Meet the Speakers


Dr Amy Benstead

Amy is a Lecturer in Fashion Management at the University of Manchester and teaches on a number of units relating to Business Ethics, Sustainability & CSR, Operations Management and Fashion Management. She has seven years’ experience working in industry and was most recently a Senior Merchandise Manager based in Istanbul, Turkey at global sourcing company Li & Fung. Her main responsibilities included sourcing and managing production for major UK fashion retailers. Amy returned from Turkey to carry out doctoral research using her strong industry experience. Amy’s research interests include socially sustainable supply chain management and global sourcing within the textiles and fashion industry, with a particular focus on modern slavery. 

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Kate Auguste

Kate is the founder and owner of MiApparel where you can Buy New, Buy Better with effortlessly cool sustainable ethical fashion brands for your conscious lifestyle. Kate has 20+ years of experience of the Fashion Industry from College, University to Fast Fashion Buyer. She launched MiApparel in 2018 which is founded on the belief that Fashion is fun, beautiful, radical, a rebel, freedom, free speech. MiApparel adds layers of Ethnicity, Sustainability & Transparency. 


Kate wants fashion to change for the better, and to do this, opened MiApparel to showcase passionate brands & designers who believe in what they do for our people & our planet.

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Kate Roche & Sarah Obrien

Kate and Sarah are the co-founders and directors of Liverpool's fastest-growing fashion startup. Make Thread is the first of its kind in a new fashion movement in the production of t-shirts designed by aspiring and creative fashion designers, using ethically sourced materials. More than just a marketplace for designers to enter the fashion industry, it’s a philosophy in the empowerment of people in fashion, connecting like-minded individuals together in a unique purchasing and sharing interactive experience through a collective inclusive social marketplace community.

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David Connor

David is a creative, big picture connector and communicator with experience across international responsible business boundaries.

Over 20 years he created the award-winning charity at Everton FC, managed the England Amputee Football Squad and has constantly pushed an entrepreneurial approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, especially engagement and communications.

He also worked closely with US based 3BL Media on multiple projects, including integrating CSRwire after acquisition.

David created the 2030hub concept in early 2016 as the UN Sustainable Development Goals were being launched and has already travelled far and wide sharing the success story and learning.

He is also the UK Regional Voice Lead for IMPACT2030, a Regional Champion B Leader for B Corp UK … and a lapsed triathlete.

Rhiain Jones

Rhi, Reins’ mother (and Rafferty and Erin's), is a Welsh girl from the coast, the sea a forever fixture in her life she feels passionate about its preservation and protection. 


Reins Clothing was born from this love of the sea and a long-standing dream to build a fun and beautiful children’s brand that kids would choose for themselves. Shocked at the rate in which kids go through clothes and the impact of global warming on our planet, so Rhi took on the mission of creating a clothing line that is kinder and doesn’t adopt harmful practices.


She also wanted to work with female designers and aim to work with a different designer for each collection, meaning each one is super individual and never made in huge runs. In her own words, “This is definitely a labour of love for me, so I hope you guys love that your coat won’t be everywhere”.

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Anu Menon

Anu is the founder and CEO of Freedom Row, a startup using AI to address modern slavery in supply chains. Anu has an international background of instrumentation engineering, entrepreneurship, investment and corporate responsibility (CR) experience - ranging from establishing a food startup, working off-shore on oil rigs, rolling out global CR and diversity campaigns to developing term sheets, investor memorandums, corporate reporting and strategy. She is described as a calm, dependable person, who gets things done quick and lean. She believes diversity is the most powerful asset in a team, where we accept failure to be the best way to learn and improve. 

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Helen Goworek

Helen joined Durham University in 2019, after previously working at the University of Leicester. She also has several years’ experience in buying and design management for retailers and manufacturers in the UK, in liaison with overseas suppliers. She completed her PhD by Published Works at the University of Leicester, on the relationship between product development and sustainable consumption.


Helen is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and she plays an active part within the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) community, both nationally and regionally. She is interested in embedding sustainability within the curriculum within both her teaching and research. Helen is Chair of the British Academy of Management (BAM) Sustainable and Responsible Business Special Interest Group.


Helen’s research explores influences on buying behaviour (in both organisational and consumer contexts) and the relationships between product development and sustainability, particularly with regard to fashion and textiles. Her experience in industry has led to an interest in contemporary and historical practice and processes within the fashion business, which has been a relatively neglected area of research, despite its significant contribution to the UK economy. She has been a co-investigator in two sustainable clothing research projects funded by the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). She was a member of the organising committee for the ESRC seminar series ‘Ethics in Consumption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ and she is co-editing a Special Issue of the Journal of Business Ethics on the same topic.


