Organised by
Movers and Shakers logo
Headline Partner
Vodafone Business logo
In association with
West Midlands Growth Company logo
Official Partners
West Midlands Combined Authority logo
Midlands Engine

'INVESTING IN THE FUTURE' - People | Place | Economy

Tuesday 17th September 2019 - The Vox Conference Centre, Resorts World, Birmingham

  • Listen & Learn from Public and Private Sector Leaders

  • Network with the key players & stakeholders involved in the West Midlands economy

  • Be informed; understand the scale and extent of the opportunities in the West Midlands

  • Understand the challenges of achieving the West Midlands Growth strategy



People | Place | Economy

Building on the past 3 years [see feedback] the theme for 2019 is ‘Investing in the future’ - People | Place | Economy

The day is centered on Investment and private and public Sector collaboration.

The morning session will be on ‘Inward Investment’ and economic growth. We will be looking at how the region can capitalise on its progress; showcasing the £10bn West Midlands Investment Portfolio and exploring how public and private sectors can collaborate to drive future growth. We will be featuring new technology and the ‘West Midlands Industrial Strategy’ - its part in driving economic growth.

The afternoon session will concentrate on people, places and communities. How can growth be inclusive and deliver positive social outcomes? With 215,000 new homes to deliver by 2031, housing will clearly feature strongly. We will be looking at how good design can deliver better, living stronger communities and enhance lives. We will also consider housing delivery and what part Modern Methods of Construction and Modular can play in generating quality homes on scale.

The conference will be an exciting mix of keynotes, panel sessions, presentations and breakout sessions; designed to explore the growth opportunities, to showcase major game-changing projects, innovation and technology; enterprise; housing and inward investment across the West Midlands.

There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. We will be using ‘’ software to enable polling and questions from the audience and for you to have your say!


People | Place | Economy

Building on the past 3 years [see feedback] the theme for 2019 is ‘Investing in the future’ - People | Place | Economy

The day centered on Investment and private and public sector collaboration.

The morning session will be on ‘Inward Investment’ and economic growth. We will be looking at how the region can capitalise on its progress; showcasing the £10bn West Midlands Investment portfolio and exploring how public and private sectors can collaborate to drive future growth. We will be featuring new technology and the ‘West Midlands Industrial Strategy’ - its part in driving economic growth.

The afternoon session will concentrate on people places and communities. How can growth be inclusive and deliver positive social outcomes? With 215,000 new homes to deliver by 2031, housing will clearly feature strongly. We will be looking at how good design can deliver better, living stronger communities and enhance lives. We will also consider housing delivery and what part Morden Methods of Construction and Modular can play in generating quality homes on scale.

The conference will be an exciting mix of keynotes, panel sessions, presentations and breakout sessions; designed to explore the growth opportunities, to showcase major game-changing projects, innovation and technology; enterprise; housing and inward investment across the West Midlands.

There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. We will be using ‘’ software to enable polling and questions from the audience and for you to have your say!

Click for more information on conference content

  • Organisations and individuals involved in or interested in the developing West Midlands / Midlands economy
  • Private Sector: Investors, Funds, Banks, Developers, Housebuilders, Housing Associations, Property Lawyers, Property Surveyors, Advisors, Consultants and Contractors
  • Public Sector: Government, Local Authorities, Constituent Authorities, Non Constituent Authorities, LEPs. Public Bodies and Associations

A one-day event that will deliver on multiple levels:

  • Be informed; understand the scale and extent of the opportunities in the West Midlands
  • Listen and learn; from Public (Central and Regional Government) and Private Sector Leaders
  • Gain valuable insights into the vision and ambitions of the West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Network with the key players and stakeholders in the West Midlands / Midlands economy

Event Speakers

Deborah Cadman OBE

Chief Executive

West Midlands Combined Authority

Deborah became Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority in September 2017, following a long and distinguished career in public service.

After gaining a degree in politics, she began her career in 1984 with the London Borough of Newham, before moving to Birmingham City Council where she worked on major regeneration projects and gained a master’s degree in economics. Moving to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in 1996 as Head of Policy, Deborah gained a second master’s in management, before taking up a two-year secondment with the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions as Local Government Advisor to the Ministerial Team. In 2003, after being appointed the Audit Commission’s Best Value Service Lead Inspector for the London region, she became Chief Executive at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, before becoming Chief Executive of the East of England Development Agency. Deborah was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 2011 to 2017 and has also been interim Chief Executive of Waveney District Council, Babergh District Council and Mid-Suffolk District Council.

