Brooke is a well-known actress born in Audenshaw, Greater Manchester, famous for playing Sophie Webster in the soap, Coronation Street. In 2018, Brooke launched her own stationery brand OhSoB – which has gone on to be a huge success. She is a mother of 2 boys and came a very respected 2nd in the 2018 series of Dancing on Ice.
Brooke has publicly supported campaigns like the SmearForSmear campaign that aims to encourage women to have regular smear tests to try and prevent deaths caused by cervical cancer.
Anthony is a founding member of the financial support services business, Tatton Asset Management PLC, that has expanded into a fully diversified product and distribution provider. He left in 2015, after almost a decade, to co-found OpenMoney to combat the failings of the financial advice and investment industry.
Aaron Mellor is the founder and Managing Director at Manchester based Tokyo Industries, owners, and operators of 45 of the UKs coolest music venues, restaurants, bars and clubs. Including some of Manchester’s most legendary venues. Factory, The Deaf Institute, Gorilla, Impossible, BLVD, South Club and Reds True Barbecue.
Aaron is a founding director of the Nighttime Industries Association (NTIA), and ‘Leader in Academia’ at UCLAN lecturing his own ‘Master’s Degree in Music Industry Management with New Order bassist Peter Hook.
Cath, from Manchester, is best known for her roles as Iris Moss in the BBC drama Lilies, Eva Price on the ITV soap opera Coronation Street from 2011 to 2018 and Karen Norris in BBC One sitcom Scarborough in 2019 with comedian Jason Manford.
She took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2019 and was partnered with Johannes Radebe, and later took part in the UK Strictly Come Dancing tour in arenas all over the UK. She has presented three Tonight programmes and fronted 100 Greatest Walks, both for ITV, as well as regular cooking segments on Lorraine. She was an ambassador for The Great Swim in 2015 and is known as a passionate advocate of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and sensible eating for children and young people.
Emma is a 17-year-old youth voice and climate activist from Bury. She has been working as the Youth MP for Bury and a co-coordinator of Manchester Youth Strike 4 Climate since February 2019, where she has had opportunities to open the GM Green Summit and speak at COP26.
She also works within the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority to try and increase youth voice presence across Greater Manchester.
Jamie is a respected British boxing trainer and former professional boxer from Salford.
He competed from 1999 to 2010, during which he held British, Commonwealth and European Super Welterweight titles in 2009. He announced his retirement from boxing in April 2010, leaving the sport with a record of 37 fights, 32 W, 23 KO, 5 L.
He has trained several champions such as Carl Frampton, Tommy Coyle, Chantelle Cameron, Martin Murray, Jack Catterall and Rocky Fielding, and was the 2018 Trainer of the Year after his fighters won multiple titles.
As well as his work for Sky Sports commentating on boxing matches all over the world, Jamie can also be found in Walkden ABC – which he founded in 2021, an amateur boxing club to get kids, in the area he’s grown up in, off the streets and learning the sport of boxing.
Having grown up in Greater Manchester, Sacha has been involved in music for over 25 years. Following a successful run of events at The Hacienda, in 2006, Sacha launched The Warehouse Project club nights, followed quickly by Parklife in 2010.
Today, Parklife is Europe’s largest metropolitan festival, employing over 4,500 people each year. Combined, both The Warehouse Project and Parklife brought £20.9m into the Greater Manchester economy in 2019. In 2018, Sacha was appointed Nighttime Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, by Mayor Andy Burnham. In his role, Sacha has announced a raft of measures to improve safety, transport, and cultural diversity in the region, and has been an outspoken voice during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Until May 2021, Marc was the head of JMW’s multi award-winning Litigation team, having grown his department from 5 staff to 60 and transforming it into the largest litigation team outside of London. Marc sits as a member of JMW’s Board and now works in the Central Management Team alongside JMW’s Senior Partner and Managing Partner. Described as cool, calm, and very well-connected, he is tasked with promoting JMW’s brand externally whilst also training and developing staff internally in the “art” of building their own network.
Down to earth, friendly, and always willing to connect his contacts, Marc will be as keen as anyone to make Our Year 2022 a huge success. He was named as a ‘recommended lawyer’ in the Legal 500 UK since 2015. He has also been shortlisted for many Manchester based Lawyer awards.
