It’s been a tumultuous time to be a leader over the last few years. Having been presented with one unprecedented challenge after another during Covid, the downturn in the economy is now adding further pressure on CEOs and their leadership teams.
As a result of a radical change in working practices during the pandemic, and shortage in the labour market since then, the relationship between many employers and their workforce has shifted, and the change in this dynamic continues to present challenges for many leaders.
If this wasn’t enough, a new wave of technological innovation is presenting both opportunities and risks that leaders need to prepare their businesses for.
We wanted to discover how leaders are effectively managing the economic challenges, a hybrid workforce and emerging technologies while also delivering to stakeholders.
Mark Cuddigan – CEO, Ella’s Kitchen
Mark successfully led Ella’s Kitchen for 10 years, overseeing a period of huge growth for the business and establishing the brand as the UK’s No.1 in the baby & toddler food sector. Described by Innovate UK as a transformative presence in the market, Mark has set out to deliver his vision of business as a force for good through leading campaigns that focused on improving the lives of future generations. In doing so he established the brand as one of the UK’s most high-profile B Corps.
James Connelly – Founder, Investor & Advisor
James is an experienced founder, early-stage investor and advisor who recently founded digital growth company Charlie Oscar and is a NED at British Business Bank. As a CEO he has successfully led and inspired teams as well as advising and supporting other founders and leaders. He sold the first company he founded, digital growth agency Fetch, to global media group denstu in 2018. During that time he advised some of the world’s biggest internet brands including Apple, Facebook and Expedia.
Karen Hilton – CEO, heycar
Karen joined the online car buying platform heycar in 2019 as a founding member of the UK leadership team that guided the business through Covid and has since been promoted to CEO. Since joining she has overseen the forging of key partnerships that have helped to propel heycar’s growth in the UK and supported the company’s successful transition to an eCommerce business. Karen has years of leadership experience in sales operations and has previously worked with carwow, Nested, Volkswagen and BMW.
Ruth Kieran – CEO, Cirkle
Ruth has worked in the creative communications industry for over 25 years. In 2022 she was awarded PRCA’s PR Leader of the Year award and named by Campaign as one of it’s 40 over 40. She has held senior leadership roles at agencies including Kindred, Lexis and Archetype. Ruth is passionate about positive change in the marketing and PR industry, having led all people activities for the Alliance of Independent Agencies as co-chair from 2020-22, and supports a range of industry initiatives including Career Ready, BME PR Pros and Brilliant Creative Minds. In 2022, Ruth successfully managed the agency’s sale to Accordience (previously Huntsworth) and now sits on their board.
Paul Marsh – Founder, Lightbulb
In 2010, Paul launched Lightbulb: a training and consultancy business. Paul’s experience spans several blue-chip Companies in sales, operational, HR roles and at board-level as a COO. He is also the author of ‘HR & Other Swear Words: Practical & Credible HR for Beginners’ He has trained, coached and worked with hundreds of people across sectors and from SMEs to more well-known brands such as Mulberry, F1 McLaren, Rank Entertainment, MC Saatchi, BMW, The CBI, BAFTA, Eurostar, Anthony Nolan, Macmillan Publishing, Conde Nast, ITV, Pizza Express, Primark, Citigroup and London School of Economics. www.lightbulb.work
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