She is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation and as a dedicated and passionate female advocate at the forefront of the public sector, Deborah recently won the First Women Award for Public Service. Deborah is listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’. Deborah was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.

Andy Street CBE


West Midlands

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

In June 2015, Andy was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy. He was named the ‘Most Admired Leader’ of the year by business magazine, Management Today in 2014. He received the ‘President’s award’ from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in for his work in the region.

David Jennings


Movers & Shakers

Managing Director - Business Vantage Ltd
Chairman - Movers & Shakers Property Networking Forum

David started his career in Construction and Property. In 1990 he jointly founded and was a Joint Managing Director of the Salisbury Consulting Group; he sold his interest in 1995. In 1996 he formed Business Vantage, a business and research consultancy which specialises in property and construction and advises major UK plc’s.

David is the Founder Director and Chairman of Movers & Shakers formed in 1996 the UK’s most successful and popular networking forum.

He is also a Founder Director and shareholder of Stonemartin plc, an AIM listed serviced office business; founded in 1999.

David is Founder Director and shareholder of ResourceFull Ltd formerly Nice4Work Ltd.

Faraz Baber


Terence O'Rourke

Faraz is currently a Director at the interdisciplinary planning and design consultancy Terence O’Rourke which has offices in London, Birmingham and Bournemouth. He leads on planning policy, stakeholder engagement and business development for the company.

Prior to joining Terence O’Rourke, Faraz served as Executive Director for Policy at London First. His previous experience also includes senior management policy and public affairs roles at Surrey County Council, British Property Federation (BPF) and the Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors (RICS).

A highly experienced and multi-skilled professional with extensive knowledge within the property sector, Faraz has successfully delivered on a number of high-profile policy led campaigns. He is a dual qualified chartered surveyor (FRICS) and chartered town planner (MRTPI). He was a member of the Department of Communities and Local Government Planning Sounding Board which provided industry advice to Government. Faraz is a Board member of the RICS P&D Professional Group and also serves as Chairman on the RICS Planning Policy Panel.

Leigh Natasha Salter

Managing Director

Movers & Shakers

Leigh Natasha Salter is Managing Director of Movers & Shakers, having formerly been the Business and Events Director. Leigh has been responsible for developing the brand over the last 12 years and was responsible for the launch of the Movers & Shakers UK Regional events programme. Previously she worked in marketing, communications and research, and also ran the Windsor & Maidenhead Borough’s Business to Community Partnership, facilitating CSR for businesses. She qualified at Oxford University with a BA Honours in Human Sciences, and a scholarship, and is also a member of the BPF, WPA and UK-GBC.

Martin Reeves

Chief Executive

Coventry City Council

Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

Martin was previously Head of Performance Improvement at Westminster City Council. He was also Programme Director for WorkSmart the City Council’s flagship transformation programme. Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics. He was the President of SOLACE in 2013 and now leads their Digital Leadership Network. He is also the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

In 2015, Martin was invited onto the independent taskforce, which produced the new 5 year national cancer strategy. He co-chairs the national systems leadership board and chairs the national cross system board for sustainable health & social care (taking over from Jonathan Porritt).

He is also a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board. In November 2015 Martin was included in the top 20 of the Local Government Chronicle’s list of the 100 most influential people in local government.

Sarah Middleton

Chief Executive

Black Country Consortium Ltd

Sarah is the Chief Executive of Black Country Consortium Limited (BCC) since its incorporation in 2006. Sarah joined the Consortium Partnership in October 1999 and has been central in developing the Black Country Sub-Regional partnership and its 30 year vision including the Economic Strategy and Spatial Strategy, establishing joint approaches on Planning, Investment, Economic Intelligence and the Black Country Education and Skills Strategy. She has also supported the West Midlands Combined Authority on the development of the Combined Authority Strategic Economic Plan. Sarah qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and previous roles include Deputy Chief Executive for East Mercia Chamber of Commerce (including responsibilities as General Manager for Business Link Walsall) and Chief Executive of Walsall City Challenge.

Robin Dobson

UK Director of Development and Project Management


Having trained as a Civil Engineer and then Chartered Surveyor, Robin leads the development team and is responsible for bringing forward future regeneration schemes together with retail/asset extensions. Completed projects include The Oracle, Reading; Bullring, Birmingham; Highcross, Leicester; Cabot Circus, Bristol; Union Square, Aberdeen; Victoria Gate, Leeds and Watermark, Southampton.

