This 6-part virtual Leadership Accelerator features thought leadership, insight, and training from award-winning Inclusion & Belonging Business Utopia. Alongside this world-renowned team are inspiring tutorials from some of the world’s top creatives, leaders, and activists. Running over the course of six weeks – with two 2-hour classes per week, the content will cover topics from resilience, authenticity, and purpose, to hustling and creativity in the time of Covid.

Leadership Accelerator is free!


Caroline Casey
The Valuable 500
Caroline Casey, social entrepreneur, activist and founder of The Valuable 500

Until Caroline was 17 years old, she believed she could see perfectly, and went about her childhood as any child would. Even though she was legally blind.  In this session, she explains that the only way to achieve anything and everything is to be defined by nothing. This defiance led her to create the world’s fastest growing CEO movement for inclusion against all expectations.

Tara McKenty
Co-Founder, Rare and Creative Lead
Brand Studio APAC, Google
Tara McKenty

At age four, Tara’s kindergarten teacher told her mother that Tara would grow up to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand, or the devil itself. After casting a career in politics aside, and realising red wasn’t her colour, Tara found herself in the halls of Whybin\TBWA Auckland working in advertising. It was here that she and her creative partner gained international attention by floating shares in their creative future, successfully funding themselves to Cannes. During her time at TBWA, Tara had a complete disregard for discipline and convention, she was named in Campaign Magazines Top 50 emerging talent portfolio, and submitted several entries into the pantheon of ABSOLUT work, one of which was the creation of a limited edition ABSOLUT bottle design.

Then Tara decided to swim across the ditch to Sydney where she joined Saatchi & Saatchi. It was here that Tara created a children’s book for OPSM that tested the eyesight of children, which was named by the WARC 100 in 2016 as the most effective marketing campaign in the world. Tara now finds herself at Google where she continues to disrupt the status quo, and as a consequence has won over a hundred international awards during her advertising rebellion.

Stefanie DiGianvincenzo
Co-Founder and Strategic Director
Stefanie DiGianvincenzo

A copywriter by trade, Stefanie has worked across most of Melbourne’s top advertising agencies, including Clemenger BBDO and DDB. Her entrepreneurial spirit has driven her to found businesses, like Melbourne’s first copywriting agency, Apostrophe. Her love of travel has led her to work abroad – most notably, as Global Creative Lead on Nike Women, out of AKQA London. And her impatience for equality saw her co-found Rare – a side-hustle that grew into Google's global diversity and inclusion platform. Her work has been recognized at every major international award show. She’s sat on a number of award juries, including D&AD and ADC. And she speaks regularly at global conferences, from Semi Permanent to Cannes.

Takunda Muzondiwa
Spoken Word Poet

There is a lot of power in spoken word, and even more so coming through the lived experience of young Zimbabwean, Takunda Muzondiwa. Following her participation in the annual national Race Unity Speech Competition, Takunda’s spoken word poetry continues to make waves nationally and globally. Through spoken word, Takunda expresses the importance of identity as a tool for both self-empowerment and for the betterment of one’s own community.

She is currently a first year university student pursuing a Bachelor of Laws and Sociology. Takunda hopes that in her works she can act as the catalyst that invokes fellow people of the diaspora to contribute their diverse understandings of the world to help build and support their motherlands.

Poorna Bell
Journalist and Author

An award-winning journalist, charismatic public speaker, published author and influencer, Poorna Bell works extensively across several areas including women's journalism, women in business, fitness, body image, wellness, mental health and champions issues affecting the BAME community. The former UK Executive Editor and Global Lifestyle Head for HuffPost, Poorna now works as a freelance journalist and editor for titles including The Guardian, Red magazine, Stylist, Grazia, Women's Health, The Debrief and the Daily Telegraph. She is also the founder of Fix My Life Workshops and Events and a popular public speaker and event facilitator. Poorna also received Stylist magazine's Rising Star Award at their inaugural Remarkable Women Awards 2019.
Poorna’s debut book, Chase the Rainbow, was published in 2017, to high acclaim. The personal memoir is the story of one man’s journey with mental health told by the woman who loved him. It has received a raft of glowing testimonials from, among others, novelist Matt Haig and author and presenter Fearne Cotton. Poorna’s second book, In Search of Silence was released in May 2019 and was one of the winners of Red's Big Book Awards 2019. Marie Claire describes it as a heartfelt journey of personal discovery that translates into touching advice for others. Poorna is often invited to speak at literary events including the Cheltenham Literary Festival and Henley Literary Festival.
Poorna has acted as both a facilitator and guest speaker at many mental health and wellness events, has been named as one of Balance magazine's top 100 wellness personalities and has spoken on mental health for the NHS and at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. Trained in presentation at RADA, Poorna has presented in a number of formats from panel sessions to chairing conferences and has spoken on a variety of topics including women, mental health, BAME and social media. A popular speaker, Poorna has delivered keynotes for a range of national and international corporations, including Spotify, Twitter, The Financial Times and Ernst & Young. Other areas of expertise include the changing face of the digital world, how the online world is shaping debate around identity and seeking business solutions for audience growth. 

