We’re happy to announce the below speakers for this year’s conference.
For more information on #BeeAuthentic or Creative pro-manchester please email email@example.com or call 0161 817 3482.
Julia Mitchell, Toast PR
Following a business degree at Warwick Business School, Julia joined Boots The Chemist as a marketing graduate role; before taking up positions in buying and finally settling within their in-house PR team where she moved quickly through the ranks at a young age managing budgets of over £1m and working client-side managing global PR agencies.
In 2004, she left Boots to set up Toast PR, with the aim of designing a PR agency “from a client perspective” offering a personable and results-driven approach to each account. Toast soon expanded with outposts in London, Leeds and Manchester; eventually moving into Spinngfields in Manchester, where they are due to open a showroom and office within the new XYZ building this Autumn.
Toast have developed a strong reputation as a new breed of agency working nationally with both consumer and B2B clients across technology, property, hospitality and lifestyle accounts on PR, content management, social media and events. Clients including Boots, Iceland, Gossard, Lily O’Brien’s, Telcom, Fatsoma, Allied London and Market Gravity.
As well as running Toast and looking after a young family, Julia also guest lectures in PR at Nottingham Trent University and Manchester Metropolitan.
David Edmundson-Bird, Manchester Metropolitan University
David is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing & Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he runs a number of digital communications programmes, and is Course Leader for Manchester Met’s new full-time MSc Digital Marketing Communications.
David founded Manchester Met’s Agency Life programme 5 years ago to enable students experience live work skills in the workplace very early in their course. He also set up their first part-time MSc in Digital Marketing in 2007, a programme that has now graduated nearly 300 high-profile professionals into the profession.
He has enjoyed several spells in academia as well as senior management roles in the digital sector, and even helped to set up Manchester’s second web design agency back in 1995
Heather Blundell, Weber Shandwick Manchester
Weber Shandwick Manchester’s Managing Director Heather Blundell is a spirited and compassionate leader with an entrepreneurial approach, and a fast-working problem solver.
Heather’s key area of expertise is developing compelling strategies, content and collateral for internal and external communications campaigns, and driving communications activities to support and protect leading brands. Her favourite client relationships are those where she feels like an extension of the client’s team and can work together to achieve their objectives.
The Manchester office acts as a hub for several Global accounts, coordinating offices in Germany and the USA, as well as working with a multi-disciplinary team of marketing, digital and design agencies on UK-wide campaigns and international media requests.
Heather is also an issues management specialist, providing strategic counsel to law firms, property companies and local and foreign governments.
Heather joined Weber Shandwick in 2015 as head of Manchester’s corporate team, before being promoted to Managing Director in 2016. Prior to this, she worked at Edelman for eight years and was the account lead across numerous areas of business, with a corporate and consumer focus.
Darren Ratcliffe, Digitl
Darren Ratcliffe is the founder and Head of Agency at Digitl, a Marketplace and eCommerce agency based in Manchester- a digital agency with a focus on three key areas: helping retailers grow their sales on marketplaces; creating eCommerce websites that increase sales; and the development of websites that help businesses grow.
Laura Harper, Shoosmiths
Laura is a partner at national law firm Shoosmiths where she heads the Creative Industries and Digital team.
Immersed in the sector, she acts for a broad range of creative and digital businesses from multi-national technology companies, major fashion brands, communications agencies including, advertising and design agencies, digital agencies and PR companies, product design and manufacturing companies, film and TV production companies, music businesses, publishing, gaming and software companies through to Arts organisations.
Laura previously worked in both the creative industries and tech sector before entering the legal profession and therefore has an acknowledged and unique understanding of the sectors and the issues faced by those working within them. Laura is known for providing an accessible legal service to those businesses which operate within the creative and digital sector.
Daniel Nolan, theEword and chair of creative pro-manchester
Daniel Nolan is managing director of theEword, one of Manchester’s leading independent digital agencies. The agency specialises in creative content marketing.
He is also the co-chair of pro-manchester’s creative committee, the chairman of the Manchester Publicity Association and has previously been recognised as the Digital, Media or Creative Professional of the Year at the Made In Manchester Awards.
He is a passionate ambassador for Manchester and the North West’s creative, digital and media industries and has hosted and spoken at conferences and events for the likes of pro.manchester, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Salford Media Festival, the MPA, Manchester Metropolitan University and many more.
Working with Manchester Metropolitan University, Oldham College and the UTC @ MediaCity, Daniel is also a leading figure locally in setting the agenda for training and retaining the best creative, digital and media talent in the city.
John Keiller, Common Good
John is the Co-Founder & CEO of Common Good, an Entrepreneur, Dad, Cyclist, Thinker & Doer.
Laura Wolfe, Wolfe
Laura Wolfe is founder and managing director of live brand experience and events’ agency, Wolfe. Wolfe has an impressive client list, which includes many of the UK’s biggest brand names.
Laura and Wolfe have a great reputation in business, sport and charity. Laura, a former “Insider Business 42Under42”, and winner of the Women in Business, Contribution to Manchester Award as well as the Chairman’s Special Award at the Downtown Manchester in Business Awards for Contribution to Manchester Business, began her marketing career with Merrill Lynch and ABN AMRO. She was appointed as regional director of the Institute of Directors (“IoD”) in the North West in 2003, turning the region into the highest performing IoD region in the country in under five years.
