The awards will be judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts. The judging is a rigorous two-stage process including pre-scoring to determine shortlists and a judging meeting where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide the winning entries.
Neil is a communications all-rounder, having work in a number of related roles over 12 years for the health and wellbeing provider, Benenden Health. He now heads up their media and content function, covering public relations, content strategy, social media and sponsorships. His current focus is on promoting this challenger brand as a thought leader in health and wellbeing.
Outside of the day job, Neil has been a councillor at City of York Council for 8 years as well as a trustee for York Museums Trust, with a passion for community engagement that began at the University of York as a students’ union officer. He lives in North Yorkshire and loves a day out on the Yorkshire coast.
Paul is co-founder of Knight Corporate Finance, a TMT specialist advisor working with entrepreneurs to realise shareholder value in their business. Celebrating its 10th birthday, Knight has completed over 100 transactions from its Warrington and London offices.
Prior to founding Knight, Paul was commercial director of Opal Telecom Limited, the B2B fixed line operation of the Carphone Warehouse Group plc (now known as Talk Talk Business), where his role encompassed M&A and Commercial Finance. With over 20 years experience in the TMT sector, Paul has worked for a number of channel focused, high growth and market leading companies that have realised £millions in value to shareholders.
Over the last twenty years Andrew has worked for a number of the North’s major communication and marketing agencies. Starting at Mando Group Andrew developed his knowledge of digital marketing and creating impactful campaigns. He then moved to Rippleffect where he created the Strategy division and worked with Premier league clubs and tourism organisations. Andrew then moved into the healthcare arena, heading up Ashfield’s Digital and Creative division where he delivered essential behaviour change projects. Recently, Andrew joined Havas Lynx, the Cannes Lions Healthcare Agency of the year, as a Director. Andrew is Vice Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Head Judge for the prestigious Communique Awards
Jamie joined the family-owned property developer Bruntwood in 2011 to manage the marketing and development of their serviced office and meeting room portfolio. In late 2012, he also assumed responsibility for digital marketing and the promotion of Bruntwood’s Liverpool and Birmingham portfolios.
In 2016, Jamie’s role changed to focus, not only on marketing but also upon digital systems and technology throughout the Bruntwood Group, bringing best practice to property interests in Manchester Science Partnerships, Alderley Park and Circle Square.
Prior to Bruntwood, Jamie gained experience with in-house marketing roles at Genting and United Utilities.
Jamie has also held the role of President at Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union and Non-Executive Director at MMU between 2004 and 2006. He currently lives in Altrincham, is a keen runner and supporter of Everton Football Club.
Leanne Buchan works for the Leeds City Council Culture and Sport team. She is currently leading the development of a new Culture Strategy for the city pioneering a co-produced, open-sourced approach. She is also the Leeds 2023 team lead for the Artistic Programme and Fundraising strands of the Leeds bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023. Having worked on major cultural programmes for projects including Tour de France Grand Départ 2014, Rugby World Cup 2015, and Unfold celebrating the Leeds visual art scene and welcoming British Art Show 8 to the city in 2015, her professional interest explore how culture can be used as a catalyst for change, engagement, and investment.
Thea runs Maker, a creative production company that tells brands’ stories using the power of film. She has a natural flair for helping brands engage with audiences in a way that respects and moves them. Since 2003 we've partnered with brands and agencies to make beautifully crafted cinematic content that works wonders.
Simon joined Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the UK’s largest airports group, as VP Digital Marketing in July 2017. The Group serves 59 million passengers across three airports (Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands), which contributes £7.1 billion to the UK economy.
He sits on the leadership team at the Group’s digital division, MAG-O, which was created with one driving mission; to create the world's most customer-centric and stress-free digital travel experience.
Simon has led MAG-O through a period of digital transformation. After a phase of intense growth, hiring 40 digital marketers in 12 months, all digital acquisition channels are now managed and optimised in-house. This includes Paid Search, Organic Search, CRM, Affiliates, Display, Paid Social and Content Marketing.
After the acquisition of two digital businesses, MAG-O is now entering its next exciting phase of growth as industry-leading platforms are deployed in airports internationally.
Until September 2016 I was Managing Partner of brand agency True North, which I founded in 2001.
Over fifteen years I led the company’s development into a 25-strong consultancy recognised for its ability to create innovative, distinctive brands for household name clients. The agency won over 200 awards for creativity and effectiveness.
