Welcome to the Leadership Symposium 2020

Working Options in Education invites you to attend our sixth annual Leadership Symposium on 12th November 2020
at Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, Hertfordshire

We have a fantastic line up of speakers including Jason Tarry - Tesco UK & ROI, Sian Sutherland - A Plastic Planet, Wayne Hudson - Birds Eye, Baroness Dido Harding – Chair of NHS Improvement, Damian Hinds - Member of Parliament, Adam Leyland - The Grocer, Anna Botting - Sky News Presenter and Jeremy Thompson - Former Sky News Presenter.

Hear some of the most well-respected leaders in our industry share what they’ve learned in business, ask questions, connect with colleagues and network with future employees. A great opportunity for personal learning and development.

Tickets are £695 + VAT, as in previous years. Each ticket purchased enables over 100 students to attend the event for free.

The Leadership Symposium supports charities Working Options in Education and GroceryAid.


Short summary of the Leadership Symposium 2019 event


Media Partner

2020/2019 Supporters


Now in its sixth year, The Leadership Symposium is a unique and lively event attended by delegates from across the food, drink and retail industry including commercial managers and suppliers, but relevant to management at all levels and from all disciplines. Join us to:

  • Hear some of the most well-respected figures in the industry share their thoughts on business, leadership, personal development and diversity.
  • Connect with colleagues and future employees of industry.
  • Experience an informative learning day of management development and team building.
  • Benefit from fantastic networking opportunities.

The charitable impact on Working Options in Education of buying a ticket:

Since the 2019 Leadership Symposium, we have engaged with more young people than ever before, expecting to work with nearly 10,000 this year. We have been able to introduce new employability workshops, resulting in doubling the number of events we run in schools and colleges. The number of schools and colleges participating in our programme has increased by 25% in the last 6 months. 88% of the students we work with feel more confident and optimistic about their future having attended one of our events.

In addition, the purchase of tickets subsidises the attendance of 100 state educated students enabling them to share the experience
with business delegates and to find out more about the industry.


The Leadership Symposium supports charities Working Options in Education and GroceryAid.


Rothamsted Research Centre, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ.

BY ROAD From the M1

Take J9 off the M1, follow the signs to Redbourn - Go past the Hertfordshire County Showground on your right - At the roundabout take the first exit (left) and follow the B487 until the next roundabout - At the roundabout take the first exit (left) onto the A1081, Rothamsted Research is signposted on your left


Harpenden is 28 mins by Train from London St Pancras (adjoined with London Kings Cross). Taxis are available on arrival at Harpenden station. Rothamsted Research is Approximately 10 minutes’ walk from the station, please follow directions below

PARKING - There is plenty of free parking at Rothamsted, please follow the signs for visitor’s car parking


Jason Tarry
CEO UK & ROI, Tesco

Jason is responsible for all of Tesco’s businesses in the UK and ROI.

Jason joined Tesco in October 1990 on the graduate recruitment programme. He has held a number of positions in the UK and internationally across both food and non-food divisions. Jason became CEO for clothing across the Group in 2012, before being appointed as Chief Product Officer in January 2015. In July 2018, Jason was appointed to his current role of CEO, UK & ROI. Jason joined the Executive Committee on 1 January 2015.

Sian Sutherland
Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet

Igniting social change, creating brands, campaigns and businesses with soul is Sian’s passion. Multi-award winner, including Female Marketer of the Year, CEW Achiever Award, Entrepreneur of the Year and British Inventor of the Year; Sian is a serial entrepreneur with a varied background in advertising, Michelin Star restaurants, film production and brand creation design agencies. Most recently she co-founded and ran Mama Mio, the first international pregnancy skincare brand.

In 2017, Sian and Frederikke Magnussen founded A Plastic Planet; a global social Impact movement with a single goal - to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap. As entrepreneurs, they bring a different fresh pro-business approach to environmental issues. A Plastic Planet are highly vocal in representing the public's right for plastic free choice, working collaboratively with industry, retailers, Governments, legislators and the UN; to accelerate the pace of change at all levels.  Recognised in The 2019 Fast Company Awards and winners of International Campaign of the Year, A Plastic Planet also launched the Plastic Free Trust Mark for brands and the 'Working Towards Plastic Free' Commitment Mark for industry.  From hackathons for Unilever and WPP, lobbying for new laws banning plastic waste exports to the Plastic Free Aisle campaign, A Plastic Planet have created global impact in just 2 years.

Wayne Hudson
Managing Director UK & Ireland, Birds Eye

Wayne was appointed as an Exec Member of Nomad Foods and Managing Director of Birds Eye UK & Ireland Limited in January 2016. In addition to his role in Nomad, Wayne sits on the Executive Committee of the FDF and is a Board Member of the BFFF.

Starting his career in Spillers Petfoods, he has built up over 35 years’ experience in the FMCG arena holding Senior Management positions in United Biscuits, Kerry Foods and prior to Birds Eye was Managing Director of Young’s Seafood - Frozen.

Hudson was attracted to Nomad by the ambition of its Founders and CEO Stefan Descheemaeker, as well as the opportunity to make his mark on a household brand that had seemingly lost its way (five years of decline with double digit sales decline in 2015).

After listening extensively to colleagues in the business, Hudson and his team began the turnaround process of addressing the performance of the Iconic Birds Eye Brand. With a new strategy in place and a laser focus on its core business, which drove significant improvements to quality, packaging and product-focussed advertising campaigns (replacing previous master brand advertising strategy), the Brand addressed its decline in 2016, achieved growth in 2017 and accelerated growth in 2018 driving not only positive momentum for the entire frozen category but significant Birds Eye Brand share gains.

