See below for the Future of Care 2023 speakers for inspiration, the 2024 speaker will be revealed shortly.

Sameena Ali-Khan to Chair The Future of Care Leaders Conference North 2023


Sameena Ali-Khan is an award winning television presenter, an experienced event host and a hardworking mum.

When she was younger, she was always chosen to be the narrator for school plays, perhaps because she loves to talk! She is very fortunate to have a career where she use her skills to communicate stories in a warm and engaging way. She grew up in Africa and travelled extensively as her parents worked abroad. It was the best education she could wish of for! She met people from different countries and developed an interest in a wide range of subjects.

Sameena’s extensive experience of live work and her engaging personality make her the obvious choice for all types of presenting work. Her warmth, humour and professionalism always engages the audience and she genuinely cares about the success of the event. Her enthusiasm on stage shines through and she makes any event special for the client and the guests. Sameena always prepares thoroughly to ensure every event is slick and professional. That’s why clients book her time and again. She has chaired panel discussions for well known organisations including Hitachi, Facebook, Vodaphone, NHS and Grant Thornton. The topics have included Wealth Management, Education, Business, Terrorism, Diversity, Mental Health, Brexit and the Arts.

Big Ian Donaghy, Keynote Speaker at The Future of Care Leaders Conference North 2023


When you need a passionate keynote speaker who will inspire people and empower them to make a difference, look no further than Big Ian Donaghy.

Big Ian is more than a speaker, he is also a doer. He works tirelessly to raise dementia awareness and combat loneliness, always focusing on the individual drawing on his experience of 20 years teaching young people with learning difficulties, and nearly 10 years in the world of care.

Experienced in addressing and hosting conferences across the UK and Europe, Big Ian speaks with an infectious enthusiasm that is simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking making audiences laugh and cry in equal measure.

    Alison Murray

    Deputy Director of Adult Social Care, CQC

    Alison is a registered nurse with many years' experience in both the NHS and private sector. She has specialist qualifications in the care of older people and spent several years managing large nursing homes. Alison has worked in regulation since 2002. She collaborated with Bradford University to devise the Short Observational Framework for Inspection (SOFI) and was responsible for its implementation within CSCI/CQC. Alison then managed the CQC (Care Quality Commission) Provider Relationship team, before returning to frontline operations. Alison was Head of Inspection in London and South region but most recently led the CQC Adult Social Care response to Covid-19. She is currently Deputy Director of Adult Social Care at CQC.

    Amrit Dhaliwal

    CEO, Walfinch

    Amrit Dhaliwal, 36, is the CEO of Walfinch, which specialises in providing home care services to enable people to continue living independently in their own homes. Amrit brings together his commitment to quality, care sector skills and experience as an award-winning businessman, where he leads the parent company of the network of franchised Walfinch care offices across the UK. After graduating from Keele University with a degree in History & Economics, Amrit realised very quickly he needed to be in business for himself. After transforming an Italian deli in Richmond in Surrey into an award winning Italian restaurant and developing and a successful tea shop, he sold both and invested the profits into several property development sites in London. At the same time, he developed a well-known domiciliary care franchise in Oxford from a standing start to £1 million turnover over six years, developing a valued core team of 70 and winning Franchisee of the Year award. This practical experience has given Amrit clear insight on how to help each franchisee develop their business effectively and reach their goals. Walfinch’s mission is to work with each franchisee using Walfinch’s system to develop a client focused and profitable business.

    Dan Archer

    CEO, Visiting Angels UK

    Dan Archer is the UK CEO and founder of Visiting Angels which is a home care provider and franchise business. Since launching Visiting Angels in the UK in 2017 with a 2 year pilot, Dan has been franchising his business since 2019. The Visiting Angels network has grown to 39 franchise locations across the UK including launching in Scotland and Wales. The business is currently the UK’s fastest growing home care business opening 1 new office per month and recruiting over 120 carers each month. In the past 18months Dan has featured on National TV 9 times including regular contributions to BBC News 24, Channel 5 News, Sky News and BBC Breakfast. The business model that Dan and his team have created provides a solution to the Care Industry Staffing Crisis. The unique approach of Visiting Angels has attracted substantial media exposure for the business. Dan has over 20 years’ experience in UK franchising and has been in the care sector since 2011. His personal experience of poor quality care for his grandmother inspired him to get involved in the care sector. He has worked with some of the world’s largest international care businesses. Dan has spoken across the UK and internationally on franchising, marketing, business development and franchising. He is a former main board director of the British Franchise Association serving for a total of 6 years as a non-exec of the UK’s self-regulating governing body for franchising.

