welcome to conference

Vinny Smith
Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation

Besides meeting my wife and having two wonderful kids, leading MRF is the greatest privilege of my life. The team are amazing. Our supporters are unbelievably inspiring. The cause is unquestionably important for global health.

Since joining in 2015 I’ve helped develop and launch a new brand identity, new website and a new strategy. We’ve held governments to account on vaccine policy and called for and achieved a new World Health Organisation global task force for meningitis to 2030. 

In previous lives I have been, amongst other things, an international consultant,  a Chief Operating Officer, and Head of Direct Marketing for organisations as diverse as Cancer Research UK and the African Center for Economic Transformation (Ghana).

I juggle the most important things in my life (see above) alongside being a guest lecturer at the University of the West of England on organisational development; being a Steering Committee member of the Global Meningococcal Initiative; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturers; and a Trustee of Autistica. 


impact keynote


Homelessness and Rough Sleeping. Do We Really Understand? Do We Really Care? 

James Huxley Beavis 

James Beavis is a Fundraiser, TEDx speaker and Homelessness Campaigner whose projects have funded over 3500 places in homeless shelters. His campaigns have featured across national television, radio, BBC World service and have been recognised by Parliament. 

In 2013 and 2017 James went #HomelessAtXmasfor up to 31 days, sleeping on the streets of London, creating viral social media campaigns and documenting his experiences through video. James is the former National Convener of the National Student Fundraising Association, a graduate of the University of Warwick and is currently studying Medicine at the University of Aberdeen. 


fiNal plenary

Jessica Wood, Fundraising and Communication Manger, Dig Deep

Jessica studied Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster where she first started volunteering and fundraising by leading and taking part in no less than four overseas challenges. At university she also revived the RAG, becoming RAG Chair and President of the International Development Society; raising awareness and funds for a variety of international and domestic causes. Truly bitten by the fundraising bug, Jessica pursued a career in the Third Sector.

After graduating, she joined Dig Deep and managed the challenges programme. In 2015 Jessica moved to East Africa and during her time there volunteered for the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project in Tanzania, developed fundraising partnerships within Dig Deep’s Kenyan team, spent time working for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in Nairobi and vice-chaired the fundraising committee at the British High Commission.  This time in East Africa gave Jessica an insight into the impact that community led and sustainable development can have and the importance of good communication, monitoring and campaigning. 

Jessica is now the Fundraising and Communications manager at Dig Deep, where she manages all the fundraising efforts for Dig Deep and is responsible for growing and developing Dig Deep’s fundraising streams.

Jessica is continually inspired by the student fundraisers that support Dig Deep’s projects; working with the next generation of Third Sector workers who are making a huge impact in global civil society. In her spare time Jessica travels to East Africa, attends her many book clubs and frequents her local!

Murielle Maupoint, Chief Executive, Hope For Children

Murielle studied Psychology at Brunel University before becoming Managing Director of Project 2041, a charity that supports young disadvantaged and homeless people in order to help them fulfil their potential. She transformed the local, failing charity into a national, award winning organisation. Alongside this she founded The Jungle Lodge Company, an adventure travel company that supports and economically empowers local people – launching an eco-lodge deep in the Bolivian rainforest.

Alongside transforming Project 2041, Murielle became a Director for the Heathrow City Partnership, which delivered economic regeneration projects local to Heathrow in the run up to and post-opening of Terminal 5. It was after this that Murielle co-founded and became the Director of Encouraging Women in Franchising, which sought to change the face of the franchise sector so that women have a larger presence. Murielle, also in this time, became the Founder and Managing Director of Live It Ventures, a personal empowerment training and coaching company and Live It Publishing through which she founded Britain’s Next Bestseller – a crowdfunding portal for indie authors. 

In November 2014 Murielle became CEO of Hope for Children where she is proud to lead the amazing Hope for Children Team. 

Murielle, as demonstrated above, is passionate about people and personal empowerment. She believes that every one of us can achieve great things. Every day Murielle is inspired by the courage and resilience of the people Hope for Children serve across Asia & Africa and by their supporters at home in the UK.


charity panel q&a


Alex Bordoli

  • Exeter RAG committee 2007-2010 looking after street collections, followed by a sabbatical role looking after fundraising, volunteering and societies. 
  • 4 years as the Student Fundraising Coordinator at Plymouth Students’ Union with the excellent Plymouth RAG.
  • East African Playgrounds Gorilla Trek Intern and then Trustee.
  • Short placement as a Breast Cancer Now Events and Student Engagement Intern during challenge recruitment.
  • Fundraising Executive at Cancer Research UK, looking after small corporates, local fundraising groups and community fundraisers.
  • Now at Mind leading on student fundraising within the Fundraising Team and could not be happier!


Flo Avery

  • Currently works for Jacari Bristol, a student charity which supports local children who are from refugee or immigrant backgrounds to achieve their potential at school, by pairing them with a volunteer (student) tutor.
  • Managing Jacari’s annual fundraising target of £30,000 through a strategy based on student fundraising as well as trusts and foundations.
  • Jacari is one of Bristol University RAG’s charities of the year.Previously President of RAG at Oxford University, 2012-2013.
  • Oversaw a significant increase in RAG fundraising during my involvement in the society, from £27,000 to £96,000.  
  • Personally fundraised for a range of causes through sponsorship events and challenges.


Phoebe Lazell

  • At University I studied English Literature. Alongside my studies I got involved with the volunteering group, attending events, helping at a local dance school and litter picking in the community. 
  • In my final year I noticed that my Uni didn't have a Uni Boob Team (after my sister introduced me to the CoppaFeel!'s student groups over social media). I set up a charity society and spent the year raising awareness of getting to know your boobs and held fundraising events for the charity. 
  • When I left university I interned in the third sector before successfully applying for the position I'm in now.
  • I now work closely with students leading a programme of 60 University teams and supporting fundraisers in creating events  on campus. It is a great campaign and I'm very lucky to work with such inspiring students.


Rachael Lynch

  • Over the past 10 years Rachael has been involved as a volunteer and fundraiser for the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline, the squadron charity rep for Royal British Legion, the Events Fundraising Assistant at Meningitis Research Foundation and a Rag rep, team leader and Rag Chair at Loughborough. Currently working as the Senior Events Officer at The National Autistic Society, she kick-started their student fundraising programme in 2017.
  • In her 6 years within student fundraising Rachael has raised over £30,000, attended 5 RAG conferences - presenting at 2, taken part in several challenges (including Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, London to Paris and skydiving) and was awarded Elected Officer of the Year 2015-16 and Outstanding Contribution to Student Fundraising 2016.
  • She will most likely be found at the bar/on the dance floor, so feel free to grab her for a chat, and if you have any questions she’ll be more than willing to help!


Sian Wilkinson 

  • Starting out in student fundraising Sian then moved in to the world of challenge events
  • Sian works with the team to implement Breast Cancer Now's relationship fundraising approach as well as looking at how the team steward, resource and empower events participants
  • Sian and worked on Charity of the Year partnerships including the Great Run Series and Morrisons
  • Sian co-writes the Fundamentally Fundraising Blog