During that period I was lead consultant on a number of complex, high profile brand projects for clients including National Portrait Gallery, British Council, Royal Mail, Durham and Oxford Universities and LEGO.
I am now non-exec director of three creative agencies as well as an independent brand consultant.
I have been a board member of the Design Business Association, am a co-founder of Discuss, a forum for public debate and engagement with ideas in Manchester and am also a trustee of the People’s History Museum and Manchester Literature Festival.
Tom Cheesewright is the founder of applied futurism practice, Book of the Future and creator of the Futurist's Toolkit, a suite of tools for agile organisations. Through consulting, speaking and media work Tom helps people to see, share and respond to a coherent vision of tomorrow. Clients range from charities and public sector organisations to FTSE100 enterprises and global technology corporations. They include; LG, Nikon, Sony Pictures, the NHS, Manchester University, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Institute of Leadership and Management. Tom followed a degree in Mechatronic Engineering with 14 years in the tech industry, working with global brands such as BT, EE and IBM, and subsequently founded a series of technology-driven companies. Most recently Tom co-founded venture-backed big data analytics start-up CANDDi, of which he remains a shareholder. He acts as an advisor to a number of technology-driven start-ups. Tom is a frequent presence on TV and radio, appearing across the BBC from the Breakfast sofa to Newsround and World Business Report, and as a regular contributor to 5live and Radio 4. He has shared his thoughts on the future with Channel 4′s Sunday Brunch, Sky News, the Guardian, Evening Standard, Entrepreneur Magazine, Stuff and MSN. Tom is in demand as a futurist speaker, trainer and host and is able to shape his presentations to suit your requirements and audience.
Richard is responsible for managing and developing the digital marketing strategy for one of the UK's largest housing providers, with major stakes in social housing, home ownership and homelessness services.
Previous to this role, Richard spent 8 years in the policing sector leading on several pioneering digital projects, most notably introducing social media as a key tool for frontline police officers, transforming the way modern policing operates.
In sectors which have faced increasing uncertainty in recent years, Richard has enjoyed the challenge of delivering digital initiatives in tough financial and political environments, which have had a genuine positive impact on many people's lives.
Alex Connock is MD of targeted video agency MISSILE. He was previously MD of TV and digital video company Endemol Shine North, and CEO of TV and digital media production group Ten Alps. He is a trustee of UNICEF UK, visiting professor in digital media at Salford, Sunderland and Manchester Metropolitan universities, and entrepreneur in residence at European business school INSEAD.
Jon is CEO at The Landing MediaCityUK heading up a groundbreaking technology project and business innovation hub. The Landing is a unique tech environment and a driver of digital collaboration across Manchester and other UK clusters. In 2016 The Landing contributed £105m GVA to the UK digital economy. In addition, Jon has helped set up and shape a new education institution at MediaCityUK –the University Technical College (for 14-19 yr old students) - which opened in Sept 2015. In 2009-10 as Director of MediaCityUK for the University of Salford he spearheaded the fit-out and technology platform of the University's iconic new digital campus. With a background in Creative Direction and Production, Jon has successfully delivered a multitude of national and international film and rich media projects for such clients as The Home Office, The British Council, Unesco, BBC, CBS and Shanghai World Expo amongst many others. His detailed knowledge and expertise spans broadcast, post-production, interactive and advertising.
David is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing & Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he runs a number of digital communications programmes, and is also the Associate Director for Digital Innovation.
He is Course Leader for Manchester Met’s full-time MSc Digital Marketing Communications. 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.
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 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.
Passionate about tech, women in tech and digital advertising, Ellie England has spent the last year working as the Account Director for Microsoft Search Advertising in the North of England- partnering with the largest agencies and direct clients across the region. Prior to relocating back up North, she lived and worked for 13 years in London, 6 of those with Google in both the travel and retail vertical teams. Prior to that, Ellie taught French and Spanish in an inner city London secondary school through the Teach First Programme following a joint honours degree in languages.
Richard is chairman of tech companies Ruler Analytics and Ash.tv, non-exec director of Fluid Digital and co-founder of SAScon - a digital marketing conference. Heralding from “Silicon Ramsbottom” he is an ardent supporter of the digital and tech industry in the North of England.
Previously, Richard was the managing director of digital agency Latitude, director of Tech North and Manchester Digital council member.
With 20 years of digital expertise, Richard now advises agencies and start-ups on marketing and growth strategies.
