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Family tree: Business Link North-East.

Paul Callaghan ( chairman


Chairman of Leighton Group, the global technology and communications company that he founded in Sunderland. Founder director of the Entrepreneurs Forum and chairman of RTC North. Chairman of Business Link Tyne and Wear from 2003-2006.

Plans to use his insight in the international issues affecting regional enterprises to help the North-East raise its game to compete in the 'global league'.

Mark Henderson ( deputy chairman

Chief executive of Northumberland County Council.

A degree in town and regional planning led to policy, regeneration and management roles in the public sector.

Board member of Northumberland Business Link, Northumberland Learning and Skills Council and Young Enterprise North-East.

Considers himself a 'public sector entrepreneur' and a champion of the self-employed.

Will use his understanding of the issues facing rural businesses to address their specific needs.

Lucy Winskell ( deputy chairwoman

Partner at Sintons solicitors in Newcastle.

First female president of Newcastle Law Society (1999-2000). Member of transatlantic think tank the British American Project. Board member of the Business Support Network, the Business Development Committee of One NorthEast and non-executive director of the North-East Regional Investment Fund. Will use her first-hand experience of the service industry to deliver real benefits to all sizes of companies.

Siobhan Bales

Managing director of The bgroup, a Newcastle creative agency specialising in marketing campaigns, design and digital services, particularly in enterprise, entrepreneurship and business growth.

Represents the UK within the EU Commission's forum on entrepreneurship. Board member of Codeworks Connect and the director of Young Enterprise North-East. Keen on using her skills and experience to improve communications with hard-to-reach audiences, particularly the young and disengaged.

Chris Beaumont

Partner at Darlington-based Clive Owen & Co accountancy practice, with 11 years' experience in the industry.

Vice-chair of Tees Valley NECC and member of the NECC regional council. Will use his first-hand experience in supporting business growth on a day-to-day basis to bring benefit to the wider business community.

Barbara Dennis OBE

A professional coach at P3, her Newcastle executive coaching, events and business improvement company. Has 20 years' experience in social and economic inclusion, the voluntary and community sector and housing, economic and enterprise sector. Board member of One NorthEast, Northern Stage, Biosystems Informatics Institute and the Northern Rock Foundation. Chair of Gateshead Housing Company. Specialises in business development, management and getting the best out of people.

Jackie Fisher CBE

Chief executive and principal of Newcastle College. Has led college to DfES Learning and Skills Beacon status and to win North-East Company of the Year. Board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and One NorthEast where she also chairs the education, skills and employability committee. Director of NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Dance City and regional council member of CBI. Will focus on performance and organisational issues.

Geoff Hodgson

Former chief executive of Federation Breweries and managing director of Northumbrian Taverns, managing director of Newcastle's Till Services and vice-chairman of Wear Inns, non-executive positions at One NorthEast and Universal Building Society. Prince's Trust Council member. He has started, run and sold businesses of many sizes and types.

Nigel Hudson

Former director at Newcastle software giant Sage UK and currently business development director at fast-growing Newcastle software firm Technology Services Group (TSG). A two-year spell as marketing director for Sage Germany also provided Nigel with valuable insight into issues affecting SMEs in another country.

John McCullagh

Managing director of MMC Group Limited in Middlesbrough and a former president of the Institute of Engineers and Cleveland Scientific Institution, John's passion lies firmly in manufacturing. A board member of Business Link Tees Valley since 2003, he has helped to represent the interests of manufacturers and intends to continue this role.

Jane Nolan MBE

Chief executive and owner manager of the Shark Group, a Morpeth firm which makes underwater survival gear that sells to 25 countries. Chair of Northumberland Strategic Partnership, a board member of One NorthEast, vice-chair of Northumberland Business Link and a member of the UK Trade and Investment Regional Trade Forum. Wants to help other companies operate in the global arena.

Terry Owens

A self-made businessman, Terry left school at 15 and spent the next 35 years founding and developing a series of successful SMEs in the North-East including Dryden Insurance Brokers and InBiz. His roles currently include a partnership at Stockton's G&T Developments. Chair of Tees Valley's Business Link, a member of the Institute of Business Advisors and the Small Firms Development Initiative.

Martyn Pellew

Group development director of Middlesbrough ports operator PD Ports plc following his part in the company's successful 2004 stock market flotation and subsequent sale to BBI in 2006. Chairman of the Tees Valley Chamber of Commerce and an advisory panel member of Common Purpose for Tees Valley.

Jo Ray

Managing director of small business division of Newcastle-based software giant Sage UK, Jo leads an organisation of 950 people, a turnover of pounds 120m and 650,000 small business customers. Board member of the Institute of Direct Marketing, chair of the Academic Standards Committee and member of the Audit Committee at Gateshead College.

Dianne Sharp

Managing director of Bishop Auckland-based Mechetronics, the UK's leading manufacturer of solenoids ( electronic mechanical devices used in vending machines, anti-lock braking and computer printers which sells around the world.

Nigel Wilson

Business development manager for Canon UK's business customers in the SME sector across Northern England and Scotland. He has 20 years' of private sector experience in sales and marketing. NECC council member, regional council member of the Prince's Trust. Passionate about helping the region improve its performance in start-up rates.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2006
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