Business and Law Advisory Board
Our Business and Law Advisory Board is comprised of over 20 leaders from local, national and international organisations. The Board advises the faculty’s senior leaders, academics and enterprise services on several strategic areas:
- Transforming lives in our global community of students, staff and partners through outstanding education and research
- Fostering creative, distinctive and pioneering solutions to real-world problems
- Promoting the public good through critical analysis of the purpose of business and through active engagement in initiatives aimed at tackling business, social and community challenges
- Promoting the DMU commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals and Responsible Management Education
Members of the Board support our students in many ways, including hosting industry visits, providing real-world case studies, guest lectures and internship opportunities. Additionally, Board members act as mentors to students across all levels of study. The Chair of the Board is Glynis Wright MBE, a Solicitor and an elected Non-Executive Director on the Board of the LLEP (Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership). Glynis states, “As the serving Chair, I am excited for the future of the Board and its passion for supporting DMU in its core mission of enhancing and enriching the student experience at DMU.
Glynis Wright MBE (Chair) – Family Law Partner at Nelsons LLP
Glynis is the Chair of the Advisory Board and a Family Law Partner at Nelsons LLP.
Glynis entered the legal profession in her forties, becoming a Partner in a Leicester law firm when she was 2 years qualified. She then went on to set up her own law firm, Glynis Wright & Co in 2010. Glynis successfully sold her law firm to Nelsons LLP in December 2020. On the same day, Glynis was notified by the Cabinet Office that she had been awarded an MBE for services to female entrepreneurship.
Glynis was President of the Leicestershire Law Society from July 2019 to September 2020 and has recently been elected to the Board of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership as a Non-Exec. Director. Glynis also serves on the Board of Trustees for the charity Alex’s Wish.
Jake Karia (Vice-Chair) – Founder of Food Attraction Ltd
Jake Karia is the Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning Food Attraction Ltd. He is one half of the Jake and Nayns’ duo, having developed their own Street Food range which can be found in a variety of retailers, airlines, railways and forecourts. Jake came to the UK from Africa in 1970 with his parents; he was raised and educated in Leicester and began his retail career as soon as he was able to at age sixteen. Retail quickly turned into management, and led to the founding of Food Attraction Ltd in 1996. Over the last two decades, he has developed and grown Food Attraction into a national food brand which is fast becoming a leader in food development.
Sally Barnett - Barrister at 2 New Street Chambers
Sally has been practising as a Family Law Barrister for 35 years at 2 New Street Chambers in Leicester. She was the first member of her family to go to university and decided on a career at the Bar from an early age. She is a member of Middle Temple and her practise is Midlands based and beyond.
Having been given wonderful opportunities at university and New Street, Sally is passionate about sharing her career experiences, and hopefully inspiring students and helping DMU where she can.
Sally partakes in a variety of voluntary activities, including being a Trustee of the local charity Alex’s Wish, which fundraises to raise awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She also raises vital funds to help bring new treatments and find a cure. Sally is married to Steven Gasztowicz KC and has two children.
Ian Cooper – Senior Investment Manager and Head of the Wealth team at RBC Brewin Dolphin
Ian is a Senior Investment Manager and Head of the Wealth team for RBC Brewin Dolphin in the East Midlands. He advises and manages portfolios for a range of clients from early stages to exit, predominantly working with business owners and entrepreneurs, but also high-net-worth individuals and families.
Ian began his financial services career in 2005 as a Fund/Equity Analyst before moving into investment management. Through his work, Ian has formed a variety of strong relationships with professional services firms and advisers. These include accountants and private equity advisers who help provide value to client relationships.
Outside of work, Ian is on the Board of the East Midlands Lord’s Taverners Committee, a charity who aim to help young and disadvantaged people through access to sport and recreational activities. He lives in Nottingham and is married with two young children.
Jenny Cross - CEO at Cross Productions Ltd
CEO at Cross Productions Ltd and a qualified professional business Coach and marketing Expert, Jenny specialises in creating marketing strategies to support businesses within the B2B industry. Offering one-off consultancy through to fully outsourced marketing solutions, as well as event services, Cross creates solutions to suit any company requirements.