Chris presents a daily show on BBC Radio 6 Music. Chris is also a Radio 4 documentary presenter. His critically acclaimed series exploring music and mental health followed an in-depth programme about music and politics. He is among a select number of presenters to host Radio 4’s prestigious, Pick of the Week.
Chris also regularly DJ’s, hosts festival stages and presents the Top 5 podcast, How To DJ.
Earlier this year he hosted the launch of a new John Lennon box set with Sean Lennon. Chris is proud to chair the Nordoff Robbins Manchester Network and is also Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.
Karina began her career as a journalist before moving into the hospitality industry, she is the North West’s youngest independent female Restaurant Operator & Owner after founding her acclaimed restaurant and bar venue concept Menagerie in August 2016.
Karina is the former co-founder and creator of Neighbourhood, Victors Hale and Southern Eleven. She was voted Entrepreneur of the Year at the Manchester Downtown in Business Awards 2015 and won the Women in Business category at the Northern Asian Power list 2020.
Kean, born in Manchester, began his football career at Manchester City at the age of 11 and captained the club’s development squad.
In 2016, he joined League One side Bury and, in 2017, he was loaned out to Oldham Athletic where he won the Oldham Athletic Young Player of the Season award. In 2018, Kean joined Sheffield United before signing for West Bromwich Albion on a two-year deal in 2021.
Born in Manchester, Seema studied Fashion and Design (BA) at the University of Salford and went on to establish globally renowned ladieswear fashion brand, Forever Unique.
Forever Unique is a luxury fashion brand specialising in ready-to-wear and occasion wear for the fearless, confident, and independent woman. Established by Seema and her husband Sandeep in 2008, Forever Unique has fast become a go-to brand for style-led clothing for celebrities and influencers across the globe.
A self-proclaimed workaholic, Seema puts her heart into anything she puts her name to; She juggles Forever Unique with two other co-owned businesses including luxury clinic, KP Aesthetics and celebrity hotspot Menagerie Restaurant and Bar.
Seema is a devoted mother of two sons with staunch family values. Her family and professional life was catapulted into the limelight when she took a leap of faith to join the glitzy cast of reality TV show, the Real Housewives of Cheshire. She has been praised for reinvigorating the show with glamour, values, style, and resolve.
Proud Mancunian Reece, is of Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage and showcased his experiences of being Black British through his debut poetry collection, “This Kind of Black”. Throughout his ten-year career, Reece has performed across the UK as well as internationally at New York City’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe and at the Schaubuehne in Berlin.
Reece campaigns for youth engagement, is a Trustee at Contact (Manchester Young Peoples’ Theatre Trust) and serves as the Chair of the Resources Committee. He is a Peer Mentor on The Agency, a project delivered by Contact and The Battersea Arts Centre, which empowers young people from economically and socially deprived communities to create projects which foster change.
Sally trained as a lawyer and has gone on to become a high-profile award-winning barrister, specialising in Public Law and Employment Law and is a Benchers at Gray’s Inn London. She is also a Keynote Speaker, Author, Founder and CEO of Women in the Law, Diversity Leader and Radio Broadcaster.
Sally is a Non-Executive Director for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Arawak Walton Housing Association, Codethink Ltd and Camberwell Park School, where she is also a Governor (Vice Chair) & Chair of Standards Committee.
Geraldine is one of Manchester’s best- known lawyers, having been a fixture on the Manchester legal scene for over three decades. A highly respected litigator with a wealth of experience of advising clients on complex disputes, reputational issues and representing clients in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, Geraldine headed the Manchester office of Hill Dickinson before joining international law firm CMS in May 2020.
Geraldine is regularly seen at major business events around town and is a board member of Manchester County Football Association, which focuses upon establishing safe and structured football opportunities for all within Greater Manchester. She recently joined a fund-raising board to work with St Ann’s Hospice to assist in delivering a new purpose-built hospice for the people of Greater Manchester.
Having been born and raised in Oldham and working in the city for most of her career, Geraldine is passionate about the city and also about encouraging and supporting the city’s youngsters to have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Women in UK IT 2018, 2019, 2020 and 3rd in 2021. Naomi is an experienced growth and innovation consultant with established relationships across the UK.
