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Keynote speakers


We are delighted to announce that the following keynote speakers will be presenting at this year's iLINKS Innovations conference and exhibition. Further keynote speakers will be announced, so please keep a look out for further event updates.

Will Smart

Will Smart, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Health and Social Care in England

Will Smart is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the NHS in England.

A joint appointment between NHS England and NHS Improvement, he is tasked with providing strategic leadership across the whole of the NHS to ensure that the opportunities that digital technologies offer are fully exploited to improve the experience of patients and carers in their interactions with health and social care; the outcomes for patients; and improved efficiencies in how care is delivered.

Prior to taking up this role, Will was Chief Information Officer at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust for six years where he was the board level director responsible for all aspects of the Information Management and Technology agenda and the Trust’s Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO). During the Royal Free’s acquisition of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals, Will was an executive director of both organisations tasked with leading the creation of a single informatics function prior to the acquisition. Most recently, as part of the design of the Royal Free Group model (under the NHS England Vanguard programme), he has led the creation of the Trust’s digital strategy to define the capabilities, architecture and service models required to support this new operating model.

Will first worked in the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland during his placement year from university, before taking up an analytics role at St. Mary’s NHS Trust in London on graduation. In addition to senior roles in the NHS, Will has worked as a management consultant with major assignments focusing on IT strategy, service transformation, major IT service and contract reviews and outsourcing.

Follow Will Smart on Twitter @nhscio

Louise Shepherd CBE

Louise Shepherd CBE, Chief Executive, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Louise joined Alder Hey as Chief Executive in March 2008 since when she has led it through a major transformation into Europe's only Children's Health Park, designed by and for children and young people and opened by HM The Queen in 2016.  The Park aims to provide a unique well being and healing environment for all children and young people and comprises a state of the art specialist children's hospital,  dedicated research and education facilities, an innovation centre, clinical research facility and family support and bereavement centre.

Previously CEO of Liverpool Women's Hospital, Louise first joined the NHS as Director of Business Development at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital in 1993 from KPMG, where she spent 4 years as a financial and management consultant to the public sector.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Louise has a strong interest in the Arts and served on the Board of The Liverpool Philharmonic for 6 years and plays violin for the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra.  She was awarded the CBE for services to Healthcare in 2017.