Diane Burdett

Diane’s career in creative female leadership began in the 90s when she led a marketing communications team of 30 to manage a £50m annual campaign budget across 9 agencies, for Alliance & Leicester.  

‘At the time I was the most senior female in the marketing department of 120 but with no role models or senior female colleagues, it was about doing what I thought was the best thing and often having to focus on who shouted the loudest!’. 

‘In a later senior role, as Head of Brand for Sainsbury’s Bank, I really started to understand leadership better – it was not simply about line management of people, I had to influence a huge variety of people from 150,000 Sainsbury’s store staff to product managers and finance people in the bank – none of whom worked directly for me but I needed them to deliver the brand’. 

Diane learned that leadership is about how you work with people, engage with them, collaborate, enable and empower them to manage their own projects, setting clear vision, objectives and boundaries.

In recent years, Diane has expanded her leadership experience to Executive and Board level roles.  These, along with work on Gender Diversity, have demonstrated to her the need for balanced boards and the contribution that female leaders make in achieving successful organisations with good working cultures.

Sweta Pathak

Sweta’s leadership journey started at 16 when her father suddenly passed away leaving a huge vacuum in her life.


She set up her own design agency at age 17 to be financially independent and ran it successfully till she graduated from art school and took up her first ‘proper’ advertising job in JWT.

“My dad’s untimely death spurred me on in a way. I so desperately wanted him to be proud of me and didn’t want his sacrifices for us to go in vain. I’ve always approached problems with the ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ attitude, having experienced so much at a young age. This combined with a foolishly positive outlook helped build my temperament and character to take on leadership roles at a young age and in a highly competitive and gender imbalanced industry.”

In the last 20 plus years Sweta has not only led diverse teams in various agency departments but has successfully handled high pressure pitches, demanding clients and winning awards along the way, most often being the only senior and diverse woman in the team.

Recently nominated for 40 over forty and also making the Pitch Fanzine 2021 ‘Super Person’ list, she’s worked in the UK and Internationally. She was also voted as the ‘ones to watch’ 30 next generation of female leaders by Campaign UK in 2019 and ‘Badass girl’ the same year.

Sweta believes in giving back to the industry and regularly guest lectures at Birmingham City University (visual communications), Leeds college of Art and mentors students through various platforms like the YCC (Young Creative Council) and Jolt besides participating in panels and speaker events around the world.

Sione Raaijmakers

​​Sione is an Independent Creative Director with over 20 years of experience in the design industry.

Before ‘going solo’ she held design leadership positions for many years as Global Communication Design Lead at Philips Design, Design Director at Green Room Design and as Creative Director at The Mighty Shed.

“I started my career at Fitch in London and had the pleasure of working with a female creative director Carol. She had a great creative mind, oozed confidence, and commanded respect from all the other male CDs as she walked around the studio with confidence. Having her around showed me that I could be a CD one day. Unfortunately, she was the first and last female creative director I ever worked with in my career. It is shameful that in an industry in which so many creative women work, so few become CDs, this has to change.”

Sione studied Graphic Design in The Netherlands and at The Royal College of Art in London. Her career has taken her from London to Amsterdam and back to Birmingham and London working at Fitch, Interbrand, Philips Design and Green Room Design. Her portfolio is filled with a broad body of work covering many areas within design. She has played a central role in brand strategy, brand identity, packaging, and design for many local and global brands.

Sione is a guest lecturer at the Birmingham City University and mentors design students with disadvantaged backgrounds support to grow their confidence as they get ready for the industry. Being one of the founding members of Women Unltd. gives her the opportunity to create a platform where women can find inspiration, opportunity, and support to fulfil their leadership ambitions. She hopes to contribute to having more women in creative leadership roles in the future.

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