With more than twenty years of working in sales and marketing, Jenny is passionate about educating others within the sector. As a significant business professional in Leicester, Jenny is popularly recognised for her tenacity, innovative business approach, and positive can-do attitude. Jenny is incredibly hands-on within the community, exerting her expertise to enhance local projects, supporting charities, and connecting organisations across the region. Jenny’s innovative thinking pays off as she leads her own successful marketing business that has grown exponentially over the years. Single-handedly, Jenny created a business community that became loyal to both Cross Productions and Niche Magazine’s products and events in no more than eighteen months. Working with start-up companies through to global household brands, Jenny helps to build strategic marketing campaigns that support the business’ plans for growth.
Amanda Daly - Director of the Turnaround CEO
Amanda Daly is the director of The Turnaround CEO, a business consultancy and coaching business aimed to help with succession and coaching to enable leaders with delegation, strategy and culture. To do this, she focuses much of her time towards providing aid from both a profit and marginal growth viewpoint, but also with motivational coaching and guidance aimed to help businesses reach their full potential. The business has grown into a successful consultancy, with year-on-year growth. Amanda currently coaches and consults fourteen different businesses which stretch from micro business owners through to larger SMe’s.
Amanda has vast experience in PR and sales; before founding The Turnaround CEO, she progressed from Sales Executive to Managing Director within Daly Telecommunications. In 2022, she became the Co-founder of The Insight Centre, a coaching centre bringing together a range of professional and accredited coaches with one purpose to help and grow leaders within the Midlands.
Alongside being a part of the Business and Law Advisory Board, Amanda is a part of the Help to Grow mentoring programme, where she supports business owners through the scheme. She is also a Trustee board member for the Leicester based charity Menphys, which helps provide specialist services to young people with disabilities.
Bhavin Ghandi - Director of Paradigm Wills and Legal Services
Bhavin is a Director and Co-Owner of Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, specialising in will writing, trust planning, lasting power of attorneys and probate/estate administration. The firm’s head office is in Leicester, with additional offices in Central London and Northamptonshire servicing clients within the UK as well as international clients based in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.
With a background in customer services, sales, management and compliance, Bhavin joined the firm in its infancy after working for a large corporate firm within the wills & estate planning industry. Bhavin’s experience has allowed him to steer the business to being recognised as one of the finest within both Leicestershire and the wider industry.
A key element of Bhavin’s role was to grow the firm and brand image by maintaining excellent service standards. This firm success was rewarded by the company winning awards in Excellence in Customer Service at the Signature Awards in Central London in September 2022 and at the East Midlands Chambers Awards in November 2022. Outside of work Bhavin loves spending time with his family, travelling and supporting Arsenal F.C.
Chris Hobson - Director of Policy and External Affairs at East Midlands Chamber
Chris is Director of Policy and External Affairs at East Midlands Chamber, leading the policy and external affairs functions at the UK’s second largest Chamber of Commerce. Chris is responsible for all work areas relating to the development of chamber policy and lobbying activity.
The East Midlands Chamber won the title of UK Chamber of the Year in 2022 at the BCC awards, one of the most noteworthy accolades in the business sector for their support of more than 4,000 businesses engaging with the social, environmental and governance (ESG) agenda.
Chris specialises in a variety of areas, including organisational strategic planning, policy development and partnership building. Recent projects he’s led include the Local Skills Improvement Plan for Leicester and Leicestershire along with Levelling Up projects within the East Midlands.
Dr Guy Peters - Entrepreneur and Space System Developer
Guy is an entrepreneur with over fifteen years of experience developing space systems including orbital telescopes and planetary landers. He has won multiple awards for his work with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Alongside working and studying internationally, Guy holds a PhD in Complex Project Management, and was the winner of the Midlands Medici Prize and four Innovation Fellowships for technology transfer from the space sector into agribusiness, healthcare and security.
Guy now runs two small businesses; a landscaping company and a technology development consultancy. The landscaping company services commercial and private clients, and provides forest school and Green Social Prescribing activities for local councils and community groups. The technology consultancy works with groups in sectors such as aerospace, healthcare and defence to develop technologies. It is currently leading the development of a novel spacecraft thruster optimized for low earth orbit operations such as on-orbit repair and orbital debris removal.
Guy has secured significant funding for a variety of commercial, scientific and cultural projects and is an active researcher in the fields of green energy and environmental impact.