She has extensive experience working with start-ups and growth businesses particularly in the tech, digital and creative sectors. Naomi has been a mentor for 8 years and mentored several hundred businesses.
She an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School and chair of the Industry Advisory Board. Naomi also sits on the board of charity Digital Inc and social enterprise PIE. She was previously Chair of Future Everything and Capital Pilot.
Former footballer Grace Vella founded Miss Kick as a response to the lack of kit, care, credibility, funds, and facilities she experienced in the women’s game.
She debuted her sports brand in 2018 on the pitch behind her house, where she trained as a youngster. She sold out immediately.
Grace then took Miss Kick on the road, across England, selling products and a vision for change in women’s sport. After time out to bag a First-Class Honours in Psychology at Manchester University, Grace went all in on Miss Kick, securing investment and building a team from the company’s Manchester HQ. An in-demand speaker, the 24-year-old entrepreneur is a leading light on the issues facing girls in sport and the systemic changes required to level the playing field and ensure more girls and women get active and stay involved.
British-Chinese female founder and activist, Viv Yau is Founder and Director of her own company, Bee Influence born in Manchester. Viv’s platform focuses on ethical and inclusive influencer marketing campaigns for clients ranging from Vistaprint, Greenpeace and Emma Sleep.
In her spare time, Viv is also the co-founder of besea.n, a charitable organisation founded on advocating for East and South East Asian people in Britain. Since beginning in light of COVID-19 related racism, their petition started by Viv Yau has gained over 30,000 signatures, leading to the first ever Parliamentary debate in ESEA racism, and have worked with the likes of VICE, LUSH, The British Library and featured in BBC’s Woman’s Hour.d
Dr Kirsty Fairclough is Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University and a passionate advocate for Manchester. She is the current Chair of Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester’s longest running music festival. Kirsty’s current research includes the audio-visual mediation of popular culture, celebrity studies and popular music with an emphasis on the life and legacy of Prince.
She is a regular commentator on popular culture featuring on BBC 2, BBC News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Manchester and in The Guardian and Creative Review amongst others. Kirsty works closely with several cultural organisations in the UK and is the co-curator of Sound and Vision: Pop Stars on Film and the curator of In Her View: Women Documentary Filmmakers film seasons at HOME, Manchester.
Alex joined the Manchester Youth Council in 2019 and that’s where her political activism really began. Here she started to really understand issues that other young people were facing and what the underlying causes were.
Alex is one of the elected Youth MPs for Manchester and she wants to make sure that every young person in Manchester gets to have the chance to access the best possible opportunities and experiences. Most recently she took part in COP26 representing Manchester’s young people.
Jon Drape is a Director of Engine No.4, music, festival, and event production specialists. The company’s roster includes Parklife, Kendal Calling, Bluedot, Lost Village, Snowbombing and The Warehouse Project. In addition, Jon is a shareholder of venue and festivals company Broadwick Live and is a founder and Director of Manchester venue Escape to Freight Island. In 2018 Jon created the harm reduction website www.festivalsafe.com which he funds personally.
He is also very proud to be a patron of Attitude is Everything, making music festivals and venues more accessible, and a Director of The Loop, the leading drug checking and drug safety charity. In a former life Jon was Production Manager at The Hacienda in Manchester.
Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL
In 1991 Carl Austin-Behan joined the Royal Air Force as a Firefighter, during his service he served in the UK and overseas, he rescued a pilot from a burning Hawk Aircraft, putting himself in life threatening danger, He was awarded the British humane society Bronze Award for Bravery. Carl has raised money for numerous worthy causes including the HIV/AIDS, Manchester Children’s Hospital, Alzheimer’s UK (which involved a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp!) amongst others.
LGBTQ+ issues have always been close to Carl’s heart, which is why in 2005 he was appointed Chair of Manchester’s Gay Village Business Association and between 2008 and 2011 he was a member of the Greater Manchester Police Independent Advisory Group, supporting LGBT issues.
In 2016 Carl became the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Manchester and in In 2018 Carl broke new ground yet again, not only was he given an honouree Doctorate from the University of Bolton for services to the community, he was made LGBT Advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, where to this day he spends a lot of time and energy visiting schools, youth groups, workplaces (both public and private sector) to promote equality, inclusion and respect.’