Using her social media platforms for good, Poorna was named on the Marie Claire Verified power list 2019, which champions women who use Instagram to amplify positive messages, inspire others and open difficult conversations with honesty and candour. An avid weightlifter, Poorna credits the sport for helping her throughout her grief, providing her with not only physical, but mental strength, body confidence and resilience too. Her work in the fitness space and position within the diversity and female empowerment conversation has led to a number of high profile collaborations with brands including NatWest, Bupa, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty and Sport England's This Girl Can campaign.
A judge for The Mind Media Awards, Poorna is also the chair of the print category for judging the Own Media Awards. She has also sat on the judging panels for the prestigious The British Book Awards, Sony World Photography and First Women Awards.
Working in every facet of the media, Poorna has regularly been a guest on TV and radio with appearances including BBC 5Live and BBC Radio 4. Additionally, she is also a regular guest on podcasts, including Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place and The Book of Man with Professor Green.

Follow Poorna here:
Twitter @poornabell
Instagram @poornabell

Cheryl Maas
Olympic Snowboarder and Creator
Cheryl Maas

I’m a Professional snowboarder from the Netherlands. A 3x Olympian, 3x world champion and an Xgames gold medalist.
My expertise are Slopestyle and Big Air. I have gotten several nominees for best female rider and best video part. I’m the first female to ever do the cab double underflip and to land the first backside and switch backside 900’s in competition. I’m an allround snowboarder with many years of experience riding park, pipe, street and backcountry. I have been riding for 24 years and 17 years pro.
Besides snowboarding I love riding motorbikes, go surfing, skateboarding, climbing and mountain biking. I’m a very active person. I’m determent with the things I want to accomplish in live. Being from the Netherlands and having no mountains or snow but becoming a Professional winter athlete has giving me the mentality that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. 
I’m also a mother of 2 beautiful daughters that I love to inspire to follow their dreams and live their own authentic life.
I’m all about the FUN! And making the most of this life.

Laura Jordan Bambach
Chief Creative Officer of Grey London and Founder of SheSays
Laura Jordan Bambach

Laura Jordan Bambach has been part of the Rare journey since the beginning, as a speaker, but more importantly, in her role as Founder of SheSays – a global network providing mentorship and events for women in advertising and marketing, and one of our D&I org partners. And it’s all because she cares about creativity and the future of the industry.

“We need young diverse talent, but we also have to help that talent grow into leadership – that’s where Rare plays a unique role,” Laura says.

Through her contributions to Rare three years running, Laura has inspired Delegates with the message that “being rare means that you’re contributing to the conversation in a way that no one else can. Bringing your whole self means more groundbreaking ideas are made.

(In her interview for this magazine, Rare Delegate Natasher Beecher called Laura “one of the earliest examples of a passionate, talented and empathetic leader who doesn’t fit the usual mold, yet makes no compromise on creative integrity.”)

Laura has also witnessed how Rare has adapted to each new country that hosts an event. “The needs in London and Tokyo, for example, are so different, and through designing the program with people on the ground, it has been able to change and flex.”

And although Rare has “grown so quickly and so globally,” she says, “it remains true to the spirit of collaboration that it was founded on.”