Tom is the founder of Revolution Viewing (RV), a Creative Digital Agency established in 2004. Over the years Tom has grown the business from a one person start-up to a company that employs 34 staff based in Leeds. RV creates rich media content for the UK Home Builder and Higher Education sectors. Clients include Taylor Wimpey, Bellway Homes, Persimmon Homes, Crest Nicholson and 88 of the UK’s universities.
A huge amount of enjoyment for Tom is derived from developing new and innovative sector leading products with his team. Big for 2018 (Tom hopes!) will be Personalised Videos, Vlog Generators (RV exclusive product - large volumes of videos from amateur contributors with client controlled briefs, RV edited) and VR 360s. Cinematic Videos, 360 Panoramas, 360 Videos, Virtual Open Days (for unis) and CG Animations are all products RV deliver for clients on a daily basis.
The majority of Tom’s time is spent working closely with colleagues, shaping the strategy of the company and finding exceptional talent to help the RV team to fulfil its true potential. Tom also crunches a few numbers, writes a bit of copy and pitches in with creative ideas. When he’s been very good Tom is allowed out to direct videos.
When he’s not busy at RV Tom likes to think he would be taking part in his favourite sports of snowboarding, kiteboarding and wakeboarding, but the reality tends to see Tom playing squash and running after his three small children Oscar, George & Annecy. Once they've worn him out he’ll sneak away with his wife Luce for a meal in his home town of Ilkley.
Ben is a successful technology entrepreneur who founded and built Rippleffect, a full-service digital agency before selling the business to Trinity Mirror plc for £5.8m, where he became MD of Digital Marketing Services. In 2016 Ben joined Prateura to help drive its investments across digital and technology. Ben is a board member of a number of Praetura’s investment businesses and provides significant technology, growth strategy and digital marketing expertise in the appraisal of investments and across the portfolio.
Gareth has spent the majority of his 25 year career in marketing agencies on both sides of The Pennines.
In 2002 he acquired Yorkshire based design agency Gratterpalm in a MBO. Under his leadership the company transformed into CreativeRace and became one of the UK’s leading independent integrated agencies. Working with some of the biggest brands in retail, CreativeRace achieved revenues in excess of £12.5M and, following the acquisition of Shoreditch digital pioneer Underwired in 2014, grew to a team of 175 with offices in Leeds and London.
Having overseen 15 years of growth, but hungry for fresh challenges, Gareth sold his 50% stake in his agency in 2017. He now provides growth advisory to a portfolio of agencies as a non-executive director and through his boutique management consultancy Beyond Noise.
A Tech Manchester mentor and angel investor, Gareth is a passionate supporter of early stage tech companies and their founders. In March he was a finalist in the prestigious Mentor of the Year category at The National Mentoring Awards, in recognition of his work with the founder of a Manchester based tech startup.
Emma is Head of Marketing for Nichols plc, the home of Vimto & Feelgood drinks and is responsible for leading the marketing strategy across their UK, Out of Home and International divisions. She has been with the business since 2009 and heads up a team that have doubled the size of their lead brand in the last 10 years. An experienced practitioner, Emma has worked in fmcg brand marketing for the last 20 years and was the 2016 CIM Northern Marketer of the Year. Prior to this she held a number of marketing positions client and agency side across a range of sectors including Education, Consumer Durables and Market Research.
Previously voted as one of the UK's Top 30 Women in Digital Under 30. A specialist in Social Media and Digital Brand Strategy, Kristal is an award winning, strategic and experienced digital marketing expert. A regular digital conference speaker and industry commentator Kristal has worked in digital for over a decade developing digital solutions for some of the UK’s biggest brands.
John leads Beever and Struthers' Corporate Team, having been made a Partner in 1999. Beever and Struthers is an award-winning firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors in Manchester, Blackburn and London, and currently rank in the Top 50 firms nationally and Top 10 firms in the North West. John is a local council member of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and has been co-opted to the Partnership Steering Group of the Business Growth Hub. He was Chairman of Pro-Manchester from 2014 - 2015.
John Kehoe is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Media Agency Group (MAG), one of the UK’s leading independent Media Agencies, with its HQ situated in the prestigious MediaCityUK and a diverse client portfolio, including Ferrari land, Jelly belly, Crystal maze, Visit Mexico, Herbalife, Protyre, Isabel Marant, Scalable Capital, Bermuda tourism and Sykes cottages.