In December 2019 Carl was appointed to be a Deputy Lieutenant of The County of Greater Manchester. Then to top it off he was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to Charity, LGBTQ+ Equality and to the Community across Greater Manchester.
Award winning journalist Shelina Begum is the Northwest editor at TheBusinessDesk.com. She was previously the business editor at the Manchester Evening News and its weekly magazine, Greater Manchester Business Week.
Shelina has spent more than two decades in regional journalism, including five in the business editor role, before leaving the M.E.N in September 2020.
Shelina has also worked at a number of other titles including The Asian News, Rochdale Observer and Oldham Advertiser.
She was also featured in the Northern Power Women’s Power 50 list in 2020.
Krish is the founder of the social enterprise Tales to Inspire, a not for profit that shares people’s stories across the world to encourage people to never give up. Since its founding in late 2019, Tales to Inspire has grown to now be able to deliver workshops for children in schools and inspirational sessions within the workplace. Our stories have been read in 82 countries around the globe and listened to in 31 Countries.
Tales to Inspire deliver sessions that raise awareness on areas such as: racial injustice, mental health, covid-19 impact and wellbeing, bullying, gender equality, homelessness, refugees, gang awareness, disability, and crime. Whilst helping to build qualities such as empathy, trust, resilience within young people to help understand the power of failure and how to learn from it and grow.
Ruby is a talent and recruitment expert who has helped Manchester’s most-well known businesses build teams and retain top talent for the past 8 years. She is the Head of Client Services at IN4Talent and is committed to helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds step into Tech and Digital careers.
Ste Wing is a product of the city with a strong Mancunian DNA dubbed one of Manchester’s Finest. He is a product of the city and the Mancunian DNA runs incredibly deeply. He is a proud Manc who has built a respected name in the fashion and arts world with over two decades of experience.
Having his own digital creative agency, art gallery and concept store in the heart of the city, he’s been able to use his position to help young creatives in Manchester achieve global recognition working on exciting projects with some of the world’s biggest brands whilst every year taking on new younger creatives and mentoring them around the importance of mental health and life skills they need.
Hannah Russell MBE
Hannah is a British Paralympic Swimmer, she competes in the S12 classification for those athletes with a visual impairment. Hannah made her Paralympic debut in London in front of the home crowd in 2012 and came home with three medals; a silver and two bronze. She hasn’t looked back, winning titles at the World and European Championships before returning for more Paralympic success in 2016 in Brazil; achieving two gold medals and a bronze.
Hannah’s achievements were recognised later that year, and was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours in 2017. In Tokyo Hannah defended her 100m Backstroke title and added another Gold medal to increase her total Paralympic medal haul to Eight medals.
Melissa attended East 15 Acting School in London, where she was one of the first actors with a disability to win a Laurence Olivier Bursary, given to the best emerging actors.
She is now most known for role as Hannah Taylor alongside Alison Steadman, Peter Davidson, and Adrian Lester in Mike Bartlett’s compelling 2020 BBC One drama LIFE, playing Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street and most recently Miss Scott in series 6 and 7 of ITV’s Grantchester. She was also a contestant in 2021’s Celebrity Masterchef. Melissa is one of 21 BAFTA Elevate actors and featured in the Shaw Trust’s Power List – 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK, she was shortlisted for the Positive Role Model award at the National Diversity Awards and won JCI’s Ten Outstanding Young Pearson’s of the World.
She was also selected as alumna of the year for East 15 Acting School/University of Essex for her work towards combating gender, class, and disability inequalities.
Melissa is the co-founder/co-director of TripleC & DANC (Disabled Actors Networking Community) with Coronation Street actor Cherylee Houston. She is also an ambassador for Models of Diversity and Invisiyouth charity.
Tom is the Head of Foundation 92, which is an independent registered charity, formed by The Class of 92. Tom is passionate about providing young people with a voice which is listened to and respected, enabling young people to take control of their future through being empowered and enabled to be the best they can be. Tom has been a third sector leader for over 10 years and is proud to be in a position where he can use the vehicle and hook of football to create and enable significant positive change, within every service users life, Foundation 92 engages with.
Tom’s professional interests include; Youth Mentoring, Youth Social Action, Vocational Education, Youth Work, Inclusion, Reduction of risk taking behaviour and Health Improvement.