Communities 1st Conference 2023

The theme of our 2023 Annual Conference for the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector was Wellbeing, Resilience and Community.

On Thursday 20 July 2023, Communities 1st held our Annual Conference for the Voluntary Sector and our AGM. It was a thought-provoking and inspiring day, with a keynote from Jansev Jamal, Research and Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics as well as six workshops, one-to-one advice sessions and a marketplace of information stands.  

We welcomed delegates from over fifty voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations as well as our public and statutory sector partners, providing opportunities for networking and partnership development. 


Click here to view the day's programme in a new tab.


In the drop-down section below, you will be able to learn about the talks and workshops that were delivered at the event. Scroll down further to read the biographies of each of our speakers.

People watching a presentation at our 2023 Conference and AGM

Talks and Workshops

Keynote Address - Organisations and The Communities They Serve

Jansev Jemal

The Key Note speech was delivered by Jansev Jemal, Research & Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics on Organisations and The Communities They Serve.

If you would like to view the Key Note Presentation, click here.


Assessing Your Impact

Jo Mackenzie

Delivered by Jo Mackenzie, Strategic Evaluation Lead at Hertfordshire Public Health Evidence and Intelligence. 

If you would like to view the presentation, click here.

Being a Supportive Third Sector Employer

Mark Hanna

Delivered by Mark Hanna, Chief Executive of Age UK Hertfordshire.

If you would like to view the presentation, click here.

Engaging Young Volunteers

Emma-Jane Hampsheir-Gill

Delivered by Emma-Jane Hampsheir-Gill, #IWill Movement Ambassador. 

If you would like to view the presentation, click here.

Achieving Net Zero in the Voluntary Sector

Michael Martin

Delivered by Michael Martin, Head of Net Zero and Advice Team at Wenta.

Is Free Money Really Better Than Money You Have to Repay?

Ishita Ranjan

Delivered by Ishita Ranjan, Senior Project Director at Good Finance.

If you would like to view the presentation, click here

Developing and Maintaining Personal Resilience

Melissa White

Delivered by Melissa White, Training Officer at Mind in Mid Herts.

If you would like to view the presentation, click here.


Jansev Jemal, Pro Bono Economics

Jansev Jemal - Pro Bono Economics

Jansev Jemal worked as the Director of Research and Policy at Pro Bono Economics and delivered our Keynote Speech Presentation.

Jansev was previously Head of Research and Insight for NCFE, where her remit included setting up a research and insight team, which grew from a team of two to six. Prior to this Jansev predominantly worked for research agencies including YouGov, Ipsos Mori and IFF Research, spanning a mix of public, private and third-sector clients.

Outside of work, Jansev spent four years as a local councillor (2014-2018), which led to her temporarily leaving the world of research to spend 6 months working for two MPs, followed by 18 months in public affairs. Jansev has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Essex, where she taught research methods and British politics

Jo Mackenzie, Hertfordshire Public Health Evidence & Intelligence


Jo Mackenzie, Strategic Research and Evaluation Lead at Hertfordshire Public Health Evidence and Intelligence delivered a workshop on Assessing Your Impact.

Jo has worked in Public Health for ten years and was responsible for setting up the Research and Evaluation team within the directorate.  She has a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology and is keen to promote an evidence-based way of working across the public and voluntary sector.  This includes encouraging organisations to find ways of demonstrating the impact of their services on the people who use them.

Mark Hanna, Age UK Herts

Mark Hanna

Mark Hanna is the Chief Executive of Age UK Hertfordshire and delivered a talk on Being a Supportive Third Sector Employer.

Mark has worked in Adult Social Care for the last 15 years, most of which has been within the voluntary sector. He has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Business Administration. Collaboration and partnership working are key requirements for working in the sector to enable better outcomes for organisations and the people whom we serve. He is keen to share knowledge and experience with anyone to help achieve these aims. 

What services does Age UK Hertfordshire offer?How you can get involved!


Emma-Jane Hampsheir-Gill, #IWill Movement

Emma-Jane is an #IWill Movement Ambassador and delivered a talk on Engaging Young Volunteers.

#IWill is a movement comprised of over 1000 organisations and 700 young Ambassadors and Champions from across the UK. They are united by a shared belief that all children and young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society.


Michael Martin, Wenta

Michael Martin

Michael is the Head of Net Zero and Advice Team at Wenta and delivered a talk on Achieving Net Zero in the Voluntary Sector.

Michael’s initial focus upon sustainability came through consulting in the voluntary sector, for seven years in the cycling industry. In overseeing the scaling of a wearable technology company in occupational health alongside the consumer subsidiary that helped make cyclists more visible, Michael and his team established and grew distribution in 10 countries.

Michael is also the unsalaried founder of a registered cycling/mental health charity.

Having undertaken interim, project management and NED roles, Michael first freelanced for Wenta from 2001 to 2009, with 9,000-plus 1:1 sessions carried out to date.

Carbon Literacy certified, Michael routinely supported people to explore self-employment and those at early-stage together with established ventures, community groups, social enterprises and charities, regarding start-up, compliances, strategy, fundraising and marketing, recruitment, managing teams and growth, IP and more.


Ishita Ranjan, Good Finance

Good Finance logo

Ishita Ranjan, the Senior Project Director at Good Finance delivered a presentation on Is Free Money Really Better Than Money You Have to Repay?

Good Finance is a collaborative project to help improve access to information on social investment for charities and social enterprises. It's mission is to be the single trusted source of information for this. It's website has been set up to help inform and educate social enterprises and charities about repayable finance and better connect them with social investors. Offline, Good Finance engages through events, workshops, webinars, and more!


Melissa White, Mind in Mid Herts

Melissa White

Melissa is the Training Officer at Mind in Mid Herts and delivered a workshop on Developing and Maintaining Personal Resilience.

Melissa's role consists of delivering an array of courses to service users, the general public and corporate clients.  She greatly enjoys being able to educate and spread awareness on mental health through her work. Melissa has previous experience within the mental health sector as a Peer Support worker in an acute eating disorders unit. She also has a degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice, and has taught in the outdoor education sector. In her spare time she loves to cook, spend time with family and plan new adventures.#