Jon Geldart, Director General, IoD
Jonathan was appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors in October 2019. Prior to this Jonathan spent 30 years working in the professional services sector, most recently at Grant Thornton International Ltd responsible for the organisation’s interest in China and previously as a global board member responsible for the brand.
Jonathan has a long-standing connection with the IoD, as Chair of IoD Yorkshire and North East region prior to his appointment as Director General. He is the author of three books on China and in addition to being a Fellow of the IoD he is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
He studied Geography and Archaeology at St. Andrews University specialising in underwater archaeology. Outside of work, his interests include hill walking and fell running. He was the navigator in a rally team for 20 years and following two years of training in extreme environments walked to the North Pole in 2016. He has completed other expeditions in Norway, the Canadian Arctic and the Everest region.
PanelistsNagma Ebanks Beni MBE, Commercial Director, Prima Cheese
Nagma started her career in the fashion industry, but quickly realised the ethos of the sector was not for her. A strong entrepreneurial streak saw her follow her dreams and, even with no hospitality experience, she set up a restaurant from scratch in Islington, London called Angel of the North. She ran it successfully for seven years until she decided to start a family and moved back to her much-loved native North-East where she joined the family company Prima Cheese.
The company had not previously exported its products outside of the UK, and this is where Nagma saw huge potential and started their export journey in 2010. Using a strong commercial and marketing focus, Nagma continues to help drive the company in its direction and strategy for both domestic and international markets, currently supplying 52 countries worldwide, leading to her being honoured with an MBE in 2019 for services to International Trade.
Emma Hardy MP, Member of Parliament for Kingston upon Hull and Hessle
Emma Hardy was born and brought up in the East Riding – a few miles from the seat of Hessle and West Hull that she now represents in Parliament. Before becoming an MP, Emma was a primary school teacher for over ten years.
She left teaching in 2015 to become a full-time organiser for the National Union of Teachers and served as Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Educational Association before being elected to Parliament. Following her election in 2017, and subsequent re-election in 2019, Emma has risen in the Labour Party to become Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities in 2020.
Teaching and education are at the forefront of Emma’s agenda and she is constantly fighting to ensure all of our young people receive the educational provision and support they need.”
Emma Conroy, Founder & Director, Inclusive Consulting Ltd
Emma is the owner and director of Inclusive Consulting. Established in 2019, Inclusive is an innovative company that focuses on both attracting and retaining talent across the Yorkshire region. Emma has over a decade’s experience as a manager and director of a global recruitment group and is now using her expertise to proactively engage with the changing priorities of both companies and individuals when it comes to recruitment and career management.
Emma’s company offers a fresh, honest and unbiased approach to supporting professionals and assisting organisations in building and developing their talent. Emma and the Inclusive team are developing a range of services to offer their client base including coaching, well-being workshops, D&I consulting, business strategy and mentoring programmes. A busy mum of 2, Emma is passionate about equality and truly believes that if you surround yourself with the right people, anything is possible.
Panel hostCaroline Pullich, Chair, IoD North Yorkshire
Caroline Pullich leads the Yorkshire Business Banking Team with a team of approx. 60 employees. This involves managing 3 Area Business Managers & 5 Directors servicing complex needs of SME’s. Caroline heads the team that serves the diverse needs of over 6000 clients providing banking services for business customers typically managing debt up to £10m.
Caroline has 8 year’s experience working for Barclays, undertaking various large scale leadership roles within local Business and Corporate. Prior to this Caroline worked for 21 year’s for National Westminster covering various leadership roles across Retail & Corporate Banking working in national roles incorporating major strategic strategy based from London and Edinburgh. Caroline’s linked in profile provides detail on her roles & achievements at NatWest.
The Barclays team priority is to understand client’s ambitions and plans for growth & to be able to support them. This covers all industries and involves Caroline to understand the business challenges and opportunities for growth. Caroline is now an active member across various boards and groups which includes Leeds Chamber of Commerce Leadership Group, Bradford Producer City sitting on the Skills & Innovation Board, Member of Bradford Breakthrough, Acting Vice-Chair for the Institute of Directors North Yorkshire and also a board member of Maggie’s the Cancer Charity.
Caroline leads on External Engagement for Business Banking nationally & looking at how Barclays colleagues can have a presence & enhance their external personal brands. Working with key stakeholders is critical to her success and this includes working with Universities & Colleges, engaging with the LEP and MP’s and supporting Yorkshire as a Y30 Corporate member with ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’. Caroline has an extensive networking circle across Yorkshire and has held various seminars addressing particular Industry Sectors.
Caroline embraces Diversity & Inclusion within Barclays which includes Contribution to Growth, The Way we do Business and Supporting Our Communities. Caroline Leads as chair for the North on D&I focusing on all areas. The team cover a variety of Industries specialising in Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Business Services & has 2 Barclays Eagle Labs to enhance the scale up proposition.