New roles announced on GFirst LEP Board

A new Vice Chair and three new ‘Champion’ roles have been announced by Ruth Dooley, GFirst LEP Chair and Partner at Hazlewoods.

These roles will help shape and strengthen the strategic vision of GFirst LEP, by gaining in-depth knowledge of core objectives that the LEP have identified. In addition to the Vice Chair role there is a new Net Zero Champion, a Small Business Champion and an Equality and Diversity Champion.

Ian Mean, Director of Business West is the new Vice Chair.

Emma Hanby, Associate Director of Consulting Technology at Campden BRI, is the Net Zero Champion.

Nicola Bird, founder and Managing Director of AccXel, is the new Small Business Champion.

Deborah Potts, CEO of The Music Works, is the new Equality and Diversity Champion.

Ruth said “I am delighted to appoint Ian, Emma, Nicola and Deborah to these roles. By appointing these committed individuals to these key positions, we can continue to make timely and measured decisions on the LEP Board, that will benefit all of Gloucestershire.”

Ian Mean has been appointed as Vice Chair, his role will be to support and assist Ruth as Chair. Speaking of his appointment Ian said: “I am passionate about helping business in Gloucestershire and supporting the economy of this great county.”

Emma Hanby will be taking on the role of Net Zero Champion. Gloucestershire has a fantastic natural heritage and the LEP wants to do everything it can to preserve and protect what makes it such a great county to live and work in. Emma will be on hand to help the county navigate Net Zero and report back to the Board.

GFirst LEP and The Growth Hub are committed to ensuring Gloucestershire can meets its Net Zero Goals with many initiatives already in place including our ‘Navigating Net Zero’ events and bespoke business support. Please visit to find out more.

Nicola Bird has been appointed as the Small Business Champion - the role of which is to enable the voice of small businesses and empower SMEs to thrive in the global economy. SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, they account for the vast majority of businesses in Gloucestershire and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development.

Nicola will work alongside the LEP’s Business Groups, the ‘engine-room’, comprising of experts in their field who advise on business and economic growth decisions, to help Gloucestershire improve its skills, increase its innovation and reach its economic potential. Please visit to find out more.

Deborah Potts is the new Equalities & Diversity Champion - the role will actively promote, celebrate and raise awareness of equality and diversity within the LEP and ensure all staff and board members are aware of their responsibilities. The role will support and encourage engagement in all equality initiatives and share best practice with support from the Senior Management and the Board. Please visit  to find out more about GFirst LEP’s governance, accountability and transparency of decision-making.

If you would like to find out more about how GFirst LEP supports Gloucestershire through sustainable economic growth please visit

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