Management team

Hamish Stevenson
Founder & CEO
Hamish Stevenson - Founder & CEO

Hamish owns and runs Fast Track which he founded in 1997 after securing cornerstone sponsorship from Richard Branson. With the help of lots of people, he and his team have built Fast Track into the UK’s leading research and networking events company focusing on top private companies and entrepreneurs, and ranking them in league tables published with The Sunday Times.

He works closely with sponsors, media partners and leading entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship and to ensure that their expectations of Fast Track are exceeded, and that they remain engaged with our alumni network.

He is an associate fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford University, where he completed his masters and doctorate in management at St Edmund Hall, and later set up and held the Virgin research fellowship in entrepreneurship.

Fast Track:
With media partner The Sunday Times, Hamish publishes seven annual league table programmes, ranging from the fastest-growing to the biggest private companies.

He hosts around 25 networking dinners a year, including seven national awards events and around 20 alumni dinners a year for the entrepreneurial owners and directors of companies on the league tables to network and to meet our sponsors, including Virgin, Barclays, Grant Thornton, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, PwC and UBS Wealth Management.

Extracurricular:
Hamish was a ‘country expert’ for the Europe 500 fastest-growing job creators. He was involved as an Ambassador to Team 2012, securing support from entrepreneurs for British athletes for the London 2012 Olympics. He collaborated on entrepreneurial cases with Stanford Graduate School of Business for the World Economic Forum (WEF); and was invited by WEF to attend their ‘Summer Davos’ for growth champions in Dalian, China.

Charities:
Hamish recently cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats over nine days and raised £113k for The Princes Trust and Virgin Unite Foundation. He has helped Virgin Unite and Big Change charities raise over £3m from Fast Track entrepreneurs for underprivileged budding entrepreneurs in South Africa and the UK.

Past:
Originally from South Africa, Hamish graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a British Morehead-Cain Scholarship; and completed a masters and doctorate in management studies at Oxford University.

He then bought into, turned-around and successfully sold his stake in The Venture Capital Report fundraising newsletter after four years, which was bought by Pi Capital.

He returned to Oxford to establish and be appointed the Virgin research fellow in entrepreneurship at Templeton College from where he spun-out Fast Track as a company.

Richard Tyler
Director of editorial
Richard Tyler - Director of editorial

Richard leads Fast Track’s editorial, working closely with sponsors and companies within our network. Before joining Fast Track in 2012, he was the enterprise editor of The Daily and Sunday Telegraph for nine years, covering private companies and government policy towards business. He trained in journalism at Euromoney, part of The Daily Mail & General Trust, after completing his degree at Manchester University. In his spare time, Richard enjoys tennis, cycling and trying to grow veg on his allotment.

Lucy Stock
Associate director
Lucy Stock - Associate director

Lucy works part-time and is responsible for account managing Virgin, and working closely with other sponsors including BMW and UBS. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2001, she spent four years at ship-based forum organisers Richmond Events. She has a degree in photography from Nottingham Trent University. In her spare time, Lucy enjoys trail running and active holidays.

Support team

Rebekkah Hughes
Creative manager
Rebekkah Hughes - Creative manager

Rebekkah is responsible for the design and print of Fast Track’s marketing and events literature. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2018, she designed documents and proofread for QA, the training and education provider. She has a BA in English literature and creative writing from the University of Surrey. In her spare time, Rebekkah enjoys typography and hand-lettering.

 

Faye Preston-Smith
EA to Hamish Stevenson
Faye Preston-Smith - EA to Hamish Stevenson

Faye works part time and is executive assistant to Hamish Stevenson. Before joining Fast Track in 2012, she worked for a successful entrepreneur and has experience in banking and private equity, including as head of research for Skillcapital. Prior to this, she worked for Vision Capital and Goldman Sachs. She has a masters in chemistry from Bristol University. In her spare time, Faye enjoys riding, both teaching and competing, and is a judge at national level showing competitions.

Lizzie Ritz
Office manager
Lizzie Ritz - Office manager

Lizzie is responsible for managing the office and accounts; and also provides support for the events and research teams. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2016, she previously worked as a client relationship manager for a mortgage broker in Oxford and has experience working on national cycling events. She has a masters degree in philosophy from the University of Glasgow. In her spare time, Lizzie enjoys triathlons and is learning to play the piano.

