Meet some of the Plus X Trailblazers who work with us to empower, educate and inspire audiences across the UK.

Austin Okolo

Award-winning Business Owner, Founder of The Gen Z Club & Born To Stand Out London. Owner of Reading with Austin, a passion project as he loves reading despite having dyslexia.

‘I’m on a mission impact and empower as many people as possible to live out their purpose , stand out and be unique’

Melissa Berthelot, PhD

Founder of WarnerPatch, a medical device start-up that focuses on the prediction of disease degradation using specifically designed sensing technology. Dr Berthelot, is a Fellow at the Enterprise Hub of the Royal Academy of Engineering. On a mission to improve patient care with patient-centric tools for clinicians, Dr Berthelot has experience in developing fast-tracked medical device prototypes.

lois o'hara

Multi-disciplinary Artist Lois O'Hara creates movement in design and explores how colour can have positive effects on people and places.

"I want to evoke the movement and the flow of life. I never use straight lines because I don’t see that way; one thing merges into another.”

silvina di vita

Silvina is an Argentinian artist based, the founder of My Papercut Forest, bringing the therapeutic joy of paper to the world. Captain of Etsy Brighton and featured on the BBC and ITV, Silvina also set up the Arts & Craft Project, which seeks to offer new craft skills and opportunities to the local community.

"It took me a while to call myself an artist, even when I was paying my way with my art. It feels like we need the validation of money but if you're happy, take that leap"


Hazel Reynolds is the founder of Gamely, a games company that helps people spend more quality time with family and friends. They’ve sold more than250,000 games over the last five years, as well as appearing on Dragons Den and being named the Amazon UK Small Business of the Year 2019.

"I want young people to know there are so many ways of running a business. Ask yourself, how does the big picture fit together beyond financial success? The sooner we can empower young people to find out what success means to them the better"

erika brodnock

Erika is the founder and CEO of Karisma Kidz and Kami. She is a highly sought-after and well-respected child confidence and emotional intelligence expert. Erika is Sky News’ resident child confidence expert and her seminars cover most areas of family life.

"I choose to challenge the lack of diversity in the investment space particularly for black women who receive only 0.02% of investment capitol"

deepali nangia

Deepali is an advisor to female founders, an angel investor and invests in female founders/mixed teams, Deepali is also a co-founder at Alma Angels, set up to democratise and demystify angel investing and create more female angel investors that invest in female founders. Deepali is also an Atomico Angel, a Partner at Speedinvest & UKBAA's Angel Investor of the Year for 2021.

"Not every business needs investment. Some can generate a good income for their owner, but not a good return for investors. We need to support those smaller businesses with more access to funds and microfinance, which I don't see enough of in this country"

sarah ticho

Sarah an award-winning producer, consultant and company founder at the intersection of immersive technology, healthcare and the creative industries. In 2018 she founded Hatsumi (which means to see for the first time), they develop work merge immersive technology, participatory art, and storytelling to improve physical and mental health.

"Tech can help us visualise things we can't see and bring therapies to people remotely. For example, people dealing with agoraphobia, using VR can help them get out in to the world again. Just because you can't see how people are feeling, doesn't mean you can't understand it"

judith ricketts

Judith is an Artist and Lecturer in Digital Media, specialising in mobile, screen based and real-world immersive serious games. Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a STEM Ambassador and Crossing Cultures Decolonising the Curriculum.

"The thing with racism and sexism is that it's an invisible wall. You're going to walk into it several times without even knowing it's there, but we're going to be pushing all the harder, even when we're bloodied - picking ourselves up, and smiling"

carolynn bain

Carolynn's life has been a battle against racism and the need to educate about white privilege. In 2020, she decided it was time to change the world. She opened Afrori Books, a bookshop that created a one-stop-shop for books by black authors. She did this in the firm belief that what we read changes who we are and how we think.

“If I had to put who I am in any kind of order I am first a Christian Black woman. I am also a mother, a bookseller, an activist, a mentor, a lyricist and a wife.”

Lara sheldrake

Founder of Found & Flourish, a women-led organisation to empower women in business through community, services and events.

"I choose to challenge the fact that business can be lonely and inaccessible to many marginalised groups of people. However, business is for everyone, we just need to create an environment in which all types of people can found *and* flourish"

Lucy hughes

After graduating in 2019 in Product Design, Lucy Hughes has received global attention for developing MarinaTex, a new biodegradable material and alternative to plastic film that uses fish waste and algae.

"We should only be investing in sustainable and inclusive business, and I say that as a resident of earth not as a founder of a sustainable business. The word sustainability needs to be rebranded to something like "future-proof". Ventures and businesses don't exist in a vacuum, they exist on planet earth within the societies we all live in"

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