Vanessa Vallely OBE


Vanessa’s experience is borne from a 25 year corporate career predominantly in Technology and banking operations. Vanessa has previously held roles such as Head of Business Management, Head of Governance as well as Chief Operating Officer for a leading bank. During her corporate career, Vanessa has worked and reported directly to CEO’s, CIO’s or senior board members.

Vanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on on a variety of career related topics for over 500 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent. Vanessa was awarded her OBE in June 2018 for her services to women and the economy.

At the height of her successful 25 year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award winning in 2008 as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. now has over 120,000 members and provides resources/conferences/awards/jobs to women across the UK. Vanessa is also the founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from 85 cross sector firms to share best practice on a quarterly basis.

Vanessa is also the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares 13 chapters of tips to succeed in the workplace.

Over the past ten years, she has been named Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally & Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs.  In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.  

Vanessa is also a keen supporter of other organisations who raise the profile of talented and inspiring women in business. She has judged many awards, including, Women in Banking and Finance, National Diversity Awards, Asian Awards for Achievement, RBS Focused Women, Asians in Tech, The Comment Awards and Business in the Community’s, Opportunity Now awards. 

Vanessa is also the Pearly Queen of The City of London, a tradition that has been in her family for over 100 years.  She is an avid charity worker and sits on the board of Cancer Research UK as one of its Women of Influence.  Vanessa also sits on the Cententary Action Group, founded by Dr Helen Pankhurst.

Keynotes and workshops include The Power of Profile, The Power of Mentoring, Speed Networking, Speed Mentoring, plus her Excel your Career workshop.  Vanessa is also available as a panellist or facilitator. All talks can be tailored towards specific audiences.

Vanessa can also provide Diversity and Inclusion consultancy (Gender based initiatives) and Female leadership/event programme design.

Awards & Recognition

Vanessa has won many awards for her work, both in terms of her corporate career and her work to progress women.
  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Top 101 tech founders – Business Cloud
  • Inspirational company of the year (WeAreTheCity) – Inspiring Women Awards
  • Appointed as a Companion for the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI)
  • Top 100 role models in tech – Business Cloud
  • Innovation 50 – Essex most innovative company (WeAreTheCity) – Essex County Council
  • Progress 1000 – Top influential Londoners – Evening Standard
  • Women in The City Powerlist – City AM
  • Company of the Year 2015 – Focused Women – RBS
  • Top 30 Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs – Brummells
  • UK’s top 100 connected women – GQ Magazine
  • Top 50 Women of Influence in the UK – Good Housekeeping
  • Award for Global Leadership – Womensphere
  • Top 100 Influential Women in Finance FN100 – Financial News
  • Top 30 Inspirational Women in the City – Brummells
  • Global Top 100 Award – The International Alliance for Women
  • Champion for Women – Women in Banking and Finance
  • Top 100 Rising Star under 40 FN100 – Financial News
  • Big THANK YOU for today! We’ve already receiving a lot of positive feedback from various countries and offices around Europe – everybody loved your speech (and you)

    Business Development, Manager, Mastercard
  • I just wanted to pass on my thanks again for a fantastic event, I have had non-stop feedback from around the business about what a great panel discussion it was. Vanessa, you were absolutely awesome. Your stories and advice were not only incredibly inspiring and uplifting, but very relatable and funny too!

    Jacqueline Gold CBE
    CEO, Anne Summers
  • Vanessa was our guest speaker at this year’s Founder’s Day. She pitched her talk so brilliantly that she grabbed the attention of all the pupils, who ranged in age from 11 to 18. She was honest and direct, and her talk was both practical and reflective. She made her address so lively and interesting that the girls kept her here for an extra hour, firing questions at her! She was really inspirational.

    Mrs Jo Heywood
    Headmistress, Heathfield School
  • On behalf of the Connect Women team , I would like to thank you for being our guest speaker yesterday. The feedback I received from the delegates that attended was very positive and I owe that to your engaging and entertaining discussion. I look forward to seeing you again at future networking events.

    Abi Banjoko
  • I have been lucky enough to attend a couple of Vanessa’s workshops and she continues to inspire. Her approach provokes you to assess who you are and how you perceive yourself, helping you to find confidence both personally and professionally. She is extremely personable and an asset to any event she attends by creating a safe environment for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions

    Head of Middle Office, HSBC
  • Thank you for speaking at our Women in Technology Recruiting Event last Thursday. Your keynote speech was completely on point and complemented our event perfectly. Many attendees commented on how authentic it was having you endorse MS and helped them in in the right mind set for the evening with your tips and guidance

    Katherine Loe
    Vice President, Morgan Stanley
  • A huge thank you on behalf of the London Women’s Network for your session yesterday – we were delighted with the turn-out and the early feedback has been unanimously positive

    Vice President, Commerzbank
  • Thank you from BEIS and the women who came to hear you speak on Tuesday. You were amazing and I am so pleased you devoted so much time to us – the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive

    Head of Professional & Business Services Future Policy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • The feedback has been amazing, and I genuinely have received so much praise for how you delivered a topic that so many people in the room find “awkward” and “unnatural”. The energy was great and what was particularly heartening to see was how it all came to fruition during the drinks reception at the end of the day 😊-

    Human Capital and Diversity, Accenture
  • I just wanted to personally thank you following your visit to the Bradford site last week. The feedback received was fantastic from attendees, colleagues left the session feeling inspired , valued and highly motivated. From a personal perspective I could relate to so much, you certainly gave me a fresh perspective and the inspiration to take responsibility for my next steps

    Head of Customer Experience, Santander
  • The Power of Mentoring session was great – the perfect balance between being interactive and informative. Vanessa was a really engaging facilitator, very passionate and knowledgeable on the topic of Mentoring. The workbook we used in the session was a really useful tool and helped provide focus for the skills I want to develop and identify a suitable mentor. Coupled with role play to practice approaching said mentor, I feel equipped to reach out with confidence

    Royal Bank of Scotland