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Speakers 2018

Baroness Sheila HollinsBaroness Sheila Hollins

Baroness Sheila Hollins

City Lit Fellow Baroness Hollins is Patron of the Mental Wealth Festival.  She is the founder, editor and lead author of the Books Beyond Words series and Chairs the Board of Beyond Words. She is Emeritus Professor of the Psychiatry of Disability at St George’s, University of London, and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer.


Bryony GordonBryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon is one of The Telegraph’s best loved journalists, columnist and features writer. She has been writing for The Telegraph for a number of years and also freelances for various other publications including Grazia Magazine.


Chris UnderhillChris Underhill

Chris Underhill MBE

Chris is a leading exponent on global mental health practice, a social entrepreneur, and a mentor. Chris is the founder of BasicNeeds, co-founder of citiesRISE and the Chair of Spring Impact, a Global Director of Leaders Quest and the Chair of Carers Worldwide.

Dr Kathryn MannixDr Kathryn Mannix

Dr Kathryn Mannix

Kathryn Mannix is a retired palliative care doctor campaigning for better public understanding of dying, using her experience drawn from 30 years working in hospitals, hospices and people's own homes. Her book about the way people live while they are dying, With The End In Mind, became a best-seller and was short-listed for the Wellcome Book Prize. She has written and spoken extensively about end of life care and supporting dying people, across the UK and around the world. 

Dr Petra SimicDr Petra Simic

Dr Petra Simic

Dr Petra Simic is the interim Medical Director for Bupa Health Clinics. Since May 2018 she has been the Interim Medical Director for Bupa Health Clinics. Before joining Bupa, Petra was a GP partner in an NHS practice in Hertfordshire for 9 years.


Eva Provedel

Eva Provedel is a Joy Coach, Laughter Yoga Teacher & Ambassador, Expression-Enabler and Personal Impact Trainer based in London. Eva helps professionals connect with their source of happiness and express it in their work and lifestyle. 

Kirubel BelayKirubel Belay

Fahad al Saud

Founder of TOMO, Fahad’s way of giving back to our community. He knows that simple, everyday habits build lasting change for the better. was born out of our personal experience managing mental health.

Paul FarmerPaul Farmer

Geoff McDonald

Geoff is Co-Founder of a network called ‘Minds@Work’ and a Trustee of ‘Family Links’, a Charity educating parents and teachers to develop emotionally-healthy children and young adults. He has been asked to join the Prince’s Trust Youth Opportunity Taskforce with the purpose of creating change that will unlock the potential in the UK’s youth.

Grayson PerryGrayson Perry

Grayson Perry CBE

City Lit Fellow Grayson Perry CBE, is an award-winning artist who works in a variety of media, but is best known for his ceramic works. In 2003, Grayson became famous as the first ceramic artist to win the Turner Prize. Alongside his art, Grayson has written and presented documentaries including an hour-long documentary for Channel 4 entitled Why Men Wear Frocks.


Helen HayesHelen Hayes

Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes is Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2017 with an increased majority. Helen takes a strong interest in mental health and autism, and has led a back bench business debate on young people's mental health, and co-sponsored a recent debate on the future of Transforming Care. 

Hope VirgoHope Virgo

Hope Virgo

Hope Virgo, Author of Stand Tall Little Girl, is a leading advocate for people with eating disorders described by Richard Mitchell, CEO of Sherwood Forest Hospital as "sharing a very powerful story with a huge impact".  

James JoplingJames Jopling

James Jopling

James is the Executive Director for Scotland at Samaritans. James’ role is to lead on work to prevent suicide through national relationships, partnerships and through work with national and local Government.  He has worked in the sector for the past 20 years for charities such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, Shelter and Breast Cancer Now.

Joanna PlaceJoanna Place

Joanna Place

Joanna was appointed the Bank of England’s Chief Operating Officer in July 2017 and previously was the Executive Director of Human Resources. Joanna is a Fellow of the CIPD; an Independent Director, Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment; a Trustee of Blind in Business;  and a School Governor. 

Johnny Mercer MPJohnny Mercer MP

Johnny Mercer MP

Johnny serves on both the House of Commons Defence and Health Select Committees. He was reelected in 2017 after only two years in the job with an almost five-fold increase in his majority. Johnny speaks regularly in the House of Commons with a focus on defence, veterans, mental health and transport issues.

Jonny BenjaminJonny Benjamin

Jonny Benjamin MB

Jonny Benjamin is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger. Jonny spent 2017 writing the first of 2 books on mental health entitled The Stranger On A Bridge which was published by Pan Macmillan in May 2018. 

Laura HearnLaura Hearn

Laura Hearn

Laura Hearn is the founder of the globally recognised online platform, 'Jiggsy' which uses it's unique creative tool 'The Jiggsaw' to connect people affected by an eating disorder and mental ill health. 

Laura WillisLaura Willis

Laura Willis

Laura Willis is the founder of Shine Offline, a consultancy that helps people and businesses understand the potentially negative impact our 24/7 culture could be having on their wellbeing, work life balance, productivity, creativity and relationships. 

Mandy StevensMandy Stevens

Mandy Stevens

Mandy Stevens is a qualified nurse & has worked in mental health services for 30 years. For the first 15 years Mandy worked in a range of clinical positions mostly in the Mental Health Acute Care pathway, including inpatient services, Crisis Teams & Community Mental Health Teams. 

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

Mark Williamson

Dr Mark Williamson is co-founder and Director of Action for Happiness and has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the whole organisation.

Rachel KellyRachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly is a writer and mental health campaigner. Rachel speaks publicly about her experience of depression and recovery. She is an official ambassador for SANE, Rethink Mental Illness, Young Minds and The Counselling Foundation. Rachel has written four books.


Shammi Kapoor

Shammi completed a brain training program when a doctor referred him to the BrainRx concept after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD & Depression. After completing  the program, Shammi, as well as family and friends, could see the difference brain training made to his life. 

Stu BakerStu Baker

Stu Baker

Stu Baker, Ex Royal Navy, now a personal trainer, author and a mental health advocate. He has lived with depression for several years and attempted to take his own life in 2017. Following hospital treatment, he is passionate about the stigma around mental health, particularly surrounding men. 

Tricia DriverTricia Driver

Tricia Driver

Tricia Driver is the Founder of A New Normal Ltd, a consultancy which supports its clients in creating and sustaining truly inclusive working environments. She is an expert in Unconscious Bias and Inclusion, a skilled and highly regarded coach and a compelling speaker.