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Warwick Innovates: discussion, dialogue and debate

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What is it?

We will be hosting a 'Question Time'-style event on Tuesday 25th June where students will have the opportunity to hear from and question a panel of experienced innovators and enterprise educators.

The event will be hosted by David Plumb, the University's Director of Innovation, who will also share his thoughts and a summary of the forthcoming Innovation Strategy.

Following the discussion there will be a networking opportunity where you will be able to talk to other attendees and the panellists over refreshments.

The Host

David Plumb

Qun Yang


David Plumb is the Director of Innovation at the University of Warwick. David has considerable expertise, contacts and experience in innovation, particularly with digital and data to create growth. Recent roles include Chief Digital Officer at O2, where he was responsible for innovation, growth and digital.


His leadership of O2’s innovation businesses saw them more than double in size gaining half a billion pounds in new business. While with O2 he also signed several innovative partnerships with major businesses such as Sky, Talk Talk and Tesla. He was also a board sponsor of Wayra, Telefónica's start-up accelerator which evaluated new opportunities, invested in new ventures, created new spin out businesses and launched new O2 products.


David is also an accomplished Non-Executive Director, and is used to coaching and supporting a range of business from new start-ups to mature companies, through major periods of innovation. During the last 5 years he has been a Non-Executive Director with giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, and Weve.

The Speakers

Leigh Smyth

Qun Yang


Leigh Smyth is Responsible Transformation Lead (Group Transformation) at Lloyds Banking Group. Leigh has a passion for tech and data for good and has pioneered a new function for the UKs largest Bank, Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), Responsible Transformation. Leigh currently leads the LBG Transformation approach for inclusion and diversity, as well as running multiple programmes using tech and data for good for the banks Customers, Communities, Colleagues and Cross sector Partnerships.


Leigh joined Lloyds Banking Group in 2012 as Head of Digital Inclusion, establishing and leading the digital inclusion agenda on behalf of the Group. In this role she built Europe’s largest digital advocacy network of over 24,000 Digital Champions and also leads the development of the UK’s only behavioural analysis into the digital capability of SMEs, Charities and 1 million consumers; the Lloyds Bank Digital Indexes. These annual reports are now used by both central and local Government as the UK benchmark for digital capability.


Leigh’s passion for digital for good started during her career in retail, where as innovation lead as for PC World Leigh launched the first UK computing range for children range with Dixon Stores Group. Following this Leigh then moved to the public sector, helping to lead and design the UK Government Home Access Scheme which Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced in 2010 and saw half a million low income families access the power of digital at home. Leigh then joined the UK Digital Champion Baroness Lane Fox in her challenge to remove the digital divide and was appointed as Managing Director for ‘Race Online 2012’. This involved running the organisation including the partnership campaign and the production of the Manifesto for a networked nation, launched with the Prime Minister David Cameron with over 1000 organisations signing the pledge. Leigh is also an entrepreneur, successfully starting a company in her local town of Northampton and mentoring local talent to run their own local business.


Leigh has won several awards for her work and recently been recognised with an award for Outstanding Achievement by Women in Banking; Finance of which she is now an advisor. Leigh is also a UK Top Ten Digital Leader and a considered thought leader for UK tech.

Jason Kitenge

Qun Yang


Jason Kitenge is the founder and CEO of Pamoja Network - a social enterprise focused on connecting young global professionals to tackle Africa’s challenges. Pamoja leverages the skill-set of young professionals to support social enterprises in Africa in strategising and delivering social impact projects for each of their communities. Jason is University of Warwick alumnus, having graduated with a BSc Accounting and Finance in 2017. During his time here he was part of the Warwick Africa Summit Co-Founding team as Head of External Relations - which played a vital role in developing his philosophy, best captured by Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Qun Yang

Qun Yang


Trained as an auditor with Deloitte from 2001 to 2005, Qun then Joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 and moved to Deutsche Bank in 2007. She worked at Global Valuation Group at Deutsche Bank, in charge of FX and cross assets valuation team. In 2011, Qun co-founded Biorbyt Ltd, a biotech company. Her role has been to drive the strategy for operation, finance and IT development. Qun is heavily involved with building the business link with China. In 2017, Qun was appointed as the Executive Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre at the Cambridge Judge Business School.


Qun is a qualified accountant and a fellow of ICAEW. She acts as the city head for the East Anglian Society of Chartered Accountants (EASCA) and is the president of the European alumni network for Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.. She is also a CFA holder (Chartered Financial Analyst) and FRM (Financial Risk Manager).


Qun obtained a BSc in Economics from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and MSc in Finance and Economics from University of Southampton. She later studied for Post graduate diploma in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School.


Being a mother of two and an entrepreneur herself, Qun has a strong interest in promoting Women’s Development. She has built a strong link with various NGOs promoting women issues, including China Women’s Development Foundation and APEC Women Connect. Currently Qun is collaborating closely with the UK and China women communities to facilitate women’s development.

When and Where?

      • Tuesday 25th June, 2019
      • 2pm-4pm: Debate and Discussion
      • 4pm-5pm - Networking and Refreshments
      • Humanities Studio
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