Paul Willmott is the global leader of McKinsey Digital and also a leader in McKinsey's Business Technology Practice. He is fascinated by digital technology and its potential to transform the enterprise and shift competitive landscapes. Paul works with senior executives on topics including digital strategy & organisation, process automation and customer experience design. Prior to joining McKinsey, he worked as an IT architect and project manager at Accenture. He attended London Imperial College and received a BSc, Physics. Paul is a frequent author and blogger and can be found @WillmottPaul.

Cristian Santibanez is an urban strategist and consultant that joined the New Cities Foundation in its early days and spent three years actively contributing to its growth through a variety of roles, including project management, communications, business development, and research. He is the former Paris Ambassador and an active member of the Thousand Network, a global community of young entrepreneurs under 30.

Cristian also gained experience at Ashoka France and the Chilean Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications. He contributed to the OECD’s work on Compact Cities and ran consulting missions for SciencesPo university’s Junior Consulting.

Son of a pianist and a political activist, he was born in Prague (Czech Republic), spent his childhood in Santiago de Chile, and grew up in Paris (France) as an Italian national. He has also lived in Tokyo (Japan).

Amanda Feldman is Director, Impact & Innovation, at Volans, leading projects that shape social innovation and investment strategy with global businesses, investors and entrepreneurs. Amanda brings grassroots experience in social enterprise and public health policy to Volans. She founded Peer Partners, a youth-led volunteer group that launches global service projects around health, poverty and education. Her projects have brought her to classrooms, boardrooms and conferences across Europe, Africa and Asia, collaborating internationally on public health and education policy.

She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish literature from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master in Public Administration (MPA), focusing on Public Policy and Management, from the London School of Economics.

Jonathan Kemp is the creator of SmartWisdom. SmartWisdom is the most advanced note-taking technique in the world and increases the human capacity to listen, concentrate and understand new information. Studies by independent cognitive neuroscientists show a 19% improvement in performance for experienced professionals. 

Previously Jonathan served as an officer in the Metropolitan Police. He studied his post graduate degree in management studies at University of Westminster. After this, he pursued an MSc degree in shipping, trade and finance at Cass Business School. He was awarded entrepreneur of the year in 2011 by the British Dyslexia Association.

Martin Morales worked with Steve Jobs at Apple as Head of iTunes Pan EU, and has held senior roles at EMI and Disney launching the careers in Europe of Miley Cyrus among others. He was also a DJ and music producer. 4 years ago he gave all that up to cook. He is now the pioneer of Peruvian food, London’s leading Peruvian restaurateur, chef and award-winning cookbook author. With Ceviche in Soho he pioneered Peruvian food. He then opened Andina in Shoreditch to showcase the superfood ingredients of the Peruvian Andes. He also runs the Peruvian record label Tiger’s Milk Records and helps run the Peruvian charity Amantani. 

Professor Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. He is interested in how people perceive the world around them. In particular, how our brains manage to process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. His research calls for a radical new way of examining and understanding the senses that has major implications for the way in which we design everything from household products to mobile phones, and from the food we eat to the places in which we work and live.

Over the years, Charles has consulted for a number of multinational companies advising on various aspects of multisensory design, packaging, and branding. He has also conducted research on human-computer interaction issues on the Crew Work Station on the European Space Shuttle. Charles and his group are currently working on problems associated with the design of foods that maximally stimulate the senses (together with Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray).

Charles has published over 500 articles in top-flight scientific journals over the last 15 years. Charles has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, the Paul Bertelson Award, recognizing him as the young European Cognitive Psychologist of the Year, and, most recently, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, not to mention the 2008 IG Nobel prize for nutrition, for his groundbreaking work on the ‘sonic crisp’!

Andy McMenemy came to public knowledge when, in 2011, he set out to complete a World Record bid in an epic challenge to run 66 Ultra Marathons in 66 consecutive days in the 66 official cities of the UK. This attempt was also to raise significant money for ABF (Army Benevolent Fund). Despite crippling injuries, including a damaged Achilles tendon on day 2(!) and very firm medical advice to abandon his attempt, he carried on running – and succeeded against the odds.

In 2012, Andy was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch as part of the relay preceding the London 2012 Olympic Games.

His tenacity, achievement and inspiration of other people have not gone un-noticed. In April 2014, Andy was honoured and very proud to receive The True Englishman of 2014 Award at The St George's Day Annual Luncheon at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Andy worked in Senior Management and Sales roles in the motor industry for organisations with turnovers of £1.3 billion and £550 million including Peugeot, Reg Vardy plc and Avis Group. 

George Berkowski is an entrepreneur who has built businesses in manned space flight, online dating, transportation and mobile apps. His new venture is IceCream ~ a Camera app that never runs out space (and a lot more fun features).

