Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Boris Johnson’s new book, ‘The Churchill Factor’, is the pick of my Christmas Holiday reading

Holidays always provide a fantastic opportunity to catch-up on some of those books you’ve been meaning to read for a while, or perhaps re-visiting, and on some occasions coincide with the release of a new and interesting title. All three of these applied to me as we set sail from Southampton for The Canary Islands on 17th December. 

Of the five titles I read, although all very good indeed, the pick of the bunch for me was London Mayor Boris Johnson’s reappraisal of the life and work of Winston Churchill which has only recently been published.  

Boris has a real concern that perhaps the greatest Briton of all time is slowly fading from people’s memories, with the insurance dog sadly being the first thing that many people associate with when the name Churchill is mentioned nowadays. There is also a strong sense that in the 50 years since Winston Churchill’s passing, his reputation has been unfairly attacked and diminished by critics living in a different time, and perhaps of a differing political hue. 

Boris doesn’t shrink from this, and tackles all of the situations cited as Churchill’s errors of judgement and re-evaluates them in a balanced and fair way. In several of these, he brings forward the reasons why they are not in fact the failures that Churchill’s detractors like to suggest, and in some instances were ideas and actions based in very sound logic. Throughout the book we also get a smattering of many of the retorts that Winston was so famous for, which is almost worth the admission price alone! 

Although the book covers Churchill’s entire life (although not chronologically), it cleverly pivots around May 1940 when he finally became Prime Minister at Britain’s hour of need, along with the vital fact that, but for this one man and his steadfast resolve, Britain would more than likely have undertaken a deal with Nazi Germany. Great Britain today (indeed Europe in its entirety) would be a very different place indeed to the democracy and freedom that we enjoy if that had happened (Hitler clearly never stuck to any previous agreements so why did the rest of the coalition cabinet think it would be any different next time?). Cometh the hour, cometh the man. 

Frustratingly, despite his substantial military experience (and valour) and his influential political savvy, he was often thrown out of office, denounced by colleagues and had his words of warning dismissed by others who thought they knew better when history shows that they clearly didn’t. 

In a remarkable political career that spanned over 50 years, Winston Churchill was a driving force for victory in both world wars (the tank was his idea and its introduction was decisive in breaking the stalemate of the trench warfare). He had been fired at on four continents, was an early British enthusiast for aviation (taking to the air many times in those pioneering early days) and was crucial to the beginning of the welfare state in the early 1900s; he gave British workers the job centre, unemployment insurance and tea breaks. Furthermore, he was instrumental in the foundation of Israel and the campaign for a united Europe. Remarkably, he had more words published in his books than Shakespeare and Dickens combined.  

Boris has written this book with passion, new research, re-evaluation and great reverence to a remarkable man whom we all owe a great debt to. I highly recommend this book and congratulate the Mayor of London for a job well done. 

One book that I re-visited over the holidays was ‘Coaching for Performance’ by Sir John Whitmore. I first read this book over a decade ago as a precursor to the Executive Coaching course I undertook with John Webster’s CEOs Office (and am still on the National Coaching Register to this day). In fact one of the sessions on the CEO’s Office course was actually taught to us by Sir John Whitmore himself and it was absolutely amazing and inspiring. The book, as the title suggests, is about the principles and practice of coaching and leadership; growing human potential and purpose via the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward). This remains a great and inspirational read. 

I followed this up with a Richard Bandler NLP book (he was a co-creator of neuro-linguistic programming), Fiona Campbell’s ‘Business Coaching the NLP Way’, ‘The Naked Leader Experience’ by David Taylor and Sir Terry Leahy’s ‘Management In Ten Words’ (very interesting considering Tesco’s current woes). Unfortunately, by the time I had got stuck in to the latest Jim Collins book, ‘Great by Choice’, we were already sailing back in to Southampton – but it does assure me of some great reading with which to start the New Year. 

And with that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, successful and prosperous 2015.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

CIMA West Midlands is proud to launch its mentoring programme at an event on Tuesday 20th January in Birmingham

CIMA West Midlands Mentoring Programme
We will launch a mentoring programme in 2015 to bring together senior members who can offer mentoring support with others in the early stages of their career. This programme is available to those who wish to take advantage of this service. 