Jimmy Smith
Chairman and CCO
Amusement Park Inc
Jimmy Smith

Throughout his career, Jimmy – a 2012 Fast Company Top 100 Most Creative member and One Club For Creativity board member – has worked his magic in a variety of roles as an entrepreneur, environmentalist, creative director, author, video game creator, producer (TV, film and music). His work has been recognized for its fresh advertising approaches (Smithsonian, One Show, Cannes, Clio, D&AD, ANDYs, AICP, TIME magazine), its authenticity in video games (ESPN – EA Sports NBA Street), its TV show originality (Emmy nomination – Gatorade Replay) and for its beauty (Stiftung Buchkunst International Book Art Competition, Copenhagen Museum of Applied Arts – Soul of the Game, Images & Voices of Street Basketball).

In 2013, Jimmy added TV show talent to his list of accomplishments as he appeared weekly as a judge on VH1’s reality series Model Employee. And in 2016 – thanks to Harman International – his company’s newly formed record label, Amusement Park Music, debuted its first hit single, “Bigger Than Us,” by Dame D.O.L.L.A. (Different On Levels the Lord Allows).

On July 30, 2016, Amusement Park Entertainment, Mondelēz’s Stride Gum, FOX and YouTube brought to the international stage, Heaven Sent. In this epic live event, world renown skydiver, Luke Aikins, jumped from 25,000 feet with no parachute, no wing suit … nothing but the clothes on his back … and landed safely. It also landed a Guinness World Record.

In 2019, Jimmy and his partners turned their focus to the environment by launching Genesis 1 Oil Services, LLC (branded Genesis 1 Day Won™). Genesis 1’s technology seeks to clean up the planet and end global warming by providing more oil – clean oil. While it may sound counterintuitive that a new oil company could be the vaccine for Mother Earth’s ills, nevertheless, it’s true. We’ve discovered that which was defiled can now be cleaned.

As you’ll often hear Jimmy say, “Jesus has hooked a brotha up!”

Daniele Fiandaca
Daniele Fiandaca

Daniele is co-founder of Utopia, a culture change business that re-wires organisations for the Age of Creativity. Utopia’s purpose is to create more purposeful, more inclusive and more entrepreneurial cultures. Clients include Coca-Cola European Partners, LEGO, Universal Music and Virgin.

Alongside Utopia, he co-founded and nurtures a number of communities, which include Brand Social and Innovation Social, which are all focused on accelerating creative and innovative thinking. He is also a leader in the diversity space – he co-founded Token Man and was recently listed by Management Today as one of the Top 30 male Agents of Change.

He has won a Gold Cannes Lion and has co-edited and co-authored a number of books, including Creative Superpowers: Equip yourself for the Age of Creativity.

Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin is a visual artist best known for her large scale, black-and-white drawings and collaborations with artists and institutions including Kendrick Lamar, the New York City Ballet, Tiffany & Co., Puma, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Museum of the Moving Image, and MoMA. 
Her upcoming exhibition NEW/NOW opens at the New Britain Museum of American Art later this year.
Her first art book in collaboration with HENI publishing LINES, featuring text by Katharine Stout and an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist, is now available.

Gemma O’Brien
Typographer and Illustrator
Gemma O’Brien

Gemma O’Brien is an Australian artist specialising in lettering, illustration and INSTALLATIONS.

Over the past 10 years, Gemma O’Brien has taken her passion for typography and built a flourishing career around drawing letters. Her bold type, expressive calligraphy and detailed illustration can be seen in advertising campaigns, editorial publications and large-scale murals in galleries and interiors around the world. A number of her projects have received the Award of Typographic

Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club, in 2015 she was recognised as an ADC Young Gun and in 2016, named one of PRINT Magazine’s New Visual Artists: 15 under 30. She has collaborated with numerous global brands and publications including Apple, Google, Adobe, and The New York Times. Beyond her commercial work, Gemma O'Brien is a regular speaker at international conferences and also hosts hand-lettering workshops at design schools, agencies and events.

Rob Galluzzo
CEO and Founder

FINCH was founded in 2011 led by CEO Rob Galluzzo, who has since built the collective into one of Australia and NewZealand’s boldest and most distinguished production companies. Rob has garnered a reputation for nurturing new talent and gains constant inspiration from his innovative team and roster of high calibre directors.
Throughout his career Rob has created work that is internationally renowned and critically acclaimed having won D&AD pencils, Gold at Cannes Lions, One Show, London Internationals, New York Festival and Award awards. His entertainment work has been recognised at the International Digital Emmys and the AFIs.
Rob has successfully forged a destiny for FINCH outside the remit of film and advertising. He is the backbone of FINCH’s social and technological initiatives including Creatable; a STEM education curriculum, Nakatomi; a technology company, and The Lion’s Share Fund -- an initiative where brands can contribute to the protection of our natural world each time an animal image is featured in their advertisements.