Les Phillimore - East Midlands Regional Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses
An Executive MBA Graduate from Leicester Castle Business School, Les is passionate about "all things" business. His main interests include socio-economic opportunities, performance management and the untapped potential of individuals, specifically focusing on the UK’s powerhouse of the third age.
Les’ main career spanned 30 years in the Gaming, Leisure and Hospitality sector, culminating as Group Executive Manager for the one-time FTSE 100 Greenalls Group. He also worked for the $3bn US Harbour Group on a US / UK Joint Venture and next-generation technologies.
Les has developed a portfolio career spanning small business consultancy, local government, politics and higher education. Now in his third term as the East Midlands Regional Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, Les has been able to support SME businesses at local and national level. Delighted to be a Member of the Business and Law Advisory Board, Les is thrilled to be able to contribute to the design and development of the business, skills and jobs of the future.
Sarah Russell - Deputy City Mayor
Sarah is Deputy City Mayor with responsibilities for social care and tackling poverty. Over the last fifteen years she has led a range of council services and has been responsible for significant service improvements from food safety to children’s social care.
The significant budget reductions in local government have seen Sarah leading through major service changes, working with young people (including those who are care experienced), staff, scrutiny, councillors trade unions and communities. Sarah has actively promoted and personally led a range of community engagement campaigns around service changes, and has worked closely on co-production of services with staff, service users and communities wherever possible.
Sarah also leads regional work on improvement and innovation in Children’s Services, on migration and asylum work and as part of East Midlands Councils executive. Nationally Sarah works with local authorities around the country to mentor and coach executive councillors, and to audit the work done by various parts of local authorities. Sarah has worked with local, regional and national media and has used her straight forward and open manner to protect both the reputation of the council and her political group.
Shahid Sheikh OBE - Director at Clifton Packaging Group
Shahid Sheikh is an entrepreneur and Director at Clifton Packaging Group, predominantly supplying the FMCG food industry with a turnover of over £35 million.
Shahid has won a variety of awards and titles throughout his career; he was the first Asian Chairman of the Leicestershire IoD (Institute of Directors) and the first Asian to be appointed onto the Board of Directors in the history of Leicestershire County Cricket Club (2010/2013 and 2019/2021). He was also the first Asian to win Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 at the Leicestershire Business Awards, and recognised with an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2013 for his services to both businesses and charities.
Since then, Shahid has continued to be recognised, winning a Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO). With further accolades in November 2019, Clifton won the Pkg Company of the Year at the prestigious UK Pkg awards.
Shahid’s has been involved with many charities over the years. These include: past Chairman of the Leicester 500 Round table and past Chairman of the Shahid Afridi foundation UK. Shahid is currently the Midlands Chapter Chairman of the British Asian Trust, and an Export Champion for the DiT (Department of Industry and Trade).
Shahid and has contributed much time and energy in supporting the business community where there has often been a historical lack of representation. He strives to continue breaking barriers and helping others to progress in their confidence and skills.
Emily Smith - Operations and Finance Director for Michael Smith Switchgear Ltd and Managing Director for AVW Fabrications Ltd
Emily Smith is a multi-award-winning business leader in the East Midlands. Her current roles include Operations & Finance Director for Michael Smith Switchgear Limited and Managing Director for AVW Fabrications Limited. Emily moved into the manufacturing industry in 2013 after working in an accountancy practice for eight years, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor. Her move into the manufacturing sector prompted her to build on her finance and business knowledge and immerse herself in new areas such as HR and Health & Safety, with a keen focus on mental health in the workplace. Emily has driven key changes in the business, focusing on employee’s health, safety and wellbeing, as well as being a keen advocate for environmental issues.
In September 2021, Emily was appointed Chair of the ICAEW Manufacturing Advisory Group which leads discussion on topics affecting manufacturers across the UK. Emily is also Chair of Hopeful Futures, working in association with the Leicestershire and Rutland charity Hope Against Cancer, to engage with a younger audience on the importance of new research into early detection, prevention and treatment of cancer.
Glynis Wright, Chair of the Advisory Board for Business and Law at DMU, details how the Advisory Board has helped shape our recently introduced block-teaching delivery, Education 2030, to meet the needs of students and embed the skills employers are looking for.