If you feel curious about this initiative come to our launch event on Tuesday 20 January at 6.30pm when all will be explained for both the mentor and mentee. We will also provide insight to networking opportunities and how to make the most of them and we all know that this can be essential for career development.   

Benefits for mentors: - 

        strengthen your coaching and leadership skills by working with individuals from different backgrounds and with different personality types

        help develop future talent giving a new member increased knowledge, skills and experience in attaining their career goals

        get new insight into your job - questions from mentees can help to take a critical look at how things are done and what areas have room for improvement

        a chance to develop a new skill for your CV. 

Benefits for mentees: - 

        one to one support from an experienced professional

        an opportunity to network and build contacts within an industry

        gain an insight into your chosen industry or career

        help in recognising your own abilities and limitations in relation to your career ideas and in highlighting areas for development

        get practical advice on job search techniques and skills.

If you are unable to attend this event, but you are still interested in being part of the mentoring programme, please register your interest by emailing  

This event will also help you look at your networking skills. When you see the word networking, what do you think of? I bet you think of having to 'go out' to 'meet strangers' at a 'formal event'. There is this little voice in our heads, who annoyingly keeps telling us that we need to put ourselves through this exquisite form of professional torture because we know we should be regularly networking to improve our business and career prospects. 

If we could show you another, more successful route by using joined up networking to achieve the career and business success you really deserve, would you be interested? 

At this event, Heather Townsend, the award-winning and best-selling author of 'The financial times guide to business networking' will share her methods and secrets which have, in the last year helped her clients generate an additional £1million of fees. Heather will be relaying stories and real life examples of how CIMA members have been using her techniques to make successful career moves and build their own healthy practice. 

She will be showing us: - 

How to use networking to guarantee career and business success, without it feeling like a form of professional torture. 

How to effectively network when you really don't have the time to network. 

How to make your networking fitter. 

Why today's savvy networkers know that it is not about your ability to 'work a room'. 

Why one cup of coffee is never enough. 

How to meet your George Clooney. 

Why you now don't need to 'go out' to network.  

This very popular event provides practical guidance to help you network efficiently so that you can maximise your productive time, boost your career and deliver exceptional service and results.  

Event Details 

Westley Hotel, Westley Road, Acocks Green, Birmingham B27 7UJ 

6.30 for 7pm 

No charge.  Buffet served on arrival  

Speaker Details 

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the go-to expert. She is an award-winning best-selling author of three books, 'The FT guide to business networking', 'The go-to expert' and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie). Not bad for an engineering graduate from Oxford who last wrote an essay at the age of 16. 

Over the last year she has helped her coaching clients, typically accountants and lawyers, achieve their business and career goals by supporting them to add over £1 million revenue to their practice.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The band I formed in 6th Form included on new 4-CD Box-Set out this week

My band, The Threads, formed in 1982 whilst in 6th Form, went on to make a number of records throughout the 1980s which were subsequently collected on to an anthology CD by Detour Records in 2000. On this Cherry Red Records collection, one of our A-sides from 1986, ‘Step Back’, is featured on this definitive 4-CD story of the Mod scene from 1977 to 1989…….

‘Millions Like Us’ - The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977-1989

‘Millions Like Us’ is the first-ever box set to properly document the Mod Revival scene of the late Seventies and Eighties. Across 100 tracks by all the key bands, the story of the Mod Revival is told, from its roots in Punk/New Wave through to its commercial heyday in 1979 with bands like Secret Affair, The Chords, The Purple Hearts and The Lambrettas and its resurrection in 1985 with The Untouchables, The Prisoners, Makin’ Time, The Moment and The Threads.

Track Listing: -

Disc 1
1. Just Another Teenage Anthem - The New Hearts 
2. The Fashion Plague - The Exits 
3. I Can't Resist - The Reaction 
4. All The Sounds Of Fear (Demo) - Strangeways 
5. Sema 4 Messages - Sema 4 
6. No Survivors - Speedball 
7. See Saw - The Jolt 
8. They're Back Again, Here They Come - The Cigarettes 
9. Why Shouldn't It Happen To Me - The Killermeters 
10. What I Want - The Donkeys 
11. Time For Action - Secret Affair 
12. Millions Like Us - Purple Hearts 
13. Now It's Gone - The Chords 
14. Your Side Of Heaven - Back To Zero 
15. Walking Down The Kings Road - Squire 
16. Plastic Smile - Merton Parkas 
17. Modern Boys - The Crooks 
18. Untamed Youth - Untamed Youth 
19. The Beat Is Back - The First Steps 
20. Gabrielle - The Nips 
21. Strength Of The Nation - The Teenbeats 
22. Go Steady - The Lambrettas 
23. 1970's Boy - Long Tall Shorty 
24. Career Girls - Les Elite 
25. Don't Throw Your Life Away (Live) - Beggar 
26. Let Me Be The One (Live) - The Mods 

