Our Board

Katie Jackson

Katie Jackson is Chair of POWERful Women (as of May 2022). Katie is President at National Grid Ventures and was previously Executive Vice President for Acquisition, Divestment and New Business Development at Shell, where she first started her career in 1994 as a Drilling Engineer.

In the intervening years she worked in oil and gas corporate finance with UBS in London and Houston, was VP for Corporate Development at Anadarko and held SVP roles in Corporate M&A and Development & Production at Equinor, before joining BG Group as EVP for Global Business Development and Strategy. Katie holds an MA in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University.

She is a Non-Executive Director of the specialist engineering group IMI and was shortlisted as ‘NED to watch’ in the 2021 Non-Executive Director Awards.

Emily Bourne

Emily Bourne is the director for Energy Systems and Networks at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. She has responsibility for policy on: the Future System Operator; electricity networks on and offshore; interconnection; and smart systems and flexibility.

She was previously director for Energy Development and Resilience, with responsibility for upstream oil and gas and energy resilience policy. She has worked in energy policy for 16 years, including as the programme manager for Electricity Market Reform at the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Simon Fanshawe

Simon Fanshawe OBE is a co founder and partner of Diversity by Design, a ground breaking consultancy that works with organisations to develop diversity solutions in response to strategic questions in order to build greater performance. www.diversitybydesign.co.uk

Recent clients include: Sheffield, Cardiff, Kingston, Hertfordshire, Nottingham, Exeter Universities, FirstGroup, Costa, Virgin Media, the Co-op, GCHQ, NSPCC, The College of Policing, The Army.

Previously, Simon was chairman of the University of Sussex governing Council. He is currently on the Boards of Brighton Dome and Festival, Housing and Care 21 and of POWERful Women and is a Trustee of The Museum of London.

Simon was also a co-founder of one of the most successful lobby and campaign groups in recent times, the lesbian and gay equality organisation Stonewall. He is now a co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Trust, supporting LGBTI activists abroad.

Simon is a broadcaster, writer and pundit. He was awarded the OBE in the New Years Honours list 2013 for services to Higher Education. And he was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Sussex for services to diversity and human rights in 2013.

Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright is the former Head of Strategy and Regulation at National Grid ESO and was  previously Managing Director of Ørsted in the UK (previously DONG Energy).

Matthew has 30 years’ experience in the utilities sector, working both in the UK and overseas.  He also spent 10 years in the UK water sector, first as Managing Director at United Utilities and subsequently as CEO of Southern Water, a position he held for 6 years.

Prior to this, he spent 20 years in the electricity industry and held a number of senior strategic and operational roles with ScottishPower in the UK and PacifiCorp in the USA.

Rubina Singh

Rubina Singh is the former Principal of Octopus Ventures, part of Octopus Group. Prior to this, Rubina led e-mobility technology strategy and innovation at Centrica. Rubina serves as an Advisory Expert to the Solar Impulse Foundation and is also a judge for and mentor to cleantech startup competitions internationally. For her achievements in enabling the transition to net-zero, Rubina was selected as the Young Energy Professional of the Year 2020 by Energy UK. Her career has spanned work in Australia, the United States and the UK. In her previous roles, Rubina headed up the Fraunhofer TechBridge programme to accelerate innovation and investment in clean technologies and set up a new electric vehicle division at Gemserv. She is a regular speaker at international conferences and a thought leader with more than 10 publications in leading journals including IEEE, TechCrunch and PV Tech Power. Rubina graduated with a first-class honours in sustainable energy engineering from the Australian National University and received her master’s degree in engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Elizabeth Baxter

Elizabeth Baxter is the former Director of Project Finance at Sonnedix, a global solar independent power producer backed by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. She leads the origination and execution of project finance lending for solar power projects in the UK and Europe. Before joining Sonnedix, Elizabeth was a Principal Banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) where she financed almost a billion euros of power and energy projects and companies in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa over eleven years. Prior to EBRD, Elizabeth was a financial associate at Biossence Ltd, a UK waste to energy developer. She began her career in investment management at Lehman Brothers in New York. She has a Bachelor in Economics and International Studies from Yale College and a Masters in Management and Strategy from the London School of Economics.

Loraine Martins OBE FRSA

Loraine is the Global EDI Director, at Arup. Most recently, Loraine was previously the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, which maintains and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure.  With some 42,000 employees, it is the fastest growing railway in EuropeLoraine led a centre of expertise which supported Network Rail’s ambition to be a more open, diverse and inclusive business.

