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West Midlands

Autumn 2018

New Expo event offers key advice on taking first steps overseas Tackling the UK’s productivity challenge Award winners ready for IoD national finals

Williamson makes the case for a bold and assertive UK EVENTS | DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENT | ADVICE AND INFORMATION | NEWS

Embrace change as it’s our only constant Brian Hall Chair, IoD West Midlands The only constant in life... is change. Never has that old saying felt more true than over the past few months at IoD West Midlands. We’ve seen our regional headquarters move to new premises at the iHub, on Colmore Row, I’ve begun my three-year term as chair, we have appointed a new vice-chair and we’ve said goodbye to a long-serving friend and colleague on both the regional board and in the regional office team. To give that list some sense of order, I hope you have had chance to drop in to our new regional office. It is an excellent base from which to work when in Birmingham city centre and to host informal meetings. I know the head office team have settled in and it has been well received by members thus far. However, there will be someone missing from the regional team next time you visit as we have recently said goodbye to Sue Hurrell. Sue left us last month after 15 years of great service to the IoD. She moved on with our best wishes and I know I speak for all members who came across Sue over the years how much we owe to her for her hard work. The process of recruiting a new team member has already begun as we look to maintain the excellent service members receive from the regional team. The IoD regional committee is also saying goodbye, too, to John Goodman – a man for whom the word ‘stalwart’ was invented! John has been a member of the regional committee for many years, complementing a marvellous business career, and his wise counsel on the committee will be missed. I’m sure we’ll still see him at IoD events across the region, where members will be able to count on him for advice. Many thanks to Sue and John; your contributions were always appreciated and will be missed. However, things move on. We have started to reform our regional committee and bring in new officers as we build a new structure and press on with our agenda of ensuring the IoD delivers on its membership goal – of helping members make the connections across the business realm that

IoD West Midlands Patrons

help spread best practice, knowledge and expertise. We can help each other build better businesses in this way. As part of this agenda our new vice-chair, Jackie Hendley, has begun discussing our diversity agenda with many businesses, building on our already successful Women as Leaders concept. She will be ensuring the IoD stays at the forefront of moves to create a better diversity balance in boardrooms, but also stressing why this matters so much to business success, as diverse boards are shown to deliver better results. Another of our key goals is to tackle the region’s productivity deficit, which sees us lag behind other regions in the country. As part of this we have recently hosted the third of our Productivity Breakfasts and have the fourth planned for Aston Martin in November. These events allow directors to hear how other businesses have improved their productivity in ways that they can apply to their own operations. In a similar vein are our ‘Best Practice’ Chairman’s visits. We are in talks with leading businesses to host behind-the-scenes visits through which members can learn more about their success, understand what they do well and hear examples of best practice that they can take back to their own organisations. There is so much we can all learn from each other. As I said in the previous issue, it never fails to amaze me that, at any IoD event, no matter what the business problem is, there is probably somebody in the room who can provide you with the answers you are looking for. That was a thought that came back to me during a recent conversation with our Director of the Year, Carmen Watson from Pertemps. I was blown away by both her personal journey, which has taken her from starting as a secretary to leading a very successful recruitment agency, and the huge strides the business has made under her leadership, too. Carmen stands as a great example of getting on in business and she is always happy to talk to people about her life and experiences – a shining example of the IoD’s knowledge sharing agenda. As you can imagine, since taking over as chair it has been a very hectic period for me, with plenty of meetings and opportunities to get to know members across the region. Continued on page 4

CONTACTS IoD West Midlands: iHub, Colmore Gate, 2-6 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2QD T: 0121 643 1868

Chair: Brian Hall e: t: 0121 728 8360 Regional Director/Editor: Calum Nisbet e: t: 0121 643 7801 Office administration: Jordan Lowe e: t: 0121 643 1868 The Institute of Directors West Midlands membership magazine is published on behalf of the IoD by: Chamber Media Services, 4 Hilton Road, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire SK7 3AG. Advertising sales: Colin Regan t: 01942 537959 / 07871 444922 e: Production enquiries: Rob Beswick, t: 0161 426 7957 e: rob@chambermedia Please note... Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of material contained within this magazine, neither the IoD nor Chamber Media Services can accept any responsibility for omissions or inaccuracies in its editorial or advertising content. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the IoD. The carriage of adverts in this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised. All articles within this publication are copyright IoD West Midlands. Editorial consent must be obtained before any are reproduced either in printed form or electronically. Cover picture: Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson addresses IoD members at Himley Hall in the Black Country


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Embrace change as it’s our only constant Continued from page 3 A particular highlight was the lunch with Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Defence. It was both a great opportunity to meet members and hear their views on current issues and at the same time listen to a very professional politician with a challenging brief at a time of what seems like near chaos in the political world. I had the chance to talk with Gavin for some time and the thing that struck me – as it often does when you talk to politicians of all parties – was the way he carried the responsibility of his role, and how he viewed his job as one of service and duty. At the lunch all branches of the military were well represented, and in talking to them, too, their sense of duty and service to our country shone through. It was very humbling to meet people who have given so much. It was also interesting to hear how positively they viewed the IoD: it is always gratifying to know that our name is well thought-of in areas a long way from the traditional business boardroom. And so to Brexit. Recent developments have not appeared positive but I believe firmly that this is a bigger political question than a business one. All the business people I speak to ask for is clarity on the future landscape, and once that is delivered they will get on with delivering their products and services – no matter what that future landscape looks like. After all, what choice do we have? We’re not going to simply pull up the drawbridge and cease trading. Business leaders in this country are determined and resourceful: I am sure we will find a way to make Brexit work, whatever form it takes.

20% discount on private GP appointments IoD West Midlands patron BHSF is offering all members discounted private GP appointments at its new private medical practice in the centre of Birmingham, at BHSF Medical Practice 2 Cornwall St, Birmingham B3 2DL To redeem this offer please present your IoD membership card upon arrival to the practice. To book your appointment call 0121 728 8366.


Rob Brighouse on board one of his firm’s luxury coaches with IoD regional director Calum Nisbet

SNAP up your free return trip to London! Congratulations to Rob Brighouse, who many of you will remember as the former MD of Chiltern Railways, who is now the chairman and co-founder of the new on-demand coach service Snap. Snap reached a major business milestone over summer when it carried its 100,000th customer. The business is the brainchild of Thomas Ableman, a former commercial director at Chiltern, and it ran its first services in October 2016. In partnership with some of the West Midlands top quality privately owned coach companies, Snap now runs a regular service between Birmingham and London. As a special gift to IoD members, Snap is offering you and your colleagues a free return trip to the capital at Simply use coupon code IoDSnap at checkout to claim your free ticket.

Your own Edinburgh base in the heart of the city’s political world IoD members from across the UK visiting Scotland can take advantage of our flagship premises in Edinburgh at 10 Charlotte Square. Located only a few doors from the First Minister’s residence on the north side of Charlotte Square, the new premises signal a significant investment from the IoD in supporting business leaders in Scotland and across the UK. The 3,000 sq. ft premises, set across two floors, are open to IoD members and their guests and feature a renovated members’ lounge, a hot desk workroom and four meeting rooms (for between two and 45 people); with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and Charlotte Square Gardens. All spaces have access to complimentary WiFi with hospitality services available on request. Members can use the premises at any time between 8.30am and 5.30pm,

Monday to Friday. For more information and to book, visit To find out about other IoD Hubs in Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee, call 0131 557 5488. • IoD Scotland Conference: Your invite to attend - see page 20

A warm welcome awaits at IoD’s new hub We are delighted to have welcomed so many members to our Regional HQ at iHub on Colmore Row over the past few months – the furthest coming from Mumbai for one of our Professional Development courses! A huge thank you to the highly professional iHub team, led by Emma Johnston, who have been highly praised by members and course leaders for their support and attention to visitors’ needs. A reminder of what iHub has to offer: • A warm welcome for members and up to three of their guests (52 visits per year) with free wi-fi, tea and coffee. • A selection of meeting rooms for hire with an IoD preferential rate starting at £21.60 per hour, booked and paid for in advance with the IoD team • Designated co-working spaces on the 4th floor for when you need an area to work • A lounge area for informal meetings by reception and a selection of booths on the 3rd floor for more private meetings Please remember to sign in on every visit and, if you are expecting visitors, to wait for them in the Reception area on the 4th floor. Hope to catch up soon! Pictured above, some of the iHub Team – from left to right, Sophie, Emma, Eve, Angie, Leah and Lorren.