Disc 2
1. Opening Up - The Circles 
2. Saturday Night - The Odds 
3. Bank Holiday Weekend - Seventeen 
4. Carefree - The Most  
5. Hey Girl - The Scene 
6. Wild About You - The Same 
7. Bank Holiday - The Vandells 
8. Three Bands Tonight - The Directions 
9. Maybe Tomorrow - The Chords 
10. School Days - Sta - Prest 
11. Pack Fair And Square (Previously Unissued Demo) - 9 Below Zero 
12. Blood Spattered With Guitars - The Accidents 
13. Television Screen Heroes - Mi5 
14. My World - Secret Affair 
15. S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song) - Q - Tips 
16. That Driving Beat - Red Beans And Rice 
17. Choose You - Dead Beats 
18. Nobody Loves Me - The Letters 
19. Fuck Art Let's Dance - The Name 
20. D - a 
21. My Mind Goes Round In Circles - Squire 
22. I've Had Enough - The Scene 
23. I Can See Through Walls - D.C.10's 
24. Soho - Run 229 
25. No Way Out - The Fixations 
26. Don't Lecture Me - Two Tone Pinks 

Disc 3
1. The Kid - Small Hours 
2. Tina's Party - Weekend 
3. Only For Sheep (Previously Unissued) - The Upset 
4. Can We Go Dancing - The Amber Squad 
5. Red With Purple Flashes - The Times 
6. Go - The Heartbeats 
7. Blind To Fiction - The Dodos 
8. Would You Listen Girl - The Retreads 
9. Win Or Lose - Long Tall Shorty 
10. The Faker - The Gents 
11. No Vacancies - The Clues 
12. You And I - The Onlookers 
13. Love Is Dead - Small World 
14. Plane Crash (Respond Version) - Purple Hearts 
15. One Step Ahead - The Stripes 
16. Modesty Blaise - Direct Hits 
17. I'll Keep Holding On - The Diplomats 
18. Confusion (Hits Us Everytime) - The Truth 
19. Hurricane - The Prisoners 
20. I Don't Need No Doctor - Fast Eddie 
21. Wednesday Girl - The Jetset 
22. Jump Back - Dee Walker 
23. Time Moves Us On - The Way Out 
24. Nothing You Can Do - Manual Scan 
25. I Am With You - Mod Fun 

Disc 4
1. Something That You Said - The Scene 
2. Bend Don't Break - Stupidity 
3. In This Town - The Moment 
4. Free Yourself - The Untouchables 
5. Dreams Come True - The Combine 
6. Guilty - The Alljacks 
7. Here Is My Number - Makin' Time 
8. Kiss And Make Up - The Co 
9. One Good Reason - The Boss 
10. The Last Man In Europe - The Blades 
11. Catcher In The Rye - 5:30! 
12. Train To London Town - Solid State 
13. I Want To Sleep With You - Eleanor Rigby 
14. Looking For You - The Rage 
15. Step Back - The Threads 
16. Jobs For The Boys - The Risk 
17. Blow Up - James Taylor Quartet 
18. Julie London - The Kick 
19. All I Want To Be - The Reflection A.O.B. 
20. Get Out Of My Hair - Studio 68 
21. Paint In A Day - The Leepers 
22. Worming - The Clique 
23. Arthur C. Clarke - The Aardvarks 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Dr Andrew Bass to speak at the LMI Leadership Lunch in Birmingham on Tuesday 9th December

Information, Eduction, Inspiration 

Mark Tonks says, “The LMI Leadership Lunch is exclusively for business owners, business leaders and senior decision makers. Designed to inform, educate and inspire the event features professional presentations, guest speakers and interactive sessions focused solely on the subject of leadership.

As today’s business world changes and evolves through increased global competition, constant innovation, lightning fast communication and continual advances in technologies the need for effective and highly skilled leadership has only intensified. 

