Mensa at Cambridge 2024

Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 September

Sidney Sussex College, Sidney Street, Cambridge CB2 3HU

This year’s theme: International Successes and Failures

You are invited to join us in beautiful Cambridge at Sidney Sussex College. Over four days experience 10 presentations, fine dining and hospitality in superb historical surroundings. Last year we invited speakers to present their take on the theme of ‘Resilience’’. This year the theme moves on to ‘International Successes and Failures’. Organiser Gillian Kaile has once again assembled impressive speakers from wide-ranging backgrounds who will present their expert analysis. As always delegates will have opportunity to question and debate after each presentation. All in all, if you enjoy high quality presentations, great company and want to be inspired by a city rich in history, culture and world-changing discoveries – then please do join us!

This year we are celebrating 44 years of Mensa intellectual conferences at the University of Cambridge. During this time the conference has hosted presentations from over 300 speakers in the illustrious Cambridge colleges.

Meet the speakers

Dr Steve Waygood is the Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors. 

Bio: Steve is responsible for integrating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues across all asset classes and regions of the c£250bn of assets under management. Steve has always been fascinated by the power of money to change the world. He joined Aviva Investors in 2006, founding both the Global Responsible Investment team and also the Sustainable Finance Centre for Excellence seeking to transform capital markets so that they become more sustainable.

Alongside Aviva Investors, Steve has also cofounded the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, the World Benchmarking Alliance, and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative.

He started his career at WWF-UK in 1995, focusing on their ethical and environmental investment policy. Steve has subsequently advised the UK Government, the European Commission, the Financial Stability Board and the UN on the creation of sustainable capital markets.

He holds a PhD in Sustainable Finance from the University of Surrey. Steve is also an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at City Business School, University of London and a Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. He has received awards from Brummell, the International Chamber of Commerce, the City of London, the United Nations Foundation, Yale and Harvard.  

Bio: Tobias Ellwood is a British Conservative Party politician and soldier who has been the Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East since 2005. He was born in New York due to his father’s overseas posting as a diplomat and attended schools in Bonn and Vienna where he completed the International Baccalaureate.

He then took his first degree at Loughborough University, where he was elected President of the Students’ Union. He later completed an MBA at City University Business School and finally the senior executive course in national and International Studies at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Tobias spent six years in the Regular Army with The Royal Green Jackets, head quartered in Winchester, and served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany, Gibraltar and Bosnia. He now has the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as a reservist in the 77th Brigade.

He has worked as a researcher for former Defence Secretary, the Rt Hon Tom King MP (now Lord King), and as a Senior Business Development Manager at the London Stock Exchange and Allen and Overy.

Tobias served as Parish and Borough Councillor before being elected Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East in May 2005, and subsequently re-elected in 2010, 2015 and most recently in June 2017. Shortly after first being elected to Parliament in 2005, Tobias was appointed Opposition Whip. In July 2007, he was promoted to the post of Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport. After the May 2010 General Election, he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary firstly for the Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP and then for the Minister for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP. In July 2014 he was promoted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Minister for the Middle East and Africa. He was then moved to Ministry of Defence as Minister for Defence People and Veterans. Tobias was elected Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee in January 2020 and served in this position until September 2023.

Tobias has written publications on post-conflict stability, Royal Navy aircraft carriers, the future of Afghanistan, the weaponisation on space and daylight saving.

Outside of politics Tobias is a keen sportsman and a private pilot. He is frequent visitor to the United States and the Middle East. He also enjoys the theatre, military history, and is an Eagle Scout.

Duncan Ray MCIPS Head of Strategic Partnerships at Focus SB

Bio: Duncan joined Focus SB in 1999 and has held positions in purchasing, internal auditing, health and safety, and quality management. Progressing into senior management in 2016 as Supply Chain & New Product Introduction Manager.

He holds full membership of The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), via successful completion of a professional diploma with Harley Road Ltd, London. Overseeing new product development and launch, accreditation processes, international marking and networking, 2017 saw Duncan secure Focus SB’s successful entry into major design centres and construction supply chains in China. Duncan’s media appearances include CGTN America, China Media Group international news.  