The superb co-working area on the 4th floor



Taking a risk pays off as Helen bags Warwick’s top business award An IoD member who set up a risk management company just three years ago, has won the Pride of Warwick District Business Person of the Year Award. Helen Barge, owner and managing director of Risk Evolves, and her team help companies from sole traders to multinationals understand and prepare for potential risks to their business from IT and cyber security to data protection and supply chain failures. Ms Barge set up Risk Evolves in Leamington Spa in 2015 after working for IBM in the UK and abroad. She now has a team of 12 people based across the UK giving support across a wide range of sectors from SMEs to membership organisations, charities and transport companies, high street banks and government departments. The judges recognised her hard work in building and continuing the company’s expansion. They also praised the way in which she and her team support businesses through changes in regulation such as GDPR, making the process clear and transparent. Ms Barge said: “This award means a lot

Peter Burns MBE, former president of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, presents Helen Barge of Risk Evolves with her trophy for Pride of Warwick District Business Person of the Year 2018.

to myself and my team. When I first set up Risk Evolves I was determined to provide a service which helped businesses understand their risks, from cyber security to supply chain failures. But I wanted to do this in a way which supported them and which was clear and transparent, and without jargon.

“Managing risk – particularly from an IT and data protection perspective – can be both confusing and the cause of much apprehension and worry. “My aim has always been to simplify the challenges of risk management, increase compliance to ever more complex legislation and to drive good business governance to give all organisations the opportunity to grow.” The Pride of Warwick District Awards celebrate the best achievements in business and the community. This year’s awards were supported by the company Geberit and the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. The awards are for all in Warwick District, this includes Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth, Whitnash and surrounding areas.

Co-op boost for Stafford at Beacon Business Park Opening of new Co-op to create jobs and provide much-needed local resource A new Central England Co-operative store is opening on Beacon Business Park in a few months, creating dozens of jobs for the local community and providing a much-needed amenity for housing developments nearby. The 4,000 sq ft convenience store will be located off the Blackheath Lane roundabout, on the Weston Road out of Stafford towards the County Showground. The site was purchased by Stafford-based Inglewood Investments and construction is progressing quickly. The external shell of the store has been completed and work on the interior of the Co-op will commence shortly. The new convenience store will be fitted out with pioneering energy efficient refrigeration technologies to minimise environmental impact and LED lighting. Not only will the new Co-op be creating new jobs, it will also play a key role in the local community. The retailer runs a Community Dividend scheme which gives local good causes and community groups the chance to apply for a grant ranging from £100 to £5,000. The introduction of a food


Aerial view as the new Co-op store starts to take shape on Beacon Business Park

bank collection point will be installed and a life-saving defibrillator will be located onsite. Jamie Martin, Co-op Operations Manager for the area, said: “We are excited about our new store in Stafford and about being part of the local community. The new site will feature a vibrant and modern store that will provide all customers and members with all of their essentials and also see us invest in the local economy and create jobs for local people.” Andrew Harp, Councillor and representative of the Milwich ward on Stafford Borough Council, has praised the opening of the new Co-op as it will give a boost to the economy and create more jobs.

“Any business that opens in Stafford is great news for the town,” he said. “The business park has been going for years and Stafford as a town is blessed with new businesses opening. It’s all good for the economy.” The Co-op is the latest exciting addition to the 50-acre development zone after a Costa Coffee Drive Thru opened in May 2018. The Co-op is currently scheduled to open before the end of the year.

For more information about commercial property for sale at Beacon Business Park in Stafford, contact ISE Estates on 01785 256098 or email

Farewell Sue, the IoD will miss you As many of you already know, Sue Hurrell left the IoD at the end of August after 15 years to take on a new role with CIMA, writes IoD regional director Calum Nisbet. Sue was incredibly popular with local members and well respected by her IoD colleagues across the country. Her professionalism, constant smile and genuine willingness to help members is something we will all miss, but I have no doubt we will be able to work with her on joint events in the future. While I could wax lyrical about Sue’s support to me since I joined in 2016, I asked my predecessor, John Phillips, to share a few memories of their time together. Best of luck, Sue!

My tribute to Sue, by John Phillips I first met Sue in May 2003 when she was employed by the IoD in the West Midlands to administer our chartered director programme but from 2009 she started to work directly with me, supporting our members in all the many activities the IoD operates locally. Professionally she was brilliant and having come from the Birmingham Post her excellent communication and organisational skills were soon put into action. Over the years we got ourselves into some tight scrapes but we both survived and can now look back on these times with much humour. In the early days we were always short of helping hands in the office and had great fun taking on business students to help us out. All who came through the door had to pass Sue’s stringent English test which meant they actually had to spell and display excellent grammar! Ironically the only person to get 100 per cent was a German student – someone we are both still in contact with to this day. We made friends with our colleagues in IoD Paris and dreamed up some excuses to visit them on several occasions, which again were great fun. One of my favourite IoD events which we organised together was a party to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 2012. We were able to use a private area at Snow Hill Station and one of the steam engines from the Railway Museum joined us with some beautiful vintage Pullman coaches. The best part for me was the red, white and blue cocktails and I think Sue had to send me home in a taxi. Sue has largely chosen to stay out of the limelight but we have her to thank for so many initiatives, including our Women as Leaders Group, the Mastermind sessions and generally contributing so much to the work of the IoD over 15 years. It is a testament to her that she has made so many friends from the membership and I am sure we all wish her the very best in her next role.

‘Professionally she was brilliant and having come from the Birmingham Post her excellent communication and organisational skills were soon put into action’

Escaping the Pension Tax Charge For most people, too much money in your pension would be considered a nice problem to have. However, some individuals who would not consider themselves to be ‘well off’ can find that they are impacted by the limit on how much they can hold in pensions, without even being aware they are implicated, says Ascot Lloyd, Corporate Financial Adviser, Caroline Castle. The lifetime allowance was introduced in 2006 to contain the maximum amount that can be held within an individual’s tax-privileged pension pots. Having been originally set at £1.5 million, this then increased to £1.8 million in 2011, but it has since been progressively reduced until it became £1 million in 2016. April 2018 saw the first increase in seven years, albeit modest, and the limit now stands at £1,030,000. So how can someone unwittingly fall into this trap of having a pension pot that exceeds this allowance? After all, even £1,030,000 sounds like quite a large amount. While there are many ways of being exposed to this potential tax charge, there are two reasons which may stand out: 1) Defined Benefits Pension Schemes; commonly known as Final Salary Pension schemes, which provide an income in retirement rather than a pension pot. An individual may have left a company many years ago having earned entitlement to what might be considered a modest pension. That pension will have been indexed by inflation, or even better since the date they left service. It could therefore be a far greater value than expected. Once this annual amount is multiplied by 20 for the purposes of assessing its value against the lifetime allowance, what might have appeared as a modest annual amount suddenly takes on a new significance. 2) Death in Service Benefit; where a multiple of salary is payable on death of an employee to a nominated beneficiary, within a traditional ‘registered’ company Group Life scheme. This also requires that the payment is included within an individual’s lifetime allowance, a fact that is not generally recognised. So, whilst an employee might believe their family would be well provided for in the event of their premature death through a combination of a Death in Service payment and return of pension funds, they may not be aware of the significant 55% tax charge that could eat into these legacy payments. Advice is key in both areas, as in many cases there are ways and means of mitigating if not eliminating any potential tax charge. However, the advice needs to be taken to restructure before any potential event which would result in the charge. Ascot Lloyd Corporate Financial Advisers hold the expertise to support both individuals and companies manage either of the above scenarios. Be wise and take control. With our help, you can avoid such unexpected pitfalls.

Want to know more?

For more information contact us at 45 Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2RT 0121 212 5700.



IoD Director General Stephen Martin (fourth from left) with the new IoD Chair and regional members

New IoD Chair Charlotte Valeur

On 28 September IoD West Midlands was delighted to host Director-General Stephen Martin and our recently appointed national Chair, Charlotte Valeur, as part of a series of national roadshows to consult with members on their vision for the future of the IoD’s membership offer. The events held were the first chance for Charlotte to meet IoD members since taking on her new role. Following a meeting with the regional committee to gauge the local economic picture and to discuss structural changes to the IoD, Stephen then led an informative and enthusiastic session with around 40 members, looking at three key areas: • Building a digitally-connected community of leaders

• The ambition to professionalise the role and status of the director • Localisation of the IoD, with greater investment in the regions Calum Nisbet said: “It was great to welcome the D-G and our new Chair and the West Midlands was a fitting place for Charlotte to meet IoD members for the first time. “We would particularly like to thank all our members who gave up their Friday morning and participated with such enthusiasm in our open meeting. “As you would expect, there was plenty of lively debate throughout the room!”  Stephen Martin will be hosting other IoD roadshows across the UK October, after which we will be able to report back his findings.

Student mentoring programme ready to help our next generation of business leaders The new University academic year has begun – and so, too, has our student mentoring programme at the University of Wolverhampton and Coventry University. Now in its ninth year, the programme matches IoD members with final year students to develop skills that will help position them for life in the workplace. Mentees meet their mentors monthly and are invited to a series of group events where they mix with business leaders to build their networking and interviewing skills, as they start to create their professional identity. The key dates for this year’s programme are below. Should you wish to be involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Calum. Contacts on page 3.