Helen instigated and organised the Management and Environmental Sustainability (MES) conference in Leicester in 2016 and co-edited a Special Issue of British Journal of Management attached to the event, published in 2-18. She was also a member of the organising committee for the 26th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference (IPDMC) at the University of Leicester in 2019. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Consumer Ethics and a reviewer for several academic journals in the fields of ethics, marketing, retailing, fashion and organisation studies. Helen is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management.

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Kerry Bannigan

Kerry Bannigan is a social impact entrepreneur, event producer and strategic advisor spearheading global fashion, retail and media public-private partnerships that advocate for sustainable development.


She is the founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign, an initiative in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships that facilitates advocacy, education and engagement of leading fashion industry event stakeholders to drive collection action towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. To date the Conscious Fashion Campaign actively supports the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development with multi-stakeholder partnerships in the USA, UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands and China that include CFDA, Messe Frankfurt, Informa, Hyve, WSN and Kingpins. 


She is a founding member of the SDG Media Zone in partnership with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the PVBLIC Foundation. Bannigan serves as the President of the Board and Executive Committee at the PVBLIC Foundation, an innovative 501c3 organization that harnesses the power of media, data, and technology to drive social change.

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Rachel Walker

Rachel has a Sewing Club in Chester for children and adults. She is a passionate of treasure hunt in local charity shops and a great upcycler. She trained as a Ballet dancer before a knee injury made her give it up. Her grandmother used to make all her costumes and taught her how to sew and then to make her own costumes. She only started teaching sewing when a couple of friends begged her to teach them how to sew, as they were envious of her handmade wardrobe.

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Stephen Sykes

Stephen is the co-founder of the 2030hub and Chair of the Circular Economy Club Liverpool. He has over 30 years of experience across industry, voluntary and public sectors. Most of Stephen's experience covers environmental management and impact, especially integration into diverse project offers. He has recently collaborated with the project Million Stars, that upcycle camping tents into clothing.


Stephen is active in numerous non-profit roles including Chair of the Merseyside Environmental Trust, former Chair of Liverpool Chamber’s Energy and Environment Members Forum, as a Trustee of Faiths4Change and Nature Connected, and Co-ordinator of Green Drinks Liverpool – part of the Green Drinks global movement.


Kirsty Jean Leadbetter

The Liverpool Weaving Company was founded by Kirsty Jean Leadbetter in 2018, to facilitate her passion for woven textiles in the city she was raised in and loves. This design studio is Liverpool's very first and only micro mill, offering bespoke artisan cloth and tweeds in short runs. Kirsty works with a plethora of clients, from alpaca farmers to haute couture brands. She also runs Weaving Workshops with the aim of popularising weaving as a hobby and igniting a wider interest for this niche craft.


Jennifer Davies

Jennifer is currently undertaking a PhD in Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the fashion industry. Her research focuses on how Supply Chain 4.0 technologies may impact sustainability and help to create new business models in this complex and highly unregulated industry. She is also a luxury fashion brand owner and has had many years experience as a Commercial Director, securing and overseeing global strategy and contracts with prestigious luxury retailers, such as Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Dover Street Market. 


Rachel Wilshaw

Rachel Wilshaw is the Ethical Trade Manager for Oxfam GB. Her role involves advocacy and advice to companies on best practice in relation to labour rights in global supply chains. She is in the Private Sector team of Oxfam's Campaigns, Policy and Influencing Team, based in Oxford.

Over the last decade Rachel has co-authored reports and briefing papers including: Labour Rights in Vietnam: Unilever's Progress and Systemic ChallengesIn work but trapped in povertyUnderstanding Wage Issues in the Tea Industry and a poverty footprint study, Bouquets and Beans from Kenya. Other publications include Oxfam GB Modern Slavery Statement , In Work but Trapped in Poverty  and Steps Towards a Living Wage in Global Supply Chains.

Rachel is a board member of the UK multi-stakeholder initiative on workers' rights, Ethical Trading Initiative. In 2013, her work was profiled by The Financial Times in the article The Supply Chain Inquisitor. She previously held a range of roles in procurement, ethical purchasing, monitoring and evaluation, communications and exhibition organisation. She holds a Professional Diploma in Procurement (Member, Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply), a Diploma in Art History (Oxford University) and a degree in English Literature (Cambridge University).


Tena Lavrenčić

Hello, I’m Tena! I am a cultural anthropologist, a researcher, and an active advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion.

For the past 3 years, I worked in the market, public and digital research, learning about how the markets work, trends come, and the way brands communicate. It's an exciting world out there, but it is not enough for me to only study and observe. I am a restless person who is determined to make changes. So, I decided to use this experience and help fashion businesses, brands, and organisations to change the fashion industry: one word at the time. This is how I started my freelance writing business, Thinking Threads.