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Carolyn has over ten years’ experience in the marketing, managing and developing places across the UK. She has held management roles at various companies, most recently at FOR Cardiff (Cardiff’s Business Improvement District, BID) where she is the Head of Marketing and Communications. Her role requires her to deliver strategic guidance, to organise and execute B2B/B2C marketing, events and communication activities to FOR Cardiff’s member businesses and promote Cardiff as a destination of choice.
Deborah became Chief Executive of the Birmingham City Council in June 2021, following over 30 years’ in public services.
Previous senior roles included Chief Executive of the WMCA, Head of Policy at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Local Government Advisor to the Ministerial Team at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.
Following roles as the Audit Commission's Best Value Service Lead Inspector for the London region and Chief Executive for St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the East of England Development Agency, Deborah was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 2011 to 2017.
She was born and bred in Birmingham and attended the University Birmingham. Deborah has a degree in politics as well as a master’s degree in economics and a further Master’s degree in management practice.
Deborah received an OBE in 2006 for services to local government. She was recently high commended in the Chief Executive of the Year category at the Inclusive Companies Awards 2019.
She is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation and as a dedicated and passionate female advocate at the forefront of the public sector, Deborah recently won the First Women Award for Public Service.
Deborah is also a Commissioner for the Smart Government Commission and recently joined the Reform Advisory Board.
Deborah is listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’
With over a decade of experience town and city centres, Paul leads the strategic direction of Ipswich's BID and DMO.
He is available to comment on a wide range of topics including:
Nigel is a Cabinet Member at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and over recent years has overseen plans to revitalise the town centres in the Borough, including the riverside project for the Stockton High Street, repurposing the space from retail to an urban park and opening up the high street to the river. The plans for the High Street, which are set to complete in 2025, have been featured on BBC1’s Panorama and ITV’s Tonight programmes.
Nigel was first elected as a councillor for Hardwick and Salter Lane Ward in 2011, and chaired the council’s Place Select Committee until 2015. In 2014 he received the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) Scrutineer of the Year award for his pioneering work tackling Affordable Warmth & Fuel Poverty. Nigel became a Cabinet Member in 2015, first for Regeneration & Transport and then Regeneration & Housing in 2016. His portfolio not only includes economic and town centre development but also covers a wide range of responsibilities such as tourism, planning, and housing strategy and policy.
Stockton-on-Tees is also part of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and over the years Nigel has had various roles on the Combined Authority including the Education and Skills Partnership Board and the Land Commission. He is also a member of the Housing, Neighbourhood and Affordable Warmth Partnership for the Borough.
Nigel was born and grew up in Stockton-on-Tees. He works for the NHS as a clinical skills trainer and also has an interest in environmental issues. He is a keen musician and enjoys spending his spare time watching local bands with his wife.
Clare is the founder and director of City Nation Place, the global forum for place branding and place marketing. City Nation Place creates connections and shares best practice between country brands, regional brands, and city brands around the world through articles, interviews, surveys, white papers, a membership group, and conferences.
Clare’s interest in the complex area of place branding was sparked whilst working on a series of Nation Branding Masterclass events, led by Simon Anholt, one of the first thought-leaders to speak about and promote the concept of place branding. Having listened to Simon address audiences in Accra, Delhi, Dubai, London and Singapore on how policy, governance, and symbolic actions need to combine with branding and marketing to create a competitive identity and drive economic growth, she continued to follow the growth in this sector. Clare launched the first City Nation Place Global conference in London in 2015: CityNationPlace.com has been steadily building followers and in 2017, she launched the first City Nation Place Americas conference, in 2018 City Nation Place Asia Pacific took place in Singapore, and 2019 saw the first City Nation Place UK, specifically for towns, cities and regions across the UK, and the launch of the first City Nation Place LatAm & Caribbean event. Clare manages the small team at City Nation Place alongside providing event consultancy and management for a number of clients in the publishing and trade association sector, including running the World Media Awards for the World Media Group and event consultancy for the UK Association for Online Publishers.
Louisa Grocott is the Place Brand Manager at We Are Staffordshire, a new approach to promoting and marketing the county, funded by Staffordshire County Council.
Louisa is working with Staffordshire’s Place Board of business leaders and partners to develop and promote a vibrant new place brand and narrative for Staffordshire, maximising opportunities to promote inward investment, support visitor economy, and generate economic growth across the county.