Focus SB’s premium electrical accessories are selected for some of the finest heritage, luxury hospitality and prime residential interiors, from Grade II listed buildings and historic royal palaces to iconic modern interior renovation projects.

Nick Searle is the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Bio: Nick joined the Service in 1995 and during his career has served in a number of roles and directorates. He was appointed as the Deputy Chief Fire Officer in October 2018 and is responsible for Operational Preparedness, Collaboration and MFRA’s role as Lead Authority for National Resilience.

Nationally, Nick is the NFCC (National Fire Chiefs Council) Strategic Lead for both UK National Resilience and the UK International Search and Rescue team (ISAR). He is also the capability lead for Urban Search and Rescue. Nick led the UK International Search and Rescue Team on a British Fire and Rescue Service flood deployment to Bosnia in 2014 and has been a member of the UK ISAR since 2011. Over the last 25 years the team has successfully carried out search, rescue and relief missions in Iraq, Turkey, Algeria, Pakistan, India, Iran, Mozambique, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan, Bosnia and Nepal. Members have also attended many international training exercises including Poland, Italy, USA, and Germany.

David Stringer-Lamarre – Fortis Consulting London

Bio: David is the Managing Director of Fortis Consulting London which helps organisations and individuals meet their objectives via knowledge input, skills development and partnership facilitation. Combining commercial knowledge with top quality engagement skills, the team of over 30 consultants, has deep experience of working with British and international companies.

He holds the Business Cultural Trainer’s Certificate and has travelled to over 70 countries. He engages with many international business groups including from China, USA, Slovakia, Estonia, UAE, Poland, Switzerland, Peru, Malaysia, India and Thailand.

David is a Court Member of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers in the City of London.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (established 1903; Royal Charter awarded in 1906), a member of the Bank of England Institute of Directors Panel, the City of London FinTech Action Network, Tech London Advocates, The 48 Group Club ‘The Icebreakers’, the British Malaysian Society, the Austrian Business Circle, the Arab Women of the Year Awards Advisory Board, the Chinese Business Leaders Awards Judging Panel, the Imperial College Business School Alumni Financial Services Group, the Court of City University, the Cass Business School Entrepreneurs Network and a Vice President of Blackheath (Rugby) Football Club.

After three and a half years as Chair of IoD London Region, David is stepping down from the role and will be taking up the position of IoD Special Adviser International. The new position will see David focus on increasing the IoD’s profile around international trade and global relations.  

David is a strong proponent of the benefits of diversity of thought. He holds several degrees including Law and an MBA.

Mike Wardle Chief Executive Officer, Z/Yen Group Limited.

Bio: Prior to Z/Yen, Mike was a civil servant for almost 20 years, mostly within the field of education policy. He was a Director and then Chief Executive of the General Social Care Council, establishing the regulation of social workers in England. He is Chief Executive of Z/Yen and leads its work on the performance of financial and commercial centres across the world, acting as lead author for the Global Financial Centres Index, the Global Green Finance Index, and the Smart Centres Index.

Mike’s work with Z/Yen includes programme management of reviews and strategy development with the Church of England, UNISON, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. He developed the Global Green Finance Index and Smart Centres Index. He has led research for a number of financial centres to help with their development strategies, and also conducted research on the Future of Financial Centres in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre and the World Alliance of International Financial Centres. Mike regularly speaks on the development of international financial centres at conferences and events both in the UK and overseas.

Jon Mitchell, Managing Director, Marlow Ropes.

Bio: Jon started at Marlow in 1995 in Van Sales and considers himself very lucky to have been MD since 2012. A windsurfer for over 30 years, now more likely to be found cycling on or around the South Downs!

He began his career at Marlow Ropes in January 1995, as Leisure Marine Van Sales Representative. Since then, Jon has held numerous positions within the organisation such as Warehouse and Logistics Supervisor, Production Planner and Production Manager, gaining experience in every aspect of the company. Whilst the name Marlow Ropes was originally used as recently as 1957, the story of the Company and the intertwined history of rope making in Hailsham goes back over 200 years.

Over the years Marlow has developed and supplied various rope solutions, responding to specialist global requirements including recycled polyester yachting lines to marine research vessels circumnavigating the globe, arboriculture ropes for anti-poaching rhino projects in South Africa, military ropes to the Ukrainian Forces and Dyneema products for aerospace applications, and a US drone manufacturer delivering medicine and vaccines to remote areas of Africa.