Key events and dates Event Programme Launch Speed Mentoring event Mock Interviews / CV sessions Celebration and company visit


University of Wolverhampton Monday, 29 October Monday, 10 December Monday, 25 February Monday, 20 May

Coventry University Thursday, 25 October Thursday, 29 November Wednesday, 6 February Thursday, 16 May

Mentors and their mentees at Wolves FC as part of the IoD’s 2017-18 programme


About Spaces Spaces offers an inspiring work environment for professionals and growing businesses. Next to office space, there are memberships and meeting rooms to help you think, create and interact with like-minded people. Spaces has the goal to offer an inspirational surrounding with an entrepreneurial spirit where ideas are born, a company evolves and valuable relationships are built. Spaces has locations across the UK – including Birmingham City Centre – as well as Europe, Canada, the United States, Latin America, Africa, Australia and Asia. For further information on Spaces please visit or contact Area Manager Nick Haycox on 07766 160572 or via


From left, Calum Nisbet, Brigadier Jock Fraser (Royal Navy), Brigadier Richard Carter (Army), Michelle Williams (Holmes Noble), Gavin Williamson, Brian Hall, Stephen Martin, Colonel Richard Maybery (RFCA) and Colonel Richard Green (Army)

Photos courtesy Richard Nelmes

More power for the Engine! Calum Nisbet IoD West Midlands Regional Director IoD West Midlands was delighted to welcome back the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP to speak at our lunch in the Black Country, held in his constituency at Himley Hall on Friday 14th September. The well-attended event, kindly sponsored by Holmes Noble, provided an insight into Gavin’s role as Defence Secretary and some fascinating details of the current position on Brexit (see facing page). We were also pleased to hear from the IoD Director General, Stephen Martin, who spoke on the importance of employers looking at the transferable skills of ex-military personnel to help tackle the problem of skills shortages. Stephen used his speech to support the ‘Midlands Engine’, saying that “now is an important time for businesses in the region. “We are seeing signs that the ‘Midlands Engine’ is more than just a brand name, and that real decisionmaking power is being devolved to the area, an agenda the IoD is right behind. “Just last week came the announcement that the West Midlands will be the first large-scale test bed for 5G in the UK. This is no doubt an exciting development for local firms. It also looks to address one of the key challenges identified by the Government in its Midlands Engine Strategy published last year – the need for greater connectivity. “Another of these three key challenges recognised in the strategy – and one that I’m sure many of the business leaders here


today have encountered – is the need to improve skills in the area. “A shortage of the right skills is perhaps the most fundamental barrier a company can face, and there is certainly no one silver bullet to fix the issue. “But we have already heard about one bright spot for skills – our armed forces. With skills shortages such a pressing issue, a strong and productive relationship between the business community and the armed forces, and with the defence sector more widely, only becomes all the more important to this region.” His own experience as a Reservist had proved the value of armed services’ training, he said. “I know that what I learned during my training as a Reservist has benefited me throughout my career. “Within the armed forces, you gain

experience in dealing with incredibly challenging situations, and in crafting solutions from limited resources. But perhaps most importantly, you gain a deep understanding of what it means to work as a team, and what can be gained when a group of people – all with different skills and personalities – pull together in the same direction. Show me a business leader who does not value these attributes?” But while the skills of ex-service personnel make them highly attractive to employers, these same skills and qualities – resourcefulness, fortitude, and teamwork – are also found in successful entrepreneurs. Those who leave the armed forces are perfectly positioned to found and grow the businesses of the future, Stephen said. And to ensure this entrepreneurial potential is able to shine, “the IoD also pledged to support exservice personnel looking to establish and grow new businesses. “Our network of founders and resources available to entrepreneurs through the IoD 99, is a natural place for armed forces entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. “For the region to take full advantage of its strengths in advanced manufacturing, in the automotive sector, in the defence sector and beyond, we need to do all we can to foster a spirit of entrepreneurialism. We need to ensure that nothing stops the businesses of today and of tomorrow from thriving. “Achieving this will not happen without strong partnership between key sectors like defence, committed local politicians such as our Defence Secretary, and of course the business leadership community.”

Defence Secretary makes the case for bold, assertive UK in the post-Brexit landscape Simon Penfold, Business Editor Express & Star During his speech South Staffs MP Gavin Williamson outlined a vision of a “more bold, more assertive” UK in the wake of Brexit. Speaking to an audience of leaders from business and the Armed Forces, Mr Williamson also said the effectiveness and professionalism of the country’s Armed Forces helped give the UK a leading role in world affairs as it stood alongside “many, many allies” to oppose the “completely unacceptable” behaviour of the Kremlin following the Salisbury chemical attack. Among his audience were several representatives from leading aerospace and defence companies including GKN and BAE Systems. Mr Williamson, who said many of his South Staffs constituents worked at the Wolverhampton factories of aerospace companies Moog and UTC, praised the success of the UK defence industry in winning work around the world, citing the £6bn Typhoon jet deal with Qatar and the £20bn contract to build Type 46 frigates for Australia as proof. British companies supplied 15 per cent of the parts in the new F-35 jet fighter, he said, but the Government wanted to see UK industry doing more, investing in new technology to give itself a lead role in more international defence projects. He said: “There is an appetite to work with us in the future if we show leadership.” The UK faced “broader and wider” threats from insurgents and some nation states, said Mr Williamson. “To deter those threats we have to be more innovative. We can’t assume we will always have better technology that our adversaries. We have to

outthink them.” On Brexit, he stressed that those people who think it is a signal that the UK is retreating from the world are wrong. “Quite the reverse, in fact. As we leave the EU we have to be more bold, more assertive. Britain can take a greater role in the world’s leadership.” He said Britain’s use of so-called “soft power”, through aid programmes, economic links and the promotion of British

values of tolerance, democracy and justice allowed the country to “wield an enormous amount of influence around the world. But soft power only works if hard power stands behind it. “Do we believe Mr Putin actually puts a value on democracy and justice? I think that he does not. But we have to stand up for those values.” As a result, after the Salisbury chemical attack, “the message was that we did not stand alone, but with many, many allies, to say the behaviour of the Kremlin was completely unacceptable.” The Salisbury incident, said Mr Williamson, also underlined the role of the Armed Forces in helping identify the chemical – Novichok – trace where it came from and identify the treatment for it. The services had also played a leading role in the subsequent clean-up operation. And the Defence Secretary paid a personal tribute to the men and women of the three services: “Not just for their professionalism and service, not just their capabilities, but for their real passion and commitment to the work they are doing.”

IoD members and guests enjoy some quality networking at the event, including a chance to put over views to the Defence Secretary


Export focus

Exporting for the beginner: Get on track for overseas sales

IoD East & West Midlands Export Expo Date: Monday, November 12 Time: 09.30 - 1700 Venue: Drayton Manor Hotel, Drayton Manor Drive, Tamworth B78 3TW Cost: Members £45 + VAT; Non-members £55 + VAT In August 2018 the Government launched a new Export Strategy which ambitiously set out how it aims to raise our exports from 30% to 35% of our GDP and strengthen our position as one of the 21st century’s great trading nations. Focusing on three key parts of the strategy Connect, Inform and Encourage, IoD East and West Midlands are pleased to invite you to join us for a day all things export related! Designed for those who are new to exporting or considering new markets, our event will introduce you to a number of IoD Members who are Export Experts, who will share their own experiences of trading internationally. Keynote speakers already confirmed are Zeynep Turudi, founder and managing director of TRUEDE; Shahid Sheikh OBE, MD of Clifton Packaging and the IoD East Midlands Director of the Year; and Andy Wilkinson MD of OWB. There will be an opportunity to meet the experts supporting the DiT team in IP,


logistics and markets such as China, Latin America and the Middle East, who are keen to help businesses take the plunge and develop their export strategy, answering any questions you may have. More speakers will be announced so please look at the website for more details. Tickets for this event are limited. We recommend you book early to avoid disappointment. About our speakers Shahid Sheikh OBE, MD of Leicesterbased Clifton packaging, has embedded exporting into the DNA of his innovative packaging business, with new markets in Africa, Asia and Europe proving hugely successful for this dynamic business. In winning the IoD East Midlands Director of the Year award Shahid was described by judges as having ‘ a confident approach to tackling new markets and exporting that offers unsurpassed potential for future growth.” Right, Shahid Sheikh

Zeynep Turudi, Truede Zeynep is the founder and managing director of Truede, a supplier of fabulous, authentic Turkish Delight and other confectionery. Production is in Turkey but distribution is from the UK and the business re-exports back out to 15 countries Zeynep is also Deputy chair of European Turkish Brand Association, which has 400 business CEOs and managing directors as members, and is also a Business Advisory Board member at the Faculty of Business School, Coventry University Zeynep was invited by Barack Obama to represent the UK at the IVLP International Visitor Leadership Programme, to discuss A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. Andrew Wilkinson Founding partner and Managing Director of OWB, the award-winning creative marketing agency, established in Birmingham in 2000. OWB designs develops and markets eCommerce websites and apps for global

brands. Andrew has worked in senior client-side positions for global brands including TNT and Blagden Industries Group and marketing agencies across the UK and overseas. In 2017 he was awarded ‘Director of the Year’ in the Small Business category in the 2017 IoD West Midlands Awards. Supporting the DiT Team will be confirmed exporting experts from the IoD, including Philip Gray of Brazil Business Hub Ltd, Don Lee of Devoch (experts in supporting UK businesses grow in China) and Michelle Bishton and Phil Sanger from Vault IP, who are intellectual property experts experienced in overseas protection, Jenny Hooper and David Hooper from Independent Freight Solutions Ltd and Peter Mathews CMG, Chairman at Black Country Metals Trading Ltd

Post-grads on hunt for roles Could you utilise the skills of a postgraduate student to conduct a piece of research for you? Coventry University are looking for industryfocused projects for postgraduate students who are based within the Business School. The students are studying across a range of business-related subjects including international business, marketing, finance, hr, sports, events and logistics. Students are available to conduct individual consultancy projects as part of their final semester, commencing the research in either February, June or October. The project can be based in the workplace or remotely and the student can dedicate a maximum of four days per week for a period of up to 12 weeks. There is no charge to the host organisation. For more details, contact and one of the team at Coventry will contact you to discuss further.