Loraine also lead a multi-award-winning team, delivering a programme of equality and inclusion and employment and skills in the construction of its infrastructure, venues and facilities on the Olympic Park for London 2012.  For this work, Loraine was awarded an MBE.

Loraine was the vice chair of the Trust for London, a grantmaking body which tackles inequality and poverty in the capital and chaired the working group that funded London Living Wage campaign.  Loraine is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In October 2019 Inclusive Boards and the Financial Times announced that Loraine has been included in the top 100 women influencing engineering in the UK.  In November 2019, Loraine was awarded the Mike Nichols Award (Association of Project Management APM) which recognises contributions to transformational change for the world and society. 

Tomi Issacs

Tomi Isaacs is a Senior Director at Catalyst’s EMEA office, and leverages her experience and expertise to manage partnerships with UK Headquartered companies, across different industries, from media and financial services to extractive industries and tech. Using research to drive greater workplace inclusion, Tomi ensures that organisations and their senior leaders are equipped with the necessary resources to achieve meaningful change across their equity, inclusion and diversity initiatives.

Tomi is a sought-after panellist and moderator, and delivers keynotes that promote inclusion and workplaces that enable underrepresented people to thrive. Prior to joining Catalyst, Tomi worked at Moving Ahead, managing cross-company mentoring programmes for the 30% Club. She was also a Global Account Director at WPP, working in communications, strategy and business development functions across the WPP Group for over 10 years. Tomi has a BA in History & Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London, and lives in London with her husband and two daughters.

Nick Wayth


Nick Wayth has held a broad career at the forefront of change in the energy industry as it adapts ever faster to tackling climate change.

Nick spent nearly 22 years at BP plc in a broad variety of executive and management roles. Most recently Nick held the post of Chief Development Officer of Alternative Energy, where he led BP’s strategy and business development in a broad range of renewable technologies, including solar, offshore wind and digital energy. Through this role Nick was also a member of the BP Ventures Investment Committee, sponsoring several of BP’s venture investments.

Prior to this Nick held senior roles as VP Competitor Intelligence and as Head of North America Investor Relations, based in Houston. Nick’s early career was spent in a variety of operational, technical, and commercial roles in the upstream business, based offshore in the North Sea, Aberdeen, Algeria and London.

Nick holds a PhD in Mechanical / Electrical Engineering and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from the University of Southampton.  Nick is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and a Fellow of the Energy Institute.

Nick is passionate about creating an inclusive and supportive environment for working parents and carers and was the executive sponsor for an active resource group at BP’s St James’s Square office. Nick also advises and mentors entrepreneurs in energy start-up companies.

Outside of work, Nick enjoys running, cycling, yoga and spending time with his wife, Debbie, and their two sons.

Joanna Whittington

Joanna Whittington has held a number of senior roles in the energy and transport sectors and in economic regulation. She is currently an independent Non-Executive Director at SGN, a UK gas distribution business, and a Non-Executive Director at the Payment Systems Regulator.

Before starting her portfolio career, Joanna was Director General, Energy and Security at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from October 2018 to December 2022. While at BEIS she was champion of the women’s network, Women Empowered.

Joanna was the CEO of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) from January 2016, after joining in 2014 as Director of Railway Markets and Economics with responsibility for ORR’s economic regulation and competition roles. Prior to this she worked at Ofgem where she held a number of senior posts. In her last role as Partner for Markets, she was responsible for regulation of the wholesale gas and electricity markets.


In 2024 we invited two young professional women to give our Board valuable mid-career representation.

Francesca Putzu

Francesca Putzu is an energy data analyst, currently leading power market analysis for EMEA at Lightsource bp, a global leader in solar development. Her expertise spans energy data analytics and power trading, having previously worked at Arenko, a software services company that optimises grid-scale battery storage.

With previous experience at Statkraft and the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, her enthusiasm for building the future energy system extends beyond her work. She was previously in the committee leading the Energy Institute’s Young Professionals Network in London and was awarded the Lights on Women Scholarship to study electricity markets by Florence School of Regulation. She holds a dual masters degree in MSc International Energy from Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs, and MA Science and Security, from King’s College London’s War Studies Department.