Extensive research has shown that the best leaders, the most effective leaders master four key aspects of leadership, namely: -

•Personal Productivity- the ability to manage oneself

•Personal Leadership – the ability to lead oneself

•Motivational Leadership – the ability to lead other people

•Strategic Leadership – the ability to lead an organisation

Each lunch is themed around one aspect of leadership taken from what we have called the “Total Leader Solution” 

December’s lunch will focus very much on Motivational Leadership. Every leaders’ role is unique, it differs from one organisation to the next and from one job to the next; even the titles given to leaders vary widely. However, positions of leadership no matter how they differ in the detail have one significant common denominator, they must all depend upon the fundamental need to work with and through people. Leadership is really all about relationships, leaders who work most effectively with and through people deliver the most outstanding results.” 

The principal speaker is Andy Bass Ph.D. 

Andrew is the founder and principal of BassClusker Consulting, and helps leaders to bring their strategic goals to fruition more quickly and completely. He has worked across a wide range of industries and sectors with clients such as Aon Risk Solutions, KPMG, DLA Piper,  L’Oreal, all three emergency services, AAH Pharmaceuticals, the NHS, and International Automotive Components Group. 

Andrew teaches at Warwick Business School and is a visiting faculty member at the Aston Business School Centre for Executive Development. He is a member of Interchange Research, a leading cybernetic think tank led by Oxford philosopher and scientist Dr James Wilk, with whom he works closely on applications of Minimalist Intervention in the corporate world. He is also on the ‘Big Thinkers’ panel of experts for #oglivychange. 

Andrew has a PhD in Software Engineering and a BSc in Computer Science and Ergonomics. In addition to research articles on systems thinking and organizational culture, he has been published on and in Career Development International, Legal Week, and Managing Partner magazine. He is author of the book, ‘The Performance Papers: Incisive Briefings for Busy Leaders’, published by Bookshaker. 

An active member of the Birmingham (UK) business community, Andrew is a member of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Board of Common Purpose, a member of the advisory board for the Ethical Business programme at Newman University, a former Board Director of the business lobbying and networking group Birmingham Forward, and former advisor to the Birmingham Future Mentoring Scheme. 

The LMI Leadership Lunch- Tuesday 9th December 

Opus, 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 2DE 

Cost £35.00 (incl VAT) 

Running order: - 

11.45 – Registration, open networking & refreshments 

12.15 – Welcome & Introductions 

12.30 – The Challenge of Motivational Leadership 

1.00pm – Lunch 

1.40 – Guest speaker- Andy Bass 

2.10 – Q&A 

2.20 – Summary 

2.30 – Close 

Refreshments will be served after the close and delegates can continue to network.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Paul Hooper-Keeley Elected as CIMA West Midlands Chairman

I am delighted to report that I have been elected to the role of CIMA West Midlands Chairman for a 2-year term, beginning in January 2015.

Having been involved with the voluntary committees of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants for some 15 years, I was CIMA Branch President of the North West Midlands from 2003-2005 and am currently completing a 3-year term in the same role (now designated NWM Branch Chairman).

I look forward to contributing positively to the Area Board’s aims for our members and students, and for the Institute’s goals as a whole, at Area Chair level.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Free CIMA/IoD Event – ‘Conversational Coaching: Performance Language & Being Present’, 25th November in Stoke-on-Trent

Not every coaching session happens in a meeting room with uninterrupted time. Sometimes every passing conversation is an opportunity and so every moment counts.

Questions that prompt people to perform at their best require insight and skill. Above all, they involve being fully present with the person you are with.

This presentation is about how to: -

-      Achieve this level of motivation with your staff.

-      Improve your skill at being fully 'present'.

-      Listen and then engage others with the right questions.

Richard's presentation runs through the 'what and how' to turn every conversation into quality questions. This will help your language become fully present and effective.

Speaker Details

Richard Bisiker is 'Director of Personal Summits' and specialises in working with Directors and CEOs who seek to develop their staff engagement and best performance skills. He has been an IoD member since 2001.

Richard has coached executives for twenty years. He is a private pilot, travelling nationally to visit his clients and often makes analogies between flying and leadership. He helps executives achieve their objectives through reflective coaching. He focuses on personal patterns of behaviour and offers coaching to achieve successful patterns that get results.

He is also a mentor on the IoD mentoring scheme with the University of Wolverhampton and has been chairman of two local charities.

