With this year’s Zellis Connect customer conference: Sustainable Connections now only less than a month away, we’re putting the final touches to a busy agenda full of interactive sessions, insightful product demos, and more.  

And with the recent decision to make Zellis Connect 2021 a virtual event – you can rest assured that we are making every effort to providing you with the very best knowledge sharing, networking, and product updates, while taking advantage of a digital, on-demand format. 

A key part of our customer conference is bringing you a range of inspiring speakers and industry thought leaders to cover the very latest topics in HR, payroll, and technology. This year will be no different. 

So, without further ado, we’d like you to meet some of our fantastic guest speakers for Sustainable Connections: Zellis Connect 2021

Gareth Thomas 

Not only is Gareth Thomas one of Wales’ most memorable international former rugby stars, but he has continued to make influential contributions as an LGBT advocate. From breaking records on the pitch for his country to breaking down the stigma surrounding HIV, Gareth is an inspiration in every aspect of his personal and professional life.  

As the second-highest Wales try scorer, a record that still stands over a decade since his retirement, Gareth’s talents on the pitch are undeniable. The versatile player is still ranked internationally as the 13th highest try scorer to this day. 

Becoming the first openly gay professional rugby union player in 2009, Gareth was motivated to live unapologetically as himself and support other young players with representation in their field. Since his announcement, Gareth has dedicated himself to making influential contributions as an LGBT advocate with the same energy he displayed on the pitch. 

At Zellis Connect 2021, Gareth will be sharing his personal story through a humorous, honest, and humbling talk on his career highlights, his experiences facing down prejudice and pressure in coming out as gay, and sharing lessons that resonate to people in every walk of life. 

Kate Upcraft AMBCS mGPA 

Kate is a regular conference speaker, lecturer, and writer on legislative issues, including tax and National Insurance, benefits, and a whole range of employer compliance responsibilities.  

Undertaking consultancy work with employers and payroll agents, Kate assists with topics such as payroll health checks, National Minimum Wage and auto-enrolment, systems selection, and departmental re-engineering.  

Kate is also the vice chair of the ICAEW Employment Taxes and NI committee and chair of the pan-professional Reward and Employment Engagement Forum. Prior to setting up her own company in 2005, she was the Payroll Legislation Manager at M&S, for whom she worked for 20 years – 11 of them in payroll. 

As a true expert in payroll and HR legislation, Kate will be offering a unique and thoughtful ‘deep-dive’ statutory update, including information around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and other pressing regulatory matters of which payroll and HR professionals must be aware. 

Samantha Johnson LLB(Hons) ChMCIPPdip 

Sam has an unwavering passion for payroll and is an advocate of raising the industry’s profile in organisations of all size and sector. Having joined the CIPP in April 2021, she considers her role a ‘dream come true’, and an opportunity she intends to use to support payroll professionals to thrive in this challenging, intricate, and deadline-driven profession.  

Sam graduated with honours from the University of Leicester in 2008, having spent three years studying law, and in 2016 successfully achieved her CIPP Foundation Degree in Payroll Management.  

The skills she gained from her studies helped her to deliver a number of projects and initiatives throughout her payroll career, including leading the payroll and HR system implementation for global manufacturing company, JCB. 

At Zellis Connect 2021, Sam will be sharing what’s coming up in payroll and delivering the CIPP’s annual payroll report. 

To find out more about Sustainable Connections: Zellis Connect 2021, and to register your place to hear from these inspiring speakers and industry thought leaders, click here.