A host of new board members bringing valuable business insight

22 March 2021

Alongside the appointment of Helen Simpson as LEP Chair, today we welcome a host of new board members who bring with them valuable business insight, a drive for innovation and a passion to ensure that our region has a strong story to capture every opportunity for UK Government and private sector investment.


Helen Simpson OBE

Chair of York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Born and bred in Yorkshire, Helen is an experienced Chair and Board Member, with a track record in leading organisations whilst undergoing change, including enabling digital innovation, business growth and community development.

Her non-executive experience follows a senior executive career with BT where she led digital growth businesses and major deals, developed strategy and built commercial partnerships before leading BT’s volunteering programme globally.

Helen currently Chairs Broadacres Housing Association, a provider of social housing, extra care and specialist provision in North Yorkshire, which works to improve charity governance. She also serves as a Trustee with St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity in their work with the homeless and vulnerably housed.

Helen brings expertise in leadership, strategy development, partnerships and collaboration including with government, social housing and charity and community development, as well as a passion for diverse leadership, including helping women leaders fulfil their potential.


Helen Boaden

Main Board Member

Helen is Chair of Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre and Patron of the town’s Books by the Beach festival.

She has extensive experience in media and change management. She spent 34 years at the BBC, starting as a reporter in local radio in Leeds and ending on the Executive Board as Director of BBC Radio. In between, she ran Radio 4 and was the first female Director of BBC News in charge of 8000 people at home and abroad.

She sits on the UK Statistics Authority, chairs the Audio Content Fund and is a Council member of the Royal Academy of Arts.


Bruce Heppenstall

Main Board Member

An engineer by profession, Bruce has over 30 years of experience in managing large scale power generation and manufacturing businesses in the UK, Europe and the USA. Now responsible for Drax Power Station – the largest single site renewable generator in Western Europe with ambitious plans to become carbon negative with the development of carbon capture technology. A passionate developer of people and organisations to be the best.




Sue Jefferson

Main Board Member

With over 30 years in UK Director and Global Leadership roles, Sue’s experience in strategy and change management has transformed teams, businesses and brands, with Danone Group,

 Jeyes Hygiene and the last 18 years with food manufacturer McCain Foods, before setting up her own company Possibilities Realised, leveraging Diversity of Thinking for economic outperformance.

The author of Boardroom Ready Women – How to Deliver Business Results and Still Sparkle, Sue works with people in organisations to deliver transformational results & thrive in the ever changing work environment.

Her passion is to see Yorkshire be the best place to work and live.


Andy Mayer

Business Board Member

Andy has worked in food all his life, starting out on a Graduate Programme with Greggs the Bakers. For the last 7 years Andy has lived in York working for Cranswick plc a FTSE 250 food business, where he is now MD of their Gourmet Pastry business in Malton, supplying into premium UK retailers and food service.

Andy is the father of two children and has a particular passion for doing business right, developing and engaging with employees and other stakeholders to deliver sustainable improvement.  Andy believes any business can make deep changes as they continue to improve, innovate and support their communities, while simultaneously doing their best for the environment.


Helen Bilton

Business Board Member

Founder and Director of The Group Company a successful, queens award winning, travel business based in central York. Helen is passionate about helping other businesses in York to succeed and combines 25 years of practical business experience with extensive learning through the Vistage and Goldman Sachs business programs.


Jo Crebbin

Business Board Member

Jo Crebbin has over 25 years experience in senior food industry roles, working with family businesses through to multinationals covering a variety of disciplines.

She is a business mentor and advisor working with business in the food manufacturing and retailing sectors with particular expertise in operations, strategy and change management. In addition to her consultancy work she is also an Associate Lecturer at Leeds Business School.

She did her 1st degree at the University of Leeds and holds an MBA from Durham University. She moved back to Yorkshire in the 1990’s and now lives in Harrogate with her family.


Emma Woods MBE

Business Board Member

Emma is the director of Duncombe Sawmill Ltd, a manufacturing and retailing timber business based in Helmsley, North Yorkshire.  She took over the business in 2003, having previously worked as an antique silver specialist. 

For her work within the rural business community, Emma was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to rural business and skills in North Yorkshire.


James Sturdy

Skills Board Member

James is a Yorkshire based Entrepreneur who runs a food manufacturing operation supplying a variety of products into B2C and B2B markets in the UK.

James is passionate about business and believes that building a high performing team of people is the key to long term success.


Michelle Mook

Skills Board Member

Michelle is the founder and managing director of Pro-Development (UK) Limited based in York providing support in all aspects of employee engagement and people development.

With over 25 years of experience of improving performance through people consultancy, training, coaching and team/leadership development, she founded Pro-Development to help the growth of small to medium sized businesses in and around Yorkshire.

Michelle has a real passion and talent for developing others. She believes in making a difference to people and does this authentically bringing her sense of fun. She has extensive expertise in leadership and employee engagement and is an award-winning trainer/business owner.


Rich Kenny

Skills Board Member

Rich is a specialist in technical innovation, systems design and sustainable business practice. A firm believer in the circular economy and sustainable solutions for IT hardware.

His research and development focus are hardware energy efficiency and the environmental and economic impacts of ICT hardware during creation, use and disposal.

He writes for several industry publications and has had his research published in the IEEE Journal of Sustainable computing.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>