Meet a member - and the IoD Director of the Year Awards

“If I were to win this award... I would feel elated! It would be amazing and I’d view it as fantastic recognition for years of hard work and dedication to my industry. I would enjoy sharing my story to inspire any director, especially women and minorities, to showcase their achievements.”

Showering visitors with cards like confetti is the best ice breaker! Earlier this year, Pertemps’ Chair and Managing Director Carmen Watson was named Director of the Year for the West Midlands, having also won the Inclusivity category for her commitment and hard work in championing equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We asked Carmen to be our inaugural interviewee in our new Meet a Member feature, allowing us to get to know a little bit more about some of the amazing people who are part of IoD West Midlands. Carmen, how did it feel to win the West Midlands Overall Director of the Year Award in June? I was incredibly humbled and overwhelmed and must give praise and credit to all those within the organisation who have helped and supported our diversity and inclusion initiatives over many, many years. The number of talented people who


entered the awards is incredible, so I am truly honoured that the judges chose me, and I can’t wait to now go to the national IoD Director of the Year awards in London on October 18. I look forward to working with the IoD in the future to encourage more people to enter for such prestigious awards to celebrate their successes. Who has inspired you most in business? Steve Jobs and my ex-husband. The latter, aged 21, was offered a Boardroom position with a leading-edge company. This inspired him to have confidence in himself to set up on his own. He borrowed £500 and went on to become an awardwining entrepreneur in his field. What advice would you give to your younger self? Accept that roadblocks will happen – be adaptable, find ways to deal with them. Keep learning; educate yourself; hone your skills and keep them refreshed. Lastly,

work hard, play hard and have fun! What is your funniest experience in the workplace? I was at a very important meeting with a potential key client, but as I entered the room I tripped and threw all my business cards into the air like confetti! I composed myself and say “Do take a card”….. The visitors collapsed in laughter, it was a brilliant ice breaker! Finally, you are shortlisted for the Inclusivity category in the National Awards in October. How would it feel to be a winner? I would feel elated! It would be amazing and I’d view it as fantastic recognition for years of hard work and dedication to my industry. I would enjoy sharing my story to inspire any director, especially women and minorities, to showcase their achievements. Thanks, Carmen – and best of luck at the IoD Director of the Year awards

West Mids sends strong team to IoD national awards We would like to wish all of our winners from the Regional Director of the Year Awards in June the best of luck as they head to the IoD national finals, which will be held at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London on October 18. The awards recognise exceptional leadership and good governance and we are proud to have such an impressive cohort representing the West Midlands. Good luck to all our nominees!

Our shortlisted finalists are:

Non-Exec Director Clive Bawden –Look After Business

Public / 3rd Sector James McLaughlin – Cure Leukaemia

Corporate Social Responsibility Angus Drummond – Limitless Travel

Chairman’s Award Dr Andy Palmer – Aston Martin Lagonda

Family Business Henry Deakin – Deakin & Francis Ltd

SME Dawn Hands – BMG Research

Innovation Adam Kiani – Personal Trainer Ltd

Start Up Phil Neale – Snoozle

Global Kutty Prabakaran – Enzen Group Inclusivity Carmen Watson – Pertemps

“It would be phenomenal to be recognised by such a prestigious body as the IoD”


Farewell to Dr Jason Wouhra OBE The highlight of the IoD West Midlands’ summer diary was a wonderfully informal and enjoyable barbecue at Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens, where members said a fond farewell and thank you to outgoing regional chair Dr Jason Wouhra, who stood down from his position after five years in the role in July. On what was a gloriously warm evening in keeping with the hot summer we all enjoyed, the tropical gardens were an appropriate setting for this event. Compered by regional director Calum Nisbet, the evening saw Dr Jason thank all those who had helped him throughout his time as chair, particularly Calum and his predecessor, John Phillips, and regional events manager Sue Hurrell. Jason was joined in the spotlight by the new regional chair, Brian Hall, and his vice-chair, Jackie Hendley, Head of Tax at Smith Cooper, who welcomed guests and outlined their priorities over their respective terms of office.

Top team: New IoD West Midlands regional chair Brian Hall and vice-chair Jackie Hendley with Dr Jason Wouhra and regional director Calum Nisbet

IoD says a warm ‘thank you’ to former chair Jason

Left, Jason and Brian Hall with Beverley Nielsen (Birmingham City University), Don Lee (Devoch Ltd) and Shuangyu Sl. Above, Ian Priest, Jill Hitchman and Peter Suddock


Above, Calum Nisbet pays tribute to Jason during his welcoming address and (top) presents the outgoing chairman with a personalised portrait as a memento of his time in office Top left, Jason with IoD stalwart John Goodman Below, Colin Regan with Dr and Mrs Walker Left, all smiles as Jason greets IoD Director of Policy Edwin Morgan


Events Diary To book: online at or contact

99 Network meets... Rob Hallmark, founder of Gruhme Date: Tuesday, 16 October Time: 18:00-20:00 Venue: iHub Birmingham, 2-6 Colmore Gate Price: Free of charge Calling all 99ers! Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Rob Hallmark, founder of men’s grooming business, Gruhme. As a consumer of men’s products, Rob had struggled to find strong male brands that he truly identified with so, with a passion for creativity, design and aesthetics, he was inspired to create his own brand encompassing the qualities he found mostly absent from the modern options. Gruhme was his answer – and he was brave enough to take his idea into the fabled Dragon’s Den TV show. There will be also a chance for all attendees to give their own 60-second micro-pitch.

Craig McVoy: Creating a leading brand experience Date: Tuesday, 6 November Time: 18:00-20:00 Venue: Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham B12ND Cost: Free of Charge Learn the Seven Principles to Grow your Customer Loyalty with Craig McVoy, founder and CEO of Beyond Brand. In the UK, SMEs spend over £1bn a year on their branding, marketing and advertising. But if the experience you give your customers doesn’t live up to the promise, then you’ve just wasted your money. To stand out in today’s tough marketplace, you need more than just a good product, team or marketing strategy. Good is just a commodity. Customers expect more. To compete with market-leading brands such as Amazon, Apple and Google you need to work harder on building a relationship with your target markets. People might be attracted to

you because of what you say you can offer, but they will stay with you because of the experience you actually deliver. Customers will ultimately choose a brand because of how it makes them feel. Customer experience is the no1 brand differentiator today. Focus on building an emotional connection with your customer, and you’ll keep them for longer. With a different approach, businesses of all sizes can deliver an amazing brand experience. The Beyond Brand Methodology, Craig’s best-selling book, gives you the practical skills to help you achieve exactly that. If you want people to fall in love with your brand then find out how by booking onto this event today. There will be also a chance for all attendees to give a 60 second micro-pitch.

Women as Leaders

100 Years of Women in Policing and Visit to West Midlands Police History Museum Date: Thursday, 18 October Time: 18:00-20:00 Venue: Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up, Birmingham Cost: £12+VAT (member and guests) £20+VAT (non-member) (Buffet provided) For this exciting event members will meet Corinne Brazier, volunteer at West Midlands Police Museum, for a tour of the old police station and a presentation celebrating the centenary of women in policing. Please note the museum does not have a lift and there are steps and unfortunately, there is no access for mobility-impaired members/guests. Spaces are limited so book now to secure your place!

Join us for a tour of the police museum

Unpick mysteries of the employment tribunal IoD West Midlands joint event with Irwin Mitchell Date: Thursday, 15 November Time: 08:30-13:00 Venue: Irwin Mitchell LLP, Imperial House, 31 Temple St, Birmingham B2 5DB Cost: £35+VAT members/ non-members Have you ever wondered what happens at an employment tribunal hearing? This is your opportunity to find out. Irwin Mitchell and the Institute of


Directors are delighted to invite you to our Mock Employment Tribunal where you will gain first-hand experience of an unfair dismissal hearing which we have designed to highlight the typical problems encountered by employers. You will learn: • What the parties are expected to do to prepare for the hearing • The standards the employer will be judged against and the burden of proof that

applies • The role of witnesses and how evidence is presented • How a decision is arrived at You will have plenty of opportunities to put questions to solicitors from Irwin Mitchell’s Employment Law team during the course of the morning.

