Meet the new Bristol Chamber of Commerce Advisory Committee

Sam Harrison
Marketing Executive | Business West
14th May 2024

At our 2024 AGM we announced the formation of the new Bristol Chamber of Commerce Advisory Committee. This is a proactive leadership team dedicated to shaping a prosperous region for all, where business and community thrive. The committee is chaired by our President, Dr Justin Morris and will play a pivotal role in guiding the strategic direction of Business West in Bristol and beyond.

Comprised of seasoned professionals and industry experts from many different walks of life, our Advisory Committee embodies a collective commitment to fostering growth and prosperity for Bristol. Together, we are poised to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and chart a course towards a brighter future.

Many of you may be familiar with the committee members, as they are big supporters of Business West and frequent guests at our events, but if you’d like to learn a little more about them their bios are below:

Jon is adopted Bristolian having lived, studied and worked in the city since 1995.  He is a partner and head of the Bristol office of Womble Bond Dickinson where he is a planning and infrastructure specialist with a particular focus on consenting and use of statutory powers.  His other roles in the firm are sponsor partner for the firm's net zero strategy and is a trustee of the WBD charitable Foundation.  He has a particular passion for social mobility and inclusivity and has been instrumental in the firm's solicitor apprenticeship scheme as well as being an Equal Opportunities Ambassador with Babbasa. Jon is currently the chair of the Redcliffe & Temple BID Advisory board so is able to bring the views of a wide range of businesses in the city as well as those from the professional services sector to the committee.  Through experience gained on various boards and committees he is able to bring constructive challenge for the benefit of the respective organisations and their members.

Emma is currently President of Bristol Junior Chamber, the networking organisation for young professionals within Bristol and beyond boosting a 140+ membership. The organisation which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary has been involved in significant projects within Bristol such as the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (which it established) and the Bristol Heritage Walk. Emma has worked in the charity sector both in Bristol and nationally and is currently Head of Income Generation for Air Ambulances UK, the national charity supporting the lifesaving work of the UK’s air ambulance charities, enabling them to save even more lives every day. 

Marc is a Co-Founder of Cogito – a Bristol based HR solutions consultancy - focused upon helping business improve people strategies by combining evidenced based insight with a team of highly skilled experts.

Before forming Cogito in 2014, Marc led outsourced labour solutions within Aviation, Engineering and Manufacturing sectors in the UK and Europe, providing him with first-hand experience of the ways in which data & insight can solve skills challenges to improve recruitment, retention and employee experience.

Over the past 10 years, Cogito has grown to employ 26 people and support SMEs and global market leaders based in Bristol, the South West and overseas.  Marc continues to strive for new ways in which Cogito can solve people problems, continually driving the business forward to evolve its services to provide more value to employers across the full Human Resources spectrum including Skills Research, Wellbeing & Management Training and HR projects alongside its formative Talent Acquisition solutions.

David Mellor has resided and worked in Bristol since 1979. An Architect by profession, he served as a director of Alec French Architects for three decades. He established and chaired the Bristol Architecture Centre, now known as Design West, aimed at advocating for quality architecture. Joining the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative in 1990, he subsequently became a Board member. In 2015, he was appointed Vice President of the Chamber and Initiative.

John Savage, originally destined for the Anglican priesthood, attended St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School for Boys in London. With over fifty years of business experience, he led The Bristol Initiative and later the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative. Committed to enhancing Bristol's standing, he advocates for partnership between the private sector and local government. Recognised with a CBE, he also serves the community and holds honorary degrees from the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. 

Simon has a background as a chartered town planner in the private sector. For many years he was an equity partner with Barton Willmore, one of the UK’s largest employers of town planners, but he left the company when deciding to sell it to an North American PLC in 2022. Since then, he has developed a portfolio of non-exec, advisory, investor and trustee roles. 

Alongside his board role at Business West he sits on its Audit and Strategy committees and has provided professional support on projects such as the regeneration of central Swindon. As Senior Counsel at JBP he advises how the public affairs company can help its clients engage with local government and other stakeholders. He is Trustee at the Guild of Guardians of Bristol, President of the Canynges Society and sits on his Parish Church’s PCC. Simon is a keen sailor and can often be found during weekends and holidays with his family on the Cornish coast.  