Date/Start Time:  25 November 2014 - 18:30 

Location:  Ashley Conference Centre, Staffordshire University, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2DF 

Price:  GBP 0.00 

Buffet served on arrival

Email to confirm your free place.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

IoD West Midlands Evening with James Sproule, IoD Chief Economist and Director of Policy, on 23rd October at the Warwick Hilton

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet James Sproule, Chief Economist and Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors. James will give an overview of the current economic situation and will be pleased to take questions. 

A buffet with wine will be provided and you will be able to meet fellow IoD members including the Coventry & Warwickshire committee.  Parking is free of charge. 

Prior to joining the IoD, James Sproule led Accenture's UK Research and Global Capital Markets Research, where he focused on Thought Leadership. He started his financial career as a merchant bank economist working with both Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank and Desdner Kleinwort, and eventually helped to found the boutique bank Augusta and Company.

Before embarking on a career in economics, James was a signals officer in the Royal Navy. James stood for Parliament at the 2005 general election and was for seven years a visiting fellow in the Department of Management Economics at the London School of Economics. He has lectured and written on a broad range of subjects and sits on several charity boards.

Location: Hilton Hotel, Warwick, CV34 6RE

Date: 23 October 2014

Time: 18:00 - 20:30

Member price: £25.00

Non-member price: £35.00

(Prices shown exclude VAT)

Visit to book your place.

Friday, 26 September 2014

IoD West Midlands - Free Networking Drinks Event at The Swan, Stafford, on 14th October.

Location: The Swan Hotel, Stafford

Date: 14 October 2014

Time: 17:30 - 20:00

Quality networking in the relaxed setting of The Swan, an 18th Century coaching inn, brought to you by IoD West Midlands.

Member price: Free of charge

Non-member price: Free of charge

The IoD West Midlands region covers the counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, as well as the urban areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and the Black Country and is made up of over 1,800 directors and senior decision makers.

The regional head office is found within the IoD West Midlands Hub in Birmingham. Local branches can be found in Hereford and Worcester, which covers Herefordshire and Worcestershire; Coventry and Warwickshire, covering Coventry, Warwickshire, Birmingham and Solihull; and the Black Country, covering the Black Country, North Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Headed up by Regional Chairman Jason Wouhra, the IoD West Midlands host a programme of seminars, business breakfasts and special events which give members the opportunity to listen and question business leaders, politicians and decision-makers.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mills CNC's MD joins Midlands Aerospace Alliance colleagues from the Eurofighter Typhoon Supply Chain to visit No 3 (F) Squadron at RAF Coningsby

Paul Hooper-Keeley, Managing Director of Mills CNC Limited, joined members of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance who were invited by Group Captain Johnny Stringer, Base Commander, RAF Coningsby, and Wing Commander Ian Townsend MA, Officer Commanding 3(F) Sqn to visit and see the Squadron at work.

This was a superb opportunity for 20 MAA colleagues to see the Eurofighter Typhoon that more than 70 MAA member companies help manufacture or support close up and meet the pilots who fly it every day.

Paul Hooper-Keeley and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance with No 3 (F) Squadron at RAF Coningsby
About RAF 3(F) Squadron

RAF 3(F) Squadron is a front-line fighter squadron:

•Formed in 1912 and celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012.

•First Squadron to fly heavier-than-air aircraft.

•Moved to RAF Coningsby in 2006.

•First operational front line RAF Typhoon squadron in 2006

•Provides permanent Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) for southern UK, ready to be scrambled in 10 minutes.

•Participated in Operation Ellamy (UK participation in Libya) 2011.

•Helped provide Olympic Games security 2012.


Schedule of Visit

•Squadron visit: who we are, what we do, what Typhoon can do and why.

•Aircraft visit (see the jet up close).

•Simulator visit.

•Review a key part of Squadron training in use.

About RAF Coningsby

Today the workplace of 3,000 military and civilian personnel, RAF Coningsby has been an RAF base since before the Second World War.

The following Squadrons are based there: -

•No 3 (Fighter) Sqn - the First Front Line Typhoon Squadron.

•No XI Sqn - The first multi-role Typhoon Squadron.

•No 29 (Reserve) Sqn - The Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit.

•No 41 (Reserve) - Test and Evaluation Squadron.