He also worked with Hammerson France to deliver Terrasses du Port, a €450m retail led redevelopment of the Marseille docks which opened in 2014.

Robin also has responsibility for bringing forward pipeline Joint Venture development projects in Croydon and Brent Cross in London.

Robin sits on the CR Board and Investment Committee at Hammerson and is a member of the BPF and FRICS.

Carl Potter

Regional Senior Director

Avison Young

Carl Potter is an Avison Young Principal and the Managing Director of Avison Young’s Birmingham office. Carl specialises in development consultancy transactions and has been involved in some of the leading regeneration and new development projects across the region including Peddimore, Pebble Mill Science Park, Birmingham Business Park, Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, Malvern Hills Science Park, Innovation Campus Birmingham and the recently completed Eastside Locks development. Carl advises a number of the region’s universities both on estate strategies and their science park operations, and has most recently advised Birmingham City University on their Perry Barr estate which is to form part of the Commonwealth games project, and the University of Birmingham in the appointment of a development partner for the Birmingham Life Sciences campus.

Dr Julie Nugent

Director of Productivity & Skills

West Midlands Combined Authority

Dr Julie Nugent has extensive experience in the productivity and skills sector having held a range of senior roles across government and the further education sector. She has particular expertise in financing further education and has led on developing new funding systems for the Skills Funding Agency and the Learning and Skills Council. Julie has worked in the Black Country and in Birmingham which has provided her with a keen understanding of the importance of skills in improving economic competitiveness and people’s life chances.
Most recently Julie led on the West Midlands negotiations with Government securing the first Skills Deal in the country with additional investment of £100 million to develop the regions skills.

Mark Farmer

Founding Director & CEO

Cast Consultancy

Mark has nearly 30 years of experience in the construction and real estate sectors and has become a recognised commentator and thought leader on a variety of issues. He has been at the forefront of emerging UK residential market segments such as Build to Rent and Later Living. He is also playing a leading role in the progressive modernisation of the construction industry. Mark is a member of the RICS, Vice Chairman of the ULI UK Residential Council, a member of the BPF Build to Rent sub-committee and co-chairman of Constructing Excellence. Mark authored the October 2016 UK Government Review of the Construction Labour Market Model entitled ‘Modernise or Die’.

Kevin McCloud

TV Presenter and HAB Founder & Brand Ambassador

HAB Housing

Kevin McCloud a property journalist, designer and television presenter.
In 2007 Kevin founded HAB which stands for ‘Happiness Architecture and Beauty’ with the purpose to challenge the way identikit volume housing was built in the UK.
The houses and places built by HAB are to respect the local context, biodiversity, landscape and the community. Kevin’s mission for HAB is to make homes that lift the spirits, that are a pleasure to live in, and are a joy to behold.
In 2014 Kevin was appointed an MBE in the new year honours for services to sustainable design and energy saving property refurbishment.

Ashley Kensington

Managing Director

St Joseph

Ashley was appointed Managing Director of St Joseph in May 2019. St Joseph is Berkeley Group’s newest division and with an aim of developing residentially led mixed use developments in the West Midlands. Ashley joined the Berkeley Group in 2000 and has held various posts in St James, Berkeley Commercial and St William. Ashley’s previous roles with the Group have been focused on property acquisition and securing planning permission on sites acquired in London and the Southeast.

Gavin Winbanks

Deputy Director, Capital Investment

Department for International Trade

Prior to joining the Department for International Trade, Gavin worked in the financial services sector for more than 15 years, with 11 years at Macquarie Group including in his final role as the Chief of Staff to the CEO EMEA. Gavin is currently director for Capital Investment at he Department for International Trade.

Bek Seeley

Chief Operating Officer, UK Development


Bek Seeley is the Chief Operating Officer for Lendlease’s UK Development Business.

She has worked in a range of environments including outsourcing and public services, engineering and construction, before her role at Lendlease.

In undertaking both commercial and wider business roles, Bek has a strong track record in delivering cultural change and business growth.

In her role at Lendlease Bek is responsible for the operations and overall growth of the Lendlease Development business, including New Business opportunities. Her previous experience in regeneration, change and partnership working enable her to build on the strong foundations that Lendlease has to further grow and innovate the Lendlease business.

