John Sargent runs The Ideas Mine, a community interest company that he established in 2004 as a meeting point for the creative energies of leading social enterprise professionals in North East England. An action research consultancy, The Ideas Mine proposes and tests innovative solutions to profound social challenges. The company specialises in strategic sustainability planning for third sector organisations. He co-founded the Social Enterprise Research and Innovation Foundation, which is working with the National Offender Management Service to explore the potential for social enterprise to reduce re-offending. Plans include a regional business support service, run by offenders in a high security institution, a network of small, prison-based enterprises, and a regional logistics centre. His client list includes national and regional public and third sector organisations.
Paul has a wide range of direct business experience and of working with other businesses. Now working as a CMI – qualified business coach and mentor, he was previously Business Development director at GMAP Ltd, a profitable high growth technology business which reached a turnover of £7m when sold. He was a senior consultant at Experian Business Strategies for five years before joining Business Link in 2009 to advise the SME sector in Yorkshire. Paul’s earlier career saw him develop new European business opportunities in property relocation for US firms Merrill Lynch Real Estate and PHH International, before moving to Yorkshire in 1988 to develop the UK relocation business for Abbey (then National & Provincial). Paul has a degree in Law and an MBA from University of Leeds. Paul is married, has two grown up children, and lives in Harrogate. Amongst many interests, one of his favourite activities is walking in the Dales, followed by a pint or two.
Geoff, a fully qualified Engineer is a Director and Consultant with considerable international experience from a blue chip corporate background and 30 years in business covering a broad range of functional disciplines. His early career in the oil industry he worked for BP as a process and project engineer on major projects, including international assignments before taking up senior commercial roles in corporate planning, commercial manager of a major North Sea Oilfield as well as working in fmcg for its Consumer Products. Geoff has also spent a number of years in supply chain management as Director of an electrical components distributor and retailer, and then Business Development Director of a major outsource service provider subsequently as Managing Director of one of its divisions. Geoff has excellent interpersonal and leadership skills and strength in general management to assess and deliver improved business performance. As a qualified coach he takes a keen interest in the people drivers behind success.
Judith is a freelance management consultant and trainer working across England and Wales, though predominately in Yorkshire. Her client base is drawn solely from charities, community groups, social businesses, universities and statutory bodies. Her main areas of work are in supporting organisations with strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, partnership work (particularly mergers and due diligence), managing change and non line management support to senior executives. She has considerable governance experience and has been vice – chair and director of Incommunities, a social housing landlord with 20,000 units, since 2006. In addition she has been a director / trustee of East Bradford Community Housing Trust (2001 – 6) and Yorkshire Water Charitable Trust. She is currently also a director of Craven CVS. Judith’s employed roles includes 2 years co-ordinating a multi- agency project developing a new quality mark for the not for profit advice sector, 1 year managing a grant programme for the Community Fund (Now Big Lottery) and 10 years managing Yorkshire Money Advice Unit. A regional project capacity building 300 advice providers in Yorkshire and the Humber. She lives in Grassington with her partner and an outrageously lazy collie.
Liz has over 25 years’ experience in public service during which time she has undertaken a number of senior leadership roles within the education, skills and employment sectors, working both in national and local government and in public and private sector agencies. Now working on a freelance basis as a consultant and project manager, Liz previously worked for North Yorkshire County Council leading on the strategy and planning of opportunities for young people aged 14-19. Prior to the local authority she held the post of Area Director for the Learning and Skills Council, with responsibility for leading post 16 planning and funding in York and North Yorkshire. The role involved working with key stakeholders in the sector including FE colleges, schools and apprenticeship providers, and also with local authorities, funding bodies, voluntary organisations and economic development and skills partnerships to ensure local education and training opportunities met the needs of employers, young people and adults. Her earlier career included roles with the Training and Enterprise Council, Manpower Services Commission and the Department of Employment. Liz’s current consultancy work is in the education, training and skills sectors – particularly related to strategic review, planning and implementation, change management, team leadership and mentoring and coaching. Her clients include local authorities and Further Education colleges with recent work including reviews of provision for children with a range of Special Educational Needs, drafting a 14-19 strategy and planning for High Needs Funding Reform. Alongside work, Liz volunteers with the Youth Justice Service and as a Trustee for a local dementia day care centre.
Leon is Strategic Director at Orb Community Enterprise Knaresborough and Pioneer Projects (Celebratory Arts) Ltd Bentham, two forward thinking creative community arts and well-being charities in North Yorkshire. Both promote better mental health and improved life opportunities for the most vulnerable and seek to create more capable, inclusive and vibrant communities. Working in partnership with the local authority, clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts and a range of other statutory and VCS organisations, his focus is on developing creative, high quality, sustainable solutions that work at a local level but are scale-able across the broader region. Leon is a committed believer in the power of local communities and the strength that comes through collaborative approaches to shared problems. He is also Chair of Trustees at Chain Lane Community Hub in Knaresborough.
A Purple Patch is a time in a person’s life when things come together for them and they experience a period of good fortune or creativity. Having completed a masters degree in Mathematics and then a BA in Graphic Arts and Design, alongside writing, recording and performing on the local folk music scene, Fran found her own Purple Patch through working at Purple Patch Arts, a not-for-profit social enterprise, where she is now the CEO. The company’s mission is to improve the lives and life chances of people with learning disabilities by providing innovative, inclusive, creative learning experiences for them and the professionals that support them. She is passionate about the impact that creative learning can have on participants, teachers and support networks, and believes that good relationships are at the heart of success. She lives in Leeds with her husband and a cat called Mouse.
Andy has been the Chief Executive of the Youth Association since 1999. After an early career in accountancy and commercial management, he decided to follow his heart and re-train as a youth worker. For the past 25 years, he has been a passionate defender of the craft of youth work and a strong advocate for its transformative role in the lives of young people and in the design of public services. Andy has served as a director of Connexions West Yorkshire and a public governor of his local hospital trust. He studied politics at the University of York and has a distinction MBA from Hull University. An astute strategist and financial manager, he has long committed his skills to developing management techniques in the voluntary sector. Andy lives in Rotherham, is married to a teacher and has two grown-up children. His hobbies include watching Rotherham Titans and long-distance trail walking.