Tea Uglow
Creative Director
Google Creative Labs
Tea Uglow

TL (Tea) Uglow is based in Sydney, Australia and has worked at Google for nearly 10 years, starting Google’s Creative Lab in Europe and moving to Australia in 2012 to build a team that work on experimental projects using Google, Android and YouTube technology in creative ways.

Most of the projects are collaborations with charities, agencies and cultural organizations around the world that help artists and creators explore new forms of creative practice using digital tools.

Previous projects include Editions at PlayLife in a Day, (a YT film with Ridley Scott) and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra(LSO) and partners like the Royal Shakespeare Company, LEGO, NASA and the Science Museum.

TL speaks on innovation around the world: TL's TEDx talk has over 1 million views and writes regularly on digital creativity in print and online. TL is on the board of the Biennale of Sydney (ART) and formerly D&AD (Design) and AWARD (Advertising).

An advocate and mentor to various under-represented groups in the creative industries TL is also a very active and proud parent of two small boys.

Kakuho Aoe
Buddist Monk
Kakuho Aoe

Born in 1977 in Tokyo, Kakuho Aoe is the chief priest at Rokusenji Temple, of the Jodo Shinshu East Honganji Sect, and also CEO of nakamichi Co.Ltd.  He also obtained his MBA at California State University Fresno Graduate School. 
As a cooking monk, he strives to spread the way of Buddhist cuisine and food education, and also started the first “Blind Restaurant”, in Japan, and by a temple.  He is the founding member of “Higanji” a site where monks from different sects gather together, and also Vice-President of one of the world’s largest Shinto-Buddhism festivals: “Kogen”.

Light Watkins
Vedic Meditation Trainer and Founder of The Shine

Light Watkins is a speaker, teacher, and podcast host. He's been operating in the wellness space since 1998, first as a meditation practitioner, then as an apprentice to his Vedic Meditation teacher, and finally as a teacher himself.

His passion is to teach people simple tools for increasing happiness. To date, Light has taught meditation to thousands through his live courses, books, and online trainings. He's taught at Apple, Soho House, Dollar Shave Club, Facebook, and several other tech start-ups around the U.S. His first book, The Inner Gym (L&G), is a 30-day "inner workout" for strengthening happiness, and his most recent book, Bliss More: How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying (Penguin), is a straight-talk how-to book that teaches busy professionals how to enjoy meditation.

Light contributes to multiple wellness blogs and writes a popular daily email called Light's Daily Dose of Inspiration. His TEDx talk has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and he is the founder of The Shine Movement, a global pop-up inspirational variety show on a mission to share the stories of regular people who started movements for social good.

Before COVID-19, Light was nomading around the world giving talks on happiness, mindfulness, inspiration, and meditation, as well as leading popular meditation trainings and retreats.

Nora Bank
Change-maker for Utopia

Nora is a change-maker for Utopia, a culture change business that creates more purposeful, inclusive and entrepreneurial cultures at work.  From a young age Nora believed workplace cultures and society were in need of an update as she researched and wrote many pieces around mental health and gender during her formal education. As a change-maker she now creates fully fledged culture change by focusing on personal development, mental health and gender.

Nadya Powell
Co-founder, Utopia and Innovation Social
Nadya Powell

Nadya Powell, alongside Daniele Fiandaca, is the co-founder of Utopia a culture change business that "Re-wires Business for the Age of Creativity". Utopia drives change through the lenses of purpose, inclusion, and entrepreneurialism and works with brands such as Universal Music, Coca-Cola European Partners, Spotify and Google.

In 2019 Utopia won Consultancy of the Year at the Inclusive Companies Awards. In March 2020, in response to the Covid 19 crisis, Utopia launched Towards Utopia, a Virtual Summit bringing the change-maker community together to support business and their people during this time.

Nadya is also the co-founder of Culture Social, a network of People and Culture Leaders and Change-makers who believe that new ways of thinking about culture will disrupt business for the better. Additionally, she co-founded two Diversity networks and initiatives:
www.thegreatbritishdiversityexperiment.com/ which proves diversity leads to greater creativity;
www.thesowhiteproject.com/ which drives global media attention to the lack of diverse imagery in communications.

