Our IoD North West - Enterprising Women Conference celebrates the best in female business leadership and talent across the region.
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Inspiring Leaders’. We are creating a superb line-up of some of the region’s top business women, and influential and inspirational experts from across the UK to help you enhance your leadership skills, further build your business acumen and continue to strengthen your personal impact. We also offer superb networking opportunities throughout the day and a closing drinks reception as the finale.
We anticipate around 150 business leaders to be in attendance, as always with this event the demand is very high and has been sold out in the past, so we encourage you to book your places asap.
Within 2 minutes’ walk of Stockport station, and with plenty of parking nearby, The Plaza is a glorious 1930s super-cinema, saved and lovingly restored by the local community. Popcorn will be served, and the Wurlitzer will be played on this very memorable day.
Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
Shadow Business Secretary and MP
Salford and Eccles
Rebecca was first elected as Member of Parliament for the Salford and Eccles constituency in June 2015. Rebecca grew up locally in the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester. She began her working life serving at the shop counter of a pawn shop, an experience that taught her more about the struggles of life than any degree or qualification ever could. She also worked in call centres, a furniture factory , and as a postwoman before eventually studying to become a solicitor, where, for many years she acted on behalf of NHS Bodies on a range of governance and contractual issues. Today she is the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Executive Director, Corporate Responsibility
Jess leads Corporate Responsibility for Warner Bros. in Europe, and Warner Bros. Creative Talent, a programme which invests in talented people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to pursue a career in the creative industries. People of all backgrounds are given industry experience and insight across Warner Bros.’ Film, Games, Television and Theatre businesses and productions through scholarships, apprenticeships and trainee placements. Jess graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Politics, and subsequently trained as a Corporate lawyer, working for Travers Smith, Addleshaw Goddard and The Co-operative Group. While at The Co-operative, she moved into Corporate Responsibility, and designed and launched its ‘Inspiring Young People’ initiative.
She then moved to vInspired, a national youth charity as its Commercial Director, before joining Warner Bros. in 2012. Jess is a Trustee of Tender, a charity which uses theatre and the arts to enable young people to avoid abusive and violent relationships. She is also a playwright. Her first play ‘Gin For Breakfast' was performed at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, London in 2017. It received 4* reviews and an Offie nomination for Best New Play. She is currently writing a play for Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018.
Chief Operating Officer
Collette joined Manchester United as Chief Operating Officer in May 2018. Prior to this, she held a number of senior leadership roles across a variety of sectors with companies including Ford Motor Group, Siemens and United Utilities. More recently in her role as Acting MD, Manchester Airport (MAG), she was part of the Executive Team responsible for doubling the value of the group over a 5 year period. As a key Board member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Collette chaired the development of its recent publication “Educating The North”, raising awareness of the North-South divide in education which has been instrumental in shaping the governments thinking and plans around this agenda. Recently highlighted in Vogue magazine as one of the Top 25 most influential females in the UK, Collette is also a non-exec of JWL Brewery and adviser to the UK Board of Trade.
Tom Bloxham MBE
Urban Splash Group Ltd
Tom is chairman and founder of award-winning regeneration company Urban Splash, which has received nearly 400 awards to date for architecture, design and business success. The company is responsible for development projects across the country, including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Bristol, Plymouth and Morecambe.
In 1999 Tom was awarded an MBE for Services to Architecture and Urban Regeneration.
Tom also upholds a number of other positions including; Chairman of Manchester International Festival, and trustee of Tate, the Manchester United Foundation and The Bloxham Charitable Trust.
Head of Corporate Projects
With a background in cultural and creativity, Kate has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium, working as an independent regeneration expert with the European Commission on major transnational projects in employment, social cohesion and regional development. Whilst living and working in Hungary, Kate also established the first UK-Hungarian cultural partnership trust, Brouhaha Magyarország and was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company (Rural Regeneration Cumbria). Kate is a Churchill Fellow, FRSA, Chair of Atlantic Gateway, Opportunity South Essex and Arts Council North and sits on Arts Council England’s National Council.
Vanda Murray OBE
Vanda has over 25 years' experience at a senior level across a range of industry sectors in the UK and Overseas. From 2001-2004 she was CEO of Blick plc, a FTSE quoted support services Group, where she doubled the market capitalisation prior to its sale to The Stanley Works Inc. In 2002, Vanda was appointed OBE for Services to Industry and to Export.
From 2004-2006, she led a successful turnaround at Ultraframe plc.
Vanda now serves as a Non-Executive Director on a number of Boards, including Manchester Airports Group, Redrow plc, Bunzl plc, where she is Senior Independent Director and Marshalls plc, which she Chairs. She is also Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors at Manchester Metropolitan University. In March 2018, she won The Sunday Times Award for Non-Executive Director of the year in the large company category for her work at Manchester Airports Group (which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports), where she chairs the Remuneration and the Corporate Social Responsibility Committees.
