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Inspiring Future Leaders 2024

Connecting aspiring younger members with senior finance leaders of large organisations


Inspiring Future Leaders connects our senior finance leaders with our younger members, sharing experiences and insights through group discussions. 

Following the success and positive feedback from Inspiring Future Leaders 2023, we are now taking applications for our first cohort of 2024 which will take place from April to July.


Our senior finance leaders will each host four, free, one-hour virtual roundtables over a three-month period. They will share their experiences, stories and insights with a small group of future leaders. 

The first session will begin with introductions followed by the senior leader sharing their career journey with Q&A after. The second, third and fourth sessions will focus on particular themes and will be in an informal, confidential environment where members can discuss challenges and ask questions.

Previous topics covered include building a career and career transitions, leadership and inspiring teams, personal branding and influencing, work/life balance, resilience and the CFO skillset.

At the end of the year, we will bring together the senior finance leaders and future leaders for a celebratory dinner at Chartered Accountants' Hall, London.

Why apply?


A unique opportunity to gain insight from a CFO of a large organisation in a confidential environment.


Ask questions and benefit from invaluable practical advice.


Four, one-hour virtual roundtables on key topics to support and progress your career.


Meet your peers and share challenges in confidence.


Prepare for the next step in your career.

The IFL programme was extremely insightful and rewarding, diving into the insights of our CFO's career path and sharing some great advice on how to tackle challenging situations. I've learnt a lot from the anecdotes shared and resonated with a number of the challenges faced. A huge thank you to our CFO, cohort and ICAEW for facilitating such a great programme.

Younger member - Feedback from 2023 Inspiring Future Leaders

Who can apply?

ICAEW members who are:

  • Five-to-ten years post qualified
  • Working in business in a large organisation or aspiring to work in a large organisation
  • Ambitious and keen to progress their career

The ICAEW Inspiring Future Leaders programme was a fantastic way to learn from an industry leader whilst networking with peers from a wide range of backgrounds - bringing true diversity of thought to the table. Highly recommended to members looking to take the next step in their careers.

Younger member - Feedback from 2023 Inspiring Future Leaders

Our senior finance leaders


Cohort One (April to July 2024)

Premal Parekh
Premal Parekh Previous CFO and Head of Transformations and Investments, Operations, LSEG

Premal has 20 years of international financial experience and has led finance functions in multi-site FTSE 100, Fortune 500 and PE-backed businesses. He is recognised as an inspiring people leader and a trusted co-pilot to his fellow business leaders. He has a passion for influencing business strategy, driving transformational change, and developing leading teams. He is a Fellow of the ICAEW following the completion of the ACA and Corporate Finance Diploma, and is a board advisor / member of several finance communities which deliver peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Beyond work, Prem is interested in wildlife preservation, mountain & volcano hiking, scuba diving, keeping fit and cooking.

James Richardson
James Richardson FD, Stansted and East Midlands Airports

James is Finance Director of Stansted & East Midlands Airports, part of MAG, the UK’s largest airport group, whom he joined in 2019, serving over 60 million passengers per annum. Over the past 25 years he has held FD & CFO roles across a range of B2C and B2B sectors including travel, retail & leisure, property, payments & financial services, for companies including William Hill, Countrywide, The Money Shop, GlobalPayments and HSBC. James has worked internationally across Europe, US and AsiaPacific, having led teams covering multiple countries and territories. Focused on growing brand orientated, customer led businesses in changing environments, James has led a variety of teams across Finance, Strategy, Business Development, IT and Operations. James qualified with PwC, before working for 5 years in their national Private Equity practice, specialising in mergers, acquisitions, business development and strategy.

Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith CFO, Kantar Insights UK & Republic of Ireland

Kelly is a C-Level Business Leader, Finance Director & Non-Executive Director who possesses extensive experience in driving impactful business change, operational development and strategic profitable growth. Kelly’s depth of international experience was gained within public listed, multinational, privately owned and start-up companies and underpins strong global mindset. Named in 100 Women to Watch 2020, The Cranfield Female FTSE Board Report.

Sarah Walker Smith
Sarah Walker-Smith CEO, Ampa and Shakespeare Martineau

Sarah is CEO of professional services group Ampa and law firm Shakespeare Martineau, which is part of the group. Ampa is the largest professional services B-Corp in the world. Sarah was the first female non-lawyer CEO in the legal top 50 and was recently named as the UK’s most influential legal leader on social media. Sarah is also a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Director and an MBA. Sarah is a former governor at Nottingham Trent University, is a founding associate of VocL, a board advisor to Anthropy and is a member of the Society of Leadership Fellows at St George’s House.

Connecting with the finance leaders was a fantastic opportunity to openly reflect, share and engage on development topics relevant for now and the future. The sessions had a good balance of pre-selected themes, and time for open and honest discussions to share my personal and professional experiences. It was rewarding to see the level of engagement and enthusiasm across the ICAEW members, and I am confident they will achieve their career goals in the very near future.

Group CFO, National Grid - Feedback from 2023 Inspiring Future Leaders

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this programme, an informal, fun and open forum, sharing stories and learning from each other. Great to step back from the day to day and to get the opportunity to reflect and share insights.

FD, ITV – Feedback from 2023 Inspiring Future Leaders

Apply now

Places are strictly limited and subject to a successful application

Complete the form