In recent years, Marlow Ropes has made significant investments in its export business. In 2013 the company opened Marlow Ropes Inc, a sales and distribution office in Massachusetts, USA, and has appointed a dedicated team of international export sales professionals to meet demand across all market sectors.

The award of Export Champion status is a significant achievement for Marlow Ropes. It recognises the company’s commitment to international trade and its success in growing its export business. As one of the many SMEs exporting British made products across the globe, Marlow Ropes’ success and its contribution to the UK economy is a testament to the skills and dedication of its employees.

Andy G Haldane CBE Chief Executive Officer Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

Bio: Andrew is Founder and President of the charity Pro Bono Economics, Vice-Chair of the charity National Numeracy and Chair of the National Numeracy Leadership Council. He currently chairs the Government’s Levelling Up Advisory Council and is a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Among other positions, Andrew is Honorary Professor at the Universities of Nottingham, Manchester and Exeter, Visiting Professor at King’s College, London and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Social Sciences.

He was formerly Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. He was also the Permanent Secretary for Levelling Up at the Cabinet Office from September 2021 to March 2022.

Martin Elliott is now Provost of Gresham College, London.

Bio: Martin is Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at University College London, and Emeritus Professor of Physic at Gresham College, London. From 2010 until 2015, he was Medical Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) where he had worked as a paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon from 1984. Engaged in transplantation since 1988, he led the thoracic transplant team at GOSH from 2000 to 2010.

He has directed research into the pathophysiology of cardiopulmonary bypass, clinical outcomes and databases, and tracheal reconstruction in children, pioneering several surgical techniques including tracheal transplantation. In 2000, he formed and led the National Service for Severe Tracheal Disease in Children, the largest and most successful such service in the world. Martin has also worked with Formula 1 and the airline industry to improve teamwork and efficiency in high-risk medical environments.

Martin has held several international visiting professorships and has taught and operated throughout the world delivering over 450 invited lectures worldwide, including more than 40 named lectures. He was the 2015 Hunterian Orator at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and was recently elected as an Honorary Bencher at the Inner Temple, London.

Mark Rory Logan is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolton North East since the 2019 general election.

Bio: Mark believes that we must grow our economy, by inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs, and also by attracting more foreign investment into Bolton. This is vital to the ambitious plans of the Conservative-led council to completely regenerate Bolton town centre.

This can happen as Mark has spent the best part of his career in the Foreign Office where he brought huge investment from Asia into all parts of the UK, including to the North West.

Mark is not a career politician having worked in business before and after serving the UK in the Foreign Office. He was a senior executive in a multinational company, and was most recently a Senior Director in a leading management consultancy.

He believes too many people in parliament have worked in the political and London bubble for too long, and thus are detached from the realities of life in modern Britain. Mark wants to serve every person and family in Bolton North East so that people are heard and can live their lives in peace and prosperity.

Mark was promoted to Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State in March 2022.

He graduated from Queen’s University Belfast, and then earned two master’s degrees, one from the London School of Economics and the second from Wadham College, University of Oxford. Before becoming an MP, he worked in the Foreign Office at the British Consulate-General Shanghai where he was responsible for media and communications. Logan also worked for the Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group.

One price covers all your stay

  • All talks (minimum of 10 speakers over four days)
  • All meals
  • Accommodation (en suite)
  • All tea/coffee breaks
  • Daily use of a hospitality room including complimentary drinks (beer, wine and soft drinks)


Founded in 1596 by Lady Frances, Sidney Sidney Sussex College is located in the heart of Cambridge. Surrounded by peaceful walled gardens and historic buildings. Being one of the smaller Cambridge Colleges, Sidney Sussex is ideal for a private conference and is renowned for its warm and welcoming atmosphere.


Pay the full package price or secure your place with a deposit Cost
Full package price (OR pay 3 instalments - call 01902 772771 to set up) £650
Secure your place with a deposit payment (balance required by 1 May) £100

Additional information

The main entrance gates and Porters’ Lodge are located on Sidney Street, directly opposite Sainsbury’s supermarket . Familiarise yourself using this interactive map.