Superintendent Sean Russell

Mental Health Commission Director



Louise Wyman

Design Lead


Louise champions design, inclusion and skills building in the property industry. She’s an Ambassador for Harvard University supporting the exchange of design and development innovation between academia and industry. A Chartered Surveyor and Landscape Architect, Louise’s adept at bringing property development partners and the creative industries together to deliver award winning projects.

As a Planning Committee Member for London Legacy Development Corporation and a former Executive Director of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Louise leads teams that deliver projects of national significance. She set up the Garden Towns & Villages programme across Government in 2016 and was responsible for delivery of the Oxford Cambridge Arc’s strategic growth ambitions.

Louise is Design Lead for West Midlands Combined Authority and Mayor Andy Street. She’s developed the region’s Design Charter and the Culture & Creative Industries Strategy. Louise’s also a member of the National Infrastructure Commission Design Group. She’s seconded to WMCA from the leadership team at Homes England where she co-founded the agency’s Strategy Performance & Delivery Unit in 2018.

Waheed Nazir

Corporate Director for Economy

Birmingham City Council

As Corporate Director Economy, Birmingham City Council, Waheed has worked for the authority in various roles for 20 years.

Waheed provides strategic leadership and direction across a wide portfolio, including the Council’s property portfolio, planning, regeneration, housing development, transportation and connectivity, highways and infrastructure, skills and employment, business development and inward investment.

Waheed led the major transformation of the city centre through the Big City Plan, bringing forward key projects including Birmingham Smithfield, Snowhill, Paradise and New Street redevelopment. He oversees £2.5bn public sector investment through the Enterprise Zone and HS2 Curzon masterplan.

Alongside leading Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, one of the city’s largest housebuilders, Waheed led the Council to set up a series of commercial vehicles including InReach, the Council’s vehicle for building new homes across the city, and the development of an investment vehicle for commercial property to help deliver growth.

Waheed is a non-executive Director of Birmingham Airport Holdings Limited.

Waheed is a columnist for Estates Gazette, and a visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, he mentors a number of graduates demonstrating commitment to support the development of future professionals in the field.

Waheed was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Aston University in July 2017.

Ben Denton

Managing Director

Legal & General Affordable Homes

Ben Denton is Managing Director of L&G Affordable Homes. L&G Affordable Homes’ set up in 2018 with an ambitious business plan to develop 3,000 affordable homes pa by 2022 alongside building a best in class customer services experience. L&G are investing patient, long-term capital in order to grow the capacity of the affordable housing sector and in so doing, deliver societally important outcomes. L&G Affordable Homes sits alongside L&G’s other housing businesses including BTR, Modular, Cala and Inspired Villages Group. Prior to L&G, Ben held a number of positions in the public and private sectors, delivering residential led development and regeneration.

Ian MacLeod

Assistant Director Planning

Birmingham City Council

Ian MacLeod has worked for Birmingham City Council for over 15 years. He led the preparation of the Birmingham Development Plan which sets the strategic planning policy for the City over the next 15 years and will deliver over 51,000 new homes, over 700,000 sq m of office development and over 300 hectares of industrial land. This included leading work on the Green Belt review and associated evidence base which has resulted in the allocations of 6,000 homes at the Langley Sustainable Urban Extension and 71 hectares at the Peddimore employment site.

He led the procurement process for the Peddimore scheme which led to the appointment of IM Properties for the first phase of the development which has delivered a successful outcome for the City both of terms of the Capital receipt and social value outcomes. He also leads work on a number of key regeneration schemes including the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village and the wider regeneration of Perry Barr, the Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Aston which has to date delivered over 1200 jobs and £50million of private sector investment and emerging the Masterplans for the NEC and the life science campus in Selly Oak.

Prof. Jackie Dunne

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Access & Lifelong Learning)

University of Wolverhampton

Jackie is Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Regional Engagement) at the University of Wolverhampton, having previously worked at Leicester and Coventry University. At national level, Jackie has been active in the field of lifelong learning and part-time higher education and was Honorary Secretary of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL). She has been involved in a number of national initiatives in part–time higher education and lifelong learning. She was a Board member of the Universities Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) between 2008 and 2010. Her research interests include higher education and lifelong learning policy and practice, distance and online learning, and has written and published in these areas. She is Chair of the Universities UK Latin America Network and a Trustee of the Children’s University. Jackie is also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has held a number of regional roles in the East Midlands and been active in the local economic development and skills arena. Currently, Chair of the Black Country LEP Employment and Skills Board, Advisory member of the Black Country LEP Board and involved West Midlands Combined Authority groups.

