Marnie Millard


Our popular business masterclasses have been running for over 10 years, engaging participants of our business engagement programmes and drawing significant audiences from across the North West's SME networks.

Our latest ‌series includes inspirational speakers who all have a passion for business and want to share their knowledge and expertise. We'd like to thank NatWest for supporting our current masterclass series.

To join one of our masterclasses, please contact us.

Sahar Hashemi

Sahar Hashemi, Coffee Republic

Start up Forever: 18th October 2017

Sahar believes that entrepreneurship is not about personality, nor is it restricted to start-ups. It’s a set of habits that anyone can learn – habits that are becoming increasingly important to organisations big or small. To keep up with the pace of innovation, all companies need to act small. They need to behave much more like entrepreneurs - more agile, curious, creative, resourceful and connected to customers; less rigid and complacent.

In order to nurture an entrepreneurial mind-set in businesses at all levels, including large organisations, Sahar explains the need to impersonate your customers, avoid becoming set in your ways, being fully present at work and implementing a trial and error culture which celebrates the value of failure.

Sir Chris Bonington, Adventurer

Peak of Achievement: 13th December 2017

Reaching the highest point on earth requires teamwork of the highest level. Chris Bonington describes his own personal achievement in at last reaching the summit of Everest in 1985 at the age of 50, as a member of the Norwegian Everest Expedition. The success of the expedition was made possible by superb planning, organisation and the quality of teamwork amongst expedition members.

The leader was Arne Naess, a millionaire ship owner, and Bonington acted as his chief of staff overseeing logistics and advising on strategy. In this presentation Sir Chris will study Næss’ approach to leadership and explore the dynamics of decision making within the team. Bonington was stretched to the limit in his own bid for the summit and describes how he was helped by his companions. Sharing the inspirational story of this exhilarating climb, Sir Chris draws parallels between the effort on the mountain and the challenges of today’s business world.

Chris Bonington
Andy Rubin

Andy Rubin, Pentland Brands Ltd

Building brands in a VUCA world: 28th February 2018

Pentland is the name behind some of the world’s best sports, outdoor and fashion brands. A third-generation, family-owned business – with strong family values. Andy Rubin is Chairman of Pentland Brands Ltd, a director of Pentland Group plc and non-executive director of JD Sports Fashion Plc. He will be discussing the ways in which Pentland is constantly evolving to keep ahead and continually rejuvenating brands to keep them relevant to changing consumer tastes. This means creating products that meet the demanding standards expected by our customers. It means hiring the best people and making sure we support them to achieve their best. And it means striving to ensure that our suppliers and other partners work in the same, people-centred way. “In this VUCA world, we need to reinvent to stay relevant”.

Jonathan Warburton, Warburtons

Driving Success at Warburtons: 21st March 2018

Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of the fifth generation of Warburtons, will be speaking about the drivers of success behind the UK’s leading independent baker.

Established in 1876, the family business has grown from a single shop in Bolton to become the UK’s second largest grocery brand (The Grocer), with Warburtons’ products the most frequently purchased in the country and chosen on average 25 times a year by 86 per cent of UK households (Kantar Worldpanel).

Jonathan will talk about how family values sit at the heart of the company, the continual innovation which underpins the Warburtons business model, and how its approach to responsibility helps its people, bottom line and the communities in which it operates. 

Jonathan Warburton
Wayne Hemingway

Wayne Hemingway, HemingwayDesign

Creating a global brand on a start-up budget: 9th May 2018

Wayne Hemingway MBE will talk about building his first brand Red or Dead from a market stall to an internationally recognised fashion label with 23 shops around the world and a turnover of £25 million without advertising, without a marketing department and without funding. After selling the brand in the late 90s Wayne went on to set up multi-disciplinary design agency and events company HemingwayDesign. Wayne will share how through social values (and social media) HemingwayDesign and its roster of national festivals has developed deep audience trust and a following in the hundreds of thousands.

Shaun Wane, Wigan Warriors

Creating winning cultures: 27th June 2018

As Head Coach at Wigan Warriors, Shaun will provide insights into the passion and leadership skills necessary to steer a world class club to victory and how these insights can be translated into the business world. Sharing his journey on and off the field, Shaun will highlight how his life experiences have prepared him for his role at the Wigan Warriors.

By implementing fundamental methods and approaches and integrating them within every aspect of a business, Shaun will demonstrate how to enable continuous improvement, actualise tangible goals and empower a workforce. 

Shaun Wane