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.

Jon MacLeod
Director of research
Jon MacLeod - Director of research

Jon is director of research at Fast Track. He joined us in 2018. Prior to this he was a director in the equity research department of Citigroup Global Markets, where he worked for 17 years. Jon began his career in the fixed income markets and has also worked as a financial journalist. He has a masters in social and political science from Cambridge University. In his spare time, Jon enjoys running and spending time with his children.

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.

Research team

Events & support team

Support team

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.

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 and also helps with business development. 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 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 Said 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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Thea Stewart-Irvine
Senior researcher
Thea Stewart-Irvine - Senior researcher

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.

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

Maya Evans
Senior events manager
Maya Evans - Senior events manager

Maya is responsible for the Profit Track 100 and Tech Track 100 events programmes. Before joining Fast Track in 2017, she managed the global events programme for the central Alumni Office of the University of Oxford. Maya has a degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford. In her spare time, Maya enjoys illustration and crafting.

Kathryn Ferguson
Business events manager
Kathryn Ferguson - Business events manager

Kathryn is responsible for the International Track 200 events programme and supports the Top Track 250 and Tech Track 100 events programmes. Before joining Fast Track in 2017, she previously organised events and conferences for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers in Bristol, and The Royal College of Chiropractors in Reading. Kathryn has a degree in English and Drama from the University of Kent. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys going to the cinema and eating out.

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.

Emily Highton
Senior events manager
Emily Highton - Senior events manager

Emily is supporting the SME Export Track 100 and Top Track 100 events programmes. Before joining Fast Track in 2016, she  managed networking events at Oxfordshire Bioscience Network, the Oxford-based membership organisation for life sciences companies. Emily has a degree in English Literature and Media, Communications and Culture from Keele University. In her spare time, Emily is currently organising her wedding.

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.

Emma Roby
Events manager
Emma Roby - Events manager

Emma is responsible for helping to deliver the Fast Track 100 conference & awards dinner. Before joining Fast Track in March 2019, she was a business development and marketing professional at Freeths Solicitors. Emma has a degree in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In her spare time, Emma enjoys yoga and youth basketball.

Freelance researchers

Ualan Campbell-Smith
Ualan Campbell-Smith

Ualan is studying for an MSc in the social science of the internet at Oxford University. He joined the Fast Track team in 2019 and works part-time, providing research support. He was previously a research intern at Chatham House, and has a degree in politics from Durham University.

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.

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.

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.

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, with a track record in securing major gifts from individuals, foundations and corporates. He has been part of the Fast Track team since 2005 and holds a degree in modern history from Oxford University.

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.

Francesca Woodhouse
Francesca Woodhouse

Francesca is the founder of Slanted Door Communications, a marketing agency, and joined the Fast Track team in 2015. She previously worked in a number of comms and marketing roles, most recently at a business incubator, and before that at the Co-Op, the Foreign Office and John Lewis. She has a degree in French and German, and post-graduate degree in German studies from UCL.