We support SMEs to be a force for good. Through workshops, masterclasses and expert mentoring, we help you take your first steps towards making responsible business a meaningful part of your work. Our foundation programme will help you look at how your business can support your local community, reduce your environmental impact, build a more diverse workforce and look after your employees’ wellbeing – and we’ll help you put it all into a strategy that’ll help your business succeed!
What is responsible business?
Call it responsible business, corporate social responsibility, purpose or social impact. Some companies make central to their work a positive impact on people, places and the planet. Businesses might do this by supporting local charities, developing more ethical products and services, reducing their environmental impact and/or embracing wellbeing and diversity in their workforce. The potential actions a company can take are many and varied. But underlying them all is a commitment to be a responsible business that sits at the core of what a company does and how it does it.
We’re supported by responsible business professionals from a wide range of big businesses. These ambassadors provide their responsible business expertise by hosting events, speaking at our workshops, writing resources and mentoring our members.
Grace joined Heart of the City in August 2018 and is responsible for all communications and marketing activities.
Grace previously worked at the Funding Network (TFN), an everyday philanthropy network providing small grants to non profits through live crowdfunding events. She was responsible for delivering communications at TFN as well as managing individual and corporate memberships. Prior to this role, Grace previously worked at the Start Up Loans Company, where she manged client relations and complaints.
Grace studied at the University of Nottingham and has a degree in French, Politics and History. She is a founding trustee of Hackney Wicked Women, a Women’s Institute group in Hackney Wick.
Kate joined the membership team in August 2019 from working with Heart of the City as a foundation programme member. As one of our Membership Managers, Kate works to deliver the foundation programme and support member companies from an account management perspective.
Over the last 15 years, Kate has championed responsible business programmes within payroll and project managerial roles in the Software and Insurance sectors. Kate is really pleased that she’s now able to take this experience of building and supporting programmes to enable our members in their own journeys.
Kate studied English and History at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she was a founding member of the student group for Diversity and Inclusion and worked in both the Theatre and Admissions offices.
Kate is Chair of Governors at her local primary school which is part of the Sutton Education Trust.
Laura has recently graduated from the University of Nottingham where she studied Geography.
After graduating she worked in the construction industry as an Administration Assistant, working her way to assisting the CSR Manager, where she helped develop responsible business plans within tenders and sites CSS plans.
Leah recently graduated from the University of Sheffield where she studied biology.
She joined us after spending a year working in the investment management industry where she developed an interest in responsible investment.
Mona joined the membership team remotely in May 2020 from upReach, an award-winning, social mobility charity, where she headed up their Corporate Partnership function. As our Stakeholder Manager, Mona leads on the engagement of key Heart of the City stakeholders, including individuals with responsible business expertise.
Mona is passionate about responsible business and her expertise centres around boosting employability prospects, creating educational programmes and networks, raising aspirations and increasing confidence for young people from less-advantaged backgrounds to succeed. She has extensive experience in developing collaborative partnerships and driving complex issues to conclusion. Mona has worked in the higher education, recruitment and local government industries. She has an in-depth knowledge of trends relating to the UK skills agenda, higher education stakeholder engagement and embedding employability in the curriculum. She has led teams to share best-practice nationally and internationally and has achieved award-winning initiatives to drive social innovation and social impact.
Mona is Vice-Chair at Birkbeck Student’s Union and also mentors young people form disadvantaged backgrounds. She’s an avid theatre buff and supports a local amateur dramatics group and directed a play, “Charley’s Aunt” at Incognito Theatre. For her sins, she’s also a Tottenham Hotspur fan and enjoys reading murder mysteries, travelling and cooking. She also has a Chemistry degree from the University of Birmingham.
Natalie joined Heart of the City in March 2017 from RSA Group where she managed their community and charitable activities.
Natalie has 20 years of experience of working in the charity sector and responsible business roles. Natalie spent four years at RSA leading their charitable and community activities, including an award winning partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs. During her time at Lloyd’s of London, as secretary to Lloyd’s Charities Trust and managing Lloyd’s Community Programme activities, Natalie focused on developing strong charitable partnerships that supported their local communities and had strong charitable and business benefits. In both roles, Natalie was also able to develop her experience of working on environmental, social mobility, D&I and wellbeing programmes.
Before her CSR roles, Natalie worked in the fundraising teams of Addaction and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Sally joined the membership team in January 2020 from Simmons & Simmons where she worked in the Corporate Responsibility and Pro Bono Team. As one of our Membership Managers, Sally works to deliver the foundation programme and support member companies from an account management perspective.
Over the last twelve years Sally has advised many organisations working in the field of young people services including local authorities, the Children’s Commissioner, Department of Education and charities. Sally previously worked for the Greater London Authority managing the Mayor’s Peer Outreach Team and working for the Mayor’s Volunteering Programme, Team London. She was also Co-Founder and Director of the award winning The Tope Project, which organises a Christmas day celebration for young care leavers to combat isolation.