•The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which operates five Spitfires of various Marks, the only flying Lancaster in Europe, two Hurricanes, a Dakota and two Chipmunks.

A massive thank you to Darin Tudor of the Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron Association who spent 12-months organising this fantastic visit.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

CIMA West Midlands’ ‘Women in Leadership’ event at The Rep, Birmingham, on 7th October

Come to meet four inspirational speakers from a variety of business sectors within the West Midlands. These ladies have been very successful in their particular field and will talk about what they have achieved and how they did it.

We are pleased to welcome: -

Yvonne Mosquito - West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner

Liz McKenzie - Corporate Services Director, Wesleyan Insurance

Nicola Fleet-Milne - Managing Director of FleetMilne Property

Lynda Kettle - Vice President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Arts (RBSA)

Following the presentations, there will be a Q&A panel session. The evening will conclude with drinks and a chance to network with the speakers and other fellow guests.

This event is open to all - everyone is welcome. Email Julie Witts at to book your free place.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 3AH

6pm for 6.30pm - Arrival, registration and buffet served

6.30pm – Presentations

Speaker Details

Yvonne Mosquito, West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, was elected as a councillor to Birmingham City Council in 1996 and has served as an executive member of the Birmingham City council cabinet, chair of the labour group and deputy chief whip.

Yvonne has chaired several committees including Birmingham City council's people and organisation committee, the West Midlands immigration strategic board, the social cultural and health board and the Birmingham housing benefit review board. She has chaired local ward committees including Ladywood, Nechells and Sparkbrook districts, and has been health authority representative on the Perry Barr Primary Care Group.

Yvonne was formerly vice chair of West Midlands Police Authority, where she served on several committees, including chair of the personnel committee and vice chair of the equalities committee. Yvonne also represented West Midlands Police Authority at the National Association of Police Authorities.

Liz McKenzie, Group Corporate Services Director, Wesleyan Insurance

Liz McKenzie joined Wesleyan in October 2010 as head of corporate planning. Prior to this, she trained as a production engineer before spending nineteen years at Toyota in a variety of roles, including business and production planning, project management and continuous improvement. Twelve months after joining the Society, Liz was made director of HR and corporate planning.

She joined the board in January 2014 as group corporate services director with responsibility for the company secretary and corporate planning functions. Liz is also chair of Wesleyan's charity advisory committee, which has helped the society raise more than £1.3 million for local and national charities, including recently, over £180,000 for Birmingham Children’s hospital.

Nicola Fleet-Milne is owner and commercial director of award winning agency, FleetMilne Property. With prestigious offices in Birmingham’s Colmore Business and Mailbox District, FleetMilne specialise in selling, letting and managing premium properties.

Nicola set up FleetMilne Property in 2004 in a prospering market and has successfully guided the business through interesting times. The team at FleetMilne are excellent at what they do and they draw on all their knowledge and experience to offer a comprehensive service which has maintained the reputation as market-leading property agent in Birmingham.

Nicola herself is a former ‘Birmingham Young Professional of the Year’ category winner and an active member of the city’s thriving professional community. Nicola is the relationship director for the professional membership organisation BPS Birmingham, board member at Colmore Business District, a trustee of Birmingham Hippodrome and mentor to young talent.

Lynda Kettle is vice president of the Royal Birmingham Society of Arts (RBSA), membership secretary of the Birmingham Watercolour Society (BWS), a member of the Birmingham Art Circle and a member of the Birmingham and West Midland Pastel Society.

Lynda trained at Birmingham College of Art, specialising in theatre design. She was a stage and costume designer for London and Midland theatres, progressing to a career as a production designer for BBC television. She is a creative designer for over 200 high profile productions.

Lynda will talk about her career at the BBC and explain how she became well known within the Birmingham art world. She will share her experiences of a woman in a prominent role and will offer some advice on developing leadership skills.

What you can gain: -

Below are URLs for the CGMA and CIMA Thought leadership reports on Women in leadership and Leadership.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Business Networking Event in Birmingham on Thursday 18th September brought to us by Edge Creative

Edge Creative are kicking off the networking season with a fantastic EDGE Forward event at the Drop Forge in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to showcase your business and build significant relationships with the right people.

This free of charge high calibre event featuring both directors and decision makers is not to be missed. Make sure you reserve your place today.

