UWE Bristol alum awarded MBE

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Marketing expert Denise O’Leary, founder of Purpol Marketing, has been awarded an MBE for services to the construction sector in the New Year’s Honours List. Denise studied BA Business Administration at UWE Bristol followed by MA Marketing, graduating in 2004. She is also currently involved with UWE as a Help To Grow: Management mentor helping SME’s drive change within their business.

Denise, who lives in Chippenham, has had to keep tight-lipped about the award for several weeks. 

“I am honoured and humbled to be recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list – made exceptionally special as it is the Platinum Jubilee year of Her Majesty The Queen.

“When the letter came through I couldn’t believe it, it didn’t seem real. Today I’m so thrilled to be counted among so many wonderful people who have been honoured for their work throughout our society to make our lives better.” 

Denise received the honour for the work she has done to demystify the world of construction and marketing. It’s a sector which is heavily male-dominated and where the value of marketing is often underestimated. 

As construction specialist, Denise is trusted with confidential company information and company survival can depend on the winning outcome; Denise’s marketing and bid writing skills have literally saved companies. 

 “I am so delighted that I can put into words how great construction companies can be, so they can win contracts to secure their futures. With social value and local supply chains now high on the agenda, messaging within bids is so important,” she said.

Since 2014, Denise has worked tirelessly with ambitious and forward-thinking companies to help them embrace intelligent marketing through strategic planning and consistent delivery of ethical and clear marketing messages. 

Dan Barfoot of CMD Recruitment commented “We have developed a strong working relationship. Denise is really in tune with us, putting into words and images what we actually deliver to our clients.”  

She has also supported many business owners and directors in the writing and successful submissions of tenders to win work through complex procurement processes. 

This has meant construction companies she’s supported have obtained millions of pounds of work on projects funded by central government and other large corporations. She has a high profile in construction and has been a keynote speaker at the Big 5 Building and Construction Expo in Dubai several times as well as UK Construction Week. Denise is a respected international ‘Women in Construction’ ambassador, speaking at events on why women should consider construction as a career.

“We have worked with Denise on a number of high value project bids and have found her professionalism and industry knowledge invaluable.” said Shaun Tew, of Tew Bros.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you – your bid writing has almost certainly saved our company. You are part of our family,” said Neil Griffiths, of WB Griffiths and Sons.

During the pandemic, Denise took the lead nationally in embracing the Kickstart programme launched by the Government – she was the first business owner in the UK to take on 50 Kickstarters at once to help young people take the first steps in their careers. To date she has supported 166 young people in this way. 

As a business woman, Denise is well known across the UK and overseas for her work. She’s published a best-selling book  “WINNER – How to win Business Awards” published by Panoma Press.

She has multiple awards including 13 international Stevie Awards for marketing and entrepreneurship from 2021-2019, and her company was voted ‘World’s Favourite Marketing Agency’ in 2020. Last year she was also named among the Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs by F:Entrepreneur.

Denise commented “I would like to thank all the amazing people I have worked with and my family for their incredible support.  This honour is in recognition of all the people who have been part of my journey, and I am so emotional and thankful of this amazing accolade.”

To find out more about Denise and her company Purpol Marketing visit https://www.purpolmarketing.co.uk

BBS | BLS Online Christmas Fair 2021

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Welcome to the 2021 Bristol Business School | Bristol Law School online Christmas fair.

After the success of our virtual fair last year, we have decided to keep up the tradition and encourage everyone to shop small and local. Luckily, this year we are able to also hold our in-person Christmas fair in the Bristol Business School Atrium on Thursday 9 December 11:00 – 15:00 so please do pop down if you are able.

For those who can’t, we have a fantastic range of products on offer in our online brochure with stalls from UWE Bristol students, staff, and businesses in the local community.

All you need to do now is view the stalls below and click the links to shop. We hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions please email fbl.news@uwe.ac.uk. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this year’s online fair.

Light up your Lockdown

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During the Covid-19 lockdown, four Business and Events Management students ran a virtual event aimed at raising money for a charity whilst also raising people’s spirits during a tough time. As part of their programme, they were tasked with running an event within the ‘Staging and Evaluating Events’ module, however, this time it was slightly different in that no physical events were allowed to happen and everything had gone online.

Emma, Imogen, Hannah and Maddison worked together to produce their event ‘Light up your Lockdown’ and decided that they wanted to make this a fundraising event as they wanted to support charities struggling through the pandemic. St. Michael’s Hospice (North Hampshire) was the charity chosen as Imogen and Maddison are both from the area and wanted to support the amazing work the charity does for the community, such as supporting many patients and their families in their final stages of life.

