The Initiative Team

Business West - The initiative

We work with a number of phenomenal people who are part of the Business West team in order to achieve our ambitions with the West of England Initiative. They contribute via the BCCI board, either by sitting on it as exec members, or supporting and/or reporting to it. The Events team in particular brings our network alive with every gathering.

Kathryn Binnie

Event Executive

Kathryn is a first-class honours business and event management graduate who works in the events team, pulling rabbits out of hats when needed, making all our events flawless. Though Kathryn usually stays behind the scenes at our events, she has earned her share of the glory from the fantastic feedback we got from our Initiative Christmas gathering.

James Durie

Chief Executive

I have known James since the early 2000s when we worked together to ensure Bristol knew of the choice they had in the city’s governance model. He is a source of inspiration and hugely respected in the region for his efforts to make it a stronger and fairer place to live and work. James knows pretty much everyone who gets things done at a leadership level in the West of England, and is my first port of call in finding out how best to tackle a systemic issue. James set me on my own personal path tackling modern slavery back in 2014. He is a joy to work with.

Jo Greenwood

Corporate Services Director

Jo steers the finances of the service delivery arm that is Business West, and part of our governance on the Initiative. She also sits on the board of Visit West. Jo is passionate about ensuring diversity and inclusion in governance, and has contributed to leadership panels on financial governance, to empower our next generation of diverse board walkers for BeOnBoard.

Mark Gollop

Senior Events Executive for DIT

Mark, is our incredibly qualified Events Management executive, with a degree in Musical Theatre. When our worlds collide, he becomes the wizard behind the curtain of our magical Initiative events. From sound control and drop-the-mic moments to lighting, Mark has got it covered. His confidence is infectious and he’s super-fun to work with.

Matt Griffith

Policy Director

Matt is a fantastically knowledgeable and highly insightful policy specialist from whom I continue to learn much. Combining that knowledge with his desire to achieve good social outcomes, he continues to feed into my thinking on where best to achieve the most impact during my time as president. In particular, using skills programmes to address social mobility issues in our patch is one area I hope we’re able to make a difference together.

Anna Keenan

Executive Assistant

Anna is a psychology graduate from the University of East London, and joined our team in 2019. An experienced project coordinator and practice manager, Anna coordinates our projects, events and meetings for the Initiative. Ultra-proactive and always on the detail, Anna is lovely to work with and diligently ensures all our bases are covered.

Mary Martin

Director of Marketing

In addition to her heavy responsibilities marketing Business West services, Mary supports our work at the Initiative communicating with our members and the rest of the world. Incredibly experienced and deeply committed to the success of the region, I really value Mary’s expertise and insight in helping me to shape and achieve my objectives for my term as President.

Victoria Matthews

Initiative Membership Manager

Victoria’s energy and enthusiasm is only matched by her eloquence and incredible network knowledge about our members. She majored in Politics at Cardiff Uni and continues to use her business and political acumen to help spark and forge sustainable partnerships across our patch as well as working with key national stakeholders in Government. Her insights support the shaping of policy and change in the region. Anything is possible when I work with Victoria and I’m so very happy she is on the team!

Natasha Shinner

Head of Events

The show goes on but only with the aid of Natasha’s magic. Our Initiative gatherings are always impressive and Natasha and her team always make it look effortless. Natasha is also very passionate about social impact through her experience in the hospitality sector, especially in relation to young people and giving them access to more opportunities and the confidence to use them. I’m hoping 2022 will be the year where we work together on such an experience for the young people we see through the Bristol Future Talent Partnership.

Nina Skubala

Initiative Manager & Head of Climate Strategy

Nina is a qualified sustainability expert who puts her heart and soul into saving the planet, both through her day job and her personal life. We have worked together on my own initiative to harness corporate activism to increase afforestation on corporately owned land through Project Vana. Nina was Vice Chair of Bristol Green Capital Partnership during Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital. Most recently she was one of the key leaders delivering the only COP26 event in the West of England in November 2021. Hugely capable, a force of nature to be reckoned with and someone I will always look for excuses to work with.

Phil Smith

Managing Director, Business West

Phil has been leading Business West in the business of doing business since 2003 but was originally an engineering science graduate. A hugely influential voice in the region and across all four Chambers of Commerce under the Business West umbrella. Phil continues to champion business on a national platform. Super-smart and astute to the impact of the geopolitical situation in the UK, he speaks with authority on expectations placed on business, influencing policy with his words.