Tory Batten: Senior Associate, Quest Associates

Tory Batten is an accomplished facilitator, moderator and host of conferences, retreats, workshops and other industry events, employing these skills in the arena of sustainability. Tory’s career spans the worlds of academia, media, central government departments and local government, third sector, membership associations, financial services, infrastructure businesses and global corporations, where she brings stakeholders together to discuss and address challenging issues, presenting their different perspectives and working together to develop a practical way forward. This spans everything from facilitating small groups and workshops to generating discussions and positive action among larger audiences. Current projects include financial inclusion, improving access to banking for the UK’s most vulnerable residents and housing solutions to address care, loneliness and isolation issues. Through Tory’s work with Quest, she combines these skills with her particular passion for all elements of the sustainable development agenda. In 2019 this encompasses areas as diverse as aggregates, sustainable communities, plastics, solar energy and the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration industry.

Tom Bloxham: Chairman, Urban Splash

The least qualified board member. Tom sold fire extinguishers door to door, studied a degree in politics, sold records then posters and ran a market stall down Affleck's Arcade. He made more money sub-letting the space than selling his posters. That's how it started. Following setting up a pub business, nightclub and radio station, Tom, along with Jonathan Falkingham MBE, founded Urban Splash in 1993. Urban Splash has developed over a billion pounds of regeneration projects across the country. As well as this, Tom chairs the Manchester International Festival and is a trustee of The Tate, Manchester United Foundation. His past roles include Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Chair of Arts Council NW, Chair of Centre of Cities Think Tank and Trustee of Big Issue in the North. Tom was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and urban regeneration in 1999 at the age of 35.

Mark Ball: Creative Director, Manchester International Festival

Mark Ball is Creative Director of Manchester International Festival (MIF), where he is responsible for the artistic programme for The Factory, MIF’s new large-scale venue for arts and culture scheduled to open in 2021. He was previously was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) (2009-17), Head of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company (2008-09) and Artistic Director of Fierce!, an annual international festival of performance taking place across Birmingham (1998-2008). He also holds trusteeships at a number of cultural organisations and is an Advisory Board Member of the Science and Industry Museum.

Elaine Boyle: Campaign Manager, Enterprise Nation

Elaine has worked within the Retail sector for over 20 years. Her career spans across sales and customer service to buying and product development and has worked with both physical and omni-channel businesses. Based in Manchester, Elaine is working with Enterprise Nation, who are currently running a National campaign alongside Amazon, Square and Direct Line 4 Business to populate empty prime retail sites with pop up style department stores. Creating a space for online only SME businesses, to come in and trial physical retail, giving them a chance to promote their brands and meet their customers face to face.

Melanie Collett: Head Of Asset Management, Aviva Investors

Melanie Collett - Melanie joined Aviva Investors in 2018 as Head of the European Asset Management team, where she manages around 30 investment professionals. She was previously Head of Asset Management at Round Hill Capital and before that worked in various roles at GE Real Estate. She has over 20 years of experience in Real Estate debt and equity and is a qualified Chartered Surveyor.

Lou Cordwell: OBE Founder & CEO, magneticNorth

Lou is CEO of Manchester based digital design studio, magneticNorth. Founded in 2000, the company quickly established an international reputation with an award winning client portfolio. Today, the studio continues to work with a wide range of companies - from BBC to Hermes - helping them to meet and shape evolving audience needs by putting digital at the heart of their businesses. Alongside the day job, she is a member of the Greater Manchester’s Local Enterprise Partnership Board and Chair of Design Manchester. Lou is also currently leading on Manchester’s Design Manifesto, which aims to enable a design-led delivery of the city region’s strategy and grow Manchester’s reputation as a leading international design city. Lou is also a founding investor in AllBright and a passionate campaigner for gender equality in business and the tech industry. Lou was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for services to the creative and digital economy.

Rafael Cuesta: Head of Innovation,TfGM ; Vice-Chairman, ERTRAC

Rafael started his career in Colombia in environmental protection including working as an Environmental Consultant in the development of the Medellin Metro, Colombia. Since relocating to the UK, Rafael has worked on the NET tram development at Nottingham City Council, public transport operational and policy roles at Birmingham City Council, Transport for the West Midlands and more recently at Transport for Greater Manchester as head of innovation. Rafael has a wide range of experience in the transport innovation and intelligent mobility field and significant expertise in the development of mobility as a service.

Bruce Daisley: EMEA Vice President, Twitter

Bruce Daisley is the EMEA Vice President of Twitter and best selling author of The Joy of Work. He joined the company in 2012 having previously run YouTube UK at Google. He has also worked at Emap/Bauer and Capital Radio. Bruce runs the Apple #1 Business Chart topping podcast Eat Sleep Work Repeat on work culture. Bruce's book The Joy of Work has been a smash hit, it was the Sunday Times number 1 business bestseller in spring 2019, the Financial Times made it Book of the Month.

