Advisory Panel

Our Advisory Panel provided expert input
and advice throughout the course of the Study, supporting Colmore BID’s project team and the research team led by City REDI at the University
of Birmingham.

pexels fauxels 3183197 Advisory Panel
Advisory Panel

Alex Bishop (Chair)

Alex is co-head of Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office – one of the largest law firms in the city – and national head of the firm’s Dispute Resolution & Litigation practice.

Alex started her career at DLA Piper in 1995 before joining Shoosmiths as a partner in 2006. She is identified as a leader in her field of Dispute Resolution/Commercial Litigation by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. She is also listed in The Legal 500 ‘Hall of Fame’. Alex was awarded the title ‘Inspiring Leader’ at the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year awards (2019) and has recently been named in The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100’ lawyers of 2021.

Alex was chair of Birmingham Future (07/08), Chair of BPS Birmingham (13/15) and professional and financial services sector champion for the GBSLEP (2013-2015). She held roles on the Boards of Birmingham Forward, Birmingham Professional DiverCity and on steering groups for Aston University, BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise & Employability Network) and a number of charities including Marie Curie. Most importantly, Alex is also proud mum to a 5-year-old son who loves Spider-Man

joe barratt Advisory Panel

Joe Barratt

Joe is a Junior Fellow at the Institute of Place Management and a board member of the government’s High Streets Task Force.

He has a particular interest in improving ways to involve more young people in shaping the future of our high streets and co-founded The Teenage Market, an award-winning initiative which gives young people a free platform to showcase their creative talents, in his hometown of Stockport in 2012. Since then, The Teenage Market has supported thousands of young people at over 300 events in 40 locations across the UK.

As a passionate social entrepreneur, Joe is well placed to examine how a future business district can successfully engage with all members of society in order to deliver maximum social value and wider community benefit.

anita bhalla Advisory Panel

Anita Bhalla OBE DL

Anita is Chair of B:Music (Town Hall and Symphony Hall), Independent Member of Birmingham & Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Independent Member and Vice-Chair of Council at the University of Warwick, Chair of Iniva, Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), Governor of the RSC and Chair of WMCA Leadership Commission.

Anita’s media career included 25 years at the BBC; setting up the BBC Asian Network, being a News Correspondent and documentary maker; Head of Political and Community Affairs in England and Head and Editor of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting. In 2012 she was High Sheriff for the West Midlands. Anita has been awarded Honorary Degrees from Wolverhampton, Birmingham City and Warwick universities and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Andrew Carter x1650 Advisory Panel

Andrew Carter

Andrew is Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities, an independent think tank that is focused on improving the economic prosperity of the UK’s biggest cities and towns.

Before that he was Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Research. Throughout his career he
has worked on urban economic policy issues for public and private development agencies, consultants and research institutes.

He has also spent time in the US as part of the Churchill Foundation’s Fellowship Programme reviewing urban economic development policy and practice in American cities. He is a regular media contributor and chairs and speaks at events on a wide range of urban economic issues.

Joel Blake OBE 1 Advisory Panel

Joel Blake OBE

Joel is the CEO of, an award-winning fintech portfolio risk management solution for the financial services sector, and Founder of inclusive business support firm, The Cludean Group.

He is the former Executive for Growing Business and Access to Finance for the GBSLEP and consults with professional services firms and public sector bodies on the development of inclusive SME business support models. He has lectured at several globally recognised business schools on entrepreneurship, inclusive leadership, and technology, and has also worked with No 10 Downing Street business policy advisers on the development of UK business growth strategies.

Outside of his business ventures, he is the President of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce, Board Director of Birmingham Tech, a Trustee of Performances Birmingham Ltd (Symphony Hall and Town Hall), and a Fellow of the National Centre for Entrepreneurs.

He was awarded an OBE in 2016 for Services to Business Support and Enterprise.

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Simon Delahunty-Forrest

Simon is Acting Assistant Director for Planning and Development at Birmingham City Council.

As a qualified architect Simon is the Council’s lead design advisor championing design quality within the built environment. Having responsibility for specific specialist areas such as the city design team, city centre planning management, city centre development, enforcement and householder Simon encourages and enables the highest standards of place making, planning, architecture, urban design, arboriculture, historic conservation and landscape design across all new development in the city.

Simon is responsible for recent masterplans such as ‘Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan for growth’‘Birmingham Smithfield Masterplan’, ‘Langley Sustainable Urban Extension’ and the ‘Rea Valley Urban Quarter Masterplan’.