The students were tasked with hosting the event with no budget, which was tough, however, they managed to pull it off and ran a hugely successful event. It consisted of a cocktail masterclass, origami workshop, bingo and a charity raffle. The students said that they had wanted to put a different spin on the typical lockdown events they had been seeing, with virtual zoom quizzes being heavily exhausted. This paid off and they had fantastic attendance and raised £1,257 in total.

“I have had to learn to work in new ways and think outside of the box. For example, if COVID had not have happened I don’t know if we would’ve come up with the event ideas that we did – creating something unique to engage people and thinking outside of the box.”

Imogen Aylward

Team Entrepreneurship supports Game Changers

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The Team Entrepreneurship programme (TE) within Bristol Business School has recently invested £2500 to support its students, known as Team Entrepreneurs, in starting or further developing social enterprises and projects with social impact. Finalists in the TE Game Changers Fund competition pitched to a panel of social enterprise experts and four winners were awarded funding to take their project or venture to the next level.

The expert panel comprised of Enterprise Consultant Callum Usher-Dodd, who heads up UWE’s Student Ventures team; Nicola Telford, founder of social enterprise Views for Change; Camilla Elwood, Portfolio Manager for social enterprise charity UnLtd and Lucas Paes Gomes De Oliveira, Student President of UWE Enactus.

The winning projects/ventures were: PAVE, a mental wellbeing service providing resources for schoolchildren; organic clothing brand Organiko; Ocean Raye, a company that creates jewellery from upcycled sea glass while also carrying out beach cleans and Healthy Life Original, a start-up focused on physical health and wellbeing. Varying amounts of funding have been awarded to support the social entrepreneurs at different stages in their journey.

Kiera Hellard, founder of Ocean Raye, received funding for a silversmithing course to help improve the quality of her jewellery, thus further contributing to its sustainable credentials. Reflecting on the pitching process and the outcome of the competition, she commented:

“I’m so pleased and excited to be able to take this silversmithing course to improve my jewellery. All of the feedback received has been really helpful. I’d like to say I thought the process was great as well. It was really beneficial pitching to a panel, as it gave me an opportunity to practise my pitching and was great meeting people external to Team Entrepreneurship. I hope this is something the programme continue offering in the future as I think it could really benefit Team Entrepreneurs and might encourage more social enterprises within our community.” 

Kiera Hellard

Feedback from other finalists echoed Kiera’s comments that pitching to an external audience and receiving feedback from experts in the social enterprise domain was invaluable. Commenting on the competition and the support that was offered to Team Entrepreneurs, panellist Camilla Elwood, of UnLtd said:

It’s really encouraging to see the university supporting social enterprises in this way. The students are lucky to have such a supporting department.”

Camilla Elwood

The Team Entrepreneurship programme is delighted to have been able to offer this support to the social entrepreneurs within its community and hopes to inspire more Team Entrepreneurs to pursue projects and ventures with social impact in the future. Bringing external expertise into the programme helps to ensure that our Team Entrepreneurs are developing the knowledge and skills needed to solve real-world problems.

International Women’s Day: In conversation with Amy Kington

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By Rachel Evans, Relationship Manager at UWE Bristol, with Amy Kington, Founder and CEO of Community of Purpose, Faculty Board Member and UWE Bristol Alumni.

As we join together again to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, perhaps this year, more than any other, we are asking how we can challenge both societal and workplace norms to give ourselves the space to be the best version of ourselves.

The last year has been immensely challenging for everyone and whilst some advances will undoubtedly improve the flexibility we have within our professional roles, we may all feel overburdened and find ourselves questioning our purpose and how we can support ourselves and each other to flourish in a post-COVID workplace.

This is where I see the value in UWE Bristol networks such as WILWAL (Women in Leadership and Women Aspiring to Leadership) and in taking time to actively celebrate our shared experiences through events like International Women’s Day. I recently took some time to ask Amy Kington; Founder and CEO of Community of Purpose, about her professional career, the challenges she has faced along the way, and why she values networks and events that celebrate women.

Hi Amy, can you tell me about you and what you do with Community of Purpose?

Thanks Rachel, as you have mentioned, I am the Chief Executive Officer of Community of Purpose, a C.I.C that empowers people and their communities to overcome big challenges. We have an army of dedicated, hungry, and passionate staff that encourage the creation and sharing of ideas to help the wider community become an amazing place!