Research & content team

Ying Chen Van de Walle
Head of research - operations
Ying Chen Van de Walle - Head of research - operations

Ying is responsible for helping manage Fast Track’s research. Before joining Fast Track in 2005 she worked for the Beijing subsidiary of French consultancy Metizo, and managed HR for City Centre Bistros. She has a masters in HR from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, and a degree in English from Beijing Foreign Studies University. In her spare time, Ying enjoys collecting Lego sets for her two young children, and is learning to ice skate.

Joe Kempton
Head of research – “Ones to Watch”
Joe Kempton - Head of research – “Ones to Watch”

Joe is responsible for Fast Track’s “Ones to Watch” programmes. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, he worked as a research manager for consumer electronics designer Bullitt Group, and as a technology analyst for Canalys. He has a degree in economics from the University of Leicester, with a year abroad at the University of Valencia in Spain. In his spare time, Joe enjoys playing the guitar and pretending to go the gym.

Martha Christie
Business researcher
Martha Christie - Business researcher

Martha is responsible for identifying and researching companies. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, she worked for four years at the London School of Economics and University College London, where she was responsible for identifying new sources of philanthropic income for the universities. She has a degree in history from the University of Glasgow. In her spare time, Martha enjoys yoga and photography.

Michael Cook
Senior researcher
Michael Cook - Senior researcher

Michael is responsible for researching and identifying companies and for helping train Fast Track’s team of freelance researchers. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2005, he worked for NatWest Bank as a senior tax consultant, and has held various positions in US Embassies abroad. Michael is a qualified pilot and enjoys playing various sports in his spare time. 

Camilla Davis
Company visit coordinator
Camilla Davis - Company visit coordinator

Camilla is responsible for coordinating company visits and managing Fast Track’s team of freelance researchers. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, she worked as PA to Jonathan Ruffer, founder of investment firm Ruffer LLP and the Auckland Project, a northeast-based charity. Prior to this she worked as PA and office manager at Piper Private Equity for four years. She has a degree in physiotherapy from the University of London, St George’s. In her spare time, she enjoys running and cooking.

John Elliott
Deputy head of editorial and social media
John Elliott - Deputy head of editorial and social media

John plans, produces and curates editorial and social media content in support of Fast Track’s annual league tables and networking events. He joined in 2019 from Powerscourt, the strategic communications consultancy, where he advised fast-growth TMT companies. He was previously a journalist at The Sunday Times for eight years and has also worked for the Telegraph, Condé Nast, and HarperCollins publishers. He has a degree of English literature from the University of Cambridge. In his spare time, he coaches football and rugby.

Matthew Elliott
Senior writer and researcher
Matthew Elliott - Senior writer and researcher

Matthew is responsible for helping to create Fast Track’s editorial output and researching companies. Before joining Fast Track in 2018, he worked at the International Coffee Organisation, the Rio Times in Brazil, the Business Year, the Euro Weekly News in Spain, and Consulting.us. He has a degree in law from the University of Glasgow. In his spare time, Matt enjoys cooking and travelling.

Emma Gilbert
Digital marketing manager
Emma Gilbert - Digital marketing manager

Emma is responsible for curating and managing Fast Track’s social media accounts and digital strategy, and for managing the website. Before joining Fast Track in 2017, she worked in digital marketing and communications for the economics consultancy, Oxera; and before that was a university lecturer and communications officer at Magdalen College, Oxford. She has a BA and a masters degree in English from the University of Oxford, a PhD in medieval linguistics from the University of Leicester, and a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing. In her spare time, Emma enjoys knitting and hiking.

Malcolm Gilmour
Senior researcher
Malcolm Gilmour - Senior researcher

Malcolm is responsible for researching companies and providing research support. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2014, he worked as client services director at corporate communications agency Investis, and conducted media research at Prime Research. He has a degree in English from the University of Warwick and a masters in European Literature from Oxford University. In his spare time, Malcolm enjoys tennis and swimming. 

Amelia Kløverød Griffiths
Senior research manager
Amelia Kløverød Griffiths - Senior research manager

Amelia is responsible for identifying and researching companies, and manages the Tech Track 100. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2019, she spent eight years in consulting and research roles at companies including AlphaSights and Kaiser Associates. Most recently, she was executive director at advisory firm Orbit Partners, working with high-growth companies, PE and VC firms. She has a degree in mathematics and philosophy from University of Bristol, and in business from University of Bath. In her spare time, Amelia enjoys climbing, running and hiking.