John was appointed as CEO back in 2016, after been previously involved in the strategic management of the business, as Managing Director. Reporting into John are a team of directors who have extensive experience in the media industry, in both traditional and digital marketing and advertising.
Under his leadership, John and his team have continued to achieve phenomenal growth for the business, positioning themselves as the UK’s largest independent media planning and buying agency outside of London, as well as significantly increasing turnover and attracting the finest talent.
He recently launched Click Tap Media’, to deliver integrated ‘through-the-line’ strategies to its clients and the most effective media solutions.
John is committed to keeping ahead of the trends in the ever-evolving media sector and finding innovative solutions to deliver ROI for his clients, whilst growing Media Agency Group’s reputation in the global marketplace.
He is an active member of the IPA and is passionate about promoting the great work of the agencies and talent located in Manchester and the North of England.
Away from the office, John loves spending times with his wife and three kids, playing golf, watching football and cycling.
Richard was appointed Director of Marketing and Communications in January 2014 following an interim consultancy role with the Club.
He arrived at Everton from Kenyon Fraser which - initially as Managing Director and then as Chief Executive - he built into one of the leading marketing and communications agencies in the North and one of the fastest-growing in the UK. A lifelong Evertonian, his role is to oversee and drive Marketing, Insight, Corporate Communications, PR and Media functions, Fan Services and the Club’s Fan Centre. Richard previously worked for the PFA and MLS and acted as Interim Head of Marketing and Communications for The Jockey Club in the North West and the Grand National. He has also worked closely with the R&A on golf’s oldest major, the Open Championship.
Richard is Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the North West and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute.
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 500’s 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.
Alison has been part of the Manchester based Kellogg’s Corporate Affairs team for 10 years following eight years of working in PR in London.
Her early career spanned both the retail and personal finance industries. Alison began her working life agency side in a specialist finance PR consultancy where she worked on a variety of clients including banks and pet insurers. She also worked in the busy press office at supermarket Safeway during the merger with Morrisons. Alison worked for 4 years at RSA insurance, leading on the PR for insurance company More Than before making the decision to move back up north.
She is now Corporate Affairs Manager for Kellogg’s UK and Ireland. This involves leading PR and stakeholder engagement campaigns for Kellogg’s and its many brands. She is also involved in a number of change programmes including the recent move of its 430 head office workers from Old Trafford to MediaCity, part of a major culture change initiative.
She is very passionate about Kellogg’s CSR programme, regularly taking part in its volunteering opportunities and supporting the Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Programme with events, research and political engagement activity.
Rob is a multi-award winning Broadcaster and Producer, a former World in Action (ITV) investigator and the channel's longest serving presenter of political programmes; he was also one of the first presenters on BBC Radio Five Live; hosted his own talk and entertainment show on commercial radio and is a former Board Director of Granada TVand later Advisor to Granada Media and ITV plc.
He chaired the first body to promote film and TV growth in the North West of England and campaigned for more production and decision making in the North, he also sat on the RTS committee which created the RTS annual awards in the North-West.
He founded Hasgrove plc the first quoted media company to be based in Manchester (Granada was London registered) and recently created the ground-breaking Virtual Grand National for ITV and The Jockey Club which uses 3D CGI and algorithms and last year forecast correctly that Tiger Roll would win the real race. He also founded the prestigiousEducate North Awards which in April will again celebrate the world class institutions of the North.
He regularly appears as a commentator on radio and TV and in the printed world and has been a regular guest on BBC Breakfast since 2012. He has sat on the international editorial board of The Journal of Public Affairs since the 1990s and in 2015 was appointed an OBE for Services to Broadcasting, the same year he won an O2 Media Award for Scoop of The Year for an edition of ITV's Party People.
Rose Marley is a committed social entrepreneur, leader and ambassador for the Creative Digital Sector achieving a social return on investment of £2.4m, a financial return on investment of £3m and contributed to over £40m GVA in just over five years as Director of SharpFutures Manchester CIC.
Rose was the founding COO of The Sharp Project and Space Studios Manchester, creative digital hubs with clients including ITV, BBC an Channel 4.