Our approach is a combination of innovation and pragmatism. Over the last four years, working with the communities, we have acted as a link between the local authorities and voluntary sector, found ways to involve businesses, and developed a range of activities that aim to build aspiration and tackle inequality.

In 2011 I also led a transformational change programme at Bristol City Community Trust that helped the organisation respond to the challenges that the City faced whilst also supporting the football club to achieve its goals. This involved measuring, evaluating and rethinking to reach a higher level of strategic execution. I developed a team that built a sustainable and innovative business model that adapted, innovated, and envisioned the future. Together, we created economic opportunities and leveraged resources that brought millions of pounds into community, sport, and educational development.

What fantastic work! What led you to be where you are now?

I’ve been involved in using sport for social change in Bristol since 1998. I am passionate about improving the life chances of young people and creating opportunities so that they can fulfil their potential. Previously I have served as a special police constable with Avon and Somerset Police, a position that I held for 10 years. I have also worked for Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Bristol City Council, The Football Association and Bristol City Football Club. Whilst working in each of these organisations it’s been great to see my work receive recognition through the achievement of national awards.

The truth is – I never sit still! I believe that learning is a daily adventure that one should carry and explore throughout life.  I also completed an Executive MBA at the University of the West of England and I am a Learning Ambassador for the City.

As the female CEO of Community of Purpose, how are you tackling the biggest challenges our city and region face in terms of child poverty, hunger, health, education and race inequalities?

We have an unwavering belief that everyone can contribute meaningfully to society if they are given the right support and opportunities. Communities are at the heart of our organisation: we work within Bristol’s communities, with individuals and families, empowering them to identify what is needed to transform their lives and then supporting them to act.

Our projects are focused on supporting communities that are culturally, economically, and geographically disadvantaged.

Our three key projects in the community are;

Break Free

We launched Break Free in 2018 in partnership with Youth Moves, who are based in one of the most deprived areas in Bristol, to address the problem of holiday hunger. It offers daily sessions for 8–13-year-olds during the school holidays, providing high quality educational and physical activities – from football and cricket to theatre school and computer coding – along with breakfast and lunch.

In 2019, we provided 824 free meals and 124 session hours to 223 children.

Bristol Together Championships

Using the universal language of football and the many benefits that participating in a team sport can bring, we launched the Bristol Together Championships in 2012. The aim is to create community cohesion, by bringing boys and girls from different ethnic, social, geographical and faith groups together to form football teams.

In 2019, 140 children from 28 diverse Bristol primary schools took part, with teams of five from each school twinned with another school from a very different demographic. They were given professional training sessions at each other’s schools before competing in the Championships, held at UWE Bristol in June. Four schools were then selected to represent the city on a memorable visit to Bordeaux, France.

Bristol Young Heroes Awards

These awards were originally established by the Mayor of Bristol seven years ago to showcase and celebrate young people who have overcome adversity to achieve greatness or gone above and beyond in their community. Community of Purpose took over the awards three years ago and we have worked hard since then to grow them, seeking new sponsors and supporters to enable us to expand the categories, reach more young people and add additional opportunities for the worthy nominees, such as work experience with local businesses.

Being so values driven forces you to challenge societal norms and injustices. What barriers have you faced in doing this?

Being the first female to lead a male academy at a professional football club was an interesting and challenging role. I loved every second, not least, because of the role and responsibility but also because it provided a platform to challenge societal norms. I have often thought about writing a book, but I’d have to work hard to anonymise things. Cliff-hanger moment… it would be a riveting read!  

What value do you attribute to events like International Women’s Day, and why?

International Women’s Day is amazing as it provides a wonderful platform to celebrate the lives and futures of all women, including those who act as a force for good to create a fairer and more inclusive world. This year’s theme on choose to challenge resonates with me and all that I have done throughout my career. 

Thank you to Amy for taking the time to speak to us about her amazing journey and community impact in the city. You can follow Amy on Twitter to keep up to date with her work.

BBS | BLS Virtual Christmas Fair

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Welcome to the Bristol Business School | Bristol Law School Christmas fair. This year we have had to take our usual Christmas fair held in the Bristol Business School Atrium online. But don’t worry, we still have a fantastic range of products on offer with representation from UWE Bristol students, staff and businesses in the local community.

All you need to do now is click the link below to view the stalls and links to shop, or download the PDF and get browsing! We hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions please email bbec@uwe.ac.uk. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this year’s virtual fair.