Eva Gronbech
Senior research manager
Eva Gronbech - Senior research manager

Eva is responsible for identifying and researching companies, and manages the Top Track 100 programme. She was previously head of research at Fast Track. Prior to joining the company in 2000, she worked for companies such as Kuwait Petroleum and Maersk Line. She has a masters in politics from Oxford University, and a degree in business from Copenhagen Business School. In her spare time, Eva is a competitive archer and teaches the Alexander technique.

Mike Harding
Senior research manager
Mike Harding - Senior research manager

Mike researches companies and is responsible for managing the Top Track 250 and the Profit Track 100 programmes. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2010, he trained as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton (Oxford) and has an audit and corporate finance background. More recently he worked as a finance manager for Unipart. He has a degree in mathematics from Birmingham University. In his spare time, Mike enjoys playing the trumpet and playing tennis. 

Claire Harrington
Company visit lead
Claire Harrington - Company visit lead

Claire is responsible for optimising our company visit programme. Before joining Fast Track in 2014 as a freelancer, she worked as a solicitor at City firm Travers Smith for six years and taught business law at Oxford Brookes University. She has a degree in Classics from Cambridge University. In her spare time, Claire takes her Frisian Pointer to a local primary school where children with special needs read to the dog.

Kaye Johnson
Business researcher
Kaye Johnson - Business researcher

Kaye is responsible for identifying and researching companies. She joined Fast Track in 2006 and works as a freelancer. Previously she published a European biotech business and finance newsletter, BioBusiness, which she sold to US publisher BioCentury. She was also head of UK internal communications for Rhône-Poulenc. She has a degree in biochemistry from Kings College, London, and a post-graduate degree in psychology from Oxford Brookes University.

Brigid Kell
Business researcher
Brigid Kell - Business researcher

Brigid is responsible for researching companies and coordinating company visits. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2019, she worked as a consultant and writer for two years at Trialogue, a South African CSR consultancy. She also worked as a legal assistant in Johannesburg and Cape Town at firms including Pike Law. She has degrees in politics, economics and law from the University of Cape Town. In her spare time, she enjoys running and horse riding.

Verity Krall
Research manager
Verity Krall - Research manager

Verity is responsible for identifying and researching companies, and manages the Fast Track 100 and SME Export Track 100 programmes. She joined Fast Track in 2017, having previously worked for leisure management organisation Fusion Lifestyle, in commercial and partnerships for Oxford United FC, and as a project coordinator at IT consultancy firm White Cat Consultancy. She has a degree in geography from University College London. In her spare time, Verity enjoys cooking and walking her dogs.

Will Paige
Business researcher
Will Paige - Business researcher

Will is responsible for identifying and researching companies. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, he worked as a financial analyst at Lloyd’s Register. He has an audit and finance background, having previously worked at PwC in Reading and as a management accountant at National Grid. He has a degree in business economics with German from the University of Exeter. In his spare time, he enjoys running, swimming and playing tennis.

Thea Stewart-Irvine
Senior researcher (on maternity leave)
Thea Stewart-Irvine - Senior researcher (on maternity leave)

Thea is responsible for researching and identifying companies. She was most recently a senior consultant at PRIME Research, having previously spent two years at Fast Track as a research project coordinator, beginning in 2014. Prior to this she worked in development for Sotheby’s International Realty. She studied French and Spanish at Oxford University. In her spare time, Thea loves horseriding and far-flung travel – preferably both at the same time.

Lindsay Uppadine
Senior research manager
Lindsay Uppadine - Senior research manager

Lindsay manages research projects including the International Track 200. Prior to joining Fast Track in 2006, she worked as a research associate at Library House in Cambridge; and as a post-doctoral research chemist at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. She has a doctorate and masters in chemistry from Oxford University. In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys playing the cello and racquet sports. 

Events team

Carina McKeown
Head of events - alumni engagement
Carina McKeown - Head of events - alumni engagement

Carina is head of events, with a focus on delivering our alumni dinners. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, she was community curator for the Virgin Unite Constellation, the Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial community. Prior to this, she spent ten years working in communications including running the press office for Richard Curtis’ Global Goals campaign. She has a degree in history from Royal Holloway, University of London. In her spare time, Carina enjoys going to the theatre and hiking.

