Cheltenham economic advisory BOARD

The Cheltenham Economic Advisory Board (CEAB) membership brings together individuals with a diverse range of skills, knowledge and expertise to give their perspective in areas of business, education and skills alongside wider employee-related issues.  CEAB members will identify best practice and learning from other areas and act as a sounding board for future policy development. The objectives of the Board link into the wider strategic economic outcomes for Gloucestershire, the Western Gateway, and the West Midlands.

Cheltenham Economic Advisory Board

Cheltenham economic advisory board members

Dr Diane Savoury OBE

dr Diane savory obe - chair

Diane is the Chair of Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership which has a place, high street and retail specialism. She sits on the BEIS Retail Sector Council as well as the ministerial-chaired Economic Recovery Workgroup for MHCLG. Diane is also chair for the cultural charity, Cheltenham Festivals.

Diane was awarded an OBE in recognition of her work with GFirst LEP and her contribution to business, and was appointed as a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant in 2015.

With a passion for fashion, Diane studied retail and exhibition design at Cassio College, Watford. After joining Cult Clothing, the predecessor of SuperGroup Plc, she rapidly progressed through the organisation to become its Chief Operating Officer, transforming the company from a small, local enterprise to the now-distinctive global fashion retailer that is Superdry. Furthermore, she has mentored businesses to help them succeed in today’s challenging environment and is a board member for a number of companies.

Nigel Jobson

nigel jobson MRICS

Nigel is the Chief Commercial Officer for Maybe* – a platform that uses AI to enable any business to turn social media conversations into insights that inform actions and deliver results.

The Maybe* platform is helping towns and businesses accelerate the evolution of their High Streets across the UK by listening to the voice of consumers.

Nigel is also the Chair of GFirst LEP – Retail & High Street Sector Group, sits on the REVO Strategic Board, has 30 years of property and retail experience across the UK, EU & US, and was previously Property Director at Superdry Plc and Director of JLL (International Real Estate).

KAMAL BECHKOUM

Kamal is an experienced senior leader and academic in Higher Education with an international background and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the UK Higher Education sector. Kamal worked at senior level at several UK universities before joining the University of Gloucestershire, where he is currently the Head of the School of Computing and Engineering.

He is the University lead for cyber security providing leadership for key cyber strategic projects, including the Institute of Coding and the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology. Working with the Golden Valley Development (GVD) Team, Kamal chairs the Research Stakeholders Group, a consortium of universities in the Southwest to define how universities can contribute to, and benefit from, the Cyber Central (UK) development. Kamal is also a member of the GVD’s Cyber Leadership Board, and GFirst LEP’s CyberTech Business Board.

His research area includes the application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Engineering Design, Cyber Security and Big Data Analytics. Examples of some of his PhD students’ projects include “Advanced Persistent Threats” and “Security in Blockchain’s Smart Contracts”.

Kristine Scott

KRISTINE SCOTT

Kristine is a Partner and Head of the Cheltenham office of Harrison Clark Rickerbys (HCR), and also national Head of the firm’s market-leading Education and Charities team. 

Having lived and worked in Cheltenham for over 25 years Kristine’s knowledge and connections, in both the town and region, are longstanding and extensive. Kristine has the resources and connections of not only the Cheltenham HCR office, but also those of the firm’s 10 other offices in England and Wales. 

Kristine’s connections are particularly strong in the national education sector, her specialist legal field, in which she is a trusted and recognised expert UK-wide, thought leader and is regularly invited to speak at national conferences. Testament to the strength of Kristine’s expertise in this field is her work and involvement for the sector as part of its COVID-19 emergency response. 

In her role as Head of the Cheltenham office she recognised the contribution HCR could make to showcasing the cyber expertise in the county more widely across the UK by leading the firm’s 3-day Cyber Conference in 2021, with a clear focus on the region but also a strategic view of the wider opportunities. The new relationships and partnerships conceived during the conference thrive as she continues to bring together key sector organisations to ensure that the region’s economic value and contribution to the national agenda is maximised.

Ian George

IAN GEORGE

Ian is Co-CEO of Cheltenham Festivals. 

Ian has been working in festivals and events for over 20 years both as a promoter and a programmer. He has worked in the private, public, and charity sectors with organisations such as Warner Music and Glastonbury Festival. 

Following seven years as Director of Cheltenham Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 2, in 2017 he also became Director of The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival before in 2018 taking up the post of Director of Festivals. He now heads up all four festivals that Cheltenham Festivals (a not for profit charity) runs which are the Jazz, Science, Classical Music and Literature Festivals. In January 2022 he was appointed as Co-CEO of the charity overseeing its festivals, outreach and education work.