James Evans: Head of Office, Savills

James heads up the Business Space Team and is also Head of the Savills Manchester Office. James specialises in providing both disposal work acting for local property companies and larger institutional clients, and acquisition advice to a number of key regional and national clients. He has worked on a variety of high profile schemes, such as Circle Square, One St Peter’s Square, First Street and Piccadilly Place.

Helen Gribbon: Director, Renaissance

Helen has over 20 years of experience in the built environment and, with training in both engineering and architecture, she brings a passion for detail and a creative edge to projects. Throughout her career, Helen has worked across the residential, hospitality, health and scientific, education, cultural and civic sectors. Helen is also a keen advocate and active in the advancement of new material applications in building engineering as well as analytical developments. Working closely with various universities, material societies and key leaders in the field of engineering has led to several successful projects in this area and publications.

Daniel Hargreaves: Real Estate Partner, Shoosmiths LLP

Dan is a partner in Shoosmiths’ 287-strong Real Estate team, acting for both public and private sector clients, including developers, occupiers, government departments and local authorities, education establishments, investors and financial institutions both in the north-west and nationally. He specialises in advising on development projects from single site schemes to multi-site large scale and long term projects, having acted on a number of town centre regeneration schemes and projects involving the delivery of a wide range of property assets including hotels, hospitals, health centres, community facilities, leisure facilities, business parks and residential and mixed-use schemes. Dan joined the Shoosmiths’ real estate practice in January 2016, having spent 14 years at Pinsent Masons.


James Heather: Development Director, U+I Group PLC

James joined U+I in March 2017. Most recently, James was responsible for the delivery of One St Peter's Square, Manchester, a joint venture Grade A office development for Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund and Argent, including the lettings to KPMG, Addleshaw Goddard and DLA Piper. The building was awarded the British Council for Offices National Winner of the Commercial Workspace category in 2015. The 13-floor (280,000 sq. ft.) office development had an investment value of more than £165m. Building on over 17 years of development experience gained at Argent (Property Development) Services LLP, James will oversee the development of the Mayfield Project, a 2.6m sq. ft. mixed use development in the heart of Manchester City Centre. James played a prominent role in the management and development of the award-winning mixed-use scheme at Brindleyplace, Birmingham, and was involved in the development and construction of over half the buildings and squares on the estate.  This included the management of the design and construction of Eleven Brindleyplace, voted in 2010 as the UK’s best commercial workplace by the British Council for Offices.


Jason Hawthorne: Founding Director and Chief Digital Officer, Vu.City

Jason Hawthorne is the Chief Digital Officer and one of the founding Directors of the pioneering interactive smart city platform, VUCITY. VU.CITY is a highly accurate and revolutionary tool which is transforming the planning and communications process around proposed and new developments. Jason was formerly Managing Director of Wagstaff, a leading PropTech agency. Wagstaff has since merged with VU.CITY as VU.CITY Projects, and continues to provide specialist VR and AR technology and ZTV’s for real world application. Jason’s 25 years experience of property and technology is helping shape the transformation of planning and design through the latest digital technology.


Dr Alan James: Partner Expert Alliance

Dr Alan James is a business leader with broad strategic experience of defining projects ranging from local initiatives to multi-billion dollar infrastructure;
refining their business, funding and policy proposals; developing their promotion, marketing and brand strategies; and communicating their policy, political and commercial cases at the highest levels of Government and business. Alan is the only person worldwide who has held leadership positions in rail, high speed rail, maglev and hyperloop.  From this unique perspective, spanning the transport and mobility market, he firmly believes that 'it’s not about the tech, it’s about the transformation'.

Ged King,: Charitable Barber, Skullfades

Steve Jobs is famous for saying “the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Remarkably, Mancunian barber, Ged King, is on a mission to help make Manchester and the world a better place one haircut at a time. In 2015, Ged started offering free haircuts to the homeless around Manchester, and what started as a passion for helping others became a mission to give disadvantaged people a chance to improve their lives. In the same year he was featured in BBC Three’s ‘Amazing Human’ series with the video generating over 25 million views. With his team of 5-stars-rated hair stylists, Ged, alongside his successful barbershop, has set up the Skullfades Foundation: from bringing food, hygiene kits and help with addiction to the homeless, to training them to become barbers – raising their chance of employability – the team is now expanding its reach.

Sue Lewis: Executive and Personal Development Coach, Sue Lewis Coaching

Sue has a professional background in Social Work.  With over 20 years’ experience in working with vulnerable adults she progressed to managing the delivery of drug treatment services in Manchester.  As an NHS manager, she developed expertise in stakeholder relationships. A proven track record of partnership working led to facilitating meetings, chairing conferences and events which soon became an established part of her role. Sue now coaches executives, non-executive boards, senior managers and CEO’s and facilitates individuals and teams to work better together.  As an experienced facilitator, Sue is known for her calm, inclusive and down to earth approach.

Lee Mallett: Director, Urbik Limited

Lee is an urbanist and writer. He helps shape and communicate ideas, strategies and development projects in the built environment for developers, architects and public sector agencies.  He qualified and worked as a chartered surveyor before editing weekly industry magazines Property Week and Building Design, and he is co-editor and publisher of Planning in London magazine. He’s also been a property developer and a marketing consultant. Lee has an MA in urban design and is a contributor to the London Evening Standard’s Homes & Property supplement.