Nigel Driffield Advisory Panel

Professor Nigel Driffield FAcSS FRSA

Nigel is Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Regional Engagement at The University of Warwick and Professor of International Business at Warwick Business School, having held a similar post at Aston Business School for 10 years which included a spell as the Dean of the business school.

He has a PhD from Reading University and has published some 80 academic papers across a range of disciplines including international business, regional science, finance, and economics. His main areas of interest are the links between firm internationalisation and firm performance; the impact of inward investment on host locations; international technology transfer and policy responses to globalisation.

He is the Midlands Lead for the ESRC Productivity Institute and holds a £1m investment from ESRC looking at productivity in the West Midlands, ‘From Productivity to Prosperity’. He recently held a Prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship, investigating the impact of internationally mobile capital on both home and source countries, particularly in terms of competitiveness and labour markets. More generally, he is an advisor to the BEIS Select Committee and the Department of International Trade with a focus on inward investment. He has worked with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP since its inception, serving on the economics strategy board, chairing the academic advisory group, and on the executive steering committees for both the Heseltine Report and the Strategic Economic Plan. More recently he was the academic lead and deputy chair of the West Midlands Productivity and Skills Commission.

Rosie Ginday Advisory Panel

Rosie Ginday MBE

Rosie is founder and managing director of community interest company Miss Macaroon, the only patisserie in the world that can Pantone colour match macaroons.

She trained in professional cookery at University College Birmingham before taking a job at Michelin-starred Purnell’s in Birmingham city centre.

Miss Macaroon works with organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions, prison probation programmes, care leavers’ services and women’s refuges to recruit trainees. Not all trainees go on to work in food – though some do – but the emphasis is on getting people into employment, whatever that looks like. Rosie is also passionate about leadership, diversity and inclusion, serving on the WMCA’s Leadership Commission and was appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Birmingham’s WE LEAD Centre. She has won several awards including the EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2016.

John Griffiths 1 Advisory Panel

John Griffiths

John is a senior development consultant with Opus Land where his focus is on mixed use development, regeneration and joint ventures.

John has nearly 35 years’ experience in the property sector, having spent the majority of this time advising investors, developers, occupiers and stakeholders on high profile projects in central Birmingham – the majority of which have been office focused.

John has held senior posts with CBRE, JLL and most recently heading the Development Team within Savills’ Birmingham Office. He has also established and operated independent businesses within central Birmingham. Over the past few years, John has been increasingly involved with re-purposing and mixed-use development and whilst he will always have an affinity to central Birmingham, he is now involved in diverse projects across a wider geography.

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Adam Hawksbee

Adam is Head of Policy and Programme Development at the West Midlands Combined Authority, responsible for developing and co-ordinating policy across the WMCA’s areas of activity.

He leads work on the future of devolution to the region and is responsible for activity relating to culture and digital, including the region’s Digital Roadmap.

He was previously a Research Fellow at the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative focussing on inclusive economic development, and prior to that was Chief of Staff at the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman and a Programme Director for the educational charity Debate Mate. He has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Kennedy Fellow.

Martin PP Advisory Panel

Martin Prince-Parrott FRSA RIBA

Martin is a Chartered Architect and Development and Architecture Director at SUB\URBAN WORKSHOP.

Martin holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice from the Royal Institute of British Architects, a Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from The University of Nottingham and a certification in Disruptive Business Strategy from Harvard Business School.

Martin is also a Chartered Member of the RIBA, a member of the Association for Corporate Governance Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Rory Sutherland Advisory Panel

Rory Sutherland

Rory is Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, an attractively vague job title which has allowed him to co-found a behavioral science practice within the agency.

He works with a consulting practice of psychology graduates who look for ‘unseen opportunities’ in consumer behaviour – the often small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make – for instance tripling the sales rate of a call centre by adding just a few sentences to the script. It is a hugely valuable activity – but, alas, not particularly lucrative. This is because clients generally do not have budgets for solving problems they did not know they had.

Before founding Ogilvy Change, Rory was a copywriter and creative director at Ogilvy for over 20 years, having joined as a graduate trainee in 1988. He has been President of the IPA, Chair of the Judges for the Direct Jury at Cannes and spoken at TED Global. He writes regular columns for Spectator, Market Leader and Impact and occasional pieces for Wired. He is author of The Wiki Man, available on Amazon (priced between £1.96 and £2,345.54, depending on whether the algorithm is having a bad day), and best-selling Alchemy, The surprising Power of Ideas which don’t make Sense. He is married to a vicar with twin daughters aged 18 and lives in the former home of Napoleon III – unfortunately in the attic.

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