Ola Balbaa

Ola Balbaa graduated in Gas and Petrochemical Engineering in 2012 and got an MSc in renewable energy at Alexandria University, Egypt. She has been working in the energy field for ~8 years, moving from a graduate Wellsite leader role to a lead Engineer in Wells at bp. Currently, she is part of the central wells discipline team looking after drilling operations in the North Sea.

During her career she has lectured at a variety of conferences including SPE, ADIPEC, IADC and the Women’s Global Leadership conference in Houston. She was nominated among the “Top 50 Women of Egypt”, an award given to influential female figures by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development and has appeared on TV shows and podcasts to discuss women in male-dominated careers, their challenges and inspirations. She is also mentor to a number of graduates pursuing engineering careers and has led the D&I committees at SPE YP and BP Egypt Women in Wells Network.


Baroness Verma

Baroness Verma, co-founder of Powerful Women is currently sitting on the European Union Committee  and chairs the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee.

Baroness Verma served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development from May 2015 until July 2016. She has been a Conservative member of the House of Lords since 2006 and previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC.

Between 2010 and 2016 her posts included the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy and Climate Change), Lords Spokesperson (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), Lords Spokesperson (Home Office) (Equalities and Women’s Issues), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development) in government.

Francis Gugen

Francis Gugen is currently Executive Chair of SML, a biotech spin-out from Raft, commercialising a wound-healing device to heal without a skin graft; a world 1st in a $20bn market. Francis is also Vice-Chair & Chair Audit Committee of publicly quoted SBM Offshore NV; the world’s largest offshore floating production facilities provider, with a market cap of £2.5bn operating 1% of the world’s oil production.

Francis is a Founder member of POWERful Women. Previous to this he was past Chair of the CBI’s Environmental Affairs and a member of the Economic committees. He is also a past member of the Energy Transition Forum 2.0; an international body looking for practical ways to manage climate change.

Laura Sandys

Laura Sandys CBE, co-founder of Powerful Women is a business entrepreneur and political innovator. In both politics and the corporate world, Laura has campaigned for changes in food security, together with resource management and energy markets as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Energy Minister.

She is the CEO of the organisation Challenging Ideas, a creative space for businesses to test ideas, models, and challenge status quo thinking in a safe environment, as well as the Chair of Energy Systems Data Taskforce. Laura also set up the Food Foundation as an independent policy think-tank to explore the changing challenges facing UK and international food systems.

Previously, Laura Sandys has served as the Conservative MP for South Thanet since 2010. She is the former chair of the European Movement UK, a not-for-profit, independent, all-party and grassroots organisation, which calls for closer integration and cooperation at the EU level in areas where collective EU action can deliver better results than individual member states acting on their own.

Ruth Cairnie

Ruth Cairnie is the former Chair of the POWERful Women initiative (from 2015-2022). She is also the Chair of Babcock International Group and the SID at Associated British Foods plc where she chairs the Remuneration Committee. She was previously on the boards of Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, Keller Group plc and ContourGlobal plc.

Ruth is also a Patron of the Women in Defence Charter. She is a trustee of Windsor Leadership.

Ruth was formerly Executive Vice President Strategy & Planning at Royal Dutch Shell plc, where she held a number of senior international roles, including managing the Global Commercial Fuels business.

During her executive career, Ruth was mainly based in London but also lived in Stockholm, Hamburg, Singapore and the Hague.

Ruth has a BSc Joint Honours in Mathematics & Physics from Bristol University and a Masters in Advanced Studies from Cambridge University.

Louise Kingham CBE

Louise Kingham joined bp in 2021 from the Energy Institute (EI), where she was CEO for 22 years, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience across a broad range of issues within the energy industry and beyond.

At bp, Louise integrates bp’s business activities in the UK and across continental Europe. She represents bp in the region to all stakeholders and works to identify opportunities to deliver decarbonised energy solutions at scale. She also works with her network of European heads of country to manage the governance of bp’s European legal entities.

During her time at the EI, Louise worked at the intersection of energy industry policy and education, leading the development of industry good practice, evidence-based policy and learning opportunities for people interested in energy. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and building a low carbon future for all.

Louise is a non-executive director of VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, the Energy Saving Trust, a member of the Powerful Women Energy Leaders Coalition and an ambassador for 25×25.

In 2022, she was appointed a Commander of the Order the British Empire (CBE) for services to the energy industry, having received an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2011. In 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science from University of Bath.