Sally is a foster carer and she continues to volunteer with charities across London. She sits on a fostering panel for a local council and is a trustee for The Big House Theatre Company, working with young people at risk providing a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard.
Sarah joined Heart of the City as Director in June 2017 after three years leading the central London carers charity Carers Network. As CEO of Carers Network, Sarah expanded the charity’s work across four London boroughs, developed new funding streams and secured the charity’s first corporate partnership.
Sarah previously worked for the national homelessness charity Crisis as Head of Housing, where she led a UK-wide funding and best practice programme. Sarah also worked as an Assistant Director in the UK Civil Service (Department for Business) and was a senior policy advisor at Shelter. Prior to moving to London Sarah worked in Brussels at the European Parliament and in the Commission.
Sarah is the Vice-Chair of the award-winning grant making charity the Nationwide Foundation where she leads on finance and risk and contributes to the charity’s affordable housing strategy.
Sarah has a degree in English from the University of Oxford and she qualified and practiced as a financial auditor.
Alkis is a Sustainability Manager at Santander UK, specialising on Sustainability Strategy, Impact Assessment and Reporting. Prior to Santander UK, he served as a Corporate Responsibility Manager at Harrods where he devised and led the luxury retailer’s CSR & Sustainability approach across challenging areas such as ethical supply chain, community investment, brand reputation and employee engagement. He also brings a breadth of global sustainability advisory experience and in-house CR consulting through his roles at AccountAbility and Linklaters LLP. Alkis started his career back in 2005, by managing volunteering programmes for a Greek-American Education Foundation.
Anish Shah is Vice President of EMEA Community Affairs at Morgan Stanley. He oversees the Firm’s support for charities across the region, and programmes that encourage and recognise employee giving and volunteering.
Emma Cooke is Head of Pro Bono & Citizenship, EMEA, UK & US at global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. She became involved in the Heart of the City through the newcomers programme in 2006, since then Emma has held various positions within the CSR space. Her work at Herbert Smith Freehills covers legal pro bono, volunteering, community, charitable giving, sustainability, responsible business and human rights. Emma is passionate about leading the journey of responsible business within large multi-national organisations.
Jan Phayre (MA) is the Head of CSR at Sapphire Systems and has been volunteering for years in various organisations. She became involved in CSR in 2010 when Sapphire Systems joined the Newcomers Programme. Since then, under Jan’s CSR leadership Sapphire have run workshops for over 180 children from Southwark, raised over £17,000 for charity and have given over 100 days volunteering. Sapphire was awarded a Lord Mayor’s Dragon award in 2010 for in the Heart of the City category for Best New Community Programme.
Jo is Sustainability Director and founder of Green & Good Consulting. She is a sustainability expert with over 10 years experience delivering projects within global organisations including Aviva, Old Mutual and Barclays.
She has a deep knowledge of human rights and environmental issues and has sat on the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission Working Group for Business and Human Rights and at UN forums on human rights and environment issues. Jo is a member of the Institute of Directors.
Kate heads up Slaughter and May’s award-winning community and pro bono programme. Her first CSR role was at Business in the Community more than 10 years ago and she has been running community programmes in law firms since 2008. Kate was involved in the founding of PRIME, the legal profession’s commitment to high quality work experience, and in the Legal Social mobility Partnership, which has turned into a national programme involving over 60 law firms and businesses. Outside of the day job, Kate jointly runs the CSR Legal Network, a place for CR professionals in law firms to share best practice and discuss common issues.
We’re a small, friendly team. We have a flexible approach to guiding our members through our programme, and our events are welcoming and encouraging.
We forge good connections, sharing the experiences of our members and ambassadors to give everyone the opportunity to have a positive impact. We’re committed to bringing our members a great programme – we actively seek feedback and run our own responsible business programme to practice what we preach.
We’re ambitious. We adapt our services to reach new industries and we challenge ourselves to keep our programme relevant to companies and their changing needs.
We’re practical. We make sure members always leave our events with ideas they can put into action and our support is grounded in the real work and experiences of our members and ambassadors.
Making a commitment to sustainability
Since Wilson & Partners’ establishment 50 years ago, we’ve been working within construction and the built environment, delivering design consultancy services to a wide customer base.
Becoming employee owned in 2015 meant a big increase in employee engagement at Formation Architects; staff wanted to make a positive contribution in their local Lambeth community.
Ecovis Wingrave Yeats
Ecovis Wingrave Yeats has always had a strong ethos of giving back. So much so, that in 2016, we established our own charity which focuses on tackling the issue of homelessness in our local community.