Jonathan Foster-Clark is a Director at AtkinsRéalis with more than 30 years’ experience in the transport sector.  Jonathan works with organisations, mainly in the public sector, to develop transport strategies and programmes to improve connectivity in towns and cities across the West and wider UK.  He has particular expertise in showing how better transport can support stronger, more productive economies, healthier, more inclusive communities, and in protecting our future environment.  Jonathan is Co-Chair of the Planning, Transport and Climate Change Committee, which brings together experts to discuss major developments and initiatives that will influence the future shape of the West of England region. 

Nathan is responsible for the Foot Anstey's geographic profile and approach to working with the communities where we operate, particularly leading the firm’s Bristol presence and its engagement with local business and community initiatives.

He leads Foot Anstey's Retail and Consumer Sector and is responsible for several key client relationships Specialising in regulatory work he coordinates the firm’s multi-disciplinary risk advisory offering, helping to keep clients’ strategy on track with proactive and reactive risk advice they can trust. Nathan advises clients on governance, compliance, and the defence of regulatory prosecutions."

Ben founded Distinctive Communications in 2022, after more than 20 years' experience in journalism and public relations. He’s worked in the South West since 2010, firstly for a government body and more recently in senior agency roles. In that time, he’s supported some of the region’s most high profile and transformative projects, including Hinkley Point C, Gravity smart campus and the £200m regeneration of Gloucester city centre.  

An expert in digital engagement and one of just 450 chartered PR practitioners in the UK, he has developed and delivered communication strategies for businesses, housebuilders, local authorities, universities, and charities. 

When setting up Distinctive, Ben wanted to create a consultancy that’s dedicated to purpose and place and makes a positive impact. The team’s work has helped unlock hundreds of millions of pounds in investment, create thousands of jobs and advance clients’ growth ambitions.

Sarah-Jane, with over 30 years of experience in workplace strategy, interior architecture, and commercial real estate, is a distinguished leader at Avison Young. Her recent work has been pivotal in guiding corporate, public sector, and third sector organizations through redefining work practices and environments in response to COVID-19 and continues to support future work strategy for many.  Sarah-Jane is renowned in the commercial real estate marketplace as a thought leader and subject matter expert, making her a sought-after speaker on the future of work and workplace innovation.  Sarah-Jane is Managing Director of Avison Young Bristol.

Martha is at the heart of the formulation, oversight and delivery of the Responsible Business and ESG strategy at Hargreaves Lansdown, the Bristol based and UK’s largest, digital wealth management service. Martha has been in the role for over 5 years and has led the development of the function to enable Hargreaves Lansdown to be a key contributor within Bristol, leading a number of city wide initiatives, in addition to driving the sustainability strategy internally. 

Suzanne has overall responsibility for the running of The Quartet Community Foundation and its strategic direction. She has held a number of executive and non executive roles in the the cultural and charity sectors at both a local and national level. Before joining Quartet, she was CEO of a much-loved Bristol concert venue where she led a transformational capital project. In everything she does, she is driven to make a difference to people’s lives, supporting engagement in activities and opportunities not always open to them, particularly those which prove inspiring and life affirming.

Julia has worked in further education for over twenty years, starting her teaching career in the land-based sector before making the move to general further education in 2017. She has taught and written qualification for both further and higher education students, and undertakes duties related to the external quality assurance of education. 

Julia is passionate about the transformative power of education after the age of 16, and the role that skills-based education plays in a vibrant and productive economy. In her current role, she is responsible for the oversight of ambitious and high-quality education for 12,000 students annually at City of Bristol College. 

Ed founded BBRC in 2015. He originally trained as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG and has over 25 years of experience in the commercial property, financial services and affordable housing sectors, including the management of FCA regulated commercial property funds. Ed is a Trustee at the Bristol Zoological Society Pension Fund and the SS Great Britain Trust and Co-Opted to the Board of Black South West Network.

With over 25 years of IT experience, Mark Robbins is the CEO and co-founder of 2C Services Ltd, a company that offers expert IT consultation and services, and its own state of the art private cloud hosting infrastructure. He is a Microsoft certified professional, with qualifications in server, client, and application servers.

He is passionate about delivering flexible and customized hosting solutions for desktops, infrastructure, and data, with offsite backup, server replication, and disaster recovery. He leads a team of IT specialists who share his vision of providing high-quality and reliable IT services to clients across the UK, ranging from SME to FTSE 100 companies. He has a proven track record of managing key accounts, developing new business opportunities, and ensuring customer satisfaction

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