He is one of the minds behind the internationally successful taxi hailing app Hailo where he led the product team until September 2013. George studied rocket science and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and business at the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris. He was Chairman of MIT’s Enterprise Forum in the UK and is heavily involved in the UK and US startup scenes. George now divides his time between London and Silicon Valley.

Ekaterina Lengefeld is the founder and CEO of, world’s first social networking site to encourage offline connections for friendship, internet-based activities, community action, or business partnerships. Previously, at the age of 20, she ran her own travel agency and sold that before working for large corporations and managing communities. 

Ekaterina studied marketing at Ural State Forest Engineering University and did her master at European- University Viadrina in the field of Management and Marketing. She also did her post graduate diploma at London School of Marketing. She has been shortlisted as the Best New Technology Start-up in 2014

Filip Perkon is the co-founder of marketing technology company "TweetSquad". Before his latest company, he founded a another startup in social media, was a junior partner at Synergy Innovations Venture Fund and worked in investment banking. He is a keen event organiser, having produced more than 10 international business forums and two concerts at the Hammersmith Apollo and Royal Albert Hall, becoming one of the youngest large scale concert producers in UK. He graduated with an MSc Comparative Politics and BSc Economics from the the London School of Economics. Filip was schooled at Winchester College and Gordonstoun School.


Topic: Big Issues of Our Time

Date: 14/03/2015 12:00 - 18:30

Venue: The Great Hall, City University London, Northampton Square

Availability: The event has passed.


​Pioneer of TEDx conferences in City University London embarks on its long journey of multidimensional "ideas worth spreading".

Confirmed speakers​​

TEDxCityUniversityLondon - 14th of March 2015

Ashkin Gusienov was born in the countryside village of Gatchiani, near Tbilisi in Georgia. There he gained his sense of texture and colour from the natural surroundings of the environment where he grew up. From a young age his experiences with shaminism, healers and his people’s attitude towards the land and their way of living in harmony with nature inspired his creativity and continue to influence his art to this day.

In 1996, Ashkin’s family relocated to Moscow where he began his education and developed his interest in Art and Literature as a way of recapturing the state of being which he had experienced back in Georgia. After his mother took him and his brother to a watercolour class one day, Ashkin discovered he had a natural ability for painting and decided from that day on that he was artist. This sudden obssesion with Art was met with great resistance from his family who couldn’t understand where this desire had come from as he had never studied the subject before and had no artistic friends or family. Despite the lack of support, from the age of 14 to 17 he took it upon himself to travel everyday to the Serov Art School where he studied traditonal and realistic forms of painting.

Over the years he experimented with his talents and at the age of 18 he moved to Cambridge, England in order to study photography at CATS College and expand his knowledge of the artistic industries. Soon after he moved to London to study Film at the London College of Communication and Regents University and learn about alternative methods of creating his Art. Despite focusing on his education over these few years, he was still able to stay true to his main passion and to this day has created over 400 paintings. Several of these are held in private collections all over Europe.

Today, after moving from studio to studio around Central London, Ashkin lives in Farringdon and works in Trinity Buoy Wharf, exploring and discovering new and progressive ways of creating art.

Nikolai Gorshkov was born in Russia and lived in England and Japan. From 1978 to 1991 he worked at Radio Moscow World Service radio as a reporter, presenter and editor of current affairs programmes. On his many and varied assignments he drank cognac with Robert Maxwell in a Kremlin-provided limo, flew in PM Thatcher’s jet to the earthquake stricken Armenia, showed Peter Ustinov around KGB’s very own drama theatre in Moscow, and shared Soviet anecdotes with John Le Carre for his ‘Russia House’ best-seller. It all came to a halt with the failed 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev that Nikolai predicted as early as December 1990.

He became a freelancer for BBC Radio 4, chronicling the birth of a new Russia, before landing a job with the BBC Russian Service in London in 1993. He broke through the glass wall between vernacular services and Newsgathering in 2001 to become a BBC News correspondent in Moscow, where he reported on hostage crises, the bewildering Yukos saga, and the shocking self-destruction of the pro-Western opposition to President Putin in the 2003-2004 elections. From 2004 to 2013 Nikolai ran media monitoring operations for the BBC across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the Balkans. His job was to “observe, understand, and explain” the media in those countries to customers in the West and to BBC’s worldwide audiences. His analysis of the public mood in Crimea completed in 2009 proved to be correct in March last year. Since 2013 Nikolai has been writing and editing stories for Russia Beyond the Headlines and Sputnik News.

David Messent is a digital direct-response marketing specialist and the founder of the company Stillbloom. Stillbloom has created multiple innovative health, relationship and dating products with thousands of customers from over 74 different countries. David is a strong advocate of leveraging modern technology and tools to build lean, profitable and 100% virtual companies. At Stillbloom all team-members work from home and employees, subcontractors and partners are based everywhere from the Philippines, to USA, to India.