Ben McLeod: Partner, DWF

Ben specialises in the drafting and negotiation of commercial contracts and technology agreements across a range of sectors. He has a particular focus on IT outsourcing arrangements and helping clients transition from legacy systems to alternative solutions.


Paul McManus: Head of Community, UK , WeWork

Paul McManus is Head of Community, UK at WeWork, where he leads the Community teams to deliver world-class member experiences across the UK. Paul joined WeWork in January 2019 as Director of Community in Manchester at a key point in WeWork’s growth there, before moving into his current role in June. Prior to this, Paul spent four years at Uber, with a significant role heading up operations and expansion teams in their Rides & Eats businesses helping grow coverage across 100 towns and cities


Janine Mitchell: Founder, Change for Success

Janine Mitchell is a wellbeing specialist based in Manchester.  She specialises in stress management and resilience programs for business’ and organisations. Delivering workshops, training and consultancy on a one to one or group basis in all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. With a background in Psychology, Janine holds two degrees  and is currently studying for an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice. Janine is a fully trained hypnotherapist, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and NLP Practitioner. The research for Janine's Masters degree is into the efficacy of EFT. She has a particular passion about neuroscience and often incorporates this into her training.


Mat Oakley: Head of European Commercial Research, Savills

Mat Oakley is head of UK & European commercial property research at Savills. His primary areas of expertise relate to office, retail and leisure real estate, and he regularly advises investors and developers on opportunities and risks across these and other markets. Mat has been researching, analysing and occasionally correctly forecasting the commercial property market since the late 1980’s.

Sheona Southern: Managing Director, Marketing Manchester

Sheona leads Marketing Manchester, the agency charged with promoting Greater Manchester on a national and international stage. The agency works to raise the profile of Greater Manchester as a global city region, its position at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and as an alternative gateway to the UK. Before joining Marketing Manchester, Sheona ran her own destination consultancy working with clients across the UK and held several high-profile marketing roles including the BBC, Cumbria Tourism, Teamtalk Media Group and M&S. With a wealth of experience across media, retail and tourism, Sheona is a well-respected figure in the North West.

Joanne Roney OBE: Chief Executive, Manchester City Council

Joanne has been the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council since April 2017.   During the last 18 months she has dealt with a number of unprecedented events including the Manchester Arena Bomb. Joanne is driving the Council through the fundamental changes to Health and Social Care.  She is lead Chief Executive for skills across Greater Manchester. Before moving to Manchester, Joanne  was previously Chief Executive of Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council, where she held the top post from 2008. Joanne’s career started in local government as an apprentice with Birmingham City Council when she was 16.   She has a strong track record in transforming public services and delivering major regeneration initiatives such as the Hepworth Gallery Wakefield and Parkhill Housing in Sheffield.  She has extensive experience  in housing and local government having previously worked as Director of Housing at Kirklees Council and Executive Director with responsibility for housing, communities and adult care services at Sheffield City Council.  Joanne  is a Fellow of CIH and a regular contributor to Inside Housing. Joanne is a Trustee of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, established in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack, to provide financial support to victims and families affected. Joanne was awarded the OBE for services to local government in 2009.

Lisa Tye: Partner and Co-Head of Planning, Shoosmiths LLP

Lisa is a partner and joint-head of Shoosmiths’ Planning and Environment team, driving the team’s growth forward across the UK. An experienced planning lawyer, she acts on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious planning matters, including compulsory purchase work, drafting and negotiating complex Section 106 agreements, judicial review, footpath/highway closures, infrastructure agreements and village green issues. She has acted for a mix of public and private clients, including DCLG, North West Development Agency, Ainscough Strategic Land, Vastint, Royal Borough of Kingston, Bolton Council, Bellway and Story Homes.

Stefan Webb: Director of Digitisation of Planning and Standards, Connected Places Catapult

Stefan has led our Future of Planning work that has instigated the national digital transformation of the planning system, as well being a thought leader on digital transformation across the built environment.  He has conceived of, designed and built a number of prototypes of new planning tools and regularly speaks at national and international planning conferences on the subject.

Andrew Walters: National Head of Infrastructure Planning, GL Hearn

Andrew is a Chartered Town Planner and Environmental Lawyer with over 20 years’ experience working on an extensive range of infrastructure and environmental projects for both the public and private sectors across the UK and overseas. His key skills lie in bringing together the full spectrum of Planning Consents and approvals, licensing and Environmental Assessment, aligned with the demands of complex design, stakeholder management, community engagement and project performance.Andrew regularly advises industry clients on a broad range of planning, environmental permitting, licensing and consenting matters both offshore and onshore, including planning applications and appeals; environmental impact assessments; construction projects; energy projects; waste planning and corporate support. He has also undertaken lead consent management on a broad range of infrastructure projects including the construction of deep water ports, light and heavy rail, bridge, conventional and renewable energy projects across the UK and overseas.

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