With over a decade's experience in destination marketing, Louisa has led complex marketing and community engagement programmes for major infrastructure and regeneration developments in the Midlands and wider UK.
Richard drives the delivery of the Council’s placemaking agenda, seeking to establish Medway as a great place to live, to work, to learn and to visit.
As Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive, Richard has responsibility for Frontline Services, Culture & Community, Regeneration and Communications & Marketing.
The Regeneration, Culture and Environment directorate provides essential services such as Waste, Highways and Transport, alongside delivering one of the largest free events and festival programmes in the country, delivering a monumental regeneration programme including our Housing Infrastructure Fund programme, worth £170m and delivering our Putting Medway on the Map agenda.
Richard has held a number of roles at Medway since its inception in 1998, and before that time worked in a range of positions across Kent County Council, both at corporate and service level.
Judith O’Doherty has a keen interest in all things place. Judith’s career in economic development spanning 21 years in both the private and public sector enabled her to travel extensively on an international basis and work on place promotion campaigns across the UK, Europe and the US, oftenwith a focus on foreign investment attraction.
Judith founded eutopia to help places more effectively identify and leverage strengths to optimise their economic potential. She is a keen advocate for the use of a data driven approach in place marketing to ensure higher impact and continued investment.
Judith has a MSc in Place Management and Leadership from Manchester Metropolitan University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has alsobeen appointed as an Expert on the High Streets Taskforce in England.
Dan is the Director of the GREAT Campaign, which is the UK government’s marketing campaign promoting the UK to the world. The campaign’s role is to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest, and study in the UK. Dan joined HM Government in January 2020 and was previously Multi-Brand Marketing Director at EE / BT, where he led the marketing strategy for 30 million UK customers.
Nick is the Joint Managing Partner of Argent and a partner of Argent Related. Having spent almost 10 years working on Argent’s 8m sq ft King’s Cross development in central London, Nick is now part of the leadership team for Argent Related’s 10m sq ft Brent Cross Town development in north London.
Before joining Argent in late 2007, Nick worked with Chelsfield and European Land at Paddington Basin in London. Prior to that he spent almost 5 years working on large developments in the Far East.
Nick is also the chairman of trustees for the charity Club Peloton that organises the cycle rides to Mipim, Mapic and other industry events each year.
Emma is the CEO of Visit Pembrokeshire, which launched in November 2020 and is the first Destination Management Organisation (DMO) of its type in Wales. It leads on a coordinated approach to tourism delivery across the County through the 2020-25 Destination Management Plan (DMP) (English language DMP Welsh language DMP).
The DMP is a demonstration of the commitment from Partners in Pembrokeshire to work collaboratively and sets out a clear vision and strategy to grow tourism in a sustainable way for the benefit of all. Emma has 20 years’ experience working across the disciplines of City Centre Management and Tourism. She is passionate about building effective partnerships that ensure destinations reach their potential and maximise the economic benefits to the broader area.
As founding Director of thinkingplace, John has directed the development of over 80 place brands across the UK. He is active in promoting and implementing this best practice approach of creating a shared place story, widening place leadership and creating active collaborators as a key part of place’s recovery and reset in the light of Coronavirus. He has led projects for places as diverse as Hampshire, Nottingham, Surrey, Harrogate, South Downs National Park, Newhaven, Medway, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Perth and all three UK Cities of Culture.
John has also been working with places to help them develop their response to the Towns Deal, Future High Streets Fund and Levelling Up Fund among others, and is a Mentor to the High Streets Task Force, helping to support local authorities and communities to transform their places.
Deirdre Wells OBE was appointed as CEO of Visit Kent in September 2018. Deirdre is also CEO of Go to Places, an organisation created by the company, to deliver services to partners outside, and in partnership with Kent, including the Big Weekend and a number of national tourism projects under the Government’s Discover England Fund.
Prior to her appointment to Visit Kent, Deirdre was Chief Executive of UK inbound, representing nearly 400 UK inbound tourism businesses. Deirdre joined UK inbound following 20 years in Government at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport working on a variety of high-profile projects including the Millennium Dome, Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and latterly as Head of Tourism.
Deirdre is Chair of English Tourism Week and sits on the Board of the Tourism Society and the Tourism Alliance.
Deirdre lives in Kent with her husband and two sons.