Rose is also director of Rose Marley Management Ltd delivering creative projects including Manchester Together and Blue Peter’s 60th Anniversary poem. Featured on the SE100 top female social entrepreneurs and awarded ‘Women in Ethical Business’ from The Times and Tridos bank
For more than 15 years, Neil has been helping businesses here in the UK, Europe and USA grow their online profits. He started his career at publisher Media Ventures Group (MVG), helping to build and sell Global Media GmbH to private equity firm The Carlyle Group before leading the UK acquisition of Bigmouthmedia (now part of DigitasLBi). He later led Lakestar Media to success before it was acquired by McCann Worldgroup in 2012. Neil's latest venture is Endless Gain – a Conversion Optimisation Agency which launched in January 2016.
Terry heads up Design Network North, now in its tenth year, and which supports organisations and businesses of all shapes and sizes to utilize great design, thereby increasing the impact on them and the wider economy. At heart it’s a community of people across the North who are passionate about design, and who recognise they can achieve far more by collaborating and sharing than they could alone.
Design Network North is owned and run by RTC, an innovation company based in Sunderland, Leeds and Liverpool, and Terry joined the company in 1998 initially to run a regional Foresight programme, then moving into technology commercialisation.
Prior to that he spent ten years as a research scientist with ICI, although his degree in Applied Physics is now but a distant memory.
The PRCA is the world's largest PR professional body, representing well over 30,000 practitioners. Operating in 66 countries around the world, the PRCA has offices in the UK, Singapore, and Dubai. It also manages ICCO, the umbrella body for 41 PR associations around the world.
Alongside managing the membership and business services team at the PRCA, Steve also oversees membership recruitment and retention. He also manages the PRCA Partnership Programme.
Prior to working in PR and Communications industry, Steve worked in the digital sector with IAB UK and then IAB Europe. He has previously held senior marketing roles with FontWorks, NetNames and Virtual Internet.
Karen runs CREATE at dock10, a creative production agency within the dock10 studios at MediaCityUK. Having built a creative team that bring vast experience from both creative agencies and TV production, they produce high-end film content for global brands and leading agencies.
Karen is also part of the Senior Management team at dock10 and is passionate about finding innovative approaches to storytelling using the studio facilities and craft talent available within the wider business.
Karen has spent the majority of her career working as a Producer and Director across news, documentaries, travel and entertainment shows for leading broadcasters before a 7 year spell as Head of Film and Creative Director for two major UK agencies.
Passionate about her Northern roots and keen to inspire the next generation, Karen has Lectured in Media Production, written a Masters degree in Film Production and delivered Skillset industry training to television professionals.
A hugely experienced writer and storyteller with over 120 hours of material broadcast across the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5 and in 42 countries worldwide in a career spanning more than twenty years. Credits include Primeval, Wolfblood, Bad Girls, The Bill, Footballers’ Wives, Family Affairs, Sinbad, Hollyoaks and Waterloo Road. Also been a tutor on Salford University’s MA in Scriptwriting for TV, Film and Radio. Currently developing both TV and VR projects in the UK and Germany as well as story consulting and script editing a major, multi-million pound budgeted Anglo- Chinese drama series.
Richard Walker is co-owner and director of market research specialists Mustard. In a career spanning almost 25 years, Richard has provided strategic insight, advice and consultancy to leading brands across the UK and around the world – including the likes of Viacom, BrewDog, Tangle Teezer, Allianz, London Business School and Merlin Entertainments. Plus, some of the North’s top brands and employers such as New Balance, Home Group, Sage, Home Instead and Seabrook Crisps. Richard joined the agency 10 years ago around the time of the management buy-out, and led the agency’s rebranding and repositioning from Ci Research, a predominantly b2b and public-sector focused agency, to a thriving city-centre operation that has seen headcount and turnover grow 300% with an enviable client list of global blue-chip organisations on board.
His background is in qualitative market research, having previously led the qualitative research team at KPMG Nunwood in Leeds, where he also launched a start-up delivering insight films to support and embed large-scale research programmes. Richard also specialises in brand research and segmentation. In 2016 Richard launched POPCORN, Mustard’s 3-stage innovation process to help clients with NPD and brand proposition development.
Jon is the founder and Managing Director of Space 48, which builds world-class Magento websites for forward-thinking retailers and brands. He is also founder of Mage Titans, and a keen contributor and supporter in the eCommerce community. Jon was proud to be listed in the '42 Under 42' by North West Insider and was a finalist at the Northwest IOD Awards. Jon likes to build and help great businesses through connection and collaboration, and is passionate about creating opportunities for others.