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Nicola McConville

Nicola advises companies on all aspects of corporate law including the delivery of funding rounds and strategies for growth and realisation of value. With a strong technology focus, she has acted for several companies from early stage through to major institutional funding rounds, strategic acquisitions and exit via sale or IPO. Her clients include organisations in the life sciences, digital and clean tech sectors, many of which have an international dynamic to their business. She also has an impressive track record in advising on technology transfer from educational institutions.

Through her expertise in clean tech and renewable energy, Nicola has been approached by several community groups recognised as early adopters of social enterprise business models. This means she is familiar with various social enterprise entities as well as the regulations surrounding governance and raising finance. She has advised many high profile groups across the UK and is a non-executive director of Westmill Solar Co-operative which raised funding through a public share offer to secure ownership of what is now the largest community owned solar park in Europe.

Nicola joined Penningtons Manches in 2016 from a leading regional law firm where she had been a partner for eight years. She is recognised by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500, winning praise for coming up with ‘simple but effective solutions to complex legal issues’ and for being ‘absolutely charming and very competent’. She has also been described by clients in the directories as ‘the best person in southern England on green technology who is absolutely passionate about her job’ and as having ‘a palpable determination to drive change’.

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Lynn Shepherd

Lynn took over as Executive Chair of Venture Fest in September 2014 and is determined to use the skills, expertise and business network gained from her ten years as Group Director of Communications at Oxford Instruments plc, the first commercial spin out from Oxford University over 50 years ago.

Lynn retired in March, but was with Oxford Instruments for 16 years and was active in supporting business and science in Oxfordshire and the UK. She was responsible for all external and internal communications, including brand, corporate reputation and visual identity. This will help her achieve her aim to build on the Venturefest Oxford brand, widen the people it reaches and increase its visibility in Oxfordshire through year long events and activities.

Lynn has lived and worked in Oxfordshire for 25 years. Her husband is a retired police officer, and her younger son, also a police officer is stationed in Oxford. Her older son studied for his MSc at St Hugh’s, and she now has four wonderful grandsons.

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Sue Staunton

Sue Staunton is an Audit and Assurance Partner at James Cowper Kreston. She also has a particular interest in working with technology businesses and their owners and, as such, heads our technology team.

Sue works with clients on the development and implementation of their corporate strategies. She also has a great deal of experience in working with businesses in financial crisis to establish strategies to assist them to move forward successfully.


Riham Satti

Riham Satti, CEO of MeVitae and TEDx speaker is amongst the top 50 disruptive game changers in Thames Valley, top 100 influential UK tech business leaders and according to Forbes a ‘female founder taking the UK by storm’. Riham gained the degrees in clinical neuroscientist from Oxford, and Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London. As well as her involvement in the tech ecosystem and working with innovative start-up companies, Riham’s main interests lie in leveraging technology to diversify the STEM workforce, supported by the likes of Microsoft, European Space Agency and Oxford University. She is also involved in several initiatives in promoting female founders and women in STEM.


Dr Carolyn Porter

Carolyn has held commercial roles in several sectors including Big Pharma, Biotech, Finance and the University sector.   She is currently Chief Business Officer of OxStem, one of the 16 companies she helped spin-out of Oxford University in a previous role as Deputy Head of Technology Transfer at Oxford.  She has been a member of the investment committee of a £13M fund and has held board positions in 5 companies.  Previously Carolyn held senior business development roles in Pharma and Biotech companies working on in/out licensing, acquisitions and strategic alliances.  Her earlier career included working as a biotech analyst and then in Corporate Finance at Ernst & Young where she assisted companies with fundraising, acquisitions and company sales.  Carolyn has a PhD in Immunology, an honours degree in Pharmacology  and an MBA.  Carolyn is passionate about supporting women in the workplace as she believes a fully functioning workplace requires women at all levels to be able to realise their full potential. 

Dr Danuta Jeziorska

Dr Danuta Mariola Jeziorska obtained a BSc degree in Biotechnology from the University of Silesia in Poland and completed her PhD in Systems Biology from the University of Warwick. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on understanding how genes are turned on and off during red blood cell formation, with a particular interest in the role of epigenetics in this process.

Danuta is passionate about combining her academic background with her strong interest in business and innovation. Currently, she is the President of the Innovation Forum Oxford, a non-profit global network that aims to accelerate innovative technology development by connecting academics, industry, the NHS and policy makers across Biotech, d-Health, Clean-tech and Med-tech.

Nicky Chambers

Nicky co-founded Best Foot Forward, a sustainability consultancy that pioneered development of carbon and ecological foot-printing. She is now Strategy Advisor at Anthesis Consulting Group and helps organisations respond to, and benefit from, the threats and opportunities of sustainability.