UWE Bristol launches The Bristol Distinguished Address Autumn 2020 Series

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The Bristol Distinguished Address Series (BDAS) provides a unique opportunity to hear about challenges and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership by high-profile business executives from across the country and is back for Autumn 2020. Normally, the lectures are held at Bristol Business School, however, we are now running an online version of the talks.

Upcoming Bristol Lectures

The Virtual Annual Bolland Lecture 2020: NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol Panel Discussion

14 October 2020

The Nightingales are part of a nationwide effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century. The temporary hospital at the Exhibition and Conference Centre on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus was vital to help support NHS efforts with the COVID-19 pandemic and support the local community and wider region at an exceptionally challenging time.

NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol was a truly collaborative project across a wide range of organisations and companies. Completed in just 20 days, the build of the 300-bed hospital demonstrated incredible team effort and the speed at which the hospital was been built is testament to the dedication, hard work, and teamwork from UWE Bristol staff, the Army, the NHS and the contractors, Kier. Collaboration was key with all stakeholders uniting and working together, safely, swiftly and with absolute skill and commitment. The agile response from all involved – with teams working 12 hours a day – was central to the construction project being complete in such a short time.

We are delighted to host a panel discussion focusing on the construction of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, panel members include:

  • Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Marie-Noelle Orzel, Chief Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • David Snell, Operations Director, Kier

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Doug Perkins, Chair and Founder and Dame Mary Perkins, Co-founder, Specsavers

04 November 2020

Doug and Dame Mary Perkins founded Specsavers with the aim of offering affordable eye care to everyone. They will talk about how they saw the opportunity to revolutionise the optical market, following a relaxation of UK regulations, which allowed opticians to advertise products and services for the first time.

Specsavers is not built on a stock exchange model but rather on a unique joint venture partnership, where directors part-own and manage their own stores. Theirs is a values-led approach to business, which has led to a world-wide organisation that turns over 3 billion a year, operating in 10 countries and employing 35,000 colleagues.

Doug and Dame Mary met in Cardiff while studying optometry at university. After graduating they bought Mary’s father’s optometry business in her home town of Bristol, which they built into a successful chain of more than 20 stores across the south west. This provided invaluable experience when they set up Specsavers.

With Mary being Bristol-born and educated and Doug living in Bristol for 15 years (and even playing for Bristol rugby club), they will describe how their business experience in Bristol acted as an extended pilot for the birth of Specsavers and inspired their vision for affordable eyecare and audiology at scale.

After selling their original chain of stores, it took a further three years of worldwide research of partnership and franchises, which were unheard of in the medical sector, to create their unique business model.

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK

11 November 2020

Have you ever felt like you needed to conform to fit in? What does aspiration mean to you? Do you have inspiring role models in your life? Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books UK, a publishing company with sales of over 80million and a regular on the publishing industry power lists, shares an honest account of her path to success. Overcoming personal obstacles and challenging stereotypes head on, Perminder argues how we all must bring our authentic selves to work. As a passionate believer in the power of books and the role the publishing industry must play in our society, Perminder also lays out her manifesto for positive change.

You can discuss all the events on Twitter by using #BristolLectures. We’re running this series online so you can watch from the comfort of your own home. This event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams – you can either view via the web or download the app. To join the event, please follow the link that will be sent in your event reminder a couple of days before the event.

Women in Leadership | Women Aspiring to Leadership

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An equal world is an enabled world.

#IWD2020  #EachforEqual

For International Women’s Day 2020 we are celebrating everything UWE Bristol does year-round to promote equality for all, including the ‘Women in Leadership and Women Aspiring to Leadership’ (WILWAL) network fronted by Executive Officer, Amy Rogerson.

The group provides a safe environment for UWE Bristol staff, where women can discuss their leadership journeys, challenges and successes, and is for women at all stages of their leadership journeys. Since re-launching in 2019, WILWAL has hosted four sessions with a range of inspirational speakers at varying points in their careers and lives.

So far, speakers have included Chrissie Waple who spoke about Neuro-linguistic Programming (and also hosted an extra session to expand on the topic due to high demand from attendees), Aimée Sykes who gave a presentation on the celebration of future leaders and the importance of female role models and Yoma Smith who shared her leadership journey and how it has impacted, and been impacted by, her work in the community.

Each session reminded the group of their own unique abilities to become leaders in every aspect of their lives, and that not everyone has the same path – in fact they are all very different!

If you would like to find out more about the network please get in touch fbl.execsupport@uwe.ac.uk.

