ReachOut at 20 – Meet Our Speakers

Hosted by our long-standing supporter Macquarie Group, on the top floor of their London headquarters, we’re excited for you to join us as we celebrate ReachOut’s 20th anniversary!

We’re excited to share the details of our panel on role models, mentoring and social mobility. We’ll be joined by Greg Forde,  Mala Manku, Charlie Allen and Joan Rodgers CBE. Find out more about our panellists below. 

We’re looking forward to you joining us as we hear from these exciting speakers as well as having a conversation with former and current mentees who will be talking about the challenges still facing young people’s social mobility today. This will be followed by a drinks reception and networking with our young people, alumni, corporate partners and supporters.

Meet our Speakers: Discussing Role Models, Mentoring and Social Mobility.

Greg Forde

Director, Venture and Growth, Debt and Capital Advisory, Deloitte

Greg is a Director at Deloitte and leads the firms Venture & Growth, Debt and Capital Advisory Offering. After obtaining a first-class degree in Economics, Greg started his career as an Economist at professional service firms EY and PwC. After completing an MBA Greg moved to Barclays to pursue a career in leverage finance, after which he moved to Kroll Securities limited to help start their Debt Advisory Team. Greg is passionate about giving back to the community and attributes much of his success to mentoring and having strong role models.

Mala Manku

CEO, Cavendish Group

CEO of Cavendish Group Mala Manku has more than 25 years of industry experience working internationally with both public- and private-sector organisations. Passionate about furthering the equality agenda and enabling a healthy future business landscape, Mala currently sits on the boards of REEEP, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership that acts as a market catalyst for clean energy in developing countries and emerging markets, and the UK-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Women’s Institute. 


Acclaimed Operatic Soprano

Joan Rodgers CBE is an English Operatic soprano, equally established in opera, concert and as a recitalist. After obtaining a degree in Russian from Liverpool University, she then studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music. Joan made her professional opera debut in 1982 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, as Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Joan Rodgers received the Royal Philharmonic Society award as Singer of the Year for 1997, the 1997 Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance in opera for her performance as The Governess in the Royal Opera’s production of The Turn of the Screw and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Liverpool University in July 2005. Joan Rodgers was awarded the CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List for her services to music.

Charlie Allen

Tailor and Lecturer

Charlie Allen is a menswear designer, tailor and lecturer. A third-generation tailor, Charlie grew up learning the craft beside his Father who ran his own business in North London. After achieving a diploma in art and design at Chelsea Art School, he then went on to achieve a Masters in Menswear Design at the Royal College of Art, starting the course as an already qualified tailor. After his MA, he went to Blades, then the fashionable tailoring establishment at the head of Savile Row.

Charlie then started to make his own clothes, starting firstly in his mother’s kitchen, selling an entire collection to Jones on the King’s road and a US outlet. Graduating from his mother’s kitchen, at the age of 26 Charlie opened his first store on Golden Square in London’s Soho.

Over the years Charlie has worked for an extensive range of international clients, both as a bespoke tailor and as a design consultant. These include Saks Fifth Avenue, Austin Reed, Nike and John Lewis. Charlie was a winner of the International Linen Designer of the Year award and was Head of Menswear at the Royal College of Art from 1994 to 1997.

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London