Our next event - Game Changers in Consumer & Retail, will host a selection of experienced speakers from a range of segments, sharing their insights into e-commerce, digital, consumer and retail brands, the consumer experience and funding for retail businesses.

Game Changers in Consumer & Retail

This event will be held at Leeds First Direct Arena on the 21st September 2016, starting with coffee & networking from 8.30am. This will then be followed by key talks from our carefully selected expert speakers below:



Dan Rubel – Strategy & Communications Director, Shopdirect

Dan is responsible for assessing new commercial opportunities, solving the trickiest strategic conundrums and orchestrating a £100 million innovation investment programme for the retail giant Shop Direct. He combines that with overseeing the corporate internal and external communications strategies.

Prior to Shop Direct, Dan held a number of management positions for P&G including Pantene UK, Aussie UK and Head and Shoulders Europe.

Richard Taylor – Investment Director, Business Growth Fund.

5Richard has 16 years’ experience in small company investing and joined BGF in 2012 – his main role is to identify and successfully execute investments for the fund. He also sits on the board of a number of BGF portfolio companies.

Richard has 16 years’ experience in small company investing with previous roles at YFM, Octopus Private Equity and Sovereign Capital.

“Game Changers provides an opportunity for senior executives to network, build connections and gather new ideas. I’m delighted to be attending the event to share BGF’s experience of funding some of the fastest growing brands in the North, including Xercise4Less, Better Bathrooms & Grace Cole.”

Ed Harries – Director of Enterprise Marketing, Visualsoft.

2Ed is Director of Enterprise Marketing at Visualsoft. Working with enterprise retail brands Ed consults with retailers to help deliver award-winning digital marketing strategies. Ed has worked on a wide range of marketing campaigns for retailers in fashion and footwear, beauty, jewellery and other niche retail.

“I help brands realise a new approach to their marketing. Out with the old silo’d channel model, and in with a unified approach to create an epic marketing mix for your brand to thrive”.

Hugh Taylor, Category Insight Controller, Calbee UK

Hugh is a Sheffield University graduate with over 30 years’ experience working in FMCG within retailers, agencies and manufacturers. Whilst he has worked in retail buying and sales roles, the majority of his experience has been in consumer insight and category management within food businesses.

Originally a Southerner, Hugh has lived in the East Riding Of Yorkshire for the last 19 years.

“Deflationary pressure and a squeeze on space makes retail a harsh environment for new products, however, an increased focus on health provides an opportunity for genuine innovation which meets health needs to gain traction with both consumers and retailers.”

Marcus Black, Joint Managing Director, Slingsby Gin.

6Marcus Black is joint managing director of ICB and SoH.   Before joining ICB, Marcus worked for Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) as an investment director working on a variety of management buy outs across the north of England. Marcus qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte before spending ten years with PwC where he was one of the founding members of the UK pre and post deal services consultancy practice.

“Over the last decade consumers have become much more conscious of how they choose to spend their money.  Whether it is a focus on value or niche brands, FMCG suppliers need to be clearer than ever on their USP and consumer target groups.”

Tony Watson – Director Sales & Marketing, First Direct Arena Leeds.

Event chairman: Julian Wells, Director, Whitecap Consulting.

7Julian is a board level strategist and marketer with proven commercial expertise across the financial and professional services industries. His particular areas of focus are strategy, brand & marketing, sales & marketing alignment, and building high performing teams.

“In today’s highly competitive and changing consumer retail sector, it is more important than ever to have an effective strategy that caters specifically to your customer’s needs”


Meet the Panel

Paul Stephen, CEO, Sagittarius

4With over 20 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UKs leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects. Paul operates internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.

“Multi-channel is a given now and customer expectation is that brands have joined up offline and digital experiences. Retail brands that ignore this may not be here in 3 years time.”

Tessa Birch, Associate, Whitecap Consulting

TessaIn her 15 years as a planner in London and Leeds, Tessa has worked with many of the UK’s best-known brands, leading the creation of a number of brands and brand extensions within food, fashion, financial services and DIY.

Tessa works collaboratively to unearth and interpret insights, and uses these to develop new brand direction, NPD and communications plans that engage and involve consumers and drive growth.

“Smart businesses are learning to collaborate with their brand advocates, letting go of the reins and encouraging engaged consumers to fuel and shape their brand story.”

David CrawfordDavid Crawford, Associate, Whitecap Consulting

David is an experienced and passionate digital marketing strategist having worked in digital for the last 15 years, with 10 years plus before that in traditional marketing communications. His passion for digital revolves around it’s potential to make a real difference to the effectiveness and performance of a business.

Today’s ecommerce sector demands a high quality online customer experience, checkout process and sophisticated digital marketing.  This challenge, often described as ‘frictionless commerce’, is becoming the difference between the great and average online stores.

Robin Hilton, Co-founder, ResearchBods

rhRobin is director and co-founder of research technology agency ResearchBods.  Having worked for over 16 year in primarily consumer marketing and research, Robin has worked with a wide variety of brands, retail and fmcg clients.

Recognised as on the leading independent research agencies in the UK, ResearchBods provides technology solutions to help clients get ever closer to the consumer.

Game Changers in Consumer & Retail will be held at First Direct Arena on the 21stSeptember 2016. This event is for owners and senior managers of consumer and retail businesses, and the providers and advisors who work with them.

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