IoD West Midlands Productivity Breakfast Series

Unique chance to hear story of the Aston Martin comeback Date: Wednesday, 28 November Time: 08:30-10:30 Venue: Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, Banbury Rd, Gaydon, Lighthorne Heath, Warwick CV35 0DB For the final event in our Productivity Breakfast Series, please join us at the home of Aston Martin in Gaydon to hear from Dr Andy Palmer CMG. Andy started his professional career in 1979 as an apprentice at Automotive Products Limited (UK) and now leads this prestigious car maker as President and Chief Executive Officer. Andy joined Aston Martin in 2014 to oversee a turnaround of the iconic brand, which swung to a pre-tax profit of £87m in 2017 from a loss of £163m the year before, reversing eight years of

losses. Andy is also the Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Productivity and Skills Commission, which has been set the task of understanding the true extent of the productivity challenge in the West Midlands, identifying the component causes and making recommendations to address the issues identified. An integral theme of the WMCA’s Statement of Intent, and running through the recently published Strategic Economic Plan, is the need for the West Midlands to close the productivity and skills gap between the region, the UK and other international economies. To meet the ambitious growth targets and transform the lives of those living in the

Members’ Christmas drinks celebrate the festive season

Women as Leaders Christmas Social

Date: Thursday, 6th December Time: 18.30 - 20.30 Venue: iHub Birmingham, Colmore Gate, 2-6 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2QD Cost: Free of Charge The IoD West Midlands’ popular Christmas Members’ Event is the perfect opportunity to grow your network with like-minded members from businesses around the region. Regional Director Calum Nisbet, IoD West Midlands chair Brian Hall and the branch chairs and committee members all look forward to seeing you at the IoD West Midlands regional office at the iHub, Colmore Row, Birmingham between 6.30pm and 8.30pm for this festive, social event. This event is free of charge but please book in advance so we can cater for numbers.

Date: Wednesday, 28th November Time: 17.30 - 19.30 Venue: Lost & Found, 8 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5RS Cost Member £20+VAT Non-member £30+VAT Includes buffet

region the local economy needs to be more productive and its workforce more skilled. The WMCA is looking at how to develop the necessary support for the economy, its businesses, and the people of the region in order to improve their skills, productivity and ultimately people’s wellbeing. Following Andy’s presentation, you will have the privilege of taking a behind-thescenes factory tour, to experience the immaculate craftsmanship, precision and quality techniques that go into every Aston Martin car. This event is now full, but please let Calum know if you would like to be added to a waiting list.

IoD West Midlands’ Women as Leaders are celebrating another successful year with Christmas Drinks at the Lost & Found in Birmingham This festive and social event is the perfect opportunity to network with the Women as Leaders committee and meet like-minded members from businesses around the region. We look forward to seeing you at the Lost & Found between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

SME Live guide to a better business The SME Live exhibition and conference at the NEC takes place from 16-17 October at the NEC, Birmingham. The team at SME Live have spent the last 12 months creating a brilliant seminar programme to help you develop your small business into a much bigger one. There will be 150 free to attend expert seminars sessions including insight and tactics from: • Facebook, Google, Bing, ITV, Royal Mail • Direct Marketing Association, Chartered Institute of Marketing • Cisco, SAP, Oracle, Box, Amazon Web Services • HMRC, DiT, British Business Bank, Start Up Loans • NatWest, PwC, Business Growth Fund, Midlands Engine There are also 200 exhibitors showcasing small business support and companies that can help you win new customers, grow your revenue, secure funding, improve your IT processes and help you build a winning team. Register for your FREE tickets at


Events Diary

May date confirmed for IoD Golf Day

Pictured, Walmley Golf Club: A picturesque – but challenging – parkland course

We are delighted to confirm that the IoD Members Golf Day 2019 will take place at Walmley Golf Club on Wednesday, 15th May. The day will begin with a bacon roll and hot drink at 9am, with tee off commencing at 10am. 18 holes later, we will enjoy a drink at the bar and a two-course meal in the clubhouse. The price per fourball is £225 plus vat. To book, please visit

Former IoD man John to deliver CMI lecture Date: Thursday, 15 November Time: 18.00-20.30 Venue: MH002, Mary Seacole Building Nursery Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1AD The Chartered Management Institute’s 25th Annual Crystal Lecture 2018 will be delivered by a familiar face to all IoD members – Dr John Phillips OBE. Our former regional director will be co-author of the keynote address with long-time associate Dr Jenni Jones, senior lecturer in the HR and Leadership Department at the University of Wolverhampton Business School.

John and Jenni will be exploring the world of leadership and mentoring; from both a practitioner and academic point of view. They will be sharing their leadership and mentoring experiences with a particular emphasis on the hugely successful IoD West Midlands / University Student Mentoring programme, which they have worked on together over the last eight years. They will share highs, lows and funny moments with a view to demonstrate how a little investment in this valuable intervention can help make a huge difference. They can prove that mentoring builds

the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be an effective leader into the future. Agenda 6pm: Refreshments and networking - The Forum, Lord Swraj Paul Building, University of Wolverhampton Business School 7pm: Introductions and presentation of CMI Rosebowl Award 7.10pm: Lecture by Dr Jenni Jones and Dr John Phillips MBE 8.30pm: Event concludes More details at uk or on 01536 207485, or see

Scotland welcomes you to Conference 2018 The highlight of the IoD Scotland events calendar is its Annual Conference, which this year takes place at the world-renowned Gleneagles Hotel from November 1-2 The Conference addresses issues of relevance to all UK business leaders. Entitled The Future is Now, this year’s event will explore how organisations can ensure that they thrive rather than merely survive in these turbulent geopolitical and economic times. Speakers and panellists include Carolyn Jameson, Skyscanner; Graeme Smith, Amazon Development Centre Scotland; and Michael Welch OBE,, as well as Stephen Martin, Institute of Directors. Details of further speakers can be found at Rates start at only £150 + vat for Thursday’s half-day conference, workshops, Leadership Debate and networking supper. The full Conference, including two nights at


Gleneagles and black-tie dinner, is £745 + vat, with other options available. It adds up to first-class speakers, workshops, networking opportunities in stunning surroundings for a first-class experience. Don’t take our word for it! Here’s

what last year’s delegates told us: “Loved it and took away knowledge that was immediately useful to me”, “Revitalisation outside my own professional bubble”, “Really good fun and challenging”. To book, go to www.iodscotland. com or call Joyce on 01577 865498.

ART’s in the heart of the region’s businesses Social investment through art boosts West Midlands economy

Businesses in the West Midlands have been able to access £11.7m of finance through ART Business Loans (ART) in the last five years, and create or protect over 2,300 jobs, thanks to a growing number of social investors looking to put their money to work for more than a financial return. “The generosity and vision of investors such as the Cadbury family and local and national companies got us started,” says Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART, “and enabled us to leverage further private and public sector funding, nationally and locally, both to lend and to cover any losses.” Investments in ART now qualify for Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR), and greater awareness of this incentive together with a growing interest in social, community and ethical investments Steve believes have contributed to a recent increase in support for ART. “Our original investors received a purely social return,” said Steve, “but with interest rates remaining low, the tax relief in addition to a social return, particularly for higher rate tax payers, is an attractive proposition to many more people.” CITR offers 5% per annum of the total invested off personal or corporate tax liabilities. This equates to a pre-tax return of 6.41% for standard rate tax payers, 8.33% for higher rate tax payers and 7.14% for corporate tax payers. To obtain the relief the investment must be retained for five years.

“We are proud of our track record and the impact we have had on the economy in the West Midlands over the years,” says Steve. “We know there are thousands of businesses in the region looking for the type of finance we provide – loans up to £150,000 for any legitimate business purpose, for businesses operating in any sector. “We have over £2.5m to lend this year and are looking to increase that amount, to meet demand, over the next five years.” ART’s mission is to boost the local economy, enabling viable businesses which are unable to obtain their full requirements from the banks to access the finance they need to support cashflow, keep trading through challenging times, grow and diversify, which in turn protects and creates jobs.

Further information about investing in ART can be found on its website invest-in-art. Details of a new social investment opportunity with ART will be announced shortly. You can register your interest in advance via ART’s

Pictured above, the ART lending team. From left to right, Andy King, Graham Donaldson, Roz Haque and Martin Edmonds

‘We know there are thousands of businesses in the region looking for the type of finance we provide – loans up to £150,000 for any legitimate business purpose, for businesses operating in any sector. We have over £2.5m to lend this year and are looking to increase that amount, to meet demand, over the next five years.’ Steve Walker, ART (pictured)


IoD Director Development: Masterclasses

Mastermind Groups: Your specialist subject – director development The IoD West Midlands Mastermind Groups bring members together to share ideas and concerns and build strong business relationships in a safe, constructive environment. They offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and

support in a group setting that sharpens business and personal skills. The ethos is to provide a positive, informal but challenging and supportive space to discuss issues that confront directors on a daily basis. The format is simple, with introductions

and feedback before all members share a summary of topics they would like to discuss. All groups include a two-course meal with wine and coffee except the breakfast group, which includes a full English breakfast.