Akira Fitch
Events executive
Akira Fitch - Events executive

Akira is assisting in the events team and in particular helping to deliver the International Track 200 awards dinner. Before joining Fast Track in 2019, he worked as a bar manager in Japan and has been a camera assistant on film sets, having decided to leave his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Bristol. In his spare time, Akira enjoys jazz and photography.

Helen Mount
Senior events manager
Helen Mount - Senior events manager

Helen works part time and is responsible for managing a number of events at Fast Track, including the Top Track 100 events programme. Before joining Fast Track in 2008, she worked as event manager at The Marketing Practice. She has a degree in English language and literature from Reading University. She enjoys yoga and is an enthusiastic novice gardener.

Lauren Robinson-Stanley
Events manager
Lauren Robinson-Stanley - Events manager

Lauren is responsible for helping to deliver the Tech Track 100 conference & awards dinner. Prior to joining Fast Track she was a training and events coordinator for Relax Kids, a training company. She has a degree in crime and investigative studies from Anglia Ruskin University. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys travelling and playing netball.

Emma Roby
Events manager
Emma Roby - Events manager

Emma is responsible for helping to deliver the Fast Track 100 conference & awards dinner. Prior to joining Fast Track, she was a business development and marketing professional at Freeths Solicitors. She has a degree in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In her spare time, Emma enjoys yoga and coaching youth basketball.

Freelance researchers

Ashley Cavers
Ashley Cavers

Ashley is co-founder of food producer The Wonky Food Co, and runs her own public relations and event management consultancy, Hey-day. She joined the Fast Track team in 2011, having formerly worked as a researcher and reporter for the BBC and Sky TV. She has a degree in English from the University of Warwick. In his spare time, Ashley likes reading, going to the cinema and listening to live music.

Claire Gilbert
Claire Gilbert

Claire has worked in digital publishing, and technology start-ups and corporates such as Boardworks and Classlist, in product management, operational and marketing roles. She joined the Fast Track team in 2019 and holds a degree in American history and society from the University of Manchester. In her spare time, Claire enjoys reading, baking and dance aerobics.

Ian Hall
Ian Hall

Ian is an editing and communications professional who joined the Fast Track team in 2019. He is a former editor of Public Affairs News and, more recently, was UK Director for pan-European policy media Euractiv. Ian has an MA in urban and regional change in Europe and a BA in economics from Durham University. In his spare time, he enjoys football and golf.

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson

Jessica runs her own medical writing company, developing communication materials for the global pharmaceutical industry. She joined the Fast Track team in 2019, having previously worked as a research scientist for the Oxford University spin-out company, Oxford Nanopore. She holds a masters and PhD in chemical biology from Imperial College London. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys time with her family.

Laura Parker
Laura Parker

Laura has run her own corporate copywriting agency, Superscript, since 2005, with clients including Tata Steel. She has a background in public relations and internal comms, working for Grayling and Porter Novelli PR agencies. She joined the Fast Track team in 2017 and has a degree in English from Cambridge University. In her spare time, Laura looks after her small flock of Shetland sheep and helps organise a local literary festival.

Suzie Pilkington
Suzie Pilkington

Suzie runs her family-owned classic car trading company. She previously worked in corporate finance for HSBC and SG in London and Tokyo, and went on to direct large scale financial conferences for the Informa Group. She joined the Fast Track team in 2008 and holds a degree in Japanese studies from Oxford University. In her free time, Suzie enjoys open water swimming, rowing and cycling.

Luke Purser
Luke Purser

Luke is director of development at English Heritage. He is an experienced fundraiser in the higher education and not-for-profit sectors. He is a non-executive director of Imagination Interactive, a director of Hawkwood International and a Trustee of Hereford Cathedral. He has been part of the Fast Track team since 2005 and has a degree in history from Oxford University. Luke doesn’t have any spare time, but if he did, he would take up singing again.

Dan Robinson
Dan Robinson

Dan is studying for an MSc in entrepreneurship at UCL. He joined Fast Track in 2017, initially as a business writer and researcher, and has been a freelancer since September 2018. He previously worked as an advertising copywriter for 303 MullenLowe in Australia. He has a degree in English and communication studies from the University of Western Australia. In his spare time, Dan enjoys hiking and making sourdough bread.