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All In: Inspire Inclusion

Inspire Inclusion

Welcome to our All In Conference for 2024, looking at Inspire Inclusion. This event will be bringing together people from across the industry, all with different experiences, backgrounds and characteristics, to harness the power of allies in delivering better business outcomes.



Decisions made and executed by diverse teams deliver 60% better results and inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time.


Why should you be involved?

• Hear from industry leaders about how the region can embracing inclusive working practices and the role of allies have in delivering behavioural change.

• Identify your organisation as a leader, driving cultural change in the region, nationally and internationally.

• Listen to the experiences of different people employed by the industry, and how their backgrounds have influenced their working lives.

2024's Agenda

Registration and Breakfast

Welcome and Introduction

Nik Turner, believe housing & Chair of CENE People Group

Unlocking Growth: The Business Imperative of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Victoria Short, Randstad UK&I

On a Journey

Michael Nicholas MBE, Northumbrian Water Group

Is it OK?

Paula McMahon, Sir Robert McAlpine

Break and Networking

Creating a Neurodiverse Inclusive Environment

Nicola Little, Celebrate Difference

Unity in Diversity: A Lesbian Journey

Sarah Hey, Hydrock

Panel discussions

  • Peter Weller, Building Equality
  • Meshi Taka, ICE, FIR Committee
  • Phil Redman, Mott MacDonald
  • Viviana Cabrera, Hydrock
  • Grace Choi, Co-Chair RIBA NE

Lunch and Networking

2024's Speakers

Nik Turner

Executive Director, believe housing & Chair of CENE People Group

Nik joined believe housing in 2019 as executive director of communities and customer services. Having joined housing in 2009, Nik has held a number of senior roles at housing associations across the northeast. Prior to housing Nik worked in private practice as a consultant project manager helping to shape the Newcastle skyline for a number of years. Alongside her role at Believe, Nik is a board member of constructing excellence northeast and is chair of their skills committee; she is incredibly passionate about making a difference in the communities we serve and appreciates it is not simply about the homes and buildings we provide, but also the opportunities for the people of the northeast.

Victoria Short

CEO, Randstad UK&I

Victoria Short is a leading authority within the world of work, with a track record of inspirational leadership, putting people, innovation, customer experience and performance at the heart of Randstad UK&I’s success.

As CEO of Randstad UK&I – part of the world’s leading talent company – Victoria delivers a partner for talent approach, ensuring talent and clients benefit from high quality, diverse and specialised workforce solutions.

Michael Nicholas MBE

Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Northumbrian Water Group

After nearly 30 years in the UK Fire Service and the trade union movement, working primarily in EDI, Michael was awarded an MBE in 2017 and retired in 2018. He re-located to the North East in 2018 and joined NWL in 2020, in their first ever D&I manager role. They launched their inaugural D&I strategy in the autumn of 2022 which includes recruitment targets for gender, ethnicity and disability. Michael is loving the North East and it’s communities!

Paula McMahon

Civil Engineer, Sir Robert McAlpine

Paula is a high profile multi award winning Civil Engineer who advocates for an equitable and sustainable society.

Working for Sir Robert McAlpine she mentors staff working towards professional qualifications and manages the wide reaching and varied social value on the A19 DBFO Project.

She is an Honorary Professor of Teesside University, an Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Trustee and Head of UK Regions as well as Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Trustee and Chair of the WES Climate Emergency Group.

Nicola Little

CEO, Celebrate Difference

Nicola left teaching in 2008 and launched her first limited company. Roll forward through the turbulence, fun and learning to 2017, she founded MINT Business Club to create opportunities for the self-employed community to thrive.
In the last couple of years, Nicola has turned her attention to supporting the Neurodivergent business community after her own diagnosis of ADHD and then Dyspraxia.
Launched in 2021, Celebrate Difference Ltd is a Social Enterprise solely focused on raising the profile of ADHD and celebrating the many strengths that ADHDers bring to the world.


Phil Redman

Area Director, Mott MacDonald

Phil is the Area Account Leader for the Newcastle office of Mott MacDonald and a chartered buildings engineer. He leads our buildings and built environment teams in the North of England, and has provided technical and project management advice to private and public sector bodies in the procurement, construction and P3 markets delivering technical advisory and consultancy services.

Phil is also a private sector Board Member at the Northeast LEP, which will become part of the new Mayoral Combined Authority in 2024. A strong advocate for inclusivity, Phil works to best ensure our office is open and available to all staff.

Peter Weller

Technical Principal, Mott MacDonald

Peter is a transport engineer who graduated from Newcastle University many years ago. After starting his career in Birmingham, a New Zealand holiday in 2003 prompted a move there a year later, where he came out to himself and close friends as gay.

On returning to the UK 3 years later, Peter settled back in the North East. He attended his first Pride in London in 2018 with Building Equality and since then has helped set up their North East group, organise their attendance at Northern Pride and is currently a member of Building Equality’s Executive Committee.


Viviana Cabrera

Sustainability Consultant, Hydrock

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Viviana studied architecture and urbanism at Universidad Central del Ecuador. While sustainability wasn’t part of the curriculum, a single class on bioclimatic architecture, almost sixteen years ago, shifted her perspective. Determined to delve deeper, Viviana pursued education in the UK, meeting entry requirements through a 10-month English course in London. After a Master’s in renewable energy and architecture at the University of Nottingham, she joined Hydrock’s smart energy and sustainability team. Balancing technical skills with a passion for sustainability, she finds fulfilment in delivering ground breaking environmental studies, contributing to a meaningful professional journey.


Sarah Hey

Senior Project Manager, Hydrock

Sarah is a Project Manager working in the North West in Manchester. She has worked in the construction industry since 2013, initially as a chartered geologist and scientist before transitioning to managing multi-disciplinary engineering projects in the Strategic Projects division of Hydrock.

She is a STEM Ambassador and mentor for The Social Mobility Foundation supporting and encouraging the younger generation into a career in engineering. She also leads the Hydrock LGBTQ+ group to help improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the organisation.


Grace Choi

Director, Grace Choi Architecture

Grace is director of a value led, design-oriented architect’s practice focussing on community projects and homes.

She is the RIBA NE co-chair, initially leading the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion group. Grace has been influential in her efforts to bring issues of Inclusion and discrimination to the attention of the architectural community, founding the J.E.D.I. talks and Inclusion advocacy in the wider construction industry. She is a regular visiting reviewer, teacher and lecturer at various UK schools of architecture.

She has co-edited a book: Inclusion Emergency, due to be published by RIBA Publishing in May 2024.

Meshi Taka

Associate Director, Waterman Aspen

Meshi is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng FICE); Vice-chair of the ICE’s Fairness Inclusion and Respect (FIR) committee, regional chair for ICE NE or ICE NE and an Associate Director for Water and Environment at Waterman Aspen.

Meshi is also co-editor of the Civil Engineering Journal. She won the 2024 Inspiring Women in Construction Award for Contributions to Gender Diversity.

Thanks to our sponsors

RED Engineering
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