Top Businesswomen Join Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 3rd December 2018

Three of Tees Valley’s top businesswomen have added their voices to a group that helps drive economic transformation across the region.

Brenda McLeish, Vikki Jackson-Smith and Annabel Turpin have all joined the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) following a drive for diversity earlier this year.

Ms McLeish is the CEO of one of the UK’s largest training providers, Learning Curve Group. The firm delivers a broad range of education and training programmes across diverse industry sectors to around 120,000 learners each year.

Ms Jackson-Smith is the CEO of the North East’s largest independent waste management company, J&B Recycling Ltd. The Company operates from two sites in Hartlepool and one in Middlesbrough and employs more than 200 people.

As Chief Executive and Artistic Director of ARC, Stockton’s arts centre, Annabel Turpin leads one of the North East’s largest arts venues. The ARC welcomes more than 110,000 visitors per year through its doors.

In another new appointment, current member David Soley, the Chairman of Cameron’s Brewery, has been made the LEP’s Deputy Chair.

The LEP, chaired by former Sabic UK Chairman Paul Booth OBE, works closely with the wider business community and other partners to drive forward economic growth and job creation in the area. It works in partnership with Mayor Houchen, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and the five Council Leaders.

In September, a call was made for new members to strengthen private sector representation and increase diversity in the group, with the aim of having a 50/50 split of male and female business representatives by 2020. Following the application process, Ms McLeish, Ms Jackson-Smith and Ms Turpin were appointed.

Paul Booth, LEP Chair, said: “These new appointments are three brilliant examples of people from organisations that are committed to our area and dedicated to seeing it succeed. Our already accomplished LEP is now even stronger thanks to Brenda, Vikki and Annabel, and their wealth of experience.

“I’m looking forward to working with them, and the Combined Authority, to help shape the plans that will transform our area and to talk up Tees Valley. This is just the tip of the iceberg in our ambitions to represent every element of our varied and dynamic business and cultural community, and make sure their voices are heard.”

Brenda McLeish said: “I’m very pleased to be able to add my experience to the mix of the LEP. We have some fantastic leaders on the LEP and I hope my background in providing education, training and skills can add a different dimension to what we can offer, especially with all of the great skills initiatives being launched by the Combined Authority.”

Vikki Jackson-Smith said: “J&B Recycling has been established in Tees Valley for more than 20 years and our continued growth has helped us give back to the area we are passionate about.  Now, as part of the Tees Valley LEP, I am happy to be able to use my position to help shape the future of the region on an even bigger scale.”

Annabel Turpin said: “Culture is a major strand of the Combined Authority’s plan for economic growth, especially with the bid to be City of Culture 2025. I’m looking forward to bringing my expertise to the table to support our thriving arts scene and help make Tees Valley an even better place to live, work and visit.”

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