founder and chief executive
plenary ( Chair )
Guardian columnist, political columnist and interviewer for Grazia magazine, and former political editor of The Observer
author and journalist
Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ryan is the Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue. He founded the organisation in 2010 and finally became the full-time Chief Executive at the start of 2014. Under his leadership, Bright Blue has grown significantly in size, reputation and impact. Ryan was previously a Research Fellow for the think tank the Social Market Foundation and was part of the team that won Prospect Magazine’s Think Tank of the Year in 2012. Prior to 2010, he was a researcher for Rt Hon David Willetts MP when he was Shadow Education Secretary, where he authored the Conservative Party’s Childhood Review. Ryan is a Visiting Fellow at King’s College London. He is a trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation, and was previously a trustee for the Young Women’s Trust (2014-2019) and the Daycare Trust (2010-2015). He sits on the advisory council of the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and Shelter’s Big Conversation on Social Housing.
Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist, political columnist and interviewer for Grazia magazine, writer, blogger and former political editor of The Observer. For over 12 years she covered politics for The Daily Mail and then for The Observer, developing an astute inside track on the exercise of power and the development of policy.
Leaving Cambridge University in 1990 with a first class degree in English, Gaby worked first for the Grimsby Evening Telegraph before joining The Daily Mail in 1996. She worked as a news reporter and health reporter before becoming political reporter in 1997.
She was headhunted by The Observer in 2000 as chief political correspondent and, in 2004, became the youngest then political editor of a national newspaper. She has closely followed both the rise – and otherwise – of New Labour, and the remaking of the Conservative party.
Gaby specialised in the point at which politics, social affairs and policy meets. As one of very few women to have worked at this level in political journalism she has an intriguing take on working motherhood and the challenges facing women in public and corporate life.
Gaby left The Observer in November 2009 to concentrate on a broader portfolio of writing, policy and new media projects. She is interested in making politics accessible and entertaining, tackling it with a wry sense of humour. She is currently political editor of Grazia Magazine.
Her broadcast work has included appearing as a commentator and newspaper reviewer for Radio 4’s Today programme, Sky News, ITV, BBC and Radio 2’s Michael Ball Show. Gaby is a regular freelance writer for clients such as the Guardian, Grazia magazine and Red magazine. Her book Half a Wife: The Working Family’s Guide to Getting a Life Back was published in 2012. She is a prolific blogger and tweets about politics, family life and everything in between via @gabyhinsliff.
Gaby is an experienced chair of public conferences and debates for a range of voluntary and public organisations. Her particular interests include health policy, employment policy, issues affecting women, social affairs, new media and equality issues.
Misha Glenny is an author, journalist and specialist on Eastern and Southeastern Europe, organised crime and cybersecurity. He has served as Central Europe correspondent for the Guardian and the BBC. During the late 1980s and 1990s Glenny reported extensively on the Balkan wars of Independence that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia. Since then he has acted as consultant to several European governments and the EU on the Balkans. Glenny has also advised the US departments of State and of Justice on US-European relationships and on organised crime. He speaks regularly at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Misha is the author of several books on Central and Eastern Europe. Away from European politics, he has written the acclaimed book McMaﬁa (which was adapted into a hit BBC drama of the same title), about the problem of international organised crime which, he believes, may now account for more than 20% of global GDP. Alongside this he has been appointed a visiting professor at Columbia University specialising in ‘crime in transition’ looking at the new world of cyber-crime. He also co-wrote DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Maﬁa looking at examples of the new global criminality and the world of cyberattacks.
Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP
As Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – and having previously held Home Office responsibility for Crime Prevention, Security and Immigration – James Brokenshire MP has a key role to play in tackling many of the big issues facing today’s public sector. From housing and social care to business rate reform, regeneration of high streets and fair funding, he is responsible for – and ideally placed to discuss – the challenges high on the agenda of public finance professionals.
Photography credit: Chris McAndrew