Joe Reeves

Executive Director of Strategy and Growth

Midland Heart

Joe Reeves is the Executive Director of Strategy and Growth for Midland Heart, a leading Midlands based housing association with over 33,000 homes in management. As Director of Strategy and Growth, Joe is responsible for Midland Heart’s housing new build and acquisition programme which is projected to deliver in excess of 3,300 homes over the next five years. Joe joined Midland Heart following a period of 16 years at PwC in the Corporate Finance Infrastructure and Government team. As a Director at PwC, Joe acted as lead commercial advisor on major housing and other social infrastructure public private partnership projects across the UK with a combined capital value of £1.5bn.

Tim Johnson

Managing Director

City of Wolverhampton Council

Tim is Managing Director of the City of Wolverhampton Council having been appointed to the role in July 2018. Prior to this, he was the council’s Deputy Managing Director and Strategic Director of Place.

In the five years he has worked at the City of Wolverhampton Council, Tim has played a major part in the transformation of the city and the council. This was nationally recognised in June 2017 when the City of Wolverhampton Council won a record four awards at the prestigious MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2017 including Local Authority of the Year, Most Improved Council and Senior Leadership Team of the Year.

Tim has over 20 years’ experience in local government working for Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Hillingdon, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council before joining the City of Wolverhampton Council in May 2013.

Matthew Rhodes


Energy Capital West Midlands

Matthew Rhodes is Chair of Energy Capital West Midlands. Energy Capital is a public-private partnership responsible to the Mayor of the West Midlands for delivering the West Midlands Regional Energy Strategy.

Matthew’s career spans energy, manufacturing and management consultancy. From 2003 to 2017 he founded and led an engineering and building physics consultancy specialising in low carbon innovation, developing and delivering collaborative projects at the leading edge of the energy system transition, particularly in housing and community contexts. He’s a Board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the Sustainable Housing Action Partnership.

Matthew trained in engineering, economics and management at Oxford University. He’s a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and an Honorary Research Fellow in Energy Policy at Exeter University.

Amy Harhoff

Director of Regeneration & Growth

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Amy joined Sandwell as Director of Regeneration and Growth in 2018. Since joining Sandwell Amy has been focused in transforming services, ensuring the strategic position of the borough, delivering inclusive economies and community wealth building. Prior to joining The West Midlands, Amy led the Corporate Affairs Directorate for Transport for Greater Manchester supporting 10 Metropolitan Authorities and the Mayor of Greater Manchester. Amy was part of the senior team who established Transport for the North (the first statutory sub-national transport body in England) and led key policy and delivery activity including the Northern Power House Independent Economic Review and subsequent work to develop the statutory Transport Plan. Amy was also part of the senior team who developed the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority model and initial Mayoral Devolution Deal in 2015, she led key works including the infrastructure investment plan, growth deal and multiportfolio infrastructure investment fund. Amy is proud to have worked on place agendas across England and passionately believes in the potential of areas to exceed their trajectory delivering inclusive economic growth for business and communities.

Anne Sheehan

Enterprise Director

Vodafone Business UK

Anne Sheehan joined Vodafone UK in December 2017 as its Enterprise Director. Prior to this, Anne led the enterprise business in Vodafone Ireland for four years.

When Anne started her role in Vodafone Ireland in 2013 she brought with her more than 16 years’ experience in the ICT industry, including a number of years at IBM where she held a variety of senior positions, including Vice President of Sales for the Nordic Region, Sales Director for IBM Ireland, Head of Channel, Head of Services and Territory Leader.

As Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, Anne has responsibility for Vodafone’s Enterprise division which includes overseeing Vodafone’s fixed, mobile, unified communications, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) services and support. Anne is passionate about partnering with UK businesses and the public sector, whatever their size, industry or ambitions, to help them find ways to use technology to drive success now and in the future.

During her time in Vodafone Ireland, Anne was integral to Vodafone receiving Cisco Gold and Avaya Platinum accreditation to provide Unified Communications solutions to enterprise, propelled the company’s journey into Cloud and Hosting with the opening of Vodafone Ireland’s first Data Centre in Clonshaugh and in partnership with EMC developed the first IIC-approved Internet of Things (IoT) test bed in Europe.