    Dr Catherine Quinn

    Associate Professor, Centre for Applied Dementia Studies

    Dr Catherine Quinn is an Associate Professor at the Centre of Applied Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford where she teaches modules on post-diagnostic support for people living with dementia. Catherine has been involved in dementia research for over 15 years. Catherine has been involving in major research studies involving people with dementia and carers. This includes the longstanding IDEAL programme, which is the largest study of living well with dementia in Great Britain. Catherine is currently Co-PI on the DYNAMIC study which focuses on improving social care planning and provision for people with young onset dementia and their families. Catherine is a Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research Fellow. She is a member of the pan-European group for leaders in dementia care (INTERDEM), NIHR Dementias Portfolio Development Group and the Older People’s theme of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), Yorkshire & Humber.

    Dr Helen Findlay

    Trustee, Pluto Play Productions

    Helen is a communications professional working for many years as a writer and editor in business and industry as well as in the public, political and voluntary sectors and in consultancy. Along with other family members, she cared for both her parents as they moved towards the end of their lives. Her father, James had Motor Neurone Disease and her mother, Joan, lived with dementia for over 10 years and it is this experience, plus a family written case study called The Findlay Report, that inspired the play 'Fighting For Life' written by Brian Daniels. The experience of trying to get the support that both her parents needed also prompted Helen to conduct her own research and in 2019, she was awarded a PhD on the theme of user involvement in palliative care from Brunel University. She has two degrees in politics including an MSc from Strathclyde University. Since 2007, Helen has worked with a number of palliative care organisations as a Patient Public Involvement representative on research projects and in campaigns, including with the National Council for Palliative Care, MND Association, Dementia UK, Marie Curie, Cicely Saunders Institute and Hospice UK. In 2020, Helen became a trustee with Pluto Play Productions. "I am very pleased and proud to be a trustee with Pluto Play Productions. Using drama is a tremendous way of presenting sometimes difficult subjects and the plays help encourage discussion, reflection and prompt changes in attitudes among audiences. This is certainly the case with 'Fighting For Life' and I will be forever grateful to Brian Daniels for writing such a poignant and exceptional play that provides a wonderful legacy for my parents."

    Ellie Haworth

    Head of Partnerships and Practice Improvement, Social Care Institute for Excellence

    Ellie is Head of Partnerships and Practice Improvement for the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE.) SCIE is a charity dedicated to improving everyone’s experience of social care and works to influence government with research, support the social care sector with guidance and resources and works with sector partners to further their ambitions. Ellie is a social worker with experience across a range of sectors, including the prison estate, youth justice, child protection, early help, service design and change, transformation, adoption and strategic leadership.Ellie still optimistic about the ability of social care to rise to the challenges nationally, locally and on a one to one basis.

    Frank van Dillen

    Partner, DVA Dementia Village® Associates

    Frank is a global expert (Master Degree in architecture - 1992), consultant, keynote speaker and entrepreneur on social business case systems for vulnerable people, elder care, dementia care and high care medical facilities. Representing DVA Dementia Village® Associates based in The Netherlands. Frank was involved in designing and consulting over 70 elderly and dementia village projects in- and outside The Netherlands. He is member of the supervisory board of privately held service apartments, a care hotel and is board member of several community service foundations in The Netherlands. Frank is a Member of European Aging Network (EAN) and the European Centre for Research and Education in Ageing Services (ECREAS) in Brussels, Belgium. Finally as owner and CEO of Bene-Vivendo® a social developing company, he is the operator of several projects with independent living, assisted living and service apartments with in total app. 200 apartments. Recent consultancy projects of Frank, among others: - Main consultant and architect of the worldwide first Dementia Village The Hogeweyk, 2000-2018, The Netherlands. - Consultant and architect of Villaggio Emmanuele F.M. Emanuele, 2017, Rome-Italy. - Consultant for (care)organizations in China, Australia, Russia, France, UK, Germany.

    Jill Quinn MBE

    CEO, Dementia Forward

    Jill has worked in the voluntary sector for 23 years and in the dementia field for 18 of those years. Jill left a national dementia organisation to start North Yorkshire wide Dementia Forward in 2012. The charity has flourished and has grown from a team of 7 staff, supporting 200 families in its first year to a team of over 60 staff and 200 volunteers, currently supporting 4,500 families. In 2021 Dementia Forward won the Queen's award for volunteering and in 2022 they won a King's Fund impact award - Jill received an MBE for services in dementia in this year's New Year Honours list. Dementia Forward put their success down to a 'can do' approach and striving to be part of the solution but most importantly always hearing the voices of people living with dementia and learning from those experiences. Dementia Forward provide a help line and teams of advisors and care coordinators as well as days services across North Yorkshire. A specific focus at the moment is the development of age-appropriate care for people living with young onset dementia.