Shelly Rubinstein, Impact. Psychology for Business
Shelly Rubinstein Chartered Psychologist, founded Impact Consulting Psychologists in 1994. She has over twenty five years of high-level commercial experience and has led change programmes across many organisations. Shelly has an in-depth understanding and robust experience of organisational change, its impact on leaders and the consequences for services to customers. Experienced in working with senior executives in investment banks, financial services, legal sector, manufacturing industry, BBC, Police Forces, and most government departments for many years.
Shelly Rubinstein has made TV and Radio appearances as an expert on stress at work, workplace bullying and leadership. She has featured in the Financial Times on topics such as “Standing Up for Yourself at Work”” and “How to unite newly formed teams.” Shelly integrates both business and people focus in order to increase organisations’ staff satisfaction levels, productivity, quality and profit.
Mark Stringer, AHOY
Mark Stringer is the MD and founder of branding agency AHOY. He started the agency in 2008 with little more than an Apple Mac. A graphic designer by trade he has built an agency that’s as much loved by other agencies as it is by its customers. It has won numerous awards including Prolific North, RAR, Big Chip and Talk of Manchester.
Mark’s passion for helping others lead to the forming of private advice group ‘Dust It Off’ helping agency owners who fall on difficult times get back on their feet.
In his spare time his love of outdoors means he will usually be found “up a hill” with his wife, kids and two dogs.
Mel Powell, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Mel Powell is a Senior Lecturer in Public Relations and Associate Head for Student Employability at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. After 10 years as a local authority PR practitioner and then as a theatre marketer, she started to teach PR at university level in 1996 at Leeds Beckett University before moving to Manchester in 2002.
Mel is a member of the PRCA and is CIPR Accredited Practitioner of the CIPR, serving as a co-opted member of the CIPR North West Regional Group since 2011. As well as public relations, she specialises in personal professional development, including personal branding, values and ethics, as well as communications and media theory, which has led to a developing specialist interest in the area of ‘fake news’.
Anna Varley Jones, Weber Shandwick Manchester
Anna Varley Jones is Weber Shandwick Manchester’s consumer marketing director and leads an integrated team of marketing experts working on national and global clients in the travel, retail, FMCG and technology sectors.
Specialising in delivering smart campaigns that have real impact for a business, Anna has significant experience as a trusted advisor big brands from strategy development through to campaign delivery. Anna is passionate about insight-driven creativity and develops campaigns built on robust insights, trends and data to create compelling stories that resonate with consumers.
Anna leads integrated project teams ensuring that clients have access to the planning, creative, technology and content specialists that they need to drive impactful and disruptive work.
She has a Masters Distinction in Public Relations.
Steve Kuncewicz, Slater and Gordon and co-chair of creative pro-manchester
Steve is a principal lawyer in the business advisory team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
He specialises in intellectual property, media and social media law with a particular emphasis on the creative, digital and technology sector. Steve is listed as a “recommended lawyer” in tier 2 of the Legal 500s 2014, 2015, and 2016 North West Technology, Media & Telecoms section.
He is a regular media spokesperson, and has given interviews to the local and national press through BBC Breakfast, Sky News, ITV, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC London. Steve’s first book, “Legal Issues of Web 2.0 and Social Media”, was published in June 2011 and his second book “Legal Issues of Corporate Communication in the Online World” was published in June 2012.”
James Ashford, GoProposal
James Ashford is author of “Selling to Serve” and Founder of GoProposal.
A previous agency owner himself, James, like most agency owners, had to make the transition from “creative” to “business owner” and had to learn how to overcome many challenges.
One of the key areas where James excelled was in profitable pricing, selling and getting payments from clients.
He now shares his strategies with other agency owners and helps to make their life a lot easier with the software he has developed – GoProposal.com/agency
Guy Levine, Return
Guy Levine is the CEO and Founder of Return. He started his Internet career by founding an internet business at 17 and exiting 1 year later during the .com boom. He has not looked back since. Guy has won industry accolades for campaigns he has worked on including the Big Chip’s and was named Entrepreneur of the Year. A speaker keynoting global conferences, and a regular in the press.
In his spare time, Guy can be found with his Wife and 2 daughters, flying Helicopters, riding bicycles and generally getting into mischief.
Paul Barnes, My Accountancy Place
Paul is Managing Director of My Accountancy Place, who specialise in helping digital creative agencies to grow more profitably, by giving them, total visibility and understanding of their finances, so they can make better and more timely decisions as they grow. They combine Xero and other world leading accounting tools, with industry specific expertise and their own in-house innovations such as monthly Video Impact Reports and their Agency Profit Maximiser System.
Sam Ward, Tunafish Media
Sam joined Tunafish in September 2016 after exiting his own Micro Brewery business based in Manchester. Sam quickly built a name for himself and his brand after successfully landing deals with major hotel and supermarket chains due to the brand’s heavy online presence and disruptive social strategy. Sam has a handful of accolades under his belt including being named Huffington post entrepreneur of the week.