To book: online at or contact LEAMINGTON SPA


Mallory Court Dates: Mondays, Oct 8, Nov 12 Time: 18:00 - 21:00 Venue: Mallory Court Country House Hotel, Harbury Lane, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV33 9QB Cost: £30 + VAT The facilitator is David Kearns, MD, Expert Investigations Ltd and member of the IoD Coventry & Warwickshire branch committee

SHROPSHIRE Haughton Hall Dates: All Tuesdays, Oct 16, Nov 13, Dec 11 Time: 18:00 - 21:00 Venue: Haughton Hall Hotel, Haughton Lane, Shifnal TF11 8HG Cost: £30 + VAT IoD member, Geoff Williams, will facilitate this group in the Brooke Suite.


Hotel du Vin Dates: Mondays, Oct 15, Nov 12. Time: 18:00 - 21:00 Venue: Hotel Du Vin, 25 Church St, Birmingham B3 2NR Cost: £30 + VAT IoD member Gary Simpson facilitates this group at Hotel du Vin near Snow Hill station.

Stanbrook Abbey Date: Wednesday, Oct 16 Tuesday, Nov 13 Time: 18:00 - 21:00 Venue: Stanbrook Abbey, Jennet Tree Lane, Callow End, Worcester WR2 4TY Cost: £30 + VAT The Herefordshire and Worcestershire mastermind group focuses on supporting personal goals. The group is facilitated by Joanne Hodgetts, chairperson for IoD Herefordshire and Worcestershire.



Women as Leaders Dates: October 9 at Hogarths Hotel Ltd, Four Ashes Road, Dorridge, Solihull B93 8QE Nov 13 at Hillcourt Conference Centre, Rose Hill, Lickey, Birmingham B45 8RS Time: 18:00 - 21:00 Venue: Hillscourt Hotel, Rose Hill, Lickey, Birmingham B45 8RS Hogarths Hotel Ltd, Four Ashes Road, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8QE Cost: £25 +VAT The Women as Leaders group now runs from two venues: Hillscourt Conference Centre in Rednal and Hogarths in Solihull and is facilitated by IoD committee member Jackie Casey, Managing Director of Success Train Ltd.

Stone Manor Dates: Oct 25 and Nov 22 Time: 07:30 - 10:00 Venue: Hogarths Stone Manor Hotel, Bromsgrove Road, Kidderminster DY10 4PJ Cost: £13+VAT Ian Priest, IoD Black Country Branch chairman, facilitates this mastermind group which meets for a full English breakfast.

STOKE & STAFFORD Weston Hall Date: Oct 31 and Nov 26 Time: 18.00-21.00 Venue: Weston Hall Hotel, Stafford ST18 0BA Cost: £30 + VAT


This members only event is facilitated by Richard Bisiker, IoD Staffordshire Chairman. Richard is a personal development coach, trainer and author who specialises in communication.

He is a Master Practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming and other people management techniques. The evening includes a two-course meal with wine and coffee.

West Midlands looks set for jobs boost, says new report Birmingham to maintain its impressive employment growth for the foreseeable future, says Irwin Mitchell – but Wolverhampton’s outlook not quite so bright Birmingham experienced one of the highest levels of employment growth in the UK in the first three months of this year, according to a new report which also revealed that Coventry led the way for economic growth in the region across the same period. The UK Powerhouse study is produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and provides an estimate of GVA growth and job creation within 46 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures. Published recently, the latest report revealed that Birmingham was the sixth best performing city in the UK in terms of employment growth in the first quarter of 2018, with the city’s workforce growing by 1.7% to reach 574,800 across the period. In terms of economic growth, Coventry was the top performer in the Midlands with its GVA growing by 2.0%. Birmingham was close behind with GVA growth of 1.9%, but Wolverhampton’s rate of 1.5% put the city among the worst performing cities. Looking to the future, there was further disappointing news for Wolverhampton, with the city’s GVA and employment growth expected to fall further both across the rest of this year and into the next decade. Birmingham is expected to Chris Rawstron: Positive reports on Birmingham’s employment figures

Ten fastest expanding cities by year-on-year employment growth in Q1 2018 Employment Level, Q1 2018 Growth (YoY) Leeds Southampton Oxford Exeter Manchester

477,400 160,800 135,600 114,200 470,300

Employment Level, Q1 2018 Growth (YoY) 2.3% 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 1.8%

Birmingham 574,800 Outer London 1,798,300 Stoke-on-Trent 112,700 Bournemouth 95,600 Cambridge 135,900

1.7% 1.7% 1.7% 1.6% 1.6%

Source: Office for National Statistics, Cebr analysis

maintain its impressive employment growth for the foreseeable future, however, with its workforce expected to grow by 18.4% in the next ten years. In comparison, Coventry is predicted to see employment growth of 8.7% across the same period, while Wolverhampton will see an increase of only 1.7%. Chris Rawstron, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Birmingham, said: “This new report shines a spotlight on how Birmingham is continuing to enjoy a high level of employment growth and is also expected to maintain that level of performance across the coming years.”

Brexit reports

Irwin Mitchell is producing a series of special studies into the impact of Brexit. The report will analyse how the West Midland is expected to be affected following the latest negotiations between the EU and the UK. There will also be general commentary on how Brexit stands to impact key macro variables: unemployment, GVA, population growth, BoE rates and the exchange rate. This report will be available for downloading from our website where the latest legal advice on what businesses need to do to

prepare will be available too. It will be followed by two more detailed studies, with the one in January including forecasts for how different regions will be performing in the next 15 years. The reports will be completed by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr). Commenting on the decision to work with Cebr, Victoria Brackett, Chief Executive of Irwin Mitchell’s Business Legal Services division, said: “Cebr advises some of the world’s most prominent companies and has a superb reputation for providing insightful economic analysis, award-winning forecasting and decisive business advice based on innovative research. “Over the last couple of years, it has established iself as a go-to consultancy for unbiased and well-informed Brexit commentary and it is behind some of the UK’s most discussed Brexit-focused research. “They were the ideal partner to work with as we look to ensure we are able to support our clients correctly as they prepare for Brexit.” • More at

Deals round-up... with Irwin Mitchell The Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell recently supported a deal which saw a leading costume company secure a £5m working capital facility for future growth. Based in London, Morris Angel & Son Limited, otherwise known as Angels Costumes, is the longest-established costumier in the world. Angels Costumes has worked with some of the most iconic directors in the

industry, including Alfred Hitchcock, Powell and Pressburger, David Lean, Richard Attenborough, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. It has also supplied a great many films and movie franchises, including the Carry On films, James Bond, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter. The £5m asset-based lending facility from Arbuthnot Commercial ABL will

provide the business with a higher level of working capital to fund its future growth plans, as well as additional headroom to cover the purchase of new stock to meet the seasonal demands of the market. Arbuthnot Commercial ABL was advised by Jon Bew and Natalie Barnes from the Banking & Finance team at Irwin Mitchell in Birmingham.


Director Development

Professional development in the West Mids 2019 Calum Nisbet Since moving into our new home at iHub, we have been delighted with the attendance at our four role-based modules that make up our Certificate in Company Direction. The programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for effective performance, covering the key areas of governance, finance, strategy and leadership. As a long-established professional awarding body, the IoD is the only institute in the world to offer internationally

recognised qualifications designed by Directors for Directors under Royal Charter. The modules of the Certificate explore the characteristics, mind-set and behaviours of a boardroom executive and explain what it takes to become an outstanding leader. They are also the starting point for our Chartered Director qualification, an international benchmark of excellence that is the highest status that may be attained in the Director profession. IoD West Midlands is well represented by Chartered Directors, who would be more than happy to have a discussion with

anyone thinking of becoming part of an exclusive network of senior professionals recognised for their outstanding leadership and contribution to business. In 2019, we aim to run the four individual modules that make up the Certificate in Company Direction every six months, along with the diploma and a few bespoke courses such as the Role of the NED. These will all be held at iHub right in the heart of Birmingham’s business district. It is also possible to attend a local intensive residential course to complete the certificate in just five-and-a-half days.

business plans with confidence and contribute more effectively to boardroom discussion. Course dates: 1-3 April or 23-25 September*

This module introduces a more personalised approach to leadership and delegates will be encouraged to understand and develop their own self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Course dates: 3-4 June or 18-19 Nov* If you can’t wait that long we still have availability for this course on 19-20 Nov 2018!