    Karen Young

    Carer of husband with Lewy Body Dementia

    My husband, Alan and I have been married for 43 years and have four grown up children and 6 beautiful grandchildren. Working with deaf people has been my passion for almost 30 years and have always counted it a privilege to support deaf people to challenge and remove barriers so they can achieve their goals and lead fulfilling lives. For the past 12 years I have worked as a bilingual employment coach supporting deaf people including those who use British Sign Language into employment. Alan is a Chartered Civil Engineer specialising in Transportation and held a very senior position where he was called upon to be an expert witness in planning applications and project managed the writing of Government guidelines ‘Manual for Streets’. In 2017, he retired early as he was aware he was losing his agility mentally. In 2019 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and then in 2023 he received a confirmed diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. In life we both look for the positive and are grateful for every day and take joy in our family. We have always been a team, where we complement each other and know absolutely that we can totally trust and depend on each other. Now, I often feel I am flying solo and this can be lonely, really stressful and sad a times as you see the dynamics of your relationship changing. Alan’s cognitive decline is challenging, we are both continually learning how to adjust to his illness and to navigate this new journey. We moved from Birmingham to Sheffield in 2021 and in total it has taken six years to get a definitive diagnosis. It is not my intention to be disingenuous as we have had excellent support from medical professionals but along the way appointments have been challenging and very stressful and at times it has felt that we have not been listened to and assumptions have been about what is right for Alan in terms of medication regimes. By nature I am tenacious and determined my aim is to enable Alan to have the best life possible and to support him stave off the mental and physical effects of Lewy Body Dementia for as long as possible. Our experience is that you are given a diagnosis and channelled down a medication route and then sent on your way. Exercise and cognitive stimulation is key to managing conditions like Lewy Body Dementia and the Parkinson’s symptoms which are part of this illness. There seems to be a lack of knowledge amongst health professionals regarding therapeutic support and its benefits as well as organisations which provide information and offer support. I have often felt very alone and overwhelmed but giving Alan the best life possible is what drives me on.

    Lauren Di Pietro

    Chartered Architect at GSS Architecture

    Lauren is a Chartered Architect at GSS Architecture with a demonstrated history of working across sectors and stages in the architecture and planning industry. “The want and need to make a difference in a positive way, concentrates my methodological thinking into design which stands to improve the lives of the people who may interact with it. My passion tends to focus on inclusive design philosophies; in that environments can be designed such that they do not hinder anybody, but can greatly aid those less able to navigate them.” Lauren joined the team with strong design ideas, demonstrating a particular interest in healthcare, designing for dementia and inclusive design. Lauren is also listed on the RIBA Conservation Register and has a particular passion for creating bespoke designs offering attractive as well as practical architecture.

    Lindsay Rees RGN

    Head of Social Care Content, Quality Compliance Systems

    Lindsay joined QCS in May 2022 as the Head of Social Care Content following 17 years working as senior leader in Adult Social Care. She is a qualified adult nurse and has previously held operational leadership roles including, registered manager, regional support manager, regional clinical quality manager, head of quality and director of health. Lindsay is an experienced professional who brings with her expertise in commercial operational leadership, clinical governance , quality assurance and quality improvement in nursing homes. She has dedicated her career in social care to leading, supporting, and mentoring teams to provide exceptionally high standards of care for people in social care. Her role at QCS is an exciting opportunity to use her extensive operational knowledge and insight to drive forward quality and innovation and continue on her mission to support people to live well in social care.

    Mike Padgham

    Chair, Independent Care Group (ICG)

    With 33 years in social care, Mike Padgham is a leading and influential figure in a sector which looks after our oldest and most vulnerable people. Mike is managing director of the growing, family-owned and award-winning Saint Cecilia’s Care Group, which owns three care homes, two nursing homes and a day care centre in North Yorkshire. Since 2001 Mike has been chair of the Independent Care Group a representative body for care providers in York and North Yorkshire. He has taken the group way beyond its regional role to become a national voice for social care, campaigning to get a fairer deal for the sector. Mike is an unflagging champion for social care, prepared to speak out, when others might shy away, gaining vital media coverage, including prime-time news bulletins. Mike is also immediate past Chair of the Homecare Association (previously the United Kingdom Homecare Association. He led it through a period of change and restructure, strengthening it, growing its membership and raising its profile. It is now the foremost voice for homecare in the UK. Mike is a former non-executive director of Care England and is on the York Health and Wellbeing Board, the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Adults Board and the North Yorkshire Strategic Partnership. Mike also holds non-executive director posts on several different companies. Over the past two years Mike has been a leading spokesman on the impact Covid-19 is having on the social care sector. He has responded to and answered hundreds of press requests providing television, radio and newspaper pieces for local, regional, national and international media.

    Professor Yvonne Birks

    Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Social Sciences & Associate Director at NIHR School for Social Care Research

    Yvonne has been a health and care researcher since 2000 working largely in the area of older people. She is the Executive Director at the University of York for the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research and the Director of the Curiosity Partnership which is Yorkshire regional research capacity building partnership with adult social care providers. Her research specifically addresses older self funding populations, access to social care, post diagnostic support for people living with dementia, domiciliary care, and workforce development. Her work is strongly co-produced with both people who work in and use services with numerous evidence informed initiatives and tools to support good services for those who need them.

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