I have been a Board member of BCS for more than 3 years. Clearly, the last few years have created unprecedented challenges for BCS but through diligent and judicious management, the CEO and her excellent staff, ensured that we emerge strengthened and invigorated to better serve the students, staff, and community of Bedford.
With this aim, I am excited to be appointed as the Chairman of the Board of BCS and look forward to working with fellow Board members and management to help BCS beneficially affect the lives of all those we come into contact with.
I am just about to start my 4th year as MD for Cawleys who are a family run waste collection and processing business who have been in Herts, Beds and Northants for 74 years! I met Ismail through Cawleys as his McDonalds restaurants are one of our customers and he introduced me the Bedford College Services.
I started my life as a dustman through a recruitment agency when I was 18 and have worked my way up from that to driving, sales, depot management and then onto more senior roles. My personal life generally revolves around my children who want to play golf and go to football at the weekend which is fine, but doesn’t leave time for anything else.
The role with Bedford College is my first as a non-executive director and I’m looking forward to supporting the college to help give guidance and advice as we develop the commercial offering.
I joined the board in May 2022 after being approached by board member Simon Cox whom I had worked with previously when I was a Northamptonshire County Councillor. I had always been impressed with Simon’s drive and enthusiasm to bring about change in the local area and knew that if he was involved it would be a proactive group. After graduating I worked in the investment industry for 17 years as a senior sales manager for Zurich Financial Services. Following the birth of my third son in 2007 I left the industry and worked as a lecturer at Northampton College, teaching foundation English and employability, a role which I loved and it fitted around my family commitments. I have been a local councillor for two terms since 2007, latterly in 2017 to 2021 for the county council where I was vice chair of the overview and scrutiny committee. I currently run an Amazon business from home and I am studying for my masters in philosophy. I live in Walgrave with my husband, 3 boys and two dogs.
Simon joins the board with 16 years’ experience in marketing, heading up family businesses and previous experience in a variety of financial management roles within the leisure and hospitality industry with the likes of Queens Park Rangers Football Club, Wasps Rugby Club, The Sports Café Group, Dash Leisure and David Lloyd Leisure plc.
He currently leads the new Membership Organisation for Northamptonshire helping to bring businesses, charities and organisations together to help drive the County forward.
He is an active member of the Northamptonshire business community and was named a Volunteer Champion for Northamptonshire in 2021 and 2022 by the Federation of Small Businesses, recognised for his services to the Kettering business community in 2021 for his support during COVID and was a Finalist at the BBC Make A Difference Awards in 2022.
Simon has a passion for helping small businesses and has recently been supporting businesses nationally with the Government’s Help to Grow Programme by providing 1:1 mentoring following his experience and passion for helping young people through the Young Enterprise Company Programme which he joined in 2010 and was awarded the Gold Award for his services to Young Enterprise in 2018. Simon is also a Member of the National Council for the Organisation of Responsible Businesses, a member of the Local Skills Improvement Plan Executive Group and a member of the North Northants Business Forum.
He is also a Board Member of Kettering Community Unit, a charity based in Kettering, supporting 22,000 local people in and around Kettering and also Kettering Community Business Centre Development Trust which is a social enterprise organisation providing affordable serviced office space for businesses from the Kettering area
2020 marked my 25th working in the hospitality industry. Following my graduation from West Herts College I joined Thwaites Hotels as a trainee manager at a conference hotel and spa in Hampshire. I spent 10 years with this group which included 3 years at their flagship boutique hotel in Mayfair and two spells in Northamptonshire where I met my wife. With a young family I took an opportunity to work at a residential adult education college in Rushden.
Over ten years I helped develop a program of courses and events and bring a more hospitality focused operation. Recently we relocated to Market Harborough where both my children attend the senior school. This resulted in a move to my current role as operations manager at St Martins House conference centre and Hotel in the heart of Leicester. I joined the board with BCS in 2018 and have seen the operation grow through the merger with Tresham and the continued development across the sites. I am proud to be part of this successful team and look forward working with you all through these challenging times.