In the second phase of the revised strategy, Hudson has set about transforming the business further with two significant acquisitions taking the business into new meal occasions with Goodfella’s Pizza (April 2018) and in Roast Dinners with Aunt Bessie’s (July 2018). These acquisitions, along with growth on the core Birds Eye Brand, have seen the Birds Eye business almost double in size under Hudson’s leadership.

Baroness Dido Harding
Chair of NHS Improvement

Dido became Chair of NHS Improvement on 30 October 2017. She is Deputy Chair of The Court of The Bank of England and Chair of the Bank’s Remuneration Committee.

She was Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC from 2010 to May 2017. Prior to TalkTalk, Dido was Sainsbury's convenience director, having been appointed to Sainsbury's operating board in March 2008. Dido joined Sainsbury's from Tesco PLC where she held a variety of senior roles both in the UK and international businesses. Prior to this, she worked at Kingfisher plc and Thomas Cook Limited where she gained considerable retail experience. She has also served on the boards of The British Land Company PLC and Cheltenham Racecourse. She is a member of the UK National Holocaust Foundation Board, a trustee of MyAgro an African social enterprise and a Steward of the Jockey Club.

In August 2014 Dido was offered a Peerage and sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer. She was appointed to the Economic Affairs Committee of the Lords in July 2017. Dido is married to politician John Penrose, has two children and in what spare time she has left is a jockey and racehorse owner.

Damian Hinds
Member of Parliament

Damian Hinds was first elected in 2010 as the MP for East Hampshire, and was re-elected in May 2015, June 2017, and again in December 2019. He is committed to working hard to support the many excellent East Hampshire businesses, charities and organisations.

In Parliament, Damian has served on the Education Select Committee, and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Social Mobility and for Credit Unions. His areas of interest include business, the economy, tackling disadvantage and widening opportunity.

In 2015 he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, a role which he held until being appointed Minister for Employment in June 2016. Damian was appointed Secretary of State for Education in January 2018, a position he held for 18 months.

Damian’s degree is in politics, philosophy and economics. Before Parliament, he spent 18 years working in the pubs/brewing and hotel industries, in Britain and abroad.

Adam Leyland
Editor, The Grocer

Adam has been the editor of The Grocer since 2006. He’s an authority on a wide range of issues including product innovation and shopping trends. While Adam is a lifelong 'foodie' and 'winophile', he is also passionate about the social aspect of food and has successfully lobbied the government for funding to subsidise food waste redistribution through The Grocer’s award-winning Waste Not Want Not campaign. He has also championed the merits of a balanced diet and common sense in the ongoing debate about obesity.

Adam has picked up a string of awards including Editor of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards in 2015 and 2009, BSME writer of the year (twice); BSME web editor of the year; BSME specialist team of the year and many more.

In a 30+-year career as a journalist and editor Adam has written for the UK’s leading national newspapers and several business publications, and has interviewed a wide variety of politicians, celebrities and senior business leaders, including Sir Paul McCartney, David Cameron and the press secretary to US President Bill Clinton.

Adam is married with a son and lives in London.

Anna Botting
Sky News Presenter

Award winning TV presenter, Anna Botting has covered many major events both from the studio and in the field since joining Sky News. In 2007 she covered the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from Portugal and anchored Sky News' 'Inside Iraq' coverage live from Baghdad. She also interviewed disgraced actor Chris Langham in his first sit-down interview since his release from prison. In 2006 she spent two weeks covering the Lebanon war live from Israel and in 2005 covered the death of Pope John Paul II from Poland and Rome. Anna was on air in the studio for both the 'shock and awe' bombing of Baghdad and the invasion of Iraq by American forces in 2003. After covering the Kosovo conflict, she was broadcasting as Serbian leader Slobodan Milosovic was ousted from office. Anna joined Sky as a reporter and during the 1997 election she shadowed Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown throughout his six week campaign. In 2012 Anna was awarded the RTS Presenter of the Year award. She is only the second woman to ever be awarded such an accolade.

Our Host Jeremy Thompson,
Former Sky News presenter

Jeremy Thompson is one of the UK’s most experienced and acclaimed TV newsmen. A journalist for over 50 years, he’s worked for the BBC, ITN and Sky News reporting from every corner of the world. He ran bureaux in Asia, Africa and America, covering many of the most important news stories of our times, including Tiananmen Square, the election of Nelson Mandela, 9/11, two Gulf Wars, the Genocide in Rwanda and the Balkan Conflict.



"A unique event with a stellar list of speakers which appeal to a broad audience of students, to young managers and to leaders of businesses. The atmosphere is one of positivity and energy."

Ash Amirahmadi, MD, Arla Foods

“The presence of the young people made the day for me - it was so great to see how engaged they are and how confident they were in approaching me and other speakers. That’s a true testimony of the power of what you guys are doing at Working Options. I made some great contacts, was inspired by the young people and I would heartily recommend it to any business leader who wants to be on the pace.”

Andrew Thornton, Founder Thornton’s Budgens and Heart in Business

"An excellent day full of inspirational speakers from across sectors. The event was full which speaks for itself. Students, delegates and speakers alike learnt a lot with plenty of time also to network and share stories."

Fiona Ball, Head of Inspirational Business and Sky Ocean Rescue, Sky Group

"With inspirational speakers, entrepreneurs and those at the top of their game, the event prompts you to have a rethink about getting the best out of people, whether you’re in a leadership position or not."

Anna Botting, Sky News (Leadership Symposium Co-Presenter)

Supporting GroceryAid and Working Options in Education