Advancing the North East 2017

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Over 35 years ago, PNE Group was founded with a purpose: to support the people and economy of the North East. Together with policymakers, influencers and enablers, we have worked to inspire business and drive economic success in the North East.

This November, our event, Advancing the North East, will bring together a panel of experts to develop a new agenda for change, leveraging the assets we already have in the North East to power economic growth.

Simon Dickinson (SDG Economic Development) will present original data on the evening, setting the context for the discussion.


Date: Thursday 9th November 2017
Time: 17:30 – 20:00
Venue: International Centre for Life (Science Centre Entrance), Times Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 4EP

Confirmed speakers

Carole O’Neil, Partner and HR Director at Cundall

Carole ONeilCarole O’Neil is an experienced strategic human resource practitioner who’s worked in professional services businesses for the duration of her career. A law graduate from Oxford University, Carole is passionate about the contribution that a talented, engaged workforce can make to business success. As the Partner at Cundall (tasked with leading the firm’s Human Resources function), Carole is responsible for helping the organisation to attract and retain the best talent that the industry has to offer, and works closely with managers across the organisation to develop and nurture talent. She has a particular interest in the identification of leadership capability to support the future growth of business, and in the development of cohesive Corporate Social Responsibility strategies that align and promote business aims.

Twitter: @Carole_ONeil

David Irwin, Founder of Irwin Grayson Associates

Untitled design (23)David Irwin is a social entrepreneur and a consultant in enterprise and economic development. He has worked with clients such as DANIDA, the Department for International Development, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and the International Trade Centre. He works with organisations that wish to develop initiatives and in turn, to help new and growing businesses. He advises on regularly reform and enabling environment and supports business associations to undertake projects to influence public policy.  From early 2000 until 2002, he was Chief Executive of the Small Business Service, an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, where he was responsible for managing all of the UK Government’s small business support programmes and for developing a ‘strong voice for small business at the heart of Government’. David was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2009.

Twitter: @irwindavid

Jacqui Miller-Charlton MBE, Entrepreneur and Ambassador for Brand Britain

Untitled design (64)Jacqui Miller-Charlton MBE is an experienced business professional with over 34 years of operational experience. She is the Shareholder and Main Board Director of Miller International limited, one of the world’s leading privately-owned attachment manufacturers. Responsible for supplying Miller’s revolutionary Quick Coupler System to international markets, Jacqui’s commitment to export was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for Services to Industry and International Trade.

Twitter: @MCHJacqui


Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at North East LEP

Untitled design (67)As Business Growth Director for the North East LEP, Colin is responsible for developing the region’s Business Growth Programme which aims to create more and better jobs through a dynamic and entrepreneurial economy that enables businesses to scaleup. Prior to joining the LEP, Colin founded Winning Moves, a business growth and software business, where he was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategies and business support programmes.

Twitter: @leapthecrowd



Simon Dickinson, Associate at SDG Economic Development

Untitled design (39)Scott is an economist by training with over 25 years’ experience of designing, appraising, delivering and evaluating public policies, strategies and interventions. He began his economic development career in local government Wakefield and Bradford. He was Head of European Funding at Birmingham City Council and External Funding and Partnerships Manager at West London Training & Enterprise Council. He spent five years at the Audit Commission for England and Wales, where he led national value-for-money studies, including studies of people, places and prosperity, and neighbourhood renewal. He worked on the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, has recently supported development of the benefits realisation plan for National Innovation Centre for Ageing, and is currently working with Salford City Council on the production of a culture strategy.


Host: Dr Dawn Cranswick, Chief Executive at PNE Group

Untitled design (68)Dawn Cranswick is a proven leader and is the CEO of PNE Group. As CEO, Dawn has responsibility for all aspects of the Group’s organisational planning and performance including strategy and staff development. She holds a PhD in Management, a Master’s degree in Quality Management and is a qulaitied Leadership coach. She currently sits as a National Enterprise Network Board Member. In 2012, Dawn was shortlisted for the highly-regarded EY Entrpereneur of the Year title. In 2017, she was announced as the regional winner of the ‘Building a Better Working World’ category at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Twitter: @DawnPNE