Dorian Wagg - Bruton Knowles - BSc MRICS RPR FNARA

dorian wragg BSC MRICS RPR FNARA

Dorian Wragg is a Partner at leading Chartered Surveyor firm, Bruton Knowles, and heads up its National Commercial Property Team in the UK. With over 25 years’ experience, he specialises in managing complex, multi sector property assets, identifying core issues and providing innovative, dynamic and measurable solutions that drive business transformation, utilising in-depth knowledge and expertise in property asset management with a focus on improving income and capital growth and on reducing non-recoverable expenditure.

In addition to managing existing property portfolios for clients across multiple sectors, including commercial, leisure, retail and industrial, he also offers expert consultancy on acquisition opportunities that complement strategic vision. Dorian is also the national media spokesperson for Bruton Knowles on commercial property and investment matters and regularly provides comment and insights into the sector and the property and trends and issues high on the media agenda.

Dorian is an RICS Registered Property Receiver, Fellow of the Non-Administrative Receivers Association, Chair of the G-First LEP Retail Tourism and High Street Business Group and a Board member of the Gloucester Property Forum.

clare bourne

Clare Bourne is Head of Delivery, Innovation and Growth for CyNam, a community interest company representing the cyber/tech community across Gloucestershire.

Clare has worked in the cyber/tech industry for the last decade in Cheltenham and has experience of the industry from several disciplines including software, infrastructure and information assurance/cyber security.

In her spare time Clare is an avid volunteer in the area, having volunteered for board roles for the Young Enterprise scheme and BAME led radio station Gloucester FM.

tom dunn

Tom has over 10 years experience working in commercial real estate, focusing on city centre regeneration projects. Tom has a particular flare and passion for projects which are innovative and push boundaries. As well as real estate, Tom also has a sincere interest in technology and is a part time tutor at Manchester Codes.

Tom has led and been involved in several award winning schemes, including:

Kampus, Manchester City Centre – Over 500 apartments to rent in an eclectic mix of buildings, together with independent eateries, drinking holes and shops all centred around lush gardens.

Foundry, Manchester – Neither office or industrial units, Foundry is dynamic hybrid of real estate and is home to a diverse range of businesses, from film studios and fashion brands, to micro breweries and co-working spaces.

Island, Manchester City Centre – A net zero workspace project with the ambience of a hospitality environment such as a hotel, giving residents an amenity-driven experience. With integrated food and beverage offering, regular events and a sense of seamless transition from one area to another, it will be very unlike a traditional and sterile new-build office.

Cheltenham borough council supporting officers

Tracey Birkinshaw

TRACEY BIRKINSHAW BSC HONS DIPTP MBA MRTPI

Tracey is Director of Communities and Economic development for Cheltenham Borough Council and has over 20 years’ experience of working within the town.  Graduating from Cardiff University in 1998 with degree and postgraduate degree in planning, followed by an MBA from Gloucestershire University in 2009, she has focussed on managing the long-term growth and development of Cheltenham.  This has delivered three statutory development plans for the town, supporting significant inward investment and infrastructure delivery.

With a passion for place making, communities, sustainability and regeneration Tracey is a member of the Institute of Place Management.  Her portfolio includes planning, enforcement & compliance, economic development & inward investment, communities & partnerships and Marketing Cheltenham.  Working with elected members, stakeholders, communities, developers and with wider partners, she is committed to engagement to deliver the high quality results to support the sustainable growth of Cheltenham.

Any spare time you can find her dipping into her enjoyment of architecture and the countryside – exploring interesting places.

CLLR ROWENA HAY

Rowena Hay is the Leader of Cheltenham Borough Council and Councillor for Oakley Ward having first become a councillor in 2002.

Since taking on the leader’s role, Rowena has been determined to see Cheltenham secure it’s future as the cyber innovation capital of the UK and harness all the education, employment, housing and community benefits it will bring.Rowena was previously responsible for Finance and Assets and was instrumental in garnering support for the Council’s decision to purchase £40m of land for the development. She lives in Cheltenham with her husband, Colin; is a Magistrate of over 30 years standing and has a very productive allotment.

HELEN MOLE MSC

Helen is Head of Place Marketing and Inward Investment for Cheltenham Borough Council. She heads up the Marketing Cheltenham team, promoting Cheltenham as a place to live, work, visit, meet, and invest via brands including Visit Cheltenham, Meet in Cheltenham, and We’re Moving to Cheltenham. She achieved a Masters (with distinction) in Place Management and Leadership in 2020 and is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management.

Helen has nearly 20 years of experience in economic development, regeneration, and business engagement in both the private and public sector. She has worked with businesses across all sectors as well as developing and delivering strategies for tourism, culture, and business recovery. She was a key part of the regeneration team which successfully bid for and delivered The Arches Cultural Development Fund project and the Future High Streets Fund project, securing over £20m of public funding for Worcester.

As an experienced events manager, Helen has overseen major events such as the Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre and Worcester Music Festival and is a keen champion of the positive impact that the arts and culture can have on communities and the economy.

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