bank of EnglandGround ControlRicardo
BarclaysGuest MotorsRicoh UK
BASF plcGympassRobertson Group
BBCGymshark LimitedRolls-Royce
BCS ConsultingHachette UKRoyal London Group
Beaverbrooks the JewellersHALO Urban RegenerationROYAL MAIL GROUP LIMITED
Bentley Motors LimitedHarperCollins PublishersRSM
Bettys & Taylors Group LtdHeathrow Airport LimitedSage plc
BloombergHeron Bros
Bluestone National Park ResortHiggs & Sons SolicitorsSamworth Brothers (Holdings)
BNP ParibasHigh Speed 2 LimitedSantander UK
Bowmer & KirklandHiscox UKScotRail
BPHogan Lovells International LLPScottish Qualifications Authority
Brewin Dolphin HoldingsHome Instead Senior CareScottish Water
Bristol International AirportHomeserve PLCSecure Trust Bank
British American TobaccoHSB Engineering InsuranceSedgwick
Brother Industries UK (Wales)HSBC BankSevern Trent
BTHuddersfield Business School, University of HuddersfieldShakespeare Martineau LLP
BupaIBM UKShell UK
Burberry GroupIceland Foods Ltd.Shoosmiths LLP
Burger KingInterContinental Hotels GroupSHS Group Ltd
Burges SalmonInterfaceSiemens PLC
Burns Pet Nutrition LtdIrwin MitchellSky
CalMac Ferries LtdISS UKSociete Generale
Calor Gas LtdJ SainsburySodexo
CapgeminiJ. Murphy & Sons LimitedSouth Wales Police
Capita GroupJacobsSport England
Capital Law LLPJaguar Land RoverSPTS Technologies
Capital OneJC DecauxSt James's Place
Capsticks SolicitorsJLLSt Modwen Properties
Cardiff and Vale CollegeJohn Lewis Partnership/WaitroseStandard Life Aberdeen
Cardiff Business SchoolJoseph Rowntree FoundationStantec
Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityJTISTARS GROUP HOLDINGS (UK) LIMITED
Castell Howell FoodsKeenan Recycling LtdTalkTalk Telecom Group plc
Central England Co-operativeKier GroupTAQA Bratani Limited
CentricaKingspan GroupTarget Group
Cereal Partners UKKnight FrankTate
Chevron U.K. LtdLandmarc Support Services LimitedThales Group
CiscoLeeds Building SocietyThames Water
CITIZEN HousingLeeds City CouncilThe Co-operative
City & Guilds GroupLegal & General Group PlcThe Eden Project
CityFibreLexisNexis Risk SolutionsThe Football Association (FA)
Cleone FoodsLinc-Cymru Housing AssociationThe Go-Ahead Group
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLPLincolnshire Co-operativeThe Midcounties Co-operative
CNOOC InternationalLinkedInThe Scottish Salmon Company Ltd
ColasLinklatersThe Southern Co-op
Coleg y CymoeddLiverpool John Moores UniversityThe University of Birmingham
Columbia Threadneedle InvestmentsLivin Housing LtdTideway
Cooley LLPLloyds Banking GroupTimpson Ltd
Costain GroupLloyd's of LondonTLT LLP
Covéa InsuranceLondon Borough of Barking and DagenhamToyota Motor Manufacturing (UK)
Coventry & Warwickshire ChampionsLondon North Eastern RailwayTransport for the West Midlands
Coventry Building SocietyLondon Stock Exchange GroupTrivallis Ltd
Credit SuisseLongevity PartnersTSB Bank plc
Crown Estate ScotlandL'Oreal Paris UKUBS
Crown Workspace LimitedLVUK Greetings Ltd.
Custerian LimitedManchester Airports GroupUK Power Networks
De Montfort UniversityManchester Metropolitan University, Faculty of Business and LawUnilever
Deloitte LLPMarks & SpencerUnipart Group
Department for TransportMarshUnite Students
Derwent LondonMayborn GroupUnited Utilities
Development Bank of WalesMcCann WorldgroupUniversity of Hull, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics
DiageoMcKinseyUniversity of Manchester
Direct Line GroupMercer LimitedUniversity of Warwick
Dixons CarphoneMichael Page InternationalUnum
Dolmans SolicitorsMinistry of JusticeUPS Ltd
Drax Group PLCMonmouthshire Building SocietyV12 Retail Finance
DWF LLPMorgan StanleyVeolia
Dwr Cymru Welsh WaterMSS GroupVerizon UK Limited
East Midlands RailwayMVF GlobalVertex
EBRDNational Crime AgencyVia East Midlands
EcoActNational GridVictrex plc
EDF EnergyNationwideVirgin Money
Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution LtdNatWest GroupWales & West Utilities Limited
Educ8 TrainingNestle Holdings UKWalgreens Boots Alliance
Efficiency North Holdings LtdNetwork Recruitment Wales LtdWalt Disney Company
Electricity North West LtdNexbaWatts Truck & Van
EMCOR (UK)Next PLCWesleyan Assurance Society
EncircNFU Mutual Insurance CoWhitby Seafoods Ltd
Enterprise Rent-A-Carnmcn PLCWildHearts
EquinixNoble FoodsWJ Group
Essentra PLCNominetWm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC
European Metal RecyclingNorthern Gas NetworksWright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP
Eurovia UK LtdNorthumbrian Water GroupYMCA St Pauls Group
Eversheds SutherlandNorton Rose FulbrightYorkshire Building Society
Zimmer Biomet UK

