The Executive Committee

Seema Malhotra, president


Seema is MP for Feltham and Heston and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. A former management consultant by profession, with over ten years experience with leading consultancies Accenture and PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Seema is also a campaigner on equality issues, community activist and was the first Asian Chair of the Fabian Society. She is the founder and Director of the Fabian Women’s Network.

She graduated from Warwick University in Politics and Philosophy, with a year spent on scholarship to the USA. She has been a consultant to several government departments and local authorities on public service reform issues, including reform of the civil/criminal justice systems and public advice services. She is a former Chair, Young Fabians, and speaks widely at local societies. Seema has been a candidate in local government and London Assembly elections. She is a contributor to news and radio discussions, and is a regular writer for political magazines.

images @SeemaMalhotra1


Ivana Bartoletti, chair


Ivana Bartoletti is the Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network. She stood as Labour’s candidate for Havering and Redbridge at the London Assembly elections in 2016, slashing the Conservative majority to under 1,000 votes. Ivana was also a London Labour MEP  candidate for the 2014 European elections. She founded Fabiana magazine in 2011.

Ivana works for the NHS and received the 2012 Best Business Award for Best Personal Achievement in the Public Sector. She also serves as Unison branch officer. She is building on many years of experience in Labour’s sister parties in Europe including as a policy adviser to the Romano Prodi government in Italy. Ivana lives in Hackney, is a Labour party acvists, sits on the Executive of the Fabian Society and on LWN Committee, and is a fellow of the RSA.

Ivana speaks at events and meetings on equality, feminism, the NHS as well as European and international affairs.



Sara Hyde, vice-chair


Sara Hyde works with women in the Criminal Justice System and as a theatre maker. She is a coach mentor with young women in custody and in the community, and is on the Ministry of Justice public board that appoints Magistrates in Central and South London. She is Artistic Director of Wonder arts organisation, with whom she writes and performs and is an adviser for the League of Culture.

Sara is passionate about diversity in politics: she is on the Council of the Electoral Reform Society and the steering group for No-one Ever Told Me About Politics. She has been a community activist for over 10 years and helps host a weekly Open House there for her neighbours. She is an active member of Islington South and Finsbury Labour Party and CotL. Sara also writes and speaks on criminal justice, arts’ role in society, feminism and faith.



Paulina Jakubec, secretary

PJ profilePaulina Jakubec is secretary of the Fabian Women’s Network. Prior to taking on this role, Paulina co-ran the Public Speaking Club for two years and served as the secretary of the Young Fabians.

Paulina works as a public affairs consultant in her day job. She previously worked at the Violence Against Women and Girls team at DFID and at the UK Mission to the UN in Geneva as a Humanitarian Policy Officer.



Jayne Almond, treasurer

Jane Almond

Jayne is part of FWN’s Events team, delivering our high profile events and social programme, leading on receptions within and outside Parliament. She was a mentee on FWN’s stellar mentoring programme in 2013.

She works in public affairs, creating influencing and communications strategies for Britain’s largest manufacturing sector at both UK and EU level. She has over 10 years’ experience in political and policy roles, gained in the public and private sector,. She has worked for senior politicians in Brussels, Westminster and local government.

She studied European languages at Durham University and is a mentor with the Girls Network, inspiring teenage girls from challenging backgrounds.



Reema Patel, executive officer


Cllr Reema Patel is the treasurer of the Fabian Women’s Network, co-editor of Fabiana and an executive committee member of the Fabian Society. She chairs the Fabian Society’s Research and Editorial Committee. Reema served as the Fabian Women’s Network’s Secretary from 2014 to 2016.

She has a background in public engagement and democratic reform, and has worked on a wide variety of public engagement research projects with the civil service, local government, the NHS and the private sector.

In her day job she works for the RSA’s economy, enterprise and manufacturing policy team as a programme manager on a public engagement programme on the future of the economy.

Beyond politics and policy her wider interests include running, cooking and travel.



Jos Bell, health and wellbeing lead


Vicki Butler, communications lead

Vicki headshot 002Vicki is the communications lead for the FWN committee and was elected in 2015. She was a mentee on the first ever FWN mentoring scheme, and she founded the Fabian Women’s Network public speaking club, which has since gone from strength to strength. She also spent two years as a member of the Young Fabians executive.

Vicki works in communications and public affairs, and has spent time working in the charity sector, for professional bodies, and in the private sector.



Jessie Jacobs, northern coordinator and fundraising lead

JessieJessie is the North East director for Stronger In Europe, the main cross-party campaign for remaining in the EU. Before that she worked as a senior researcher for a county Durham MP. She is most known for her work within the charity sector, winning the Sunday Times social entrepreneur of the year award for setting up and leading a women and young people’s charity in the North East of England.