Nadya is on the Executive Committee of the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) as the chair of their Diversity Committee, on the Advisory Council of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2019 she launched the BIMA Inclusion and Diversity in Tech Report, the first report into the experience of diverse individuals in the Tech Industry. In 2020 she launched Creative Differences, a report into how to support the Neurodiverse in the workplace, as part of the commissioning Universal Music team.

Prof. David Slocum
Academic Director
Prof. David Slocum

David Slocum is the Faculty Director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership (Steinbeis University) from October 2016 until February 2019, after which he will remain on our Board of Advisors and continue to collaborate as faculty member. Slocum designs, leads, and teaches executive training programs, and is a certified executive coach, with a focus on leadership of the creative and media industries. A sociologist and historian of media, Slocum’s research and teaching have focused broadly on the transformation of film, media and communication industries, the organization and leadership of creative businesses, and the education and training of creative leaders. He also speaks regularly to academic and industry audiences on these topics. His publications, including four books, have examined a range of cultural, historical, and industry issues in media and entertainment. He is currently writing a history of creative leadership.

Slocum previously served as the director of specialized executive education programs at the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C., where he designed and delivered offerings including the STAR EMBA program for individuals, like professional athletes, with strong personal brands, and the ‘On the Board’ fellows program to prepare senior women leaders for placement on corporate boards. Slocum also spent ten years at New York University, as Associate Dean at the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science and teaching in the Cinema Studies Department and the Art & Public Policy Program in the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Additionally at NYU, he served as Director of the University-wide Center for Teaching Excellence, was co-founding director of the Diversity Studies Program, operated jointly with the University of Cape Town (UCT), and coordinated the Graduate School’s global outreach and program design and development efforts. Earlier, he directed and taught in the Graduate Media Studies Program at the New School for Social Research.

Slocum was educated at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and New York University, where he earned a Ph.D. studying sociology and media.

Kazuha Okuda
Co-Chair, Rare and Strategy Lead
Brand Studio APAC, Google
Kazuha Okuda

Kazuha joined Google in 2016 and has been leading the strategy for Brand Studio APAC, an internal creative team that develops brand communication for Google across Asia Pacific. Amongst many projects and Rare, she works on the global strategy for Women Will that helps to generate more economic opportunity for women through the power of technology. Before Google, she spent most of her career at the agency working on communication strategy global brands such as Apple, IKEA and Starbucks. and works were credited in awards in and out of Japan. An anthropology major, Kazuha has strong interest in observing and understanding the intersection of culture transcending time and geography on and off work, which led her to take on a passion project to produce a documentary film capturing Jaapnese traditional food culture.

Charlie Craggs
Author and Activist

Charlie Craggs, dubbed “the voice of a community” by Vogue, is an award-winning activist and author best known for her campaign Nail Transphobia. She travels around with her pop up nail salon and squad of trans nail techs breaking misconceptions and making allies over free manis. In 2016 she topped the Guardians New Radicals list of social innovators in Britain, and has since gone on to be the recipient of a Marie Claire Future Shaper Award, an Attitude Pride Award and a Point of Light Award from the Prime minister. Charlie has modelled for brands like Selfridges, H&M and River Island, has spoken everywhere from the Houses of Parliament, to BBC news, to Cambridge & Oxford University and has written for publications like Vice, Teen Vogue and Dazed. She is currently working on her second book after the success of her first, To My Trans Sisters.

Sandra Bold
Global Creative Director, Publicis

After a long architecture career that lasted almost 7 months and a half, Sandra decided that doing ads is more fun than doing houses.

Things about Sandra you can Google:
She started her ad carrier in Bucharest (Romania) where she quickly grew from junior to senior positions.
During her career, she kept on winning awards and titles to make her parents less pissed off about her dropping architecture. That kinda worked.
She’s currently working in Publicis Milan as a Global Creative Director.
She moved from Bucharest to London and from London to Milan where she decided to take a one year break from clothes shopping.

Things about Sandra you cannot Google:
She currently lives for pasta, pizza and prosecco.
She cannot wink
She finds writing bios in third person rather weird

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Admission to the Rare Leadership Accelerator is subject to a review and approval process. To apply, please complete and submit the application form below.
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