Charlotte Kirby

Charlotte Kirby smiles

Charlotte Kirby

Vice President, Global Strategic Relations,

Global Goals Leadership Team

Charlotte Kirby is Vice President of Global Strategic Relations.

Charlotte is responsible for building formal strategic partnerships, international collaborations and strong strategic relations to holistically support Salesforce values and that the business of business is improving the state of the world.

Charlotte is passionate about driving learning-based programming, employee volunteerism, and grant management in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, youth workforce development, and technology innovation.

Prior to this role, Charlotte worked in senior management roles in the telecommunications industry, holding senior management positions within Verizon and WorldCom and focusing on business transformation and customer success.

Charlotte holds a BA (Hons) in Business from Anglia Ruskin and a MSc in Corporate Governance from London South Bank.

About Business in the Community’s Global Goals Leadership Team

Each area of work Business in the Community (BITC) undertakes is led by a group of senior executives who provide strategic guidance and support us in achieving our objectives.

The purpose of BITC’s Global Goals Leadership Team is to accelerate business progress towards being purpose-driven and deliver on the Global Goals also known as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Find out more about BITC’s work on the Global Goals.

Abida Lalani

Abida Lalani smiles

Abida Lalani

Change Programme Director – Strategy Implementation,
Costain Group

London Leadership Board

Abida Lalani is the Change Programme Director for the smart infrastructure solutions firm Costain Group PLC, helping to drive and deliver its leading edge strategy. Costain provides engineering and technology solutions to energy, water and transportation industry clients across the UK.

Abida is also the Senior Sponsor for the Religious Ethnic and Cultural Heritage (Reach) Network at Costain. She is passionate to ensure Reach forms a key part of Costain’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy to create a work culture that promotes, values, celebrates diversity and allows Costain employees to perform at their best.

Prior to Costain, Abida worked for HSBC, KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group where she formed a niche in large-scale transformation programmes, in particular integration or separation activity as a result of mergers, acquisitions, divestments or carve-outs. She has lived and worked across the UK and continental Europe, the USA, Middle East and Asia.

Outside of work, Abida is learning Spanish and enjoys the thrill of escape rooms. Most recently she became a Trustee for Volunteer Centre Camden alongside devising and launching a mentoring programme for youth within the Ismaili community.