2019 Course Programme Role of the Director and the Board

Delivering an essential understanding of the board’s role in corporate governance and risk management, this introduction to the duties and legal responsibilities of a director will enable you to tackle the challenges of the boardroom with fresh confidence and progress your career to the next level. Whether you’re a newly appointed director, aspiring to a position on the board, or looking to improve your performance with fresh insight, this practical two-day course will equip you with the crucial knowledge and skill-set to fulfil your role successfully Course dates: 6-7 March or 27-28 Aug*

Finance for Non-Financial Directors In today’s business world, every director needs to recognise the key financial concepts and terminology that underpin a successful understanding of their organisation’s financial position. This course designed specifically for non-financial directors and senior managers and will demystify the world of finance, allowing you to monitor the financial health of your business, evaluate

Strategy for Directors

A dynamic strategic process is a critical part of delivering stakeholder value and generating competitive advantage for your organisation. This intensive course provides insight into the board-level knowledge and skills required to create, implement and evaluate your organisation’s strategy. Explore the relationship between strategy, governance and risk and learn how to use tools and frameworks that support strategic thinking and decisionmaking. Get the practical insights into how to deliver your current business objectives while future-proofing your organisation. Course dates: 1-3 May or 21-23 Oct*

Leadership for Directors

Strong leadership is increasingly fundamental to the successful realisation of an organisation’s vision. This intensive course provides a valuable opportunity for directors to explore strategic leadership issues both within and beyond their organisation.

Diploma in Company Direction The Diploma is an opportunity to put into practice the knowledge gained from the Certificate in a realistic and safe environment. The diploma encourages peer-group support, challenge and stimulation, mirroring in many ways the operation of a board. By replicating the issues of a ‘real’ organisation, you will gain hands-on experience that will not only enable you to achieve a world-class qualification, but also to make a significant impact on your board’s effectiveness. You will receive feedback on your own performance as a board member and return to your organisation ready to tackle future challenges with greater expertise and confidence. Course dates: 2-4 September*

Course details: Time: 09.30 –17:00 Venue: iHub, Colmore Gate, 2-6 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2QD


Mastermind creates new conversation for Midlands duo

Meeting room 1 at the iHub

Role of the Non-Executive Director This comprehensive programme is designed to equip you with practical strategies to build your network, raise your profile to secure an appointment, and add value in the boardroom. As more individuals choose ‘portfolio careers’ and demand for non-executive directors continues to rise within multiple sectors including third sector organisations and private companies, it has never been more important to understand the critical requirements and appropriate skill set of a non-executive director. Gain practical advice from an experienced portfolio non-executive director and participate in interactive case studies. Discover the latest interview tips from top industry head-hunters and put your questions to guest speakers who will be on hand to offer expert guidance. The programme includes an evening drinks reception and a three course dinner at a local restaurant, offering a fantastic opportunity to network amongst your peers and guests. Course dates: 4 July * Please note that all dates for the second half of 2019 are provisional

For more information on how to book on to any of these courses, please visit Or call Calum Nisbet on 0121 643 7801

Two West Midlands IoD members have formed a new venture after meeting through one of our regional Mastermind groups. Samantha Griffiths and Rachel Bowden created Board Conversations to deliver board effectiveness reviews, support and training. The pair have developed a toolkit to support Boards’ value delivery. “The toolkit and our focus on value creation allows our services to move away from the traditional checklist mentality that can often be found when evaluating board performance,” explained Sam. “The framework allows us to scale solutions to fit the needs of the business and to help the top team get the most from their limited senior resource.” Having met last year, Rachel and Sam have invested significant time fundamentally rethinking board effectiveness and developing the toolkit drawing on their many years of working with boards across diverse sectors. Based in Birmingham, the duo are helping boards gain insight into their role in value creation and how value is articulated to stakeholders. To find out more about Board Conversations visit www. or contact Samantha and Rachel through

Samantha and Rachel – started a conversation after an IoD Mastermind group that led to a new business

• To find out about your local mastermind group see pg 22


Black Country spotlight / Voluntary roles

Built in the Black Country – sold around the world Paul Brown

Recently, I was reminded of something that Lenin once said: “There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen.” Well, it’s been one of those weeks for what seems like most of this year! That said, I will attempt to write this article with no reference to Brexit, Trump, North Korea, Putin, May, Corbyn or indeed Boris. How dull and boring you might think, but you may well be surprised! It’s quite easy sometimes, when discussing the West Midlands, that the conversation can focus on Birmingham, and let’s face it, Birmingham is going through a transformation. The City of a Thousand Trades and a leading light of the industrial revolution is transforming itself into a world-class destination. Integral to all of this, of course, is the Black Country. Yes, we can go back to the 1840s and discuss the heavy industries that gave it its name from the soot and smoke that once filled the skies, and you could go back even further to the 1780s where the 14-mile road between Birmingham and Wolverhampton was described as ‘one continuous town’. But fast forward today and once again Wolverhampton is in the headlines as one of the three cities in the region that will be part of the £150m Government investment for the 5G testbed with the initial focus being for health, construction and automotive sectors. In fact, it was in April earlier this year that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, visited a small car manufacturer called Westfield, based in Dudley, which is at the forefront of autonomous car technologies. The Black Country as a whole is responsible for around a fifth of automotive and aerospace output for the UK including supply chains, and recent research suggests that the Black Country could be your source for up to 80 per cent of the components you need for a high performance carbon-efficient car. The Black Country is now home to 38,000 companies with an employment rate increasing considerably faster than Birmingham and the UK overall. The i54 Enterprise Zone in Wolverhampton is England’s most successful EZ by jobs created, with over 4,000 jobs delivered and 320,000 sqm of industrial space. It, like the rest of the region, has a GVA per head below the national average but it is on the


The i54 Enterprise Zone has been a stunning success, creating over 4,000 jobs

increase, with an economy generating £20bn GDP. The Black Country was second only to London with the highest proportion of UK businesses founded in 2013 that went on to generate at least £1m in revenues after three years. Despite these successes there are still a number of important challenges where the Black Country and its partners continue to lead on finding solutions for the persisting skills gaps across a number of sectors. The Black Country Skills Factory has significantly improved the ability of advanced manufacturing businesses to access the training provision they require through the brokerage of bite-sized course with an employer led approach. Additionally, a new £12.3m Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills opened for business recently in Wolverhampton, providing specialist training in key skill shortages, while Dudley College is hoping to get full backing for a new Institute of Technology. In July of this year, the Black Country was announced as one of 20 places to host a ‘Careers Hub’ to help transform careers and education of young people. It will be made up of 36 schools and colleges, working together with Enterprise Advisor Networks, universities, training providers, employers and career professionals to improve education. The Black Country is also heavily involved with the development of the West

Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, leading on the evidence gathering and production of the key sector actions plans. Within this the Black Country is driving for a new initiative – a regional ‘Productivity Factory’– aiming to boost efficiencies within the extensive, complex and diverse supply chains. There is so much more to say about the Black Country; I could continue and discuss some of the work the Black Country is doing on housing such as the Garden City, or the £150M fund to support the re-use of brownfield land and buildings for residential and commercial development, or indeed transport initiatives including the Midland Metro Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension. I’ve not mentioned either the significant role the Black Country will play at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 such as hosting the new state-of-the-art Aquatics Centre being built in Smethwick, Sandwell, including a 5,000 seat facility with an Olympic-sized competition pool and 25metre diving pool. All good stuff with many exciting years ahead for the region, I think… Paul Brown is a Board Member of the Black Country LEP and Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University. He can be contacted at paul.brown2@ or via 07827 881480

Trustees making a difference David Trevis-Smith looks at some of the superb opportunities available to directors looking to help the voluntary sector

Charities and other not-for-profit organisations make a vital contribution to both the economy and our society. With key responsibility for governing and directing the organisation, Trustees with commercial experience, volunteering just a few hours a month, play a key role and can make a significant difference to the effectiveness of a not-for-profit organisation and the delivery of its charitable mission. When IoD member Jeff Luesley retired as Managing Director of Inspectorate Group and a main board director of BSI, his love of canal boating and desire to make a difference led him to become NED Chair of what is now Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust. His years of commercial experience have been put to great use; under his leadership, the board has driven development of an award-winning new visitor centre, the merger of its two charities and the extension of its management and executive team. Directors at any stage of their career can make a difference by finding time to volunteer as a Trustee. IoD member Dean Kavanagh, winner of the IoD West Midlands Young Director of the Year award 2015 and NED of the Year award 2017, has recently completed a very successful term as Foundation Director and Chairman of the Romero Catholic Academy in Coventry, with over 3,000 students, 500 employees and a £15 million budget. Under his leadership, a vision and mission have been developed that unified

the Board in the process of blending eight schools which had previously operated as individual units. So do you feel inspired to want a make a difference to a local group that could use your experience and knowledge? If so, here are just a few current opportunities to consider. Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust The trust operates public boat trips into the unique and fascinating Dudley Tunnels and Limestone Caverns. It is seeking to recruit a Trustee to help shape and develop the future of this longstanding and ambitious organisation. Contact or Jeff Luesley, Chair, Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust, 501 Birmingham New Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SB Heritage Trust Network This is a grassroots charity that provides peer-to-peer support, knowledge sharing and skills development among its membership of over 200 local heritage groups throughout the UK, with a volunteer corps in excess of 10,000 people. As part of a strategic review, its main office base recently relocated from London to Birmingham. Guidance and advice helps groups rescue and protect heritage properties, from getting a project started through to post-completion and ongoing operation and maintenance.