Joëlle Warren, MBE, DL
Joëlle Warren was inspired to set up Warren Partners in the firm belief that you can succeed in business without losing in life. To this day, Warren Partners’ core values are about adopting an ethical approach and treating others as you want to be treated. These values are just as tangible in the business today as they were when she founded Warren Partners in 1999.
Joëlle is the Executive Chair of Warren Partners and leads chair and non-executive director searches across a variety of sectors. Drawing on her expansive experience, genuine warmth and incisive mind, she helps chairs develop high-performing boards – as well as playing a key role in bringing on new talent at Warren Partners.
Being passionate about improving effectiveness in the boardroom through achieving the right balance of skills, diversity and experience means Joe¨lle was part of the working group developing the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy's Search Firms Voluntary Code of Practice around gender diversity on boards and has been subsequently involved with the Hampton Alexander Review putting this into practice to ensure Warren Partners is one of just five accredited firms for the work they have been doing beyond the FTSE350. She is a regular speaker on the business benefits of boardroom diversity in all its forms and was appointed MBE in January 2016 for her Services to Business.
Olive Strachan MBE
Olive Stracahan Resources Ltd
Global business woman, entrepreneur and founder of the award winning Olive Strachan Resources, ex chair of CIPD and a fellow of CIPD, Olive has spent over
20 years developing managers and leaders across the world, delivering coaching, training and consultancy in over 25 countries across the UK,
Europe, the Middle East, Asia and beyond. Her clients include Astra Zeneca, John Lewis, The British Council, Tyco Oil and Mars to name a few.
Voted one of the top 100 most influential women in the North West for 3 years running and export champion for the DTI, Olive has recently also
been awarded an MBE for her services.
Olive has an infectious enthusiasm and natural talent for bringing people together, she achieves impact, engaged audiences and makes a
lasting impression in all that she does.
Rebecca is a Private Clients tax partner at Crowe. She advises individuals and their businesses on all aspects of the tax system, with a view to protecting wealth for themselves and their families during their working lives, into retirement and beyond.
Rebecca speaks regularly at our in-house seminars and professional networks and contributes to Crowe's tax briefings and publication.
She also leads the Firm’s national Women’s Empowerment Programme which supports the female pipeline and promotes an environment that enables people to reach their full potential.
Rebecca Durrant sits on the advisory board for Girls Out Loud and is passionate about female empowerment and gender diversity, believing that those in privileged positions have a responsibility to make a difference.
The New Currency of Leadership
Sharon Amesu is an award- winning Speaker. Sharon is a Criminal Barrister turned speaker and professional coach who takes her 16 years’ experience in the Courtroom to challenge leaders to Raise the Bar in the Boardroom. Sharon specifically helps leaders to, Manage Transition, increase Executive Presence and Increase their Influence through strong Personal Branding.
Sharon speaks at leadership conferences around the country, coaches senior executives across the UK and is currently one of only 4 Leadership Facilitators for the Society of Leadership Fellows, St George’s House, Windsor Castle. A recently appointed Vistage speaker her keynote speeches include:
Becoming a Key Woman of Influence.
Influence- The New Currency of Leadership.
Imposter Syndrome Friend or Foe.
Courageous Conversations for Leaders.
Leadership Legacy- How Will you Be Remembered?
Building a Personal Brand: How to be more visible, credible and impactful
Leading through Change- Making the most of times of transition
AMRC, North West
A Commercial Director who has worked in a number of industry sectors including finance, education, software and Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing. In her new role as Commercial Director at the AMRC Melissa is looking to assist manufacturers of all sizes become more competitive and adopt Industry 4.0 Technologies.
Possibilities Realised Ltd
With 30 years background in marketing, manufacturing & change management, in UK Director and Global Leadership roles, Sue has a pedigree of transforming teams, businesses and brands, with Danone Group, Jeyes and the last 18 years with McCain Foods, before setting up her own business transformation and talent development company, Possibilities Realised.
When asked to share how she succeeded in her career then thrived in the boardroom, all whilst being a full time mum and staying “nice”, Sue created the C.A.R.B.O.N. Model for Sparkling Success © and wrote her first book Boardroom Ready Women – How to Deliver Business Results and Still Sparkle.
With her mission to equip more women to reach more positions of influence in order to drive better economic success and in turn social wellbeing, Sue is relentless in championing this change. Through her books, speaking engagements, interviews with the BBC and corporate workshops, she challenges existing barriers whilst inspiring and developing women, men and their organisations to excel in their goals and beyond.
Conference HostHeather Wright
Heather will be compering our conference.
As one of the founding directors of Advance Performance Ltd, she has spent over 20 years studying the psychology of behaviour, performance and influence, how to inspire and motivate individuals, teams and organisations, developing practical tools to change the lives of others.
Heather is a dynamic and inspirational award winning speaker, delivering training, speeches and workshops throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Australia. Her clients include The National Trust, The NHS, Boots Opticians, Rolls Royce, Jaguar Land Rover and Pepsi Lipton International.
Married with 2 children, Heather is a published author and has also attained black belts in 4 different martial arts. She has run marathons, cycled from Lands End to John O Groats and keeps bees.