UWE Bristol launches Spring Bristol Distinguished Address Series

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The successful Bristol Distinguished Address Series is back for 2020. This series of free public lectures brings top-level business leaders to Bristol and has seen a wide array of inspiring talks since its launch. The talks provide a unique opportunity to hear about the challenges, issues and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership.

UWE Bristol have announced the Spring dates for the Bristol Distinguished Address series that are held at Bristol Business School, with talks from five innovative leaders.

Upcoming Bristol Lectures

Bankers must become Eco-warriors – Dr Bevis Watts, Chief Executive, Triodos Bank UK

29 January 2020

Could banks serve the needs of society better? Are they undermining our long-term ability to sustain ourselves by not actively seeking to address the climate emergency, inequality and societal needs?

Perhaps the first and only environmentalist to lead a UK bank, Dr Bevis Watts puts forward the case that much of the financial sector is undermining efforts to tackle these issues. In fact, the UK’s current banking system holds the potential, through adaptation, to be a catalyst for a sustainable future.

For 25 years in the UK, Triodos Bank has demonstrated a model of sustainable banking that uses the intermediary power of finance to benefit people and the planet. They are also 100% transparent about who they lend to – focusing only on organisations that deliver positive environmental, social or cultural change. With the right values, banks can be a force for good and affect real positive systemic change in society.

What does internationalisation mean in C21st for global corporations? – Katherine Bennett CBE, Senior Vice President, Airbus & Chair, Western Gateway

12 February 2020

Katherine will deliver a lecture on Airbus’ approach to internationalisation. She will touch on internationalisation versus the role of continents from an economic perspective; she will provide a summary of current issues and ambitions within Airbus; she will reflect on the Brexit debate and finally, in light of her new role as Chair of Western Gateway, she will also reflect how a nation’s regional strategies can best be aligned to the future evolution of businesses, both large and small.

Living and moving well together – Xavier Brice, Chief Executive, Sustrans

26 February 2020

Transport shapes our relationship with each other and with our environment. It enables people, goods and ideas to spread and flourish, but it is also the biggest contributor to climate change in the UK and has poisoned the air in our cities and towns.

The history of transport is often presented as a series of technological revolutions – canals, railways, the motor car. We stand on the cusp of another transport revolution. New technologies and business models are bringing electric vehicles, driverless cars, e-scooters, drones and air-taxis, and promising quicker, easier journeys, cleaner air and less carbon. But technology is only ever a means to an end. Xavier’s talk will explore how we need to rethink what we want from transport so that we can all live and move well together.

TV as a Force for Good – Lisa Opie, Managing Director, UK Production, BBC Studios

11 March 2020

Lisa Opie, Managing Director of BBC Studios UK Production, talks about the power of television to drive positive change locally, nationally and internationally. 

BBC Studios world-leading Natural History Unit was recently awarded the prestigious Chatham House Prize for Blue Planet II’s global impact on the issue of ocean plastics. 

Also made in Bristol, DIY SOS highlights social issues and has seen more than 20,000 volunteers give their time and complete over 16 million worth of builds over the last 20 years. 

At a time when it is hard to tell what is real or fake and when there is division and discord, content can play a key role in raising awareness of important issues, bringing communities together and changing the world for the better.

Sustainability – The Long View – Laura Marshall, CEO, Icon Films

25 March 2020

Icon Films was founded in 1990 by husband and wife team Harry and Laura Marshall. Thirty years on the company is still growing, working in a global market in a golden age of scripted and unscripted content. Based in Bristol where being different is the norm, and where disruption and innovation is in the city’s DNA, how does a company evolve to keep succeeding? Is planet content infinite – or are resources and creativity finite? Where do you go when you want to keep going and what do we need to learn from those around us?

You can find more information about the Bristol Distinguished Address Series on the UWE Bristol website. Please use #BristolLectures to discuss the events on Twitter.

UWE Bristol sponsor ‘Start-Up Business’ award

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The Business Leader Awards is a prestigious event that showcases the region’s outstanding companies and recognises the entrepreneurs who run them. Each year the awards bring together hundreds of leaders in business, education and government along with VIPs and celebrities for one gala evening. This year the gala was held on 26 September at Ashton Gate Stadium.

UWE Bristol were proud sponsors of the ‘Start-Up Business’ award and headed to the evening full of excitement to see who would win this esteemed category. The evening of the awards was great fun, with the fantastic Michael Portillo hosting the gala and some fantastic food being served.

We would like to wish a huge congratulations to winners of the Business Leader Awards, especially, Smart Futures Training (previously AAA training solutions) who won the UWE Bristol sponsored Start-Up Business Award.

Business leader awards sponsors 2019