Anne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies, specialising in Accounting and Finance, and a Graduate Diploma in Computing, both from the University of Limerick.

Atif Ali

Development Officer, Inclusive Growth Directorate

Birmingham City Council

Atif Ali is a Development Officer at Birmingham City Council in the Planning and Development department.

Atif Ali graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2017 with a Masters in Law (LLM). He is a Development Officer at Birmingham City Council in the Planning and Development department and is involved in the 2022 Commonwealth Games compulsory purchase order. Atif is the founder of INSIGHT WESTMIDS, a community interest company, which he uses as a platform to broadcast video interviews with West Midlands Movers & Shakers as well as promote the public sector to young upcoming leaders in the region.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Atif is extremely passionate about the City and sits on various committees including; Beatfreeks Youth Steering Committee, BPS Aspires Committee and ULI Midlands Young Leaders Committee. In 2018, he completed the UpRising leadership program. He is a long-standing volunteer for Abid Welfare, a registered charity in England & Wales, which operates in Azad Kashmir (Pakistan).

Becky Drew



Becky currently works as a graduate structural engineer for Curtins in Birmingham working on a variety of projects including residential, leisure and education. She studied Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham graduating in 2017. Becky sits on the ICE West Midlands Graduates & Students committee as Senior Vice Chair and will take over as Chair in October. She is also an active STEM ambassador in the West Midlands and founding member of the Curtins STEM committee. She frequently returns as an alumni ambassador to the University of Birmingham to assist with STEM events and applicant visits. She was recently awarded the ‘Chair’s Award’ at the ICE West Midlands Awards in recognition of her commitment to the industry and is one of this year’s UK Construction Week Role Models.

Claire Spencer

Senior Policy Advisor - Public Services and Inclusive Growth


Claire is a committed localist who combines a passion for empowering communities of place and interest to make change with a commitment to creating the conditions for collaboration to thrive. She is currently working with the West Midlands Combined Authority as a senior policy adviser within the Public Service Reform team, focused on shaping and delivering the region’s inclusive growth agenda, which sees public services and economic activity directed towards the same social and environmental missions. She has worked across the public, private and third sectors, founded a community renewables co-operative, and has also held public office as a councillor in Birmingham.

Cllr Ian Brookfield


City of Wolverhampton Council


Gerry Hughes

Principal and President Europe

Avison Young


Jackie Jacob

Director Affordable Housing

Homes England

Jackie has had a long career in housing, working across a variety of public sector organisations, including the Housing Corporation, HCA London and most recently, Homes England. Jackie has vast experience of investment and the regulation of housing associations, and have been instrumental in the development of the frameworks for affordable housing funding with MHCLG over the last 6 years.

Jackie has held the post of General Manager: Housing Programmes since January 2017, and has most recently led on the development of Strategic Partnerships with the housing association sector. These partnerships are set to change the way that housing associations interact with Homes England and Government, and will bring greater value for money for the tax payer, by changing in the way that grant funding is invested which will result in the delivery of more homes. She is now Director Affordable Housing at Homes England.

Jean Templeton

Chief Executive

St Basils

Jean has been Chief Executive of St Basils in Birmingham since 2000 and prior to that has over 20 years’ experience of managing housing and neighbourhood services in a number of Local Authorities in the North East and Midlands. St Basils is a registered Housing Association and Charity providing a range of accommodation and support for young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk in Birmingham and West Midlands. Jean is a member of Birmingham’s Housing Partnership Board and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership Executive. She is Chair of the West Midlands’ Mayor’s Homelessness Taskforce and is a member of the Government’s Advisory Panel on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness and chairs the national Youth Homelessness Parliament. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of Birmingham in 2006 and Membership through Distinction of Faculty of Public Health in 2018.

Jim Crawshaw

Head of Housing & Homelessness

Coventry City Council

Jim has over 20 years experience of working in housing and homelessness starting as a volunteer for Shelter in 1997 whilst completing his Housing degree. This has included working for a number of voluntary organisations, local authorities and he has been on secondment to central government on 2 seperate occasions as a homelessness advisor. His most recent secondment was as a Senior Advisor at MHCLG working with Local Authorities and partners across England to deliver the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. He recently joined Coventry City Council as Head of Housing & Homelessness having spent over 8 years at Birmingham City Council and currently chairs the WMCA Rough Sleepers Task Group.