Contact admin@heritagetrustnetwork. or Sarah McLeod, Chair, Heritage Trust Network, 13-15 Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JP West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust, and City of Wolverhampton Regenerating Buildings Preservation Trust work These three groups work collaboratively to safeguard buildings of historical and/or architectural importance within the West Midlands and Worcestershire which are at risk of being lost. There are over 10,000 listed buildings within that catchment area, with an estimated 500 considered to be ‘at risk’. Contact Sue Whitehouse at or write to: Chair, West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, Adam House, Birmingham Road, Kidderminster DY10 2SH Citizens Advice Dudley Borough The advice group is looking for up to three trustees to join their successful and dynamic trustee board supporting a phenomenal charity who changes the lives of over 17,000 people per year across the Borough of Dudley. If you are interested to find out more, contact Laura Thomas, CEO on laura. or ring on 07929343082; or contact Kari Shepherd, business support manager on


Employee wellbeing with BHSF

Catching them before they fall

How to support your employees’ mental health

information they give is confidential, in order for this to be an accurate assessment.

Research shows that just 15 per cent of employees would tell their line manager about a mental health issue. With poor mental health affecting an increasing number of the UK’s working population, it is crucial that businesses address the stigma attached to mental health in the workplace. Dr Philip McCrea, Chief Medical Officer at BHSF Occupational Health, shares his advice on supporting employees and creating a more open culture: In BHSF’s latest report, Hiding in plain sight: mental health in the workplace, the real reason employees call in sick has been revealed – with 42 per cent of employees claiming a physical illness when in reality it is a mental health issue keeping them from work. The research also highlights the need for workplace awareness, with 79 per cent of workers admitting that their employer does not offer dedicated mental health support. This lack of support has led to an average of 8.4 sick days taken each year, per employee, due to poor mental health – causing an increasing strain on the UK’s workforce. What early intervention strategies can employers implement? Many people are reluctant to discuss mental health issues with their manager, as they fear it could affect promotion or worry that their peers will judge them. This only reinforces the stigma surrounding mental health issues. In order to challenge this stigma, workplace culture must be open and supportive, encouraging employees to approach their colleagues or line manager with issues of this nature. Regular communication There are simple ways that employers can show that they care about the wellbeing of their staff. Regular communication about mental health during one-to-one lunches, or even team


When should employers intervene? Action taken at the earliest stage can help to resolve the issue efficiently and prevent further deterioration. If an employer is concerned about an individual’s wellbeing, working with an occupational health service can allow them to encourage an early referral before they are signed off from work. Diagnosing a mental health problem Expert clinicians are best placed to diagnose a mental health problem. In order to provide a detailed assessment, they will conduct a clinical interview to build a picture of the employee’s mental wellbeing. Occupational health is covered by the ethical codes of confidentiality, so employees are not obliged to tell their employer anything.

events, could encourage staff to open up. Breaking the silence is the first step towards combating the stigma attached to mental health. Early intervention strategies can be incredibly valuable for employers and, more importantly, their employees. Early intervention measures include the provision of mental health first aiders, or nominated responsible people that are amenable to offer support. Mental health first-aiders Most employers, no matter how small they are, will have a first-aider, as it is required by law. Encouraging a nominated first-aider to train as a mental health firstaider makes good business sense, as it allows employees to raise any issues before they reach crisis point and start to have a detrimental effect on the organisation. Survey your workforce Confidential surveys are a great technique to establish a baseline. Not only is a mental health survey low cost, it is also an effective way of benchmarking your organisation against other employers. Employees must be assured that the

Vital support for workplace mental health By introducing HR initiatives, employers can offer staff an extra support system. HR tools, such as Employee Assistance Programmes, offer vital assistance and have become integral in establishing a proactive approach to mental health in the workplace. Now is the time for businesses to look at their current approach to mental health and make improvements where necessary. It is the employer’s responsibility to eradicate the stigma that exists in the workplace by creating an open culture, and introducing measures to support employee wellbeing. By prioritising mental health, employers could see a huge transformation in staff engagement, retention and even productivity. For more information and to download the full report: Hiding in plain sight: mental health in the workplace, please visit: mentalhealth For more information please visit: Alternatively, please call 0121 0333 344 3800.

Tackling the UK productivity challenge by Carly Clyne, BHSF With the UK’s productivity lagging behind rivals in the G20, and the West Midlands as a region performing among the worst in the UK, the IoD and its patrons, BHSF, have held a series of business breakfasts to share best practice around improving workplace productivity. The third took place at the iHub, Birmingham on September 27. The interactive session saw three key speakers sharing their thoughts about successful teamwork, taking examples from the world of sport, the automotive industry and Norwegian working culture. The speakers then spent time with each group of delegates to discuss experiences, share ideas and thoughts on how best to tackle the productivity issue. Steve Bott, director of Efficient Thinking Solutions Ltd, puts high levels of productivity down to four key areas: I see – make sure information is visible to everyone, share knowledge and allow people to talk and share ideas I can – give people a chance – empower them to make their own decisions I care – if people are given responsibility, they will care more I will – accept that mistakes will happen, but give people confidence that they can

do the job. I can see it, I care and I know I can do it. Neil Armitage, CEO of Archery GB, focused on two key areas to improve productivity: Empowerment – allow people to own what they do, get your teams together and empower them to make decisions Motivation and incentives – people like recognition, identify motivational incentives that resonate with your teams. Ensure positive results are highly visible, show off the good work, encouraging others to do the same. Neil also spoke about the importance of adopting technology and not being blind to technology. Embracing technology can help to increase your levels of productivity. Alison, UK Managing Director of Zacco Ltd, a Norwegian company with high levels of productivity, spoke about the Nordic model and the reasons why productivity levels are so high in Scandinavia. The UK ranked 17th in the table for productivity compared to our Scandinavian counterparts who had much higher levels of productivity but also worked a shorter week and had higher levels of happiness. Their phrase for this was ‘Lagom’

The event was facilitated by Steve Bott

meaning ‘just the right amount’ – and is probably why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world, with a healthy work-life balance and high standards of living. Alison spoke about how more open communications, collaborative decision making and employees having the options to work remote and more flexibly can help to improve levels of productivity. The final event in the productivity series takes place at Aston Martin on November 28, where we will hear from Dr Andy Palmer CMG, Chief Executive Officer. You will also have the privilege of taking a behind-the-scenes factory tour.

‘Their phrase for this was ‘Lagom’ – meaning ‘just the right amount’ – and is probably why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world, with a healthy work-life balance and high standards of living...’

Charity spotlight

An evening to jump at with racing legend AP McCoy Midlands Air Ambulance Charity event offers a rare opportunity to hear from the greatest jump jockey of all time Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is inviting IoD members to ‘An Evening with Sir AP McCoy OBE’. Taking place on Friday, 23rd November at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, this exclusive evening, which includes a luxurious three-course meal, is a chance to hear from one of sport’s true legends.  Renowned for being the greatest jump jockey of all time, Sir Anthony dominated the equestrian world for over two decades. He ended his phenomenal career as Champion Jockey for the 20th consecutive year, and was awarded both the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year (2010) and BBC’s Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).  The evening will give guests a rare and personal insight into Sir Anthony’s incredible career as well as raise vital funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, which unfortunately airlifts a horse rider every four days.  Speaking about the event, Sir Anthony McCoy, said: “Midlands Air Ambulance Charity does a fantastic job saving lives on a daily basis. The racing community greatly values the work of the air ambulance, due to the dangers involved with the sport, which is why I’m delighted to support Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and the important work they do.”  Each Midlands Air Ambulance Charity air ambulance mission costs £2,500, which is entirely funded through charitable donations from the communities it serves and local businesses. This is why events such as the eagerly awaited Evening with Sir AP McCoy OBE are so important in helping to raise funds for the lifesaving service.  To date, the charity has tended to 50,000 people who were in critical need of advanced care and the speed of an air

ambulance. The organisation has three helicopters, strategically located across the six Midlands counties served by the charity. Each helicopter has a crew of a pilot and two critical care paramedics, or a critical care paramedic and trauma doctor. In addition, the charity has a critical care car, based in the Birmingham and the Black Country area. Manned by a critical care paramedic, the car is dispatched to those suffering with heart attacks, cardiac arrests, respiratory issues and sepsis.  The aircrew can be mobilised to an incident within two minutes and on average attend up to six missions per day. The three most common reasons Midlands Air Ambulance is called out are road traffic collisions, falls and heart conditions, which collectively equate to 60 per cent of all dispatches.  Tickets for the evening are available from The Ticket Factory, just search ‘AP McCoy’. For more information and how you and your business can help fund a mission, please contact Midlands Air Ambulance Charity on 0800 8 40 20 40, or visit

“Midlands Air Ambulance Charity does a fantastic job saving lives on a daily basis. The racing community greatly values the work of the air ambulance, due to the dangers involved with the sport, which is why I’m delighted to support Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and the Sir Anthony McCoy important work they do.”


IoD West Midlands  

Business magazine, Institute of Directors, West Midlands, UK

IoD West Midlands  

Business magazine, Institute of Directors, West Midlands, UK