Anita Bhalla OBE

Anita is currently Chair of Chair of Performances Birmingham PLC (Town Hall and Symphony Hall), Chair of Creative City Partnership, Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), Governor of the RSC, Non-Executive Birmingham & Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Trustee of The Children’s University and a Council member of Warwick University. Anita is chair of the Leadership Commission for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Anita’s media career has been extensive of which over 25 years with the BBC; from setting up the BBC Asian Network in the West Midlands to a news Correspondent, Documentary maker to being Head of Political and Community Affairs in England then Head and Editor of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting and President of Circom (a European wide group of public service broadcasters).

Anita has a strong commitment to public service and her past portfolio in this area ranges from being a Commissioner on The Chancellor’s Commission (Warwick University), member of Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Commission to being the past chair of mac (Midlands Arts Centre), a previous chair of a Junior and Infant School, member of the governing body of Birmingham City University to currently being a Trustee of the Children’s University.

Anita has won several awards including the CRE’s Race in the Media National Television News Award and the Windrush Broadcaster of the Year. In 2009 she was awarded an OBE for her services to Broadcasting and Communities.

In 2012 Anita was the High Sheriff for the West Midlands. Anita has been awarded Honorary Degrees from Wolverhampton University, Birmingham City University and Warwick University. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


PJ Ellis

Having read Law at the University of Birmingham, and then practising as a solicitor for 7 years, PJ has now been in the digital world for over 6 years. He was the founder of social media agency, Blake7, which merged with Lightbox in the summer of 2018. He now co-owns this Digital Marketing Agency based in St. Paul’s Square and employs 17 full-time members of staff.

Away from business, he is an advocate of all things Birmingham (and an avid Birmingham City FC fan), Since 2012, PJ has helped raise over £750,000 for local charities and most notably,
PJ co-founded the charity LoveBrum in 2014, which shines a light on the “hidden gem” projects of our wonderful city.

He mentors other entrepreneurs, has helped raise over £1m worth of funding for start-up businesses, is a Director of the Birmingham Law Society and sits on the advisory board of BPS Leaders, TedX and the English Schools Football Association.  He recently received a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister, which recognises outstanding UK volunteers in their community.

His passions away from Birmingham, Business and Digital are his family and football.


Lilith Holsey-Sheppard

With a strong background in hospitality, Lilith worked in AND for a variety of food and beverage venues in the Midlands for over 15 years before joining the Fraser Urquhart Media team 6 years ago.

A well know face and influencer on the West Midlands networking scene, Lilith draws from her hands-on F&B experience to support and develop new and existing clients in formulating effective marketing and publicity campaigns across print, online/social media and experiential.

For the last year she has also been a business partner of Butcher’s Block, an independent traditional butchers in Bromsgrove and is the director and head chef for their street food stand Lils’ Baps.

Lilith currently focuses full time on the butchers shop alongside her wife while also still working part time at Fraser Urquhart Media.


Matt Jones

Matt Jones is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor. For more than a decade, Matt’s devoted his life to creating opportunities that have helped over 100,000 people to learn without limits and build a better future for themselves.

In 2018/19, his dedication was celebrated with eight industry awards, including wins at the Institute of Directors, and the Birmingham Awards. The impact of Matt’s work at Oxbridge is clear: 96% overall student pass rates, 5* testimonials, and 300% year on year enrolment upsurge.

Reflecting on his values, which align with the Birmingham Awards and a growing second city, Matt and Oxbridge are overjoyed to support the ceremony as both a judge and a sponsor.


Kimberley-Jane Leary

Kim is a fantastically dynamic businesswoman and entrepreneur who has combined her dream of establishing and nurturing her own company whilst also delivering, communicating and cultivating such skills to her clients. Kim is a multi-award winning business woman having been crowned ‘Young Entrepreneur of the year 2016', a finalist as ‘Business Woman of the Year 2018' (for the Birmingham Awards) and Squibble her design agency won ‘Digital & Creative Business of the Year 2017’.

Kim started Squibble in 2010 and has grown the business to include past clients like McDonalds, Auto Trader and Marks & Spencers. That’s just UK based they stretch as far as Australia, Abu Dhabi and New York. Kim has lead many top­‐level campaigns for leading brands in the UK and because of this holds a strong position within the industry. She also has a vast and knowledgeable understanding of how to convert online visitors to customers combined with the ability to manage both aspects of website design and brand development.

When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends her time helping young and aspiring career minded individuals with support and advice. Kim is as a Non-Executive Board member for TAG Network, and due to her start-up success is well placed for the focus on the growth and development of its entrepreneurial members.

More recently Kim joined a new initiative called Birmingham Tech Week, as Marketing Director. The tech focused week will unite a range of events taking place across Birmingham City. The week will celebrate the diverse, innovative and growing city whilst pulling together students, start-ups, business owners, investors and sponsors for a week of collaboration and knowledge sharing.


Kate Canty

Kate is the Clerk to the Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands.  The role is wide reaching as the West Midlands Lieutenancy is involved in over 500 events per annum, working with the 7 local authorities within the combined authority, voluntary and business organisations.

The Lieutenancy also promotes the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, Queens Award for Enterprise and honours generally, as well as hosting Royal Visits to the Region.

Previously Kate practiced as a solicitor in Birmingham, and also worked as a business consultant for several years.

Over the years Kate has held various positions in Birmingham including Chairman of the Birmingham Employment and Skills Board, member of the GBSLEP Employment and Skills Board and Chairman of Building Jobs in Greater Birmingham.  Currently she is a Governor at Elms Farm School and a Trustee with Forward Education Trust.

Kate is also a part-time silversmith and jewellery maker.


Paul Faulkner

Paul Faulkner is the chief executive of Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Previously, he was chief executive of Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest football clubs.  Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is a membership-based business support organisation, a kind of central portal or hub to steer businesses towards greater opportunities, development and success.

Locally, Paul is an Associate Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and a Trustee of Cure Leukaemia, Town Hall Symphony Hall, and the Lord Mayor’s Charity.  He is also Chairman of Sport Birmingham.


Safaraz Ali

Safaraz Ali (Saf) is a social investor and entrepreneur. He is originally from the financial services sector and is the CEO of Pathway Group.

Pathway Group is an independent apprenticeship-training provider and has over 1000 Apprentices with businesses across the region. Pathway are also widely known for its diversity and outreach work and deliver Skills Support for long term unemployed looking to get them into sustainable employment.

In addition to his work with the Skills Sector, he is the co-founder of a home care business working with NHS Trusts and Social Services and presently employ over 600 people in the Midlands.

Safaraz setup Pathway2Grow business networking forum in 2012 and since then it has assisted over 2000 small and micro businesses annually.


Paul Cadman

 Paul Cadman joined the Steps to Work/Starting Point Recruitment board of trustees in July 2017.  He is the chair of two private sector organisations and is the CEO of Ex Forces Recruitment.

Debbie Assinder

Debbie Assinder is a director & enterprise consultant at Rodborough Consultancy also an Enterprise Champion for the West Midlands & Birmingham Chamber associate. As an Enterprise Champion, Debbie is on a mission to help start-ups & small businesses build profitability while making the most of a skill or passion, whether they are high-powered tech firms or people looking to improve their work life balance while providing for their family.