Beth Knowles, Northern coordinator

BethBeth has worked for a variety of third sector  organisations, including Oxfam and UNISON, and is currently director of Symmetry Creative communications and design studio. She was elected in May 2014 as a councillor for Manchester city centre, focussing on the issues surrounding homelessness, improving public realm within the city and the arts and culture.

She is also a cofounder of the charity A New Leaf, a community-led greening project, campaigning for more urban green spaces in Manchester city centre, and a partner of The Curiosity Bureau. In her spare time she enjoys taking photos of people when they least expect it, exploring the world and subjecting herself to supporting Liverpool FC.


Christine Megson, mentoring programme coordinator

Christine’s substantive career was in Further and Higher education including roles in College marketing in Gloucestershire and Principal of Stafford College.  She has worked as a principal consultant in central government departments in DfE, DH and the Cabinet Office, contributing to the development and delivery of new policies. She specialises in working across public services:  she developed the whole household model for Sheffield City Council and is currently education adviser and project manager for King’s Cross Academy Trust. She opened a new primary school and nursery collocated with a school for deaf children in September 2015.

She worked with Seema Malhotra MP to develop the FWN mentoring programme which she has now run over four years for over 100 women.



Abena Oppong-Asare, policy and research coordinator


Abena is the first black woman to be elected on to the first cohort of the Fabian Women’s Network Executive Committee in 2013. She is a local councillor and has held the positions of Deputy Labour Leader and Shadow Cabinet Spokesperson for Education at Bexley Council.

Abena works as a researcher at the Greater London Authority and focuses on equalities for the London Assembly Labour Group. Prior to this she worked in Parliament gaining political insight with high profile politicians. She also campaigned for Barack Obama’s Presidential Election 2008.

She is experienced in communicating to audiences via difference mediums including TV, radio and at European conferences. She has written for a range of publications including the New Statesmen.

Abena is very passionate about issues relating to female and BME participation in politics and advises politicians on equality matters. She has been working to tackle inequality in our communities and looking at how to tackle voting empathy. She is also committed to getting more people, particularly young people involved in politics.



Sarah Sackman, legal policy lead


Alexandra Sanderson, stakeholder relations coordinator

Alex is head of partnerships and events in January 2016. She previously worked at a financial education charity, and prior to this, in the City. Alex joined the Labour party while she was a student at Durham University, and was a parliamentary candidate in the 2015 general election. Alex sits on Labour’s London Regional Board as the representative for NW London, and is the CLP secretary of her local Labour party.



Kate Talbot, assistant mentoring programme coordinator

Kate work headshotKate works alongside Christine Megson to co-ordinate the mentoring programme. She was a mentee in the second year of the programme. She organised the buddying system, where previous mentees link up with current ones, and recently worked with Birkbeck University to produce an evaluation of the scheme.

Kate currently works as a Press Officer at City Hall, after spending a year working for the shadow cabinet minister for mental health in Westminster. Before that she was a Community Organiser at Movement for Change where she worked with individuals and community groups to develop their skills to build successful grassroots campaigns around issues which matter to them. She has worked on a range of issues including women’s safety, housing, payday lending, and low pay, as well as leading on national projects and partnerships.

Kate has written and delivered training and seminars in a variety of contexts. She has written for a range of media, and spoken on panels around issues such as political participation, women’s rights, and access to higher education.

She is a member of the international Leading Change network, founded by Professor Marshall Ganz, and completed the Leading Change post graduate programme at the John F Kennedy School of politics, Harvard University, in 2013.

After graduating from the University of Cambridge where she studied History, Kate worked in Commercial Management for Marks and Spencer, running departments with over 100 staff and multi-million pound annual turnovers. While there she led on regional projects concerning employee engagement and workplace culture, and also ran corporate social responsibility initiatives. Before this, she gained experience in a range of industries, from customer service to sales to the NHS.



Anna Kere, public speaking and debating club coordinator

12973408_10153398744630723_3714145553523025262_oAnna has been coordinating the Public Speaking Club since March 2016 and was co-opted to the Committee in December 2016. She has a background in public affairs and policy in the third sector and currently works for The Challenge, the UK’s leading social integration charity. Anna’s policy expertise includes apprenticeships, further education, and immigration. She acts as the Public Enquiry Point for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration and works closely with parliamentarians from all parties to produce original research and coordinate APPG inquiries.


Claire Leigh, executive officer
claire-leigh-odi_0330_dr-photoClaire is a committed Fabian and feminist, having been active as both a Young Fabian and Fabian Woman for over a decade. She works in International Development, and over the past 10 years has worked as an advisor for a range of governments, international organisations and NGOs in Africa, Asia, the US and the UK. She is currently Director of International Development Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children in London.
Claire has been on the FWN Exec since its inception, with a recent interlude while she was working for the UN in New York. She is delighted to be back on the Exec at what is turning out to be a critical time for progressive politics globally.

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