John Batten

Global Cities Director


As the Global Cities Director for Arcadis, John leads a global team dedicated to delivering outcomes that improve quality of life, safely and sustainably.

John is a globally recognized thought leader in urban sustainability and water and has more than three decades of experience in the field. He now leads a portfolio of eighteen global cities for Arcadis. Prior to his current positions, he was the Executive Vice President and the Director of Strategic Client Development for Arcadis North America; and Global Water Director. John has a wealth of experience which includes management of drinking water, wastewater utilities, water for industry, water quality and public health, marketing, communications and customer and public relations.

John holds a BS degree in Environmental Sciences from The American University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from New York Medical College.

Kalvinder Kohli

Head of Service, Commissioning Prevention and Community Assets

Birmingham City Council

Kalvinder Kohli is currently the Head of Service, Commissioning Prevention and Community Assets, within Birmingham City Council and chairs the Birmingham Homelessness Partnership Board. Her role spans across a range of prevention initiatives tackling homelessness across the City, the WM region and through Euro Cities. Kalvinder has led the design and delivery of key prevention strategies relating to homelessness and domestic abuse in the City and overseen their associated commissioning activity. Kalvinder has worked closely with DWP and ESF funders to secure additional support for vulnerable adults at risk of homelessness the furthest away from the labour market. Kalvinder is the Housing First strategic lead for Birmingham City Council in its Accountable Body status on behalf of the WMCA and has overseen the successful delivery of the first year of the programme.

Martin Yardley

Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Coventry City Council

Martin is currently Deputy Chief Executive (Place), at Coventry City Council.

Alongside this role Martin is also Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CW LEP). His time with the CW LEP has seen its influence grow considerable to a situation where it is influencing or placing spend of in excess of £300m into the local economy.

Martin is a Chartered Town Planner by profession with a specialist interest in how planning can enable economic growth and development. As Director of Place he heads up a team that covers approximately 2,000 FTE’s that work in areas as diverse as street cleansing and highway maintenance to implementation of a challenging £9bn regeneration agenda.

During his time as a planner he worked for both the public and private sectors in roles as diverse as Head of Planning and Sustainability in Leicestershire to being a planner advising house builders within the East Midlands. To add to his professional qualifications Martin has completed a Masters in Business Administration at Warwick University.

Mikayla Jones

Campaigns and Engagement Manager

Uprising Leadership

Mikayla is passionate about amplifying the voices of those more marginalised in society, including young people. Mikayla has worked with underrepresented and diverse groups of young people in the region for over 7 years. She had worked and volunteered for organisations focused on young people including The Challenge Network, yoUFA, Envision and UpRising Leadership and can often be heard pushing the youth agenda within West Midlands Women’s Voice and Birmingham Civic Society. For this work Mikayla was featured in Birmingham Live’s 30 under 30 list 2019. Mikayla is passionate about connecting communities and campaigning for inclusive representation of marginalised groups at decision-making levels. An experienced speaker she addressed these issues locally at TAG Network WM and iD Network in the Midlands and internationally at Women of the World Festival and Feria Preta in Brazil.

Nadhim Zahawi MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Nadhim Zahawi was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 26 July 2019. He was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education from 9 January 2018 to 26 July 2019. Nadhim was elected as Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon in May 2010

Tim Heatley


Capital & Centric

Tim grew up in Salford, trained as a lawyer and left law behind to found property development company Capital&Centric which now invests over £2m a week in regeneration. Tim is co founder of the charity Regeneration Brainery, an academy that increases diversity and inclusivity in property, this year it will mentor 100 young adults throughout the UK. He is a founding trustee and Chair of the Greater Manchester Mayors Charity, its current focus is to end the need for rough sleeping in Manchester by 2020

Tom Westley


Westley Group Ltd

Tom is a Chartered Engineer and graduate of Imperial College. Tom is chairman of Westley Group Ltd (a foundry group established in 1800) which specialises in producing Copper based alloy castings Tom is also chairman of Westley Plastics Ltd established in 1964, which produces cast nylon components 80% of which are exported. Tom is a Fellow and past president of The Institute of Cast Metals Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He is a past president of The Cast Metals Federation, past Chairman of Castings Technology International Ltd (now part of the University of Sheffield on the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at Rotherham) and Past President of CAEF (the European Foundry Trade Association). He is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Founders and a Freeman of the City of London. Locally Tom is a board member of The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and was recently appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands.


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