18th September 2014
The Drop Forge
10 Hockley Street
B18 6BL

From 6pm to 8pm

To confirm your place email Edge Creative at and I’ll see you there.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Barclays support Mills CNC Limited with banking facilities to fund June MBO

Barclays support Mills CNC Limited (“Mills”) with banking facilities to fund a management buyout and continued growth plans.

Based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Mills is the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools into the UK and Ireland.  Over recent years, the company has invested heavily in its service support to the specialist engineering sector to provide a full suite of services including turn-key design, warranty, breakdown and contract servicing, parts, finance and training.  The company has experienced fantastic growth in challenging conditions since the previous management buyout in 2008, with turnover now forecast to be in excess of £60m and growing.

A new senior management team has been promoted from within the company to ensure continuity.  The number of Board directors has been increased to reflect the greater management needs of the company as a result of its strong growth over the past few years.

The outgoing Directors have gifted a significant shareholding to an Employee Trust for the long term benefit of the company’s employees. The Trust will help support the retention and attraction of new staff with a long term incentive scheme linked to company performance.

Further investment in the company is planned, with new office space and extra staff to improve customer service, further grow the Training Academy and facilitate future growth.

Nick Frampton, former Managing Director, Mills CNC Limited said: “We have developed a close working relationship with Barclays over many years. They took a keen interest in our succession planning and were able to deliver a funding structure that worked for all parties.”

Paul Hooper-Keeley, Managing Director, Mills CNC Limited said: “We see Barclays as one of our key business partners and are appreciative of the support that we receive from Gareth Farbon and his team. This has been, and will continue to be, vitally important for the evolution and growth of our business.”

Gareth Farbon, Relationship Director, Corporate Banking at Barclays said: “This is an exciting new era for Mills CNC as they implement strategic plans for further sustainable growth. As a longstanding client we value the relationship and look forward to working closely with the new management team to provide the expertise and support they need to fulfill their strategy.”

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Whittle Wonders team receives sponsorship boost from Mills CNC and the CNC Training Academy as it sets its sights on victory in Dubai.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, and its independently-operated CNC training division, the CNC Training Academy, are sponsoring a team from a local Leamington school as it takes on the world at this year’s International ‘F1 in Schools’ competition in Abu Dhabi in November.

Both companies have agreed to donate £1000.00 each to the ‘Whittle Wonders’ team from North Leamington Secondary School who, after being crowned National Champions earlier this year, are representing the UK at the event.

The team, comprising four students aged between 17 and 18 from the School, are confident that the sponsorship they have received from Mills CNC, The Training Academy and other local and national companies and organisations will help them win the much coveted Bernie Ecclestone Schools’ World Championship Trophy.

Says Mills CNC’s managing director, Paul Hooper-Keeley: -

“The ‘F1 in Schools’ competition is a fantastic initiative focused on changing young people’s perceptions and attitudes about careers in engineering, science and technology.

“This is something we are passionate about here at Mills and recognise that if we cannot attract sufficient numbers of well-qualified, highly-skilled young people into manufacturing and engineering – the UK’s future growth and economic prosperity will be severely affected.

“The ‘F1 in Schools’ competition, with its emphasis on innovative thinking and design-for-manufacture knowledge and skills, ticks all the right boxes for us and that’s why we are proud to be sponsoring the Whittle Wonders team.”

To cement its relationship with Mills CNC and the CNC Training Academy the whittle wonder’s four-student crew was invited to Mills CNC’s Technology Campus in Leamington at the end of August to meet senior managers, take a tour of the facility and see a number of high-performance Doosan machine tools being put through their paces.

The ‘F1 in Schools’ competition

‘F1 in Schools’ is a truly international event with teams from over 40 countries taking part.
The competition is holistic in nature and requires participating teams not only to use and apply CAD/CAM software and manufacturing methods to design, test, make and ultimately race miniature F1 cars on a 20 metre track – but also to demonstrate their understanding of the wider commercial, financial and marketing imperatives involved in running a business – specifically one in the motorsport (F1) sector.
As far as Whittle Wonders’ miniature car is concerned – the focus for the team was on designing and manufacturing a light-weight, aerodynamically-sound and structurally-robust car powered by compressed gas that could reach speeds in excess of 70mph.
The team is confident that the model they have created (and which will be unveiled at the event in Dubai) will beat off stiff competition expected from the German and Australian teams (in particular) to claim a top-of-the-podium result.